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How to Make a Good Build: Part 1

FinitFinit Smithsburg, MDPosts: 145Member

This is all from my blog, that is linked in my signature.  If you like my writing, please take a look.  

If any of this sounds simple, well it was designed by ArenaNet to be intuitive.  However, I hope this guide helps the confused or overwhelmed newcomer.  Take your time developing your build, your knowledge matters in this game.

 

 

So, you want to play profession A, and want to be the best in whatever you play.  As most things are, Guild Wars 2 is not that simple.  To be good, you are going to need to choose your profession, select your weapon set/s, find the right utilities, evaluate your trait options, and then finally compatible accessories, sigils, jewels, and runes.  It can be all a little overwhelming, but I'm here to help you through it.

 

Now before you dive in, you need to evaluate what you want out of your build, and what you want to do with it.  Do you want to be a glass cannon in competitive 5v5?  Do you want to be play a support character to help your realm to victory in WvW?  These all matter, and need to be well-thought out in advance to making your build.  The order of this article is ordered purposely, going from broad to very, very specified. I followed ArenaNet's own advice, this was ordered the exact way you are introduced to these systems in the game.  ArenaNet's design was intentional, if you do it this way, there will be considerably less frustration later on.There is an order to doing all this, but once you have it down, you can start making builds extremely effectively.

 

First focus on the weapons.  They are the most vital piece to your gameplay, and how you play will change dramatically based on this first choice.  Ignore underwater weapons for now, as they are significantly less important than your on-land options.  You need to keep in mind how many weapon sets your profession can equip.  To put it simply, as an engineer or an elementalist you only have one option, so you need to make it count.  If you choose the others, you need to make sure that the sets synergize well together. If you are going for a WvW build, you probably don't want two melee weapons, unless you know what you are doing.   Most players will carry a melee and ranged weapon set, as this will allow them to adapt to the most situations.  After the initial months, specifically in competitive PvP, this will probably not hold true.  Many people will try to fit into niche roles to complete successful and unique team builds in ranked games even if that means stacking two ranged sets, etc.  Keep track of what survivability the weapon has on its own, as well as the conditions provided.  For example, if there's a lot of moves that add the condition bleeding, then you may want to add traits later on that enhance that condition.

 

If you are following me so far, you now have your weapon or weapons.  Next are the utilities.  There are 3 heals to choose from to fill your #6 slot, 20 utilities to choose for your #7,8,9 slots, and a choice of 3 elites for your #10 slot.  Yes, there are racial elites, but unless you are trying to roleplay, you will want to avoid them; they are designed to be worse than their class-counterparts, and are not usable in structured PvP.  Please keep in mind here about the upcoming section on traits.  You may want to think about getting a similar group of utilities, for example getting two of one type.  Maybe two signets or two skills of one type like Glamour or Deception.  You can find the skill type of each utility on the ever-useful Guild Wars 2 wiki.  Many traits will provide 20% reduction in cooldowns of all signets, or longer lasting stealth moves.  You need to keep this in mind. By stacking a certain type of skill, you are creating synergy in your build.  The most effective builds will have the most synergy.  However, don't place all your eggs in one basket.  In the last beta, one-skill wonders weren't effective.  Most people were relying on balanced builds, ones that had some offensive skills, defensive skills, etc. If you have two really nice offensive signets, and need a defensive ability, and the defensive signets are just not your style, then don't feel obligated to choose a 3rd signet.  Go out and synergize somewhere else that may help you indirectly.  If I'm a stealth-based, backstab thief, I can't just maximize damage and be effective.  I'm going to have to have some immobilization or control skills, that allow myself to get behind my opponent.

 

Traits.  Traits are the place where pro's are going to differentiate themselves from the newcomers.  Every minor and major trait matters, and you need to plan ahead.  You will not want to waste 10 points to get to a major trait, when the minor trait is useless.  If you know what you are doing, then you definitely can, but that major trait better be critical for your build.  To do this effectively, at this point, is a little bit hard.  Many of the abilities say increased damage or provide some benefit that is written about obscurely, but we do not have hard numbers. Due to this simple fact, you will be unsure about choosing that several traits.  I want to say here that it is okay.  It's okay to not know, it's pre-release for God's sake.  Take your time with this section, as it is the most complex.  Keep in mind that the attributes also matter.  Each tree has a maximum and minor attribute that can be utilized to maximize the efficiency of your build.  Maybe you really like one of the defensive trees that provide Toughness, and you can now go back and make three offensive utilities.

 

You not only have to micro-balance among each these sections, but your overall build should be balanced as well.  If you do traits right, your work on the battlefield will be a lot less harder.  If you are sloppy here, your fights will be an uphill battle.  This game not only maximizes your skill as a fighter but your skill as a tactician.  Knowledge is power here, however, this is not Buildcraft.  Skill and knowledge will be needed, but a great build is half the fight.

