Neverwinter Great Weapon Fighter Essential Tips and Advice by trickshaw
GWF’s are just fine.
Step 1: You are not prepared…
The GWF is not a Barbarian.
Read it again. One more time. Process it. Accept it. The GWF has a big weapon (that’s what she said) but it doesn’t make him a Barbarian nor does it make him akin to other great weapon fighters from other games. Take all your preconceptions from the past and throw them out the window. Once you accept the GWF for what he -IS- instead of trying to force him into what you -WANT- him to be you can either move on to a class that is what you -ARE- looking for or you can continue on with a better understanding and all-around better gaming experience with the GWF.
Either way, you’re welcome.
So, what -IS- the GWF? The GWF is a tank/dps hybrid. Sounds simple enough so why do so many people have a problem with that? I’ll tell you why. You see, your average forum goer reads “tank/dps hybrid” but there’s a part of your brain which turns:
“ZOMG DEEPS I SMASH YOUS NOW!”
And then people just lose their mind in game and rage hits the forum fans. It’s a well documented and proven fact that if you insert the acronym “DPS” into any given term that your average gamer will inadvertently shut down blood flow to the brain in order for your eyes to only see the acronym “DPS” in any sentence. For example, half of you just read this paragraph as:
“DPS… blah blah blah… DPS…”
So, in order to expedite this conversation I’m going to refer to the GWF as a Tank Hybrid only. These are the two words you need to focus on. Tank. Hybrid.
Hybrid sometimes confuses people so I’ll simplify it for you. Hybrid means that the end product is a combination of two things but never as good as those two things individually. At least in the gaming world. Hybrid also means that if you try to focus on one of those two things at the expense of the other of those two things then you end up with a final product which is referred to as “crap”.
“Crap” is a very technical and complex term which involves a lot of math and physics but can be simplified down to the following equation:
Wf(1 + Hf) + Wb (1 + Hb) + Wm(1 + Hm)
In the interests of the reader we’ll just use the basic idea that “crap” = bad. We don’t want “bad” now do we? Now that we understand what hybrid means let’s combine it with the other operable word in the aforementioned term: Tank.
In order for a Tank Hybrid to not function like complete “crap” you have to pay attention to the Tank aspect of said hybrid. How do you do that? There’s a number of ways but the two best ways, the two single changes you can make which will EXPONENTIALLY increase your survival as a GWF are the following:
Step 2: Steal Penetration
No, it’s not a name for a porno. Although…
Life Steal is the red-headed step child of Neverwinter survival stats and the reason I think is because people start to play with it and realize that you need to stack copious amounts of it in order to net a reasonable gain. That’s simply not very true. That and they see those little green numbers and they’re like, “well that’s lame”. Truth be told Life Steal is possibly one of the most over powered defensive stats in this game. And what’s even better is that nigh every piece of Life Steal gear you find while you’re leveling is attached with Penetration; another grossly under-rated offensive stat.
So, lemme get this straight, one of the best DEFENSIVE stats is, by default, attached to a great offensive stat which feeds off one of your main stats?!?! Yes, that’s why it’s called HYBRIDization.
The upshot to Life Steal is people are throwing it on the AH like crazy and for really low prices. You can log in, do a daily and have enough AD to completely regear your GWF in Life Steal/Penetration with AD left over. I do, however recommend, only gearing enough to net you around 7-10% Life Steal. For me, I save my off-hand, neck and waste for crit%/power; at low levels it’s either or, dont’ go for the split stats if you can avoid them.
That brings us to Deflection. The single, cheapest and most effective defensive stat you can accumulate and practically no one bothers slotting it. There are two things you can do to drive your deflection up by a large margin:
1.) Bravery Rank 3 nets you 15% Deflection. That’s so OP that I’m convinced it’s broken. The speed buff part of Bravery doesn’t show up on your character sheet but it is in fact working just so you know.
2.) Dexterity grants you 0.5% deflection and 1% crit. That’s a win/win if you ask me.
Step 3: Clerical Error?
If you didn’t take Cleric as your first companion then you should flick yourself in the eyeball. Did you do it? Good. You deserved it.
I wish there was a nicer way to say that but yeah, that’s pretty much the end all be all of it. Even at higher levels the cleric, who’s capped at rank 15, is probably the simplest choice to make in regards to survival. Every 30 seconds you are HoT healed for 20% of your HP pool? Yeah… I’ll take that thank you.
Step 4: Roar than meets the eye!
Get it? Roar than meets the eye? Shut up. My genius is wasted on you.
Anyway, Roar at rank 3 not only pumps out some solid damage but also nearly fills your determination bar when you manage to crit land it on 3 targets. With a modicum of practice using Roar becomes second nature. Not only does it push out some solid damage, not only does it fill up your determination bar but it also stun/roots melee mobs. A common tactic I used at lower levels was to run up to a group of mobs, Roar (which pushes them away and roots them) then immediately start charging Reaping Strike, when they break from the root they come at you…
This is when you mentally say to yourself, “COME AT ME BRO!”
…release Reaping and watch the entire pack just fall down. All without ever taking a scratch. See how easy that was? Also, as a plus Roar interrupts any non-boss charged attack. Need to stop that Giant from pounding your healer? Roar. Need to stop those clumped Erinyes from nuking your pet? Roar.
Roar is like the swiss army knife of GWF utilities. It damages. It builds determination. It roots mobs. It interrupts. It makes you feel like a manly man.
