User:Clairyx/New Raider's Handbook

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Are Raids Right For You?[edit]

So you've heard of the hot new thing all the cool kids are doing and you want to try it out. Raids are the highest level PvE group content in Guild Wars 2. . What are your reasons for getting into raiding? Do you simply want to unlock the raid mastery line for full mastery? Are you interested in legendary armor skins? Do you want to make more money from PvE? Or do you just want to explore this content? Depending on your answer, you can decide how much you want to commit to raiding. Raids aren't usually a one-time only trial experience (unless you're buying a raid).

Raids require some commitment to get started in. For one, there is the gear. As high level content, it is most preferable that you start out with the best gear you can obtain. Raids are 10 man content, which means that you usually find a group that you regularly commit to raids with. There is also a time commitment to raids. This time commitment includes not only the time spent in the raids, but also the time you spend to researching and improving yourself to perform at a high enough level to succeed at your raid. To raid, most people usually start out with some experience in group content, and have a good idea of the PvE meta compositions and builds. This guide will help you to get started if you're a true beginner to high level group content.

Getting Your Feet Wet[edit]

Before you start raiding, it's good to get some experience in higher level multi player content like dungeons and fractals. Dungeons have become a lot less profitable following Anet's public abandonment of them, but if you advertise in a guild or put up an LFG, chances are you will be able to find people to do them with. Fractals are a great way of introducing yourself to higher level content. If you can, try to get ascended gear and close to 150 AR to start doing T4 fractals. T4 fractals are a big jump up from T3s, which are often filled with people who don't know what they are doing and aren't fussed about being "top tier". It's fairly easy to find T4 groups that are well experienced and probably won't notice or care if a player is dragging behind slightly. There are many fractal guides out there for learning about each of the fractals, but the best way to learn is to simply go in and try them out. Ask a raid mentor or guildie to accompany you if you feel uncomfortable with new content alone!

Now that you have some experience with higher level content, it's time to actually get into raiding. Please do not forget, raids require at least the Heart of Thorns expansion to participate. Most large guilds have raid training days, so keep an eye out in the guild message as to when they are, or ask an officer if you can't see it written anywhere.

Another place to look if your guild doesn't have raid training or if your schedule doesn't work with your guild's raid training schedule is at raid training guilds. There are several large and well organized groups that are strictly run for raid training and also form teams.

NA Guilds
1. Raiders In Training (RIT)
2. Raider's Inn
EU Guilds
1. Crossroad's Inn

I am not particularly experienced with these raid training groups. However, they are mainly Discord (see next section) based. As far as I understand, you do not need to join any in game guilds. After joining their Discord server, keep an eye out for their raid sign ups. These raid guilds often follow a tier structure, wherein you can only join raid trainings of your skill tier. They often require kill logs (from dps meters) for promotion to different tiers to train on harder bosses. This can take some time for you to get promoted to harder bosses, depending on how often you can raid and kill same tier bosses over and over, but is worth it for the experience.

Voice Comms[edit]

It is incredibly important for raiders to communicate with call apps (often referred to as voip or comms). Raid leaders will use comms to organize squads, make callouts, ask questions to the members, and more. Going into a raid without comms is like going in as a handicap to your team. You are less aware of situations, and you present a liability to your team if you are not experienced.


While on comms, remember that the internet never forgets. Anything you say can positively or negatively affect your standing with the group. Always be courteous on voice comms and don't use them to rage or argue with others. Here are some general rules and guidelines for voice comm etiquette:

  1. Never use voice comms to express your anger, no matter what happens. If someone else in the comms is being rude, you can ignore or mute them.
  2. People may call out your mistakes, try not to get defensive or waste precious time explaining what happened. Accept your mistakes ad learn from them.
  3. Do not interrupt the raid leader if he or she is explaining something or giving instructions. Add your comments or ask questions afterwards.
  4. Do not use voice comms excessively to chat during pulls. Keep comms relatively clear during pulls to avoid talking over important call outs.
  5. Avoid having an open mic. You can use voice activation, but if others can hear background noises from your mic, switch it to push to talk to avoid distracting others.
  6. If you think you are not being heard, ask in chat if they can hear you. Alternatively, if you aren't hearing anything from the comms, ask in chat if anyone is speaking.

