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Making and Learning Your Own Builds? (Open World/Dungeons)

How do you go about making your own builds and figuring out how well they perform? I realize that everything is perfectly viable in open world, but for those of you that rock your own builds, how do you create your own priority list/rotation for that build? Do you just mix and match traits until you find something that works for you?

I've gotten a few classes to 80 now and spent a good amount of time on the training dummies across almost every class and elite spec. I can follow rotations fairly well, and I've learned plenty from the videos I've watched and the guides I've read, but I'm still at a loss as to how anyone manages to throw their own build together. Right now, I'm looking to play a GS + D/D Spellbreaker and a GS + LB Soulbeast in Open World/Dungeons(sometimes solo, other times not), but I'm not sure how to approach learning these since most of the resources out there only have templates for meta builds. For the record, I don't intend to curse anyone by entering high-end PvE with these builds. I know they're likely sub-optimal weapon combos, but I'd still like to learn how to play efficiently with what I'm choosing to go with.

So, for those of you that craft your own builds and learn them.. what's your process?

Comments

  • borgs.6103borgs.6103 Member ✭✭✭

    When I make my Open World Solo builds I have the following criteria for it to pass

    • Self-sustain (ex: Sun & Moon Style with off Hand Dagger, Invigorating Precision with Perma Fury)
    • Condi-clear
    • 100% Crit chance with Fury and Traits if Power Build
    • 100% Condition Duration of main Condition Damage if Condi Build
    • Decent Crowd Control (Though Waystations kinda made this optional)
    • Boon Uptime (Must have: Perma Fury, Swiftness and can achieve and maintain 25 Might Stacks with ease)
    • Great Damage
    • Dashing Good Looks

    I include food and utility in the stats. Though I just mostly use the Halloween Utlities and Winterberry food because they're cheap and give lots of Magic Find.

    Check out the fable of the Boiling Frog.

  • Danikat.8537Danikat.8537 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Honestly for me it's all done by trial and error. I don't use the training dummies because I don't care about exact numbers and hitting a stationary target that won't fight back, on my own in an otherwise quiet and uninterrupted space is absolutely nothing like how I really play so I don't feel like I get anything useful from it. Occasionally it's helpful to see exact what a skill does (or doesn't do) because you can be sure you're causing any effects which happen, but that's about it.

    I'll start by throwing together whatever I think might work for the build I want to create, then I'll pick an area or several areas I know well (so I know what to expect from fighting the enemies there) and try it out. I'll look for not just whether I kill it reasonably quickly but things like am I able to break defiance bars, or how many stacks of conditions I can build up, whatever I'm expecting that build to do. This is where not using a golem is important for me, it's one thing to be able to do that in controlled conditions when you can focus on nothing but your rotation, but if in reality I'm having to dodge and kite all the time and heal whenever the skill recharges because my character is too squishy then I'm unlikely to be able to do as well with damage, CC or conditions. The other reason it's important is because I'm also seeing whether I enjoy playing it - if it works well but it's boring then I'm not going to keep using it.

    Then I'll tweak skills and traits based on what happened, and when it seems good move on to actually playing the character in whatever areas of the game I made the build for, but continue to change things I think are under performing or dull and sometimes that will take several attempts to get right.

    (Importantly I spend the vast majority of my time in open-world PvE, stories and sometimes dungeons and low level Fractals, so areas there's a lot of room for trial and error. I don't recommend 'live testing' builds in raids or high-end Fractals unless you've gotten to the point where you're fairly certain it's working and you've discussed it with your group and they're ok with an experimental build. Make sure they understand you do expect it to work though, so they don't think they're being asked to carry you, otherwise you won't get meaningful results.)

    Danielle Aurorel, Desolation EU. Mini Collector

    "Life's a journey, not a destination."

  • Justine.6351Justine.6351 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2021

    Always go for what feels fun first. If it ain't fun you won't feel like playing it for very long.
    Then work your way backwards on how to make it good and keep playing it till the meme is a dream B)

    Anet buff me :-(
    Make me good at game!

