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Guide to Create Sustain/Survival Builds in OW PVE


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Game content varies in difficulty, especially in OW. While it's rather easy in core Tyria to rock the highest DPS builds, the release of HoT and subsequent content has caused many players to find ways to maintain high DPS builds while incorporating more sustainable elements in them. This guide provides a strategy on how to augment and fine tune High DPS builds suitable for the more difficult encounters in the game.

There are three elements to a build that a player should consider:

  1. Damage - this is still the goal; to maintain a high level of damage.
  2. Sustain - these are typically healing and fall into passive/active heals. There are also blocks/reduction/dodge, etc ... they play a part but are less effective because of other factors like duration or effect size
  3. Secondary effects - these are the things that allow you to maintain the fight (you don't want to be bounced around like a pinball) or leave it cleanly (you don't want a stack of bleeds and cripples once you win); stability/cleansing/stuns breaks/barbreakers.

I assumed solo play when making the builds and my choices are based on how I play and how I feel is effective.


This strategy is an interative process and pretty simple:

  1. Choose the sustain element you want for the class you want to play; since you want to still maximize damage, it's advisable you choose the sustain element that you feel is the BEST so your build isn't locked into an excess of sustain elements. It's basically a trade off; you will likely loose spots for DPS elements as you get ones for sustain.
  2. Create a DPS build around that sustain element
  3. Test it for effectiveness; if it keeps you alive for the content you are doing, you're done. If you want more sustain, you add another sustain element; this might require some DPS thing removed. Repeat testing until you find the balance of sustain/DPS that keeps you alive.

Fine Tuning

Almost all can be done with choosing Runes/Sigils/Trinket stats. I will regularly swap trinkets to get the stats; I really just have the offesive set and the defensive set. I won't swap runes or sigils but I will also maintain a list of traits for each build that I can swap to enhance one aspect or another (who can remember all this?!)


As of the timing of this post; there are some builds (themes) that I've converged on for some classes and I list a few of them here to illustrate. The idea here is that the theme stays the same, but can be varied easily in the field by swapping traits (not the lines) or trinkets. I provide the link to the build and some commentary:

Reaper - This is currently my favourite. It's deficiencies are a lack of stability, lack of cleansing when not in combat and it's inflexible; there isn't much I can change on the fly to adjust the Damage/Sustain ratio.


Necro - This build has lots going for it and significantly more sustain and flexibility than the Reaper build. It is just not as fun for me. It lacks stability.


Thief - This is a FUN build but it suffers from many deficiencies. You have to be in the fight to get the sustain, it lacks almost all secondary effects and requires a number of weaker sustain elements to work.


Herald - I break the rules with this build; I swap to sword/sheild for more DPS. It's DPS/sustain is really dependent on Reg/Fury uptime


Warrior - I don't think there is anything this build doesn't have, though I find the stability access a little lacking. I'm mostly using this for newbie tours in instanced content


Spellbreaker - This is still a challenge to play and gets the most from timing the Full Counter correctly.


Future Plans

My plan is to get something going for each class and eventually grade capability and rank what I feel is the best class for OW content.

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