Codex Arena was introduced on October 22nd 2009 as it replaced Team Arenas and Hero Battles. From the words of a friend that I trust, the main reason they removed Team Arenas was because they could not balance the game mechanics of 4 v 4 PvP the way they would have liked it to be. Therefore, in order to fix this issue, they simply replaced the 4 v 4 organized pvp arena by one with a sealed deck format. While the sealed deck format did not fix any balance issues of the 4 v 4 pvp format, it opened the doors to a new kind of pvp experience to the willing players. During the following lines I will introduce the format, its flaws, some of my codex history, the community, codex stories and some codex bars I played long time ago.
The Codex Format
The format of codex arena is a 4 v 4 Sealed Deck format with specific rules. The sealed deck format restricts the skill selection. The three Stone Pedestals in the Codex Arena Outpost indicate some of the rules of the arena.
1 - Honor your profession "For Truly honorable combat, each combatant may only use elite skills from their primary profession."
2- Honor your team "For truly honorable combat, all teams must have four combatants, each of a different primary profession. No heroes or henchmen will be permitted in the arena."
3 - Honor the codex "For truly honorable combat, all combatants must only use skills included in the current codex. Each Codex holds a number of randomly selected skills for each profession. A new Codex is put into effect every six hours.
Here are the basic rules of the Arena (taken from the Codex Arena page):
- Resurrection Signet is always available.
- Aura of Restoration, Blood Renewal, Ether Feast, Healing Signet, Leader's Comfort, Shadow Refuge, Troll Unguent, and Vital Boon are skills that are always available in order to facilitate self-healing.
- Certain skills are made available for the usage of other skills.
- Rangers will always have Charm Animal (Codex).
- Assassins will always have one randomly selected lead attack and one randomly selected off-hand attack. Neither will be elite, and the off-hand attack will require a lead attack.
- Ritualists will always have one randomly selected, non-elite binding ritual.
- Necromancers will always have one randomly selected, non-elite minion-summoning skill.
- Certain skills are restricted from the arena. Protector's Defense is confirmed to be under this restriction.
- Priests in Codex Arena have 800 Health and lack Heal Area.
The codex used to change every twenty-four hours with every profession having 5 elite skills and 15 regular skills, for a total of 20 skills per profession. However, as of the January 28th update, considering balance was needed regarding the skill selection for every profession, the rules were changed to this:
- Assassins, Dervish, Warriors and Paragons will receive 17 normal skills and 3 elites.
- Elementalists, Necromancers and Mesmers will receive 20 normal skills and 5 elites.
- Monks and Ritualists will receive 16 normal skills and 4 elites.
- Rangers will receive 19 normal skills and 4 elites.
As for specific skill selection:
- Protector's Defense has been added to the list of restricted Codex skills.
- Assassin skills are guaranteed to include one randomly selected lead attack and one randomly selected off-hand attack. Neither will be elite, and the off-hand attack will require a lead attack.
- Ritualist skills are guaranteed to include one randomly selected, non-elite binding ritual.
- Necromancer skills are guaranteed to include one randomly selected, non-elite minion-summoning skill.
Flaws of the Codex Format
This will be divided in three categories. One being the pre-January 28th-update for historical purpose and to introduce the second part being post-January 28th-2010-update. The section will be concluded by generalizing some overplayed combination of skills played whenever available.
Pre-January 28th 2010
Let's look at some blunt facts concerning every profession in the game.
- Core Classes
- Warrior : 36 elite Skills and 104 non-elite skills
- Ranger : 35 elite skills and 105 non-elite skills
- Monk : 35 elite skills and 106 non-elite skills
- Necromancer : 35 non-elite skills and 107 non-elite skills
- Mesmer : 34 elite skills and 103 non-elite skills
- Elementalist: 35 elite skills and 109 non-elite skills
- Faction Classes
- Assassin : 25 elite skills and 85 non-elite skills
- Ritualist : 25 elite skills and 85 non-elite skills
- Nightfall Classes
- Paragon : 15 elite skills and 70 non-elite skills
- Dervish : 15 elite skills and 70 non-elite skills
So every profession gets 5 elite skills. What are the odds a dervish will get a strong elite such as Wounding Strike in opposition to a Warior getting a strong elite like Eviscerate? 33.3% for the dervish and about 13.9% for the warrior. This means that dervish will get wounding strike as one of their elite skills A LOT whereas the occurence of strong elite skills on warriors will be rarer. It works the same way for non-elite skills. What is the odd of a ranger having distracting shot in opposition to a ritualist having resilient weapon (both skills being extremely useful in codex). 14.3% for the ranger and 17.6% for the Ritualist. What I am pointing out is the fact the professions with smaller skill pools are advantaged by the rules for having a smaller skill pool. Because there is a certain balance in the game, the odds that a viable axe bar will be possible are bad in comparison to a viable scythe bar as Wounding strike can carry a scythe bar by itself especially on days where condition removal skills are not very present. Therefore, all the core classes are disadvantaged in comparison to the Faction professions which are still disadvantaged in comparison to the Nightfall professions. It's a good thing that Paragons are a pretty average class that doesn't have any overpowered codex skill like Wounding Strike the same way dervish does. In Codex Arena, when a warrior bar is not viable, you play something else. Sometimes Warrior is bad and that's how codex is so play something else. What I'm saying is that there are more viable non-core bars than viable core bars on a quantitative scale and that is an issue. Let's avoid discussing the Ranger builds mainly using skills from a secondary profession...
