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Author Topic: Guide of Shadows - PART II - POLISHING YOUR BLADE (Getting Ready for RvR)  (Read 1983 times)

Xiang

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Guide of Shadows - PART II - POLISHING YOUR BLADE (Getting Ready for RvR)



Finally you are a fresh level 50 Shadowblade, I know you want to jump out to Frontiers and get killing asap. Well you are not ready yet, at your current state you would only die over and over again and get frustrated. There is much work to be done yet, a little patience. So lets get started!




# SPECIALIZATION #


First of all you should know that there is no single "uber" spec that everyone goes for. There are 2 main ways of speccing your SB depending on your playstyle, and then there is your low RR, so until we get to a decent RR and can afford a balanced spec we will have to choose between being a pure Shadowzerk or Critblade. Making the difference is quiet easy, a Shadowzerk goes into melee head on since he is specced higher in Left Axe, whereas a Critblade has to be more sneaky due to most his damage depending on opening from stealth.

For the Specs I give, I will presume you have +11 to all skills in your gear (you should) and are RR2 (getting +1 to all skills from RR), since even if you are not you will be very soon. Therefore, all specs take into account that you have +12 in all skills. (If you choose to play Shadowzerk you will want +11 Left Axe in your template and skip on +11 Critical Strike however I do not advise to skip on +11 Left Axe in template even if you will play Critblade, try to have in as much possible)

Few things to remember:
-If you followed my leveling instructions, you have 12 autotrained stealth giving you 77 more spec points however in this guide I will pretend you didnt let it auto level. You may use these points to further increase Left Axe for a Shadowzerk or increase Critical Strike for a Critblade.
-If you kept to the specs I gave you in leveling guide, you can get away by just respeccing Critical Strike if you go Shadowzerk and by respeccing Left Axe if you go Critblade.
-Keep in mind that regardless of which spec you choose, you should have your Primary Melee Skill at 51 including +skill from gear and RR.
-Keep in mind that regardless of which spec you choose, you should have Envenom and Stealth at 50 including +skill from gear and RR.


SHADOWZERK : LEFT AXE 44 - CRITICAL STRIKE 12 - STEALTH 38 - SWORD or AXE 39 - ENVENOM 38

This is a typical Shadowzerk spec, you will primarily use your  Left Axe styles, we gave a little something into Critical Strikes just to have Pincer and Backstab 2. I will explain play styles more in the advanced guide.

CRITBLADE : LEFT AXE 30 - CRITICAL STRIKE 34 - STEALTH 38 - SWORD OR AXE 39 - ENVENOM 38

With only 30 in Left Axe you are missing on the greatest evade chain available to you, however until you get higher RR and can afford it, you will stick to the evade chain you get from Sword or Axe line depending on your choice.

People's view on Critblade will vary, some will tell you can afford to drop Primary Melee as low as 35, some will say you dont need Left Axe, have 35 Envenom and 35 Stealth etc. However I will tell you not to. Let me explain:

Dropping Primary Melee Lower than 39 at RR2 will disable you from capping your WS , you will be able to hit less.

Dropping Left Axe to low 20's, even though this may not seem a lot, all adds up, remember whenever your main hand swings, your off hand does too, having lower Left Axe will gimp its damage, hence gimping your overall damage output.

Dropping Envenom will make you miss on Lifebane, which is a pretty decent damage tool "But Xiang, will I not be able to get away with using 1 lower Damage Over Time Poison?" Yes you will, but there is damage difference, again remember every little damage adds up. Also, at low RR you might not be able to hit people a lot, however your lifebane, once procced will deal its damage regardless.

Dropping Stealth would be ok, you may think, well it is not, at your low RR without any Mastery of Stealth Realm Ability you are already visible to every ranger/scout from a mile away, drop stealth lower and they will see you from a mile and a half.


