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Joy's New and Improved Guide to Beating Maelstrom Arena

  • John_Falstaff
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    @jlb1705 , I'm not sure if you should drop bow bar (though Rally is a strong thing). Endless Hail is one of most damaging skills, so try taking a look at what you're applying it to; I'm usually trying to land it either on stationary targets (ranged mobs most of the time), or alternatively right where I plan to go face to face with a mob (like a daedroth), so they'd be dying to ground AoEs whole I'm dancing with them on that spot. Yes, Hail and Caltrops definitely fall behind in mobile fights, but in the Arena, you often have a choice of targets and/or their placement.

    Hunding's is also not a bad set for the content; I run Arena in Hunding's + VO + either Velidreth or, recently, Iceheart. Keep in mind that most mobs there will have ~9k resistances (though bigger mobs can make an exception), so watch out for overpenetration with NMG. Also, if you're not using Warrior mundus, try it - unlike Lover, it will also boost your self-healing.
    Edited by John_Falstaff on August 15, 2018 9:44AM
  • Joy_Division
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    jlb1705 wrote: »
    I did get my 5th piece of VO, so I've tried running that with Hunding's and that pushed me through one more stage.

    The other problem I'm having is that AOEs like Caltrops and Endless Hail are useless in highly mobile fights or against ranged mobs who stay spread out.

    No, no no, no :smiley: They are by far your most valuable and damaging abilities. If you must move, move in such a way that the ranged mobs move inside your AoE zones (e.g. in a circle or backtrack through your AoE)

    Here's my bar setup for the moment:
    DW: Deadly Cloak, Relentless Focus, Vigor, Blood Craze, Bloodthirst
    2H: Rally, Leeching Strikes, Vigor, Power Extraction, Brawler

    This setup is going to be really hard because it does very little passive damage. You're going to find yourself dodging and trying to heal/avoid damage without any means of whittling down the enemies chasing you and that's a losing proposition in vMA. Without a bow, Catrops is a must. I would replace with Bloodthrist. Also Steel Tornado is better than Power Extraction. Don't double bar Vigor, you need all 10 skills and then some. If you're going to use a 2H, you ought to use the execute.
    Edited by Joy_Division on August 15, 2018 11:11AM
  • jlb1705
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    @jlb1705 , I'm not sure if you should drop bow bar (though Rally is a strong thing). Endless Hail is one of most damaging skills, so try taking a look at what you're applying it to; I'm usually trying to land it either on stationary targets (ranged mobs most of the time), or alternatively right where I plan to go face to face with a mob (like a daedroth), so they'd be dying to ground AoEs whole I'm dancing with them on that spot. Yes, Hail and Caltrops definitely fall behind in mobile fights, but in the Arena, you often have a choice of targets and/or their placement.

    Hunding's is also not a bad set for the content; I run Arena in Hunding's + VO + either Velidreth or, recently, Iceheart. Keep in mind that most mobs there will have ~9k resistances (though bigger mobs can make an exception), so watch out for overpenetration with NMG. Also, if you're not using Warrior mundus, try it - unlike Lover, it will also boost your self-healing.

    I've been running Hunding's up to this point. I'm looking into NMB because of Major Fracture. I normally get it from Surprise Attack, but spamming that doesn't return any health. Running NMG would allow me to use a different skill in that spot and still have access to enough penetration. Between Major Fracture and the Lover mundus, I don't need any other sources of pen. You're right, I could try running Warrior and making up that penetration through CP.

    When I beat Stage 3 a couple days ago it was with the bow. I just haven't been able to make it work for me yet on Stage 4. I understand what it provides and what I sacrifice by not using it. Specifically though, when I'm on the Stage 4 boss and I'm dodging the fire AOEs and trying to kill mobs, I just haven't been able to to figure out how to use it efficiently. The d*mn Dwarven Centurions stay spread out and at range, making my ground AOEs very inefficient.
  • jlb1705
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    jlb1705 wrote: »
    No, no no, no :smiley: They are by far your most valuable and damaging abilities. If you must move, move in such a way that the ranged mobs move inside your AoE zones (e.g. in a circle or backtrack through your AoE)

    Ultimately, this is what I need to figure out how to do. I haven't been able to figure out how to keep mobs in my ground AOEs while also staying out of the Stage 4 Boss's fire damage. It seems like I'm always having to choose one or the other, which isn't good enough.