Another flaw in the skill selection is that it is random. Often, while browsing Mesmer skills, I would find it funny that they had Mantra of Lightning without any good lightning skills available in either Air Magic or Channeling Magic. The same thing works for Assassins having a skill requiring a dual attack without any dual attacks available. A skill that requires a knockdown without any kd, Spirit Light without a spirit and so on. So I'm pointing out the fact that many skills are useless and cannot possibly have a decent usage due to the random nature of skill selection. This is especially annoying for core classes that, as I've pointed before, are disadvantaged by their larger skill pool. We could nevertheless argue that the uselessness of certain skills is an inherent part of Codex, which is to an extent a fair argument. However it is not balanced. The Dervish class has a fair amount of bad skills but they will more likely be coped up for by decent skills which are more likely to be present. This is not the case for a warrior or for any classes with a wide skill pool. Once again, I'm showing that professions with smaller skill pools are advantage by the randomness of the skill selection and not only by the number of skills they receive, but by the fact they are more likely to have a viable balanced bar.
Let's introduce something that is known in every form of player versus player (PvP) that is found in codex: grieving. The same way grieving was possible in Team Arenas, it is still very possible to do it in Codex Arena. If by any chance, there is a possibility to make a strong healing monk bar, a strong healing rit bar and semi-offensive charaters like bsurge eles, you will face one team with all of those. their capacity to kill will be zero and they will draw you when you are in the middle of a long streak of 42 wins. Reason does not get to those people. I've tried to convince them that they cannot possibly win games with their build setup so they might as well resign and let us on our streak but of course not...Now I'm not saying I lost versus every HYPER-DEFENSIVE opponent I've fought, but every time it's unpleasant and sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do even if you're the best player in Guild Wars. If they want to draw you, they can. You could run 4 heal monks in Team Arenas to draw a good team on a long streak just to piss them off. Some people did it. It was a broken format mechanic and yet again it is found in Codex.
Sometimes, healing bars are horrible. Everyone who has played a healing bar in codex knows how awful they can be. For this reason, one ridiculously annoying strategy that some people will do in order to win is to camp their Priest in Deldrimor Arena and Seabed Arena. The Priest will pop out a 14 Healing Prayers Heal Area which will heal everyone in the area for 170 points of health every 6 seconds (5 second recharge + 1 second casting time). Now if you push into their base and attempt to kill them, their superior healing capacity will give their damage dealer a lot of time to kill. Even if your team is the better team, you will eventually die if you keep fighting at their priest. When the bars get low, you want to fall back to your priest or a neutral fighting zone to engage a fair fight (although you will be at a little disadvantage). The problem is...some people won't chase you. They will camp their priest no matter what, ensuring them an almost certain victory. I've beaten teams camping their priest in the past and it feels good overplaying them when you are disadvantaged. However, especially against decent players who decided not to play it fair, the game will most likely result in a draw or a lost while theirs is more likely to be a win or a draw.
I could finish this section by listing a couple of overpowered codex skills that are used whenever available but since a lot of them have been nerfed during later game updates (notably EDA, Prot D, Resilient Weapon), I'll suppose they were included in the paragraph about players running HYPER-DEFENSIVE setups.
Even with all those broken format mechanics, I still enjoyed playing codex before the January 28th 2010 update and managed to reach the rank of Codex Zealot (4) at least a month and a half before the update. For the sake of having fun, I quickly learned to avoid playing Codex Arena whenever Dual Backlines and hyper-defensive builds were possible because being drawn on the 45th game is very bad for your real-life morale.
Post January 28th 2010
To begin, here is a quick update note of the January 28th update.
- The Codex now changes every 6 hours.
- EDA is nerfed and Protector's Defense is banned from Codex.
- Priest has 800 health and does not have the Heal Area skill anymore.
