Guide to WAR Swordmaster Class Mechanics, Part 2


This is Part 2 of the guide. Part 1 of the guide covered the Balance Mechanic, Damage Mechanics, and Blade Enchant Mechanics.

Please post comments / feedback / tips, contributors will be credited as the guide is updated (e.g. contributed by Gumby).

4. DoT Tactic Mechanics

Each of the DoT (Damage over Time) tactics is listed below, with associated pros and cons:

  • each “+” is a pro
  • each “-” is a con
  • italics are subjective comments

Centuries of Training

+ Spirit damage
– damage is not increased with Strength and Melee Power
– damage is not increased with mastery points
– ticks can’t crit
– 1st tick @ 1 sec, 2 more @ 1 sec intervals
+ not tied to a single ability
+ can proc on multiple targets via AOEs
seems to have a lower proc rate than PE, for whatever reason, even though both should be 25% from the tooltips

Deep Incision (DI)

– physical damage
+ damage is increased with Strength and Melee Power
+ damage is increased with mastery points in Khaine tree
+ ticks can crit
– 1st tick @ 2.5 sec, 3 more @ 2.5 sec intervals
– tied to a single ability (QI)
– single target only
– requires mastery point investment in Khaine tree

Ensorcelled Agony (EA)

+ Spirit damage
+ damage is increased with Strength and Melee Power
– damage is not increased with mastery points
+ ticks can crit
– 1st tick @ 1 sec, 4 more @ 1 sec intervals
– tied to a single ability (EB)
– single target only

Potent Enchantments (PE)

+ Spirit damage
– damage is not increased with Strength and Melee Power
– damage is not increased with mastery points
– ticks can’t crit
+ 1st tick immediately, 3 more @ 3 sec intervals
+ not tied to a single ability
+ can proc on multiple targets via AOEs
+ can re-proc on the same target prior to DoT expiration, resulting in immediate damage and refreshing of the 9s DoT duration

PE and CoT do not scale with stats (Strength and Melee Power), so a low-Strength SM will see a significant DPS boost by using DoT tactics, esp PE. On the flipside, EA and DI do scale with stats, so a high-Strength SM will get more bang from those tactics.

Multi-hit abilities, such as Ether Dance, Dragon’s Talon, Crashing Wave, and Whispering Wind, synergize well with PE, because each hit of the ability can re-proc PE, which causes an immediate DoT tick. In particular, ED and PE synergize superbly together because ED is a 5-hit ability, which means you can get up to 5 immediate PE ticks.

DI and EA can crit, so they synergize with the Balanced Accuracy tactic, which increases the SM’s crit rate.

Editor’s comment: I’ve performed damage testing with Tortall’s DPS Meter, and in a nutshell, PE and EA are very good, CoT sucks (typically accounts for half what PE or EA do), and while DI can offer some nice burst, it’s still 3rd fiddle.

5. Bubble and Healing Mechanics

SMs have several “damage absorption”abilities (aka bubble) available to them

  • Phantom’s Blade Enchant: as discussed in the Blade Enchant Mechanics section, this enchant has a 25% chance of proc’ing a bubble
  • Vaul’s Buffer (VB): Vaul mastery tactic. Points in the Vaul tree improve how much damage is absorbed. This bubble procs when an SM avoids an attack (block / parry / disrupt / evade). Therefore, VB synergizes with gear, abilities, and tactics that improve an SM’s avoidance, such as the Vaul mastery tactic Perfect Defenses and the base Khaine ability Wall of Darting Steel. VB can not re-proc while it is up, and after the bubble expires, VB will not re-proc for at least 3 seconds
  • Protection of Hoeth (PoH): Hoeth mastery ability with a 10 second cooldown. Points in the Hoeth tree improve how much damage is absorbed. This ability is popular with SMs not only for the bubble, but because it enables an SM to progress to Improved Balance without a target
  • Bladeshield:  Rank 3 morale ability that absorbs up to 3600 damage and reflects 600 damage per attack while the bubble is up
  • Shield of Valor: Rank 4 Vaul mastery ability that provides a group bubble

SMs have 2 Hoeth mastery tactics that provide self-healing ability:

  • Blessing of Heaven: adds a debuff on the target that causes attackers to gain a mild 3-second HoT (heal over time)
  • Bolstering Enchantments: provides a weak HoT on the group

6. Crowd Control Mechanics

WAR’s crowd control (CC) includes interrupts, silences, snares (movement debuffs), roots, knockbacks (aka punts), and knockdowns.

Compared to the other 5 WAR tank classes, SM has fewer built-in CC abilities.