Sticking to the general guidelines I provide, you may try and play around with your spec as you see fit. As you go up in Realm Ranks you will get +1 to all skills each new rank, keeping in mind that your Primary Melee skill should always be 51 in total and your Stealth / Envenom should be 50 in total, you will respec and lower these 3 skills 1 by each realm rank and spend those points in LEFT AXE, AXE or SWORD and CRITICAL STRIKE depending on your skill.

To give you an extreme example: At RR13 you will have +12 to all skills and +11 from your gear, therefore +23 in total. So you can spec

ENVENOM 27 (+23 gets you to 50) - STEALTH 27 (+23 gets you to 50) - SWORD or AXE 28 (+23 gets you to 51) - LEFT AXE 48 - CRITICAL STRIKE 44

As you see by then you are not a Shadowzerk or Critblade anymore, you are both, very dangerous.




# MASTER LEVELS #


Now that you are 50 and specced, you should go and get your Master Levels in Hall of Heroes, either with Bounty Points or Atlantean Glasses (it costs 35k Glasses to get ML10) And no, you can not get away without having Master Levels. As a Shadowblade you get to choose between SPYMASTER and BATTLEMASTER. You will choose SPYMASTER, no debate there.

Spymaster Abilities:
Level 1 - Pickpocket : Gets you some extra coins from kills. Of no major use.

Level 2 - Summon Decoy : Does what the name says, this is actually fun to use, you couldnt guess the number of dummies that jump your decoy and reveal themselves if you place it well.

Level 3 - Enduring Poison : %15 chance the poison wont be removed from your weapon if resisted. This is quiet useful and a passive ability.

Level 4 - Sabotage : Damage siege engines and destroy wards instantly. This is actually useful to destroy a Prescience Node or Snare Node. It pops you out of stealth though doesnt put you in combat so you can restealth instantly.

Level 5 - Tanglesnare : Places a rune on the ground that snares ennemies. This would be useful if it didnt share the same cooldown as Poisonspike, but it does, hence useless, instead of this you will use Caltrops (to be explained in Advance guide)

Level 6 - Poisonspike : Places a rune on the ground that poisons ennemies in radius. This is very very useful, does decent damage. Will talk more later on its uses.

Level 7 - Lookout : Casting it on someone you are grouped with, you will be able to detect stealther in 350 radius, which is pretty small radius, you re already able to see many stealthers in that radius with MoS6 and 50 Stealth. And while using it, you can't stealth, so, useless.

Level 8 - Siege Wrecker : Places a rune on the ground that does 30.000 damage to siege engines. It may have it uses, you wont be a fan of it though.

Level 9 - Essence Flare : This is possibly the best ability you get, every 30 minutes you can create a special Mezz poison, coat your weapon with it, when struck mezzes all ennemies within 350 radius. There are more uses to it, we will discuss later.

Level 10 - Blanket of Camouflage : Stealths all your group, not very useful though, breaks when they move.





# CHAMPION LEVELS #


You are level 50, Specced and ML10 great! Now we must get our Champion Levels, go to Jordheim talk with the king inThrone Room and your Champion Levels will be activated. Champion Levels work like normal levels, you have to get xp and lots of it, good thing though quest reward xp counts towards CL xp as well. We will be getting our Champion Levels in, guess what , yes you guessed right in Vindsaul Faste (Refugee Camp Just Outside) doing the same Dragon Scale quest you did to get from 48 to 50. However I would suggest you get templated first, since you will have to level your artifacts as well, and leveling them together is a good idea. At Champion Level 5 you will be given a Champion Weapon from the guy standing next to the King. Get the Healing 2Hander.

To train your Champion Levels each time you get a level you will have to walk to the village outside Jordheim and find the basic trainers. We will need only Seer and Viking Trainer. There are many options to choose from however 1 shines amongst all and for me there is no debate.

From the Seer Trainer 2nd Line:

-Lesser Group Recovery : Group Heal that heals 60 HP. Next one is better.

-Lesser Group Reparation : Group Heal that heals 75 HP. Even though not very useful, after getting away low hp from a fight helps you recover in a safe spot.