- Elementalists, Necromancers and Mesmers will receive 20 normal skills and 5 elites.
- Rangers will receive 19 normal skills and 4 elites.
- Monks and Ritualists will receive 16 normal skills and 4 elites.
- Assassins, Dervish, Warriors and Paragons will receive 17 normal skills and 3 elites.
- Codex Assassin skills will now be guaranteed to include one randomly selected Lead Attack and one randomly selected Off-Hand Attack. (Neither of these will be Elite, and the Off-Hand attack will be one that requires a Lead Attack.)
- Codex Necromancer skills will now be guaranteed to include one randomly selected, non-elite minion-summoning skill.
- Codex Ritualist skills will now be guaranteed to include one randomly selected, non-elite Binding Ritual.
(taken and adapted from http://www.guildwars.com/gameplay/developer_updates/january_2010_pvp_update.php)
I will put a rant about why I hate the fact that the codex changes every 6 hours in my next section entitled "My History in Codex". But for now let's take a quick look at the update. The fact that EDA was nerfed and Prot D banned is great: those two skills were often overused and overpowered in a codex-like battle environment. I completely agree with the Priest nerf as a lot of players with bad sportsmanship would abuse of it.
Some of the reasons for those changed are listed on the webpage I mentioned earlier. Notably "Because Factions and Nightfall professions have smaller skill pools to draw from, they should have fewer skills, especially Elite skills, in the Codex in order to keep builds from being too stagnant.". Now this line is far from explaining why did they group the warrior profession with Dervish, Paragon and Assassins and gave them 3 elites and 17 normal skills. If 3 elites and 17 non-elite is what is given to a profession from Nightfall, then why the hell is it also given to the Warrior profession which is a core class. What the hell? Just give more skills to core classes and less to non-core classes. It's not rocket science to balance the amount of skills given in proportion to the size of the skill pool. Of course, they insisted on keeping 20 skills for Warriors with even less elites. Now all you have to do is wish for is a half-decent warrior elite to fit in a balanced damage dealing bar from a skill pool of 17 skils...that's codex for you. Basically, viable warrior bars might not include any elites. The fact that they kept 20 skills for a monk is justified and has my approval in trying to balance healing potential whereas the warrior nerf simply doesn't go with the mentality of the update. Picture it this way, Warriors have 36 elite skills, Dervishes have 15. If Warriors are given 3, then shouldn't dervishes be given 1 or 2? It seems they wanted to make Codex more of a Caster Wars than anything else. While the minion master buff gives me a good laugh, it's not a broken game mechanic so nothing to say here.
A major issue with codex is the title. It's "bottable". This means that you can farm your title in a non-fair way. I'll be honest, I've participated in a little bit of botting (aka I'm not the one who organized it) during dead times, nothing more than 20 or 30 honor points (honor points for botting, ironic isn't it). This is done by getting 4 alternate accounts to resign spike on every game while the main accounts are getting free wins. It was possible in Hero Battles, it is possible in Codex Arena. I don't know the exact details but one guy I used to play with who has now quit the game would either gather a couple of accounts he owns/shares or grab some people from GToB and quickly enter before they can possibly make a decent bar during dead codex times. He would get us a couple of free wins during dead times but we never pushed it to hardcore farming. Some people did. Players who probably never gave codex a serious try got to farm a codex 5/6/7 rank (yep that horribad player I used to own all the time now has codex 7 from botting, guess he was pretty mad) in many hours of botting without any efforts. After seeing about 10 people with rank 5 codex without knowing a single of them shortly after leaving the Arena for good, I knew something was wrong. I learned it was all about botting by a friend who got his rank 6 by....doing so...I tried to discuss and got the typical "Who cares? It's codex" I-don't-give-a-fuck answer.
The last issue with this format is the lack of any consistent support from the Guild Wars game designers. They installed a new kind of PvP format. There was heavy competition between strong players to reach the best tiers of the title during the earlier days. It was fun, but something felt wrong after a month, as if the game designers put codex in the game and then forgot about it immediately. Although I've seen Izzy once or twice playing in Codex Arena, I doubt people even considered making codex a serious form of PvP. I've discussed with many codexians about how nice it would be if they make a codex emote, that it would greatly motivate people to play Codex. I'll be honest, I quit tombs when I had almost 4000 fame and was 700 away from HA rank 9, which has the emote of a tiger and the only reason I came back to HA, three years after quitting, was to get the tiger. I'm not the only one who worked hard just for a flashy in-game emote: players love to do this. I started hearing rumors about Anet making maT's for Codex and I was interested and looking forward to it. There were maT's for Hero Battles, codex maT's could be very interesting as well and I was planning to participate in it. Bamboo and I formed a Rebel Rising Codex guild and we were literally WAITING for a maT. Six months later, nothing. We disbanded the guild. Let's get real, they never gave any support to 4 v 4 PvP other than skill balance and that's exactly what the January update was about, balancing the codex, so let's not expect anything out of the ordinary. When the game designers installed Codex, they basically said "Have Fun!", they placed two or three guys to check out the balance issues, they released an update to fix those and that's it. I do not believe anything interesting will be made concerning Codex while this game still lasts.