  • mindcircus.1506mindcircus.1506 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2021

    @saethe.1897 said:
    How do you go about making your own builds and figuring out how well they perform? I realize that everything is perfectly viable in open world, but for those of you that rock your own builds, how do you create your own priority list/rotation for that build? Do you just mix and match traits until you find something that works for you?

    My first step is to look at the kit and decide what I want it to do... is there a trait I want to try and leverage? What is the build's general purpose? Is it a condi or power build?
    Once I know what I am aiming for, I will look at the "meta" builds from various sites and make sure I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I will look at those and why they work, then incorporate anything I can into the build. Keeping in mind that most builds on places like Snowcrows, discretize and mettabattle generally offer very little self-sufficency and sacrifice sustain for DPS. I will make sure that I am not compromising my build's sustain with what they are doing.

    Every build of mine for open world/story/general purpose must meet the following criteria:
    1. Be able to provide solid AoE pressure
    2. Access to at least one stun break/on demand stability
    3. Be able do at least 8k dps sustained against the raid training golem without using any outside buffs (no food, no boons from the raid training settings, only what my build brings with it)
    4. At least one secondary source of sustain other than the self-heal. This can be something as simple as legend swapping on a rev for the second self heal, or a weapon skill that gives healing like tempest warhorn in water. It can also be something like torment runes, traits like Battle Scars on Rev or a class mechanic like Reaper shroud.

    After I have traits where I think they belong, I will gear up. At the very least I will run all ascended trinkets and weapons with exotic armor. At this point I will naturally favor the following:
    Two Blood Ruby Bands.
    Blood Ruby Backpack
    Aesgir's Amulet and Accessory
    I will favor these because the rings and backpack are stat swappable, and the Aesgir's trinkets are so easily obtained as to be essentially disposable. This is to mitigate the cost if I decide a better stat set is in order. Then I will fill in the rest with whichever unused stat selectable trinkets I have in the bank.
    Then I will get runes and sigils. If I find these are truly expensive (over 2g each) I will grab a "practice" set, something cheap but second best until I am sure the build is viable.
    For weapons I will favor using a Legendary for stat swapping or a spare Caladbolg if I can.
    All of these steps will make sure I mitigate the cost. Making a new build can run from cheap (15-30g) to outrageously expensive.
    If I am going to be running a core stat set like Dire or zerkers or Assassins, I will absolutely leverage things like pristine Fractal Relics or Guild Commendations for the trinkets.

    After the gear and traits are together I will hit the golem in the raid training area. I will work on rotation and tweak the build a little here. Basically this is a test to make sure I am doing what I consider to the be the bare minimum damage. I will build a little muscle memory for the main damage rotation and make sure that at least I am doing the minimum amount of damage.

    Then it's time to hit the open world.
    I will start with basic champions. Things like the Risen Giant and Champion Ooze in Cursed Shore, the Champion Ram in Timberline Falls or the Broodmother in Frostgorge. These absolutely must be easily solo'ed for me to consider a build viable. These should be cake, they are pretty easy.
    Then I will push this to HoT hero points. At the very least a build of mine needs to be able to deal with Security Console in VB, Mushroom in AB and the Champion Troll in TD. Sometimes these will require a couple of ummm... "practice" attempts as I learn and tweak the build, but again these are not impossibly hard encounters, and a solid solo build should be able to handle them.
    After that I will run "Hydra Alley". The trench below Temple of Kormir' waypoint in Crystal Oasis has a string of hydras. A solid build will be able to kill chain these, deal with the times when you have to deal with more than one at a time and be able to mitigate the harassment from the dust mites.
    Then I will run to Lake Doric and head over to the Bloodstone crazed Oakhearts on the eastern side. A guild solo build should be able to put these down before they spawn grubs and mitigate the knockback.
    Should a build pass all these I will pretty much consider it "viable". If I struggle on these basic checks, I will tweak traits.

    Hope this helps.

