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A Leveling Guide: Early Builds and Tips


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ElementalistEngineerGuardianMesmerNecromancerRevenantRangerThiefWarrior

Who is this guide for?

I starting conceptualizing this guide after hearing countless new players feeling lost, or even not unlocked a single Skill or Specialization because they feel overwhelmed with their choices, and the perceived scarcity of Hero Points. Hence, I wanted to give some structured path of Skill and Specialization unlocks, for those that desire it. The builds I recommend will mostly mimic those seen on endgame guides, such as Snowcrows and Discretize, which I hope will help ease players into harder content as their characters progress. Along the way, I will also explain the core concepts of the builds, both to help players understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the build, and to better understand damage rotations when they eventually reach endgame content.

Power or Condition Damage?

! The Rule of Thumb is Power builds are better than Condition builds while leveling.!! This is due to the low health pools of most enemies your character will face while leveling, and the propensity for Power builds to burst these enemies down far quicker than relying on damage-over-time attacks.!! Furthermore, the damage scaling of Conditions rely on Expertise and Condition Duration, both attributes that aren’t easy to come by while leveling, or are very cost inefficient to gear for (e.g. buying specific runes and sigils). Conversely, Power builds have easy access to the attributes they rely on, i.e. Power, Precision, and Ferocity.!! This is not to say it is impossible to level with Condition Damage. Throughout my guides, I will try to provide my best take on such builds for each profession.

Bonus XP

! When defeating an enemy, your character gains experience ("XP"), which is needed for them to progress in character levels. However, shortly after an enemy is spawned into the game world, they will start accruing Bonus XP that will be awarded to the character(s) that defeated them. Following this logic, you will often gain the most Bonus XP from defeating enemies not associated to Heart Quests and Events, such as neutral wildlife outside of the common paths players take while leveling.!! In the figure below, you'll see that the Plains Worm Hatchling that had just appeared gave its base 20 XP to the player character. In comparison, the Brackish Skales nearby gave nearly twice the total XP when defeated, whereas the Bandits ten steps to the East gave over three times the XP of the Hatchling, despite taking approximately the same time to defeat.!! xTjPsqe.png!! You can speed up your leveling even more by activating one or more Experience Modifiers. For example, a fresh free-to-play character could increase their XP gain with the following:! Food! Loaf of Bread sold by Master Chef NPCs (aka Cooking Trainers; +10% XP gain from kills for 15 min; 40c each)! Bowl of Apple Sauce sold by Farmhand Paris in Shaemoor Fields (+10% XP gain from kills for 30 min; 16c each)! Utilities! Apprentice Maintenance Oil (Huntsman crafting; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)! Apprentice Tuning Crystal (Artificer crafting; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)! * Rough Sharpening Stone (Weaponsmith crafting; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)! Guild XP Gain (up to +10% XP gain for 1 day)! Guild Experience Banner Bonus (gained by interacting with Guild Karma and Experience Banners and Guild Heroes Banners; +10% XP gain from kills for 30 min)! In other words, these buffs can increase XP gain from kills by another 50%.!! Other non-Gem Store XP bonuses include:! Experience Booster! Active Kill Streak!! Celebration Bonus! * New Year’s Gift!! As an example, stacking all the above can yield big jumps in XP gain, as demonstrated in the image below.!! JpgAYT8.png

Changelog:March 25, 2019: First post!April 27, 2019: Minor update to Revenant to include use cases for Ancient Echo.May 5, 2019: Expanded on Bonus XP section to include XP gain buffs. (Thanks @”Khisanth.2948”)

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Elementalist

Mechanics:

The two main hurdles new players have when piloting an Elementalist are a) their low health pool and light armor, and b) the perceived complexity of the Attunement system. Despite the former, the Elementalist can indeed be played as a flashy melee character with dual Daggers, able to quickly dispatch one or two enemies. The ranged weapons of the Elementalist is, ironically, trickier to use as the associated damage abilities are reliant on the enemy being stationary, which can be difficult at times.

As for the latter, my advice would be to focus on familiarizing yourself with the main damage abilities from two Elemental Attunements, before gradually learning the utility and niche situations to use the abilities in the other two Attunements. For example, as a beginner Elementalist with Condition Damage double Daggers, I would recommend staying with the Fire and Earth Attunements, before easing into the Water Attunement for healing, and Air for crowd control and mobility.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! RGmEd4j.png! Power builds are the most versatile, and can reliably use any of the profession’s available weapon sets to good effect. The double Daggers is an aggressive, in-your-face style that switches between Fire and Air Attunements, with the priority on Burning Speed, Ring of Fire, and Fire Grab in Fire, and Ride the Lightning while Attuned to Air.!! Users of the Scepter and Dagger stay primarily in Air Attunement, casting the two instant-cast abilities, Lightning Strikes (Scepter 2) and Blinding Flash (Scepter 3) while attacking with Arc Lightning (Scepter 1); the caster can briefly switch to Fire Attunement for quick bursts of damage with Dragon’s Tooth (Scepter 2), Phoenix (Scepter 3), Ring of Fire (Dagger 4), and Fire Grab (Dagger 5).!! As for the classical Staff user, my recommendation would be to stick to Fire Attunement. Focus on casting Lava Font (Staff 2) when it is available, and otherwise Fireball (Staff 1) to victory. Use Burning Retreat (Staff 4) for a quick means of repositioning, and avoid using Meteor Shower (Staff 5) outside of situations with three or more enemies. Where needed, don’t be shy about Attuning to Water for some additional healing with Geyser (Staff 3) and Healing Rain (Staff 5).!! Early on, look to unlock Signet of Fire for a quick and easy access to some bonus Precision. Arcane Shield is my go-to for open world, and solo adventures, as it allows my Elementalist to escape disabling effects, while also allowing him to ignore the next three incoming attacks. Glyph of Storms comes third as a nice source of area of effect damage; note that the effect of the Glyph changes with the Attunement, although you will mainly want to use it either while Attuned to Fire for damage, or Earth to mitigate damage from a group of enemies.!! The first Specialization slot becomes available at level 21, and my usual preference would be to acquire flat damage bonuses. These bonuses include those from Empowering Flame, Pyromancer’s Training, and Burning Rage (which is enabled by the Burning Precision trait).!! The Air Specialization is designed to enhance Critical Hits, with traits such as Raging Storm, Aeromancer’s Training, and Ferocious Winds all granting additional Ferocity. Hence, this makes it an ideal candidate when the second Specialization slot is made available at level 45, and when your character will have more access to equipment with Precision attributes. Scepter users can opt to use Fresh Air as an alternative to Bolt to the Heart to allow their character to a means to return to Air Attunement quicker.!! As enemies begin getting more difficult towards the higher levels, I often recommend the third Specialization, which unlocks at level 71, to include some manner of sustain, defence, and/or utility. Specializing in Earth is certainly a solid option, although my preference would be for the more versatile Arcane Specialization. Traits such as Elemental Surge improve the defensive capabilities of Arcane Shield (and Lesser Arcane Shield from the Final Shielding Trait), while also allow the Elementalist to redouble their assault with a bonus to Ferocity. This Specialization also reduces the recharge of Attunements, through Elemental Enchantment, which allows for quicker access to additional damage or defensive abilities, depending on the situation.