-Shield of the Soul : %10 Body / Spirit / Energy Resists Buff. After the nerf to resist buff range from bots, this started coming in handy. Always use it.

-Shield of the Elements : %10 Heat / Cold / Matter Resists Buff. After the nerf to resist buff range from bots, this started coming in handy. Always use it.

-Shield of War : %5 Resist to Slash / Thrust / Crush Buff, Basically you get hit for %5 less damage from melee, you should love this. Unfortunately unlike the other 2 resist buffs, this only lasts 1 minute so only use it once you engage in melee. 5 min reuse timer.



From the Viking Trainer 2nd Line:

-Resilience : This is a melee style, useless.

-Soldier's Anticipation : %5 Parry Buff, you get a better one wait.

-Surge of Chaos : Damage Add 5 DPS, this is a good ability use it once you engage lasts 1 minute. 5 min reuse timer.

-Damage Ward : %5 Dmg Absorb Buff, will keep you alive! Again use it once you engage, lasts 1 minute, 5 min reuse timer.

-Soldier's Retaliation : %11 Parry Buff, lasts 1 minute, 5 min reuse timer. Use once engaged in melee.





# ARMOR REACTIVES & WEAPON PROCS #

This is a very important aspect of your gear, since many times they will decide who lives. I will go into this chapter more detailed in "Templating" section, however there are few things you should learn beforehand. Basically Reactives, react when they are hit as their name suggests, and procs go off when you hit something , even though you will hear "my armor procced" since noone says my armor reacted. There are many types of reactives and procs, to make it easier I will divide them into 3 each:


ARMOR REACTIVES:

Defensive Armor Reactives : When your armor part with the reactive is hit, there is a chance (different reactives have different %chance of going off) that you will receive a defensive buff such as a damage absorb, heal etc.

Offensive Armor Reactives : When your armor part with the reactive is hit, there is a chance (different reactives have different %chance of going off) that you will creat an offensive effect such as a direct damage, damage over time to the hitter or speed decrease.

Buffer Armor Reactives : When your armor part with the reactive is hit, there is a chance (different reactives have different %chance of going off) that you will receive a buff that accelerates your attack speed.


WEAPON PROCS:

Defensive Weapon Procs : When you hit something with the weapon that has a proc on, there is a chance (different reactives have different %chance of going off) that you will receive a defensive buff such as a damage absorb, heal etc.

Offensive Armor Procs : When you hit something with the weapon that has a proc on, there is a chance (different reactives have different %chance of going off) that you will do direct damage or damage over time to the target.

Buffer Weapon Procs : When you hit something with the weapon that has a proc on, there is a chance (different reactives have different %chance of going off) that you will receive a buff that accelerates your attack speed.


Proper drop items and artifacts we use in our templates already come with reactives / procs. So we will use these only on our crafted items. More to be discussed in "Templating"



# ITEM USES #

Most of the good items in game and all artifacts will have abilities that you can use. For that you need to delve the item by right clicking on, in the small window that opens you will see 1 or 2 small icons depending on how many uses the item has, simply drag the icon to your quickbar and push the button to use the item. All usable items have reuse time and most will share same reuse timer, so you need to manage timing good. We will come to that later in advanced guide.

As a Shadowblade there are some uses you will want to have, most important one is the Shield of Arcane Strength that is found on many items, once you use its abilities you will have %10 resist buff to Slash / Thrust / Crush for 10 minutes. Another on is found on the artifact Shades of Mist, upon use, its ability will provide you with a 200 HP melee damage absorb that can proc every 30 seconds for 10 minutes. To give you an example of how small things affect your toon, while both are active as well with your Shield of War from CL, you are very resilient versus melee, with a good Damage Absorb of 200 HP, %5 Damage Absorb and %10 resist to all melee damage. There are more small things we will add to this, as you notice, once stacked up they become huge.