    "We recognize that some players are not able to complete all content." Gaile Gray 01.10.19

  • TheAgedGnome.7520TheAgedGnome.7520 Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2021

    @saethe.1897 said:
    How do you go about making your own builds and figuring out how well they perform? I realize that everything is perfectly viable in open world,

    This is not true. It's become a common throwaway line used to dismiss open-world as 'less than' RAID/fractal builds. Maybe if 'open-world' meant just Queensdale, but its obviously not true that "everything is perfectly viable in Tangled Depths " or "everything is perfectly viable in Desolation", nor is "everything is perfectly viable in personal story". Open-world builds must be more self-reliant than niche builds in a predetermined group composition.

    but for those of you that rock your own builds, how do you create your own priority list/rotation for that build? Do you just mix and match traits until you find something that works for you?
    ....
    So, for those of you that craft your own builds and learn them.. what's your process?

    Roughly:
    1. I first look at what playstyle I want to achieve. I mean, why do I even want to play this profession?? In your case, you've already got a vision for your weapon-sets and elite spec.
    2. Since you are starting with defined weapons & elite, I'd ask myself: what traits and utilities support those weapons (i.e., more DPS)? What synergy is there between the elite spec I want and the weapons I want?
    3. What stat ranges are needed to get that DPS to where its viable? (e.g., power 2100-2400, crit chance 40-60%, etc.)
    4. What gear will provide those stats?
    5. What runes & sigils synergize with my weapons skills and stat needs?
    6. How survivable is this build?
    7. Adjust utilities and gear for survivability
    8. How survivable is this build?
    9. If not ok, re-evaluate from step 3.

    Another way to look at it is to find a balance between these three:
    1. Maximizing synergies among weapons, traits, runes, sigils.
    2. Maximizing stats with gear that optimizes the results of those synergies.
    3. Maximize survivability.

    Note that 'maximizing survivability' is not coextensive with 'maximizing defensiveness'. Survivability can include 'killing rapidly' as a way to reduce total incoming damage. But that method alone can have its limitations when faced with multiple mobs, etc.

  • Fuchslein.8639Fuchslein.8639 Member ✭✭✭

    Try and error sums it up for me. I always have an idea in my head with which weapons I want to play and what they can be used for. E.g. decide if you want to play Condie or Direct-dmg.
    I then read through all the traits and mix-max everything as it seems to fit me. Then play that in the OW and adjust things.

    Gw2 has a pretty simple build system, so I never had problems. When I started with GW2 I had a lot of fun with my Ranger who had mangled veterans with the greatsword in a few hits and my Ele who has one hitted groups with fire combos.
    Custom builds are super fun and super educative. Therefore, ignore the meta-yelling as long as you don't join meta groups.

  • These are all really insightful posts, and I appreciate the feedback. Based on what I've read, it looks like I still need a better understanding of skill and boon synergies before everything will start to click. Out of curiosity, does anyone have any builds to share that they've had a lot of success with that either go against the grain or are otherwise unheard of or underappreciated?

  • Khisanth.2948Khisanth.2948 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2021

    1) sustain beyond your #6, this doesn't have to be huge just non-zero
    2) condi cleanse, even if not for suitability then for convenience
    3) stunbreak

    anything works as long as that is covered and avoid obvious stupid choices like taking a shout trait when you aren't using any shouts

    1 is optional if you can "dodge everything"

    2 is optional if you don't mind walking around crippled for a minute at times

  • mindcircus.1506mindcircus.1506 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @TheAgedGnome.7520 said:

    @saethe.1897 said:
    How do you go about making your own builds and figuring out how well they perform? I realize that everything is perfectly viable in open world,

    This is not true. It's become a common throwaway line used to dismiss open-world as 'less than' RAID/fractal builds. Maybe if 'open-world' meant just Queensdale, but its obviously not true that "everything is perfectly viable in Tangled Depths " or "everything is perfectly viable in Desolation", nor is "everything is perfectly viable in personal story". Open-world builds must be more self-reliant than niche builds in a predetermined group composition.