Condition Damage

! eJcPykn.png! Condition Damage builds on other hand use either dual Daggers, or Scepter and Dagger. Both weapon sets work best when the Elementalist flips between Fire and Earth Attunements. Look for equipment with Condition Damage, Vitality, and Power, where able.!! While wielding dual Daggers, the two main abilities to prioritize are Drake’s Breath (Fire 2), and Churning Earth (Earth 5). For the truly fancy, you can cast Ring of Fire (Fire 4), Attune to Earth (F4), then use Earthquake (Earth 4) and Churning Earth (Earth 5) in quick succession to generate several stacks of Might to boost the Elementalist’s outgoing Condition Damage.!! The Scepter variant operates in a simpler manner by staying primarily in Fire Attunement and casting every skill when available. They can also execute the same skill combination above, while still being able to continue applying Conditions with Stone Shards (Earth 1), and Hurl (Eart 2, following Rock Barrier).!! Additionally, both weapon sets should look to activate Signet of Fire whenever it becomes available. The effects of Glyph of Elemental Power changes based on Attunement, and should be used while in Fire Attunement for damage purposes.!! As above, Fire Specialization is the go-to as the first Specialization to unlock beginning from level 21. Much like in the Power build, it offers reliable damage bonuses and some additional sources of Burning. Once you have unlocked as far as the Persisting Flames trait, you can start unlocking the next Specialization, leaving the final two traits for later.!! To compliment the Bleeds of the Earth Attunement abilities, unlock the Specialization of the same element. Both Serrated Stones and Strength of Stone traits provide some nice bonuses to the Elementalist’s overall Condition Damage. Similarly, Written in Stone allows the Elementalist to retain the Precision bonus of Signet of Fire even while the skill is on cooldown.!! Much like with the Power Build, equip the Arcane Specialization in the third and final slot when it becomes available at level 71.

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Engineer

Mechanics:

The Engineer was probably the hardest profession for me to learn while leveling. Despite having a very limited selection of traditional weapons, the profession more than made up for it with the sheer variety of Kits and Toolbelt skills, each confounding me with their own specific damage and utility abilities, with no means to keep track of all each individual Kit and weapon cooldown. That being said, I would always recommend aspiring players to learn to use, and appreciate Engineer Kits. However, rather than trying to memorize the every single ability, focus on familiarizing with a handful of key abilities, and how those fit in your regular damage rotations.

The second block I stumbled over was my misconception of the Engineer’s weapons themselves. Despite being traditionally ranged weapons, both Power and Condition Damage builds operated far better will close to the enemy, and thus being able to maximizing the capabilities of Blunderbuss (Rifle 3), Jump Shot (Rifle 5), and the Bomb Kit on a Power build, as well as Blowtorch (Pistol 4), and Flamethrower with a Condition Damage build. Hence, I found it far more effective to think of the Engineer as a primarily melee profession, which also happens to have some ranged options.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! b7eUgML.png! The most appropriate weapon of the Power build may be the Rifle, but its main source of autoattack damage in between high-value abilities actually comes from the Bomb Kit, or Grenade Kit if your character finds a need to fight from afar. This build works best with equipment with Power, Precision, and Ferocity.!! The high-value skills alluded to earlier are as follows:! Blunderbuss (Rifle 3),! Jump Shot (Rifle 5),! Surprise Shot (Rifle Turret Tool belt),! Grenade Barrage (Grenade Kit Tool belt), and! Fire Bomb (Bomb Kit 2)!! To keep things simple, use the Surprise Shot and Grenade Barrage whenever either are available, start the fight by hopping on top of the enemy with Jump Shot, unload with Blunderbuss, and stay in Bomb Kit for the remainder of the encounter, using the aforementioned Tool belt abilities when able.!! For Skill unlocks, which start at level 11, I like to quickly pick up both Healing Turret and Rifle Turret with the Hero Points given as part of the Level Up Reward. The Healing Turret is considered as one of the more preferred healing ability throughout all stages of the game for the significant heal and condition cleanse of the ability. The Rifle Turret, on the other hand, can be set down for some extra damage, but its main contribution is the instant-cast Surprise Shot Tool belt ability. The Grenade Kit and Bomb Kit are unlocked next to form the rest of the build’s arsenal.!! The earliest you can begin unlocking Specializations is at level 21. At this early stage, I find it best to go for flat damage boosts. Hence, my preferred choice would be the Explosives Specialization, with traits such as Glass Cannon, Steel-Packed Powder, Shaped Charge, and Orbital Command. Additionally, the Big Boomer trait also provides some extra health, based on the character’s Power, which they will prioritize in gearing anyway.!! Around the time your character reaches level 45, and unlocks the second Specialization slot, they will likely have a lot more equipment that gives Critical Hit Chance and Critical Damage bonuses. Therefore, they would make the best use of the Critical Hit-focused traits in the Firearms Specialization.!! Conversely, a Specialization into Tools provides a lot more defensive capabilities, allowing the Engineer to quickly regain their Endurance through Optimized Activation and Adrenal Implant. At the same time, Static Discharge and Excessive Energy provide some additional damage, while Streamlined Kits offer a little quality-of-life improvements by granting the Engineer Swiftness each time they equip a Kit.

Condition Damage

! w8fttbU.png! As for Condition Damage builds, I can’t say I’ve ever had any success with the variant. Most endgame builds of this sort always felt overly complicated, and too cumbersome to execute. The build I offer here is a very simplistic take, while also playing into the fantasy of a Flamethrower-wielding pyromaniac.!! For weapons, dual Pistols are the most obvious choices, and offer the most in terms of Condition Damage. However, you should try to keep this weapon set active only long enough to cast Blowtorch (Pistol 5), and Poison Dart Volley (Pistol 2), before switching back to the Flamethrower. While wielding the Flamethrower, prioritize casting Napalm (Flamethrower 5) and Flame Blast (Flamethrower 2), and filling the gaps with Flame Jet.(Flamethrower 1). An easy way to keep track of Blowtorch is by tying its cooldown to Flame Blast; after two casts of Flame Blast, switch back to the Pistols, and Blowtorch should be ready to go.!! Additionally, drink both Elixirs when able. Helpfully, both of these share the same cooldown timers for easy tracking.!! When your character is able to unlock skills at level 11, Flamethrower is an easy pickup early on to start your Engineer’s quest for blazing glory. Next unlock both Elixir B and Elixir U to fill out the other two Skill slots.!! While the Power build used the Firearms Specialization to enhance their Critical damage, this build will utilize it for the bonuses it provides to Condition Damage instead. As it is very difficult to increase Condition Duration at low levels, traits such as Chemical Rounds, Thermal Vision, adn Incendiary Powder are vital to the build’s prowess.!! Lacking other direct means to enhance Condition Damage, I would opt for Alchemy as the next Specialization, when it becomes available at level 45. This Specialization provides a bevy of Boons, from defensive ones from Invigorating Speed, to more bonuses to Condition Damage through the Might stacks gained from Hidden Flask and HGH. As a bonus, Transmute, Emergency Elixir, and Compounding Chemicals help to keep the Engineer healthy through their journeys.!! As above, we can round out the build with the versatility of the Tools Specialization, beginning from level 71.

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Guardian

Mechanics:

The main concern of most Guardian is survival. Despite being a heavy armor profession, the Guardian has one of the smallest base health pools. Hence, rather than trying to tough it through enemy attacks, the Guardian relies on active defensive capabilities, such as Aegis and Blind, and aim end encounters with quick bursts of damage.