 

I will continue onto accessories, sigils, jewels and everything else in part two.  There may be some delay in part two til after the next beta, because I have not been able to experiment with these myself.  If you focus on weapons, utilities, and traits, 90% of your work is done.  To get that last 10%, you are going to have to work for it.  Your build should now be pretty specified, and the rest will either add to or balance your build.

 

If you are excited to venture forth and make your build.  Use this resource, its almost completely up to date, and very easy to use:  http://www.gw2tools.com/

My Guild Wars 2 Blog can be found here: Divinity's Reach

Comments

  • RedempRedemp Hot Springs, ARPosts: 1,042Member

     Good guide.

    My only thoughts would be ,  personally , I found gear to be just as important as my major selections. You can have the most optimal build .... and it fall flat on its face without the gear to back it up.

    I'd say gear is atleast 35-50% of a build, the major being your necklace. ( Amulet slot I think it was called in BWE )

  • BadaboomBadaboom Moose Jaw, SKPosts: 2,380Member
    It is common in most games that you should always increase/stack health. I imagine that'll also be the case here.
  • FinitFinit Smithsburg, MDPosts: 145Member

     


    Originally posted by Redemp

     Good guide.

    My only thoughts would be ,  personally , I found gear to be just as important as my major selections. You can have the most optimal build .... and it fall flat on its face without the gear to back it up.

    I'd say gear is atleast 35-50% of a build, the major being your necklace. ( Amulet slot I think it was called in BWE )

    I think the amulet slot can definately aid or hinder a good build.  However, it has no active effect on gameplay.  You may now have 1k more health, but the average newcomer isn't going to notice this.  They are going to notice the very active flashy components to gameplay before they appreciate the actual numbers.

    Also, when a newcomer jumps into PvP somewhat useful gear is given to them at the start.  However, traits, weapons, and skills will directly change their gameplay and will be what the newcomer focuses on first.  As they progress they will eventually notice the advantages to changing your gear.  However, the starting gear is at least decent to get them started, the same cannot be said of weapons,utilities, and traits.

    My Guild Wars 2 Blog can be found here: Divinity's Reach

  • RedempRedemp Hot Springs, ARPosts: 1,042Member

    Originally posted by Finit

     


    Originally posted by Redemp

     Good guide.

    My only thoughts would be ,  personally , I found gear to be just as important as my major selections. You can have the most optimal build .... and it fall flat on its face without the gear to back it up.

    I'd say gear is atleast 35-50% of a build, the major being your necklace. ( Amulet slot I think it was called in BWE )

    I think the amulet slot can definately aid or hinder a good build.  However, it has no active effect on gameplay.  You may now have 1k more health, but the average newcomer isn't going to notice this.  They are going to notice the very active flashy components to gameplay before they appreciate the actual numbers.

    Also, when a newcomer jumps into PvP somewhat useful gear is given to them at the start.  However, traits, weapons, and skills will directly change their gameplay and will be what the newcomer focuses on first.  As they progress they will eventually notice the advantages to changing your gear.  However, the starting gear is at least decent to get them started, the same cannot be said of weapons,utilities, and traits.

     I agree with all of what you said , minus saying it has no active effect on gameplay. The right gear  can make or break a build ... for example if you start up a Guardian and want to pursue a dps build. If you don't gear accordingly ... every one of your attempts to sort a dps build is going to fall. The right gear directly changed my gameplay on several builds, to the point that if I paper build looked good .. I'd always double check my gear before tweaking it further.

    Didn't mean to derail or anything .. personally just think gear plays a much larger part on a sucessful build than was stated. =)

    Edit * For simplicity sakes, if its a newcomers guide I would just mention swapping the Amulet slot  as thats the most crucial piece.

  • aesperusaesperus Hamshire, NVPosts: 5,128Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Badaboom

    It is common in most games that you should always increase/stack health. I imagine that'll also be the case here.

    Having the proper health pool is extremely important in this game. A lot of people optimized for dps only, but only had like 10-15k health (meaning certain builds could effectively 1shot them). You want to consider all scenarios, and make sure you can at least take a hit from the strongest attacks in the game (eviscerate, hundred blades, kill shot, dragon's tooth, etc.)

    - I also agree that the gear, and sigils are INSANELY important as well. For example, if you try and roll a crit-build spike without a sigil of superior doom, it's going to feel a bit lackluster.

    - One thing that would probably help this guide out a lot (if it is indeed for newbies) is an example walkthrough. Setup a hypothetical build (maybe a balance build) and walk people through your choices, from broad-specific, and why you chose what you did.

