Build templates will be arriving soon. A number of hardcore gamers who run alts across the various game modes (open world pve, pvp, wvw, raids, fractals) have already been using third-party templates. They know why they need them and how they want to use them. The build templates may be a new thing for more casual players though. So several of us have been brainstorming ways we casual types may find them useful. One minor caution before we begin. All this is tentative at this point as the templates won't actually be introduced in the game for several weeks yet. There will inevitably be adjustments, bug fixes and the like once we all start using the templates. So the following is just some preliminary thinking, subject to future modification.
This may be one of the most essential benefit of the new templates. Each profession offers a wide range of options for skills, abilities, and gear while the game offers a wide variety of situations where the various builds may be more or less effective. In some situations a power build is better. In others, a condition oriented build may be more effective. Some professions offer signets and traits that increase movement speed. At times that can be really helpful. At other times, movement speed may not be a priority and other signets or traits may be more important. With build templates and key binding, one can quickly swap various builds in and out by hitting the designated key.
This will likely be another really helpful use of the templates. There are a number of build guides out there, including youtube videos. It's one thing to read about or watch a video discussing various builds. It's another thing entirely to test play those builds for yourself. With the templates one can readily try out the various skill builds and weapon options of your chosen profession to see which ones fit you best. With cheaper gear used on lower level maps, one can easily test drive as many options as one wants.
Different Builds For Different Game Modes
This is a variant on the adaptability theme but an important one. Builds that work for pve roaming may not be suited for pvp or fractals. Raids often require very specific builds depending on which raid one is going on. In wvw, a solo roaming build may not work as well for running with zergs. As you try the different game modes and experiment with different builds, you'll find what works best for you in which situations. Be warned though - this is where hardcore, multi-mode players end up with 30+ builds. 🙂
Freeing Up Inventory Space
All of the above can be done now by carrying different equipment loads in one's inventory. Even the most casual players often end up carting around some extra weapons and armor for use when needed. With the build templates one will be able to put all that in a different storage bin freeing up that inventory space.
Tracking Future Equipment Needs While Leveling Up
As you run through the game you will pick up all kinds of equipment including some pretty nice stuff which you may not need on that particular character. Right now that often gets tossed into bank storage against future need. Keeping track of what you have on hand as well as who can use what can be a pain. The equipment templates will allow you to put gear in an alt's storage even if that alt can't use it yet. Thus you can pull that gear out of your bank storage and put it on a lower level alt who will need it in the future.
Extra Weapon Slots
While each profession can use a variety of weapons, the game only allows you to equip two weapon sets at a time. One very basic but helpful use of the build templates will be to have more weapon options readily available. Sadly, you cannot switch templates in mid-battle. If you know what's coming though, you can swap as needed before the fighting starts. If worse comes to worse, you can always try to pull back from the battle long enough to get clear and switch the template before wading back into the fray.
That's it for now. Additions, suggestions, and corrections are of course welcome. Thanks to all the posters below for sharing their thinking.