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How to build a Guardian properly.


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#1 Red_Falcon

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:09 AM

I've seen many Guardians around PvE with bad builds, very poor trait choices and therefore terrible performance.
There is plenty of choice while building a Guardian (we'll see that later) but also some, well, "requirements to not suck and make your team angry".
So I decided to release a little guide on how to get your Guardian in shape without avoiding terrible mistakes; remember the Guardian is the heart of a team, the eyes are on you, you must perform well and lead your team to success.

To be a respectable Guardian you need to have some required traits.
Creativity starts after you have the mandatory stuff (and this applies to most classes).

The following are pretty much mandatory for any decent PvE Guardian, and also happen to be our best traits.
1) You'll always want at least 10 points in Virtues.
Minor is great, and T1 is needed because you can use it to either reduce CDs on Cons (which you'll use in all dungeons) and 50% longer-lasting spirit weapons (bow of truth AoE heal is huge).
2) 15 points in Radiance for signet CDs and especially Renewed justice (very important for dungeon DPS of your team, gives tons of might combined with Virtues minor) and Justice is Blind.
3) 5 points in Valor to get Aegis @ 50% health. A real wipe/life saver.
4) 10 points in Honor for shout CDs. You'll use shouts a lot in dungeons and solo; while consecrations are situational and don't work against all mobs and bosses, shouts are reliable in any situations.
Note that you also get 1s vigor on crit, this makes you much less likely to die and is very important.

> If you're lacking the above, you're a gimped Guardian.
You can neglect on one of these fundamental pillars only if the outcome is really worth it.

The last 30 points depend on your desired spec, playstyle and personal preference.
- If you use 2handers often, you'll want the 2h mastery in honor.
- If you want further condition removal, you'll want Absolute resolve in Virtues.
- If you are shield user, go deep into defense to get the CD reduction and AHealing.
- If you are a shout lover, go with 30 honor for Pure of Voice (converting is fun, vulnerability becomes... protection!).
- If you want to give a more offensive support or more damage solo, go with 30 honor and pick Empowered.
- If you want to focus on buff upkeep and virtue spamming get 30 virtues, but I can't recommend a T3 traits becuase honestly, they are all too situational / equally meh. I would end up getting Elite Focus, but get whatever you feel should fit the situation better.
- If you want to maximize damage on conditioned foes consider Fiery Wrath (10 zeal)+Radiant Power (25 Radiance).
- If you want to focus on one-handers, go deep into Radiance for RHStrength
- Meditation healing is not good for anything outside PvP; we get much better healing and protection from other specs (for instance, a protection uptime build negates a ton more damage while healing in similar amounts). Also this is completely useless to any team.

I think I covered pretty much every possible efficient build for PvE and hopefully all playstyles.

Do a favor to yourself and your friends: don't be a mediocre Guardian.
Be a successful Guardian.

Edited by Red_Falcon, 24 September 2012 - 04:10 AM.


#2 jpg1

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:50 AM

I'd say this is a good Skeleton for all those you are asking about low level stats. Good job, Red_Falcon.

#3 phani_kaushik

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:59 AM

Appreciate the guide and looks very good. A build link would be more helpful for aspiring guardians to have a look at. I'm at lvl 55 and die very less in PvE even when fighting champions, except in WvW when ambushed out of nothing :D. I use Tome of Wrath to bring the boss' health down to 50-60% and then kite for a while and I use Virtue of Justice whenever I can to cause burn. Would love to compare this build with mine and see where I can improve as I level up and get my final trait book. Good work!

#4 Ysalea

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:17 AM

I'm thinking of going staff and mace+shield.
Something like this for skills i guess: http://gw2skills.net...5elYgiB3FSMEfIA
Any skills i should swap out?
Would appreciate some help with traits and runes. :)  
What exotic gear should i go for? Knight's draconic, Clerics draconic? I'm lost :(
Thanks in advance.

/Ysalea

#5 jpg1

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:28 AM

View PostYsalea, on 24 September 2012 - 05:17 AM, said:

What exotic gear should i go for? Knight's draconic, Clerics draconic?

/Ysalea

I would prefer Cleric's over Knight's. I just personally find it more flexible. Critical Hit Effects on Guardian are very limited - there are those that are very discussed like Empowering Might. You can balance it anyway with your trinkets. The Armor set is a bigger investment if you weigh it out.

#6 Ysalea

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 05:47 AM

View Postjpg1, on 24 September 2012 - 05:28 AM, said:

I would prefer Cleric's over Knight's. I just personally find it more flexible. Critical Hit Effects on Guardian are very limited - there are those that are very discussed like Empowering Might. You can balance it anyway with your trinkets. The Armor set is a bigger investment if you weigh it out.

