Making A Character: Race
Does race matter? Barely. And gender doesn’t matter in the slightest.
Each race has its own city. They all offer the same amenities. Cities do not discriminate against visitors.
Each race has a VERY SMALL selection of race exclusive armor skins. Three sets for each of the three armor classes to be exact.
Each race is different visually, but not mechanically. Short vs tall. Thin vs husky. Bipedal vs quadrupedal. None of these things matter. All races move the same speed, jump the same height, dodge the same distance, and take up the same space when it comes to battle mechanics. Some people prefer a tiny character model to more easily see their environment around them. Some people prefer to have large character models to show off great armor and weapon skins.
Each race will get a small handful of skills that can be unlocked and used. 99% of these skills are inferior to your profession skills. I can’t say 100% because a few professions have some real trash when it comes to elite utility skills, but just know that it doesn’t really matter in the long run.
Each race will have a slightly different personal story. Starting with a friend and want to team up the whole time? Customize your look, but pick the same race and background. Making the same choices during your personal stories will guarantee you progress together.
Making A Character: Profession
I won’t go into the differences between all of the professions. I will add two links for you to read further. Son, if those don’t help you, then I’ve got nothing for you.
I will go into some data regarding the two derived attributes ARMOR and HEALTH. This may help you decide on your first character to make.
- HEAVY armor (2,271 points): Warrior, Revenant, Guardian
- MEDIUM armor (2,118 points): Engineer, Ranger, Thief
- LIGHT armor (1,967 points): Necromancer, Mesmer, Elementalist
Armor attribute can be increased with toughness points and higher rarity armor. The armor attribute listed is for the highest level character with the highest tier armor (ascended).
- HIGH health (19,212 HP): Warrior, Necromancer
- MEDIUM health (15,922 HP): Revenant, Engineer, Ranger, Mesmer
- LOW health (11,645 HP): Guardian, Thief, Elementalist
Health attribute can be increased with vitality points. The differences in health are almost non-existent for level 1 characters. The differences become more noticeable as you level up. The health attribute listed is for the highest level character with no additional vitality.
The Skill Bar and You
Only one skill can be selected to auto-attack. You can enable/disable the auto-attacking skill of your choice by holding down CTRL and right-clicking on that skill. No skill will be defaulted to auto-attack when you pick up an environmental weapon or a bundle that you’ve never held before. If you enable an auto-attack on a skill with that bundle or weapon (such as the Fiery Greatsword weapon), the auto-attack should be defaulted any subsequent time you pick up an identical weapon.
Out of Range
When you select a target, any skills that are out of range to target will have a red underline. Closing the gap and coming into range will remove the underline. Auto-attacks will cease when you move out of range to target and will resume when you move back in to range.
Manual Aim Only
Skills that have a crosshair icon at the bottom are manually aimed skills. Manually aimed skills can never have auto-attack enabled and will never show an underlined out of range indicator.
You’re dead when you lose all your health, but in game it’s called DEFEATED. Friendly players can come to your body and sloooowly revive you. Don’t expect strangers to help you if they are under attack. You can open up the map and waypoint away to instantly revive yourself. You can use a Revive Orb consumable to have a ghost come up and revive you at your current location, but you will walk super-slow for 10 seconds after the ghost does his thing.
Fall damage from too high can instantly defeat you as well.
Before you are defeated, you are DOWNED. Friendly players can come to your body and revive a downed player MUCH faster than a defeated one.
You will only have access to 4 skills while downed. I recommend you visit this link and read about your profession’s specific downed skills. DO NOT just activate a downed skill because it’s recharged and ready to use.
You will RALLY to instantly revive yourself if you kill an enemy while you are downed. This is the best option. In the Borderlands game, this is called a “second wind.” Players can rally by gaining credit for killing a foe which grants experience. When you are downed, look around for the weakest enemy and KILL IT FAST!
The first three skills of your downed skills are unique to each profession. Unfortunately, none of your downed skills can be set to auto-attack. The #1 downed skill is always an attacking skill with no recharge.
Elementalists, Mesmers, and Thieves #2 downed skill lets you flee the area of a distance that’s usually around 600 units or less. My advice to you is DO NOT USE THAT FUCKING FLEE SKILL. This is NOT far enough for an enemy to lose interest in you. They will hunt you down. If you use a fleeing skill when a friendly is trying to revive you, they’ll now have to chase after you to start reviving you again. Elementalists are famous for this. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t bother to chase down strangers that flee when I was ALREADY REVIVING YOU! “Oh. You wanted to leave when I was in the middle of reviving you? That’s okay. I didn’t want to revive you anyway. Bitch.”
