Player characters are defeated in one of these circumstances:
- By taking more falling damage than their maximum health.
- By taking more mechanical damage than their maximum health, e.g. from a trap.
- In combat, if they are unable to rally after becoming downed.
- If they lose all health while suffering three points of death penalty.
- In WvW, whenever a player logs out or changes maps during combat.
- Any combination of above, e.g. taking falling damage after being launched off a ledge while downed.
 Defeat after being downed
- Primary article: Downed
A downed character will become defeated if their downed health bar reaches zero. This bar decreases over time, unless players or allies take steps to counteract the effect. Players can rally by killing a foe, healing themselves using their bandage skill, or being revived by an ally.
 Defeat via downed penalty
- Primary article: Downed penalty
Players who enter downed state acquire a downed penalty. Each defeat within the next minute removes another 25% of downed health, so a character will become immediately defeated if they become downed a fourth time within 60 seconds of the third time.
- Defeat due to combat effects results in damaging one piece of armor. However, armor will not be damaged if the player is defeated due to falling damage.
- In the open world, players will have to use a waypoint to rejoin the game, unless an ally is available to revive them.
- During the beta stages this status was referred as "death" in several descriptions.