No Zmobie Left Behind: Aura of the Lich Minion Master

Face it. Zmobies are smelly. The poor things can't help the pungent odour of decay that clings to them. Plus, they're kinda clumsy and slow, and they tromp on toes without meaning to.

All of which means, given a group of Generically Normal Humans, the Minion Master tends to get left behind. Oh, they give excuses. They claim that they forget that it takes time to raise zmobies. That they didn't realise they'd left you, and your zmobie army behind, that they didn't see you casting Death Nova. Whatever.

We know the truth. They're just trying to avoid our smellies. :(

But now, my fellow Minion Masters, with this build, you can foil those selfish GNHs, and keep you and your loving zmobie army in the middle (or in front) of the group, where you're supposed to be!

Introducing my new masterpiece...

No Zmobie Left Behind!

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The Concept
Minions galore. Fall Back! to make sure you can always keep up (or run in front if you so desire). Go for the Eyes! for gobs of allied happiness all round. Death Nova for Zbombies. Blood Bond to keep your army and allies alive longer. Dark Bond + vampiric horrors = near no-maintenance survivability while you have minions (see initial point).

Skills
Aura of the Lich {Elite}
Animate Vampiric Horror
Animate Shambling Horror
Blood Bond
Go for the Eyes!
Death Nova
Dark Bond
Fall Back

Stats
Command [5]
Blood Magic [8]
Soul Reaping [9] + [1]
Death Magic [12] + [4]

Gear

  • Superior Death Magic rune
  • Minor Soul Reaping rune
  • Survivor insignia
  • Superior vigor rune
  • Bloodstained insignia (just one will do)
  • Vitae runes to finish off
  • Death magic weapon of your choice. (I use a staff that's 20hsr, 20hct Death magic, 10hct general, 20% Death magic - but really, anything death magicky will work. Don't discount wand/shield if you're broke from spending the money on runes. ~_o)

Campaigns Needed
Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall,

How to Use

  • Use AotL when you're just starting out, if you aren't presented with a fight the moment you step out the door
  • Keep Dark Bond up
  • Animate Shambling Horror and Animate Vampiric Horror when AotL is on cooldown
  • Maximise on AotL by casting it when there are lots of corpses around - use Animate Shambling Horror and Animate Vampiric Horror as fillers
  • If you're running with another MM (hero or otherwise), don't be greedy once you have 10 zmobies; you can run this build with another mm hero with you, if you stay in control of your zmobielust
  • Pull/Initiate zmobie-charge with Blood Bond, then add Fall Back! (if not on CD) and autottattack till you can yell Go for the Eyes! Even if Go for the Eyes doesn't hit all your zmobies, it'll hit your party members, and *they* won't mind
  • Spam death nova on zmobies, particularly bone horrors, to turn them into Zbombies
  • Recast Blood Bond on recharge - then back to Zbombies
  • Fall Back! if those pesky GNHs attempt to leave you and your fragrant zmobies behind
  • Fall Back! (and make sure you have Dark Bond up) if you want to lead the pull with your zmobie army - the 75% damage reduction from Dark Bond lets you pull more or less with impunity (but beware of enchantment stripping)

Variants

  • Blood Ritual instead of Go for the Eyes! If you have human healers, bring Blood Ritual over Go for the Eyes! And then molest them a lot with it. They'll love you for it. If doing so, then make it Command [3] and Soul Reaping [10] + [1]
  • Well of Blood instead of Go for the Eyes! Find that you can't fit auto-attacking in enough to make Go for the Eyes! worth it? Use Well of Blood for extra allied regen instead. Yes, it's a well-spell. It needs a corpse. But it works great if you use it judiciously. And it usually catches much of your zmobie army in the well area as...well. As above, make stats Command [3] and Soul Reaping [10] + [1]
  • Well of the Profane instead of Go for the Eyes! Find that you can't fit auto-attacking in enough to make Go for the Eyes! worth it? Blood Bond is good enough for allied heals? Annoy your enemies by sploding their enchants with Well of the Profane! Yes, it's a well-spell. It needs a corpse. But it works great if you use it judiciously. As above, make stats Command [3] and Soul Reaping [10] + [1]
  • Well of Suffering instead of Go for the Eyes! Find that you can't fit auto-attacking in enough to make Go for the Eyes! worth it? Blood Bond is good enough for allied heals? Annoy your enemies with health degen from Well of Suffering! Yes, it's a well-spell. It needs a corpse. But it works great if you use it judiciously. As above, make stats Command [3] and Soul Reaping [10] + [1]

