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Some facts about GW2 skills you might have missed…

A few tips everyone can use...

A few tips everyone can use…

So you think you are a Guild Wars 2 pro by now, right? You have your favourite skill rotations programmed into muscle memory, efficiently dispatching foe after foe? But don’t be fooled. The true martial artist doesn’t stop at being an efficient killer… the true martial artist seeks true mastery of his weapons.

Here’s a few advice for those grasshoppers who really want to become pros at the game. Here’s a few ways to really take advantage of your weapons’ strength.

Killing a foe is easy, killing a group of foes is an art

Many autoattack skills can be used to hit multiple foes, including some that are not so obvious. For example, engineers can hit foes in a line with the rifle autoattack, or do splash damage with the pistol autoattack. Necromancers can hit foes in a line with the staff autoattack. Mesmer staff and ranger axe autoattacks bounce between foes. The list is far longer…

These AoE effects are also common on skills 2-5. So if you’ve been attacking one foe at a time in PvE, it’s very likely that you’ve been killing foes 50% slower or more than you can. So far, every profession I played had at least a way of killing multiple foes at a time.

Frontlining: not just for soldiers

Most professions can frontline, but they do differ in how and when they can frontline. The mesmer for example relies on clones to occupy foes while he does damage with his sword, and needs to get out of danger quickly if foes focus fire on him. Thieves and rangers rely on greater mobility to fight in the frontline, making themselves a difficult target to hit. Thieves also use a lot of blinds as well as stealth. Warriors and guardians have higher natural survival ability which makes them relatively easier to frontline with.

In all cases though, moving around a lot helps getting hit less, even at melee. And since melee usually produces more damage, it pays to know when and how to do melee damage.

Learn to combo off of yourself.

Take some time to identify the multiple ways you can combo in the same build. Sometimes using skills in a different order can make your build more offensive or more defensive. As an example, my greatsword guardian likes to bring purging flames.

If I hit purging flame before whirling wrath, I get burning bolts.
If I hit purging flame before leap of faith, I get fire armor.
If I hit symbol of wrath before whirling wrath, I get cleansing bolts.
If I hit symbol of wrath before leap of faith, I get retaliation.

While these combo effects are not your bread and butter, they are nice ways to shift your build towards a role or another as the situation calls for.

Learn your weapon’s intended use(s)

The mesmer scepter has an autoattack that creates a clone on 3rd attack, as well as a block that produces a clone on blocking. It is less of a ranged attack weapon like the staff or greatsword, and more of a defensive weapon. The great number of clones and the ability to block means you survive more easily. This was handy for example when I fought a norn melee fighter, who ended up being so confused as to which version of me was the real one, I hardly was in any danger while I whittled her life away. It is not an efficient weapon for ranged damage however, and this is why I would not recommend it for general use. However, it does have its uses, once you understand what it is good for.

Likewise, some weapons that are strong at killing a foe might not be your best option for killing multiple foes. It pays off to know more about your weapon’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you have more tips, feel free to join the forum and bring your wisdom to the masses.


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  • Scepter is by far the best option that a mesmer has for ranged damage – the auto-attack is fast, has good range, and deals good damage, on top of being a clone factory. It’s much better than staff which is much slower and does far less damage.

    • Staff damage starts slowly, but ramps up quickly because it stacks conds on the foe and buffs on you, especially if you have several clones up because they also stack buffs and conds. I think you can kill foes faster with staff than scepter.