Discord App[edit]

Discord is the current favourite of most gaming communities due to its ease of use. You can use Discord without downloading through the DiscordApp website, or download the app on your computer or phone. Link for download or webpage use here:

Starting Discord

  1. You will need to make an account if you want to use Discord, but it is very simple to do so. It's best to use an account name that is recognizable to your gamer handle, rather than a real name or something else. Even so, you can change your nickname on specific Discord channels for recognizability. Use the command /nick followed by your preferred nickname in the server you want to change your nickname to. Example: /nick JohnSmith.1234
  2. Set a push to talk button before you enter a call lest you announce your entrance with a burst on unexpected sound. Always test your sounds and mic on a new voip app before joining any conference calls!
  3. Once you make an account you can now join or create Discord servers. Pug squads often put their discord server invitation (which will be a hyperlink) into their squad message. You can copy that invite hyperlink into a webpage to use instantly or go into your Discord app and join from there. To join, click the + button on the side of your app panel, and put in the hyperlink from there.
  4. The left hand panel of Discord servers show the channels within that Discord server. A hashtag symbol in front of a name means it is a text chat channel. A speaker symbol means it is a voice chat channel. Single click text chat channels to read that chat log, and double click on voice chat channels to join them. Find the voice channel the raid squad is using and join there, if the hyperlink does not directly put you into the voice comms.
  5. Leave the call when you are done by pressing the disconnect button on the bottom left.

You can use Discord to adjust a single user's sound level if they are very quiet, and mute or quiet noisier users. Left click the name of the user in the voice chat channel and adjust the volume setting. Unfortunately, there is no priority speaker toggle like in Teamspeak, so try not to talk over the commander when they are saying important things.

Other VOIP apps[edit]

  • Mumble: Popular in 2016, a few guilds may still use it.
  • Teamspeak: somewhat outdated but still used for large scale voice calls like WvW

Builds and Gear[edit]

You must understand that raids are high level content in Guild Wars 2 and therefore require stricter build requirements than the rest of GW2 content. This applies to the whole raid group's composition, which must consist of a combination of supports and damage dealers. Though many people struggle with the idea of having to conform to a strict build, there are reasons why. These builds are designed to work together in synchronicity to obtain the best overall DPS while minimizing risk. All the raid bosses have an enrage timer as an effective dps check. Failing to kill the boss before the enrage timer significantly makes the boss harder, and therefore it is in a raid squad's best interest to do enough group dps to kill the boss before the enrage timer.

The Meta[edit]

The meta is used to refer to the strongest strategy in games. This can mean anything from builds to tactics, but in this case, we will be referring to the standard accepted builds as meta. These builds have been created and tested vigorously by the top raid guilds. Meta builds and compositions are reliable and extremely effective, and generally are the easiest to use. Snow Crows' builds are the current favorite meta.

Some people do not enjoy having to conform to a meta. However is only a recommended guideline, and one that newer players should follow, if only for its effectiveness. As you become more experienced, you can vary your build to your own liking and playstyle, but it is generally not accepted outside of your own static raid team. If you plan on pugging a raid, try to keep your build correct to the meta builds. This notebook also has a section for forgiving raid builds and alternative builds, which are not considered meta but can be as effective as them. Try not to use the alternative builds while pugging, however.

Links to Meta Build References[edit]

  • Snow Crows - The current meta favorite, often considered the top raiding guild.
  • Quantify - Once the top raiding guild, now fallen into second place. Similar to Snow Crows but with some variant builds
  • MetaBattle - The recommended section follows Snow Crows' builds, but also lists other viable alternative builds


The usual bare minimum requirement for gearing is full exotic gear with ascended trinkets. Next, get ascended weapons for the stat increase. If you want to commit to a raid team, it is in your best interest to get full ascended weapons and armor and trinkets. Ascended gear is accountbound rather than soulbound, which also allows you the freedom to swap your gear onto a different class of the same armor class if you want to try something new.