    Quoted for truth.
    If the community stopped saying this maybe we would get less players getting dunked on in Verdant Brink or running to the forums raging about the aggro range of desert mobs because they aren't effectively managing the aggro.

    "We recognize that some players are not able to complete all content." Gaile Gray 01.10.19

  • TheAgedGnome.7520TheAgedGnome.7520 Member ✭✭✭
    edited April 9, 2021

    @saethe.1897 said:
    Out of curiosity, does anyone have any builds to share that they've had a lot of success with that either go against the grain or are otherwise unheard of or underappreciated?

    Not sure just how unique they are, but here are two:

    • Power Druid w/axe-axe & longbow. It intentionally has no toughness, and tries to make up for it with CC utilities and traits. It kills fast, works well, but can be overwhelmed.
    • http://en.gw2skills.net/editor/?POwAceNlNwWYOMG2JWsX5tdA-zxQYhojZD+QiQFErEoXhgiHA-e

    • Power Mirage w/Greatsword & Staff. Usually Mirage would be condi, but GS works well with power. Traits provide fury so that it is usually around 90% crit chance, and that high crit chance synergizes with the on-crit Sigil of Strength, so that might stacks up quickly. Inspiration trait line provide lots of sustain, but a skilled player can switch to Domination for higher DPS/higher risk. Staff is also usually considered a condi weapon, but here it provides additional phantasm/clone generation, and is bit more defensive with skills 2,4,5.

    • http://gw2skills.net/editor/?PihAEZlVwUYbMImJWyTrPNA-zRRYBKmKQM4yIwSIiMwk5oaGA-e
  • @mindcircus.1506 said:

    @TheAgedGnome.7520 said:

    @saethe.1897 said:
    How do you go about making your own builds and figuring out how well they perform? I realize that everything is perfectly viable in open world,

    This is not true. It's become a common throwaway line used to dismiss open-world as 'less than' RAID/fractal builds. Maybe if 'open-world' meant just Queensdale, but its obviously not true that "everything is perfectly viable in Tangled Depths " or "everything is perfectly viable in Desolation", nor is "everything is perfectly viable in personal story". Open-world builds must be more self-reliant than niche builds in a predetermined group composition.

    Quoted for truth.
    If the community stopped saying this maybe we would get less players getting dunked on in Verdant Brink or running to the forums raging about the aggro range of desert mobs because they aren't effectively managing the aggro.

    As a newer player(playing for about a month now), my anecdotal experience leads me to believe that this is an "issue" that definitely isn't going to go away. Admittedly, my inclusion of the the line about viability was to mitigate a slew of posts encouraging me to just play whatever I want because "everything is viable, it's just open world". I actually made this post because a lot of my search results regarding optimizing for open world play ended in people just shrugging off the idea that there's any sort of necessity for doing such a thing. By no means do I mind if other people want to play that way, but my end goal is to figure out how I can strike a balance between playing what I want(specific weapon sets, in this case) and being able to contribute a meaningful amount to things such as meta events instead of just auto-attacking(learning a rotation for those specific weapon sets and figuring out what traits bring the most to the table for them). As I mentioned in my other post, I appreciate all the advice thus far! There's a lot of insight here that I can use while I continue to familiarize myself with the game.

  • My method is rather lazy: I just learn as much as I can about a profession, and then wait for something to click. If I didn't come up with any novel ideas, then maybe there isn't one to be had. Generally my build-crafting juices start flowing once I encounter a problem that I need to solve, so if there isn't a problem that needs solving then there is no need to improvise. Creativity is a fickle mistress, and there's no reason to get married to the idea of creating your own build.

    Generally, you'll want to start with the raid and fractal builds, and go from there. Familiarize yourself with what each of the weapons, traits, and utilities do for a particular profession. Skim through all of the sigils and the rune sets at least once. You don't need to memorize the runes and sigils, insomuch as you just need a rough idea of what is out there. It is also good to have a rough understanding of how the combat stats in this game works, as well as the combo fields/finishers.

