It stacks up pretty well against an Altruistic Healing Hammer build in most respects, but since it doesn't use AH, you'll actually be helping your teammates more at the cost of some self sustain in some circumstances.
My starting point for comparison was the 0/0/30/30/10 Altruistic Hammer setup that is fairly common.
The build that I've been using looks like this:
Some keys parts of the build:
Symbols: These are the main vehicle for your group support, both offensively and defensively. You can make pretty good use of this build with any 2nd weapon set that you like, but I find both Mace and Greatsword to be the two most effective choices due to the symbols on those weapons.
Dodging: Vigorous Precision, Selfless Daring, and Elusive Power all combine to make dodging extremely important in this setup. You'll basically have permanent vigor which allows you to dodge frequently, heal your allies, and buff your DPS all at the same time.
Utility skills: These are extremely flexible. You don't need to feel tied to things that buff allies since you're not relying on AH for healing in this build. Feel free to grab whatever works for you in any given situation. For random open world map completion, I'll run Save Yourselves, Retreat, and Judges Intervention, but for more serious content, I'll typically run something similar to the skills in the link above.
Critical Hits: These are not key in this build. You'll want to crit often enough to proc Vigorous Precision every 8 seconds or so, but you don't need to stack crit to do good damage with this build. Power is your friend in this setup. It makes you hit harder with all of your attacks, and makes your retaliation even more powerful.
Soldier's (Power/Toughness/Vitality) armor
Emerald Amulets, Rings, and Earrings. I use a Soldier's Backpack with a Emerald Jewel as well. (I'm more concerned with the extra crit chance than the extra crit damage that I'd get from Ruby Jewels)
I always carry a Berserker's Hammer as well for less scary content.
For your second weapon set, I like Staff, GS and Mace/Focus or Mace/Shield the most. Scepter is helpful also.
Runes and sigils:
2 - Superior rune of Water
2 - Superior rune of the Monk
2 - Major rune of Sanctuary
Hammer: I prefer the Superior Sigil of Force, but there are several options that would work with this build.
Alternate Weapon Set: Whatever floats your boat depending on what you like to use for weapons.
15 points for Symbolic Exposure - Since you're cranking out symbols all over the place, you can basically keep up a 5 stack of vulnerability on a large group of mobs to boost your damage, and the damage of your teammates by 5%. This also works wonders as a cover condition in WvW situations to help muddy the waters for your condition spamming friends.
II - Fiery Wrath - 10% extra damage against burning foes. I prefer to take Fiery Wrath since you're able to keep burning up a large portion of the time, but in WvW, I'll often swap in the Falling damage trait. If you really like the spirit weapons, you can take advantage of Spirit Weapon Mastery in this spot as well.
30 points - This is my personal favorite trait line. All 3 of the minor traits are fabulous and work very well together. We're looking to buff our symbols to provide support and damage to our teammates at the same time, so we take the following major traits:
III - Writ of Exaltation - Symbols are larger. I find that having the larger symbols allows much more freedom of movement without leaving the comfy confines of your special place. This one is more optional, and is the one I'm most likely to swap out for WvW (to pick up shout cooldowns).
VII - Writ of Persistence - Symbols last longer. With the hammer, you're cranking out symbols every 4 seconds or so, and adding an additional 50% to the duration of those symbols is a massive damage boost as well as improving the support functions of the symbols.
X - Writ of the Merciful - Symbols Heal Allies. This is where you make up the bulk of the gap in sustained healing compared to the Altruistic builds. Not only do you heal yourself for about 135 per symbol tick, you'll also heal anyone who is smart enough to stand in them as well.
25 points to pick up Power of The Virtuous. You're really only after the first 20 points, but since you'll basically have Protection, Vigor, and Retaliation up almost all of the time, PoTV is pretty much a flat 3% damage boost, and increases from there if you're getting additional boons from somewhere else.