The #4 downed skill is the same BANDAGE for every profession. It is on a 3 second recharge. Bandage is a channeling skill that will slowly let you heal yourself. If you take damage of any kind while you are bandaging yourself, it interrupt and will restart the 3 second recharge. DO NOT use a bandage skill on yourself if you are getting attacked. You’re wasting valuable time that could be used spamming that #1 skill.
After rallying, the character is restored to 25% of their maximum health, becomes invulnerable for one second, and gains 1 DOWNED PENALTY point. Each point takes 60 seconds to wear off. When downed again with:
1 point (no icon) = start with 75% downed health.
2 points (gray icon) = start with 50% downed health.
3 points (yellow icon) = start with 25% downed health.
4 points (red icon) = instant defeat for you.
Damaged and Broken
There is no penalty when you fall to your death. There is a penalty, however when you are defeated in combat. Every defeat will DAMAGE one of your 6 armor pieces and 1 back item. Damaged items will function normally. After you are defeated 7 times and all 7 items are damaged, every subsequent defeat will make one of those 7 items BROKEN. Every piece of broken armor will cease to function. You will not receive any benefits from it at all. The armor will be visually removed from your body. Neither damaged nor broken status is permanent. Visit a repair vendor and repair your armor for free.
This table references movement speed as Units Per Second.
You can increase your movement speed several ways.
A temporary speed increase of 33% is the Swiftness boon.
Most professions can give themselves a permanent passive 25% increase in speed by using either a trait or utility skill. The only two professions that do not have a access to a passive speed increase from a trait or utility skill are Guardian and Mesmer.
Speed increases DO NOT stack. Only the largest speed increase will affect you. Let’s say you have the passive 25% speed increase for your profession and the Swiftness 33% speed increase. You will only travel 33% faster until the Swiftness wears off, and then you will drop down to 25% faster.
There are a number of effects that modify movement speed negatively, as well.
Don’t Neglect Trinkets!
Total attribute points from 6 armor pieces: 1,069
Total attribute points from 5 trinkets and 1 back item: 1,624
That’s 52% MORE points from a back item and trinkets!
The numbers used are for the highest rarity equipment (ascended) using a highly popular stat set (berserker’s).
DODGING is a battle mechanic that will move you 300 units in the direction you are traveling (or backwards if stationary). The EVADE effect of the dodge lasts 0.75 seconds, even though the dodging animation completes sooner than that. For ¾ of a second, you are almost completely invulnerable. It’s better to dodge a split-second sooner than necessary to ensure the evade.
Some attacks are UNBLOCKABLE. They CAN be dodged. They cannot be blocked, reflected (projectile), or destroyed (projectile).
Some attacks are UNAVOIDABLE. They CANNOT be dodged.
Certain attacks in the game are a form of trap that is laid on the ground and will trigger when an enemy walks into proximity. If you evade into or through this trap, you will spring the trap and avoid the initial attack (since it falls into the 0.75 second evade). If the trap leaves a lingering effect on the ground that has a long duration, such as 6 seconds of poison gas, you will eat it as soon as the evade wears off.
The default dodge key is bound to “V” on the keyboard. I cannot stress enough that you should bind the dodge activation to a key or button that you will use, and DISABLE the “Double-Tap to Evade” option. On more than one sphincter-puckering jumping puzzle, I’ve dodged my happy ass clean off of a ledge to my death. I have one of them fancy pants mice that has tons of buttons, so my dodge is on my mouse. I’ve read about people that bound the dodge to SHIFT or ALT keys. If you do bind it to the keyboard to use, you just want to make sure it’s a key that your thumb or pinky finger hit. Your WASD fingers will be occupied.
Melee vs Ranged
Melee combat has higher overall damage than ranged combat. Yes, this is a generalization. Yes, there are exceptions. For the most part, however, Guild Wars 2 has higher DPS rewards for those who risk getting up close and personal with melee weapons. Most professions have melee weapons. This applies to both terrestrial and aquatic combat.
The Elementalist, Engineer, and Revenant are the three professions that don’t have the ability to weapon-swap. They do respectively have melee-ish conjures, kits, and channelling.
I personally recommend having a weapon set for ranged, and another for melee. Some circumstances call for ranged, but for everything else, let me come talk to you… up close.
You need to get the hang of melee combat. You need to learn the telegraphs of the enemy to know when to dodge. You need to understand when you should eat a light weight attacks so that you can save your dodges for the heavy weight attacks. These skills are ESSENTIAL for high level combat and will come with time and experience, but practice makes perfect.