    Other than that, great guide! Looking forward to seeing it finished.

  • KorgborgKorgborg waldorf, MDPosts: 116Member

    I never learned how to make a good build in gw1.

    I think I'll pay attn this time  image

    If you cut it too short you can always nail a piece on the end.

    If you cut it too long then what the hell are you gonna do?

  • FinitFinit Smithsburg, MDPosts: 145Member

    Originally posted by aesperus

    Originally posted by Badaboom

     

    - One thing that would probably help this guide out a lot (if it is indeed for newbies) is an example walkthrough. Setup a hypothetical build (maybe a balance build) and walk people through your choices, from broad-specific, and why you chose what you did.

    Other than that, great guide! Looking forward to seeing it finished.

    Brilliant idea, I wil try to incorporate that into part two or add it into part one.  Thanks, that is a very good idea.

     

    My Guild Wars 2 Blog can be found here: Divinity's Reach

  • ZeroxinZeroxin LondonPosts: 2,521Member Uncommon

    I personally start with the most resilient parasite ...... an idea and that idea takes hold and I create a build around that idea and that idea becomes the build and that idea will now kill everything in it's path and that idea will be known AS THE GREAT-.... err... got a bit carried away there image.

    This is not a game.

  • ZLE42ZLE42 SofiaPosts: 22Member

    Originally posted by Badaboom

    It is common in most games that you should always increase/stack health. I imagine that'll also be the case here.

    True.

    However i didn't see any other game,where stacking something is so much at the expence of something else.

    well Tempus Omnia Revelat...

  • FinitFinit Smithsburg, MDPosts: 145Member

    As suggested, here is my example build and explanation.

    This is all copied from my blog which can be found in my sig or by this address: http://divinitysreach.blogspot.com/

     

     

    I hadn't ever really looked into mesmers in great detail, but they kind of caught my eye with their mystical illusions of purple butterfly powers.  I started out thinking I wanted a build that would utilize shatters, specifically a bursty build that revolved entirely around the damaging shatter Mind Wrack.  My aesthetic vision was to have a reasonably balanced character that could burst for reasonably large numbers, while also avoiding the general "glass cannon" archetype. Specifically, I wanted to have some defense-based moves that I could activate to get the hell out when I need them to.  Defense can come in several forms, and I chose a very active form of ability-based defenses that rely on stealth for quick escapes.

     

    So I glanced at the different weapon sets and decided on a Greatsword and a Sword/Torch combination.  Both were balanced, having great offensive and defensive abilities included, while also carrying multiple illusion-creating abilities.  Creating illusions is absolutely critical for any shatter build, so I wanted weapon sets that had several moves that could create a clone or phantasm at any given moment.  In my weapon sets alone, I have 4 of these moves. I also liked how they didn't revolve entirely around conditions like the staff and sceptor.  

     

    I then moved in the order suggested by my previous article, my utilities.  I liked the idea of mantras, but I wasn't sure how well they would sync up in a fight. Mirror Images was an extremely easy choice, creating two additional clones at will. I also liked the idea of Decoy, as an additonal stealth/adding an additional illusion that could be used both defensively and offensively for another opportunity to shatter.  I also liked the Moa bird, because in my mind at least, this is what clone-spam Mesmers do best.  They make their enemy run around like a chicken with their head chopped off.  

     

      My mesmer would have the innate defense of mass confusion, and I don't mean the condition.  Having to tell who is who in the middle of a battlefield of constantly created-and-destroyed illusions is always frightening for the opponent.  (Trust me, I've been on the other side of it.) However, I had a problem in finding the 3rd utility, and until I looked at traits I could not decide.  I was lost as to what exactly I wanted, and I really wanted to look at traits to see if there was someway to make something work.  Having to go back and forth will happen in many of your experimental builds, and it's alright.  Once you have decided on your traits, its very easy to fill in one spot.  However, if you try to make your traits first, you can get easily overwhelmed by the options.  Try to start out with a main vision, but be open-minded and be willing to change if you see something better.

     

    So, I moved to my traits.  I immediately went to the Illusions tree and quickly filled the entire line. The major attribute were perfect for reducing the cooldowns on my shatters. The minor traits were exceptionally useful providing faster cooldowns on illusion-creating abilities, providing conditions on my enemies, and buffs to me on each shatter.  It was a perfect fit to my build.  For majors, I chose Compounding Power that synergized amazingly with my illusion making build.  I also loved Illusionary Persona, which creates the shatter effect on me as well.  At this point, I could potentially hit someone with a single shatter 4 times (3 from each of my illusions and 1 from me), and that alone would create the nice bursty build I was looking for. Phantasmal Haste looked promising, but I still wanted to increase my damage output so I jumped instead into Precise Wrack, increasing my chance of critically damaging with shatters by 25%.  Please note, that while the minor attribute to increase conditions is not really what I was going for, I still chose the tree based on the all-around bonuses to my build.  If everything is perfect except for one little detail, then don't be afraid to try it out.  If it doesn't work out, just reset and go to a different tree.

