First Impressions of Champion Changes.

I have not had enough time to render a full judgement of the changes to the Champion class. I have, however, gone through a few skirmishes and grouped with a Guardian to test the waters a bit. 

Wit the changes to different Virtues, I have begun using Zeal.  My current choice of Virtues is Determination, Discipline, Loyalty, Valor, and Zeal. So far, so good. On to Class traits.  For a long while, now, I have gone with 4 red (Fervour), 3 yellow (Ardour). That’s been great for dealing with single targets, but still bringing the pain to groups of targets with AoE. Just to test the waters, I went with a 4 Ardour and 3 Fervour build, this time out. The Ardour traits I have equipped are Stalwart Blade, Winds of the Storm, Eye of the Storm, and Swift to Anger. The Fervour traits I am using right now are Controlled Fury, Blood Lust, and Vicious Strikes. I’m happy enough with the Ardour traits, but the Fervour ones seem a bit lacking. As for Legendary traits, I had to keep Raging Blade and Controlled Burn.  Not sure what to do with the last one, I went with Fight On – which I think I have used twice since I learned the skill long ago.

Okay, so how does the Champion perform in the new Ardour stance? I would say that the class does admirably well. Swift to Anger turns Swift Strike to Swift Blade, which has an arc like Blade Wall.  In Ardour, Blade Wall generates an additional point of fervour. In short, generating fervor pips was not an issue – fervour points roll in at an impressive rate while you spam AoE attacks.  With the discount to power costs that you get with 4 Ardour traits, I found that power is not an issue. Also, since I am not going with a Fervour/Flurry build, I found that Dual Wielding still works just fine – important to me, as I view Dual Wielding as a signature ability of the class. Actually, I think the Dual Wield is superior to 2H in Ardour stance – I still believe that 2H will out-perform DW in Fervour, though.

Is there a downside to the 4 Ardour/3 Fervour build?  Sure.  I found that individual, tough mobs take a good 10-20% longer to kill.  This would be more of an issue, except for the fact that I can actually parry and evade in Ardour – big fights are longer, but a Champion is more durable. It feels a bit slower, but in exchange, you get to make lesser mobs evaporate when they wander  into your AoE.  I can live with that.

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