    The frustrating thing is that there is no place else to practice this fight but here. nMA was such a cakewalk that it's pointless, and vMA punishes mistakes so harshly that it's hard to learn from them sometimes. It feels like teaching yourself how to drive a car by doing a Formula 1 race.
  • John_Falstaff
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    @jlb1705 , fourth one is a huge dwemer spider boss, a-la Darkshade Caverns II, right? Just to make sure we're talking about the same. If yes - well, partially it's about target priorities. In the end, the most dangerous one are dwarven spheres, the ones that shoot ground lightning AOE, they have to go first; shielded sentries can be left alone. The boss itself is moving, so yes, while he's moving (and you're moving with him while green circle lasts) it's hard to catch him for long in ground DoTs, so basically, do what damage you can, apply DoTs, you can include Hail and Caltrops there too, just he won't stay in long. But when he stops to start his fire attack, this is where you reapply Hail, Caltrops, maybe ultimate, and move far ahead to deal with spheres while (at least I do that) keeping center of the room between him and yourself. Now spheres are good targets for ground DoTs too, they normally don't move a lot, and while boss is spewing fire, you can land dot on one and burn mechanical spider. Once boss starts moving again, return into green circle and repeat the process.

    Also, you can try (I don't do that often, but others do it more) pinning mobs to the ground with a trap. Usually you'd do that by moving to spawn point, landing trap, then ground DoTs - that way mob won't walk out of them. Archers/casters make good targets for ground DoTs, other stationary targets like obelisks or crystals on the last round.

    vMA is unforgiving, yes - just don't let it get under your skin; if you feel you're seething, relax, put it aside for a bit. The angrier you are, the easier it is to make a mistake, and then you rush it, you hurry to resurrect and try again... and this is where you should pause and give yourself a well-deserved bit of rest. ^^ During first clear, I found that it's good for me to walk from the shrine when I die - not ride or run, but walk; gives me time to cool down and start thinking about what killed me. (And yes, always look at death recap, you have to figure out what's killing you, it'll help you set your priorities.)
  • jlb1705
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    @jlb1705 , fourth one is a huge dwemer spider boss, a-la Darkshade Caverns II, right? Just to make sure we're talking about the same. If yes - well, partially it's about target priorities. In the end, the most dangerous one are dwarven spheres, the ones that shoot ground lightning AOE, they have to go first; shielded sentries can be left alone. The boss itself is moving, so yes, while he's moving (and you're moving with him while green circle lasts) it's hard to catch him for long in ground DoTs, so basically, do what damage you can, apply DoTs, you can include Hail and Caltrops there too, just he won't stay in long. But when he stops to start his fire attack, this is where you reapply Hail, Caltrops, maybe ultimate, and move far ahead to deal with spheres while (at least I do that) keeping center of the room between him and yourself. Now spheres are good targets for ground DoTs too, they normally don't move a lot, and while boss is spewing fire, you can land dot on one and burn mechanical spider. Once boss starts moving again, return into green circle and repeat the process.

    Also, you can try (I don't do that often, but others do it more) pinning mobs to the ground with a trap. Usually you'd do that by moving to spawn point, landing trap, then ground DoTs - that way mob won't walk out of them. Archers/casters make good targets for ground DoTs, other stationary targets like obelisks or crystals on the last round.

    vMA is unforgiving, yes - just don't let it get under your skin; if you feel you're seething, relax, put it aside for a bit. The angrier you are, the easier it is to make a mistake, and then you rush it, you hurry to resurrect and try again... and this is where you should pause and give yourself a well-deserved bit of rest. ^^ During first clear, I found that it's good for me to walk from the shrine when I die - not ride or run, but walk; gives me time to cool down and start thinking about what killed me. (And yes, always look at death recap, you have to figure out what's killing you, it'll help you set your priorities.)

    Yes, we're talking about the same boss. I think I have a pretty good grasp on the mechanics, thankfully. I haven't been dropping DoTs on the boss when it's stationary and doing it's fire attacks because I've been focusing on getting away and grabbing a sigil. It makes all the sense in the world to do that though so I'll have to give it a try.

    And I didn't mean to mischaracterize myself as giving up on the bow bar entirely. I used it on every other stage so far where the fights are more stationary or occur rotating through the exact same spots. I've just had more trouble figuring out how to make things work in more mobile fights and thought to experiment a bit because going off-meta in the way I described has worked for me before.

