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Guild Wars 2 Guide
Your guide to adventuring in Tyria

This guide was created pre-release.
Expect gameplay, professions and skills to change over time.

Secure your copy today.

Release date 28th August.
Instant download
NCSoft Authorised Partner

Combat Basics










Conditions Guide
Boons Guide
Guide to Conditions vs. Boons
Attributes Guide
Intro Guide to Builds
Combo Fields and Finishers
Intro Guide to Dodging and Vigor
Downed State and Finishing
Guide to Underwater Combat and Drowning

General Gameplay











Guide to Earning XP
Skill Points Guide
Intro Guide to Karma and the Renown System
Inventory Management Tips
Trading Post Basics
GW2 Currency Guide
Guide to Traveling in Tyria
Cities, Explorable Zones, and Dungeons by Level
Bundle System Guide
Norn Keg Brawl Guide

3












The Complete Ranger Pet Guide Portal
Thief's Guide to Stealing
Necromancer Guide
Mesmer Guide
Ranger Guide
Engineer Guide
Warrior Guide
Elementalist Guide
Thief Guide
Guardian Guide






WvW Stats and Bonuses Guide
WvW Supply Guide
Siege Weapons Guide
Solo and Group Activities in WvW

4

Conditions Guide
Overview
There are a total of 11 Conditions in Guild Wars 2, each causing a negative effect against
foes through the use of your skills or traits. Each Condition has a specific effect and duration.
When Conditions are reapplied to a foe that already has it, they either stack in intensity
(increasing their effect) or duration, while some have no change. Conditions in Guild Wars 2
won’t provide you with huge instant damage numbers but instead offer a flexible, attrition based
play style that can cause serious misery to your opponents over a period of time.
Condition damage is directly affected by your Condition Damage attribute and gains no
numerical benefit from Power or Precision. In basic terms, the more Condition Damage you
have the more damage all your Conditions will deal. Behind each Condition there is a math
formulae that allows you to calculate how much damage each Condition will deal, when you
have X amount of Condition Damage. However, I suspect for many this is a daunting prospect
and so the easiest thing I would suggest is you aim for a total of 1200 to 1300 Condition Damage
if you are undertaking a Condition focused build. These values will guarantee you are dealing the
height of what is possible, without overstretching yourself (and thus compromising other
attributes). You can have less or more than this dependent on your build or play style but I found
venturing over 1200 results in only minor differences in damage, for a lot more effort (At 1400
Condition Damage bleeding dealing 113 damage instead of 110 at 1300 Condition Damage).
Unlike direct damage skills, Conditions bypass an opponent’s armor value meaning you attack
just their health pool rather than having a portion of it mitigated. You should also be aware that
Conditions can be removed which can significantly reduce your damage output if they are
stripped from the person you are fighting, so be wary of your opponent!

5

Bleeding - Inflicts X damage per second. Stacks in intensity.
Bleeding, in many respects, is the bread and butter of Condition based builds. As it stacks in
intensity this means you can apply multiple Bleeds, with each Bleed dealing a certain amount of
damage.
For example, if an Engineers Explosive Shot causes Bleeding for 4 seconds and each second of
Bleed causes 100 damage, you would deal 400 damage for the duration. If you fired
twice in succession, there would be two stacks of Bleeding active, with each
stack dealing damage per second, causing a total of 800 damage over 4 seconds.
In Condition based builds, it is paramount to achieve a large number of stacks in order to deal
damage as quickly as possible. It isn’t uncommon to see stacks of Bleeding in excess of 10+
stacks, but the total cap on a single target is 25.

Blind - Causes the target's next hit to miss instead.
Almost all professions, in some form, have access to Blind. Some professions have a
considerable amount of skills that cause Blind and effective use of it can be the difference
between life and death. As the above suggests, when you Blind someone their next attack against
you or an ally will miss.
Skills that cause Blind tend to have long
cool-downs due to their potency but can be vital in mitigating damage.
For example, as an Elementalist if you see a Warrior about to aim Kill Shot, which has a clearly
defined animation (the Warrior gets down on one knee) casting Blinding Flash will cause him to
miss and likely prevent a huge amount of yours or your allies health disappearing.
It should be noted that you can chain multiple Blinds but you have to reapply them
independently after your foe has used each attack, otherwise your skill will be wasted. You could
cast Blinding Flash > Warrior misses Kill Shot > Dust Devil > Warrior misses next attack.
Casting Blinding Flash and Dust Devil after one another however, if your opponent has not
attacked, will not stack Blind twice.

6

Burning - Inflicts X damage per second. Stacks in duration.
Burning as a single Condition (versus 1 stack of Bleeding) offers the highest damage out of all
Conditions (although 25 stacks of Bleeding would surpass anything) and is reflected in the fact
you cannot stack multiple Burnings. If you apply Burning twice, you will prolong its duration
only. In many respects, this causes several problems for professions and players that choose to
use Condition builds, as there is inevitably a skill overlap that causes an individual’s skill/skills
to become redundant. Effective skill rotation to keep Burning active on your foe is the best
method to counter this and I would recommend that during fights, you open with any skills that
Burn so that the damage to them quickly stacks up and over the course of the fight, will allow
you to use any Burning skills again.

Chilled- Reduces movement speed and skill recharge by 66%.
Stacks in duration.
Chilled functions similarly to Crippled (see below) but could be considered its stronger
counterpart. Rangers, Elementalists and Necromancers all excel at causing Chill while the
Engineer through their use of Freeze Grenade can also cause it. Its ability to slow players by 66%
and increase skill recharges by the same amount makes it incredibly potent as a control tool.
Whether using Chill against a single opponent or a group, it allows for unrivalled opportunities
to focus targets and bring them down. Skills such as the Engineers Freeze Grenade or an
Elementalists Frozen Ground are excellent tools for diverting oncoming attackers or snaring
them in place. A favorite combination of mine is to use an Engineers Freeze Grenade in a large
group of enemies, followed by an Elementalists Meteor Shower to really deal heavy area of
effect damage.

7

Confusion - Inflicts X damage each time a foe uses skill. Stacks
in intensity.
Confusion is a Condition originally intended to be unique to the Mesmer but was expanded to
several skills on the Engineer as well as the Asura racial skill and a trait for the Necromancer
(amongst a few others). When you inflict someone with Confusion, each time that person
attacks or uses a skill they receive damage based on your total Condition Damage attribute.
Many Confusion skills only last for several seconds, with the Condition itself significantly
reduced in recent updates due to the difficulties ArenaNet have faced in balancing it for
both Player versus Enemy (PvE) and Player versus Player (PvP). The primary skill on a Mesmer
for causing Confusion is Confusing Images which inflicts the Condition for a total of 5 seconds.
Unless you are a Mesmer, you’ll rarely encounter this Condition unless on the receiving end at
which point I’d simply recommend you resist using anything for its duration.

Crippled - Reduces movement speed by 50%. Stacks in duration.
Crippled is arguably the lesser counterpart of Chilled but remains incredibly important as it is a
little more widely available through skills and traits. Like Chilled, it too stacks in Duration so
can be chained effectively to keep a foe with reduced movement speed. If you plan on taking
part in Player versus Player combat having some form of skill to slow your opponent (whether
Crippled or Chilled) is incredibly important. For any Longbow Rangers out there, Muddy
Terrain + Barrage is a wonderful combination and guarantees a huge amount of damage against a
single or multiple targets.

