- This article is about a character's setup. For other uses, see Build (disambiguation).
Most content in the game can be played with almost any combination of skills, traits, and equipment, but builds become relevant in high-end play after a character has reached level 80. Particularly, builds are very useful in advanced PvP and WvW play, as well as in high-difficulty instanced PvE play, such as in high-tier fractals and especially raids.
Builds that are considered optimal for specific purposes are called "meta builds" by players. Such builds are shared and discussed on player-made websites. They may include "rotations", or a description of which skills should be used in which order to maximize damage output.
Describing specific builds is beyond the scope of this article, as players' preferred builds change with every change to the game. Instead, this article presents a broad overview of build types and their role in specific game modes.
Offensive builds (or "DPS" builds, for "damage per second") focus on dealing damage. Most meta builds are offensive builds.
The quality of offensive builds is often described in terms of their damage output in points per second, in addition to such considerations as the difficulty of performing the rotation and the difficulty of acquiring the necessary gear. As of August 2017, the top meta builds were benchmarked to provide a sustained damage output of around 30,000 to 37,000 points per second under optimal conditions against an inert training golem.
There are two ways in which a build can increase damage output:
This playstyle is associated with the following equipment attribute combinations:
- Berserker's (Power / Precision / Ferocity), the most widely used combination for power builds
- Assassin's (Ferocity / Power / Precision)
Condi builds focus on Condition Damage, through maximizing the attributes power, Condition Damage and expertise. Unlike power builds, which provide quick "burst" damage, condition damage output builds up over a longer period of time.
This playstyle is associated with the following attribute combinations among others:
- Sinister (Condition Damage / Power / Precision)
- Viper (Power / Condition Damage / Precision / Expertise)
Unlike other MMOs, Guild Wars 2 does not require a dedicated "tank" role. Skilled players can effectively avoid damage by positioning and dodging. Defensive builds are therefore rarely used in high-end play, where damage output is essential. However, they have niche uses in WvW play, and can be useful for solo world exploration. Characters boosted to level 80 through a level 80 boost receive a set of exotic equipment with a defensive attribute combination.
Healing and support builds
Guild Wars 2 also does not require a dedicated "healer" or support role. Several professions can provide benefits to the whole party that are considered essential in raids, including Berserker (might through Phalanx Strength), Herald, Druid or Tempest (healing), and Chronomancer (quickness). But their meta builds generally provide these benefits as an addition to an offensive build, not in lieu of it.
The term "build" is player-coined, and the game does not support quickly switching between pre-set builds ("templates"). Instead, to change a build, players must change skills, traits, and equipment manually.
Players have created websites to collect and rate builds. These include:
- MetaBattle, a wiki that collects and rates meta builds
- gw2skills.net, a website that allows the planning and sharing of builds
- qtfy.eu, a website that benchmarks the damage output of meta builds