Casual damage mitigation, aka, did anyone get the number of that truck that just ran me over?

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Casual damage mitigation, aka, did anyone get the number of that truck that just ran me over?

Post  jeunfb on Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:39 pm

These are just a few thoughts on damage mitigation in gvg, intended more for the casual or newer player, others have more experience and game knowledge than I do, so feel free to jump in with corrections and/or suggestions. It's not really intended to be comprehensive, but I will try to touch on most things.

Damage mitigation means using a skill or play tactic to avoid taking damage.

My reason for setting some of this down is because I often hear things during casual play like, "Why are they doing so much damage?" or "Why aren't we getting kills?" or some other variation on those themes (aka, "Did anyone get the number of that truck that just hit me?" ) As often as not, it is about damage mitigation, an often confusing and underappreciated concept in any pvp, but since my only real experience is in gvg, I'm going to look at it from that standpoint.

I have broken this down into a couple of (I hope) easier to digest general catagories, but keep in mind that you will often be using or relying on more than one of these at once. I'm not including straightforward healing/individual prot skills (for the most part) because that is really something a little bit different.

1. Individual damage mitigation

A. Armor: wearing or using high armor pieces and/or shields for additional base armor. This is an easily transferred concept from pve because "tanking" is a well known damage mitigation tactic there, however, it is a little bit different when fighting against real people. Having higher armor allows them to range a little bit farther away from the monks in the right circumstances, and allows them to operate without having to camp in wards, etc. For damage mitigation purposes though, it is your responsiblity to recognize when you are taking a LOT of damage and move back toward your healers. Your armor will only help so much, and if you stand outside the range of your monks and continue to soak up damage, you will get killed (or you will pull your monks into the enemy front line where they can be easily targeted.) Neither of these results are good damage mitigation.

There are times and places, however, when you have to realize that your armor is not helping you. For instance, if the enemy is using primarily life stealing damage (XoO for instance runs an 8 necro life stealing-type spike), you must recognize that you are just as squishy as any monk. That means you need to adjust your play-style a little bit, and stay a little bit closer to your healers.

Notice at no point here did I suggest that assassins have high armor, they don't.

B. Kiting: running away from the enemy/damage. Note that running away does not necessarily mean turning tail and running. It more often means running around obstacles on the map to try and slow down the person chasing you, running around other team members to try to "scrape off" the person chasing you, or even sometimes running circles around your monks or other teammates to make it harder to target you.

Kiting can also mean stepping out of AoE damage (like the firestorm the bodyguard uses, for example). It can mean moving away from other party members when getting hit by AoE scythe damage or splinter weapon. Kiting also means strafing back and forth (using the Q and E buttons rapidly back and forth), to avoid getting hit by projectile attacks (arrows and many lightning skills for instance).

Basically, moving to avoid any kind of damage is called kiting. It is a great skill to have, and just takes a little bit of practice to get used to. It is not just for monks or other squishies, everyone can add a little bit of kiting to their game to help with damage mitigation.

If you are kiting within a defined area (as opposed to just retreating), you should try not to turn your back on a warrior or dervish. When they get a free shot at your back, the chance for a critical hit is vastly increased, they will usually hit your head, no bonus from any shield you might be using. Backing up and strafing can help, but turning tail and running will often result in some big damage numbers showing up over your head.

Edit: Backing up is also not a good idea when someone is on top of you, for that type of situation I recommend mouse clicking and strafing for getting those pesky followers off your tail.

C. Individual Skills: things like natural stride for rangers, return etc. for monks and sins, movement boosts, stances, etc. Use of these should depend on the cost and duration vs. recharge. In other words, using them if/when you find yourself the focus of the other team and taking a lot of damage is a good use. If you find you are not generally a target of the other team, you can use them to help mitigate a little bit of incidental damage, and this does help, but keep in mind it may not be there when you really need it. Basically anything on your bar that allows you to a) increase your blocking, increase your movement speed or c) quickly teleport to another location to escape pursuers, is a damage mitigation tool. If I had to give any advice on the use of individual skills, I would suggest over-using them to under-using them. Remember, this is about damage mitigation. Every little bit helps and there is nothing worse than a damage mitigation skill that sits on your bar and never gets used.

2. Party damage mitigation - Defensive or Passive

A. Wards: Ward vs. Melee; Ward vs. Foes; Ward vs Elements. When one of your party members is using wards, the trick to it being effective is to stay in the wards. This seems simple enough, but can be difficult to remember in the heat of battle. Ward vs. Melee will provide some additional blocking against those warriors that are chasing you around. Ward vs. Foes slows down any enemy that runs through/into it, so you can use the ward to kite through and get away from someone following you. Ward vs. Elements adds some additional armor vs. elemental damage.

You can see the wards after they have been placed, they look like a faint, glowing circle on the ground. When you run into one, it will show up on your status bar, and you will be able to tell what kind it is.

Who should stay inside the wards? Everyone who can. If, for instance, a ward vs. melee is down and you are facing melee damage, certainly everyone who has base 60 armor should be spending the vast majority of their time inside the ward. What about that high armor paragon I mentioned earlier? He/she should ALSO be staying inside the ward unless his job specifically takes him/her outside the ward. Remember, this is about mitigating damage. Why distract your monks by taking damage when you could move a couple steps to your left and have those attacks blocked entirely?

B. Blocking in general: I put this here because it is a general proposition. Many skills used on you will give you some additional blocking and/or armor. That is not healing though, it is damage prevention. If you are almost dead, bleeding and poisoned, and your monks use aegis, guardian, shield of deflection, etc. on you, you are still going to die unless you take additional steps to mitigate damage. All the additional blocking will do is (hopefully) block that last, fatal attack on you and allow you to escape. Continuing to stand there and let them beat on you will probably end up with you dead anyway. Kiting may give you an extra second or two and believe me, that is often the difference for your monks between (your) life and death. That extra second or two allows your healer to address your other problems and help you stay in the fight.