8

Fear - Causes the target to run directly away from the caster.
Fear is a mechanic originally unique to the Necromancer but can also be used by Warriors and
Mesmers. In the Mesmers circumstance, the Fear effect is as a result of Chaos Storm that causes
random Conditions and so lacks the certainty of the skills available to the Necromancer or
Warrior. When you’re affected by Fear your character will run away for around 1 second.
During this time you cannot move or use any skills and as a result, you are incredibly vulnerable.
As a Mesmers Chaos Storm is obvious (a giant purple electric cloud on the floor) primarily you
only have to worry about the Necromancer and Warrior. A Warriors Fear Me! has a very limited
range while the Necromancer can only cause Fear when using a Staff (Reaper‟s Mark) that can
clearly be seen on the floor, or when they are in Death Shroud. If they’re in Death Shroud it is
often better to just avoid them until it wears off.

Immobilized - Immobilizes and prevents dodge. Stacks in
duration
Immobilized is incredibly powerful and can, if timed rightly, result in yours or your opponent‟s
death incredibly quickly. Immobilize prevents you from moving entirely, including dodging,
meaning for a period of time you are open to all attacks without the ability to mitigate damage or
heal yourself. Many skills that cause Immobilize, such as an Engineers Glue Shot or Rangers
Muddy Terrain have clear indicators that for very brief moments afford you the opportunity to
avoid them. Others, such as a Thiefs Signet of Shadows are incredibly hard to identify and as a
result you are likely to be immobilized very quickly, with no ability to avoid it. Luckily,
Immobilize doesn’t last long and there are several traits you can take that significantly reduce the
damage you receive when Immobilized. For anyone serious about PvP I really can’t recommend
these traits enough as they will save your life, especially against the dread Elementalist Dragon
Tooth combination.

9

Poison - Inflicts X damage per second. Reduces outgoing heals
by 33%. Stacks in duration.
Poison stacks in Duration and is the only skill in the game that also reduces your opponents
healing ability. Timed correctly, it can seriously hamper the opposition when they are low health
as it significantly reduces a players ability to gain the most out of their heal. What I also love
about Poison is that it deals a good amount of damage in a short period of time, though there are
only four professions that have reasonable access to the Condition (Engineer, Necromancer,
Ranger and Thief). As tempting as it is to simply use your skills, timing the use of poison can
make fighting tough support professions such as the Guardian or Necromancer a lot easier.

Vulnerability - Reduces armor by X. Stacks in intensity.
Vulnerability is a Condition that mainly benefits others in your party, as Conditions ignore the
armor values of an opponent. In reality, Vulnerability is relatively weak in its current form
only providing a maximum armor reduction of 30 at level 80, which in the grand scheme of
things is ignorable at best. I’d safely say that there’s very little reason to pursue skills or traits
that cause this if it’s at the expense of any other condition.

10

Weakness - Causes 50% of attacks to be glancing and reduces
endurance regeneration by 50%. Stack in duration.
Weakness is a Condition that causes attacks to result in a glancing blow (50-75% reduced chance
to hit) while also slowing endurance regeneration by half. Against professions that hit hard and
fast as well as use continuous endurance to their advantage (such as Thieves) it is incredibly
useful in reducing incoming damage but also preventing foes from dodging as frequently. Using
Weakness and Cripple/Chill is a sure fire-way of significantly hampering your opponent.

Conditions Summary
• Conditions bypass armor and affect a foes health directly for maximum
damage.
• Dealing high damage with conditions is reliant on you having a large
amount of Condition Damage.
• Relying on Condition Damage can leave you vulnerable, as it can be easily
removed by other professions.
• Conditions you receive or inflict on other professions can be turned into
Boons.
• Conditions that stack in duration only, such as Burning, mean that two
players cannot stack Burning on the same target twice but you can prolong
the damage.
• Conditions are an excellent form of control through their debilitating effects
and ability to apply huge pressure to foes.
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11

BOONS GUIDE
Overview
There are a total of 8 Boons in Guild Wars 2, each causing a positive effect on the
recipient. Boons tend to be considered the polar opposite of Conditions with each Boon causing
an effect for a limited duration. Boons stack in Duration but with the exception of Might, their
effectiveness does not stack. You could not for example have two stacks of Protection (which
would give 66% damage reduction) instead, you are limited to just one Protection Boon (33%
damage reduction). Boons are designed to support any number of play styles as well as offer
significant improvements to your character even if it is only for a short period.
Almost all professions have access to several boons though some, like the Guardian,
excel at creating or distributing them. Boons only tend to last several seconds due to their
potency but this is often enough to provide you or allies with a significant buff.
Unlike Conditions, many Boons (with the exception of Regeneration and Retaliation)
function at their maximum potential without the necessity to invest in any attributes. However,
Boons can still be stripped by other players, meaning Boon heavy builds (where a player relies
on their continued benefits) can be left vulnerable should they come across an individual intent
on removing them.

12

Aegis - Block the next attack
Aegis is a Boon that for all intents and purposes is unique to the Guardian. Although the
Mesmer can obtain it, this would be based purely on random acquisition rather than a guarantee
(from Chaos Storm and Signet of Inspiration). The Guardian however can regularly obtain it
through the use of their Virtues (Virtue of Courage) as well as a multitude of traits and a single
skill (Retreat!). Aegis guarantees that the next attack on you is blocked (similar in functionality
to Blind) making it incredibly powerful in mitigating damage and makes Guardians, who focus
on its use, very difficult to damage if its use is timed right.

Fury - 20% Critical Chance increase. Stacks in duration.
Fury provides a flat 20% improvement to your critical strike chance, allowing for some
wriggle room in terms of your character setup. For example, if you know your profession can
guarantee Fury in certain situations and you seek to crit regularly (50% would be more than
sufficient) you could aim for a base of 30% in the knowledge that when a fight does break out,
you can drink (in the Engineers case) an Elixir B to gain an instant 20% boost, taking your total
amount to 50%. Alternatively, as there is no cap to your chances of landing a critical hit there is
the potential to achieve a significantly higher value. In most circumstances, this Boon really has
no negatives and will, irrespective of setup, provide you with a brief benefit to your damage.

Might - X damage & condition damage per attack increase.
Stacks intensity.
Might, unlike other Boons, stacks in intensity and so is similar in principal to Bleeding in that
you can have more than one active. Instead of it being on your target however, it is cast on
yourself. At level 80 Might provides 30 additional Power and 30 Condition Damage which in the
grand scheme of things is negligible in small quantities and only results in a minor increase to
damage output. For the most part, unless you are stacking significant amount of Might (10+)
there really is little value in pursuing it. Even then, it’s so susceptible to being stripped by other
professions that to rely on it would leave you incredibly vulnerable in many encounters. Enjoy it
when you have it, but don't use it as a crutch for your build.