Learn to activate Virtue of Courage to block an incoming attack, or break out of control effects when Indomitable Courage is unlocked. Similarly, don’t be stingy with activating Virtue of Resolve for emergency healing where needed.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! ZlL2dTF.png! Power builds focus on stacking a variety of damage bonuses before unleashing devastating attacks. Done properly most encounters end within the span of three abilities. The main weapon of choice is the Greatsword, with a Scepter and Focus as a secondary set for situations that warrant ranged combat. Look for equipment with Power, Precision, and Ferocity to compliment the build.!! The core concept for the Greatsword revolves around using three abilities in succession: Activating Virtue of Justice (F1), Symbol of Wrath (Greatsword 4), and finishing with Whirling Wrath (Greatsword 2).!! Here’s a breakdown of what happens within that short span of time. Activating Virtue of Justice is instantaneous and gives the Guardian Might from the Inspired Virtue trait, and Retaliation from the Virtue of Retribution trait. At the same time, it causes the enemy’s next attack to miss thanks to Justice is Blind early into the Radiance Specialization, and the ability itself applies Burning, which then enables Fiery Wrath and Radiant Power for additional damage and Critical Hit Chance. Amongst all this, the Guardian also gains a small damage boost from the Power of the Virtuous trait. Thanks to two traits in the Radiance Specialization, Retribution and Righteous Instincts, the Retaliation boon gained greatly increases the Guardian’s Critical Hit Chance and Critical Damage, as well as give even more Might. Symbol of Wrath extends the Retaliation boon and its associated bonuses, while also enabling the damage bonus from Symbolic Avenger, and apply Vulnerability to the enemy, which further amplifies their incoming damage. The Guardian can then capitalize on all these bonuses with Whirling Wrath.!! For leveling, I like to start out with Bane Signet for a flat increase of damage to help my Guardian through the early game, and have a source of crowd control when needed in the later stages. “”Stand Your Ground!” is a reliable source of Retaliation (see above), as well as a Stability and a means to escape from control effects. The third Skill slot is flexible and up to personal preference. Players wanting more damage sources could pick up Sword of Justice, those wanting more boons might want “Save Yourselves!”, although my preference would be Wall of Reflection as a potent defence against projectile attacks.!! When Specializations become available at level 21, I prefer to start with the surety of flat damage bonuses from the Zeal Specialization. Fully unlock the Specialization to gain access to Symbolic Avenger.!! Start into the Radiance Specialization at level 45, when the second Specialization Slot opens up. Again, fully unlock it to acquire Righteous Instincts.!! The Virtues Specialization is the most versatile, giving both offensive bonuses, as well as defensive capabilities through Inspired Virtues, Absolute Resolution, and Indomitable Courage. This makes the Specialization ideal for when your Guardian reaches into the later parts of the game, where enemies start to become more challenging.

Condition Damage

! YCzgerK.png! Considering what a Power build is capable of, I rarely recommend Condition Damage builds for Guardians that are still leveling. In case you would still like to go down this route, here is my take on the build.!! While there are no main hand or two-handed weapons that directly apply Condition Damage, the Scepter makes for a good proxy due to its fast attack speed, which will help trigger the passive effect of Virtue of Justice more often. We can then pair this with the Torch, which can be used to apply multiple stacks of Burning with Zealot’s Fire and Cleansing Flame. Aim to acquire gear with Condition Damage, Vitality, and Power (e.g. Carrion) throughout your Guardian’s adventures.!! During combat, look to cast Zealot’s Flame and Zealot’s Fire (Torch 4) as often as possible, including when the Guardian gets an additional Zealot’s Flame effect from the Radiant Fire trait. Next, prioritize casting Symbol of Punishment, Cleansing Flame, and Purging Flames. Fill the gap between the cooldown of these skills with the Scepter autoattack.!! When unlocking Skills, start with an early acquisition of Signet of Wrath for a flat increase to Condition Damage. Fill out the remaining Skill slots by unlocking Purging Flames and Wall of Reflection.!! Unlike the Power build, the first Specialization for the Condition Damage build would be Radiance for some much needed bonuses to both the duration and damage of Burning the Guardian applies.!! Zeal follows next for some straightforward bonuses from Kindled Zeal and Symbolic Avenger, plus some additional sources of Might from Zealous Scepter. Furthermore, this Specialization also allows Symbol of Punishment to apply Vulnerability and Burning to further increase the Guardian’s damage output.!! Much like the Power build, Virtues is a nice Specialization to round off the build, which is around the time the Guardian begins adventuring into harder zones, such as Orr. The minor variation here is the choice of Master of Consecrations to reduce the cooldown of Purging Flames (and incidentally, Wall of Reflection).

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Mesmer

Mechanics:

A core part of your Mesmer’s damage comes from their Phantasms. Phantasms deal significant amounts of damage, and become Clones when they complete their attacks, or are interrupted; Clones themselves form another core of the Mesmer’s damage profile. As such, having a second set of weapons to weapon swap into allows your Mesmer to generate more Phantasms.

As mentioned, Clones are another important mechanic of the profession. A Mesmer can have up to three Clones at a time, indicated by the pink pips above the Skill Bar. Clones are generated by certain weapon attacks, such as Mirror Blade and Illusionary Leap, as well as Skills like Mirror Images. When Phantasms disappear, they also leave behind a Clone. Clones have very little health, deal next to no direct damage, but can still apply Conditions (including ones that deal damage over time), and be Shattered for a burst of area of effect damage.

Learn to use Diversion (F3; Unlocked at level 15) and Distortion (F4; Unlocked at level 19), and learn to not be stingy with them. Of all the lessons I’ve learned playing a Mesmer, this was the biggest hump I had to overcome. Even with no clones out, these two Shatter skills can either interrupt, or even negate an incoming attack, thus allowing precious time to heal, and reposition.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! yDqeacU.png! Power-based builds mainly use Sword/Sword and a choice of Focus, Pistol, or Greatsword. Look for equipment that gives Power, Precision, and Ferocity (e.g. Mighty, and Berserker).!! They rely on Phantasms as their main damage source. Hence, you’ll want to use Phantasms from both sets of weapons, e.g. Phantasmal Swordsman and Phantasmal Berserker, as well as the two Phantasm skills, i.e. Phantasmal Defender and Phantasmal Disenchanter, as much as possible.!! For this purpose, the very first Skill I unlock would be Signet of Ether. It’s a great big heal, and more importantly, it resets the cooldown on all Phantasm abilities, thereby allowing my Mesmer to put out more damage in hopes of ending the encounter quicker.!! I then pick up the two Phantasm skills in Illusion Training. Both deal a good amount of damage, and provides some additional utility where needed, e.g. Phantasmal Defender will force enemies around it to attack the Phantasm (which would further increase its damage), and Phantasmal Disenchanter removes Boons with its bouncing projectile.!! The third Skill slot it fairly open, although I always loved to have Feedback with me while leveling. Feedback puts a dome on an area that reflects projectiles. This is useful for many situations throughout your leveling process.!! When you’re ready to start unlocking Specializations (beginning from Level 21), the first I would recommend unlocking would be Illusions. Spend Hero Points to unlock up until Phantasmal Force, and leave the rest for later. In general, it lowers the cooldown of your Shatter skills (Master of Misdirection), which as mentioned above, provides some additional damage, as well as survivability. In addition, the Compounding Power minor trait gives some additional damage each time your Mesmer some additional damage each time they create a Phantasm or Clone, while Phantasmal Force is a very reliable source of Might, which then feeds into your Phantasm damage along with any additional stacks of Might you generate with Mirror Blade or the melee portion of Phantasmal Swordsman.!! By the time the second Specialization slot is available at level 45, your character should have more gear with Precision and Ferocity. This is when we will leverage on Critical Damage further with the Dueling Specialization, maximizing our use of traits like Critical Infusion and Superiority Complex. Again, unlock up until Superiority Complex, and skip the final two for now.!! The third Specialization slot opens up at level 71, and just about the time your character would be making their way into Orr. You could go all out and opt for more damage through the Domination line, or pick up a little extra sustain through the Inspiration Specialization. For the latter option, we would gain access to a lot of additional healing through Restorative Illusions and Healing Prism, as well as much needed Condition Cleanse from Mender’s Purity and Sympathetic Visage. As a small bonus, Mental Defense gives you an extra Phantasmal Defender, which helps with crowd control, damage output, and Clone generation.

Condition Damage

! xh9GmDn.png! Condition Damage builds for leveling is a little trickier. Your weapons of choice would be the Scepter, accompanied by the Torch and Pistol. (The Staff does generate some Condition Damage, but it’s not at all a good damage weapon.) Look for equipment that gives Condition Damage, Power, and Vitality (e.g. Carrion).!! Unlike Power builds, your Mesmer’s damage would be derived primarily from their Clones applying additional stacks of Torment on the enemy. Look to only use Cry of Frustration (F2) as your main damage Shatter, and be sparing with Mind Wrack (F1) as we want to maintain as many Clones as possible.!! Your priority skills are still Phantasms when they are available, so weapon swap after casting one. Otherwise, look to use Confusing Images (Scepter 3) and The Prestige (Torch 4) when it available. When these four abilities are on cooldown, simply continue auto attacking. Learn to use Illusionary Counter (Scepter 2) and Magic Bullet (Pistol 5) to avoid damage.!! As for unlocks, again we will start with Signet Training. This time, however, we will go all the way to Signet of Midnight for some much needed Expertise to extend the duration of the Conditions the Mesmer applies. On the way, we will also pick up Signet of Domination that gives a decent amount of bonus passive Condition Damage, and also doubles as a Knockdown, where absolutely needed.!! As before, the third Skill slot is flexible, and my preference remains with Feedback.!! The first Specialization would, again, be Illusions. Fully unlock the Specialization to gain access to Malicious Sorcery for a nice boost to the Mesmer’s attack speed (and gathering speed, incidentally!). Additionally, The Pledge and Maim the Disillusioned will help with the build’s otherwise lack of area of effect damage.!! Dueling will be the next Specialization to unlock at level 45, and gives the Mesmer access to Bleeds through Duelist’s Discipline and Sharper Images. Further down the line, the Ineptitude trait adds even more Condition Damage to the Mesmer’s kit, making use of the Blinds from Magic Bullet, The Prestige, and Blinding Dissipation.!! Once more, we will round out the build with Inspiration just when the difficulty jumps as your character enters Orr.

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Necromancer

Mechanics:

In addition to the standard weapon abilities and Skills, Necromancers have a secondary resource known as Life Force. This resource is generated by certain abilities, as well as from the deaths of nearby entities, regardless of friend or foe. Necromancers use Life Force by using their iconic Death Shroud, in which Life Force essentially serves as a second health pool to withstand enemy attacks.

And before I move on, one quick note about Minions, and “Minionmancers,” or Necromancers that run around with their host of gorgeous constructs. First and foremost, Minions are just like any other Skill. Even if you do not care for the label, having one or two Minions for their specific abilities is still tremendously useful to many builds, as seen below. Secondly, even if you decide to have all your Necromancer’s utility slots filled with Minions, your Necromancer’s own abilities still form the core part of their damage output. Hence, I would still recommend the builds below, even if you prefer this style of play.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! N4ZIGiK.png! Power builds have a choice between using an Axe or Dagger for the main hand, and swap between a Focus and Warhorn in the off-hand. Look to enter Death Shroud as often as possible to cast Tainted Shackles, and continue autoattacking with Life Blast. If there are three to five enemies nearby, use Life Transfer for some additional area of effect damage, as well as to replenish your Necromancer’s Life Force to allow them to stay in Death Shroud longer. When outside of Death Shroud, use weapon abilities (e.g. Dagger autoattack chain, Ghastly Claws from the Axe, Reaper’s Touch from the Focus, and Locust Swarm from the Warhorn) to replenish Life Force.!! Prioritize equipment with Power, Precision, and Ferocity when gearing up your Necromancer.!! For the early skill unlocks, I prefer flat damage sources, such as Signet of Spite. This Signet is primarily there for the passive Power bonus, and is rarely, if ever, activated. Well of Suffering comes next for some decent area of effect damage, and I like to fill the third slot with a Shadow Fiend. The Shadow Fiend serves as a body, and some incidental damage, but more importantly, its active ability, Haunt applies three debilitating Conditions to nearby enemies while replenishing your Necromancer’s Life Force.!! Spite will be the first Specialization to unlock, once it is available at level 21. This line offers various flat damage bonuses that will be helpful throughout your Necromancer’s adventures. More than anything, you’ll notice a lot of consistent Might generation from traits like Reaper’s Might, Awaken the Pain, and Siphoned Power.!! When the second Specialization slot unlocks at level 45, we will double down on Death Shroud by delving into Soul Reaping. The traits here further synergize with those from the previous Specialization to further enhance the Necromancer’s damage output. Plus, the Gluttony trait also lets the Necromancer recharge their Life Force quicker.!! As enemies become tougher towards the endgame, I would recommend taking a more defensive Specialization for the third slot, which becomes available at level 71. For this purpose, the Death Magic Specialization offers additional Toughness, Condition cleanse, and even a little extra damage. The marquee trait of this Specialization, Unholy Sanctuary is often touted as a real lifesaver by many a master of necrotic arts. Necromancers who prefer to use lots of Minions may choose to take Flesh of the Master and Necromantic Corruption as alternatives to the ones shown above.

Condition Damage

! 2PD7UOc.png! Necromancers going down the damage-over-time route will have a better time clearing groups of enemies, and will likely suit players seeking a more involved gameplay experience.This build uses powerful Corruption Skills for additional damage, then transferring the self-inflicted Conditions to the enemy with Deathly Swarm (Dagger 4) and Plague Sending. For example, casting Blood is Power applies four stacks long-duration Bleeds on the enemy, at the cost of multiple stacks of Bleed and Torment on your Necromancer; what we will then aim to do is to follow up with Deathly Swarm to transfer those conditions to the enemy for tons of damage.!! Weapons of choice would be the Scepter and Dagger, with preference for equipment with Condition Damage, Vitality, and Power (e.g. Carrion).!! In combat, look to cast Enfeebling Blood, Grasping Dead, and Devouring Darkness, in order, before activating Death Shroud. Cast Tainted Shackles (Death Shroud 5), Dark Path (Death Shroud 2), and fill the time with Life Blast (Death Shroud 1). Exit Death Shroud with Dark Path becomes available once more to repeat cast more skills.!! Starting from level 11, start unlocking Corruption Skills up until Epidemic. Epidemic is a situational Skill that lets the Necromancer wipe out large groups of enemies during Champion or Legendary monster encounters. Once more, pick up the Shadow Fiend in Minion Training as a much-needed source of Life Force.!! Specialize first in Curses, unlocking all the way to Lingering Curses to improve the Necromancer’s damage output and upgrade a Scepter ability. Master of Corruption is chosen for the cooldown reduction on Skills like Blood is Power, as well as to add extra Conditions to transfer to the enemy. In cases where you feel your character is lacking sustained healing, you could opt for Parasitic Contagion instead.!! Soul Reaping would, again, be the second Specialization to pick up. In the context of a Condition Damage build, we’re looking to reduce to cooldown of Tainted Shackles with the Sinister Shroud trait, as well as to gain access to Dhuumfire.!! Finally, round out the build with Death Magic for an easier time progressing through the higher level zones.

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Revenant

Mechanics:

Unlike most other professions, Revenant abilities use two resources: time (i.e. cast time, and cooldown) and a profession-specific resource called Energy. By default, Energy recharges 5% per second while in combat; using “Upkeep” skills will lower the recharge rate, up to a maximum of -5% per second, i.e. the Revenant’s Energy pool will decrease gradually. Each Legend has an independent Energy pool that, by default, begins with 50% Energy.

Hence, much fo the Revenant’s combat flow revolves around using abilities to deplete their Energy, and invoking their second Legend (available from Level 11 onwards) to gain a fresh pool of Energy, rather than waiting for gradual recharge.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! sf2EF7T.png! Power builds can be a straightforward affair with minimal button presses, or feature flashy teleportations and combos. Weapons of choice are double Swords or Sword and Axe, with a Hammer for situations that warrant ranged combat. Look for equipment that give Power, Precision, and Ferocity (e.g. Mighty, and Berserker’s).!! For extended fights or for general purpose, simply toggle on Impossible Odds, use Precision Strike (Sword 2) when available, and simply autoattack away. For a little extra optimization, make sure to complete the autoattack chain, as the third attack, Rift Slash deals a large amount of damage. Once out of Energy, invoke (F1) Jalis, toggle on Vengeful Hammers, use Precision Strike when available, autoattack, and repeat. While in Jalis, you can activate Ancient Echo (F2) for 3 seconds of reduced damage from all sources.!! Otherwise, here’s a cool combo you can try:! Starting with Shiro, cast Enchanted Daggers to prepare them, then use Phase Traversal to teleport to your target while giving yourself Quickness, launch Unrelenting Assault (Sword 3) to stack Might as well as launch the Enchanted Dagger you had prepared, and end with Precision Strike to complete your assassination.!! Moving on to Skill and Specialization unlocks, all Revenants start out with the Jalis legend (Legendary Dwarf Stance). This allows us to quickly pick up Vengeful Hammers early on, and move on to unlocking Shiro (Legendary Assassin Stance) for an extra Energy pool, and later on Impossible Odds.!! When Specializations become available at level 21, start completing the Invocation Specialization. This gives the Revenant easy access to the Fury Boon through Invoker’s Rage, and they can further leverage the benefits with Ferocious Aggression, Incensed Response, and Roiling Mists.!! At level 45 onwards, double down on damage with the Devastation Specialization to help with leveling. Nothing too exciting down this line, with choice traits Vicious Lacerations, Notoriety, and Swift Termination being simply damage boosts.!! The third Specialization slot becomes available by level 71, just about when your character begins their journey into the dead peninsula of Orr. Enemies are more frequent, and are markedly deadlier than previous zones. For this reason, I usually recommend a defensive Specialization to round out the leveling build, such as the Retribution line. The very first trait, Enduring Recovery gives passive bonus Endurance regeneration, allowing the Revenant to dodge more often. Close Quarters give some protection against ranged enemies, while Eye for an Eye helps mitigate follow up damage if your Revenant is disabled. Last but not least, due to the fact that the general damage rotation involves an Upkeep skill on both Legends, we’ll pick up Steadfast Rejuvenation for some additional sustain.

Condition Damage

! 2BUuTFm.png! Surprisingly, a Condition Damage leveling build for Revenants is far more workable than most other professions. The build applies primarily Burning and Torment damage-over-time effects, using the Mace and Axe as their main weapons; there really isn’t any ranged option for a leveling Revenant using this build, as the Hammer applies only direct damage, with incidental Chill every now and then. Look for equipment with Condition Damage, Power, and Vitality (e.g. Carrion)!! For most encounters, start the fight by toggling on Embrace the Darkness, and cast Searing Fissure (Mace 2), Echoing Eruption (Mace 3), and Temporal Rift (Axe 5) when able. Once out of energy, use F1 to swap to Legendary Dwarf Stance (aka Jalis) for a fresh energy pool, and toggle on Vengeful Hammers. Continue in Jalis until your Revenant's energy is depleted before swapping back to Mallyx.!! In regards to early skill unlocks, we’ll still start out with Vengeful Hammers from Jalis as a quick, easy source of damage and sustain. Afterwards, fill out the Legendary Demon Stance, and then return to fill out Legendary Dwarf Stance later.!! The Corruption Specialization offers some cool synergies. Applying Chill to enemies with either Frigid Blitz (Axe 4) or Unyielding Anguish (Mallyx) will trigger both Abyssal Chill, thus applying additional Torment to the already-debilitated enemy every second. Maniacal Persistence, similarly, applies even more Torment each time your character activates a Mallyx skill (i.e. Unyielding Anguish), casting Ancient Echo while channeling Mallyx, as well as when swapping to Mallyx.!! The Invocation Specialization offers similar benefits as the Power build, however, this time we’ll be opting for Charged Mists instead. Since the regular combat flow aims to use weapon attacks and Upkeep skills to fully deplete the Energy pool, this trait gives the Revenant 25 additional Energy when invoking the next Legend, therefore allowing us to weave in an extra Unyielding Anguish (Mallyx) and Phase Traversal (Shiro) immediately after each Legend swap.!! As with the Power variant, we’ll round out this build with the Retribution Specialization for additional defenses and sustain to see our Revenant through Orr.

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Ranger

Mechanics:

By far, the most important mechanic a Ranger should learn would be to control their pets. Get familiar with the Attack (F1), Return (F3), and the Ranger Pet Combat Toggle (unassigned by default; found in Keybinds > Miscellaneous). When you have multiple pets, try to swap pets (F4) sparingly, as whatever bonuses and Boons a pet has is not transferred over, and therefore result in damage loss.

As for which pets to use, there really isn’t a particular set needed for leveling. Some have useful pet skills (F2), even the humble Brown Bear’s ability to cleanse Conditions from nearby allies.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! DZTalch.png!! Builds that focus on direct damage, or Power builds play around short strings of abilities that synergize to give damage bonuses. Equipment with Power, Precision, and Ferocity work well with this build, with weapon set choices of a Greatsword and/or Sword and Axe. These two weapon sets have their own string of damage abilities.!! For the Greatsword, you’ll want to attack with Maul (Greatsword 2) as often as possible. The skill deals significant damage, and empowers your Ranger’s pet’s next attack. You can reset the cooldown of Maul with Hilt Bash (Greatsword 5), which also grants Fury through the Two-Handed Training trait. This, then, naturally leads to a simple string of Maul-Hilt Bash-Maul as your priority while wielding a Greatsword.!! Switching over to the Sword and Axe, the two main sources of damage are Whirling Defence (Axe 5), and the Sword autoattack. We lead in our attacks with Path of Scars (Axe 4) to activate Two-Handed Training for some bonus Critical Hit Chance.!! Skill unlocks are fairly brief. Prioritize getting “Sic ‘Em!” and Signet of of the Wild, and pick up “Protect Me!” for some extra utility. Keep the Signet on the Skill Bar for its passive bonus to Critical Damage, and use “Sic Em!” when available.!! Starting from level 21, the first Specialization Slot will become available. I would recommend starting with Marksmanship for some flat damage increases from traits like Hunter’s Gaze and Farsighted, as well as a nice burst of damage at the start of each encounter as Ranger and pet gain damage bonus from Remorseless thanks to the synergy between Opening Strikes and Alpha Focus.!! By around the second Specialization Slot unlocking at level 45, your Ranger should be gaining more access to equipment with Precision and Ferocity. We’ll make use of this by Specializing in Beastmastery to increase the overall damage profile of the character and their pets. As mentioned before, Two-Handed Training is a great source of Fury, which gives a flat 20% bonus to the Ranger’s Critical Hit Chance, and thus make full use of the Ferocity from Signet of the Wild and Honed Axes. Resounding Timbre is great for some additional sustain, but you can also choose to use Potent Ally for a more offensive setup.!! The third and final Specialization Slot becomes available at level 71, just about when your Ranger begins entering the harder parts of the Core Tyria content. For this reason, I would recommend a more defensive Specialization to provide some damage mitigation and sustain. The Wilderness Survival Specialization provides easy access to Protection and Regeneration, and means to mitigate Conditions and disables with the Shared Anguish and Empathic Bond traits.

Longbow

! OHTtYCC.png! Of course, it would be remiss of me to not offer a build that uses the iconic Longbow. In which case, I feel it would be most appropriate for me to begin by laying down some core concepts of the weapon every Ranger should understand.!! Long Range Shot (Longbow 1) is not your main damage source. Think of the listed damage bonus as incidental, and not something you should aggressively reposition to obtain. In most cases, fighting next to the enemy is just as well as fighting at maximum range, if not better. This is because…!! Rapid Fire (Longbow 2) is your main source of damage. BUT it’s not an attack you use thoughtlessly. More on this later.!! Hunter’s Shot (Longbow 3) does very little in PVE, and should only be used at the very start of combat to allow your Ranger’s pet to engage the enemy faster.!! Point Blank Shot (Longbow 4) is a skill you should assume does not exist. Don’t use it. Don’t look at it. Don’t even think about it. The only exception is when you see a teal Defiance Bar under the enemy’s red Health Bar. This is not only because it does poor damage, but also because it will very, very often knock enemies away from your pet and allies, and lead to some rather annoyed players.!! Barrage (Longbow 5) similarly does not exist, outside of situations where your character is fighting three to five enemies within the abilities area of effect. Against single targets, you’ll deal more damage autoattacking.!! Now that we’ve gotten the most important part out of the way, let’s move on to general combat ability priorities. As mentioned, while fighting single targets, we want to use Rapid Fire as often as possible, and Barrage for larger groups. We will use two Longbows and a neat little trait known as Quickdraw to greatly reduce the otherwise lengthy cooldowns of both skills. For example, for a single target encounter, I would enter combat with an autoattack, activate Quickdraw by swapping to a second Longbow, and attack with Rapid Fire. This causes the cooldown of Rapid Fire to be reduced to just over 3 seconds, as opposed to its original 10. Fill the time with some autoattacks, and launch a second Rapid Fire. Next, wait until Rapid Fire becomes available once more, and weapon swap to continue the rotation.!! Since Quickdraw forms a core part of the rotation of this weapon set, we will spend the first Specialization Slot on Skirmishing, unlocking as far as Quickdraw before moving on to something else.!! Marksmanship comes next for some flat damage bonuses, as above, as well as more cooldown reduction with Lead the Wind.!! Again, for an easier time adventuring in the harder zones while you further acclimate to the character, Specialize in Wilderness Survival for some sustain.

Condition Damage

! gizzo02.png! Another build that makes the most of Quickdraw is one that relies on Condition Damage. These builds use a combination of Axe, Torch, and Shortbow for their damage output, which are supported by some Condition-applying Skills, such as Sharpening Stone, Flame Trap, and Viper’s Nest.!! Timed properly, your Ranger will be able to use Bonfire (Torch 5) twice within ten seconds for some tremendous damage output. To do so, start an encounter with the Shortbow, then swap to the Axe and Torch to immediate cast a Bonfire. This will allow the ability to benefit from Quickdraw, and be made available much sooner. Fill the gap with Split Blade (Axe 2), Winter’s Bite (Axe 3), Throw Torch (Torch 4), and autoattacks. Once available, cast the second Bonfire before swapping to the Shortbow.!! With the Shortbow, prioritize using Poison Volley (Shortbow 2), followed by Crippling Shot (Shortbow 4), and autoattacks. Wait until the second cast of Crippling Shot before swapping back to the other weapon set to ensure Bonfire is ready to go.!! At level 11, when Training becomes available, we’ll begin by putting Hero Points into Trap Training up until Viper’s Nest. Along with Flame Trap, these represent two very potent area of effect abilities that will help greatly throughout your Ranger’s adventures. The third Skill slot is fairly flexible, with my preference being for Sharpening Stones for an additional source of Bleeds that does not have any cast time.!! When able, start Specializing in Skirmishing to unlock the ever-important Quickdraw trait. This will also nab us two traits to supplement the character’s damage output, namely Sharpened Edges, and Hidden Barbs.!! Unlike Power builds, pick up Wilderness Survival next at level 45 onwards. However, rather than pick the defensive traits, go for ones that benefit Condition Damage, i.e. Taste for Danger, Ambidexterity, and Poison Master. Despite the more aggressive choices, your Ranger will still benefit from the sustain provided by the minor traits.!! Since we’ve already picked up some sustain early on, you could round up the build with Beastmastery. This is primarily for the area of effect augment to Winter’s Bite, while also picking up some extra source of Might from Potent Ally, and damage mitigation with Wilting Strike.

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Thief

Mechanics:

Unlock most other professions that use time as a resource -- in the form of cast times, animation times, and cooldowns -- the Thief relies on a unique profession resource known as Initiative. These are tracked by the diamond-shaped pips above the Skill Bar, and are consumed each time a weapon attack is used. This means the Thief, unlike other professions, will be able to the same weapon attacks repeatedly without needing to wait for cooldowns, assuming they have the sufficient Initiative. This is to the benefit to some weapon sets more than others, as I will get into later.

Leveling Builds:

Power

! 1JzuIDw.png! Power builds are probably the more direct, and simple way to level a Thief. It utilizes the massive burst of the double Daggers, while still having flexibility for ranged combat with the double Pistols. For those who enjoy the fantasy of playing a musketeer, the Sword and Pistol set also suits this build. While adventuring, look to pick up equipment with Power, Precision, and Ferocity attributes to compliment this build.!! Each of above weapon sets make the most of the Initiative system to use the same powerful attack repeatedly to quickly cut down the enemy. Gunslingers delight with the double Pistols as they blast down the opposition with Unload (Pistol/Pistol 3), while duelists with the Sword and Pistol interrupt, evade, and attack simultaneously with Pistol Whip (Sword/Pistol 3). Both these sets also have access to a ranged Daze from Headshot (Pistol 4) to interrupt an incoming attack, or drop a Blinding field around them with Black Powder (Pistol 5) to further inhibit enemy attacks.!! Thieves using dual Daggers, on the other hand, assassinate their targets with precision strikes. To do so, the Thief needs to set three simple things in motion. Start the attack string with Cloak and Dagger (Dagger 5) to render the Thief invisible. Next, reposition behind the enemy, and finally, unleash with a powerful Backstab (Dagger 1; Stealth Attack). In two quick attacks, most open world enemies would be defeated, or brought below 20 percent health. For longer engagements, however, the Thief would then need to play around the Revealed mechanic. A character is afflicted with the Revealed debuff for 3 seconds after a successful attack from Stealth, e.g. Backstab. While Revealed, the character is unable to regain Stealth. An easy method for timing this as a dual Dagger Thief is to autoattack six times. By the sixth attack, the Revealed debuff would have expired, and you can begin the attack string again.!! Regardless of the weapon set your Thief decides to use, I would always recommend having a Shortbow as a secondary set. This can be a level 1 Shortbow, as we will be using this as a quality-of-life addition. While trekking across Tyria (or even while fleeing from combat), use Infiltrator's Arrow (Shortbow 5) to quickly zip across the land, and even up certain cliffs.!! Starting from level 11, we’ll begin with unlocking all the Signets for some nice boost to Power and Precision with Assassin’s Signet and Signet of Agility, respectively. Activate Assassin’s Signet while in combat for a bigger damage boost. The third slot is flexible, although my recommendation would to pick Shadowstep to escape from crowd control (e.g. Fear, Stun, Knockdown, etc.), extra mobility, as well as Condition cleanse.!! The first Specialization slot unlocks at level 21. My preference is to start with a Specialization that affords my Thief flat damage bonuses. Fully unlock the Specialization to gain access to Executioner, while picking up more flat bonuses from Dagger Training and Revealed Training along the way.!! At around level 45, your Thief should have gained more access to equipment with Precision and Ferocity. This is also when the second Specialization unlocks, thus allowing us to Specialize in Critical Strikes to better synergize with the Thief’s loadout. While it’s going to cost a lot of Hero Points, the final trait Invigorating Precision offers some of the best sustain a Thief can have.!! Since we’ve already the main source of sustained healing picked up already, as your character enters Orr at around level 71, we can go for some extra utility with the Trickery Specialization. The extra Initiative gained from Preparedness, as well as Kleptomaniac allows for more attack abilities, while at the same time the Thief can gain a slew of powerful Boons when Stealing (F1).

Condition Damage

! HwOkd3q.png! Thief builds that focus on Condition Damage is, unfortunately, far weaker than the above variant. Where Power builds approach combat in a direct manner, damage-over-time builds rely on skills that reposition them, and often in unpredictable manners that can lead to some unwanted situations.!! These builds can use a combination of Pistol and Dagger, or dual Daggers. With the former, cast Caltrops while approaching the target, attack with Shadowstrike (Pistol/Dagger 3) to apply Torment, and follow up with Repeater (Pistol 3) that becomes available for a short period of time. Then continue autoattacking while waiting for the Initiative to replenish before repeating the attack string. The latter is far simpler, as all your Thief will be aiming to do is to use Death Blossom (Dagger/Dagger 3) as often as possible. Just be wary of ledges.!! Look for equipment with Condition Damage, Vitality, and Power (e.g. Carrion) to kit out your Thief.!! The Caltrops skills is one of the core components of the build, and therefore the first to unlock when Training becomes available at level 11. Another cheap unlock would be Infiltrator’s Signet for some quality-of-life improvements. Finally, for utility, nab Shadow Step for the third Skill slot.!! Once more, Deadly Arts will the first Specialization to unlock beginning from level 21. This time, however, we can stop at Potent Poison, before moving on to the next Specialization.!! With the Trickery Specialization, which can be equipped starting from level 45, we’ll pick up some additional means to kite and damage enemies with Uncatchable and Trickster. Sleight of Hand is again chosen to allow more frequent use of Steal, which helps with replenishing Initiative.!! For sustain and survival through the harder parts of Core Tyria, I would recommend Acrobatics as the third Specialization. It offers passive healing with the Pain Response and Assassin’s Reward traits, while also access to Vigor through Feline Grace, which helps with evading more attacks, and triggering Uncatchable more often.

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Warrior

Mechanics:

There isn’t any special mechanics to keep in mind for the good ol’ Warrior. Your goal in combat is to hit the enemy as often as possible to generate Adrenaline, and thus enabling your Burst abilities, which are used for varying purposes. Although it’s to be noted that the cooldown of the Burst skill of each weapon is independent of each other, i.e. you can use Greatsword's Arcing Slice immediately after the Axe's Eviscerate, provided you have sufficient Adrenaline.

Leveling Guide:

Power

! RoEVt5x.png! The Power build is probably the most versatile Warrior build for the open world, as it is viable with most of the profession’s available arsenal. Double Axes are likely the most powerful set up, but you can still use variants with Hammers, Greatswords, and even the Rifle. Look to gear up with equipment with Power, Precision, and Ferocity attributes.!! Whichever case, the Power build plays in a similar, yet particular manner: the Warrior wants to set up damage bonuses from Peak Performance and Berserker’s Power before unleashing one, or a series of high-value attacks. For example with the Hammer, I would begin the encounter by activating the Signet of Fury to instantly fill out the Adrenaline bar, use Bull’s Rush to activate the Peak Performance damage bonus, Earthshaker (Hammer F1) for three stacks of Berserker’s Power, follow up with Fierce Blow (Hammer 2; which itself does bonus against disabled enemies, e.g. those stunned by Earthshaker), and end with Backbreaker (Hammer 5) to make use of the bonus it gains against Weakened enemies (by Fierce Blow).!! The same can be applied to other weapon sets, i.e. use a Physical skill (Bull’s Rush or Throw Bolas) and Burst skill to enable Peak Performance and Berserker’s Power, respectively, before unleashing Whirling Axes (Axe 5), Hundred Blades (Greatsword 2), and Volley (Rifle 3).!! Taking all these into consideration, we’ll start by unlocking Signet of Fury, while picking up one of the best healing skills in the game, Healing Signet. Signet of Fury gives some Critical Chance passively, and is used at the start of an encounter (or in between where needed) to fill out the Warrior’s Adrenaline bar to allow for a much earlier execution of the damage combo.!! While we won’t get to make use of the full combo just yet, we’ll next unlock Physical Skills until Bull’s Rush.!! The first Specialization slot, and therefore Core Specializations, become available to unlock at level 21. This is the time to pick up the main combo pieces Peak Performance and Berserker’s Power. Despite the name, Forceful Greatsword still gives passive Power, and chance to gain Might on Critical Hits, regardless of the weapon.!! From level 45, we gain access to yet another Specialization slot, which we will use for the Discipline Specialization to double down on damage, and some incidental quality of life benefits. Warrior’s Sprint gives a passive movement speed boost, while Axe Mastery gives a passive bonus to Ferocity, regardless of weapon equipped. The Discipline Specialization also encourages weapon swapping in combat by giving various bonuses, such as Might, Condition cleanse, and Adrenaline.!! By level 71, your character will begin adventuring into the more difficult zones, such as Orr. This is also the time where the third and final Specialization Slot opens up. For a safer progression to the endgame, I would recommend filling this slot out with the Defence Specialization, and give the Warrior a slew of very potent passive sustain traits. For example, the Warrior gets more passive healing from Adrenal Health each time they use a Burst skill, as well as gaining two free stunbreaks, pulsing Stability, two forms of damage mitigation, Swiftness, and Vigor.

Condition Damage

! elO9gKO.png! Condition Damage builds use the Burst skills in a more straightforward manner. The Warrior builds up Adrenaline to unleash a Burst skill for massive damage. Plain and simple. Weapon choices, however, are limited to double Swords, and the Longbow, which I would recommend using both sets. Look for equipment with Condition Damage, Precision, and Power, such as Rampager weapons and armor.!! While with double Swords, look to use Impale (Sword 4) as often as possible, and not using the follow-up Rip skill. Learn to time the use of Riposte for some extra Bleed damage, but otherwise focus on autoattacking. Once available, use the Burst skill Flurry. For added bonus, use Final Thrust (Sword 3) when the target is below 50% health.!! Conversely, you’ll notice things get much more difficult when using the Longbow. The main Condition Damage attack, Fan of Fire (Longbow F3) works best while being adjacent to the target in order to hit them with all three arrows, and otherwise, it’s matter of holding off on the other abilities until you can fill out the Adrenaline bar with autoattacks. Once available, celebrate by laying down a large zone of Burning with Combustive Shot (Longbow F1), and fire Projectile attacks such as Smoldering Arrow (Longbow 4) and Pin Down (Longbow 5) through the Fire Field to create combo effects that apply more Burning.!! As with the Power build, the first skill unlocks will be Signet of Fury. This allows your Warrior to start the fight with Combustive Shot from the Longbow, before swapping into the double Swords for the melee.!! The other two Skill slots are flexible. In this case, I went for Shout Training to pick up “For Great Justice!” and “Shake It Off!” for damage boons, and utility, respectively.!! The first Specialization to unlock would be Arms. Various traits, such as Wounding Precision, Blademaster, and Furious boost the Warrior’s Condition Damage, at the same time, they will also apply some incidental Bleed from Critical Hits.!! We move next into the Discipline Specialization, unlocking every trait on the way, and picking Burst Mastery to reduce the time between the Burst skills.!! As with above, we round out the build with the Defence Specialization beginning from level 71 for more survivability.

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This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

key 1 - Signet of Furykey 2 - Bull's Rushkey 3 - GS #2Key 4 - GS F1

Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

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@MeththeMadman.7420 said:This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

key 1 - Signet of Furykey 2 - Bull's Rushkey 3 - GS #2Key 4 - GS F1

Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

Unfortunately, you can't set character specific keybinds, so if you bind Utility Skill 1 to R and Weapon Skill 2 to T, all characters will use that setup.

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@Tanner Blackfeather.6509 said:

@MeththeMadman.7420 said:This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

key 1 - Signet of Furykey 2 - Bull's Rushkey 3 - GS #2Key 4 - GS F1

Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

Unfortunately, you can't set character specific keybinds, so if you bind Utility Skill 1 to R and Weapon Skill 2 to T, all characters will use that setup.

You'd need special software that allows you to set macro profiles that you can swap on the fly. For example, some logitech keyboards allow you multiple profiles and a key that will swap between them. As @Tanner Blackfeather.6509 says, the game itself doesn't allow for per-profession or per-character settings.

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@Illconceived Was Na.9781 said:

@MeththeMadman.7420 said:This is great. As a new player this is very helpful. Actually makes me want to create a rev to level. Thanks for the effort.

How do you recommend setting up keybinds as a new player? I play a warrior.

I'm thinking my key binds should be set up like this:

key 1 - Signet of Furykey 2 - Bull's Rushkey 3 - GS #2Key 4 - GS F1

Can I do that? (Sorry for the stupid question)

Unfortunately, you can't set character specific keybinds, so if you bind Utility Skill 1 to R and Weapon Skill 2 to T, all characters will use that setup.

You'd need special software that allows you to set macro profiles that you can swap on the fly. For example, some logitech keyboards allow you multiple profiles and a key that will swap between them. As @Tanner Blackfeather.6509 says, the game itself doesn't allow for per-profession or per-character settings.

Thanks!

So how do people set up key binds so that they are easily reachable?

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@MeththeMadman.7420 said:So how do people set up key binds so that they are easily reachable?

Here is what I've done:Weapon attack skills stay on 1 - 5Switch A & D for strafe left and right - you don't need keys to turn if you control your direction with your mouse.Heal skill (6) on left shiftUtility skills 7, 8, and 9 are bound to Q, E, & CElite skill - 0 - is bound to an extra button on my mouse, same with the special action key.

This works pretty well for me. Dodge is still on V (and double tap), and the selected mount is still on X. My hands are large enough that I don't have problems reaching F1-F5. I do have an 18 button MMO mouse, but really only use a couple of extra buttons on it for combat related stuff.

The nice thing about this set up is that it works regardless of what character/profession I'm on - my heal is always the same, my elite is always on my mouse, etc. Since I have all 9 classes on my main account and I rotate through them, it really makes it easier to switch from ele to warrior to ranger. I only have to remember what to use when, and not which key it is bound to like I would if we had unique character binds.

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@"Kaltyn of Torbins Deep.2946" said:Switch A & D for strafe left and right - you don't need keys to turn if you control your direction with your mouse.

Great point raised here! One of the most underrated and best quality-of-life change you can do for yourself is to learn to turn the camera with your mouse, rather than using a keyboard hotkey. This is because "keyboard turning" is not only cumbersome when you're trying to move and attack at the same time, the rate at which your character turns is fixed, and is actually much slower than using your mouse to turn.

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  • ArenaNet Staff

@Ojimaru.8970 said:

Who is this guide for?

I starting conceptualizing this guide after hearing countless new players feeling lost, or even not unlocked a single Skill or Specialization because they feel overwhelmed with their choices, and the perceived scarcity of Hero Points. Hence, I wanted to give some structured path of Skill and Specialization unlocks, for those that desire it. The builds I recommend will mostly mimic those seen on endgame guides, such as Snowcrows and Discretize, which I hope will help ease players into harder content as their characters progress. Along the way, I will also explain the core concepts of the builds, both to help players understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the build, and to better understand damage rotations when they eventually reach endgame content.

Thanks a ton for taking the time to create this! I posted a link to it on the Guild Wars 2 Twitter in order to direct more of our community to it–it deserves to be seen!

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@Rubi Bayer.8493 said:

Who is this guide for?

I starting conceptualizing this guide after hearing countless new players feeling lost, or even not unlocked a single Skill or Specialization because they feel overwhelmed with their choices, and the perceived scarcity of Hero Points. Hence, I wanted to give some structured path of Skill and Specialization unlocks, for those that desire it. The builds I recommend will mostly mimic those seen on endgame guides, such as Snowcrows and Discretize, which I hope will help ease players into harder content as their characters progress. Along the way, I will also explain the core concepts of the builds, both to help players understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the build, and to better understand damage rotations when they eventually reach endgame content.

Thanks a ton for taking the time to create this! I posted a link to it on the Guild Wars 2 Twitter in order to direct more of our community to it–it deserves to be seen!

You're very welcome, and thank you for the shout out!

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@Ojimaru.8970 said:...

Who is this guide for?

I starting conceptualizing this guide after hearing countless new players feeling lost, or even not unlocked a single Skill or Specialization because they feel overwhelmed with their choices, and the perceived scarcity of Hero Points. Hence, I wanted to give some structured path of Skill and Specialization unlocks, for those that desire it. The builds I recommend will mostly mimic those seen on endgame guides, such as Snowcrows and Discretize, which I hope will help ease players into harder content as their characters progress. Along the way, I will also explain the core concepts of the builds, both to help players understand the strengths (and weaknesses) of the build, and to better understand damage rotations when they eventually reach endgame content...

Thanks for putting the time and effort into this. It's not just brand new players who can benefit from your work here. I've been playing for some 15 months now and your comments about Power vs Condi for leveling and about bonus exp taught me some new things. Your language is also very accessible. A lot of experienced players talk in abbreviated jargon that can be hard for newer folks to follow. So your accessibility makes this guide even more useful.

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