All tanks have the following CC abilities

  • Taunt: this acts as an interrupt, which means it cancels any abilities that are being cast or channeled
  • 30 foot radius AOE root: the SMs version of this is called Aethyric Grasp
  • single-target snare: the SMs version is called Quick Incision, which reduces the target’s movement for 10 seconds
  • Champion’s Challenge: rank 1 morale ability that roots the SM and target for 10 seconds

All SMs have the following class-specific CC:

  • Gusting Wind (GW): this is an AOE knockback with a 10 second cooldown. The ability has tremendous utility in terms of offense and defense. Offensively, it can be used to punt opponents back into friendly lines, off cliffs / walls, or out of line-of-sight of their healers. Defensively, GW can be used to punt enemy meleers off an ally, to create a gap between the SM and enemies, or to interrupt opponents

SMs can opt for the following class-specific CC:

  • Whispering Wind (WW): Hoeth mastery ability that silences the target for 5 seconds
  • Crushing Advance (CA): Vaul mastery ability that interrupts the target. Requires a shield to be equipped
  • Crashing Wave (CW): Vaul mastery ability that knocks down the target for 3 seconds
  • Whirling Geyser (WG): Khaine mastery rank 4 morale ability that is an AOE knockback
  • Forceful Shock: trainable tactic that adds a knockback effect to Blurring Shock (BS). Note that many SMs feel this is a poorly-designed effect, as the point of applying the BS debuff to a target is for focus-firing the target

That concludes Part 2 of the guide. Part 3 of the guide covers Avoidance and Mitigation Mechanics, PVP Tanking Mechanics, and PVE Tanking Mechanics.

Please post feedback / comments / questions.

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33 comments on “Guide to WAR Swordmaster Class Mechanics, Part 2
  1. […] Part 2 of the guide covers the following topics: […]

  2. […] a comment » This is Part 3 of the guide. Part 2 of the guide covered the DoT Tactic Mechanics, Bubble and Healing Mechanics, and CC […]

  3. wazza says:

    Nice work Taugrim,
    I like to know a bit more about the healing buff/enchantment:
    •Blessing of Heaven: adds a debuff on the target that causes attackers to gain a mild 3-second HoT (heal over time)
    •Bolstering Enchantments: provides a weak HoT on the group

    Is it possible to boost the HoT’s..when i spend extra points in Willpower or extra healing crit or what so ever? It would be awesome to be a tank whith some nice selfhealing/ grouphealing.

    greets.

    • taugrim says:

      Interesting question!

      AFAIK, the only things that influence the amount healed by BoH and BE are the number of mastery points you invest in the Hoeth mastery ladder.

      The healing ticks from those mastery HoTs can’t crit and aren’t affected by stats such as Willpower.

      Even if they did scale with Willpower, given that we’re a tank class, I wouldn’t advise trying to scale them that way, as a tank there are other stats that will provide a lot more bang for your buck.

  4. Fellow SM says:

    Hey do you still play WAR?, i really hope you do. If so, do you have any videos planned? :D

    Thank you, Calron

    • taugrim says:

      Hi Calron,

      I have retired from WAR. My WAR server, Phoenix Throne, is essentially dead.

      Unless WAR manages to start growing the player base, I don’t expect to play again. I just find it too depressing.

      I am currently playing Aion. It isn’t the silver bullet a lot of people were hoping it would be. But it’s where I’m spending my time, at least for a while.

      Thanks for posting, and enjoy your SM :)
      – Taugrim

      • Calron says:

        Oh I see, but couldnt you do a free character transfer too gorfang, or iron rock? Or would you rather not have to and be able to play on a RP server :)….well all I can say is that I hope you come back!

  5. Ilimolaine says:

    Hey I’m new with the swordmaster and I did some research on pontent enchantment and I realized that according to the toolbar (“blade enchants will cause 540 dmg over 9 sec whenever they trigger”) it seems that it implies that it will deal physical instead of spiritual. I am hoping that they mean UNMIGITABLE dmg as there is no way to enhance the dmg output (strength, intell, mastery etc) pls clear this up as it would break my heart if this tactic deals relatively low physical dmg.

    • taugrim says:

      PE deals Spirit damage and is mitigatable. Proc damage used to be unmitigatable (this change was made in either Patch 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3, I can’t remember, but it was in the 1st half of 2009).