Step 5: Pouring like an Avalanche coming down the mountain…
I’ll make it easy on you, these are the only two Dailies you will ever need if you plan on only PvE’ing. If you want to PvP then you start looking at the other dailies. Otherwise, these are the only two you will need.
Slam will be your staple mass damage daily. You want damage, you pop it. Avalanche will be your situational daily. The daily you use when you need to get out of a bad situation. Getting surrounded by minions? Drop avalanche, which knocks everyone prone, and reposition yourself to a more advantageous spot. Need to avoid a boss AoE phase but you’re out of sprint? Avalanche.
Think of Avalanche as your tactical retreat but Slam as your go to Daily.
Step 6: Punch that baby!
I cannot stand… cannot… stand… watching videos of GWFs running around with Determination saved up. It’s not a finite resource. You will get more. If determination fills up you ****-ing punch that baby. Stop running around with a full Determination bar “waiting for the right moment”. Wanna know when the right moment is?
That’s the right moment. If you have Roar slotted you’ll be filling that Determination bar up in the VERY NEXT FIGHT so freaking use it. Your number one mitigation tool is Determination. Stop saving it and start using it.
With that said, if you have 5/5 Unstoppable Action (and if you don’t you need to punch yourself in the throat) when you pop Determination that is the single best time to start dropping your encounters because you’re getting bonus action points (that’s the daily meter) when you do damage while Unstoppable and thanks to Unstoppable Action those bonus points are increased further. More on that later.
Step 7: Reap what you sow!
Despite popular belief, Reaping strike is pretty damned absurd. Admittedly, it’s not an easy ability to use. In fact sometimes it can be downright annoying at first. But with patience and practice it can surprise you and possibly turn out to be one of your favorite abilities.
1.) You’re going to get hit. That’s just how it is. Don’t want to get hit? Roll another class. But while you’re here, if you’re going to get hit, you might as well build extra determination WHILE you’re getting hit and that’s exactly what Reaping Strike does.
2.) Reaping Strike + Life Steal = butter. Who doesn’t like butter? Vegans. That’s who. So if you’re not a vegan than you should like butter ergo you’ll love Reaping Strike + Life Steal.
3.) As an FYI one charged Reaping Strike = the same amount of time it takes to swing Sure Strike 3 times or Wicked Strike two times.
4.) Want to watch your Action Point gain jump up by giant chunks at a time? Start using Reaping Strike.
Step 8: Don’t hate. Appreciate…
FunFact: Restoring Strike double dips into Life Steal. A Restoring Strike Crit + Life Steal is basically the equivalent of your Cleric Companion’s 30 sec ability. Also it hits like a truck and who doesn’t like trucks? Vegans that’s who. Those shifty eyed tree-huggin turnip munchers want to deprive me of my diesel guzzling F650? I dunno ’bout you but I live in Illinois… Global Warming is turning out pretty good for me.
Ergo if you love Global Warming then Restoring Strike is made for you!
Step 9: I’ve got my priorities straight!
Half the time I see a GWF video I’m watching players who are just randomly smashing abilities and then they wonder why they aren’t doing so well. Playing a GWF isn’t mindless. It requires positioning, it requires tactics and it requires knowing when to go all out.
Some people call them rotations. I prefer to call them priorities because unlike in other MMOs you don’t have enough abilities to really “rotate” in Neverwinter. Not in the traditional sense.
Your main priority should be getting Determination up. Your second priority should be to drop your encounters after you’ve punched Determination. And if you have Restoring Strike that should be your number one encounter to pop if you don’t have a full HP bar. One minion left in the pack with a sliver of health? Restoring Strike up? Overkill the **** out of that poor goblin. Hit him so hard in the daddy bags that his kids feel it in their digital hovel… wherever that may be. You get healed and by the time you get to your next encounter Restoring Strike should be close to back up for you to use again.
Priorities. Learn them. Follow them. Profit.
Step 10: Know your role.
You aren’t a TR. You aren’t a GF. You’re the guy that’s in between. You’re the mop up crew. The only time you should ever feel inadequate is if, at the end of a dungeon, you’ve been out damaged AND out killed AND out survived. That TR might have you trumped on raw damage but that’s because that’s his job. He’s supposed to pump out copious amounts of damage on bosses and elite mobs.
You’re the guy that’s supposed to wipe up all the adds and keep the rest of your party safe. That’s what you do and the TR can’t compare. Later on, much… much… later on you will start seeing gear that will allow you to alter your role for PvP and PvE. That’s the whole point behind end game. But until then this is the role you’re supposed to fill. This is what you’re supposed to do and if you understand that, embrace it and execute with the knowledge that “this is what I do and I’m king of my domain” you will have a much easier and enjoyable experience.
So how do you “measure” your performance? Simple:
1.) You soak more damage than anyone else except the GF
2.) You do more damage than anyone else except the TR and sometimes CW
3.) You have more kills than anyone else on the board
4.) You have more heals than anyone else except maybe the GF
If you managed to check off everyone of those criteria than congratulations, you’re doing your job the way it’s supposed to be done.
The idea is balance. You’re a balanced class for a balanced role. You have WAAAAY more survival than a TR and WAAAAY more damage than a GF start playing like it and you’ll make your groups much more efficient. As you level up and gear up you can start planning on being a PvP stun burst god or a PvE glass cannon dirvish but until then you simply don’t have the stats to “dedicate” to one role so you embrace the role that the devs intended…
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