Asura gates are those big Stargate lookin’ things that allow free and instant travel. Their destination is displayed when you aim your camera towards the center of the vortex and get close enough. Interact with the gate to travel.
Each of the 5 racial cities has an asura gate that leads to Lion’s Arch city. The asura gates in Lion’s Arch are clustered together.
R u ready to get yo drink on and yo snack on? Cuz it’s time to floss ‘n fly up out this mofo to dem other cities. Ya feel me?
CLICK READ MORE TO SEE EACH CITY’S ASURA GATE.
Free bank access anywhere!
Free?!? Anywhere?!? It’s true! You just have to jump through one little hoop.
You need to access the the PvP staging area which is called the Heart of the Mists. If you’re any kind of person like me, PvP gives you anxiety. Fear not! This staging area has no humans foes. You will have access to your personal bank merchant, a trading post merchant, and a laurel merchant.
You can instantly be teleported to this area at any time, from any open world area. And when you decide to leave this area, you will be instantly teleported back to the exact spot where you left from. This round trip vacation is free of charge!
“Amazing” you say? Indeed. “What’s the catch?”
The Heart of the Mists has a tutorial zone you must walk through first. The tutorial zone consists of 3 heart tasks to complete. Stay calm! No PvP required and you can even ignore the heart tasks! In this tutorial area, you will start in the south and head straight north, then up the stairs to get to the Heart of the Mists and never visit that tutorial again on any of your characters! Feel free to do the tutorial if you so desire.
“I’m ready! Where’s it?” At the top left of your screen is the row of menu icons. The last icon of two crossed swords is the PvP menu. Click it and then click the big square ENTER PvP LOBBY button.
“But I’m under level 22 and don’t have that icon!” No problem. You just need to walk there for the first time and it will permanently enable that icon for your account. Head to Lion’s Arch. Now open your map. At the center of the southern edge of the map is a circle-ish of asura portals. The northernmost asura portal on your map is the Heart of the Mists. You can hover hour mouse over the icon to confirm.
I finished my first zone!
Congrats! It was a rough journey. Now I KNOW you’re excited and ready to move on the next zone with higher level requirements to try your hand at what’s next. May I offer you a suggestion?
DON’T! This is the advice I would give myself if I could go back in time. Don’t go into that next level zone. There’s plenty of time for that later. There are still 4 other STARTER zones and they’re in beautiful areas, each one more diverse than the last! And doesn’t it make sense to do all 5 starter zones on your starter character? Would you rather reach max level and then go back and do a starter zone? No, son. Take it from the king of the n00bs when I tell you that you should go easy with your first time. I promise. I’ll be gentle.
The starter zones are VERY forgiving when it comes to being inappropriately geared and traited and lacking in utility and elite skills. By the time you are completing your 5th starter zone, you’ll be melting the face off your enemies like in that Indiana Jones movie.
Fear not! You will still receive lots of experience and level up. Even though your level is scaled down to the area you are in, the rewards are not!
So heed me! Turn around. Go back into your racial city. Find the asura gate that takes you to Lion’s Arch city. Then pick one of the 4 other racial city’s asura gate and head on in. The next starter zone is right outside that city’s front gate, just waiting for you to penetrate it hard and fast!
I have 7 characters and have leveled them all this way. I start a new character and get 100% zone completion for all 6 cities, then all 5 starter zones (level 1-15), then the next (level 15-25) zones. Before I can complete those (level 15-25) zones, I am level 80. I am max level before even stepping foot in a level 26+ zone and have plenty of skill points and trait points to show for it.
Direct Damage vs Condition Damage
Aside from Falling Damage, there are 2 other types of damage.
A single impact that is instantly calculated, direct damage is calculated as follows:
POWER attribute x (average weapon damage) x (skill-specific coefficient)
Now take that number and divide it by (target’s ARMOR attribute)
That’s it. Pretty easy. The (skill-specific coefficient) means that some skills will get REALLY amplified by weapon and power levels, and others “meh” not so much. The wiki lists every skill’s coefficient.
But just take away that higher POWER and great weapons with higher (average weapon damage) will do wonders to that direct damage output. Also think in reverse. Your ARMOR is what will lessen those numbers you receive.
Fun fact: the tooltip that is displayed for each skill is pre-calculated. It will NOT use your target’s armor. It uses a generic armor value of 2,600. Your specific target might have much higher or lower armor.