Counters

  • Corpse denial (AotL can only do so much...)
  • Standing in the fire when you have no zmobies
  • General caster hate

Additional notes
Don't you have e management problems? You don't have any e management.
Nope. Zmobies dying to the left and right. What's there to manage? And besides. Necros? Emanagement? AHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ahem.

This build is so expensive! :(
Yes, I'm afraid minion masters are expensive by nature. :( They need the Superior Death Magic rune, and the Bloodstained Insignia, and then they need everything else to offset the HP loss from that rune.

Can heroes use this?
I haven't tried this on a hero. My suspicion is that they don't have enough of the contextual sensitivity to know when to do what, that it needs to run at greatest efficiency. On the bright side, heroes are great at Death Nova. If you try it out on a hero, I'd love to know how it does. =)

 

Guild Wars: Nahpui Quarter (Mission, Outpost & Explorable Area)

Digging through all those Guild Wars screenshots has made me realise afresh just how lovely the game's art direction is.

...and so I've come up with a little mini-GW project.

I aim to take at least one screenshot (hopefully aesthetically pleasing ~_o) of every explorable area, mission, outpost and city in Tyria, Cantha, Elona and the Eye of the North.

I won't be editing these screenshots at all - what I get when I press Print Screen is what you'll see here.

Incidentally, does anyone know if the Guild Wars world has a name? The planet, that is? Or do they just call it 'Earth' the way we call the Earth the... uh... Earth?

And so here we start off with - Nahpui Quarter!

Assorted Guild Wars Screenshots

For some reason, I went on a screenshot spree a while back. I think my goal was to get nice screenshots of areas as I vanquished - and re-vanquished them.

But then somehow, overwhelmed with KEEL KEEL KEEL mentality, I stopped taking the screenies. Probably also because I have the habit of running around with my Main being blind drunk, which makes everything wobbly (because I refuse to turn off post process effects).

And so, here are some assorted screenies. I shall take more! Eventually. Maybe. We'll ignore that I'm 3 weeks behind on my sketches now. Oh yes we will.

P.S. I think the 3 oni are plotting to steal the lighthouse jade.

Alliance Battles Weapon of Remedy Restoration Ritualist Build

Weapon of Renewal / Life Healer

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The Concept
Great defence from physical and degen builds. Never run out of energy. High mobility. Life as a bonus ally-wide heal with amazing range, and secondarily to power mend body and soul.

Skills
Soothing Memories
Mend Body and Soul
Weapon of Remedy {Elite}
Weapon of Shadow 
Mighty was Vorizun
Remove Hex
Resilient Weapon
Life

Stats
Communing [9]
Restoration [12]
Spawning Power [9]

Gear

  • Minor or superior restoration rune. I don't have a pvp set for my rit, so I just run around with my Sup resto rune. Yes. In pvp. XD
  • Weapon doesn't matter, you'll be clutching your ashypot 99% of the time
  • Radiant insignias work best
  • Superior or major vigor rune
  • Attunement and vitae runes (balance em out so you're at least over 480hp)

Campaigns Needed
Factions & Nightfall.