# TEMPLATING #

To be competitive in RvR, especially in 1v1 as a Shadowblade, you will need top notch equipment. What you want in a template is, maxed stats, maxed skills, maxed resists, maxed stat increase, maxed hp increase and maxed hp, alongside items with good USE, items with good REACTIVES, weapons with good PROCS. Below I will provide you some basic guidelines for what to look in a template for.


IMPORTANT:
  • As a general rule, you dont want crafted arms / legs / chest items. Because drop items have much better Reactives than the ones you can get from alchemy crafted ones. Why only arms / legs and chest? Well if you can, get a template with no crafted items at all, but to cap everything you need at least 2 crafted items. And arms, legs, chest get hit the most, therefore you deffinitiely dont want these crafted.
  • You want Shades of Mist in your template.
  • You want at least one item with Shield of Arcane Strength in your template
  • If you can manage, you want to have everything capped without including any weapons in your template, so that you can use any weapon with it, however most weapons have +STR and +STR cap, so you can make your template with some STR missing.


ATTRIBUTES / STATS :

STR: You will need maximum, by default you can put 75 in a template, with stat cap increase you can put 101 in template, try to go as high you can.
CON: You will need maximum, by default you can put 75 in a template, with stat cap increase you can put 101 in template, try to go as high you can.
DEX: You will get some from some of the items, do not bother to put more in template, with proper buffs you will have enough.
QUI: This one is tricky, depending on your race / stat points you put at start, you will try to cap it at 250 with buffs. Proper buffs will give you +93 add that on top of your base at level 50 and see how far you are from 250, that is how much you need to put in template.

HIT POINTS: You can put 200 in a template and increase the cap another 200, thus you are able to put +400 in, you should try to be as close possible to that.

ARMOR FACTOR : You can put 50 in template, this decreases the damage you receive from melee, you should aim for 35 minimum. Higher the better.



RESISTS :

THRUST / SLASH / CRUSH : These should be capped at 26, minimum minimum 24, lower is not acceptable.
BODY / HEAT / COLD / ENERGY / MATTER / SPIRIT : Any number above 20 is good, lower than that and you have a gap in your template.

While treating resists, notice that your character gets a bonus resist to some types of damage.

As a Norse you get %2 Crush, %3 Slash and %5 Cold resist. This means you can get away with putting %5 less Cold resist in your template, however you cant slack on melee resists, if you get at least 24 not counting the racials, you will have good melee resists.

As a Kobold you get %5 Crush and %5 Energy resist. Same rule as the Norse applies.


TOA BONUSES :

Melee Attack Speed : The cap is %10, you need %10.
Melee Style Damage : The Cap is %10, you need %10.
Melee Attack Damage: The Cap is %10, you need %10.


SKILLS :

The cap to skill you can have in your gear is +11.

ENVENOM: You need +11 so that you dont have to spec high to reach 50 to use Lifebane thus freeing up spec points to be used elsewhere. "Hey Xiang, what about having a crafted armor piece with +7 Envenom and switching it just to poison, then switching back?" No. Basically for 2 reasons.

1: You will most likely have constitution or hit points on the armor piece you swap, switching back and forth will leave you with unhealed HP. You can overcome this by carrying 30 weapons in your bag so you dont have to repoison all the time. Well if you are lucky enough to get in a good fight you will use at least 10 of those weapons (I will explain in Advanced Guide)

2: This is more important than 1st reason, your posion damage variance changes depending on how much + poison you have on you at the moment you applied the poison to your target. As an example, lets say you switched 2 items to poison your weapons with Lifebane, then changed back to your regular items and you have 0 +envenom in your gear when you hit the target with the pre-poisoned blade. Your Lifebane will do less damage than it would if you had +11 envenom on you still. "Is variance that huge???" No it is not at your RR, however when you get max Viper , to have your poisons do double the damage, it will be. And even at low RR, remember every little thing adds up.

STEALTH: You want +11 in gear. Thus you dont have to spec high to reach 50 stealth, freeing up spec points to be used elsewhere. No, you dont want lower than 50 stealth, we discussed this.

