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Jaguars, Jellyfish, and Moas Oh My!

July 29, 2012 - 6:56pm -- Sardu
GW2Hub Community Spotlight

For our latest Community Spotlight article, community member Sylvinstar is back with a detailed analysis of ranger pets based on extensive testing during the final beta weekend. While many pet issues were seemingly addressed heading into BWE3, there are clearly a number of issues still in need of attention.


Jaguars, Jellyfish, and Moas Oh My!

By Sylvinstar

GW2 Ranger Taining Manual

Last weekend I spent a lot of time testing Ranger pets and attempted to demystify some of the classes’ vague trait descriptions.  Some were cleared up in seconds, but there were a few that were very difficult to pin down.  Unless noted below, I stripped down all PvP gear and kept trait lines not currently being tested at 0.  I also made sure to leave out any signets or utility abilities that may have affected a trait being tested.  Here is what I found.

Marksmanship line:

  • Malicious training (malice training) granted an additional 10% duration to pet Condition Duration, which stacked with the 30% duration granted from putting 30 points into the Marksmanship line itself.

  • Beastmaster’s Might granted 5 seconds of Might

  • Beastmaster’s Bond granted somewhere between 3-8 seconds of its two buffs (sorry sloppy writing on my part leaves this a bit up in the air).

  • Predator’s Instinct had a 15 second cooldown applied from the time of its being applied.  This is an important distinction it was up almost constantly, even with axes hitting multiple dummies and switching targets quickly after one died.  I had 30 points in Marksmanship when testing this, which gave me an additional 30% duration to the condition.

Skirmish Line

  • Companion’s Might granted 1 second of Might

  • Sharpened Edges granted Bleeding at 1 second per hit instantly, which made for some great stacking with certain axe and shortbow skills.  Combine this with crits from opening strikes and bleeds from certain pets and you have a lot of bleed damage going very quickly.

Wilderness Line

  • Expertise Training granted +6 damage per tick.

  • Vigorous Renewal granted 6 seconds of vigor upon using a heal skill (I did not see if this applied to pet heals but I am assuming theirs did not apply).

Nature Line – ‘Concentration Training’ Drama

GW2 Ranger Pet Icons

In this trait line, I put at least 2 hours into trying to figure out the specifics of the trait “Concentration Training” and I recorded a LOT of data.  What I came up with was pretty inconclusive.  It would have been helpful to know a few things.  For example, the trait description says it increases the duration of boons applied by ranger pets.  After a lot of work, I had to wonder if the trait should have said “increases the CHANCE of increasing boons applied by ranger pets”.

One theory I had for a while was that the trait only applied to boons applied by pet attacks, not boons applied by the pet’s F2 abilities, but then I ran into some pets that added a boon increase even with these abilities.  An example of the testing I did was for the pet “Jungle Stalker”.  Its F2 ability is to apply a Might boon.  This boon was to be applied for 10 seconds according to the description, although the counter always started at nine.  There was always quite a delay between pressing F2 and the buff hitting my UI.

For many initial tests there was what seemed to be a random duration to the buff.  It either applied at the 10 second duration or 14.  I then figured out that if I did not target a mob before pressing F2, I would always get 9 seconds on the buff, but if I targeted the target dummy or mob first, I would always get the 14 second duration – even with the Concentration Training slotted.  I thought I had the problem solved, but later on I was trying this out again for a second trial, and it didn’t matter if I targeted first or not, I only got 9 seconds of the buff – trait, or no trait. 

With bird pets that granted swiftness, the boon went from 10 seconds to 14 seconds when traited with Concentration Training (10 seconds base + 30% for 30 pts in Nature + 10% from the trait).  This was true almost 100% of the time, but there were some times when it went with 10 seconds only, even when traited.

I did some testing with the raven and snow owl pets, but the majority of my swiftness testing with birds was with the Eagle and Hawk pets.  I tried switching them out to stack the swiftness buff (which worked by the way), and I discovered that I would sometimes get the bonus 14 seconds and sometimes only the 9.  This did not always coincide with pet criticals.

I eliminated other factors, like having the pet set on ‘guard’ vs. ‘avoid combat’, and then those two variables combined with other variables like having me attack the dummy first and then having the pet force attack it by switching to guard mid-fight.  It seemed like certain patterns would develop, but then after five to eight trials the pattern would break down.  There were several times when I would get five trials to either add the bonus or not, 100% of the time, but I would return later for another set of trials using the same setup and I would get the opposite results.  In short, the overall randomness of the testing was frustrating as the trait description does not leave room for randomness.  Either the trait description needs rewording or they need to fix some of the pets.

After going through land and amphibious pets, I moved on to the water pets.  I thought I was almost done.  I was dead wrong.

GW2 Underwater Combat Master

Watery Dilemmas

I spent nearly the same amount of time on the armor fish and jellyfish pets as I did on all the land based pets.  The reason being, while the water pets had the same randomness issue with boons as the land pets, they applied their boons in a different manner.

If a bird or bear applied a boon or condition described as having a 10 second duration, that boon or condition would be applied and then immediately begin a countdown to zero when tool-tipped in the UI.  If only all the water pet boons were so straight forward.