Overplayed Skill Combinations
Here I will list a number of single skills and skill combinations that are often used by codexians as those are extremely strong (arguably too strong) when available. A single of these skill combinations, if exsiting, can drive a whole meta in its direction. While the skills themselves are not all problematic on the balance side (some are), the skill combinations are so strong that they lead to the creation of gimmicks deep in the game engine that one can witness easily especially after they made the deck change four times as fast.
- Apply Poison + Barbed Spear Party Degen + Direct Damage = Win
- Resilient Weapon Because the skill is great
- Distracting Shot and Disrupting Chop Weapon Swap Ftw!
- Barbed Spear + Stunning Strike
- Vital Boon + Signet of Pious Light This alone can make drawing others so simple
- Vital Boon + Pious Restoration Let's not mention vital boon is always available
- Blinding Surge [this is more than a codex issue]
- Arcane Thievery and/or Arcane Larceny can turn a codex into a luck game
- Symbols of Inspiration This skill is used for pretty much everything and breaks one of the rules in some way
- Grasping Earth If it's available, people will play /E
- Shock If it's available, all warriors will be /E, or not
- Run as One One of the best IMS, does not require a pet to use
- Whirlwind and Teinai's Wind Qstep to avoid those
- Signet of Malice Best condition removal in a condition-heavy environment
- Xinrae's Weapon or Weapon of Remedy + Vengeful Weapon How to piss off people 101
- Song of Purification Run this with 12 motivation against a blindbot/poison and bleeding spam/Wounding Strike spam
- Wounding Strike Spread it...it's strong
- Imbue Health You want to take down the Dervish's health and the monk's health at the same time usually
- Sight Beyond Sight When there's really nothing else to use against the damn bsurge ele (this one's not overused though)
My History in Codex
I came back to the game a couple of months before Codex Arena replaced Team Arenas. During those few months I re-developed my PvP skills at Guild Wars and all I had on my friend list were the names of some bad to above averagely skilled players that I met and played with in Team Arenas. I'm a strong theory guy so whenever a new codex came out, I would rapidly work out a build setup by myself, then gather some people to try it out. I would pug some players, explain to them their role, what to do beforehand in team chat and then we would enter. It was a Race. Everyone was aiming for the first tier of the codex title, so you had to think effectively if you wanted to be part of the race. And I was.
I went through a process of sorting players as bad/average/good for further reference. During this process, I learned to my sadness that a lot of players I was playing with could only run cookie-cutter TA builds and whenever a strange healing bar was offered to them, they could not adapt and failed pretty bad. When it comes to saying these kinds of things, I'm not the best but I was the leader and so I have to say these things. I quickly dismissed many of the individuals on my friend list to keep only a few competent ones. I had success. I was one of the first players to reach the first tier of the codex title. From playing a crippling slash/trampling ox sword/dagger warrior to a Mo/Me with leechsig/pspike to rupt backfire/bad hexes/enemy heals, codex requires you to be good at the game, period. To think out the most effective form of a backline/frontline/midline is to assume that the player himself is good at the game and can multitask. If Distracting Shot is on his bar, it's not only to rupt rez, sig, it's for mid-game rupts too. For some players, codex was about playing crazy bars and if all you've been doing for the last 4 years is playing gimmicks, then you might as well quit this arena if you can't play anything else. In every codex, there are key skills to watch for, some instances are: ebon dust aura (nerfed), protector's defense (banned), bsurge, resilient weapon, woh, wounding strike, imbue health, dshot, antidote signet, dchop, bull's strike, etc. The skills used to be updated on the wiki on the Codex Arena page and it strongly helped me to have a visual picture of all the available skill: it made my skill selection process fasten.