Damage from CONDITIONS is dealt from effects. Damage from conditions completely bypasses armor. If you apply a condition that deals 100 damage per second for 10 seconds, then they will receive 1,000 damage. Unlike instant Direct Damage, however, conditions can be removed which will negate any remaining time left on that condition. If you apply that same condition that deals 1,000 damage over 10 seconds and they remove it after only one second, then you’ve only dealt 100 damage. Damage from conditions is calculated as follows:
CONDITION DAMAGE attribute x (condition-specific coefficient) x (condition-specific damage)
Notice that (average weapon damage) is nowhere to be found.
The (condition-specific coefficient) and (condition-specific damage) are listed above. Notice that burning has a coefficient that’s 5x better than bleeding.
NOTE: only the Necromancer can cause the Fear condition to also deal damage by way of a trait.
Projectiles and Reflection
All professions (except Necromancer) have access to at least one REFLECT skill which will take an incoming foe projectile and turn it around, sending it straight back to the foe who cast it. Two reflects is the maximum per projectile. It will bypass any further reflections.
Most projectiles can be BLOCKED (which will destroy the projectile), no matter if they have been reflected or not.
UNBLOCKABLE and UNAVOIDABLE projectiles will bypass any reflects or blocks.
The Guardian and Mesmer reflect visuals are very hard to miss. Reflects can be walked through by friend and foe.
There are 4 primary attributes. Every character will receive points into these as they level up. Level 80 characters will have a base 1,000 points in each primary attribute.
Increases all outgoing direct damage.
Decreases all incoming direct damage.
Increases maximum health. 1 point vitality = 10 points health.
Increases CRITICAL CHANCE for all direct damage. Condition damage cannot crit.
Unlike the 4 primary attributes, these 5 secondary attributes have a base value of zero and will not receive any increase through leveling.
Increases the damage of a critical hit.
Increases the damage per second of conditions.
Improves all self heals and outgoing heals that you create. This does not affect healing that you receive from someone else.
Increases the duration of all conditions that you create.
Increases the duration of all boons that you create. This does not affect boons that you receive from someone else.
These 4 attributes are merely calculations based on your primary attributes (and some other shit).
ARMOR attribute = TOUGHNESS points + DEFENSE points from your 6 armor pieces. Fun Fact: shield weapon gives bonus defense points!
ARMOR is the number that is used in the calculation to reduce the DIRECT DAMAGE you receive.
Take your VITALITY attribute and multiply it by 10. Now add your profession’s base health.
Profession health at level 80 (not including the base 1,000 vitality).
9,212 Necromancer, Warrior
5,922 Engineer, Mesmer, Ranger, Revenant
1,654 Elementalist, Guardian, Thief
Somehow PRECISION attribute turns into this, but it’s a hot damn mess. For a level 80 character, 916 precision = 0% critical hit chance, but the minimum precision at that level is 1,000 so your base critical hit chance is 4% and every +21 PRECISION attribute = +1% critical hit chance.
Base critical hit damage is 150% and every +15 FEROCITY attribute = +1% critical damage. Critical damage listed is the total damage, not bonus damage. An unbuffed critical hit would deal 150% total, not 100% normal damage plus a bonus 150% damage.
This attribute reduces the recharge of the F1-F5 mechanics for 6 of the 8 professions. For the Necromancer, it increases the size of your life force pool. For the Ranger, it improves your pet’s attributes.
For Fractals Of The Mist that are level 10 difficulty or higher, some enemy attacks will inflict the AGONY effect. Having this attribute is the only way to mitigate the effect since Agony cannot be removed.
This improves the chance of better quality items you get ONLY when directly looting a corpse. It improves NEITHER the currency you loot, NOR the quality of items within containers that you loot.
Allow me to explain with an example. Let’s say you kill an enemy and loot the corpse, you receive the following:
- 13 copper currency (currency; unaffected by magic find)
- 1 heavy moldy bag (container; unaffected by magic find)
- 1 dagger (yes, affected by magic find)
The currency is not an item, so it is unaffected by magic find. The heavy moldy bag has goodies inside and must be double-clicked to get the goodies. That means the heavy moldy bag is a container and everything in it is unaffected by magic find. The only thing that is improved is the chance for a better quality dagger.
The exception to this rule is containers received from PvP reward tracks ARE affected by magic find.
What was THAT?!? Guardian
Guardians can lay down large circular SYMBOLS that radiate a light blue markings. They have a short duration and cannot be targeted. Symbols pulse to provide boons to allies, and do damage to enemies. Each symbol provides a different boon, like Regeneration, Protection, Retaliation, and Swiftness.
What should you do when you see them? Stand in them and try to get enemies to stand in them, too.
Guardians can use their utility skills to deploy CONSECRATION walls and bubbles that protect against projectiles. They have a short duration and cannot be targeted. The wall will reflect projectiles. The bubble will destroy projectiles, knockback enemies that attempt to enter, and heal allies inside the dome every pulse.