Thanks. I'll read up on it some more :)
Is staff+mace and shield a good combo? Or should i change the mace for something else?

/Ysalea

#7 Weekender

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:17 AM

Way too simplified. I personally use Hammer symbol spammer in 30 honor for three symbol traits and in Orr i never fall lower than 90% of my HP, while in dungeons, yeah, harder but my melee allies totally love it.

I also pick the vunerability from symbols trait from zeal, and its a deal breaker.

#8 NovAtan

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:46 AM

View PostWeekender, on 24 September 2012 - 06:17 AM, said:

Way too simplified. I personally use Hammer symbol spammer in 30 honor for three symbol traits and in Orr i never fall lower than 90% of my HP, while in dungeons, yeah, harder but my melee allies totally love it.

I also pick the vunerability from symbols trait from zeal, and its a deal breaker.

One major pitfall I can see with this build is condi removal. I am aware that you could easily switch around a few traits, but that would only take away from the "theme" of your build.
Are you just relying on SC and passive on signet in solo play and on the constant combo fields you're dropping (for allies to shoot projectiles through, removing condis) in dungeon play?

Edited by NovAtan, 24 September 2012 - 07:55 AM.


#9 exzacklyright

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:10 AM

Here's mine: http://gw2skills.net...Bh9gAxoO6ShDpQA

What do you think? Obviously I can swap in shouts / consecrations as needed.

#10 jpg1

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 09:01 AM

View PostYsalea, on 24 September 2012 - 05:47 AM, said:

Thanks. I'll read up on it some more :)
Is staff+mace and shield a good combo? Or should i change the mace for something else?

/Ysalea

Mace and Shield is an okay set - as it is quite defensive. Paired with a Staff, however, I don't know if your damage output suffers. Also, over the Shield, I would actually recommend the Focus instead. It offers more blocking for yourself, and additional Blind and Regeneration. It's rather personal compare to the utility of the Shield. Try to test it yourself.

View PostWeekender, on 24 September 2012 - 06:17 AM, said:

Way too simplified. I personally use Hammer symbol spammer in 30 honor for three symbol traits and in Orr i never fall lower than 90% of my HP, while in dungeons, yeah, harder but my melee allies totally love it.

I also pick the vunerability from symbols trait from zeal, and its a deal breaker.

It's a guide - not the build itself. I think he has the basics covered. With all the posts asking about builds, this one is probably going to help a lot of people.

Hammer & Honor Build in Orr is SOLID, I would have to agree. Paired with Mace + Focus you are just a Wall. I don't feel the need to put in Zeal for the symbol trait however. The percent increase in damage from Invulnerability seems not worth the Trait Points.

#11 Elcee

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 11:48 AM

So no one else sees a problem with the class design if over half our trait points go into "mandatory" thiings and all our level 30 virtues are "meh"?

#12 morpai

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:15 PM

I agree with the OP, this traits are quite mandatory. I think that the aspect that helped me the most in dungeons is the ability to change important major traits on the fly. utilities can make or break an encounter, and I found myself switching them nearly before every major fight. This is the build im using, of course the major traits will be switched according to the utilities im using. The only thing I don't need is improving meditations cause they don't bring anything for the rest of the group.

http://gw2skills.net...LA;TQAgzCos2YsB

I use full cleric gear.

#13 Odokuro

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:35 PM

http://gw2skills.net...2Su1SghAHB2C8EA

^

That's what I came up with after reading this, how well did I do, and what would you suggest I change/fix?

#14 Red_Falcon

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:45 PM

Nice to see this served the purpose.

View Postexzacklyright, on 24 September 2012 - 08:10 AM, said:

Here's mine: http://gw2skills.net...Bh9gAxoO6ShDpQA

What do you think? Obviously I can swap in shouts / consecrations as needed.

That's a good one, I would swap def's flame with honorable shield tho as you seem to be using a shield in your main set.
That would give you more protection upkeep and more healing from SoA.


View PostWeekender, on 24 September 2012 - 06:17 AM, said:

Way too simplified. I personally use Hammer symbol spammer in 30 honor for three symbol traits and in Orr i never fall lower than 90% of my HP, while in dungeons, yeah, harder but my melee allies totally love it.

I also pick the vunerability from symbols trait from zeal, and its a deal breaker.

That will work in general PvE but it's going to be sub-par in dungeons compared to the alternatives.
It's very susceptible to CC and mobile fights.
The flaw is not in your build but more in the current hammer/symbol mechanics which I hope will get sorted at some point.