      Here are the notes that I wrote above about PE:
      + Spirit damage
      – damage is not increased with Strength and Melee Power
      – damage is not increased with mastery points
      – ticks can’t crit
      + 1st tick immediately, 3 more @ 3 sec intervals
      + not tied to a single ability
      + can proc on multiple targets via AOEs
      + can re-proc on the same target prior to DoT expiration, resulting in immediate damage and refreshing of the 9s DoT duration

      PE is one of the best damage tactics we have, because of its mechanics. It doesn’t scale with stats, but the re-proc nature of it is fantastic. PE typically accounted for 15+% of my total damage, per using a “damage meter” addon. I have a full list of recommended addons here:
      https://taugrim.com/2009/08/02/war-addons-recommended/

  6. Ilimolaine says:

    Thx dude. It really helped a lot. I think I’m goin to equip EA, PE, Rugged, and great weapon mastery. To bad volatile enchants doesn’t exist anymore. (do u know y they took it out?)

    • taugrim says:

      I played WAR from the time it launched (September 2008), and I never heard of volatile enchants.

      Your choice of 4 tactics makes sense. I’m also a fan of Balanced Accuracy, moreso than most people, but it would mean you’d have to drop something else from your list.

  7. Ilimolaine says:

    Srry for being so picky but do u know if weaponskill can actually help DI since it deals physical dmg?

  8. Ilimolaine says:

    Hey I was thinking. What if I equipped DI instead of great weapon mastery? Would the DoT off DI outweigh the 10% dmg of great weapon mastery? (I dont really want parry since I am aiming for migitation) Also does BA actually help that much as to weigh out the dmg that all these DoTs pump out? I’ve also been thinking about a EA, PE, DI and Rugged layout. Hopfully my cycle will be: EB->QI-> ED-> EB->Phoenix Wing-> Dazzling Strike. And I’ll add WoH as needed. I’ve already reached lvl 200 apoth and cultivation so I plan to be using a lot of pots.

    • taugrim says:

      As I described in this article, I think the cons of DI outweigh the pros:

      Deep Incision (DI)
      – physical damage
      + damage is increased with Strength and Melee Power
      + damage is increased with mastery points in Khaine tree
      + ticks can crit
      – 1st tick @ 2.5 sec, 3 more @ 2.5 sec intervals
      – tied to a single ability (QI)
      – single target only
      – requires mastery point investment in Khaine tree

      GWM rocks, because it increases all damage when using a 2h, including DoTs. I would definitely slot it if you are a hardcore 2h SM.

      Balanced Accuracy helps with burst in Improved and Perfect Balance. The extra 10%/20% bonus to crit is huge, especially for abilities such as Ether Dance, since the 20% bonus chance applies to each swing.

      • Ilimolaine says:

        After thinking it over (extensively) I have decided that GWM definately beats DI in the long run, but I don’t think I’ll ever slot BA because I’d rather not rely heavily on the number generator and I would rather know what to expect (hence y I decided roll migitation)

  9. Ilimolaine says:

    Last question…. Does rugged stack with toughness pot? I heard some ppl say it doesn’t. :(

    • taugrim says:

      That I’m not sure about, but you can easily test that.

      One thing to consider, since you are Khaine-spec’d: when you use Nature’s Blade Enchant to steal stats, the stat steal won’t stack with pots/liniments.

      For that reason I used Wounds/melee power liniments, since you can’t steal Wounds.

      • Ilimolaine says:

        Ok, does the actual value of the stat that u steal go directly to u or does it only give u a fraction of wat u steal. (eg. Opponent loses 120 strength and in return I gain 120 strength)

      • Ilimolaine says:

        When drinking a liniment does it replace any other potion such as a basic 80 strength potion? Or can u run both at the same time?

  10. Ilimolaine says:

    Can I steal melée power?

  11. Ilimolaine says:

    Rugged stacks with toughness potion. :)

  12. Ilimolaine says:

    Alright… So how do I stack melée? Besides just drinking a liniment.

    • taugrim says:

      Gear and talismans, especially from Land of the Dead.

      Can’t remember, aside from those things.

      • Ilimolaine says:

        I heard that a lot of the talisman from LotD are on timers. Can u confirm this? Also I see that some cost 240 golden scarabs (!) and I hope those don’t decay.

  13. Ilimolaine says:

    Do the statistics of a player continue to grow even after he/she has passed lvl 40? Or do the stats remain unaffected by renown rank?

  14. Ilimolaine says:

    PATCH NOTES 1.3.4 FOR SWORDMASTERS

    DI, EA and PE will no longer crit and refresh timer upon activation (which means being able to stack the DoTs!)

    PS I love the fact we can stack DoTs now which makes PE even better with Ether’s Dance. Not to mention DI will be more useful due to long DoT timer :)

  15. Ilimolaine says:

    O_0 …. *starts crying*

  16. Ilimolaine says:

    Due to the changes that mythic has made to our once “main tatics” I think I will keep EA due to shorter DoT time and switch from PE to CoT since CoT can proc multiple times at once. (252 spirit dmg over 3 sec)

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