13

Regeneration - Regenerates X health per second. Stacks in
duration.
Regeneration is the only Boon that has its effectiveness determined by an attribute. Although
attributes have been discussed in a separate guide, I wouldn’t consider it worthwhile to pursue
Compassion directly (Compassion affects the amount of health regenerated per second while the
Boon is active). The results from heavy investment in Compassion aren't great in comparison to
the significant investment required from the player, as PvP amulets that provide Compassion will
suffocate your damage. For the most part Regeneration is negligible, though can amount to
several hundred health per second and in some circumstances, will save your life in moments of
desperation.

Protection - 33% damage reduction. Stacks in duration.
Protection is once again, like many boons, primarily available to the guardian; they have
four weapon skills and one utility skill that provide the Boon, as well as a couple of traits. Other
professions do have access to it from several utility skills or traits but these are limited in
comparison. Thankfully, many of the guardians skills can be projected to others, meaning it’s
highly likely that even if your profession can’t cause Protection, you will receive it at some
stage. The addition of traits that grant Protection when Immobilized, Stunned, Dazed or
generally anything that stops you functioning will also see you receive the Boon. I really can't
recommend enough the importance of obtaining such traits if you are serious about PvP. As
Protection also provides the damage reduction for its entire duration (often 5 seconds) it really is
invaluable in all combat situations.

14

Retaliation - Does X damage to an opponent
each time they hit you. Stacks in duration.
Retaliation is currently much underused and is only found in 4 weapon skills (2 in for the
mesmer, 1 for the guardian and 1 for the necromancer) but more common in traits and provides a
small amount of incoming damage back to attackers. Similarly to Regeneration, its values are
small (but do scale with your Power) and when linked with the very limited skill sets that cause
it, mean you will seldom encounter it. There are 8 traits in total that grant Retaliation but the
majority are linked to the mesmer and guardians limited states (whether downed, blocking or
upon reviving an ally) making the window of opportunity very narrow.

Swiftness - 33% movement speed increase. Stacks in duration.
Swiftness alongside Vigor (see below) is probably my favourite Boon in the entire game.
Speed should never be under appreciated in any encounter and the ability to move quickly,
especially in Player versus Player, is so valuable. Although many movement effects in Guild
Wars 2 don‟t stack with one another, a 33% increase to your speed is significant and is not only a
brilliant tool offensively (great for chasing someone down) but is also excellent defensively
(great for running away!). When combined with Vigor, it really is formidable.
If your
profession is lucky enough to have a skill or trait that causes Swiftness, you should thank your
blessings.

15

Vigor - Faster endurance regeneration. Stacks in duration.
Vigor increases your endurance regeneration by 100% and without endurance you cannot
dodge. Perhaps for the inexperienced it would be easy to dismiss dodge in Guild Wars 2 as a
gimmick, but with time invested it quickly becomes apparent how fundamental dodge is to not
only staying alive but remaining mobile. What vigor does do is allow you to dodge regularly, as
your dodge meter will quickly refill while the Boon is active. Although Vigor can be removed
like any Boon, it’s highly likely that in a matter of seconds you’ll have the ability to dodge again
making the removal of it very minor. Traits such as Invigorating Speed when combined with
Infused Precision will almost guarantee you permanent Vigor and thus an almost permanent
ability to dodge whether the Boon is removed or not. In competitive PvP I cannot recommend
Vigor enough, as not only will it save your life countless times but the damage avoidance
it affords means you can be a little more experimental with your character setup when trying
to balance out your toughness or vitality.

Boons Summary
• Boons are valuable buffs that provide great benefits to you and your team
mates.
• Guardians excel at creating Boons, but most professions have some access to
them.
• Swiftness and Vigor combined will allow you to avoid damage for
significant periods through your running speed and ability to dodge
repeatedly.
• Traits that cause Protection when you are Immobilized, Stunned or Dazed
are invaluable in a PvP environment.
• A 33% damage reduction will regularly save your life.
• Boons you receive or pass on to others can be turned into Conditions by
some professions.
• Relying on Might stacking to achieve high damage is very risky as the single
stack can be removed instantly by other professions.
• The only Boon to rely on attributes is Regeneration, the rest all function at
their maximum capability without any investment by you.

16

Guide to Conditions versus
Boons
Overview
Conditions and boons can be removed in two ways: skills or traits, with this broken down into
forced/direct removal, transfer or transform and skill combinations, through Combo Fields and
Finishers. It should be noted however that there are no Combo Fields and Finishers that remove
boons, as this only works for conditions.
Every profession in the game has some form of condition removal whether from skills, traits or
both, but not all professions have access to boon removal as this is predominantly the role of the
Mesmer or the Necromancer.
If you are keen to take part in structured PvP I would sincerely recommend you have at least one
skill or several traits which remove conditions from you as this will make your life a whole lot
easier if you encounter condition focused players. Where boons are concerned, unless you are a
Mesmer or Necromancer you will struggle to directly counter professions that make heavy use of
boons but that doesn’t mean you can’t compete against them.

17

Conditions Removal
The most common form of condition removal is from profession specific skills, which come in
three forms: individual, area or passive.

Individual
These are the most common of the three profession specific skill types and
are often skills that can be used while moving and tend to remove some or all
conditions currently affecting you, regardless of the amount of conditions you
are suffering from. Dependant on your preferences, choosing an individual
condition removal skill will save you considerable health loss against foes
that are intent on stacking as many conditions on you as quickly as possible,
because you can simply wipe them out (meaning they then have to reapply all of them).
However, individual condition removal skills tend to have long cooldowns that will leave you
vulnerable after their use, while some condition removal skills only remove certain types.
For example, a Thieves Hide in Shadows will only remove Burning, Poison and Bleeding
(leaving you exposed to many others) where as a Mesmers Null Field will remove all conditions
you are suffering from. If you want to cover all bases in the Thieves example, you would need
to pair this with traits or further condition removal skills to ensure all of them can be removed.

Passive
Not all professions have access to passive condition removal as the skills tend
to be unique to Signets, meaning if you choose a profession that doesn’t have
them you’ll have to make use of individual or area condition removal instead.
I think passive condition removal skills are great as they can be relied on to
always remove conditions from you, regardless of cooldowns. However, they
only tend to remove conditions every 10 seconds meaning if you do come
across a condition focused player, you’re likely to be overwhelmed in a very short space of time
as your Signet struggles to keep up. Paired with traits however (such as those that remove
conditions when you heal or when you use a skill) can be very effective at keeping conditions on
you low. I have found that using a passive condition removal skill will see you never condition
free in combat but it can keep conditions low enough to not have to worry about them.

18

Area
Certain skills will only remove conditions in an area, at the point where you
used the skill or manually placed it. These skills are great for encounters
where you know you need to move very little or if you are fighting on a
single location (such as a Capture Point). Still using the Mesmers example
above, their Null Field is an area of effect condition removal skill and with its
wide radius will guarantee (if you stay within its boundary) you are
unaffected by conditions for its duration. What is also great about such skills is that they extend
to other members of your party, meaning they too can receive its benefits if they dip in and out of
the area.
Area condition removal skills can be invaluable in PvP encounters where fighting takes place in
close quarters as it will nullify any conditions you receive, while supporting your team at the
same time (especially team mates who don’t take a condition removal skill!). I’ve often found
these incredibly useful in Capture Point scenarios, defensively or offensively, as approaching the
Capture Point you can simply lay down the area condition removal skill and guarantee a large
proportion of any incoming damage is mitigated. It should be noted however that area condition
removal skills are often poor when moving from point to point as they rely on you staying within
their boundary to receive their effect. A clever player tends to wait for the skill to end before
attacking you if you use it too early, which will then leave you incredibly vulnerable.