View PostElcee, on 24 September 2012 - 11:48 AM, said:

So no one else sees a problem with the class design if over half our trait points go into "mandatory" thiings and all our level 30 virtues are "meh"?

You indeed make a good point, that's no denying that this thread is also proof of some design flaws within the class.
For now though, we have enough variations to keep ourselves busy until tweaking is done.

View PostOdokuro, on 24 September 2012 - 01:35 PM, said:

http://gw2skills.net...2Su1SghAHB2C8EA

^

That's what I came up with after reading this, how well did I do, and what would you suggest I change/fix?

That's good enough as a DPS setup, though you'll need to swap your utilities for support in dungeons (should be no problem, you went with shouts and 10p virtues).

View Postmorpai, on 24 September 2012 - 01:15 PM, said:

I agree with the OP, this traits are quite mandatory. I think that the aspect that helped me the most in dungeons is the ability to change important major traits on the fly. utilities can make or break an encounter, and I found myself switching them nearly before every major fight. This is the build im using, of course the major traits will be switched according to the utilities im using. The only thing I don't need is improving meditations cause they don't bring anything for the rest of the group.

http://gw2skills.net...LA;TQAgzCos2YsB

I use full cleric gear.

Solid build right there. Traited bow + fully traited shouts is a great combo.

Edited by Red_Falcon, 24 September 2012 - 01:46 PM.


#15 Red_Falcon

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:52 PM

View Postjpg1, on 24 September 2012 - 05:28 AM, said:

I would prefer Cleric's over Knight's. I just personally find it more flexible. Critical Hit Effects on Guardian are very limited - there are those that are very discussed like Empowering Might. You can balance it anyway with your trinkets. The Armor set is a bigger investment if you weigh it out.

I personally like to buff up Pow-Pre-Tou-Vit very high while getting 200-300 hpower from traits.
Toughness is great (I did testing, the damage reduction is outstanding in PvE at least), and Vitality is to get those 3 seconds more before death that allow you to save your life.
I recently found that going with Pow-Tou-Vit on armor actually only impairs your crit by 10% while giving a major boost to survivability.

All in all we'd need 3 sets to be fully efficient in any situation, but hey that would take some gold :D

Edited by Red_Falcon, 24 September 2012 - 01:52 PM.


#16 Elcee

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:54 PM

I'm glad we agree there, and this is a definitely a nice outline for a build.

I'm just frustrated by the class in general unfortunately.  :(

#17 Pipples

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:55 PM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 24 September 2012 - 04:09 AM, said:

I've seen many Guardians around PvE with bad builds, very poor trait choices and therefore terrible performance

Translated: 'Hi, I'm an elitist &#% and instead of simply suggesting how I prefer my own builds to work, I'm going to tell you how all of you should do it and if you don't, you suck. It doesn't matter if YOU paid for YOUR game client, you have to build MY way or you suck!'

I think I'm going to do it the same way I have for the past decade+... play with traits until I find what works for ME and if you, or others, don't like it you can give me the $60 I paid or STFU

#18 Elcee

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:40 PM

Actually, I should ask this: Does Valorous Defense not have some kind of internal cooldown? I thought it was a mediocre trait because I assumed it had some kind of long unlisted cooldown, but if it doesn't, it's much stronger than I originally thought.

Edited by Elcee, 24 September 2012 - 02:41 PM.


#19 Weekender

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:48 PM

View PostNovAtan, on 24 September 2012 - 07:46 AM, said:

One major pitfall I can see with this build is condi removal. I am aware that you could easily switch around a few traits, but that would only take away from the "theme" of your build.
Are you just relying on SC and passive on signet in solo play and on the constant combo fields you're dropping (for allies to shoot projectiles through, removing condis) in dungeon play?
Well truly i dont take conditions seriously as long as my mates can survive through them. Major probles we're having so far is insane amout of direct damage the trash (like firegun guys in CoF) and bosses do. We had some problems with bleeds earlier, but they are totally gone now as we're gearing up in exotic.

This is what im running for solo and WvWvW http://gw2skills.net...WfIeYP0oH/4VBKC
In dungeons, I swap Retreat to Save Yourselves and drop staff in favor of wand/tourch for single-target ranged when needed.

Here's something behind my traits:
- I'm low on dmg, thats why im picking vunerability from symbols, 10^burning and retributive armor
- when in group in a ranged fight, i drop writ of the merciful in favor of battle presence
- i save virtues only for "that moment" and use them only when really running low on hp and everything else is on cd

I would highly appreciate any comments in general or in particular, as I totally ignore every rule you put in :)

P.S. I tried running improved spirit sword and bow with eternal spirit for dungeonsbut found non-traited shouts still being better than those.