What should you do when you see them? Stand in or behind them to be safe from most projectiles.
What was THAT?!? Warrior
Warriors have skills that will deploy BANNERS, capable of being picked up by allies. They provide passive effects to nearby allies in a very large radius, regardless if they are stuck in the ground or being carried by allies. Banners are indestructible and have long durations. The 5 different banners each have a different flag attached and provide different effects. The ones you will see most often are the red, green, and flaming flags. These three will all provide increased DPS in one form or another. There are also purple and orange banners, but you don’t see those often as they don’t increase DPS.
What should you do when you see them? Stand moderately close to continually get a positive effect. Multiple banners are often summoned. Since each person can only hold one, it’s common courtesy to pick up the banner to take it with the group traveling together. You will give a very long lasting Swiftness buff to the 10 closest allies if you press skill #3 while holding any banner. When u get close to your destination, press the weapon swap key to immediately stick the banner into the ground and get back into the action! Leaving one behind is a loss. It literally radiates MOAR DEEPS!
What was THAT?!? Engineer
Engineers can deploy automated TURRETS that have a variety of capabilities. They have infinite durations and can be killed. The heal skill turret emits the light blue healing vapor and will give constant Regeneration to allies in range.
What should you do when you see them? Stand moderately close to these turrets to make sure the turret is within range of enemies. Do not stand behind, or on top of them. Turrets have low health and you don’t want enemies to target or damage them.
PACK OF BANDAGES
An Engineer can deploy PACKS OF BANDAGES. These packs spin and hover over the ground. You will gain health for every pack you walk across.
What should you do when you see them? If you need health, you better gobble that shit up like PacMan with the munchies.
What was THAT?!? Ranger
Rangers have the ability to deploy SPIRITS that radiate positive effects to allies. They have long durations and can be killed. You will only receive these effects from spirits when you attack enemies. Every hit to an enemy has a chance to trigger the effect.
What should you do when you see them? Chances are good that you are already receiving their benefits since they radiate effects across a huge area. The more times you hit the enemy, the better your chances to proc the good stuff! Spirits have low health, so don’t stand too close.
What was THAT?!? Thief
Thieves can stealth both self and allies with a SHADOW REFUGE (SR). It has a short duration and cannot be targeted. SR creates a bubbled, mirage effect and has a brown house logo above that emits the light blue healing vapor. SR pulses both stealth and heals. Every pulse will extend stealth duration. BE WARNED: exiting SR radius before it expires will strip you of your stealth.
What should you do when you see them? If you need health or need to lose agro, hop in! There’s no limit to the amount of allies that can enter this house party after its deployed! Be very careful that you do not exit the radius until the brown house logo disappears.
What was THAT?!? Elementalist
Elementalists can deploy 5 different weapon CONJURES. They have long durations and cannot be targeted. When the Ele uses these conjure skills, it immediately puts one in the Ele’s hands, and a duplicate one on the ground. Any ally has the ability to pick up and use these weapons. These conjures will only last for 60 seconds, patiently waiting to be picked up. If picked up, the weapon timer resets back up to 60 seconds. The weapon itself has a limited number of charges. Each time a skill is used, a charge is deducted. The weapon will be destroyed if the timer runs out, the charges are depleted, or the weapon is dropped (by activating a weapon swap).
It is common practice for any ally to pick this weapon up, use the two most powerful skills, and then drop the weapon. Rarely will you see people keep the weapon for longer than that. The auto-attack skill is a DPS loss. (Yes, I know that the label on the weapon says ICE BOW. The skill name is CONJURE FROST BOW. I can’t help it if anet can’t get it together, gurl.)
It is common practice for any ally to pick this weapon up, use the two most powerful skills, and then drop the weapon. Often, people will hold on to this weapon for the full duration. Either one is good. I think it’s fun to hang on to it the whole time and made the infographic to reflect that.
Lightning Hammer (LH)
DO NOT EVER TOUCH THE LIGHTNING HAMMER!!! EVAR!!! Be prepare for much more caps lock in party chat if you do. There are entire Ele builds centered on that hammer. The Ele will deplete the first LH and then go pick up the second LH and deplete it, too. If you ever do get excited with button pressing on the keyboard and accidentally pick up the LH, here is what will happen. You will panic and drop the LH and pray that nobody will know who did it. The Ele will demand a blood sacrifice for your insolence! Just like when you fart in a crowded elevator, you’ll blame someone else. “Gasp! Who would do such a thing! I know better. It must have been that shifty eyed Thief! I mean, it’s right there in his name! THIEF!” And now I’ll tell you what you SHOULD do if you pick one up by accident. Use the auto-attack and nothing else. I know, I know. All those other skills have such pretty icons and they’re not on recharge either. Those weapon skills 2-5 are just BEGGING you to press them! Don’t. Only auto-attack until the weapon is depleted. The LH auto-attack is where all goodness is, and there’s a good chance it is situationally better than the entire 1-5 skill bar of your regular weapon. When the Ele sees his missing LH in your hands and you are chastised, say “Accident. U rather I drop it?” The Ele will be grumpy, but cannot argue with such flawless logic.