C. Aegis (and blocking specifically): Chained Aegis, or even running just one, can be a great damage mitigation tool, as long as it is up. How many of you see that aegis icon pop up and think to yourself, "Self, I am now invincible!!!" Aegis will NOT help you if you are the focus of the other team. Aegis is more of a (very) general team-wide incidental damage mitigation tool, and is NOT a specific individual damage mitigation tool. In other words, it will NOT help you or save you from being spiked, you must still mitigate your own damage to do that (in addition to your monks of course.) All that aegis does is cut down on the more peripheral healing that has to happen in any given match, which can be help a great deal with energy management. Unless you are responsible for maintaining aegis, forget you have it because it will not save you, as a general rule. Good teams, and even most bad teams, will remove aegis from you before spiking. It will never be there to save you, and in the cases in which it is, that is gravy or due to a fairly serious mistake on the part of the other team.

D. Shouts and chants: Boy can it get confusing during a match when you have a dozen or more icons showing up on your status bar, but we love the damage mitigation that comes from shouts and chants (i.e. defensive anthem, watch yourself, shields up, etc.) because it is easy to use party-wide, and it is generally unremovable. That said, you must be in range for it to effect you. If you find yourself consistently not getting the benefit of shouts or chants that you know your party is using, you may need to adjust your positioning. If you are using them in conjunction with something like wards, and you are standing in the ward and not getting the benefit, you need to tell your shouter/chanter so he/she knows to adjust positioning. These do no good if they don't land on you.

3. Party damage mitigation - Offensive or Active

A. Conditions: The most common condition I am talking about is blind, but I suppose weakness could be included in here in certain paragon builds. Blinding surge is a great way to keep melee fighters (and ranged ones in certain instances) from getting in very many hits. The things is, you have to remember that you are in a competition with the enemy monks and they are doing everything in their power to keep their damagers clean. In other words, it is not a skill you can fire and forget, or even necessarily pay attention to its duration since it will not likely stay on for its duration. So if you are the Blinding Surge elementalist for the build, how do you tell?

Some simple tips for playing this kind of toon: In almost all cases you have 2 jobs, either 1) blind and assist on spikes (more likely with the investment in air), or 2) blind and ward (less likely, but I've seen it done). Blinding and warding is easy, you cast wards upon recharge and in the right position and the rest of the time you are blinding, nothing else. But the more common scenario is the first one, blind and assist on spikes. More often than not, what I see is a heavy emphasis on 'assist with spike' and never enough attention paid to 'blind.' Why? Because that is boring I suspect. Here is what you SHOULD be doing: Blinding, blinding, blinding, blinding. I can't say it enough. You have been put in the build to protect your squishies from the couple of warriors/dervishes/assassins that are coming after them, and if they are not blind, you have failed to do your job. Assisting on that last spike will not help you win the match if your trade off was to allow one monk to die and the second monk to run out of energy trying to keep the first one alive.

When the match starts, count the number of potential meleers in the enemy build (war, derv, sin, rang, para) so you know what you are up against. Blind them as soon as they get in range, and then DO NOT SWITCH OFF OF THEM. You MUST know how quickly your blinds are being taken off. If they are coming after your squishies, you have to keep the blind on recharge, and you better move to a position (if available) to avoid distracting shot (if a ranger), Signet of humility (if a mesmer), etc. because once they find out that you are going to do your job, they will come after you.

If the other team is melee heavy and you are the blind bot and they AREN'T coming after you, you aren't doing a very good job of stopping them. Bottom line, sometimes all you will have time to do it blind and throw the occasional assist into a spike (but don't move to spike and be out of position for the blinds.) If your leader wants you to focus differently, he/she should say so, otherwise, this is your default position.

B. Hexes and Curses: Mesmers and necros can use skills like: Ineptitude, Price of Failure, Reckless Haste, Clumsiness, etc., etc. to slow down melee attackers. Like the blind bot above, if this is your primary job, do it and nothing else if that is what you need to do. If you are the defense for your squishies, and you don't become the focus of fire for the enemy team, then you aren't slowing them down enough for them to bother with you. If the other team is melee heavy, or you are the primary melee defense, you should not be burning through your energy doing other things, you need to save it for keeping those melee toons hexed the entire game. If you do, you give your team a chance to win.

A second component to this is mesmer hexes that slow down/stop casters. Migraine, Signet of Humility, Arcane Thievery?, etc, can all be used either offensively or defensively. Most times that is a judgment call for the player or a design build and/or dictated by the build the enemy is running, but the truth is I'm not a very good mesmer, so you should ask someone who knows something about it.

C. Interrupts: Like the mesmer caster disruption skills, these skills (primarily mesmer and ranger, though most classes have at least one) can be used offensively or defensively, and are often put to use offensively to stop whatever damage mitigation skills your enemy is using. They can also be used to slow down an enemy caster and prevent or delay damage, and in certain circumstances it can be a very effective damage mitigation tool. Even primarily offensive interrupts are very often used as damage mitigation in the right circumstance. For instance, a warrior would not hesitate to use Shock on the bodyguard that is about to cast firestorm on top of him. That stops the casting of the spell and prevents a lot of damage. The nice thing about interrupts is they are pretty flexible, if you find that your team's damage is enough, but your team is taking too much damage, you can switch from interrupting defensive skills to interrupting offensive skills to try to help. Warning though, some of them can take some practice to be good using.

Next up, putting it together on a casual team.

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