Posted On: 11/01/2012 at 12:25 PM
*** Note, this build is from http://www.necrobator.com/features/necros-in-structured-pvp-starting-build-and-gear-overview/ ***
One of the main requests I got heading into the recent closed beta event for Guild Wars 2 was for anything and everything PvP related for the necromancer. With that in mind, I made sure to set aside a sizable block of time during the event to play countless Conquest matches, take plenty of notes, and film as much of it as I was able. I plan on covering structured PvP in a broader sense later this week over on GW2Hub.com, so for this series I’ll be going over a number of specific areas of necros in PvP.
To start off with, I thought it would give you a good baseline to work from if I took some notes on the gear, weapon sets, and traits that come bundled with the necro when you first hop into the Mists, or hit the shiny “Play Now” button located under the PvP tab in the Hero screen. At first, I started furiously scribbling down as much info as I could about our default gear & build when it dawned on me that I could snag some video instead.
In the video below I made sure to highlight:
- Equipped PvP Armor
- The default weapon sets we start with in PvP (Scepter / Focus — Axe / Warhorn)
- The skill tooltips for the default weapon, healing and utility skills (you don’t actually have Lich Form slotted by default… I added that to mess around with the LF skills just prior to filming)
- Attributes and their derivative enhancements
- The default traits slotted (30 Death and Soul Reaping, 10 Blood)
As a bonus I also went over the tooltips for the human racial skills at the end. While these all appeared as unlocked like the rest of your skills in PvP, I wasn’t able to slot or use them at all. While I wasn’t terribly impressed by the human racials, it was killing me that I couldn’t mess around with the Reaper of Grenth elite skill. Hopefully these will be unlocked for use heading into the next beta event, which will presumably be the first weekend event for pre-purchase customers at the end of next month.
In terms of the overarching concept of the default necro build, you’ll notice a few main things:
It focuses primarily on Toughness and Vitality, but basically ignores crit chance / damage increase in the process. The idea here is presumably to increase overall survivability which is indeed important once you consider that the bulk of our DPS comes from damage-over-time rather than raw nuke or direct damage. The downside is that with such a low crit chance it also takes longer to kill a given target, whereas another of my media colleagues who was playing a thief went out of their way to stack crit as high as it would go, and was able to down enemy players laughably fast.
The main difference between the two approaches to attributes and their derivatives is that the stock necro build gives you a character that can be very hard to kill, and one that is optimal for defending captured points. Don’t get me wrong, our DPS with this build was still pretty decent overall. But once I dove back into matches with a custom build that focused much heavier on minions and marks I noticed a marked increase in DPS. The active skill for the Flesh Golem adds some solid burst damage, but Lich Form is probably still our strongest elite overall. I’ll discuss that stuff more in depth in my next article that will focus more on the specific builds I created and used.
The second thing to note is that, while our stock build slots a lot of minion-specific traits, it only has 2 minion summons added to our skill bar: the Blood Fiend and Bone Fiend. These are interesting choices because both attach from range, so again, have slightly higher survivability due to being out of the direct line of fire more often. The blood fiend in particular tends to be one of our best overall options for our healing skill since it doubles as additional DoT damage until you need to consume it for health.
A smart thing about not running a full bar of minions like this is that mesmers can instantly shut down a MM necro by using their annoying skill that turns you into a moa. I have some video footage of what happens at that point, but basically what happens is it instantly kills off all active minions, putting your entire utility bar on recharge. Ouch. It sucks and is – in my opinion – one of the most horrendously overpowered skills in PvP at the moment. Sure, it’s kind of funny the first time you get smacked with it and realize you better start pecking people in the eye or take a very quick dirt nap. But it also:
- Disables your healing (and utility + elite) skill, so all you can do is eat incoming damage
- Disables our ability to use Death Shroud (lame)
- Instantly kills all of our minions (lame and overpowered)
- Causes all of our minion skills to go through a full recharge. That flesh golem you just summoned with the super long recharge? Yea, that’s gone too.
For now I did want to at least mention the potential consequences of relying too heavily on minions vs. a mesmer, but will go more in-depth on that build type in the next article as well.
The final thing worth noting are the default sigils slotted in our weapons. These are:
- Sigil of Superior Agony – Bleeds you apply last 10% longer
- Sigil of Superior Chilling – When you apply frozen it lasts 10% longer
- Sigil of Superior Force – +5% damage
- Sigil of Superior Debility – When you apply weakness it lasts 10% longer
So with the exception of Force (slotted in the Axe) the main focus of our default sigils is on condition duration. For the most part these aren’t bad options overall. Sure, there are plenty of other, fancier sigils, but the ones that provide a consistent boost or increase of some sort will also largely give you the most bang for your buck. For example, at one point I slotted the Sigil of Demon Summoning into my staff, but it proved to be almost impossible to get all 26 stacks needed to summon the Fleshreaver.
If you’re not familiar with that particular sigil, it works basically like this. Each time you kill an enemy with that weapon active, you gain one summoning charge. At 26 charges, the fleshreaver will be summoned. While it’s entirely possible that you might defeat 26 people in the course of a single match, there’s also a major catch. If you swap weapons (or are downed yourself) you lose all current charges. As much as I would have loved to see what the fleshreaver would do to other players in PvP, I had a very hard time trying to keep myself from doing weapon swaps during combat for that long. Doing so is kind of like saying “well, 4 of my weapon skills are constantly on recharge, so I’ll just stand around and auto-attack for most of the match.” Not very fun orproductive in my book, but that’s just me.
For those of you interested, I also added a video showing the full list of available PvP sigils below. While you take a look over those, I’ll be heading back down to the lab to begin editing down my PvP footage and whipping up my detailed analysis of the custom builds I used during the matches I’ll be highlighting in the video.
One final note (aka shameless self promotion) before I depart…
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the rest of my beta coverage over atGuildWars2Hub.com! While the start of my beta article series there is focused a bit more on new inductees into the cult of GW2 or fans who want to learn more about the early portions of the game, I’ll be getting increasingly more focused on specific aspects of the game with as much in-depth info as I’m able to provide.