Friday, July 27, 2012

Spirit weapons

 Sword of Justice summons an arcane blade to defend the Guardian and attack his enemies. Sword of Justice has a 30-second cooldown and a 30-second uptime, provided you don’t activate its secondary ability. At the bargain cost of a single skill point, it’s hard to think of a reason not to at least try it. Just like a hand-held melee weapon, Sword of Justice will also hit every enemy who falls inside its swing arc, making it good against groups. The active command ability only enhances this area of effect potential by slamming the sword into the ground where it explodes on contact, damaging nearby enemies. 
Hammer of Wisdom summons an arcane hammer to defend the Guardian and attack his or her enemies. If the Sword is good against groups, the Hammer is incredible against single targets. With only a 20-second uptime and a 45-second cooldown, it won’t be as readily available as Sword of Justice, but the tradeoffs more than make up for it. Just like the Sword, Hammer of Wisdom will hit every enemy in its swing arc. As an added bonus, the Hammer will also knockback every enemy it hits on every swing. This is incredibly disruptive to your enemies. Better still, the active command ability will knock your foe to the ground for three seconds, which is ample time to set up a finisher, prevent an escape or even interrupt an attack you can’t dodge. For the cost of a single skill point, Hammer of Wisdom is a steal.
Bow of Truth summons an arcane bow that removes conditions from the Guardian and his allies. It sounds great in theory but in practice, I have yet to notice it remove a single condition. It very well may, but I’ve certainly never noticed an animation for it. For all I know, a condition could have been removed by the passive ability of Signet of Resolve, the heal I commonly run with. Fortunately, the active command ability of Bow of Truth is hard to miss. It rains down a volley of healing arrows which affects the Guardian and his allies for the duration of the animation. The cooldown on Bow of Truth is 60 seconds, it has a 20-second duration and costs 3 skill points to unlock. 
Shield of the Avenger summons an arcane shield which protects the Guardian, creating a Shield of Absorption that absorbs projectiles and pushes foes back. Just like the Bow of Truth, Shield of the Avenger has a 60-second cooldown with a 20-second uptime. The active command ability of the Shield sends it hurling forward bouncing from enemy to enemy damaging and weakening them in the process. The passive bubble given by the Shield doesn’t really thrill me. Absorbing projectiles is fine, but Wall of Reflection is only on a 40-second cooldown, and it actually reflects projectiles back to their source. It may not offer 360 degrees of protection like Shield of the Avenger, but it also only costs a single skill point as opposed to the 6 skill points that Shield does. The active command ability is where Shield of the Avenger shines, turning a defensive tool into an offensive one. The question you’ll have to ask yourself is if it’s worth the cost or not.

All Spirit Weapons will benefit from the following traits in the Zeal line:
  • Eternal Spirit - Master tier. Spirit Weapons are not destroyed when commanded. This is a HUGE trait for any who use Spirit Weapons, allowing you to retain the passive summon even after using the active ability. When you consider that the internal cooldowns on the command abilities of Hammer of Wisdom and Shield of the Avenger are only 15 seconds and their total uptimes are 20 seconds, this trait allows you to use their active commands twice per summon (if you’re fast)!
  • Spirit Weapon Mastery - Adept tier. Spirit Weapon cooldowns are reduced by 20%. This reduces the cooldowns of Bow of Truth and Shield of the Avenger to 48 seconds, Hammer of Wisdom to 36 seconds and Sword of Justice to only 24 seconds, essentially giving it a 100% uptime. 
  • Wrathful Spirits - Grandmaster tier. Increases Spirit Weapon damage by 10%. Fairly weak for a 30-point trait. Even with the other traits, which boost their uptime and effectiveness, it’s hard to justify. Compare this to Fiery Wrath, which is an Adept tier trait in the same line and boosts ALL your damage against targets who are Burning.
Spirit Weapons also benefit from two additional traits:
  • A Fire Inside – Radiance line, master tier. Spirit Weapons cause Burning! Remember Fiery Wrath? Of course you do.
  • Improved Spirit Weapon Duration – Virtues line, master tier. What it lacks in naming creativity, it makes up for in brutal effectiveness, giving all of your Spirit Weapons an additional 50% duration! Combine this with Spirit Weapon Mastery, and let the games begin!

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