  • jlb1705
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    Just beat the stage in like 10 mins running 2H/Bow. Dropping the AOEs and Ballista as I fled the fire attacks did the trick. I was on the opposite side of the room when the boss died. Didn't even craft the NMG set I was thinking about yet. Thanks for the help, I'm probably overthinking some of this stuff.
  • Donny_Vito
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    @jlb1705

    I found myself doing the same thing for quite some time: overthinking vMA. Now, it's all about DPS first and mechanics second. Obviously, on same stages mechanics are more important than others, but DPS is still key. Once you figure out where things spawn, then that's half the battle. Enemies are just NPCs, and so they will behave the same way...every single time. Keep trying and you'll have it beat soon enough!
  • Locriana
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    @Joy_Division @Merlin13KAGL @kerp Another round of thanks, and to EVERYONE STRUGGLING...;
    Ok, the VMA sages here are correct that it gets MUCH easier after first clear.
    Now I’m running my sorc through every day...even get scores! Unheard of I know, and not that great scores (still make dumb mistakes, plus there are lag issues and random nonsense..), but...these are all-at-once runs after getting stuck for soooo long on various stages. Like weeks and months.

    Almost got through final boss on first try on my second run.Thats CRAZY. Would have done it if I wasn’t so surprised about it and forgot a critical move.
    DID get through the ice final boss on first try, second run through. And at one point in first attempt I thought it impossible and stopped trying, for quite some time.

    If you happened to look back on my agonized posts about it, you’d see it took weeks, and then I had to step away for months...came back and it was still so difficult.

    I don’t know what the magic is of first completions, but something about all those tries gets your brain wired differently or something....lol... I really never dreamed it would get that much easier so quickly.

    But I did work hard to get my Magblade 1st clear right after my sorc completion, and I guess the sorc seemed easier after?

    So, just to encourage everyone who thinks they can’t do this! Yes you can!
    Take a break sometime and do some theory-crafting if you like that sort of thing (I do). It’ll help you understand how your character works and what your own play-style is.
    Ask a guild friend to show you a video of his crazy-good run of one stage or boss. Just watching a good player improves your thinking on it. Come to think, watching struggling players’ videos when they complete something may be even more helpfu, because it shows you ways to recover from mistakes. Highly useful.
    Make your own videos after screw-ups, and review them. At least on Xbox that is easy to do. Often you’ll see what you did wrong, what you should have done, and that really helps.

    AND Even with all the helpful advice here, please note: YOU WILL FIND YOUR OWN WAY to do this, by taking advice, then ditching whatever doesn’t work and finding what does. Mostly it’s a balance between staying alive and being able to do enough damage. (Whilemonviously knowing mechanics) Your style may be ‘melt it before it can melt you’....and that can work too. Sometimes.
    And as Joy said, and it can’t be repeated enough...PRIORITIZE TARGETS.

    I was able to coach my husband through his first clear. And he never thought he could do it. He of course gets the fire staff, first try! While I get greatswords, axes, s&bs...<heavy sigh>
    Anyway, it’s a a lot of fun really. Still really challenging, but very do-able.

    Now I need to try a stam character and go through that....haha...I hear they get the staves...

    Thanks everyone.
    Edited by Locriana on August 30, 2018 12:51PM
  • Merlin13KAGL
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    Locriana wrote: »
    AND Even with all the helpful advice here, please note: YOU WILL FIND YOUR OWN WAY to do this, by taking advice, then ditching whatever doesn’t work and finding what does.
    @Locriana Awesome and congrats again! This really is the key. You have to make it your own. Different gear, enchants, skills, even skill order on your bar can make night and day difference sometimes!
    I was able to coach my husband through his first clear. And he never thought he could do it. He of course gets the fire staff, first try! While I get greatswords, axes, s&bs...<heavy sigh>
    Anyway, it’s a a lot of fun really. Still really challenging, but very do-able. ]
    Sweet! Sometimes when you still make mistakes, it almost uniquely positions you to offer advice on how not to make those same mistakes. (Maybe why I'm better with advice than some actual runs.)
    Now I need to try a stam character and go through that....haha...I hear they get the staves...
    I'd recommend starting with StamSorc, but whatever class you choose, the healing morphs (and even the ult) of the first two DW skills can help a lot. StamDK isn't so bad either (flappy wings still for the win). Go with what you're most comfortable with.

