Friday, April 25, 2008

Witch Hunter Review - Thoughts on class.

Rank 27 RR 8, Inquisition Spec

Skill Feedback:

• Builders
Razor Strike - Useless. Totally eclipsed by every other builder. It's not even on my bar.
Fervor - I'm currently a little on the fence for this one, which is a shame since I'm Inquisition specced and used to use it regularly. I'm uncertain whether the DoT adds up to being as effective as just using Torment. Sure I could do the math, but I haven't yet. Perhaps later. I still throw it into my combos usually.
Torment - My main builder. I don't have to worry about filling up my stacks like Fervor and it does good damage. Particularly if you can nab the enemy in the back. Does run you out of AP faster if you use it exclusively.
Punish The False - Love it. Helps me put away those healers somewhat. Great damage, low AP. Just gotta wait for it to cooldown.
Confess! - Love it. Decent damage, disarm, and low AP. It's a shame the hot bar icon is bugged right now, but I've gotten to where I can catch those parries popping up pretty consistently.

Pistol Whip - Great skill. I can do some good damage to a caster during a 3 second stun. I usually don't have too much trouble getting behind my target, since typically they turn around and try to flee.
Seeker's Blade - I'm also on the fence with this one and only because of it's AP cost. I'm just not certain how much blocks, dodges, and parries affect my damage. Does a 5% decrease in these have any meaningful impact? It's nice that I have an ammo option that cripples my opponents when I execute, so using it is fairly simple.

• Executions
Burn, Heretic! - Hereto this is the only execution I use. Drops things quick when I get it off. Very effective
Absolution - Useless. It just... doesn't do anything. 286 damage? Useless.
Trial By Pain - Bugged right now so I don't use it. I think I fired it once to check out the bug. It used to be a nice skill though.
Exit Wound - I haven't really been able to play with it yet, but I don't expect to use it at all for RvR. I need damage and I need it immediately. This does look like a good skill for taking out big PvE bosses, though.

• Utilities
Sigil Of Sigmar - Absolutely critical! I use this in practically every single RvR encounter I have. Works well too. Never needed it in PvE though.
Get Thee Behind Me! - I'm not sure this is functioning correctly. I haven't checked any combat logs but it sure doesn't seem to halve my opponent's damage. Also, it seems to be resisted fairly often. I only use this skill as a last ditch attempt to pull my tail out of the fire.

Incognito - I don't have much problem with the AP drain or the cast time, but I'm beginning to realize that popping up in the back of an enemy group usually just results in my death. The skill works, but I'm uncertain of the effectiveness of it's role considering the speed with which I can be killed and the ease with which healers can keep someone alive. Also, it's too bad that it apparently does nothing for mobs.

Sudden Accusation - This is the opener I use in RvR. I think the snare is probably more useful than Burn Armor's toughness debuff just so I can build up some accusations to launch an execution.
Burn Armor - This would be nice to use in PvE. I think I'm going to try using this one in RvR just to see what kind of increase in damage I get. May be worth. Judgment withheld.

Blessed Bullets of Purity - I believe this ammo is plainly inferior to Bullets of Cleansing. Less damage and no snare.
Blessed Bullets of Cleansing - It's a nice little addition to my Burn, Heretic!'s damage tick as well as having a handy dandy snare.

PvE Method: Since ambush is useless against mobs I pull with Snap Shot. Combo goes Punish The False, 4x Fervor or Torment, Burn Heretic!, repeat. I take advantage of whatever Confess!'s present themselves. Pretty simple, but engaging enough to be fun. Like I said, when things get rough I sometimes try out a Get Thee Behind Me! with mixed results. Overall, I feel the results are good. I can survive one add fighting mobs up to 2 or 3 levels higher than me. The Witch Hunter seems to work just fine in PvE.

RvR Method: Obviously things are different with every encounter but I'll try to describe my general strategy. Most important is to stay out of sight as much as possible. I use houses, trees, rocks, whatever I can find to avoid attention. The goal is to work my way around back of the main enemy group. When I've done so I stop behind some piece of cover and use Incognito. Then it's a straight line to whichever target I have chosen. My pecking order goes Zealots, Sorceresses, Disciples, everyone else. If I don't go for the healers first it's extremely difficult to drop my target. I take Sorceresses before Disciples just because I can typically kill them much faster, and I likely won't get a chance at a second target. So, I open my attack with Sudden Accusation to build 2 accusations and slow them so I can keep applying damage. My main damage combo is essentially what I use in PvE - Punish The False, 4x Torment or Fervor, Burn Heretic! The difference is I always have to interrupt the damage chain in order to manage the situation. For example, I have to use Sigil Of Sigmar in every encounter. The very first thing which will happen to me when I begin an attack is that I'll be snared or rooted. Popping out of that as quickly as possible is vitally important. I've also been getting flung rather lengthy distances lately by, I believe, Zealots. I have no counter for that one and honestly causes me quite a bit of grief. I have to pop a Snap Shot in combo with the Running Is Useless tactic, which I always have active during RvR, and run my way back into combat. Interference aside, as soon as the snare from Sudden Accusation wears off I use Pistol Whip to keep my target in range as well as to take the heat off for a couple seconds. By that point I usually have my 5 accusations and set off my Burn Heretic! All the while I do my best to catch the parries so I can whip out a Confess!

