One Build, Two Builds, Three Builds, Four Builds
The last month dawns with anticipation as we approach the release of Guild Wars 2. Fans of structured Player vs Player(sPvP) are no doubt plotting away at all the devious builds that they would like to try out this round. Though I know this may not come with fanfare or a tolling of alarms, let me add an additional layer of complexity to the art of making builds. That is – thinking about how dynamically you can adjust your build while in out of combat.
For those that do not know whenever a player is in a not in contact and in a non-engaged state you are free to change your utility skills and major traits. This has huge implications for sPvP, because it gives the player the ability to adapt their builds. Before we actually talk about how to use this to your advantage, take a note that like most things this ability may be removed or limited when the game releases. With that said let’s look at an example.
Say that you are playing your favorite axe critical damage build. In the first major team battle it would seem that the enemy guardian has been stacking so many boons that it has made taking him down very difficult. Out of the entry zone you picked up Spectral Armor, Well of Suffering, and Signet of Spite. To your surprise, no one else has picked up any boon stripping abilities. This is where the out of battle state comes in. After the frustrating team fight you can quickly retreat and reach an out-of-combat stat. Arrows pop up on the top of your skill bar that allows you to switch your utility skills. Quickly swap out Well of Suffering for Corrupt Boons and you can now deal with that pesky guardian.
So the situation highlighted above is not the best example. A lot of times you will find teammates who bring boon removal, immobilizes or et cetera. It does come into play though, if you find one of your major traits is not contributing a lot or you are completely ignoring the use of a utility skill. It’s simple; just swap them out during off-time between team battles or duels on the battlefield. A lot of players spend significant time investing into making a build, and they are blind sighted by their own brilliance. Flexibility on the battlefield can be the deciding point of constantly losing capture points to being able to survive a few minutes longer to stalling long enough for backup to arrive. Yes, even to the point where you win. If you fight someone who has an advantage in one way, see if you can change around a trait or utility skill that will help you when fighting them again.
Here’s a consideration for you now. How much flexibility do you build into a character? Is there only one build that I will use during the battle? Or do I make sure that trait points are invested in a way that I can swap out major traits and bring something else to the table? Say that a Mesmer invested 15 points into Dueling. For that first slot they chose Phantasm Fury, which was contributing greatly to their damage. Unfortunately, the enemy Thief has it out for her and has plotted with the enemy Elementalist to take out the Mesmer’s phantasms instantly, leaving the Mesmer defenseless. In this situation the Mesmer, after one or two, instantly remembers that Desperate Decoy is an Adept Major Trait that she could use instead of Phantasm Fury. Quickly switching to it outside of a combat state, she now has more of a chance to get away alive.There are many advantages to this, but beware the downfalls of having this flexibility.
- One, it is limited to states out of combat, so when you go into battle with a build you commit.
- Make sure you are not in a combat state, depicted by a drawn weapon
- Two, build wars are one thing, mind wars are another.
- Enemies have this ability as well, and if they catch on, they might swap something out just to counter you
- Three, it takes quite a bit of knowledge to master.
- As with most interesting combat tricks, a variety of knowledge is needed. A good eye that can tell what skills the foe is using that is making them so powerful is very important, especially in counter-picking traits or utilities.
Remember speaking fondly of being able to be a meatier character, or someone focused more on support? That is still possible, though it does not take much for someone to change up the whole experience. Everything you know is not about to come to an end, but take heed of being flexible, it may just save you in the second clutch fight of the round. When one build is not enough, there is two, or three, four or even more ways you can react, and redirect the flow of future battles.