Eventually, after forming groups for a while I got to meet many players that were reliably good in codex. I was invited to an American Team Arena guild whose tag is [zulu] (I could never play with these guys in TA because of my low gladiator rank although I beat them frequently) by an officer I played with in Codex. There were 3 other zulu members that were playing codex and all of them were decent, some players in the Alliance were pretty alright too. This made pugging scarcer for me. I eventually met a player from the Rebel Rising [rawr] guild who has won many gold capes in GvG but due to the inactivity of the guild, he needed something else to do. I met a european TA player from [BusT] as well(or whatever their guild tag was, they died after the removal of TA) Called Die Leibgardistin who was a healing specialist. The three of us would often form and dominate the place. We'd log on vent, organize our bars, let each other know what everyone is running, tell people what their job is and hold the walls of Codex Arena for hours. Because Die was euro and couldn't play late at night, me and Bamboo (from rawr) had to find someone else as a backline for evening Codex. We stumbled across Red who was non-core for [yumy], a good friend of a core member with whom he farmed every single point of fame with and overall a talented player. So we had a core for late-night codex, the last player always being random from zulu or it's alliance. We were good, competitive and we rose to the top pretty fast. Back then there were 3 Codex Leaders, : Canadian, Eden and I. Canadian was an unpleasant person and although he wasn't much of a problem most of the time, there were some days where I simply could not beat his setup. Eden played with some players from the retired gold-trimmed GvG guild KMD and was my greatest rival. I eventually got to play with Canadian and Eden, Mitch from KMD, Karla from [vD]: basically, strong players. Once in a while I'd get a random invite to form with the previously mentioned players when our core was not online. I didn't bond too much with Eden for his overly-serious personality, neither with Mitch for his blatant animosity towards my friend Bamboo and the whole [rawr] guild overall, nor with Karla because she would always leave after 10 wins. I got to play with a plethora of gold-trimmers and high-rankers (gladiator, hero, GvG). Nevertheless, I would call Bamboo, Leib and Red as much as possible mainly because we had a good time playing together: serious laid-back [oxymoron alert] codex nights were filled with laughter and when the night ended everyone had a good feeling.
Now here comes my rant about why I dislike and disapprove of the 6 hours codex rotations. Every time we codexed, Bamboo and I would stay up until 2 in the morning to wait for the deck change. We'd take a look at the skills, decided whether or not we'll play in that deck, make bars (making bars took us 15 minutes to an hour) and save them to run those during the evening. Sometimes, if a couple of players we knew were online, we'd give a try for an hour or two. Then we'd go sleep peacefully. During the day, I was personally rethinking the builds in my mind and wondering what could counter our setup and thinking slight variants out of pure memory of the deck. Therefore, when the evening arrived, we'd gather our players, give them the bars, discuss a little about how the setup works and get the show on the road without paying attention to the meta. Most of the times, it worked perfectly but once in a while we would need to make drastic changes. While our theorycrafting is pretty accurate, it's not perfect and we make mistakes sometimes. Now, the deck changes every six hours. This means that our usual way of making bars and playing Codex overall does not work anymore. The only way to play codex now is to log on at a proper time, call some buds, make the bars NOW and go in NOW. Let's not even mention that it's sort of useless to play during last half an hour before the deck changes since the majority of players will just wait for the deck change to go in again. The fact that we cannot take the time during our normal daily lives to polish in our heads the builds we're going to run really annoys me. Many times, the sole fact of detaching yourself from your codex thoughts gives you a clearer view about those later on and that's how it worked for me. Now if your thinking patterns are not very clear on a certain codex, the next thing you'll know is that the deck has changed. In my eyes, they made Codex go from a form of PvP that CAN be taken seriously to something a lot more casual. Go in the outpost, form, play, period. Because they wanted to make every player equal by giving them a possibility to witness the deck change, they remove the ability for the codex meta to mature a little. Often if I logged on to play on a Saturday morning and play during the same Saturday but on the evening, people ran very different builds (most of the time). Because the players went through a long process of testing bars, builds and strategies, what people run late in the codex day is a lot more solid that what they run at the beginning of the codex change. Here's a little story. I stayed up for the deck change. Healing is awful. None of my players are on. I search a random party by displaying my high-rank title, I get into a group of adventurous players who had a bright idea: to play without a healer. Because healing was so horrible, wasting a whole character on a job that's gonna be half-done is not worth it. So we played without a healer. We did fine but I went to sleep and during the day I thought of a genius build setup without a healer based on the previous one we ran. Guess what, 116 wins consecutive wins. Not a single game lost. Without a healer of any kind. Since I could take my time to re-think the no-healer build setup, I came up with the most solid bars that would mutually help each other and needless to repeat I had success. This is not possible anymore: in fact I played Codex with some friends, we did pretty average. A couple of hours later I get this brilliant build idea....oh guess what? the codex changed, Fuck! Now let's add some propaganda in here: democratizing things is bad, but we cannot hope of a better system to deal with gigantic amounts of humans, therefore we're stuck with a bad system we cannot get rid of. Did I mention skills are not updated on the wiki anymore since they change so fast? Therefore I cannot have a visual picture of all the available skills which was one of the reasons I was successful in making builds. (No, the new in-game feature of displaying all codex skill does not cope up for that, I was saying thanks to the updater every time he said he updated the skills on the wiki).