    I've yet to clear with Stamden or StamNB. Just not as familiar with those two setups as the rest.

    And regarding the weapon RNG, you're trying to trick the system, eh? ;)
    I predict S&B's for everyone incoming... :trollface:

    Been there! Keep at it, and let us know how stam goes!

    Just because you don't like the way something is doesn't necessarily make it wrong...

    Earn it.

    IRL'ing for a while for assorted reasons, in forum, and in game.
    I am neither warm, nor fuzzy...
    Probably has checkbox on Customer Service profile that say High Aggro, 99% immunity to BS
  • jlb1705
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    I had to walk away last week after getting frustrated with being stuck on the fifth stage. I just can't keep myself alive. I understand the mechanics, target priorities, and spawn points of the stage. I'm not trying to burn the boss too fast and I'm not letting the trolls break the ice. I'm not perfect, but I've had enough runs where I've done a good job of keeping my heals up and I still can't outheal the incoming damage. I tend to do better when I run 2H because I get the shield from Brawler, but ironically, the more effective I am at dispatching adds, the weaker my shield is because there aren't as many of them to hit. I feel like I need more shields, but stamblades just don't have access to them. I'm looking through the skills available to me and the only things I'm seeing are Bone Shield (expensive and meant for group play) and the Psijic Concentrated Barrier passive, which is only up when blocking.

    As I take my break, I'm working on leveling my Psijic skill line. I'm interested in Crushing Weapon - the heal on it looks decent. Has anybody tried running that in vMA? So far it feels clunky to weave compared to Surprise Attack or Bloodthirst. If I take of Surprise Attack I lose the 5280 resistance from the Shadow passive though.

    Here's a dumb question: How much health should I run with? With the various setups that I've tried I've been coming in around 17.5K to 18.5K.

    I've also thought about a respec to Magicka, but I'd have to come up with more gear and level more new skills and, learn a new playstyle. It wouldn't be completely starting over like rolling a new character would be, but it would cost a lot of money and time that I'm not sure would even be worthwhile. I also have Magplar, but he's only used for storage and crafting, so I'd have to respec him for combat and learn all of that stuff.
  • Joy_Division
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    jlb1705 wrote: »
    I had to walk away last week after getting frustrated with being stuck on the fifth stage. I just can't keep myself alive. I understand the mechanics, target priorities, and spawn points of the stage. I'm not trying to burn the boss too fast and I'm not letting the trolls break the ice. I'm not perfect, but I've had enough runs where I've done a good job of keeping my heals up and I still can't outheal the incoming damage. I tend to do better when I run 2H because I get the shield from Brawler, but ironically, the more effective I am at dispatching adds, the weaker my shield is because there aren't as many of them to hit. I feel like I need more shields, but stamblades just don't have access to them. I'm looking through the skills available to me and the only things I'm seeing are Bone Shield (expensive and meant for group play) and the Psijic Concentrated Barrier passive, which is only up when blocking.

    As I take my break, I'm working on leveling my Psijic skill line. I'm interested in Crushing Weapon - the heal on it looks decent. Has anybody tried running that in vMA? So far it feels clunky to weave compared to Surprise Attack or Bloodthirst. If I take of Surprise Attack I lose the 5280 resistance from the Shadow passive though.

    Here's a dumb question: How much health should I run with? With the various setups that I've tried I've been coming in around 17.5K to 18.5K.

    I've also thought about a respec to Magicka, but I'd have to come up with more gear and level more new skills and, learn a new playstyle. It wouldn't be completely starting over like rolling a new character would be, but it would cost a lot of money and time that I'm not sure would even be worthwhile. I also have Magplar, but he's only used for storage and crafting, so I'd have to respec him for combat and learn all of that stuff.

    In general, I feel the best advice is play what you are best at (so dont switch to magicja unless you are legit better at it) and for PvE offense trumps defense.

    My guide generally advocates a more conservative strategy and I talk about how important resource management and slotting a defensive skill are - and that's still true- but at the end of the day vMA is pretty much always easier killing stuff faster. Getting too defensive/conservative, such as counting on Brawlers shield, is generally not a good idea.