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19

Traits
The only profession that doesn’t have access to a trait that removes conditions is the Warrior
(that may change) and most other professions can only remove one condition in a specific
circumstance, when they actively trait for it. Some traits will only remove one condition per
trigger and some up to three with these traits designed more as a support tool to existing
condition removal skills.

For example, the guardian trait Inscribed Removal will remove one condition from you when
you activate a Signet. As the guardian only has one Signet (which also removes conditions
passively every 10 seconds) you can realistically remove two at once by activating the Signet. If
you paired this Purity of Resolve, a trait that removes three conditions when you use Virtue of
Resolve, you could within a very short space of time remove 5 conditions instantly (and still
maintain the passive condition removal from the Signet).
Pairing condition removal traits with skills in this manner is incredibly powerful and can make
many professions and players who rely on condition damage incredibly weak, as they never have
the opportunity to stack conditions on you to their full effect.

Combo Fields and Finishers
Although we’ve already touched on Combo Fields and Finishers in the past, they aren’t just used
offensively but can provide condition removal to you and nearby allies.
The two main
combinations for this are Light + Projectile or Light + Whirl. The former will provide condition
removal to anyone in front of you and the latter condition removal to anyone around you.
Although I wouldn’t recommend relying on Combo Fields and Finishers exclusively for your
condition removal, it is a viable option to support your existing condition removal setup.

Boons Removal
As mentioned above, very few professions have the skills or traits to actively remove opposing
players boons. As a Mesmer or Necromancer you should be rubbing your hands together at the
opportunities afforded to you in this department as you are the only two professions that do this
job splendidly. The Mesmer has 4 skills that remove boons and the Necromancer has 3.

20

Transfer/Transform
Arcane Thievery and Corrupt Boon are formidable skills that will either
transfer or transform any boons on a player into random conditions and
although they both share long cooldowns, they are incredibly powerful
against professions that choose to pursue boon orientated gameplay. There is
nothing more satisfying than removing boons from a player you know is
relying on them as part of their setup.
Archane Thievery differs from Corrupt Boon in the sense that it sends conditions on you to your
foe and you steal their boons, while Corrupt Boon directly transforms boons on a foe into
conditions. The Mesmers Archane Thivery is obviously a lot more defensive than Corrupt Boon
based on the fact you receive boons in the place of any conditions you passed on, but Corrupt
Boon also has a significantly lower cooldown so can be used at least three times before Archane
Thievery is ready again.

Forced/Direct
Mind Stab, the last attack in the swords auto attack sequence, removes one
boon from your foe. As the only auto attack in the game that does this, there
is little wonder that 90% of all mesmers use a sword, as it allows for you to
really cut through defensive boon heavy professions incredibly quickly.
Paired with any other of the Mesmers boon removal skills, it leaves very little
opportunity for your foes to actually maintain their boons for any length of
time.
Null Field, as mentioned above, is an area of effect condition removal skill, however it also
removes boons to anyone within its field. As a Glamour skill there are also various traits that
allow you prolong its duration and reduce its cooldown. Considering it only has a 45 second
cooldown to start with, it really is an excellent skill to have in the Mesmers arsenal. Paired with
Magic Bullet or Signet of Domination, you can quickly lock a player down inside the area for a
long period of time to strip their boons completely.

21

Phantasmal Disenchanter summons an illusion to remove boons from foes and conditions from
allies. As the Phantasmal Disenchanter only uses a skill once every 8 seconds, I’ve often found
it much more practical to equip Null Field or Arcane Thievery instead as these aren’t
susceptible to damage from opposing players while Phantasms can be overridden should you
summon any other illusions.
In the Necromancers circumstance, it has two skills available to directly remove boons from
opposing players.
Spinal Shivers is an excellent skill based on the fact that not only does it cause
chill but removes 3 boons in the process and with a relatively low cooldown at
25 seconds there aren’t many professions able to reapply boons quickly
enough for you can use it again.
Well of Corruption acts similarly to Null Field, where the player can place the Well down and
anyone within its area will see their boons removed every 2 seconds. With an 8 second duration
the skill is exceptional in a Capture Point scenario especially if you know that a Guardian is
actively defending the point as placing it in the centre of the Capture Point will force them off it
(if they know what‟s good for them). The fact it also acts as a Combo Field is an added bonus.
I‟d recommend any Necromancer to take Well of Corruption in structured PvP environment.

Traits
Only the Thief, Mesmer, Necromancer and Guardian are capable of removing boons through
traits and each only have access to one capable of doing it. I personally don’t use the boon
removal trait on the Mesmer as I don’t specialize far enough into the Domination trait line to
actually use it (I prefer Crippling Dissipation) although Shattered Concentration can be
incredibly powerful for those who don’t use the sword. Where the Necromancer is concerned,
their trait offers a 10% chance to removes boons every time your minions attack which is
formidable if you take every minion available. But, with plenty of options already there to the
Necromancer for boon removal, it might be worth taking other traits instead but it does afford
you some flexibility.
The Thief if specializing in the Trickery trait line can remove two boons by stealing from their
target which can be useful if you open combat with a steal or save your steal for mid way
through a fight. Lastly, the Guardian when using Searing Flames has a 25% chance to remove
boons every time they burn an enemy. From virtues alone the Guardian has a high chance of
causing burning but even more so when using Torch off hand and skills such as Judges
Intervention or Purging Flames.

22

Conditions versus Boons Summary
• Every profession in the game can remove conditions in some way.
• Condition removal stems from skills, traits or combo fields and finishers.
• Not all individual condition removal skills remove all conditions; some will
only remove specific ones.
• Area condition removal skills are great when defending or attacking a
Control Point to mitigate your damage received and to help your party.
• Passive condition removal skills are great for keeping minor condition
affliction at bay but you can easily become be overwhelmed against
condition specialized players.
• Utilizing a combination of individual or area condition removal skills,
coupled with traits, is the most effective way to neutralize condition
specialized players.
• The mesmer and necromancer are the only professions in the game that truly
excel at boon removal.
• The Mesmer is the only profession in the game that has an auto attack
capable of removing boons.
• Only four professions have traits capable of removing boons (Thief,
Mesmer, Necromancer and Guardian).

23

Attributes Guide
Attributes in Guild Wars 2 are the fundamental characteristics which improve your effectiveness
in combat.
Each profession can access ten attributes, with nine of those shared between all
professions and the tenth unique to each profession. Attributes are subdivided into three types:
Primary, Secondary and Profession. As you level up, your primary attributes will increase
automatically. The total value of your primary attributes when you reach level 80 will be 916.
Attributes can also be increased through items or traits as you progress through the game. In
general terms, the higher your attributes the stronger you will be.

Primary Attributes
The four primary attributes are split into two offensive and two defensive types. As mentioned
above, these will naturally increase as your level progresses.