How to Use

  • Make physicals run away crying after they hit you, or anyone you've plopped Weapon of Shadow on
  • Remove key hexes with... Remove Hex
  • Run around with Mighty was Vorizun on at all times - that's 60-70e depending on your gear, and you should not ever have e problems
  • Soothing Memories is your primary, energy efficient heal
  • Weapon of Shadow on CD and have degen or hexer stuck to you? Resilient weapon lets you make faces at them

Variants

  • Mesmer secondary: Revealed / Inspired Hex in place of Remove Hex, and put your remaining spare points into Inspiration magic. This should guarantee a free, or almost free hex removal. Downside is that it doesn't recharge very fast
  • Holy Veil in place of Remove Hex: Pre-veil key targets, such as yourself. Drop veil when hexed. There you go
  • Xinrae's Weapon in place of Weapon of Remedy: Xinrae's Weapon can act as a small prot, but be aware that your condition removal may suffer because you may not always be in range of life to power Mend Body & Soul's condition removal.

Counters

  • Having Mighty was Vorizun interrupted / forgetting to renew it before it runs out. This is serious - it will put you in a heavy E deficit. (In the worst case, -30e says hello.)
  • General caster hate

Additional notes
Don't you have e management problems? 70e doesn't mean infinite e!
It does, if this build is used right. Even being the only healer in FA/AB a few times, e wasn't much of a problem unless I forgot to renew Mighty was Vorizun before it ran out. With judicious use of Soothing Memories and Resilient Weapon, and putting down Life whenever available, your e is effectively infinite. 

 

Fort Aspenwood & Jade Quarry Restoration Ritualist Builds: Part 3

Xinrae's Infusion Spiritless Healer

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The Concept
Good timing with Xinrae's Weapon limits damage to 5% of HP - siege turtles can't strip it. Powerful spike heal with infuse (roughly 300+hp). High mobility. No spirits / no dependence on spirits. Great self-defence.

Skills
Soothing Memories
Wielder's Boon
Infuse Health
Weapon of Shadow
Xinrae's Weapon {Elite}
Remove Hex
Resilient was Xiko
Generous was Tsungrai

Stats
Healing Prayers [8]
Restoration [12]
Spawning Power [10]

Gear

  • Minor or superior restoration rune. I don't have a pvp set for my rit, so I just run around with my Sup resto rune. Yes. In pvp. XD
  • Weapon doesn't matter, you'll be clutching your ashypot 99% of the time
  • Radiant insignias work best
  • Superior or major vigor rune
  • Attunement and vitae runes (balance em out so you're at least over 480hp)

Campaigns Needed
Factions & Nightfall.

How to Use

  • Make physicals run away crying after they hit you, or anyone you've plopped Weapon of Shadow on
  • Remove key hexes with... Remove Hex
  • Run around with Generous was Tsungrai at all times
  • Soothing Memories is your primary, energy efficient heal, Infuse Health to catch spikes.
  • Use Wielder's Boon as your secondary heal; even better on top of Weapon of Shadow / Xinrae's
  • Drop/recast Generous was Tsungrai to recover from Infuse Health
  • Turtles go PTOO! every 10s, if timed right, Xinrae's Weapon will render the PTOOs harmless to your target
  • Hold Resilient was Xiko when you're coming under hex/degen pressure; it more or less renders hex/degen stacks on you harmless
  • Throw Weapon of Shadow on top of Resilient was Xiko if the degen spreader is physical

Variants

  • Mesmer secondary: Revealed / Inspired Hex in place of Remove Hex, and put your remaining spare points into Inspiration magic. This should guarantee a free, or almost free hex removal. Downside is that it doesn't recharge very fast
  • Resilient Weapon in place of Resilient was Xiko: Less self-defence against degen/hexers, but greater utility. Also gives a longer window for the use of Wielder's Boon
  • Holy Veil in place of Remove Hex: Pre-veil key targets, such as yourself. Drop veil when hexed. There you go
  • Cure Hex in place of Remove Hex: Heals as well, but slower recharge. And you're no monk, so no Divine Favour bonus
  • Weapon of Remedy in place of Xinrae's Weapon: Xinrae's Weapon is better for Fort Aspenwood, Weapon of Remedy is better for Jade Quarry. Weapon of Remedy will also give you condition removal

Counters

  • Heavy degen/pressure
  • Injudicious redbarring - you need to watch your energy
  • General caster hate
  • Heavy conditions - you have no condition removal

Additional notes
Personally, I've found that resto rits work best with at least one spirit. However, if you hate, hate, hate HATE how slow spirits cast, and how they tie you to locations, this is definitely a workable build. It's not as powerful as a build that has even one spirit to power its synergies - but you are vastly lighter on your feet. It's a matter of personal preference, whether or not this tradeoff of power for mobility is worth it.

