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10 Tips to playing Guild Wars 2 better

Thief is a good profession to learn to play.

Thief is a good profession to learn to play.

I create the opportunity for learning, so that I can keep improving. I do that by seeking ways to challenge myself on specific gameplay skills. Here’s 10 ways you can use to keep learning too.

10 Trigger combos

You can trigger combos by yourself on many professions by using a skill that creates a combo field, then using a skill that triggers it. Self-triggered combos is a good way to learn and practice which of your own skills are what part of a combo. Sometimes, you can combo skills differently to trigger different effects like defensive or offensive effects. Once you learn that, expand your combo knowledge by triggering combos with other players either by triggering their fields, or by setting up fields where they will naturally trigger them.

You can likewise take some time to learn how to combine skill effects. Breaking armors is good just before doing high dps. Or snaring is good before hitting those large AoE’s.

9 Play different professions

Professions have their strengths and weaknesses. I learn more about survival while playing thief or elementalist. I learn more about aggro management while playing guardian or warrior. And Engineer is great to practice defending a position. Most professions can support well or AoE well, but certain professions are easier or more challenging to play in given roles.

Aside for what you gain from playing differently, this also helps you learn what other professions need, so you can cooperate better with them.

8 Learn to use different weapon sets

Don’t just learn to use different weapons, but also learn to combine different main-hands with off-hands. This forces you to discover ways to make good use of weapons, which forces you to learn the weapon’s strengths and weaknesses. This is especially useful for dungeons where specific encounters are easier to manage with the right weapon sets.

I personally like to practice weapon sets during levelling. I normally carry one two-hander and one one-handed set, and just upgrade to whatever I get as loot. This means I often end up with sets that don’t work really well, and it forces me to learn how to use it.

7 Swap weapons

Bring weapons that synergize well together and learn to swap often so that you make optimal use of your skills. Playing this way lets skills refresh while you use the other weapon set. Quick-charging skills can often be used twice before allowed to swap.

Bring weapons that have very different functions and learn when to swap. Having a melee and a ranged weapon gives you flexibility in combat, for example. However, swapping weapons at the wrong time can make you unable to deal effective damage.

6 Practice dodging effectively

And don’t just dodge… learn to use other defensive skills too. Also, learn to move around to avoid hits. Side-stepping can be an effective way to avoid hits from foes, especially if you change direction very often. Avoid over-dodging as it uses up your stamina for when you might need it more… sometimes it’s best to take a small hit so you can dodge a major hit.

5 Switch targets

I like using bouncing shots with ranger axe or thief bow. When I get 2 targets near each other, I hit the first one, and it bounces to second and bounces back to first, hitting the first target twice. This means the first target dies fast, but then the second target is only half-dead by that time. Instead, I switch to the second target after a few shots so that the same effect applies to the second target, meaning they both die at about the same time. This is also a good way to do double damage to veterans while also killing off trash mobs.

Target switching is also useful for interrupting foes, or applying DoT’s over a few foes. It also helps tag several foes for credit when playing with other people. Sometimes you don’t even need to manually switch target, you can keep the auto-attack and auto-targeted attacks on your primary target, while dropping some ground-targeted attacks on secondary targets.

4 Prot and/or heal someone

Practicing to heal helps you learn to keep track of allies’s health. You don’t need to party with them to heal them. Just a mouse-over can tell you what they health is, and popping healing skills where they stand can help them out.

Protecting them also teaches you to anticipate attacks. Putting up a shield or shouting a protection can be very useful especially when big AoE attacks are coming.

3 Learn to hit and run from the safety of a zerg

This you can practice best in WvW, although big groups in PvE will also provide opportunities to practice this skill. WvW is best because it will punish you more severely for your mistakes. I find thief is best at this. However, any profession that has short-range or melee capability will work too. You need to learn not only when it’s safe to go into shorter-range, but also how to efficiently move in and out of the frontline.

On tougher classes, you also want to learn when it is safe and desirable to jump in front of an ally that is taking too much damage to help them survive or retreat. I tend to do that with my mesmer too, using clones and myself to take heat away from allies so that they can recover.

2 Survive over-aggros

There are three components to this. First, you need to learn to do strong AoE damage. You can also focus damage on single-target attacks to reduce their numbers. The faster you can reduce their numbers, the easier the fight becomes. Second, you need to survive. Good use of dodging, moving around, and skills is even more important when out-numbered. Third, learn to heard properly. Use walls if you need to so that foes clump around the corner. Move in a way that they are in your AoE’s. And move in a way that it makes it easier for you to avoid hits.

1 Solo veterans and champions

Doing this requires you to learn your foe’s weaknesses and exploit them to your advantage. Some veterans are tough, others are pretty easy. But what makes them tough often depends on your own weaknesses. If you can find a way to overcome your weaknesses, you can often solo foes far stronger than you.


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  • Just a spelling correction:
    “…2 Survive over-aggros…
    …Third, learn to heard properly. Use walls if you need to so that foes clump around the corner…”
    In the context you are using it shouldn’t it be “…learn to HERD properly…”?