Flame Axe and Earth Shield
If you ever see these, it’s because the Ele is brand new and testing them out in a starter zone. But bless his heart. The poor thing didn’t know there were better utility skills to keep in his bar!
What was THAT?!? Necromancer
Necros have healing and utility skills that lay down WELLS on the ground. They have a short duration and cannot be targeted. Wells pulse their damage and/or effects. The heal skill well emits the light blue healing vapor, and another well will convert conditions into boons for allies. Offensive Wells can convert boons into conditions, blind, and direct damage enemies.
What should you do when you see this? Since you probably can’t visually tell the difference between the wells, best to stand in all wells and pull enemies with you. Don’t be using that knockback to kick enemies out of wells (I’m looking at you, Trahearne).
What was THAT?!? Mesmer
Mesmers have utility skills that put GLAMOURS on the ground. They’re very hard to miss and each have very different uses.
FEEDBACK is a pink sphere of reflection cast directly on the ground at the enemy position, but does not follow the enemy. The enemy can walk out of it. Don’t think of the sphere as hollow, but as filled. Any enemy projectile that is cast towards the sphere from the outside will be reflected at the outermost edge. Any enemy projectile that is cast within the sphere will not travel any distance. It will instantaneously reflect and damage the enemy. Standing inside the sphere is the safest place from projectiles, but not from melee attacks.
NULL FIELD is a pulsing field. Every second, it strips one condition from each ally (up to 5) AND strips one boon from each enemy (up to 5)
PORTALS allow instantaneous bi-directional travel over HUGE distances (around 5,000 units). Portals expire after 10 seconds or 20 uses, whichever comes first.
Effects: Boons and Stacking
All of the boons listed here are affected by the attributes from the player who CREATES the boon. For example, Player A grants regeneration to everyone near him. Player B will receive regeneration that’s based on Player A’s boon duration and healing power. All boons can be removed. A single boon removal will strip the entire stack, no matter the duration or intensity.
Stacking intensity is when a single effect is applied multiple times and its effects run CONCURRENTLY.
MIGHT (stacks intensity, max 25 stacks) at level 80, each stack will give 30 points to BOTH power and condition damage attributes. At the maximum stack, you have 750 bonus points in both of your DPS attributes. This is called “might stacking” and is VERY desired.
STABILITY (stacks intensity) is a sacrificial boon that will block the next CONTROL effect (CC) you receive. For each control effect applied to you, one stack of stability is stripped from you. For example, a stack of 3 stability would require 4 CC to affect you.
Stacking duration is when a single effect is applied multiple times and its effects run CONSECUTIVELY.
AEGIS (stacks duration) is a sacrificial boon that will block the next single attack of any kind that you receive. Aegis will be stripped when the single attack is blocked.
For UNBLOCKABLE attacks, aegis will not trigger. Let’s say you have aegis and an enemy Mesmer throws his greatsword at you (this Mesmer skill is unblockable). The greatsword will hit and damage you. Your aegis will still be on you, waiting patiently to block an attack that is blockable.
FURY (stacks duration) increases your CRITICAL CHANCE by 20%.
PROTECTION (stacks duration) decreases any incoming direct damage by 33%. It does not mitigate fall damage or condition damage.
REGENERATION (stacks duration) grants a gentle heal over time. At level 80, this is 130 + (0.125 * Healing Power) per second. (reminder: uses attributes of the player who created the boon)
RETALIATION (stacks duration) will damage any foe that damages you for each attack. At level 80, this is 198 + (0.075 * Power) per attack. (reminder: uses attributes of the player who created the boon)
Be VERY aware if your foe has retaliation on itself. Players who have repeating fast-attack skills can deal MASSIVE damage to THEMSELVES very quickly (such as Ranger’s longbow skill #2 RAPID FIRE or Thief’s pistol/pistol skill #3 UNLOAD). I have seen many a player down themselves making that mistake.
SWIFTNESS (stacks duration) increases all movement speed by 33%. (reminder: only the highest increase in movement speed will be applied)
VIGOR (stacks duration) increases all endurance regeneration by 50%. Endurance is your dodge roll power. Endurance regeneration is capped at a bonus 100%.
