Monday, May 10, 2010

Hard Mode speedbooking is Really Easy

In Guild Wars, speedbooking is the process of doing three of the Eye of the North missions in Hard Mode in order to get a Hard Mode Hero's Handbook to the minimum number of filled in pages required to turn it in for reputation.  There are four reputation titles and they all have various useful PvE-only skills linked to them, so naturally having a higher rank means these skills will last longer, deal more damage, and in general have greater effects.

Speedbooking is accomplished with a specific build for each mission.  You have three heroes (and for two of the missions, a henchman) that do all the work for you.  You, the runner, actually kill yourself off intentionally so you can switch to their points of view and flag them around the map more easily.

The two missions that use a henchman also use the same build.  I could go to great lengths describing this set of hero builds, but that's already been done on PvXwiki.  So here I'll just summarize, and then if you want the nitty-gritty you can read the build's wiki article.

The three missions you're doing are Against the Charr, Curse of the Nornbear, and A Time For Heroes.  The most difficult part of Against the Charr is actually starting the mission, since you have to run to the Vanguard Helmet in Grothmar Wardowns and confirm that you want to enter the mission.  Oh and it's surrounded by enemies.  Once you're actually in the mission, the only enemies that have to die are the bosses at the very end.  You flag your heroes to the south and run into a nearby group of Charr to get them to kill you at the beginning.  There's a completely enemyless route you can flag the heroes along.  Once there you space your heroes out a bit and use the henchman to lure the bosses, then sit back and watch 'em die.

In Curse of the Nornbear, the only enemy that's required to kill is the Nornbear at the very end.  Sometimes there will be a group of Mandragor in your way at the beginning, so you'll have to kill them off.  Since their spawn isn't guaranteed you have to abuse skill mechanics to kill yourself.  Equip a low health armor set (loaded with superior runes, I use the set I crafted for use with the build for A Time For Heroes which puts my health at 105), change to a Mesmer secondary, and put enough points into Illusion Magic so that Illusion of Weakness will deduct more health than you have available.  Then flag the heroes/henchman out of range and use Illusion of Weakness to kill yourself.

Curse of the Nornbear is what I consider to be the most difficult of the three missions.  The Nornbear is fairly strong and can easily kill your heroes/henchman if they aren't fighting back, and you have to spawn it without fighting it twice before getting to the place where the battle is actually supposed to take place.  Once you get to the end it dies pretty quickly, as when it spawns there it's friendly for a short period of time, during which it gives a short speech.  You can use this short time to place the flags for your heroes/henchman and precast all the things that need precasting.

Then it's on to the easiest of the three, A Time For Heroes.  Here, the only goal is to kill The Great Destroyer.  Normally it's very difficult to kill, but this build turns it into The Great Pushover.  Here you have three monk heroes stand in a fairly specific spot and bond the everlasting fuck out of you.  To assist in this you wear the set of armor I mentioned earlier with five superior runes to lower your health as far as it goes.  The heroes are maintaining Protective Bond and a load of other enchantments (13 in all, though some are duplicates) on you, which results in the damage you take being completely negligible.  Then you run through a ton of lava and spam some Assassin attacks on The Great Destroyer until it dies.  You have to interrupt one specific skill (Lava Wave) an average of two times every time you do the mission, but it's not that hard and it doesn't interrupt your attack skill spam since you use a shout to interrupt it.  The exact build you use can be used by any primary profession (I'm using it on my Ranger), and changes slightly according to each primary.

The thing about A Time For Heroes you might not understand is a very strange quirk with the way Protective Bond works.  When multiple people maintain it on the same target, the energy penalty for reducing damage is split between them.  Having three heroes maintain it on you means that each of them only loses one energy per instance of damage reduction instead of two.  Since they're all maintaining Essence Bond on you, they get one energy when you're hit.  Therefore...

Another quirk for A Time For Heroes is the maintained enchantments themselves.  To have your heroes actually maintain them, you have to shift-click each to disable it first, then tell the heroes to cast them.  Then the damage you take will be negligible (in fact, I'm usually paying so much attention to The Great Destroyer's skill usage and my own skill bar that I don't look at the damage I'm taking).

Speedbooking essentially entails doing those three missions over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  Or if you can't set up the build yourself, paying someone else who has it set up to do it for you while you just stand there.

Normally I have screenshots but I turned in all five Hero's Handbooks I did this with already.  I almost feel like making a video of this build, since at the time of this writing the PvXwiki article links to a video of a different build doing this same thing.  I'll see if I can't get some screenshots up within the next couple of days or so.

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