Energy, Adrenaline, and Management
October 20, 2009
Every skill in the game requires some sort of cost. Regardless of activation time, most skills require either Energy or Adrenaline. Energy is somewhat more difficult to manage than Adrenaline, but there are many key things to consider while using Adrenal Skills.
Most professions rely solely upon Energy and Signet skills, notably casters. In battle, you are either attacking, moving, or using a skill. Attacking helps casters little in most situations, so they are limited in their effectiveness to using skills and moving to accomplish their roles. Moving generally aids in the player's role, whatever that may be, but skills must be used to accomplish tasks. Therefore Energy (as well as Adrenaline for some physicals) is the principle fuel for fulfilling a player's role in the party. That means without usable Energy, a player is dead weight in the party. This is very basic, but it introduces the importance of usable Energy as opposed to Energy in general.
Energy Management is a tricky matter, as there are many factors that go into it. A common fallacy of players is to assume Energy Management is synonymous with Energy-Gaining skills, such as those from the Inspiration Magic line. While these can aid Energy Management, there is far more to successful Energy Management. There are several basic components of Energy Management:
- Primary Attributes
- Energy Alternatives
- Management Skills
Not all of these are needed, or even possible for all situations. All of these will be covered later in the Article, but first, it is better to cover some common misconceptions over Energy Management:Large Energy Pools
- A common fallacy is that having a large amount of base energy through Radiant Insignia, Attunement Runes, Energy Storage, and other methods will provide long-lasting Energy returns. Technically, this will allow a player to "hold out" for longer, although a player with good Energy Management will not gain much from having a massive pool. While there will be some benefits, the opportunity cost of bringing such an energy pool (ie Survivor's/Other Insignia, Vitae/Other Runes, etc) is far more useful than the energy gained.Energy has to last through a Fight
- There are several ways to take this, but two common mistakes is to assume that energy can be depleted at the end of a fight, or that all energy should be expended in a fight as soon as possible on offensive characters. Regarding the first of these, this will quickly render you useless in PvP and waste time recuperating in PvE. For the latter, you may cause some initial damage, but will not be able to focus on priority targets. In either case, depleting all of your energy should only be done in absolute emergencies during a fight, or when it is tactically acceptable, such as scoring a key kill in a GvG match.Glyph of Energy and Inspiration Magic
- Many casters feel the need to pack Glyph of Lesser Energy, or feel that they absolutely must have Inspiration spells in order to maintain their energy. As mentioned above, there is far more to Energy Management than skills, and there are far more skills than just these. For GoLE in particular, although it is unlinked, it doesn't save much energy for its long recharge, and the fact that it must be precast should be a turn off. Inspiration may be a useful Attribute Line for many skills (Power Drain in particular), however, each profession has its own skills for Energy Management. Inspiration Magic is indeed powerful, but the Attribute Spread in order to reap its rewards can cripple many builds.Energy Denial
- When many players, Monks in particular, see any form of E-denial, they panic and assume that they have lost due to the rock-paper-scissors nature of the game. Most players will cease to manage their energy, and will assume there is nothing more they can do. Don't panic! There are useful ways using equipment to deal with E-denial that will be covered later on.
Now that some of the do-nots have been covered, it's time to go over the components of good Energy Management I listed previously in the Article.Efficiency
- This applies mostly to Healers, but is still valid for other roles as well. If a party member has 550 of 600 max health, there is no reason to heal that character with a healing spell that heals for 100 health. Similarly, why use an interrupt on a skill that does not need to be interrupted? Save your interrupts for key skills like Word of Healing, Crippling Shot, Diversion, and others. You'll find that using skills only when needed, you will save energy, as well as play better tactically.Primary Attributes
- Each Primary Attribute with the exception of Strength and Fast Casting serves as Energy Management. Most of these are obvious, such as Ranger's Expertise, however, not all of these are as clear. Monk's Divine Favor improves efficiency as does Spawning Power. All of these Attribute Lines also contain several useful management skills.Energy Alternatives
- This is a fancy way of saying Adrenaline skills and Signets. By using skills that don't use energy, you accomplish your role without spending energy. Unfortunately, many of these skills are not as powerful, or cannot fulfill the same roles as energy-based skills. Consider Executioner's Strike and Power Attack. They are nearly identical in effect, however, Power Attack can be used more frequently but at the cost of energy. Balancing these alternative skills with energy-intensive skills is key to making a successful skillbar.Management Skills
- These are either skills that reduce the cost of other skills, or cause the user or his party to gain energy. While most of these skills aren't worth bringing, some like Blood is Power, Power Drain, and Offering of Blood are amazing. As a general rule, the best non-skills are most conditional, as shown by Power Drain's huge energy gain versus its requirement of a spell interrupt. The fewer of these skills (if any are brought) the better, as it is more effective to bring more alternative skills.Equipment
- Here is where things get hectic. Each class has some base energy and energy recovery granted by their armor. Apart from armor bonuses, weapon sets can make a huge difference. While there is no way to improve your energy regeneration, it is possible to net significant gains using energy manipulation. You can keep yourself safe from energy denial, or keep emergency energy. A standard defensive set utilizes a Spear (or other martial weapon) with a "Brawn over Brains" inscription and a Defensive suffix mod, in tandem with a shield. This seemingly results in a net loss of 5 energy, but where does the energy go? If you brought a near identical set without the "Brawn over Brains" inscription, and switched to it mid-battle, you would appear to "gain" that energy back. If you switch back, the energy is once again hidden. I say hidden because while that energy can be accessed by the player at any time, it cannot be touched by opponents. This is how you hide energy from enemy Mesmers, and Rangers with Debilitating Shot. In contrast, you may obtain additional energy reserves by switching to a weapon set with more energy than your current set. A 30e/-2r set will net you 72 energy on a caster including base energy. While you never
"sit" on this set except to quickly cast, you only lose a little bit of your energy if you change back immediately to a 4 regen set. Having this additional energy lets you save a teammate if you aggro too many groups, or push in PvP matches to score kills.
Energy Management is one of the most difficult techniques to master in Guild Wars. It is also one of the most important. Once you have control of your energy, you can easily win over your opponents.