SWORD or AXE: You want +11 in gear. Thus you dont have to spec high to reach 51 Primary Melee, freeing up spec points to be used elsewhere. Again, no you dont want lower than 51 in total.

LEFT AXE: Now here s a bit of a discussion, some say as a Critblade you dont need to have any +to LA in your gear, personally I think no matter what you play you need +11 LA in your gear, or as high as possible, even it means having no +Critical Strike in your gear even though you are playing Critblade.

CRITICAL STRIKE: The discussion continues... As a Shadowzerk you deffinitely dont need to have any of this in your template. Even as a Critblade the +dmg you get to your styles even with a 2H Perforate Artery is not crucial, I think you can get away without having any +CS in your template if it means not having +LA since LA increases your overall damage whereas Critical Strike only increases CS style damages and not in so great number by just +11, however your personal choice.

We will work on CRITICAL STRIKE vs LEFT AXE discussion in advanced guide with numbers.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:45:02 pm by Xiang »
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Xiang, Shadowblade

Xiang

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Re: Guide of Shadows - PART II - POLSIHING YOUR BLADE (Getting Ready for RvR)
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 09:08:55 am »

SPELL PIERCING:

This is so much of a confusion that I had to open a new tab to explain this. For those of you who are thinking "Is Xiang drunk? Why is he talking about Spell Piercing in a Shadowblade guide" Well, our damaging poisons count as spells. Therefore SP increases our Lifebane damage. However is it worth it?

Maximum SP you can have in your gear is %10, it is a direct %10 increase to your Lifebane damage. Now dont go all thinking, "whoa then I must have it" It's not that simple. To get %10 SP, you need to squeeze in 2 items with **censored**ty stats in your template, us lucky Mids get a MH Sword called Gjalpinulva's Claw with %5 SP on it, and it is a decent sword with good procs and good stats for us, yet you need another item with %5 SP which is where the problem starts. Usually people go for Dragonseye Strand which is of course a caster item with only 18 CON, %4 to all melee resists and 30 HP useful to us. Therefore getting %10 SP in your template, not only you are more than likely to have a gap in your template, you are stuck with Gjalpinulva's as your Main Hand weapon.

So is it worth it? At low RR, trying to get %10 SP will deffinitely gimp you and you will have laughable benefit from it, however at high RR where you can afford to loose some +skill in your crafted gear to make up for stats you loose using Dragonseye Strand and replace your +skill with resists / con whatever you are missing, I would say it would deffinitely be a good dmg boost with Viper5. Needs to be tested for proper numbers.


MYTHIRIANS

Some people say, they shouldnt be included in template, bully. By all means include one to fill your melee spd gap etc. Only time you will change them is when you are running (they can be switched in combat) We will look into Mythirians in the Advanced Guide.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can find both cheap and expensive templates in Alf's post, postcount.net or anywhere on web, try to pick one that suits you after you have read this guide. Soon I will also post few templates on forum. Once you have decided on your template, get the artifacts you need and go level your artifacts / Champion Level at, yes again! Vindsaul Faste (Refugee Camp Just Outside). You can get champion levels relatively fast by turning in the repeatable quest at Svasud Faste which will also reward you with Dragon Scales that you will need towards building the rest of your template. Also you get decent money from selling drops that you get there, which should aid you in building your template.

Get to work!


See you in Frontiers,

Xiang
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Alfhild

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Re: Guide of Shadows - PART II - POLISHING YOUR BLADE (Getting Ready for RvR)
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 12:43:24 pm »

Nice!  Great info! <applauds>

Below are some common specs I've seen/tried/used. While the "Wyrd" spec originated with 'zerker team lead LA testing, I know a lot of folks who run a version of it now (usually call it 5-spec).

With any of these (or other) specs, you do want your composite stealth to be 50.  If you can't hit 50 with the level of stealth listed, you'll need to decide where to make up the points until you gain some RRs.