    Rounds 3 and 4 on the Ice stage are legit hard, the defensive sigil makes them much more manageable. It sounds like the boss is where you struggle. There is a lot of inc damage and the best way to deal with it is killing adds as soon as they spawn. You know when and where the first 2 sets of adds, put a poison inject into the troll and nuke the ranged one down. The Nerieds are tough for a stam NB, Place grounds AoE, poison inject, kite so she runs over the AoEs and kill herself; she'll die passively.

    I used crushing weapon, it's ok. You'll get a similar heal via siphoning and surprise attack gets you more damage. I don't think it's going to make a decisive difference here. How you "get" vMA is memorizing where the adds spawn and concentrating your DPS at the precise moment so there isn;t much incoming damage.

    @Locriana - gratz!
    Edited by Joy_Division on August 31, 2018 3:50PM
  • jlb1705
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    @Joy_Division Thanks. You're correct, I'm stuck on the boss. Specifically, I'm not getting past the second phase, after the boss breaks the first island, with the two waves of adds. I'm especially struggling with the nereids since they hit hard and their attacks can't be kited. I'm leaving the defensive and weapon power sigils for the final phase as suggested, but I've only got to that part once or twice and got so caught off-guard by getting there that I freaked out and screwed everything up.

    Reading through your response, I think part of what I need to figure out is trusting my dots to do their job. I don't tend to put down PI on an enemy then turn to a different target while that ticks, like you suggested. I tend to not trust something is going to die unless I keep attacking and watch them drop. I can see how that would cause me to be inefficient with my resources and drag out fights longer than they need to go. I guess that's a big thing for me to work on.

  • Joy_Division
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    jlb1705 wrote: »
    @Joy_Division Thanks. You're correct, I'm stuck on the boss. Specifically, I'm not getting past the second phase, after the boss breaks the first island, with the two waves of adds. I'm especially struggling with the nereids since they hit hard and their attacks can't be kited. I'm leaving the defensive and weapon power sigils for the final phase as suggested, but I've only got to that part once or twice and got so caught off-guard by getting there that I freaked out and screwed everything up.

    Reading through your response, I think part of what I need to figure out is trusting my dots to do their job. I don't tend to put down PI on an enemy then turn to a different target while that ticks, like you suggested. I tend to not trust something is going to die unless I keep attacking and watch them drop. I can see how that would cause me to be inefficient with my resources and drag out fights longer than they need to go. I guess that's a big thing for me to work on.

    The only stam I've done vMA with is a Warden. The first set of adds are not too hard since you pretty much know when and where they spawn. I do like to start on that back island, so as soon as they spawn, you can quickly take down the archer (the speed sigal is right there, makes kiting the melee and kiling the troll easier.

    If you can do this, you *will* have Dawnbraker up, so you can nuke down the second set, between caltrops and endless hail, prolly dont even need a poison inject if you can dawnbreaker them both.

    Make sure the boss breaks the other back island second. That way when the neried spawns, you can grab the shield sigal, which ends her threat and it should last long enough for you to burn down the boss.
  • Merlin13KAGL
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    jlb1705 wrote: »
    @Joy_Division Thanks. You're correct, I'm stuck on the boss. Specifically, I'm not getting past the second phase, after the boss breaks the first island, with the two waves of adds. I'm especially struggling with the nereids since they hit hard and their attacks can't be kited. I'm leaving the defensive and weapon power sigils for the final phase as suggested, but I've only got to that part once or twice and got so caught off-guard by getting there that I freaked out and screwed everything up.

    Reading through your response, I think part of what I need to figure out is trusting my dots to do their job. I don't tend to put down PI on an enemy then turn to a different target while that ticks, like you suggested. I tend to not trust something is going to die unless I keep attacking and watch them drop. I can see how that would cause me to be inefficient with my resources and drag out fights longer than they need to go. I guess that's a big thing for me to work on.
    @jlb1705 this is much of it. Caltrops and endless will chip away at multiple adds more than you initially think they will. Drop them both on the edge of the island so adds are taking full damage from both (plus the snare from caltrops will help) and the boss is taking little.

    When getting used to it on Stam, I probably roll dodged as much, if not more than I Vigor'd. It will give you a few seconds of immunity from most attacks and give the DoTs time to work.

    Bear in mind, with exception of the last island, this one doesn't have to be a DPS race, boss wise. You can kite from island to island if you need to, and so long as she's not taking damage, the mechanic will not advance. Use this as recovery time if you must.