All of the conditions listed here are affected by the attributes from the player who CREATES the condition. All conditions can be removed. A single condition removal will strip the entire stack, no matter the duration or intensity.
Stacking intensity is when a single effect is applied multiple times and its effects run CONCURRENTLY.
BLEEDING (stacks intensity) deals damage every second.
CONFUSION (stacks intensity) deals damage every second AND deals damage every time a skill is activated.
Note that ANY skill activation (including a heal, utility, or elite skill) will deal damage. Confusion deals significantly less damage in sPvP and WvW.
POISON (stacks intensity) deals damage and decreases heal potency 33%. It’s recommended to remove poison before activating a heal skill.
TORMENT (stacks intensity) deals damage every second when standing still and deals DOUBLE DAMAGE with any directional movement during that second.
VULNERABILITY (stacks intensity, max 25 stacks) increases damage received by 1% for each stack.
Stacking duration is when a single effect is applied multiple times and its effects run CONSECUTIVELY.
BLIND (stacks duration) causes the next attack to miss. Will be removed when the attack missed.
BURNING (stacks duration) deals damage every second.
CHILLED (stacks duration) slows movement speed and all skill recharge by 66%. Note there is no penalty for attacks with no skill recharge (like most weapon #1 skills).
CRIPPLED (stacks duration) slows movement speed by 50%.
FEAR (stacks duration) interrupts any skill and causes target to flee in the exact opposite direction of the caster. Fear is unique in that it can be stripped with either a condition remover or a stun breaker.
Note that Necromancers can use a trait which will cause fear to inflict damage and deals 50% MORE DAMAGE if another condition is present.
IMMOBILIZED (stacks duration) stops all directional movement and the ability to turn.
WEAKNESS (stacks duration) causes half of all outgoing direct damage hits to be GLANCING BLOWS. Glancing blows cannot critical hit and will only deal 50% of normal damage. Weakness also decreases endurance regeneration by 50%. Endurance is your dodge roll power.
CONTROL EFFECTS (also known as CROWD CONTROL or CC) are negative effects with gray-ish icons, but deal no damage. They all immediately DISABLE any skill use for the duration and INTERRUPT the current action. All CC can be broken with STUN BREAK skills.
CC cannot stack in either intensity or duration. If one type of CC is on a target and the same CC is applied an additional time, the original CC duration will be overwritten with the new duration.
DAZE will disable skills, but allow human players to move freely. NPCs will be STUNNED by a daze.
STUN will disable skills and all movement.
DEEP FREEZE is most commonly encountered when using an Elementalist’s Frost Bow (Ice Bow) by using the #5 skill. Deep Freeze encases the target in a solid block of ice for the duration.
PETRIFIED is most commonly encountered when a Thief uses Basilisk Venom skill.
FLOAT up while underwater.
KNOCKBACK (PUSH) along the ground away from the caster.
KNOCKDOWN to the ground where you stand.
LAUNCH (BLOWOUT) up in the air and away from the caster.
PULL to close the distance between the target and caster.
SINK down while underwater.
FEAR is a condition (stacks duration) that behaves like a CC. It can be removed with either a condition removal or a stun break. Fear causes a foe to uncontrollably run the opposite direction from the caster.
NOURISHMENTS (CONSUMABLES) grant special effects and appear next to boon effects on the skill bar. Consumables can only be removed when they expire or are replaced. Consumables are in either the FOOD or UTILITY category. Both categories can be active at the same time. A food will only replace another food.
The duration of these effects counts down only while the character is logged on. If you switch characters, the timer stops.
FOOD All food grants +10% experience from kills for the duration, unless otherwise noted. This link shows all foods listed by category and is a terrific resource.
UTILITY consumables are most often seen as slayer potions. A full list of the different types is in the link below.
Have you ever seen a light brown heart with a word or phrase flash randomly on your screen and didn’t know what it was? You contributed to a COMBO with an ally and you didn’t even know it!
What is a combo? Imagine shooting a wooden arrow through a bonfire. The arrow catches fire as it passes through the fire. On impact, the arrow itself does a fixed amount of damage to the target whether it’s on fire or not. The flame from the arrow will ignite the target to burn after the impact. This is a real world example of a combo. The bonfire is the COMBO FIELD: FIRE. The wooden arrow is the COMBO FINISHER: PROJECTILE. The target catching fire is the COMBO EFFECT.
The representation of combos in game are PUZZLE HEARTS. The heart is only whole when the two opposite halves fit together!