How to get your gear if you have no clue where to start can be a bit of a process. I have included a link to a very good and comprehensive guide that will be able to fill you in on exactly the best ways to get your character geared.

Guides to Gearing
Tanetris: So You Want To Gear a Character


Each build uses its own combination of stats and sometimes runes. However, all power DPS current use either full berserkers or a mix of berserker or assassin stats, with Superior Rune of the Scholar. All condition DPS uses either full vipers or a vipers/sinister mix, usually with Superior Rune of the Renegade. Firebrand has the option of using Grieving armor, as they can easily max out their burning duration without expertise.

Power Stats
Berserker (core): +Power, Precision, Ferocity
Assassins (core): +Precision, Power, Ferocity
Condi Stats
Viper (HoT): +Condition Damager, +Power, Precision, Expertise (condition duration)
Sinister (core): +Condition Damage, Power, Precision
Grieving (PoF): +Condition Damage, +Power, Precision, Ferocity
Support Stats
Harrier (PoF): +Healing Power, Power, Concentration
Magi (core): +Healing Power, Precision, Vitality
Cleric (core): +Healing Power, Toughness, Power (not used much, as Toughness is undesirable on non tanks)
Commander (HoT): +Power, +Precision, Toughness, Concentration
Minstrel (HoT): +Toughness, +Vitality, Concentration, Healing
Plaguedoctor (PoF): +Condition Damage, +Vitality, Concentration, Healing (experimental stat combo)
Stat Definitions
Power: Increases base attack damage
Precision: Increases critical strike chance
Ferocity: Increases critical strike damage
Condition Damage: Increases base condition damage
Expertise: Increases condition duration
Healing Power: Increases base healing (NOTE: does NOT affect outgoing healing %)
Concentration: Increases boon duration
Vitality: Increases heal pool (more hitpoints)
Toughness: Increases armor (damage reduction)


Builds are split into support and dps roles. The game meta is a very good place right now where nearly every specialization and class has a viable build, and several classes have multiple viable builds!

Support Roles[edit]

The support roles are designed to buff and heal the DPS classes, instead of focusing primarly on damage. Generally these support roles are chronomancers and healers (usually druid), as well as one banner slave (bs) warrior. Banner Slaves usually considered support despite their high dps, because their banners and Empower Allies are crucial buffs to the squad. Only warriors can bring banners, but every specialization of warrior can be an effective banner slave. The tank is usually a buff outputting class. In Path of Fire, concentration stat armor usually also came with toughness stat, which led to the tactic of combining the two roles into one.

Buff/Tank Classes
  • Chronomancer (meta): Chronomancer has the ability to output 10+ difference boons, the most crucial being quickness and alacrity. In addition, mesmers have the ability to AoE double up on their boons, which include any other AoE boons given by other classes. Boon strip and reflects and portals make this class unmatched in utility. One chronomancer usually takes the role of tank due to their on demand blocks and invulns. In Path of Fire, concentration stat armor usually also came with toughness stat, which led to the tactic of combining two roles into one.
  • Firebrand (alternative): PoF gave Firebrand the ability to put out quickness as well as many other buffs. Firebrand has thus become a very versatile class, with high damage potential while also being able to be traited for high survivability, with spammable blocks and strong personal and PBAoE healing. The firebrand can easily combine three roles into one, tank, buff, and healer. However, firebrand lacks the ability to output alacrity, so it is not in favor in the current meta.
  • Herald (alternative): When ranger spirit buffs became 10 man, some players theorized a concept tactic of having a herald and firebrand in the second party for higher overall dps, as firebrand could output 100% quickness uptime while still dealing high damage. Alacrity and healing would become the duty of the herald, which in theory, could also be a tank. It is not a concept often enacted upon.
Healing Classes
  • Druid (meta): Druid is not the highest healing output class, but its additional class buffs, which are Spirit Buffs, Spotter, Boon Output, and CC skills make it the favored healing class by far. Druid also gives boons such as 25 Might, Fury, Regen. Before druids output might, they used to output a pure % damage buff, which cemented their role as best healer early on. While nearly other healing build can outheal the druid, no other class comes close to the sheer utility and dps increase a druid can bring.
  • Auramancer (alternative): A name for the healing tempest build, which relies on water form staff skills and applying healing auras as its buff. Due to its high passive regen and high heal on autoattack, it is the highest healing overall. It has a niche use on some bosses due to its quick revive and high healing output, but is rarely seen on fights outside of its niche.
  • Firebrand (alternative): Firebrand can trait into a very strong passive AoE heal and also outputs a huge amount of boons. It is a fun alternative class to play and can easily carry through boss fights due to the sheer amount of blocks it can put out.
  • Revenant (alternative): Herald has the highest trait-able outgoing healing percentage and Renegade outputs permanent alacrity quite easily. Revenant can also bring Assassin's Prescence, a unique class buff that increases Ferocity.
Banner Slave
  • Berserker (meta): With recent buffs dps berserker now sits comfortably at the top of the dps foodchain. It does not lose much from bringing banners. Its easy rotation and high damage potential make berserker banner slave essential to a raid composition.
  • Spellbreaker (niche): Spellbreaker loses quite a bit of personal dps when forced to bring banners and Empower Allies, but is still stronger than Berserker on some specific power favored fights like Keep Construct and sometimes on small hitbox bosses like Xera. Spellbreaker is usually taken on Dhuum for boonstrip.
  • Warrior(niche): Core warrior is one of the few viable core builds and is strong enough to hold its own as a dps class and loses little when taking banners. Core Warrior usually uses mace/shield in its offhand for low cooldown CCs, and for this reason, is very good in CC heavy fights like Slothasor and Samarog.