Power — every point increases attack by one point.
Power, in its most basic form, determines your damage output as each point in it increases your
attack by one. Without confusing you with the calculations or mathematics behind how damage
is calculated, all you need to know is the more Power you have, the more damage you will deal.
There are exceptions to this, specific to Condition Damage (see below) but for most professions
and setups, if you want to hit hard, having items or investing in trait lines that increase your
Power will see you deal high damage.
From a personal perspective, if I’m not running a Condition Damage build, I always try to aim
for around 1900 Power and although this isn’t the highest value you can achieve, it does ensure
you deal a good amount of damage without sacrificing attributes in other areas.

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Precision — increases critical hit chance.
Precision increases your chance to critical hit and like Power, is an offensive attribute. At level
80, all professions have a chance to critical hit of 4%. This is incredibly low but it is easily
increased through items or trait lines. The main benefit of Precision, besides the fact that critical
hits are great for spike damage, is that many effects from traits or skills are triggered by critical
strikes.
Certain traits will directly increase your Precision attribute, such as a Mesmers Blade Training
that provides +50 Precision, while skills such as an Engineers Infused Precision will only trigger
when you critically hit.
I always try to aim for around 50% chance to critically hit as many of my builds revolve around
such trait triggers. With the rate of attack/fire from many skills or weapons it’s almost
guaranteed with such a Precision rate that you can keep trait triggers active. To achieve a 50%
chance to critically hit, you would need a Precision attribute total of around 1800.

Toughness — every point increases armor by one point.
Toughness is one of two defensive attributes. Each point spent in Toughness will increase your
armour and your ability to withstand direct damage. Toughness doesn’t affect your ability to
mitigate Condition damage but only physical attacks from weapons or spells. Similarly to
Precision, there are various traits for certain professions that provide a direct increase, such as a
Warriors Shield Master trait which provides +90 Toughness while wielding a shield. There is
no rule as to how much toughness, numerically, that you should aim for. With very little
Toughness you can still survive a long period of time if you are clever with your positioning and
use of dodging in order to avoid damage, but anything around 1600 Toughness at level 80 should
see you withstand plenty of damage, when combined with your armor.

25

Vitality — every point increases maximum health by ten points.
Vitality determines your total health pool and so it’s important to have
a good amount of it so you don’t die in two hits. Vitality is also easy to
calculate as one point increases your health pool by ten. We know that
all professions at level 80 have base attribute values of 916, so simply
multiply that by ten (9160) and you have your health at maximum
level, when excluding items or traits.
Vitality is also incredibly important when fighting against players who
specialize in Condition Damage as Conditions bypass armor and toughness and will instantly
eat away at your health pool rather than have some of the damage mitigated by your defenses. In
this circumstance it’s obviously best to have as much Vitality as possible, however many builds
are viable with as little as 17,000 health (when factoring in traits and items) as long as you avoid
as much damage as possible through remaining mobile.

Secondary Attributes
The five Secondary Attributes common to all professions, like the primary, are split offensively
and defensively (three and two, respectively). Secondary Attributes, unlike primary, do not
automatically increase as you level and can only be increased through specializing in trait lines
or from items and equipment. To make things a little more complicated, Secondary Attributes
also have names they are familiarly known as.

Boon Duration — Improves the duration of all boons applied by
the character.
Boon Duration is also known as Concentration and increases the duration of
Boons by 1% per point spent in the specific profession trait line. If you
were to invest 30 points into a Rangers Nature Magic trait line, your Boons
would receive a 30% increase to their duration. Or if you were to invest 25 points in a Guardians
Virtue trait line, you would receive a 25% increase to your Boon durations. This secondary
attribute can be incredibly useful when running a supportive Boon heavy build, as it will
elongate the duration of them significantly.
For example, an Engineers Elixir B provides Might for 30 seconds, but with 30 points spent in
the Engineers Alchemy trait line this would see its duration increase to 36 seconds. If you then
combined this with the trait Potent Elixirs (which also provides a 20% duration increase) this
would see Elixir B grant Might for 42 seconds; a significant improvement.

26

Condition Damage — Improves the damage done by conditions
like burning, poison, confusion, and bleeding.
Condition Damage is also known as Malice and is paramount for a multitude of skills that apply
physical conditions. Contrary to the Primary Attribute descriptions earlier, Power does not affect
the damage of a condition, the Secondary Attribute -- Condition Damage/Malice -- does.
Without investment in Condition Damage, your conditions (such as Bleed, Poison, Confusion)
will deal very little damage. If you do choose a playstyle that relies entirely on Condition
Damage, it is absolutely vital that you achieve upwards of 1000 or your damage will be
incredibly low. As Condition Damage isn’t leveled naturally (unlike Primary Attributes) this can
be difficult to achieve and will often leave you struggling to even out your other Primary
Attributes. Luckily, most weapon sets have a clear focus (Power orientated skills or Condition
Damage orientated) so it makes life a little easier in determining which path you want to take
when investing in trait lines and items.

Condition Duration — Improves the duration of all conditions
inflicted by the character.
Similarly to Boon Duration and commonly known as Expertise, Condition
Duration does just what it says; it increases the duration of all conditions
you inflict on an opponent. Also similar to Boon Duration, each point
invested in Expertise will see its duration increase by 1%. If you were to invest 30 points into a
Necromancers Spite trait line, your conditions would receive a 30% increase to their duration.
This would see a typical condition such as Bleed, caused from the skill Blood Curse, increased
from a duration of 7 seconds, to around 8.5.
Expertise is a strong secondary attribute when paired with other items that elongate the lifespan
of conditions as while your conditions are active, they are often dealing damage or hindering
your foe and as conditions tend to rely on attrition to wear down your opponent, having them last
longer is never a bad thing.

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Critical Damage — Improves the damage multiplier on critical
strikes.
Critical Damage is also known as Prowess and provides a damage increase to your critical hits,
with each point invested in Prowess increasing your critical damage by 1%. It’s a little difficult
to describe this secondary attribute without some mathematics involved but in its simplest form,
the more Prowess you have, the more damage you will deal when you critically hit.
For those interested in some minor mathematics, critical hits by all professions provide a damage
increase of 50%. For example, if your standard attack deals 50 damage, when you critically hit
an opponent you would deal 75 damage. This is your base attack damage (50) including a 50%
increase (50 + 25 = 75).
By investing 30 points in Prowess (30% extra critical damage) you would actually deal 90
damage. This is your base damage (50) including a 80% increase, as you’ve added 30% on top
of your base figure.
It should be noted that Prowess does not effect conditions, so irrespective of how much Prowess
you have -- as conditions cannot critically hit someone -- there is little value in investing in it.
However, for individuals who enjoy seeing large damage numbers, whom have a high critical hit
chance and whom deal physical attacks, it can be incredibly useful for really high damage spikes.

Healing Power — Improves all outgoing heals that your
character does, including self heals.
Healing Power is also known as Compassion and improves both incoming and outgoing heals
that your character does, including healing from the Boon, Regeneration.
Healing Power
generally translates as one point invested provides one extra health point on your main heal, with
varying differences for splash heals that provide regeneration. A simple example of this would
be 100 Heal Power provides 100 extra health to your heal.