    PI does help a lot, especially combined with Caltrops and Hail. Then it's a few dodges, minimizing damage on the boss, if you must, and you can get back to normal. Let the PI go the full duration for max damage. You'll burn more resources and the damage will be less effective if you don't.

    Master's 2H can be helpful here, if you're set on running 2H on one bar. If you DW, the healing morph of the first two skills can make things much easier to deal with, as well. Brawler's shield is short lived. The heals from those two skills will basically always be going.

    Also, don't forget you can block. It's legit easy to forget that's an option when all hell is breaking lose, but half damage is still better than eating 3 or 4 hits square.

    You've got the right idea. AoE DoT the adds, PI the close adds, and dodge when attacks are incoming. They'll practically clear themselves. *Worst case scenario is an add will have a sliver of health left, nothing a 2nd PI or even LA won't cure.
    (You can PI multiple adds, too, without overwriting a previous PI on a different add)

    Good luck!
    Just because you don't like the way something is doesn't necessarily make it wrong...

    Earn it.

    IRL'ing for a while for assorted reasons, in forum, and in game.
    I am neither warm, nor fuzzy...
    Probably has checkbox on Customer Service profile that say High Aggro, 99% immunity to BS
  • jlb1705
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    @Merlin13KAGL Thanks. I went back to work on it two nights ago and got closer to beating it than I had before but also got more frustrated than ever too. Over the span of a couple hours I had to log out and re-enter several times to fix the bugginess. I had enemies disappearing but still hitting me, I had skills or dodge rolls not firing even with 80% stamina, etc.

    I think I do need to stick with 2H, at least for this part of the fight. I've tried both that and DW on my front bar, and I find better results for my playstyle/ability level with 2H. The shield from Brawler isn't big and doesn't last long, but I stay alive better with it than without it. It's a big part of the reason why I was speculating previously about finding ways to come up with more mitigation, because out-healing hasn't been enough for me on its own. Healing by its very nature is reactive - even if you're applying it like a shield every five seconds, you have to take damage before the benefit of the skill is applied to your resources. If you stay out of damage and Vigor is ticking, nothing happens - no benefit is derived because your health is full. Shields are proactive - you get a benefit applied before damage is taken because it stacks on top of your health, even when its full.
  • Merlin13KAGL
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    2H definitely works too, and if that's what you're most comfortable with, stick with it. I've cleared both ways.

    DoTs + dodge is the best advice I can offer. Rally and/or Vigor when you can, Brawler when things are stacked up. Dodge (even preemptively) will give buy you some time before and after to let DoTs work. Do it on your back bar and you'll also get the speed boost from the bow passive.

    Let the snare from Caltrops keep things at distance (kite in a circle if you must, or dodge through adds to keep them in it), Endless Hail on the casters and ranged mobs.

    I definitely have a harder time on stam.

    Don't be afraid to go in the water for short periods, if you must. Block if you're caught in her point blank or the 2Hander's knockback. If adds are still giving you grief, don't be afraid to let Dawnbreaker loose to help finish them off. It's cheap, you'll have time to rebuild ult, and if you're pointing away from the boss, you don't have to worry about pushing her to the next breaking point.

    As for the second point, when vMA breaks, it tends to break hard. Skill non-fire, delayed fire, or half a dozen other bugs (disappearing adds, platforms, invisible AoE's, etc.) make it nay impossible.

    If your instance is that messed up, trying again later may be your best bet. I generally try to get through a stage to prevent repeat, but sometimes the game has other ideas in mind.

    Keep at it & you'll get there.
    Just because you don't like the way something is doesn't necessarily make it wrong...

    Earn it.

    IRL'ing for a while for assorted reasons, in forum, and in game.
    I am neither warm, nor fuzzy...
    Probably has checkbox on Customer Service profile that say High Aggro, 99% immunity to BS
  • jlb1705
    jlb1705
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    Got to the final phase of the boss fight twice last night but couldn't beat it. My best run though was one where I didn't even make it there. I was on the second island and had cleared the second wave of adds and was more in control of the fight than I had ever been... or so I thought. I had my ultimate built up and was ready to move to the final phase. I decided to take a moment and regen a little stamina since I was sitting on about 40%. I kited around that second island for a few seconds and avoided the boss. Unbeknownst to me though, there was a DOT still on the boss that was ticking away maybe it was a bleed from my battle axe. Maybe it was a stray PI that I meant to place on an archer. Whatever it was, it caused the mechanic to kick in, and she broke the second island and one-shotted me just as I realized what was happening. I think that would've been the run that got me through if I had taken notice what was happening. On the occasions where I actually make it to the final phase, usually I'm out of control and all over the place with my rotation, buffs, and heals. It wasn't like that on this run, just missed that one little pretty big thing.
  • jlb1705
    jlb1705
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    I'm finally through Stage 5.