The Jellyfish’s regen boon was listed as having a 10 second duration, but when tool tipped in the UI it would apply the boon in two second amounts for every one second pulse all the way up to 10, and then countdown by one’s back to zero.  What I got was a boon that would add two seconds, lose one second, then reapply two seconds [2s-1s, pulse 3s-2s, pulse 4s-3s, pulse 5s-4s..] and-so-on up to 10, when it would begin its countdown.  This was untraited.

When using the ‘Concentration Training’ trait, the regen buff was applied in four second increments (dropping one second per pulse) up to 24 seconds. [4s – 3s, 7s-6s, 10s-9s, 13s-12s, 162-152, 19s-18s, 22s-21s, 24s then countdown to zero by one’s.]  I am assuming the countdown on the buff was actually showing a cooldown, as in the combat chat log, it would note that the buff was removed at the point where it began counting down on the tool-tipped buff in the UI.  The jellyfish Blind condition had similar oddities to how it was displayed, but maybe my whole confusion on this was a difference between a condition or boon that pulses and one that doesn’t.  Whatever the reason, it definitely made bug testing the ‘Concentration Training’ trait a major pain.

Other Pet Bugs and Errata:

Armor Fish

When tool tipping the armor fish’s ‘Protection’ ability, the text says that this ability’s boon has a nine second duration.  In reality it consistently only gave five seconds of the boon untraited, and nine seconds traited with ‘Concentration Training’.

Moa pets and flamingo

These capricious fowl never once used their healing ability “Harmonic Cry” (regen heal) even when left to be beat to death by the practice mobs in the heart of the mists.  Bear type pets with similar healing abilities in their bight attacks used them every time.  The white moa pet incorrectly showed “Icy Screech” (a chill attack) as a regen heal when tool-tipped in the pet management page.  The Blue Moa pet tool-tip shows its protection boon at a 10 second duration, when in reality it gives only five seconds 100% of the time (untraited).

Jaguar Pet

While not necessarily a bug, I thought it worth noting that this pet reapplied a vulnerability condition to the target dummy via its associated attack with no internal cool down.  There were a few times when the jaguar would go several attacks without reapplying it, but there were many more where he would reapply the vulnerability 5-8 times in a row.

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Beside some Necromancer trait clarification, the above is the majority of my bug testing experience in BWE3.  While some things I found were legitimate bugs, I have to wonder how many were just changes that hadn’t gotten their text changed in time for the weekend.   Overall it was a rewarding experience, although I think for the good of the community someone needs to address target dummy etiquette at some point.  I would love to hear from any of you hubbites if you were able to clarify any other traits, or if you have any additions and/or corrections to the data I found on Ranger pets.


oneeyered
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A lot of information nice write up Sylvinstar. My biggest concern when I played the small amount I did was pet pathing, etc. I would really like an option to forgo pets in general for a more flavored DPS build or something but I obviously need to do some more experimenting.

Its a simple world for complicated people

 

 

sylvinstar
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In BWE2 pet pathing in sPVP was horrendous.  I did zero PvP of any sort in BWE3 so I can't say how well that improved, if at all.  In PvE I have had almost no difficulties with pathing.  The problems with pets not attacking and needing to be forced into attacking seems to have gone away.  In trying to figure out "Concentration Training" I soaked up a ton of hours and did not get to all the traits I wanted clarification on.

Finally:

Bear type pets with similar healing abilities in their might attacks used them every time.

This should read "..in their bight attacks.." sorry.

Sardu
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That line should now be fixed for you!

As for pet pathing and responsiveness in BWE3, it was vastly improved over previous beta events. Still not without flaws by any means, but a major improvement nonetheless. Likewise, general pet survivability (not counting WvW where pets are still utterly useless) also seemed to be much better, or at least I rarely found myself needing to revive them between fights constantly like I used to.

Lewis B
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Thanks for that Sylvin, very informative.  I'm still keeping a close eye on the ranger as it's a profession that will always remain close to my heart :)

sylvinstar
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@ Sardu

What is the problem in WvW?  Too much AE damage, or just overall survivability issues?

 

@Lewis

As far as class choice goes, I guess i always go with what clicks for me.  Even if a class is underperforming, I'll stick with it, knowing that class performance is cyclical in MMO's.  Of course there are cases where classes are just broken or so underperforming that they don't make sense in the competitive sPvP environment.  There is a lot more room for class performance issues in PvE.

Sardu
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Ranger itself is awesome in WvW as a general rule. Pets, however, die within seconds regardless of what type you bring, at least in larger fights. The best compromise I could find was to keep my fern hound set to passive and use the F2 regen as needed. But in terms of combat, it only proved marginally useful for resource camps and caravans... anything bigger and the pet is just a speed bump.

sylvinstar
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So useful pets will be ones that grant the best F2 buffs at this point.  I'll have to look back through the pet guide.  I know flight birds grant swiftness but that is an ae buff from one of their attacks..not too useful if they are dead.

sylvinstar
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I think there would be some viability if the pets had a 'wait' feature along with guard and avoid combat.  You could at least post your pet by keep doors (of course there would be a range limit before the pet respawned at your side), but this could be useful.  An example would be being able to set up a ways from the main keep door, but have a bunch of ranger pets with chill set to 'wait'.  When people burst through the gate you could have a lot of chill's going off, giving ranged defenders more time to AE etc.