All in all, it's a suicide mission. I may take one down with me but I won't escape. This is partly because, I feel, most people don't play aggressively enough. Sure, we can all complain that when you stick your neck out it gets chopped off, but if everyone is pressing forward, there's no way the Ranged DPS classes can knock out everyone. Resultingly, I'm abandoned behind enemy lines. I might be okay (maybe) with this fairly high likelihood of demise if I could be more certain of making a kill. Right now I would say I have between a 60 and 75% chance of taking out my target. That may even be a bit generous. My success or failure seems to hinge on whether the healers in my target's party realize that I'm on to one of their squishies. I simply don't have the burst damage to take out a caster with even one healer assisting them. You may say, "But it's 2 on 1. You ought to lose.," and that may be mostly right, but the nature of a stealth class makes it so you can almost always depend on being outnumbered.

I average between 20k and 30k damage in Talabec dam. I am totally not satisfied with that. I've seen Witch Hunters rack up high 30s but compared to the 50k+ I've seen Sorceresses and Bright Wizards score, I am highly disappointed. Heck, I'm competing with Warrior Priests and Disciples for damage scores. I think a large part of that is the fact that I both spend too much time setting up a kill and then spend further time getting back to the fight after being killed. I'm just not in action enough. Beyond that though, I do believe that Ranged DPS is overpowered right now. It seems to me the utility of being able to strike from range is not being properly factored into a class. The only way a Melee DPS class will be comparable to a Ranged DPS class is if the Melee class has a significantly higher damage output. The difficulties and dangers in applying that damage require it. As it stands now Ranged DPS can do more damage with almost no risk.

Unfortunately I've missed most of the keep action so far, but I've still been able to get some open field RvR in. I think I fare better in these situations. I devote my time to mopping up stragglers and reinforcements. 1v1 I tend to do well against any opponent, and using ambush I can keep it that way. Still, when I'm forced to go after a target within a group, even if I have an equal number of allies doing their little stare down, my results are frustrating.


The deal with tactics is that right now only the top two mean anything. If it's not the best then it never gets used, simply because I have limited slots. This is also why I only select passives for my renown abilities. The tactics are too specific and they require I swap something else for them. The passives are 100% bonus, no trade-off, and always useful.

Currently, I use Jagged Edge and Brute Force for PvE, and Jagged Edge and Running Is Useless for RvR. Here's the whole rundown.
Brute Force - Damage is good. Damage is what I'm all about.
Flanking - Might be good for boss raids when I have more tactic slots.
Full Confession - Sounds good but not quite good enough to be used.
Inquisitor's Fury - Auto Attack just doesn't seem to be important enough to use this skill.

Running Is Useless - Love it. Makes my job possible in RvR.
Righteous Steel - This isn't damage. I need damage. I'm currently not certain whether Confess! can be used after you parry or your enemy parries or both. It's possible this parry increase could translate into damage and disarms but I kinda doubt it.
Unwavering Faith - Not Damage. I need damage.
Emperor's Ward - I tried this out for a bit and I don't think I ever saw it go off. Either it's bugged or it sucks. Don't know.
Jagged Edge - Adds some damage. Don't know how much. Maybe I should look into that to see if I should keep using it.
Trial By Fire - This might be good. Particularly for raid bosses.
Persistent - Also not damage.
A Note Regarding Dyes: I've seen some of the dyes look good on certain classes, but Witch Hunters are not one of them. All the colors are too bright and are sloppily applied to our textures. I'd go around default color if it weren't for the fact that the quests keep giving me neon green items.

Final Thoughts and Suggestions: Despite some of the difficulties this is still one of the more enjoyable classes. He has a great style and some fun skills. He needs work in two primary areas - damage and ambush. With the kinds of situations that ambush requires we put ourselves in, it's important that we be able to act fast. If a healer is going to be able to save you from a Witch Hunter it needs to be a very quick healer and not just one who's awake. We also need ways to be able to get out of those nasty situations. Addressing the first issue will naturally help the second. Also, I'm a little perplexed about the 60s Incognito cooldown. We have no other way to reach our targets alive, and yet I do not think it's intended that we only make one attack per minute. Either Incognito needs to be more usable, which I think I'd rather not have, or we need other ways to get to grips with our enemies. This is a little tricky since it was Mythic's lauded position that they would not have stealth in their game, and yet here we are testing out stealth for one class that it sort of makes sense for and one that it makes zero sense for. If they choose to make stealth and openers more important to the Witch Hunter's play then they will not only have included stealth but created a class very similar to the stealther from that game which shall not be named. I'd much rather emphasize mobility. This would allow us to both get in and get out. Hit and run. Like a proper skirmisher.

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