#20 Slivers

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:55 PM

Great post, Red_action!  The information presented is beneficial to everyone regardless of playstyle or current build ... players can take it or leave it, but everyone should at least understand why the information and choices given are a strong foundation. Whether or not they are right for you is up to everyone individually.

Regardless, one point of understanding and misunderstanding seems to be the constant PvE terminology. Since there are multiple PvE scenarios, understand that optimizing for differing PvE situations is needed.  For example, with the basics from the OP, here is how things play out for me since I have not reached 80 yet (builds are what I am working towards, obviously):

Solo PvE Leveling Build; maximizing DPS with little worry for damage or conditions:
http://gw2skills.net...BtPQQYPwoMC uFA

PvE Group Events with Bosses; changing weapons and  7-10 skills:
http://gw2skills.net...BtPQQYPwoMqjuFA

Dungeons (limited exposure); changing most things around:
http://gw2skills.net...yS7DEE7BGzYHvFA

I hope this helps understanding how to apply the OP's information as well as why the OP doesn't have "A BUILD" and, instead, the basis for PvE builds.

Again, nice work Red_Faction!

Edited by Slivers, 24 September 2012 - 02:56 PM.


#21 Nivix

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:22 PM

I am truly stuck with my guardian since I rolled guardian as a support / healer.
However I do not like the mace healing and since I invested in 5 pieces of exotic cleric armor I'd like to ask the following:
Is there a build possible where I can use GS & Shouts & do some support (either healing or adding boons to the team). Since I do love GS & Shouts a lot!
Is it even viable to go greatsword (and perhaps staff offhand) with some clerics items? If yes, how would you guys build it (I know I am asking for a lot but it just feels I am not adding a lot to the team @ dungeons).

#22 Branwulf

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:25 PM

I wouldn't use a GS for support, you may not 'like' the mace but it really is amazing for that role, the staff does have it's uses and I general roll mace/shield and staff, i'll swap the staff for a GS or scepter depending on the situation.

#23 Red_Falcon

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:39 PM

View PostPipples, on 24 September 2012 - 01:55 PM, said:

Translated: 'Hi, I'm an elitist &#% and instead of simply suggesting how I prefer my own builds to work, I'm going to tell you how all of you should do it and if you don't, you suck. It doesn't matter if YOU paid for YOUR game client, you have to build MY way or you suck!'

I think I'm going to do it the same way I have for the past decade+... play with traits until I find what works for ME and if you, or others, don't like it you can give me the $60 I paid or STFU

This is not a specific build but rather a skeleton for the required traits to be an efficient Guardian in PvE groups.
The required traits take 30 points only, everything else is up to the user's personal preference and playstyle.

You're free to go with any build you like, even lacking these fundamental Guardian traits if you so desire, and I'm free to let others know how to get the best out of their Guardians.


View PostElcee, on 24 September 2012 - 02:40 PM, said:

Actually, I should ask this: Does Valorous Defense not have some kind of internal cooldown? I thought it was a mediocre trait because I assumed it had some kind of long unlisted cooldown, but if it doesn't, it's much stronger than I originally thought.

It does, but the CD allows for at least 1 use per fight; this is enough to block that 10k hit that would otherwise kill you, giving you time for CDs to come up and to throw another dodge in.
It really helps a lot with the flow of our mechanics.

View PostSlivers, on 24 September 2012 - 02:55 PM, said:

Great post, Red_action!  The information presented is beneficial to everyone regardless of playstyle or current build ... players can take it or leave it, but everyone should at least understand why the information and choices given are a strong foundation. Whether or not they are right for you is up to everyone individually.

Regardless, one point of understanding and misunderstanding seems to be the constant PvE terminology. Since there are multiple PvE scenarios, understand that optimizing for differing PvE situations is needed.  For example, with the basics from the OP, here is how things play out for me since I have not reached 80 yet (builds are what I am working towards, obviously):

Solo PvE Leveling Build; maximizing DPS with little worry for damage or conditions:
http://gw2skills.net...BtPQQYPwoMC uFA

PvE Group Events with Bosses; changing weapons and  7-10 skills:
http://gw2skills.net...BtPQQYPwoMqjuFA

Dungeons (limited exposure); changing most things around:
http://gw2skills.net...yS7DEE7BGzYHvFA

I hope this helps understanding how to apply the OP's information as well as why the OP doesn't have "A BUILD" and, instead, the basis for PvE builds.

Again, nice work Red_Faction!

Those builds are great, I've been using that setup for a lot.
15/5/30/20 builds have a very strong point that they are extremely versatile and adaptable to every situation.

Well done on those.