28

Profession Attributes
Unique to each profession are eight attributes. Like secondary attributes, profession attributes do
not automatically improve as your character levels and require investment on your part, into a
specific trait line. Each unique profession attribute improves a key element of the profession. It
should be noted that you do not have to specialize in profession attributes if you do not wish and
won’t be at any disadvantage over another who does. Profession attributes are there to support a
specific style of play and if that style of play doesn’t suit you, you shouldn’t feel any pressure to
invest in them. Below is a list of the profession attributes which we’ll be covering in a little
more depth in a future guide.
Profession

Attribute

Description

Willpower

Reduces the recharge on all virtues; linked to Virtues

Brawn

Improves the damage of warrior burst attacks; linked to Discipline

Ingenuity

Reduces the recharge on all tool belt skills; linked to Tools

Empathy

Improves pet attributes; linked to Beastmastery

Cunning

Reduces the recharge of the steal ability; linked to Trickery

Intelligence

Reduces the recharge of the four elemental attunements

Guile

Reduces the recharge on all shatter skills; linked to Illusions

Hunger

Increases the size of the necromancer's life force pool

29

Intro Guide to Builds in GW2
As you progress your character in Guild Wars 2 either in normal PvE or World vs. World
(WvW) gameplay, you will begin unlocking the core components that constitute a “build”. These
unlocks occur through active participation in combat, character level milestones, or access to
gear upgrades depending on the individual component.
We’ve broken down these core building blocks of GW2 builds below, in the order of when
you’ll encounter or unlock them in PvE or WvW gameplay. For quick reference, these are as
follows:

Level Unlocks
1

First weapon skills, Profession Mechanics, Healing Skill

5

First Utility Skill Slot

7

Weapon Swapping

10

Second Utility Skill Slot

11

Adept Trait Tier

20

Third Utility Skill Slot

30

Elite Skill Slot

40

Master Trait Tier

60

Grandmaster Trait Tier

Please note that in The Heart of the Mists, GW2‟s massive structured PvP lobby, each of these
components will automatically be unlocked and your character will be scaled directly to level 80.
For more on this aspect of structured PvP (sPvP for short), be on the lookout for our complete
guides to sPvP in GW2.

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Weapon Skills
The first, and most important part of your build that you’ll have access to are your weapon skills.
When you create a new character, you will have a main hand weapon equipped, with the first
skill automatically unlocked. As you actively engage in combat and defeat enemies, you will
progressively unlock the remaining skills for that weapon.
Upon completion of the intro for each race, you will be rewarded
with a choice of off-hand weapons. The off-hand weapon skills
occupy the 4th and 5th skill slot on your hotbar, and need to be
unlocked through active use the same as your main hand
weapon skills.
It’s important to note that weapon skill unlocks are progressive.
This means that you won’t be able to unlock your off-hand skills
(slots 4-5) if you haven’t yet unlocked the second and third skills
on your equipped main hand weapon (slots 2-3).
You will need to complete this unlock process for each weapon your profession is able to equip.
To see a full list of available weapons for your profession and a list of the associated skills, open
the Hero window [H] and on the left side open the Skills and Traits tab (shown above to the
right).

31

A full list of which weapons are available to each profession can be seen
below:

Weapon
Axe
Dagger

X

Mace

X

X

X

X

Shield

X

Torch

X
X

X

X

X

X

X

X
X
X

X

X

X

X
X

X

Hammer

X

X

X

X

X

X
X

Longbow

X

Rifle

X

X

X

Shortbow
X

Harpoon

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

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X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Spear

X

X

X

Greatsword

Trident

X

X

Warhorn

Staff

X

X

X

Sword
Focus

X

X

Pistol
Scepter

X

Profession Mechanics
The second part of your build that will automatically be unlocked (either partially or in full
depending on your profession) when you begin the game is a unique mechanic specific to your
profession. In some cases these profession mechanics will also need to be progressively unlocked
through active use, similar to your weapon skills.
For example, new necromancers will be able to activate the Death Shroud mechanic [F1] once
you‟ve built up enough Life Force. This gives you temporary access to 4 unique skills, though
only the first of these (Life Blast) will be unlocked initially. As you continue using Death Shroud
actively in combat and defeating enemies, you will progressively unlock the 3 remaining skills.

Certain professions will unlock additional aspects of their unique mechanic through leveling.
Examples here include the Warrior which unlocks the ability to build up to three stages of
Adrenaline power as they level (shown above), or the Elementalist which unlocks additional
Attunements after the first few levels of gameplay.

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Healing Skills
The third and final aspect of your overall build that will be automatically unlocked on newly
created characters is your Healing Skill slot. This skill will appear on your hotbar in the 6th skill
slot, located directly to the right of your heath meter as shown below.

Additional healing skills can be unlocked as you advance your character by purchasing them
with Skill Points. Skill points are earned 1 per level upon reaching level 5, and can also be
earned by completing various challenges found throughout the world in both PvE and WvW
gameplay.
All professions have access to 3 unique healing skills, with an additional healing skill available
based on the race of your character (Human and Sylvari only). Once an additional healing skill
has been purchased, you can slot it on your hotbar by clicking on the small arrow for that skill
slot. A full list of skills available for that slot will appear, with locked skills being grayed out on
the list.
As there are no dedicated healing professions in Guild Wars 2, your healing skill will be a
critical aspect of your build, regardless of which game type you choose to participate in. Please
note that racial skills (including healing skills) cannot be used in sPvP. This helps preserve the
balance between all characters in competitive PvP, while still offering you some unique
gameplay options based on your character’s race in PvE and WvW combat.

34

Utility Skills
At level 5 you will unlock your first Utility Skill slot. Similar to healing skills, utility skills need
to be unlocked for use by purchasing them with any skill points you’ve accumulated through
leveling or skill challenges.
The available utility skills for your profession can be seen by opening the Hero window [H] and
clicking on the Skills and Traits tab. In this view, left-click on “Slot Skills” to bring up the
complete utility skills list for your profession.
As you can see above, utility skills are broken down into three basic tiers. You must unlock 5
skills in each tier to progress to the next, and the skills in each tier will cost more skill points to
unlock.




First Tier Skills – 1 point each
Second Tier Skills – 3 points each
Third Tier Skills – 6 points each

As you advance your character’s level, you
will also unlock two additional utility skill
slots. The second slot (skill number 8 on your
hotbar) unlocks at level 10, and the third one
(skill number 9) unlocks at level 20. You can
swap out your active utility skills at any point
so long as you’re not actively engaged in
combat. This process is the same as swapping
your healing skills as described above.
Finally, as with healing skills, all professions
will gain access to unique utility skills
depending on the race of your character. The
same rule applies for sPvP here, so you will only be able to access and use your racial skills in
PvE and WvW.

35

Weapon Swapping

With the exception of the Elementalist and Engineer, beginning at level 7 you will unlock the
ability to swap between two unique weapon sets during combat. To equip a second weapon set,
open your Hero window [H] and you will see a list of all items in your inventory that you are
able to equip to the left of your character portrait.
From here you can drag & drop weapons into your second weapon set slots. Once you‟ve got a
second weapon set slotted, you can quickly change weapons by simply right-clicking on any
weapon from your inventory and select to equip it in your main or off-hand depending on the
weapon. Please note that this will replace the weapons in your Active set only.
To swap weapon sets either in or out of combat, press the [`] key, located directly to the left of
the number 1 key on your keyboard. Outside of combat you can swap active weapon sets at-will,
but during combat there will be a short recharge time each time you swap active sets.