     

    Since I had chosen a critically damaging trait last, I naturally wanted to follow up with Dueling.  The tree would provide increased critical chance and critical damage, which is perfect for a bursty build and.  I also benefit with the immense synergy of Precise Wrack and this trait line, so it was a great follow up to the previous tree. I chose Desperate Decoy to add to my defenses another stealth.  (You can tell by this point,  I like my stealth moves. I have 3 at this point, and they are perfect for confusing and escaping.) I loved the 5 and 15 point minors, they would synergize well together allowing me to dodge more often after critical strikes and create a clone each time I dodge.  Since this tree would increase my chances of critically hitting (along with Precise Wrack), I would be able to dodge even more often, creating even more clones to shatter. The more clones the better position I will be in for confusing my opponent and for more frequent shattering opportunities. The more shattering opportunities, the better my burst potential will be.  Everything flowed so nicely together at this point, that I was just excited to see where it led.

     

    Finding the next tree was chosen by first addressing what I wanted out of my build.  What would make my build even better? Should I increase my damage further or provide more defense?  Since, I felt that my weapon sets and utilities were already providing a decent amount of defense I jumped into the Domination line.  The additional damage would continue to fit in perfectly with my build, and the condtion damage would synergize well with the minor attribute from the Illusions tree, condition duration. I loved the major that would provide 30% more damage to Mind Wrack, the damaging shatter that was going to be utilized as my primary burst. 

     

     At this point, I realized that my shatter would still be on a 8-15 second cooldown before I could utilize it again.  I needed to make a second shatter my primary when Mind Wrack was on cooldown, and the minors for the Domination line fit well.  I could use Diversion to provide a defensive/offensive shatter that would daze my foes, effectively interrupting heals or other more dangerous casts.  The minors for the domination line just added to this shatter by granting vulnerability on to the enemy when I daze or interrupt, which as you guessed it, would make me do even more damage.  At this point I had 10 more trait points and a utility to find.

     

    I tried the other trees and just couldn't find something I absolutely had to have.  So, I kept looking around the trees and kept noticing some mantra enhancing traits, specifically in trees that I already had points in.  So I went to my utilities, and examined my options.  I ultimately chose Mantra of Pain, because you guessed it, it would increase my already large amount of burst.  I had no complaints.  I then moved into the trees and looked for the mantra traits I noticed earlier.  And that's when it hit me, I had two mantras, a healing mantra and now a damaging mantra. There was a trait in Dueling that would enhance my overall damage for each readied mantra.  I had two mantras, so I thought it could be useful.  I then went to the Domination tree, and saw the holy grail, a trait called Harmonious Mantras that would allow me to activate my mantras twice.  If you are doing math, that now doubles my base number of  readied mantras to 4, and increases my damage even more.  It also provides the additional benefit of allowing me to proc my heal or burst skill twice in a fight before having to recharge.  Once again adding to the duality of burst/defense I was hoping for.

     

    My build was done. Everything in my build has synergy with another trait, skill, or utility (except for my Moa Bird elite.  However, I love my Moa Morph, so you cannot make me change my mind.) It took some time, a little bit of frustration, and some reading.  You can definitely do this.  I didn't know that much about Mesmer's before I started and had to learn the cooldown lengths of the shatters, how many illusions they could have up at one time, etc.  However, it can be done, even on a profession you don't know much about.  It just requires about 30 minutes of your time and of course, tender, loving care.

     

    For those interested:  my build can be found here:   My Build

    My Guild Wars 2 Blog can be found here: Divinity's Reach

  • LeodiousLeodious Abingdon, VAPosts: 773Member

    This is a really good write up, I think. I don't have much too add or comment, but I think you present the complications well and explain why certain things matter, and I wanted to say so.

    "There are two great powers, and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."

    — John Parry, to his son Will; "The Subtle Knife," by Phillip Pullman

  • FinitFinit Smithsburg, MDPosts: 145Member

    Originally posted by Leodious

    This is a really good write up, I think. I don't have much too add or comment, but I think you present the complications well and explain why certain things matter, and I wanted to say so.

    Thanks so much, I'm pretty new at this whole "writing a blog for everyone to see" thing, and I just wanted to say thank you very much, I appreciate your support.

    My Guild Wars 2 Blog can be found here: Divinity's Reach

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