Keep in mind that opinions and preferences vary, and respeccing is easy.  Try a spec you think looks good, and respec if it doesn't seem to suit you.

Critblade
Front-loaded damage with
BIG opener with 2-hander,
Then let weapon/poison
finish 'm off.

Sword/Axe: 39
Stealth: 34
Envenom: 34
Critical Strike: 50       
Left Axe: 1

(or, Sword/Axe: 50, Envenom: 14)
Shadowzerkerr
A zerker, with Stealth.
No big "Boom" to start     
with, but sustained         
good damage and
poisons.

Sword/Axe: 50
Left Axe: 44
Envenom: 31
Stealth: 31
Critical Strike: 1       
Soulblade
Big Opening, sustained
damage with weapons.
Minimal poisons.

Sword/Axe: 39
Left Axe: 44
Envenom: 14
Stealth: 34
Critical Strike: 39

(or, LA 34, Envenom 31,
but that's a bit less soulful.)       
Wyrd (5-spec)
You're a Critblade, with
better damage-over-time.

Sword/Axe: 34
Left Axe: 34
Envenom: 30
Stealth: 34
Critical Strike: 44

Note: True "Wyrd" would typically
be Axe, where 5-spec typically
Sword.

Asarna's Arme's own Sunnhild (Old School Percival players should know the name) runs a version of the 5-spec, and use to have his own shadowblade guide out there, somewhere....

A note on Spell Piercing. If you're fighting someone who has 50% resists for whatever you're using, 10% spell piercing means they only have 45% resist instead of 50%. With so many things you need/want in a shadowblade template, this should be lowest on the wish list (it's not even on my wish list). So, doing the simple math (not taking into account every mechanic like armor vulnerabilities) 100 damage vs. 50% resist (if it hits) is 50 damage.  With spell piercing at 10%, it would hit for 55 (100-(50-(50*.10))). So, spell piercing gives a maximum 5% boost to damage, and that's assuming you're going against 50% resist. Versus 36% resists (26 in template, 10 from champ buff--common for many stealthers and visi's), it would be (100-(36-(36*.10))), or 67.6 damage vs. 64 damage with no spell pierce.

The higher the resists, the more spell piercing will affect it, to a typical max of 5% more damage vs. 50% resist (doesn't include racial bonuses).

So, yeah, please, spend time getting spell pierce in your template because *that* is what will turn the tide of most battles.  (/sarcasm off)

Envenom note: I'm a swapper.  I have boots w/+envenom I'll swap in when I apply my poisons to my weapons. Those who say damage variance is greater when you don't have the +envenom in your template when the poison hits the enemy, I'd say two things:
1. Show me the data.
2. Unless you're a Shadowzerker, you will typically have huge front-loaded damage, and fights often won't last long enough for the damage variance in poison to matter too much.
3. Unless you're mostly solo, any damage variance you gain from +envenom in your template won't matter, because you have a couple friends assisting on your target, and poison is only going to do a few tics.
4. It's incredibly difficult to get everything you need in a shadowblade template. Even if the damage variance is less with high envenom when you're actually fighting, I would still opt for lower +envenom in template (swapping in an item to apply poisons), which means higher skills/resists when actually fighting.

Um, four things...I guess I'd say four things.

When it comes to which Alch to apply to crafted gear, I'd like to throw out my preference to have one item (typically boots or gloves) that have an Alch level 49 celerity charge on 'm. 10 charges of 17% celerity, which stacks with haste, and lasts 5 minutes.

For champ abilities, the magic resists are great. For melee resists, most are going to have a charged item that gives them better melee resists (dragonscale bracer, etc.). I do think it's fun to have ranged disease, or a ranged DoT.  Though, honestly, in the heat of battle who has the time.  =P
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 07:00:46 am by Alfhild »
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Tipsykitty

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Re: Guide of Shadows - PART II - POLISHING YOUR BLADE (Getting Ready for RvR)
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 06:51:26 pm »

Love your guides, thank you so so much for posting these.
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