VI - Master of Consecrations - Faster Cooldowns and longer lasting consecrations. I swap this trait around pretty often depending on what I'm carrying for utility skills, but it's hard to beat Wall of reflection with this trait. You can also use this with Purging flames to get 6 stacks of might up pretty much permanently. When I'm carrying shouts instead of consecrations, I'll usually use Vengeful. The Spirit Weapon trait is another viable choice for this slot for the times you need a shield etc.
IX - Absolute Resolution - Improved Virtue of Resolve healing and Removes 3 conditions when triggered. This is the other big survivability improvement over the AH builds. You get a flat 26 extra healing per second at all times when your virtue isn't on cooldown, and you also get a 'burst' condition removal for your whole group. I find that the passive 10 second removal from the signet does a good job of cleaning up the annoying conditions, and paired with this trait, you can now clean off the really dangerous ones on demand.
Some Numbers for the Math inclined:
You will basically have the following healing regardless of how many allies you have around you.
132 - Virtue of Resolve
135 - Writ of the Merciful
Total self healing - 267 HP/Sec
You will also provide 135 HP/Sec. to anyone standing in your symbols for up to an additional 540 HP/Sec to your group.
Total Self + Group healing potential - 807 HP/Sec.
Compare this to the AH build with the following basic assumptions:
Vigorous Precision proces every 5 seconds on cooldown for 72/5 = 14.4 HP/Sec
Symbol of Protection 60% uptime for 72 * 0.6 = 43.2 HP/Sec for each person in the symbol
Empowering Might procs every 2 seconds for 72/2 = 36 HP/Sec for each person in range
Stand Your Ground used on cooldown every 24 seconds for 72*2/24 = 6 HP/Sec for each person in range
Hold the Line used on cooldown every 28 seconds for 72*2/28 = 5.143 HP/Sec for each person in range
Retreat used on cooldown every 48 seconds for 72*2/48 = 3 HP/Sec for each person in range
You can basically maintain the following healing output on yourself with those ideal conditions
Solo - 213
2 People - 306
3 People - 399
4 People - 493
5 People - 586
You can see that in ideal conditions, the AH build and the Symbol build are pretty close for self healing with 2 people in symbol range, and the AH build pulls away rapidly as you add additional bodies. It is worth noting that when you include the potential contribution to OTHER players, the non-AH build does more total healing than the standard AH build.
The Symbol build gains the following flat damage bonuses.
10% to burning foes - Easily maintained through VoJ activation on single targets, roughly 50% uptime from solo passive procs
Roughly 5% thanks to Symbolic Exposure Vulnerability stacking
roughly 3-5% thanks to Power of the Virtuous (Protection, Vigor, Retaliation and Might are up a large part of the time even when solo)
10% from Elusive Power
Thanks to the additional Power, the Symbol build gains an additional 15 damage per retaliation proc (which should be up near 100%)
Using the simple Power adjusted Damage calculation, this build would end up with
Pow Prec CritDmg Crit% Multiplier 1910 1306 0.5 22.57% 1.112857143 1910 * Multiplier = 2125 * (1.05) * (1.05) * (1.04) * (1.1) = 2632 Health 17615 Armor 2919
Compare to the AH Build with Ruby Jewels x6, Berserker Shoulders/Gloves/Boots, and Knights gear everywhere else. This build only gets the flat 10% elusive power flat damage bonus.
Pow Prec CritDmg Crit% Multiplier 1708 1696 1.04 41.14% 1.42783619 1708 * Multiplier = 2438 * (1.1) = 2634 Health 14095 Armor 3169
The damage numbers are very similar, but the Symbol Build also provides a 5% buff to anyone else attacking the targets in the symbols. The additional scaling for the Symbol build also goes up as you add other boons and additional uptime on burning.
In short, this build is another approach to get personal results similar to the cookie cutter AH build with fairly good group support. I'm pretty happy with the way it's been playing over the last several days, but I'd love to hear some thoughts from other people if they give it a shot.