Upon reaching the rank of Codex zealot (4), I decided to take a break from Codex to spend some time doing what I've wanted to do for years: get a tiger. I won't go into details but I played in r8/9+ HA pugs and until I managed to play ele for a rank10+ group. The leader thought I was pretty good so I became core ele for his groups. This fastened the fame farming, a lot. Sick of failing with bad pugs when I was 50 away from r9, I agreed to play some random IWAY with brave r8/12 players. We ran 7 warriors and a N/D Order necromancer. Believe it or not, we busted the strongest HA guilds out there as if they were mere fodder. This was my first time ever playing IWAY. Moments later, I was showing off my roaring tiger in HoH which we only held for a round. For reasons I do not have control over, Leib and Red altogether quit the game. This gave me and Bamboo a hard time when playing Codex since we had to either pug people or play with average players I know. So we started losing. After failing to streak for 20+ for a couple of days because of bad pugs, we started being less active in the codex and let all those average players enjoy the place after Eden, Canadian and I mostly quit Codex Arena. We moved on to enjoy the winter celebrations.
The Codex Community
Codex players mostly come from all kinds of PvP format: Heroes' Acent, Guild versus Guild, Team Arenas, Random Arenas, Hero Battles. As with any form of organized pvp, players needed to find players to play with. For this reason, rank elitism was the mainstream way of selecting players and I insist on saying it was the most popular way of doing so, not the most effective. HA players tended to favor high HA rank, TA/RA players tended to favor gladiator ranks and GvG players favored GvG rank...Eventually people opened up and tried to make equivalence such as g3 = r6, c1=g6 as so on which was funnier to read than anything else. This rank elitism knocked off most pve noobs and players with no titles (see official QQ on the talk page) out of the competition. On a side note, those lower-skilled pvp players keep sending random invites to random people regardless of titles as they want to form fast and play now. This can be very harassing especially if the amount of players in the codex arena is small. Asking them to stop does not necessarily work, just ignore those aggressive people. The same way that kind of people were in TA, they are in CA. People use rank elitism in order to give themselves the tools to win games, nothing more. You're more likely to be good if you have decent ranks, alas this is always far from being the case. One thing I dislike about many pick-up groups is that most of them are not very inclined to discuss for a long time about the build setup, they usually want to rush things to play. Whenever you join a pug, they will usually ask you to ping your bar, so if you just logged on, you might as well take the time to think of a decent bar instead of rushing its creation and failing hard during the games. Moreover, the community is very small. While it was easy as hell to farm noobs in the first week, the community is roughly the same as the Team Arena one before it was removed. Therefore, there are dead times and you will get several nop's (no opposing party) before facing someone and/or mid-streak to the point where streaks are abandoned out of boredom from massive nop's.
An annoying thing about the community is the large amount of beggars asking for bars for certain professions. Often, there are messages sent in all chat calling out for someone to send them a *insert profession here* bar. As I've stated previously, if dervish is bad on a certain day, play something else. But some people are just so in-love with dervish they will QQ hardcore in all chat about how much codex sucks because dervishes suck. There is a shitload of whining or at least there was when I used to play there: you might as well just mute all chat unless you're looking for a group. Sadly, some more persistent beggars will send you private messages asking for certain bars especially if you are from the same profession as them and displaying a strong codex rank. While I ignore 95% of those messages let them be in private or all chat, I sometimes feel sympathy and give them some insight on certain key skills for a bar on the profession they want. The close-mindedness of a lot of players leads me to face-palm a lot. Once, a dervish was calling for help to have a strong dervish bar. Coincidentally I was playing dervish that day and said "Try a dervish build with a different weapon than a scythe", hinting that spear dervishes were strong and effective on that day. I would have given more hints but his reply was just so pathetic I immediately face-palmed and never ever answered to any of those beggars afterwards. He said:
"How is that even possible?"
"For a dervish"
hits screenshot button
If I had to qualify the codex community in a single word, it would be "bad". If I had to be more elaborate I'd say "bad, whining crybabies, beggars, lazy people that can't use their brain, bunch of tards breaking the title from botting their rank, few competitive core groups, close-minded players, casual players, rank elitist baddies that think they're good cause they have high ranks and fucking suck in 4 v 4 PvP and a couple of nicely-minded players who enjoy the Arena the way it is". Need I say more?