#24 badasschris

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:54 PM

Can someone apply this to someone who like using a scepter. Also don't care what the 2nd weapon is so open to suggestions. I usually off hand with a focus but if you say shield is better that fine.

Im thinking something along these lines, which makes me think I should also use 1h sword but I don't have any aoe then :S

http://gw2skills.net...G0fVFiHWBMeVgiA

Does that make any sense? I run something completely different but would like a more effective scepter

#25 Turtle Freak

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 04:20 PM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 24 September 2012 - 04:09 AM, said:

1) You'll always want at least 10 points in Virtues.
Minor is great, and T1 is needed because you can use it to either reduce CDs on Cons (which you'll use in all dungeons) and 50% longer-lasting spirit weapons (bow of truth AoE heal is huge).

This is the only point I disagree with.  You'll always want at least 5 points in Virtues, not 10.  As you said in point 4, you may be using shouts a lot, and if you do then there is no reason to take 5 extra points in Virtues for consecrations or spirit weapons.  I don't think anything that depends on your choice of utility skills can be considered mandatory.

#26 Red_Falcon

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:36 PM

View PostTurtle Freak, on 24 September 2012 - 04:20 PM, said:

This is the only point I disagree with.  You'll always want at least 5 points in Virtues, not 10.  As you said in point 4, you may be using shouts a lot, and if you do then there is no reason to take 5 extra points in Virtues for consecrations or spirit weapons.  I don't think anything that depends on your choice of utility skills can be considered mandatory.

10 in virtues are for CDs on consecrations (WoR and Sanct are required in some fights against ranged mobs and bosses), and bow of truth.
There are many situations where you'll want to cycle consecrations to protect your team from ranged attacks, for instance against the 3 rangers / Nente in AC, the boss throwing 1shot bolts in Arah, etc.
You can live without it but in those specific fights you're not giving your best without the CDs reduced, that's just about this.

View Postbadasschris, on 24 September 2012 - 03:54 PM, said:

Can someone apply this to someone who like using a scepter. Also don't care what the 2nd weapon is so open to suggestions. I usually off hand with a focus but if you say shield is better that fine.

Im thinking something along these lines, which makes me think I should also use 1h sword but I don't have any aoe then :S

http://gw2skills.net...G0fVFiHWBMeVgiA

Does that make any sense? I run something completely different but would like a more effective scepter

If you're going to main a scepter and focus all the time I suggest this one http://gw2skills.net...ggG0fVKiX9wKgRA

Have fun.

View PostPipples, on 24 September 2012 - 03:50 PM, said:

snip

I'm warning you for the last time.
You already thrown two personal insults, one again and I'll make sure mods will deal with you.
If you can't debate like an adult or add anything constructive you'll get no replies from me and your jerky remarks will be dealt with through moderation.

#27 Turtle Freak

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:43 PM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 24 September 2012 - 06:36 PM, said:

10 in virtues are for CDs on consecrations (WoR and Sanct are required in some fights against ranged mobs and bosses), and bow of truth.
There are many situations where you'll want to cycle consecrations to protect your team from ranged attacks, for instance against the 3 rangers / Nente in AC, the boss throwing 1shot bolts in Arah, etc.
You can live without it but in those specific fights you're not giving your best without the CDs reduced, that's just about this.

Ah, good point.  It just feels too inefficient to me to bring a trait for only 1 utility skill, but I can see the advantage in cases like that.  I also don't like the idea of switching traits, utilities, or weapons to match the situation.  I know it's perfectly valid, but it feels like cheating.  :P

#28 greenlocus

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:06 PM

View PostWeekender, on 24 September 2012 - 06:17 AM, said:

Way too simplified. I personally use Hammer symbol spammer in 30 honor for three symbol traits and in Orr i never fall lower than 90% of my HP, while in dungeons, yeah, harder but my melee allies totally love it.

I also pick the vunerability from symbols trait from zeal, and its a deal breaker.

Could you expound on this or link the build please?

#29 TheKnox

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 07:36 PM

For general purpose solo or event play, I run this:

http://gw2skills.net...0loLbNOvk1s2YsB

It's tanky enough to allow me to AOE farm. Virtually 100% swiftness uptime makes travel easier. It does reasonable single target damage, but Permeating Wrath plus Whirling Wrath just melt large groups of mobs.

For dungeons, I'll usually use something more like this:

http://gw2skills.net...0loLbNOvk1s2YsB

I'll swap out permeating wrath for single target fights.


#30 RoninG

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 08:34 PM

Awesome outline. I'll admit I've been winging it until now. Any advice on going defensive with a 2h sword? Is it even possible?

Edited by RoninG, 24 September 2012 - 08:35 PM.





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