36

Traits
At level 11, you will gain access to Traits. Traits allow you to enhance the primary and
secondary Attributes for your profession, customize how certain skills function in combat, and
improve your overall effectiveness in combat.
Beginning at level 11, you will gain 1 Trait Point per level, for a total of 70 points at level 80.
Each profession has access to 5 unique Trait Lines, with each line consisting of 3 10-point tiers.
The levels at which these tiers unlock is as follows:




Adept – Level 11
Master – Level 40
Grandmaster – Level 60

To unlock each of these tiers, you will need to visit the Trainer NPC for your profession. These
will be located in all major cities, or just outside of them in the starting explorable zones. To find
the trainer for your profession, you can open your map [M], or they will also display a book icon
for your profession over their nameplate.
The cost of each training manual can be seen in the image below:

37

Elite Skills
The final major component of standard builds in Guild Wars 2 is your Elite Skill slot (skill
number 10 on your hotbar). Elite skills become available to purchase and use starting at level 30,
and are more powerful than your other utility skills. As such, both the skill point cost and
recharge times for elite skills are also much higher than other skill unlocks.
The available elite skills for your profession can be found in the same tab of your Hero window
as your healing and utility skills. There are also two tiers of elite skills; first tier skills cost 10
points to unlock, while second tier skills cost 30 points.

Armor and Weapon Upgrades
The final thing to consider in your build will be the attributes or other enhancements gained by
your equipped armor, weapon sets, and accessories. Most items in the game have Upgrade Slots
that allow you to customize which attributes are enhanced, or add secondary effects.
As you advance in levels, upgrades can be added that provide additional benefits for each piece
of gear that uses the same upgrade. You can also craft armor, weapons, and accessories which
gives you direct control over the exact attributes or enhancements you want to add to an item.
To learn more about how Attributes impact your character’s build and combat effectiveness, be
sure to read our complete GW2 Attributes Guide.

Secure your copy today

Release date 28th August
Instant download

38

Combo Fields and Finishers
I never once noticed a combo field before the addition of the indicator, when field meets finisher.
In the midst of all the particle effects on offer in Guild Wars 2, to pick out a pair of skills
working in unison was often near impossible. After the symbol, I’m constantly aware of their
utility and power.
For anyone who doesn’t know, a combo field is a specific skill that creates an area of effect, of a
particular type. The type tends to be elemental and this determines the effect they cause on a
finisher. There are a total of 9 fields and 4 finishers that trigger the effects, as indicated in the
wiki-table below. You can also check out LoreChief's Combo Highlights for a full profession
breakdown of their specific Combo Fields and Finishers.

Fields come in two forms, circular or wall based. If a player remains within a circular field any
finishers they activate will trigger an effect, where wall based fields are concerned, only leaps or
projectile finishers will combo but they have to pass through the field. In the current build
however, it is possible to activate some finishers with wall based fields, though I'm unsure if this
is intentional.

39

To provide two examples:



If as a Mesmer you cast Chaos Storm (Field) and use Phase Retreat (Leap Finisher) you
will trigger the combo field Chaos Armor on yourself.
If as a Mesmer you cast Chaos Storm (Field) and use Illusionary Duelist (Projectile
Finisher) you will trigger the combo field Confusion, per bullet that passes through the
Chaos Storm and onto your target.

These two examples are specific to the Mesmer skills, but it is the use of cross-profession
combo fields where things get really interesting, as not all professions have access to all combo
finishers. A Mesmer has Leap, Projectile and Whirl but doesn’t have access to Blast.
Pairing with a Warrior, for this example, a Mesmer could cast Chaos Storm (Field) and the
Warrior could use Stomp (Blast Finisher) which would result in Chaos Armor being applied
in the area to all team mates.

Although some combo finishers only have a certain percentage chance of triggering, often 20%
on projectiles (likely as a result of the rate of fire) some are certain, such as the Leap and Blast
example I provided above.
The potency of such cross-profession combo finishers is undeniable and offers a whole host of
new approaches to the way in which certain professions and profession combinations can
interact with one another.
A specific example of where this worked wonderfully for me was during a structured PvP
tournament match in the last Beta weekend. With a thief on our team, he would use Black
Powder (Field) at the beginning of the match, and then use Cluster Bomb (Blast Finisher) to
area stealth our entire party. This then allowed us to leap from the spawn point and run across
the centre of Niflhel unseen, before working our way to Svanir or the Chieftain (dependent on
which side we were).
Another favorite combination of mine as a Mesmer was the use of Time Warp when paired with a
Thief. Coupled with a Chaos Storm, a Thief’s Unload would not only fire ridiculously quickly,
but the bullets when traveling through the Chaos Storm resulted in stack after stack of confusion,
dealing massive damage and killing Niflhel‟s NPC in around 3 seconds. This spike made
stealing the NPC easy, but killing it as quickly as we did often freed up precious time to rush to
and hold the Keep.

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The main hurdle to overcome in using combo fields is remembering which of your skills offer
the finisher, while remembering what finisher type it actually is. Almost all are sensible in design
but it is worth remembering that not every single skill is a combo field. An Engineers Poison
Grenade is, but an Engineers Freeze Grenade isn’t, despite them both being area of effect spells
that fall into the standard combo field rules (poison and ice elements).
I’m incredibly happy with the system in its current form thanks to the added indictor and I
believe there is a great deal of tactical play yet to be discovered. The two examples I listed above
show the real potential of combo fields. Many effects are obviously reliant on other players being
aware of their surroundings and knowing which skills they can and can’t interact with. However,
I’m confident effective use of combo fields is critical to gaining an edge over opponents.
With all that in mind, what uses have you found for combo fields; is there anything you would
want to change and do you rate them as highly as I do?

41

Intro Guide to Dodging and
Vigor
The ability to dodge during combat is a deceptively simple mechanic, but one that can be critical
to your survival and overall effectiveness in combat. In this guide we walk you through the
basics of dodging, and provide details on the supporting boon, Vigor.
Early on in PvE you will be prompted with an on-screen tip that helps introduce you to your
ability to dodge (shown below) and the default key mapping to do so. You can initiate a dodge
roll by double-tapping any of the directional movement keys (WASD) to dodge in that direction,
or by pressing the [V] key. The main benefit for doing so is that you will be temporarily
invulnerable to attacks, so will not take any damage regardless of what skills an enemy uses
against you.

42

This can really save your proverbial bacon in many situations as it allows you to avoid larger
direct damage attacks, crowd control effects, or can even help you quickly move out of the radius
of an area-of-effect (AoE) attack. A perfect example of the latter would be the massive damage
dealt by the trebuchets in the Battle of Kyhlo structured PvP (sPvP) map.
Before we get too far into any advanced usage situations or concepts, let’s take a closer look at
the nuts and bolts of how the system works.

Dodge System Basics
As noted above, the default key mapping for performing a dodge is to double-tap one of the
directional movement keys, or pressing the [V] key. You have the ability to alter this to another
key of your choosing, which can also help you avoid accidentally dodging when you didn’t
intend to. Nothing is worse
than accidentally dodging
off a platform it took you
20 minutes to reach while out
exploring, after all!
To alter the default mapping,
open the Control Options
window by pressing the
[F11]
key
on
your
keyboard. From here you
will be able to remap the
dodge ability to another key of
your choosing. For example,
many players will map the
dodge ability to one of the
thumb buttons on their mouse
which can be incredibly handy
if you naturally prefer mouse
movement to using the default
keyboard controls.