 

Fort Aspenwood & Jade Quarry Restoration Ritualist Builds: Part 2

Xinrae's Infusion-Life Spike Healer

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The Concept
Good timing with Xinrae's Weapon limits damage to 5% of HP - siege turtles can't strip it. Powerful spike heal with infuse (roughly 300+hp). Life for ally-wide periodic heals. High mobility.

Skills
Soothing Memories
Mend Body & Soul
Infuse Health
Weapon of Shadow
Xinrae's Weapon {Elite}
Remove Hex
Generous was Tsungrai
Life

Stats
Healing Prayers [8]
Restoration [12]
Spawning Power [10]

Gear

  • Minor or superior restoration rune. I don't have a pvp set for my rit, so I just run around with my Sup resto rune. Yes. In pvp. XD
  • Weapon doesn't matter, you'll be clutching your ashypot 99% of the time
  • Radiant insignias work best
  • Superior or major vigor rune
  • Attunement and vitae runes (balance em out so you're at least over 480hp)

Campaigns Needed
Factions & Nightfall.

How to Use

  • Keep Life up at all times to power Mend Body and Soul
  • Make physicals run away crying after they hit you, or anyone you've plopped Weapon of Shadow on
  • Remove key hexes with... Remove Hex
  • Run around with Generous was Tsungrai at all times
  • Soothing Memories is your primary, energy efficient heal, MB&S to remove conditions, Infuse Health to catch spikes. Drop/recast Generous was Tsungrai to recover from Infuse Health
  • Turtles go PTOO! every 10s, if timed right, Xinrae's Weapon will render the PTOOs harmless to your target

Variants

  • Mesmer secondary: Revealed / Inspired Hex in place of Remove Hex, and put your remaining spare points into Inspiration magic. This should guarantee a free, or almost free hex removal. Downside is that it doesn't recharge very fast
  • Rejuvenation in place of Life: Rejuvenation only heals party members though, so imo for FA/JQ, it isn't as useful, since you want your allies to benefit from healing as well. However, it's a great party-wide counter to pressure/degen
  • Holy Veil in place of Remove Hex: Pre-veil key targets, such as yourself. Drop veil when hexed. There you go
  • Cure Hex in place of Remove Hex: Heals as well, but slower recharge. And you're no monk, so no Divine Favour bonus

Counters

  • Heavy degen/pressure
  • Injudicious redbarring - you need to watch your energy
  • General caster hate

Additional notes
Eh... none at the moment. XD 

 

Fort Aspenwood & Jade Quarry Restoration Ritualist Builds: Part 1

One of the things I dislike about Ritualist healing in PvP is that the spirits are so, so slow to cast. It feels like I'm standing there with a big, 'HAI INTERRUPT ME NAO!' neon sign flashing over my head. And I dislike the lack of mobility that results from using spirits.

At the same time, I recognise that spirits are an appreciable plus... if used right. The idea is to maximise on spirit use for healing while minimising on cast time.

That's where these builds come in. This is the first in a series of builds I've written and tested over the last two weeks. ;)

Preservation Physical Pwner & Healbot OAOjAqhMJORTppw76VwaJTMxJA

The Concept
Great defence from physical and degen builds. Never run out of energy. High mobility.