    Once you have a good understanding of what your profession can do as a whole really helps once with your problem solving skills. If you start dying at a point, sit back for a moment and consider what is going on. Think about what is killing you, look into your toolbox of traits/utilities/weapons to see what can solve the problem, maybe even change tactics. Only change your gear or your runes/sigils if you're desperate for a solution.

    "Self awareness is knowing when you're sitting at the throne of ignorance." --Leo G.

  • Cuks.8241Cuks.8241 Member ✭✭✭✭

    First, pick the weapon sets and elite specs and if I want it to be more of a tank or more glass because that's the flavour of the build. This will also determine the equipment stats I want to go for and the general trait lines.
    Then look for synergies within the traits that complement your weapon set and synergies in general. Usually, the traits that enhance your weapon (e.g., CD reduction for your main weapons) are very strong. Sometimes certain boon synergies very well (e.g., extra dmg under fury) with the build so I look at what self sources I have for that boon and if it's worth it and applicable to open world.
    Also I really like mobility in OW so this is something I look for usually with utilities. It's very useful to have at least one condi cleanse and one stun break. Source of stability is also nice although often harder to achieve on some professions.
    After that, it's just playing and adapting.

  • Antycypator.9874Antycypator.9874 Member ✭✭✭

    First I always go to gw2skills.com to create a theoretical build, see what I can achieve with specific stats, runes, traits etc.
    — At least 90% crit chance with fury and self-support, traits. Keeping perma fury is important.
    — Having at least 15k hp on low health pool characters (thief, elementalist, guardian).
    — At least 8k dps on a training golem (with zero support), just to check if I can do any damage.
    — Ability to complete event at Crucible of Consecration (Crystal Oasis) solo, without being defeated or downed. There are some mobs (ranged), heavy CCs, champ, tough vets, AoE damage... bonus points if I can do it without using any heal skill. Do not drag the champ away.
    — Any passive healing, like Invigorating Precision (Thief), whole Devastation traitline (Revenant) or Runes of Tormenting (on my condi mirage or scourge).

    Condi builds:
    — Condition Damage > Precision > Expertise. Why not power? Because power scalling for raw damage in condi oriented weapons is usually very low. Precision does more work here, espiecially if you have traits/sigils like "inflict X condi on a critical hit" (sigil of earth). Sometimes you can give up on Expertise and reach 90-100% condi duration (mostly on Firebrand and Elementalist) just by runes, sigils and traits. I found mix between Trailblazer/Rabid good enough for super tanky condi builds.

    Hydrid builds:
    — Having some boon duration on a class that literally soak in self-boons can change everything, especially on power chrono, when you can boost yourself with quickness, alacrity, 25 might and fury. It does a lot for solo play. I never tried combining Healing Power into my builds, only Concentration.

    Power builds:
    — Power > Precision > Ferocity and Vitality. Never use toughness. 1 traitline with solid damage modifiers and 1 supportive traitline or something that will BOOST your profession mechanic etc. Water or Arcane (elementalist), Virtutes (guardian), Trickery (thief), Illusions (mesmer), Invocation or Devastation (revenant), Alchemy (engineer), Soul Reaping (necromancer).

    Master of garbage builds and being useless.

  • Joe Schmoe.6981Joe Schmoe.6981 Member ✭✭
    edited April 8, 2021

    How do you go about making your own builds and figuring out how well they perform?

    My big rule: Don't follow the herd. Otherwise . . . . . . . . It might be easiest to explain why my main is a mortar/alchemy engineer (and occasionally a flamethrower scrapper):
    • Not a very popular build. Apparently engineer is one of the least popular professions, and the fact that mortar isn't very popular either - I seldom hear mortar sound effects other than my own when in open-world content - makes this even less so. As stated above, I don't like to follow the herd.
    • Most of its abilities must be manually aimed. Most of gw2's abilities don't require a target per se, but with mortar it's completely pointless to do so. Truly tab-free targeting!
    • No elite spec required. I do have a scrapper spec, but it wasn't easy to get the 250 (I think) hero points required though, and I definitely didn't do it overnight. Thank god I had my mortar/alchemist build to carry me through.