43

Now that you have your preferred mapping set, I cannot stress enough how important it is to
begin using the ability to dodge early on during combat. This is going to help you achieve two
critical things:
1. Knowing how and when to dodge in combat can mean the difference between staying
alive and taking an untimely dirt nap
2. It will give you a better feel for how long it takes the dodge meter to replenish
What’s this about the dodge meter replenishing you ask? Good question, so let’s take a look at
how this aspect of the dodge system works.

The Dodge Meter and Vigor Boon
Located directly above your health meter are two small yellow bars. This is your dodge meter,
and is split into two halves which represent your ability to dodge twice before depleting the
meter. You will need at least one of these filled to be able to dodge; if it drops below that point
from consecutive dodges you will not be able to dodge again for a brief period.

The meter will naturally replenish over time, but you can also speed this process up via a handy
Boon called Vigor. Vigor increases endurance regen by 100%, and can stack in duration. This
boon is often overlooked in builds, but can make a sizable difference in your overall
survivability. Simply put, the more often you can dodge, the less often you will be hit by
incoming attacks.
To learn more about Vigor be sure to check out our Complete Boons Guide. You can also view a
complete list of skills and traits for each profession that grant Vigor below:

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Profession

Skills

Traits

"Save Yourselves!"

Vigorous Precision

Call to Arms

Vigorous Focus

Toss Elixir H (random)

Invigorating Speed

Lightning Reflexes

Primal Reflexes
Vigorous Evasion

N/A

Bountiful Theft
Martial Agility

Phoenix
Heat Wave

Renewing Stamina
Soothing Disruption

Siren's Call (random)

Critical Infusion
Vigorous Revelation

N/A

N/A

As you can see above, necromancer is the only profession that does not have any skills or traits
that grant Vigor, at least not directly. They can still randomly gain Vigor through the utility skill
Well of Power which transforms negative conditions into boons every two seconds. Through
Well of Power, Bleeding (a very common condition) will be transformed into Vigor, so necro
builds do still have the ability to grant Vigor, albeit not in a direct fashion.

45

Downed State and Finishing
Overview
Unlike other games in the genre, when your health reaches zero in Guild Wars 2 your character
enters a „downed‟ state. During this time your character cannot move or fight with their standard
skills, instead they are given access to four skills that will allow you to rally and get back onto
your feet.

Down and Out
When you are downed, your character is in a debilitated state. As a result, you cannot move,
dodge, activate any of your skills or undertake any of your profession mechanics. You can tell
when you enter a downed state based on the fact your health will have reached zero and you are
now stationary, in a heap on the floor. Thankfully this means that you don’t yet have to give up
the fight and although you are severely weakened, this does not mean you are finished.
Enemies when you enter the downed state will continue to attack you, based on your inability to
avoid them. Each time you are downed, whether from a player or enemy you incur one downed
penalty. This downed penalty reduces your health when in the downed state by 25% for each
point and will last for a total of 1 minute. After being downed 5 times within the space of a
minute you will be defeated, resulting in you having to teleport to the nearest Waypoint.
If you are downed underwater it is actually called drowning and you’ll be prompted with a
message stating “Swim to the surface!” while if you are downed on land the message will state
“Fight To Survive!”

46

Downed Skills
Each profession has access to four downed skills. Three of these are unique, based on the
profession you play with the fourth common to all professions. Unlike your standard profession
based skills, those available in a downed state are not powerful. In fact they are often pitiful.
However, they are intended to buy you precious seconds to finish of your foes (and thus rally) or
survive for long enough to heal yourself up and rally.

Skill 1
For all professions this is your primary attack when downed and allows you to feebly damage
your foe. In many instances, particularly in PvE this can often be enough to see off the last few
drops of health the enemy might have which will cause you to rally.

Skill 2
A skill based specifically on your profession, this can vary drastically. A ranger for example has
Thunderclap which damages and dazes foes around their target (exceptionally useful for stopping
people finishing you off) while a Necromancer can cause fear in their foes, causing them to run
away. Used at the right moment, you can seriously hinder anyone wanting to finish you off.

Skill 3
The third downed skill tends to be offer defensive utility and again varies from profession to
profession. Some are certainly better than others, but most can cause enough damage to finish off
weakened foes. My particular favorite is the thieves, which allows you to drop a smoke bomb
and vanish in stealth. The ranger’s ability to call your pet to your downed location, to revive
you, is also incredibly useful.

Skill 4
Lastly is the universal skill available to all professions. Called Bandage, this skill calls your
allies to help and restores your health while you channel it. If you manage to complete the
channel, you will rally. You should be aware however that bandage is easily interrupted so can
be made useless if you are still under attack.

47

Recovering and Finishing
We've mentioned rallying a few times during the course of this beginners guide, but in simple
terms, rallying is what allows you to get back up and back into the fight. You can rally in several
ways but this tends to happen from killing an enemy with your downed skills or during you
attacking them and if someone else lends a helping hand.
As also mentioned above, you can rally by using Bandage. If you successfully channel skill 4 to
the point where your health is restored, you will rally.
If you are unlucky enough not to rally you will enter a defeated state. At this point you are
considered dead and will need to return to a nearby Waypoint.
There are two key icons you need to be aware of when playing, specific to downed. The first is
Downed Ally indicated by a blue icon and Downed Enemy, indicated by a red skull icon.

In PvP (and unlike in PvE) you can actually finish players when they are downed. This will kill
the enemy player and force them to return to a Waypoint, unless another member of their party
resurrects them. You can finish another playing by pressing the F key but I should forewarn, you
can be interrupted when using the finishing move. When you are near a player you can finish,
the message "FINISH THEM!! [F]" will appear on your screen.

48

Summary of Downed
1. You enter a downed state when your health reaches zero.
2. When in a downed state, your standard skills are replaced with 3 profession
specific skills and 1 global skill all professions share.
3. You can rally when downed by killing your foe through using your downed
skills (or if someone else helps) or by using your Skill 4 (bandage).
4. You can finish other players when they are downed by (default) pressing F
next to their downed body.
5. Beware when finishing people as they will be able to fight back and disrupt
your attempts with their own downed skills. Learning each professions
downed skills is incredibly important (the guardians is a nightmare!)

49

Guide to Underwater Combat
and Drowning
Overview
Unlike other MMOGs where your skills underwater remain the same as those on land,
underwater combat in Guild Wars 2 is a different kind of fish (sorry). When you submerge into
water your character will automatically use breathing apparatus (or rebreathers) so you won’t
have to surface to breath. As a result you can stay under water indefinitely. Your skill set will
also change based on whether your character is using a harpoon gun, spear or a trident. Both the
harpoon gun and trident tend to offer ranged underwater skills, while the spear is the on land
equivalent of a melee weapon.
Also unlike other MMOGs, you don’t suffer any movement penalties while underwater, meaning
you travel at the same speed as if you were on the surface. It should also be noted that you can
also dodge while under water although instead of rolling, this will make you swim quickly in the
direction you are facing and still allows you to avoid damage.

50


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