    The last couple nights I started getting better at getting to the execute phase of the boss fight. Once I started dropping Dawnbreaker on the last wave of adds on the second island, I started getting through that part with some consistency. I had been afraid of burning the boss too fast in the crossfire or not being able to regen my ultimate for the execute phase, but neither of those turned out to be the case. Once I figured that out, I started to find I didn't have enough firepower to burn the boss. I think I died about three or four times with her at less than 3% health. I swapped out Brawler for Reverse Slice though, and that did the trick. As it turns out, my ultimate didn't even fire on my successful run. I had Ballista lined up, but it didn't go when I pushed both bumpers on my Xbox controller. Oh well, LOL.

    At this point I think I'm going to take some time off from vMA. After getting through that part, the compulsion to play and advance has faded a little. Gonna clear out some survey reports that have been piling up and work my way through Cadwell's Silver for a while. I think I need to get back in touch with what I enjoy about the game. Might come back and work on Stage 6 in a few weeks.
  • Merlin13KAGL
    Merlin13KAGL
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    Well done, @jlb1705 . It's a process, and you're doing right by stepping away for a bit when it gets too frustrating.

    You'll continue to advance a bit at a time, and eventually it will click.

    Sadly, skill misfire (or no fire) seems to be pretty common.

    The point being, you're figuring out what to adjust for your style of play, and that, imo, is the biggest key to ultimate completion.

    Just because you don't like the way something is doesn't necessarily make it wrong...

    Earn it.

    IRL'ing for a while for assorted reasons, in forum, and in game.
    I am neither warm, nor fuzzy...
    Probably has checkbox on Customer Service profile that say High Aggro, 99% immunity to BS
  • kerp
    kerp
    Here's a dumb question: How much health should I run with? With the various setups that I've tried I've been coming in around 17.5K to 18.5K.
    Not that dumb question. It's really disappointing watching all that videos where guys with 17-18K health just go through the mobs and they fall down. Looks so easy.

    IMO you have to feel comfortable, i.e. you should have enough health and mobility plus enough DPS. For me (petsorc with 50k mag and big ward) this comfort came in two steps, in each step I moved 10 attributes from Magicka to Health ending with 22-23K health and still having enough DPS. With that additional health I can survive one more hit and this is important.

    Having enough mobility probably is easier to be done for stam build but if you feel yourself too slow transmute some jewelry to Swift.
  • Donny_Vito
    Donny_Vito
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    As far as the health, a lot of it depends on your class/build. If you're a MagSorc, then 17kish is fine because you'll be using shields 99% of the time you're in there, so you're better off having the extra attribute points in Magicka which will increase that damage shield while also increasing the tooltip of your abilities.

    On my Sorc: between Crit Surge and Hardened Ward I can run two destro staffs and live through pretty much anything.
  • jlb1705
    jlb1705
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    After my most recent adjustments that led to finishing the fifth stage, I had upped my health to 19K by replacing the stamina glyphs on my head and leg pieces with health ones. I normally run a heavy divines chest piece with a health glyph on it so I already had that part.

    I've tried running blue food instead of Dubious, but had trouble with sustain.

    I had thought about doing a re-spec on attribute points (I have all in stam) to gain a little more health, but haven't pulled the trigger on that yet. I'm just wondering if there is a sweet spot that people recommend for vMA that's different from group content setups.
  • Donny_Vito
    Donny_Vito
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    19k seems like a lot of health, and if you've had to sacrifice stamina (which in turn lowers dps) then I'm not sure if it's really worth it to again raise your health by lowering stamina.
  • Merlin13KAGL
    Merlin13KAGL
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    17k minimum still applies. I've gone as low as 15 and change, but it doesn't leave as much room for error.

    When you're doing your first several clears, you're not going to typically have massive DPS anyway, so changing a glyph or two to give yourself a but more comfort in Health pool is not going to significantly change the process.

    Don't lose half your stat pool, but a piece or two with a Health enchant ( or even a different monster helm setup with a Health 1pc bonus) won't break you. It's generally easier and cheaper to swap glyphs (so long as they're not Legendary) than pay for a respec each time.

