[Class Guide] How to create a Good PvE Build

This guide explains some basic principles that can be applied to nearly every good PvE build for instanced content like Dungeons, Fractals and Raid. They are based on the assumption that you have a full party with a good composition.

Basic Principles

Before getting involved in any sort of mathematical calculations, there are a few principles you should have in mind.

As offensive as possible, as defensive as necessary

Taking more defensive traits/gear than you need, results in less damage and a slower killtime. A slower killtime may result in deaths for your fellow players, because their active defense runs out and the likelihood of someone making a lethal mistake increases. Dodging counts as active defense and in a lot of cases, that’s all you need. So your build should use every trait that increases your damage. Most of the times these are damage modifiers under a certain condition (e.g. when wielding a sword), other times it’s an increase of an offensive stat. When creating a condition build you will most likely choose all those traits that increase your condition damage, either by duration increase or by gaining additional condition stacks (of course only conditions that deal damage). Your utilities should increase your damage as well. Only exception to these rules is if by sacrificing personal dps your party dps will increase.

If your class is good in providing active defenses that will help your team survive, include them as a variant. These variant’s will only be used when the encounter requires it. Most often it’s enough to pick defensive utilities but in some cases the group might benefit if you switch a trait. You should always try to lose as less damage as possible by going more defensive.

More on passive and active defense

A good build is more than the sum of its parts

Your traits should have a synergy. Take the traits

Powerful Aura Powerful Aura

and

Unstable Conduit Unstable Conduit

as an example. One grants yourself more auras, the other spreads those aura to your allies. If you use those traits together, they enhance one another. Damage modifiers are another good example, because they are multiplied. So two 10% damage modifiers result in 21% more damage instead of 20% more damage.

You’re not alone

Don’t try to do everything. Maybe you want to provide some might for your party, but instead of switching to an inferior weapon or to drop some damage traits, you could just let another party member of your group do the job. Different classes have different buffs and defensive capabilities they can bring to the table. Just concentrate on what your class can do naturally without much effort and let the others do as well.

Gear

If you have decided on a weapon and have your traits set up you might wonder what stats, runes and sigil will result in the highest damage output. Depending on your class and build you may have avoided using some maths until now. I’m sorry but this is about to change. Now you have to consider which critical chance you should aim for, how to achieve 100% condition duration and which food you should take.

Assumptions

For the following calculations you always assume that your group will provide:

Depending on group constellation and content you can also assume:

Caps

* Ingame tooltips might show you values above these caps, but it’s the display that is wrong.

Stat Conversion

Effective Power

To compare power damage based on gear you will want to maximize your effective power. Effective Power can be calculated using the following formula:

Critical Chance = (Precision-916)/2100
EffectivePower = (1-criticalChance) * Power + criticalChance * Power * (1.5 + ferocity / 1500)

You have to insert the values with all buffs applied for the formula. So if you have 2000 power you have to add another 25*30=750 power if you have 25 might stacks . Same goes for all other buffs. Also remember to adjust your critical chance if you have traits or gear that give you a flat increase of critical chance. To take damage modifiers into account, you have to multiply them with the resulting Effective Power. If you have a 10% and a 15% damage modifier and 4000 effective power those will lead to 4000*1,1*1,15=5060 Effective Power.

You cannot use these values to compare how much damage different builds or different professions do. However for the same build with the same rotation you can use it to compare damage dealt by using different gear. For example:

Don’t forget this only works for power based builds as condition damage is not taken into account!

Easy explanation of the formula

There are some good tools, that might help you to calculate Effective Power. Understanding how Effective Power is calculated is highly recommended as it will prevent mistakes you might make by using this tools. A good example would be on how to adjust the inserted values for fury that grants you 30% of critical chance instead of 20% for the revenant.

Conditions

The conditions that deal damage scale differently with condition damage. For a level 80 character condition damage per tick can be calculated by the following formulas:

Burning Damage = (0.155 * Condition Damage) + 131.5
Poison Damage = (0.06 * Condition Damage) + 33.5
Bleeding Damage = (0.06 * Condition Damage) + 22
Confusion Damage (passive) = (0.035 * Condition Damage) + 10 
Confusion Damage (on skill activation) = (0.0625 * Condition Damage) + 49.5 
Torment Damage (not moving) = (0.045 * Condition Damage) + 15.9
Torment Damage (moving) = (0.09 * Condition Damage) + 31.8

Additionally to these conditions a necromancer using

Terror Terror

can do damage with fear :

Fear Damage = (0.4 * Condition Damage) + 444

While Burning scales best with condition damage, it might not always be best to focus on it. Always compare stacks and duration of the skills that apply the conditions. If you can generate 30 bleeding stacks but only 4 burning stacks on average, it might be best to focus on the bleeding duration if you can’t have it all.