Skills
Soothing Memories
Mend Body & Soul
Spirit Transfer
Weapon of Shadow
Mighty was Vorizun
Remove Hex
Resilient Weapon
Preservation {Elite}

Stats
Communing [10]
Restoration [12]
Spawning Power [8]

Gear

  • Minor or superior restoration and / or communing rune. I don't have a pvp set for my rit, so I just run around with my Sup resto rune. Yes. In pvp. XD
  • Weapon doesn't matter, you'll be clutching your ashypot 99% of the time
  • Radiant or herald's insignias work best.
  • Superior or major vigor rune
  • Attunement and vitae runes (balance em out so you're at least over 480hp)

Campaigns Needed
Factions. That's it. =)

How to Use

  • Leave a mini-you beside you at all times (Preservation) to power Spirit Transfer and Mend Body and Soul.
  • Leave the mini-you to guard gates/shrines while going to other gate/shrine to heal
  • Make physicals run away crying after they hit you, or anyone you've plopped Weapon of Shadow on
  • Weapon of Shadow on CD and have degen or hexer stuck to you? Resilient weapon lets you make faces at them
  • Run around with Mighty was Vorizun on at all times - that's 60-70e depending on your gear, and you should not ever have e problems.

Variants

  • Mesmer secondary: Revealed / Inspired Hex in place of Remove Hex, and put your remaining spare points into Inspiration magic. This should guarantee a free, or almost free hex removal. Downside is that it doesn't recharge very fast.

Counters

  • Having Mighty was Vorizun interrupted / forgetting to renew it before it runs out. This is serious - it will put you in a heavy E deficit. (In the worst case, -30e says hello.)
  • General caster hate

Additional notes
Don't you have e management problems? 70e doesn't mean infinite e!
It does, if this build is used right. Even being the only healer in FA a few times, e wasn't much of a problem unless I forgot to renew Mighty was Vorizun before it ran out. With judicious use of Soothing Memories and Resilient Weapon, and putting down Preservation whenever available, your e is effectively infinite.

HAHAHA NUB! PRESERVATION SUCKS!
Well yes, usually, it does. This is the only place where I use it, because in FA/JQ, it's great. Everything is an ally, it's incredibly cheap, and you can leave it as a miniguard at gates and shrines. People don't bother to kill it that I have noticed. Additionally, it doesn't take damage when it heals, and lives a long time. This means it powers spirit transfer, when you need it, for a 200+hp heal. Not shabby at all.

 

The Battle for Lion's Arch 2

Having healed 7 groups through this, with only one disastrous failure (who of course opted to play 'blame the healer'), I've come to realise that not only has ANet created a gloriously epic finale... they've also managed to incorporate PvP elements into it.

Yes, PvP elements in PvE - Oh noes!

While some group setups do make things easier, it is entirely possible to do this event *without* a specific setup. Even without the obligatory minion master. So I'm not going to touch on what does or does not make things easier here in terms of which classes/skills are brought. Any group, playing sanely, can get through this. There've been reports of it being done without a healer - so - not even that archetype is indispensable if you play smart. (Again, very PvP.)

PvP stuff that Battle for Lion's Arch teaches:
1) Don't overextend
Don't run out the front gate into the arms of the waiting army, just because you can.
2) Don't clump up
AoE says hello.
3) Know when to fall back
Watch the battle, not just your target. Watch for if your party members ping energy, call for a fall back, or are in general under so much pressure that *you* decide to call for a fall back.
4) Use the terrain
After Isaiah, it's usually a good idea to retreat to the stairs between the two hills. Because Guild Wars has collision detection, this is perfect 'tanking' country. The main object of mobile affection stands between the two hills. The squishies hide behind the hills, and those that need the higher ground cautiously venture up one hill.
5) Your healer is not God
Play smart. You are responsible for yourself, more than your healer is responsible for you. And even if your healer were God, they wouldn't be able to save you from your own stupidity. Nor are they obligated to.

PvE stuff that you really should do:
Wear an infused armour set. Yes, Blimm's 'weapon' gives an aura. That aura only lasts a set duration, and is gone if you die. That means that if you die just one time, for whatever reason, and don't have infused armour, game over. Oh, and Isaiah brings a Jade Construct - before Blimm's 'weapon' is ready.