- There was a hexway meta going on around and this one group was getting on my nerves as we lost twice to them. I was with Leib and two of his german friend and we agreed to brainstorm a little bit more about the bars we were running. So we did. This friend of Leib kept telling me "don't waste your time on ele, it's bad" and for some reason, just because he said that, I decided to give a serious look at eles. I came up with a bar like this:
- During the early days of Codex, I happened to log on randomly during early evening. A TA friend of mine called Red was online so I asked him if he wanted to form for Codex. He agreed to it and briefed me about the 2 ongoing meta builds. One war Warrior Mesmer Water ele monk and another was Warrior Dervish and Mesmer (this might be inaccurate from memory). Out of pure randomness for disliking playing meta-crap, I decided "Let's play Warrior Derv and Water ele" to which Red replied "uh....I guess that could work". I pugged 2 special individuals. One was a low-ranker who told me he was good and would not let me down. I told him I'd wait a little before accepting him to see if someone with a better rank would apply for the role but no one did so I accepted him and he made a water ele bar. I pugged a monk with a high HA rank despite the fact I usually dont pug HA players because they blow hardcore in 4 v 4 usually. 20 Flawless victories in a row. We flawlessed Eden's group three times and had a very easy time winning games. Then everyone logged off. Veni, vidi, vici."Uh I guess that could work" right Red?
- There was a Codex night where I was alone, no Bamboo, no Leib, no Red. I was a little obsessed with Codex so I stayed up until 2 in the morning to witness the codex change. As usual, making a healing bar is one of the first things I do...but the healing was just so awful I could not come up with anything half-decent. The skills were bad. Not really knowing what to do about that, I decide to join a pug as a frontline with a nice bar. Upon noticing the absence of a healer in the group, I asked if we were going to run a healer and the three friends answered that healing was so awful (no shit) that it was better not to run any (really smart idea, credits to that [awsm] guild (there were capital letters in the guild tag but I don't remember which letters)). We played an imbue derv, a warrior, a bsurge ele and a mesmer and managed to get 9 wins on our first run before going to sleep. During the day, I pointed out in my head the reasons why we lost was mainly because of the imbue derv who had no sort of self-survival at all and the fact I was running an average elite as a warrior. When I got home, I quickly logged on Guild Wars and made bars. Blinding Surge ele with inspiration magic as e-management and heal management, Domination mesmer with Expel Hexes and inspiration magic, R/A Heal as One dagger fronline and W/P Flail "You're All Alone!" spear warrior. Both the Ranger and Warrior had a self-heal and a self condition removal which made powering through enemy bsurge eles an easy task. If the bsurge blinded one guy, I'd cripple the other with YAA, we'd call our hexes and our mesmer would remove them. Our ranger would train things down until I crippled them and they just died. Upon winning 30 games, one group of players from zulu and its alliance decided to run a mirror build. They copied our setup perfectly. We flawlessed them three times then they gave up. Later on, they ran a solid build with a healing monk and we had our closest game where we all ran out of rez sigs and it ended up being a 3 v 3 with them missing their healer, so they lost. I did not lose a single game with this setup and made 116 wins (50 + 66 since some people had to leave in-between) before sleeping, mentally exhausted.
- Here's a bad one. 50% of groups on that very day ran dual backline in the form of a heal monk and a WoR+Vengeful Weapon rit. Players not running dual backline ran 1 backline and one bsurge ele (like we did). While it was very hard to kill things when the dual backliners were half-decent, we still managed pretty good. On the 45th game, a bunch of idiots showed up. Dual backline AND Bsurge. They had so little damage that our bars never went down below 80%. The best we did was to drop down the monk at 10% health on a clean spike. They did not want to resign. We got drawed by those idiots running an HYPER-DEFENSIVE setup although we tried very hard to score kills. We disbanded "Fuck this!"
- This one is a recent experience in Codex. A friend who plays a lot of Codex invites me to play codex (I think it was Andros). He had a third player who is a chill euro guy and a talented player (that I have invited to my groups a few times in the past) although mostly playing HA. We needed a fourth and neither me or Andros had players on their friend list (fl). So our third player says he has a guildie online and that he could bring him over. When the guy comes, he gives me this "I-brag-a-lot-about-being-good-but-I-suck" feeling. That guy is also an HA player and is displaying a proud Vanquishing Gladiator title. We play the bars that Andros made and we eventually face Eden (wtf suprise didn't know he was still playing Codex). We lose. We lose again. Something was wrong with our setup. So we brainstorm altogether. I eventually decide to run a Savannah heat fire ele with a bunch of self-survival skills from assassin line to assist hammer spikes. So we ran a hammer war with 2 kds, SH ele, a melee hater Me/N running clumsiness wandering eye and mantra of recovery as well as a glimmer Mo/D with vital boon and sig of pious light. Eden's group had the same setup except they had a Paragon with flesh wound instead of an ele (if i'm not mistaken, maybe it was cruel spear but flesh wound seems right) and their mesmer was playing secondary rit with weapon of warding. We eventually face them again. I clearly say in team chat, "I want to win this". 4 minutes in, no one scored a kill. I'm happy that their cannot kill us because we had a shitload of defense but our warrior (the braggy high-rank HA player) is being retarded and backlining Eden (playing warrior) 75% of the time. Eventually I get pissed off and write SPIKE THE FUCKING MESMER. 5 seconds later he switches to the mesmer, I hit Savannah, he hits dev hammer, the mesmer dies on his 40/40. Now I was expecting this brainless shitter to spike the mesmer a couple more times since he's 15 DP'ed. He proceeds to enter "I'm a retard with high ranks" mode and backlines Eden 100% of the time. Eden, who sees this decides to abuse the fact that we have a total tard in our group and proceeds to engage a DPS war with paragon damage support. The thing is, I was not packing as much damage as their paragon over-time, but I could spike shit down faster than their para. The thing is, our warrior just engaged a DPS war which we're obviously bound to lose. After carrying this horribad warrior, our monk calls that his energy is low. At this point I expected the braggy idiot to GTFO and kite damage which of course he did not do. Eventually, Andros cannot outheal a 3 minutes brawl without any kiting. The warrior dies. He did not switch to def set, he did not kite, he just died like a noob. Then he blamed Andros for being a bad monk like all the noobs do: they blame the monk before blaming themselves. We rez him. "Ok dude we gotta score another kill, try another clean spike on the mesmer and stop backlining" I sent in team chat. The brainless idiot of a warrior we had did not listen and continued the DPS war against Eden. He died again. We lost. In my eyes, if we had had a good frontliner, this would have been a victory as we had a better setup for killing so this game was won. While this can be seen as a consolation I give myself, it sort of is. I apologized to Eden's group for having such a dumb player in group with me. Our mesmer apologized for bringing over a complete idiot in a serious group. The warrior raged after blaming Andros for losing, refusing to take any blame although I was flaming him hardcore. We had a little discussion about this in the outpost before we disbanded and went on to do other things. Fucking nubs with high ranks.
- There was this day when Bamboo and I stayed up late to think out codex bars to play in the evening. We went pretty fast in making a Mo/D healing bar but there was one dude spamming in all chat "E/Mo Healer LFG (better than Mo/D)" which we kind of laughed at. When we logged on during the evening everyone was playing Mo/D. Well after streaking for a while and disbanding, Bamboo told me "hey sylv I think I'm gonna play that E/Mo healing bar" (I thought he was joking) so we gathered 2 other players and we went in. The bar was:
- This one half-decent codex player had a huge grudge at me because I noticed he was bad and had bad ideas many times so I stopped inviting him to my groups. On a regular codex day, we ran dual frontlines with a D/P EDA blindbot, confident that our backline and midline could overplay the enemies blind-wise. We rolled every mirror build we faced and this person I mentioned previously lost a good 3-4 times against us. They decided to run a counter-build to our setup. They only played casters, to make our bbot near useless as he had poor damage. They proceeded to pressure down our monk 3 times in a row while throwing some anti-melee crap on me and Bamboo. Upon using the last rez sig, Bamboo and I decided to take this more seriously and started killing shit. By the time they desperately aimed for victory by pressuring our monk a fourth time(who finally understood how to overplay them after dying 3 times) Bamboo and I killed their monk four times and proceeded to kill every single of them. When you run a counter build to beat someone and you fail to win, something's wrong.
Examples of Codex Bars
Here are some codex bars that me or players I have played with have played in the past and had success with. Sadly, although I have some epic bars in mind, I cannot necessarily retrace them accurately enough to consider putting them here (triple weapon swap warrior, rupting monk, bars with no elite, etc) (the elite skill indicates the primary profession)
Along with a Bsurge ele, an Expel Hexes mesmer and a R/A Heal as One dagger fronline, this bar did the 116 consecutive wins without a healer.
Because dedicating a whole character to inflict Deep Wound can be worth it.
Because this was the most effective form of a bsurge ele.
Strange curse bar
KDs, KDs and more KDs, did I mention that was the bitch role? Oh yeah...and rez control
Typical Dshot Weapon Swap
A memorable dervish bar I ran to overplay a group of players on a 60ish streak.
Because there was honestly no interrupt during that day but Vor and backfire were around, I added a slight variant to the spear ranger. Best part is that I actually managed to rupt pretty good.