Confusion and torment are problematic in PvE as their damage is unreliable. Most of your targets won’t move much, so a build focusing on torment will likely be of niche use only. As most enemies in PvE don’t have a high attack speed you can only rely on confusions passive damage tick.

When it comes to armor Viper und Sinister are the best condition stats at the moment. Though the damage dealt by your conditions will scale better if you invest your stat points in condition damage than spending the same amount on expertise, Viper is still the better option because you lose only 15% of your condition damage stats but gain three times of the lost amount back as expertise stat. Obviously, as soon as you reach the 100% condition duration cap Sinister will be the better choice. Because food, traits, sigils and maybe runes can give you a great amount of condition duration focus on those first before complementing those choices with the right gear. If you have two different gear variants that max out condition duration and will lead to about the same condition damage, use the variant which results in better power damage.

Also don’t underestimate the portion of power damage in a condition build. If there is no condition trait in one of the trait tiers, pick a trait that will increase your power damage instead. Likewise don’t use any defensive stats because you think the condition damage stat is enough to make your build viable. The power damage is important as it can decide if your build can compete against other builds or not.

Tanking

Though you can create very defensive builds for every class which you can use to tank raid bosses, it is recommended to use a class that can survive fairly easily if using a damage build. You don’t need very defensive stats, if you can block, dodge, use invulnerability or mitigate damage in other ways fairly often. Small adjustments like adding a little bit of toughness to hold aggro or changing a trait for more defense may be enough to survive easily.

Heal Builds

If you want to create a build to keep the healthbars of your raid team up you should plan for a great amount of variation as teams with skilled players who are well acquainted with the encounter will need significantly less healing than an inexperienced group. Your build should be able to keep the scholar buff up for both team constellation while trying not to overheal. If you’re constantly healing for 4k where 2k would suffice, you should switch to a more offensive setup to help with DPS so you won’t be an hindrance. As anyone should strive to be one of the former team and people will get better overtime use the more offensive setup as the standard version and include the other options as a variant so that everyone who reads the build can pick as much heal as his team needs.

A good healbuild should only have a low downtime where you can’t heal as well as some small and big burst heals. Ideally you can also provide decent personal DPS or some offensive group buffs so that the build has an advantage over other heal builds.

While full offensive armor with 0 Healing Power will be enough for some teams, Zealot gear is a great compromise of DPS and Healing Power. Try to avoid Cleric gear otherwise your tank may need to use more toughness than necessary. Stacking Healing Power isn’t the only options to increase your healing. You can also greatly increase your healing by stacking buffs that increase your outgoing healing, especially if your heal skills don’t scale well with Healing Power. You can check how your heal skills scale with Healing Power by looking up the skill in the official wiki.

Damage Calculations

When you start comparing your build with others, wondering if it can compete, most people like to throw around some numbers of how much damage their build does. You should always view these numbers with a grain of salt. You can only compare numbers that were acquired on exactly the same way and even then using them as the ultimate measure for a build isn’t a good idea. Builds that bring a lot of support like Might generally have lower personal DPS but they increase the overall group DPS and will likely be preferred over other builds if those support is not covered by the party yet.

If you see any numbers without explanation on how they were obtained, better don’t trust them. Even if full groupbuffs were used for calculation, buffs like spotter, alacrity or quickness aren’t used by everyone but can lead to a big discrepancy in the DPS.

There are two different approaches to calculate the DPS and both methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

Spreadsheet

This is the theoretical approach to get your DPS. The DPS can be acquired by making a big spreadsheet calculating the DPS of every skill you can use in a specific time interval. How exactly such a spreadsheet calculation can be done is not covered here as it would go beyond the scope of this guide.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Ingame

To get the numbers ingame you calculate the damage dealt against a specific enemy. You can get the DPS by either summing up your DPS numbers from combat log manually or by using a DPS meter. There are two kinds of DPS meters you can use. The first one works by making multiple screenshots of your combat log per second and summing those values up. Unfortunately the values you get might not be that accurate, as it takes a few seconds until the program stops calculating after the fight and depending on your program settings damage values may got lost because you make many small hits that will immediately fill up your combat log or be counted double. The second kind of DPS meter is against the EULA as it receives the damage values from your computer’s memory. You should not use this kind of DPS meter as it may result in an account ban.

Though its a pretty popular, using the indestructible PVP-Golem isn’t a good way to get DPS values you can compare with each other. First of all not all stats/runes and sigils are available in the PvP-Lobby and you can’t mix stats or runes at all. Even if can recreate your build in the PvP-Lobby you will get the numbers based on stats that are equivalent to lvl 78 exotics. Therefore your DPS will be much higher in PvE. Secondly this favors condition builds as power builds will gain much more by the higher strength value of ascended weapons .

Advantages:

Disadvantages: