PVS GW2: The Basics

Hello again Players. Today we’re going to be looking at the basics of Guild Wars 2 as you jump into the game. Chances are if you play the game for a few hours you’ll figure most of this out, but there might have been something you missed. Have a look and let’s get started.

First we have Races and Professions. We have no factions to worry about, and any race can be any profession. In Guild Wars 2, classes are called professions. This means you can go ahead and pick out the race you think looks cool and best represents you – it won’t make a significant difference in gameplay. The first question asked when creating your character determines one part of your look, the rest will be for your personal storyline – Pick what suits you best.

Your Personal Storyline is going to be your generalized guideline throughout the game. You don’t need to focus on this, but it will guide your through different zones as you go. A good rule of thumb is to do as much of a zone as you can before leaving it to continue your storyline in another zone. Remember that exploring, gathering materials, going to Point of Interest and getting to vistas will all give you experience. Your Personal Story will always be represented by a green swirl on your map, and if you ever get lost you can also view your story progress from the Hero (H) Window.

Your Interface is divided into seven parts:

  • The first 5 buttons are you main spells. These are determined by which weapons your have equipped in each hand (1-3 for main hand, 4-5 are offhand). Using difference combinations of weapons can mean a completely difference playstyle. Just because a weapon is close range (such as a staff) it doesn’t mean that the spell from holding a staff is close range – Be sure to experiment with everything available to you.
  • The 6th button is your healing spell. Every class will vary on how this is executed but most are simply small heal and a regeneration.
  • 7 through 9 are your Utility spells. These will be interchangeable spells of your choice that will allow you to do things such as stun an opponent, equip a kit, or create illusions.
  • 10 (Keybind 0) is your Elite spell. This is your longer cooldown spell that often does the most damage.
  • Above your skill bar is your Mechanic Bar (F1 – F4). This varies by profession, but is most familiar to a stance bar, or a pet bar, or for some classes simply more utilities.
  • The big globe in the middle is your health.
  • The orange bar above your health glove is the Endurance bar. This is used for dodging, and will slowly refill on it’s own. You can dodge twice in a row without refill.

Fighting in GW2 is meant to me very mobile, meaning you should be moving around a lot. You’ll notice that most of your spells will be instant cast or have short cast timers for just this reason. Get used to moving around as much as possible and dodging out of the way by double-tapping in a direction. Though this may seem awkward at first this will become vital to your survival in both PVE and PVP situations.

A welcomed change from most MMO is going to be the lack of gear dependency and more focus on skill. From level one through 80 the stats on gear do scale up but nowhere near as much as most players are used to seeing in other games. Your most important thing to upgrade will be your weapon. For that reason you’re going to need to learn to play well again and use the best of your abilities to survive and make process – I’m looking at everybody coming from World of Warcraft here.

Next up we have to look at Stats aka Attributes. In theory, almost every stat will help every profession at least a little bit. In practice, this just isn’t practical. Like many MMO, we have both primary and secondary stats. Players will gain an increase of all primary stats as they level. Primary we have:

  • Power — increases attack damage.
  • Precision — increases chance of critical hit.
  • Toughness — increases armor.
  • Vitality — increases maximum health.

Primary stats can be found on most pieces of gear once you start leveling, and are useful in some way for most professions since they’re pretty broad. Secondary stats available are:

  • Boon Duration — Extends how long a boon will last on a player.
  • Condition Damage — Increases the damage done by conditions (burning, poison, confusion, and bleeding).
  • Condition Duration — Extends how long all conditions inflicted by the character (how long DoTs will ‘tick’ on enemies’).
  • Critical Damage — Increases damage multiplier on critical hits.
  • Healing Power — Increases all healing spells cast on self and to others.

Unlike primary stats, secondary stats do not increase with level. To increase these stats, it will come from gear or by traits.

A constant in any MMO is the ability to build up your Character’s abilities. In Guild Wars 2 this is done through both Skill Points and Traits. Skills points are used to ‘purchase’ your utility skills and elite skills. You’re able to get skill points by both leveling as well as completing skill challenges in various zones. Skill Points are represented by a blue up-arrow on your map as well as your hero interface.

Traits are most similar to talent trees. Each profession has four trees, separated into three sections each. A player can purchase the sections while leveling by using a book purchased by their profession trainer – Each section has a minor and major glyph within for the player to take advantage of to grant them abilities. Once chosen, a player would need to repurchase a book from their trainer to change their skills again. Before you make your choice, I recommend going to the Heart of the Mists (PVP) to try skills out on testing dummies.

Boons & Conditions aka your Buffs & Debuffs are our next topic, and will likely be the hardest thing to remember. Nearly every attack done in this game will result in one of the other (or both) happening. For this reason most classes aren’t defined as ‘the DoT class’ or ‘the burst class’ – though builds of both do exist. Boons/Conditions across all professions have the same name and thus are easier to recognize then if each had it’s own specialty DoT. Below we have a bunch of them, as well as a general idea of what they do.

Boons that improve damage:

  • Fury: 20% higher chance to crit.
  • Might: Attacks deal more damage.
  • Retaliation: Enemies who strike you take some damage in return.

Boons that mitigate damage:

  • Aegis: Block (take no damage from) the next attack.
  • Regeneration: Gradually return health per second.
  • Protection: Take 33% less damage from attacks.

Boons that improve performance:

  • Stability: You can’t be knocked down, pushed back, launched, stunned, dazed or feared.
  • Swiftness: Move 33% faster.
  • Vigor: Endurance regenerates twice as fast.

Conditions that deal damage:

  • Bleeding: Deals damage per second.
  • Burning: Deals damage per second.
  • Confusion: Enemy takes damage when they use a skill.
  • Poison: Deals damage per second and reduces healing.

Conditions that weaken the enemy:

  • Blind: The enemy’s next attack is an automatic miss. Think of this as a free block.
  • Chilled: Reduce movement speed by 66%. Skills recharge slower.
  • Crippled: Reduce movement speed by 50%.
  • Fear: Enemies run away.
  • Immobilize: Prevent all movement.
  • Vulnerability: Enemy takes 1% more damage per stack.
  • Weakness: Half of your attacks deal low (glancing) damage. Endurance regenerates slowly.

Something to keep in mind is that not every profession is going to be using every Boon/Condition in their build so many of these will be unfamiliar. Since many have short timers, it might be difficult when starting down to determine which icon represents what; A good rule of thumb is that orange is a boon and is good for you, where as a red is a condition and is bad.

The last thing we’re going to touch on today is Disciplines. These are the jobs your character will be doing to gather and make items. As a player, you can learn all of the professions but can only have two active at the same time. Starting out, I’d recommend picking one that will help out your character the most for making gear or weapons, and not worrying about trying to figure out the discipline to make the most money right away – You can always change it later. Gathering disciplines do not count as one of your two, and therefore you should make an effort to collect from every tree, ore node, and fruit bush possible as you’re leveling. If your bags starting getting full, click on the little sprocket icon and select “Deposit All Collectables” – Doing so will put all crafting mats into a special section of your bank.

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That’s about it for the basics right now. There is tons of other stuff that could be included here, but since we’re over 1500 words right now we’ll call it a day. We’ll be focusing out next post on some PVP, then perhaps a general outline of PVE and leveling. Or we may reverse those, but both will come. Be sure to check back as all this will be coming early next week at latest.

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