The very first thing needed is a combo FIELD. The field must friendly and deployed before the finisher. Enemy fields cannot be used by you. Area skills create borders on the ground around the effect. But not every skill that has a border on the ground is a combo field. You see fields every time you’re in combat, and there’s a VERY EASY way to identify what skill is a combo field. No puzzle hearts? Not a combo field!
Now that we can identify a combo field on sight, what exactly IS a combo field? A combo field is an area that will imbue a future attack with the field’s juicy goodness. There are 9 different field types. Listed are the fields and the professions that can create them.
BE AWARE! What happens when a second field is plopped down on top of an existing field? Only one combo field can be used at a time, the bottom field. Lets say that a Necro lays down a DARK field on the ground first. Then a Mesmer comes up and lays down an ETHEREAL field on top of the dark field. Any finishers used will trigger the dark field since it’s on the very bottom. After the dark field expires, any finishers will trigger in the ethereal field until that expires, too.
“But what do I do with these amazing combo fields???”
There are 4 different FINISHERS that can be used in FIELDS.
BLAST FINISHERS are typically explosions or slams. They will create AREA (affects 5 targets within 240 range) effects. Of the 4 different finishers, blast are the only ones that affect more than one target. Two of the most sought after combos are blasting fire fields for long-lasting might, and blasting water fields for area heals.
LEAP FINISHERS are much like blast finshers, but the selfish version as they only affect one target. The leap must travel through some part of a field to activate the finisher. Notice the subtle differences, like the water field healing coefficient is much larger for leap than blast.
PROJECTILE FINISHERS come in two varieties. For ranged weapons, the #1 auto-attack skills are only 20% chance to be finishers (only a random 1 out of 5 attacks will trigger the combo). The projectile finisher skills with a recharge time are usually 100% guaranteed projectile finishers.
Projectile finishers are a little funny when it comes to positive effects for allies. Lets go back to the arrow analogy. Your ally is attacking an enemy face to face. You are ranged and shoot your arrow (projectile finisher) through a water geyser (water field) and strike the enemy. According to the table above, the effect is regeneration boon, but you do not receive that boon. Your ally does. At the point of impact, the single regeneration boon will jump a small radius to a random ally.
Special note. If you projectile finisher through a DARK field, lifesteal will siphon health back to you no matter the range.
WHIRL FINISHERS inside a combo field will shoot out projectiles finishers. Notice that the WHIRL finisher projectiles are virtually identical to PROJECTILE finishers.
Whoever creates the field doesn’t have any influence on the effect created. Here are two examples.
An Ele creates a water field. A Warrior blasts the water field for area healing effect. The healing attribute of the Warrior is what will increase the heals done since the Warrior used the finisher, not the Ele.
An Ele creates a fire field. A Warrior blasts the fire field for area Might boons. The ‘increase boon duration’ attribute of the Warrior is what will increase the duration of Might since the Warrior used the finisher, not the Ele.
When fighting Champion or Legendary foes, you will notice a unique silver boon icon called UNSHAKABLE. Unshakable boon CANNOT be removed and signifies three things at all times.
- Unshakables with BLIND only have a 10% chance to miss.
- Unshakables make WEAKNESS and VULNERABILITY expire 2x faster.
- Unshakables you successfully CC will gain a boon stack called DEFIANCE.
Defiance is a boon that functions almost identically to the boon STABILITY. Defiance is a sacrificial stacking boon. Each layer will absorb one CC and be stripped away. After all Defiance has been stripped away, the next CC will be successful. Defiance starts at a minimum of 3 stacks, but scales up with the number of humans attacking. The 2 differences between Defiance and Stability:
- Defiance cannot expire.
- Defiance cannot be boon stripped or converted. Sorry Mesmers and Necros! (they dominate anti-boon)
How It All Works
You encounter a new Unshakable foe without Defiance.
- You successfully CC Unshakable.
- Unshakable gains 3 stacks of Defiance.
- You attack with 3 CC skills to strip away the 3 stack of Defiance.
- Repeat cycle.
“When Should I Care?”
If you are attacking an Unshakable with 100 other people, nobody cares. Spam those CC’s!
If you are in a small group (particularly in dungeons or other instanced content) where the Unshakable can really wreck you, then you NEED to pay attention! Unshakables usually have a massive attack with a visible wind-up beforehand. This is the time for a CC to interrupt the big attack and prevent damage to allies. THIS SINGLE TIMED CC COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VICTORY AND PARTY WIPE!!!
If you see Defiance stacks, strip them. If you don’t see Defiance stacks, wait for the wind-up and blow that CC load all over Unshakable’s face!