    Find the attribute combo you're comfortable with as your baseline. Adjust the rest with gear and glyphs. That way, if you need more of one thing and less of something else, you're only a gear swap (even partial) away, vice having to respec half a dozen times.

    A bit more health will give you some more room for error, which can be a good thing and bad thing. If you're keeping constant heals and/or shields, you'll find the value that you're comfortable with. If you feel you need a little more, you probably do. Higher health gives you more wiggle room. Lower health demands more precision.

    Just bear in mind it's only going to buy you a few extra seconds, or one additional hit. Your surviviability will ultimately come from learning the arena and focusing the priority targets.
    Just because you don't like the way something is doesn't necessarily make it wrong...

    Earn it.

    IRL'ing for a while for assorted reasons, in forum, and in game.
    I am neither warm, nor fuzzy...
    Probably has checkbox on Customer Service profile that say High Aggro, 99% immunity to BS
  • Juju_beans
    Juju_beans
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    jlb1705 wrote: »
    I did get my 5th piece of VO, so I've tried running that with Hunding's and that pushed me through one more stage.

    The other problem I'm having is that AOEs like Caltrops and Endless Hail are useless in highly mobile fights or against ranged mobs who stay spread out.

    No, no no, no :smiley: They are by far your most valuable and damaging abilities. If you must move, move in such a way that the ranged mobs move inside your AoE zones (e.g. in a circle or backtrack through your AoE)

    Here's my bar setup for the moment:
    DW: Deadly Cloak, Relentless Focus, Vigor, Blood Craze, Bloodthirst
    2H: Rally, Leeching Strikes, Vigor, Power Extraction, Brawler

    This setup is going to be really hard because it does very little passive damage. You're going to find yourself dodging and trying to heal/avoid damage without any means of whittling down the enemies chasing you and that's a losing proposition in vMA. Without a bow, Catrops is a must. I would replace with Bloodthrist. Also Steel Tornado is better than Power Extraction. Don't double bar Vigor, you need all 10 skills and then some. If you're going to use a 2H, you ought to use the execute.

    I came from wow and played a hunter. What you described is kiting the mob back and forth so they are constantly in the circle of AOE damage. This was an easy concept for me to grasp and I used it constantly while leveling up.
  • LadyLethalla
    LadyLethalla
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    Just wanted to share this:

    I just finished VMA on a Redguard mag sorc. Non-pet.
    Now before the cries of "why a Redguard, of all things?!" here are my reasons.
    She was a stamsorc originally.
    My main is also a Redguard. She was a stamblade, but I respecced her as a magblade a few patches ago - and she's much more fun to play.
    I really want the achievement on her, because she is my main.
    I also don't want to racechange her unless absolutely necessary, because that's 1500 crowns I could use for something else (plus it wouldn't "be her"). Sure, I could racechange twice to High Elf and back to Redguard - but then that's 3000 crowns.
    And yes, obviously a magsorc is quite different to a magblade - but my magblade has an easier time soloing Graveld than my magsorc.

    Wish me luck...
    x-TallyCat-x // PS4 EU DC - For the Covenant! // Max level CP since idk when. // ESO Platinum trophy - 16th May 2017

    Proud member of the Aetherium Alliance.
    Melbourne Australia - the land of Potato Internet.

    WTB ESO OCEANIC SERVER
    Looking for PS4 EU Oceanic players
  • Dubhliam
    Dubhliam
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    Hey @Joy_Division I just wanted to post here my CP178 Flawless run.

    Although I have finished and mastered vMA on another account, your guide was an inspiration to try this endeavor out.
    45155470_1865233346955928_3435231520422363136_o.jpg?_nc_cat=103&_nc_ht=scontent-amt2-1.xx&oh=9e37be443f817d2df65ba1daa3210947&oe=5C718566

    What I would still suggest to new players is: PRIORITIZE defense and sustain over damage.
    Don't listen to what experienced players are saying about DPS... you need to first get to a point where you are experienced enough in vMA before you can burst through it.
    Having stronger resistances gives you enough margin for error and time to identify what mobs are giving you trouble, and with what attacks you have to deal with.

    Minimum DPS is around 15k.
    Once you learn the stages, you can start increasing your damage.
    >>>Detailed Justice System Concept thread<<<
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