DPS Role[edit]

DPS roles have a huge variety with one singular purpose: to do as much damage as possible. Every class has a dps build, which vary in performance, but may be stronger on certain bosses. Some DPS roles perform better on large hitboxes, while some excel at small hitboxes. Some builds have great cleave, and some builds are able to abuse boss mechanics to their own advantage (scourge!). There are too many builds to go into detail in this introduction. DPS roles can be either power based or condition based.

Power classes are physical damage based classes whose damage relies almost solely on direct hits. They have great burst but sometimes lag a bit in damage uptime. The best power class, weaver, for is focused on a huge opening burst, after which their overall damage drops until they are able to restart their rotation. Power classes much more affected by interrupts to their chain because if they are not hitting the boss, they are not doing dps. Power classes tend to have a higher skill cap and rely heavily on good support but make for very engaging and exciting gameplay.
Condition classes do most of their damage from stacking heaps of conditions, which are damage over time debuffs. They have a ramp up time to build up their conditions. Once they do, they have a very steady damage output throughout the rest of the fight. Condition durations mean that condition classes are less affected by being interrupted, whether by mechanics or by errors. It can be difficult to build up conditions at first, but in general, most condition classes go by a skill priority rather than a true rotation, so minimizing the time between casts of your high priority skills and completing autoattack chains goes a long way in improving condi dps.

Food and Utility[edit]

Food and utility (sometimes called wrenches or spanners) is an important part of a player's buffs. Food and utility gives valuable stat increases that increase your damage or healing or boon durations. There isn't any reason to not eat food, except for the expense. Even so, there are budget variations of the more expensive foods that you can use while training if you don't think you'll make the money back from raids. As you transition to becoming a full-fledged raider, however, you should invest in top tier food. It's an easy performance increase and increases the certainty that you'll be able to perform well enough to get the kill. Most utilities have a cheap Wintersday food version, so it's not worth buying into lower tier utilities.

Below is a list of times when you might choose to use top tier food or budget food. These are purely subjective and only meant as a guideline for those unsure when to use what. Some trainers will specify to use top tier food to try to push for every possible advantage, but some are more lax and will allow you to bring budget food. Please listen to your commander's requests on what to use, and when pugging, use the best possible food out of respect for the rest of the group.

When to use top tier food
  • When you have full ascended armor or are confident in your abilities as a raider
  • On bosses you are familiar to have 'on farm' and expect that you can kill within 30 minutes or less
  • When you are confident that you can get the kill
  • When speed is your main concern
  • DPS training on a class you are working to improve your dps on
  • When pugging or filling in with an experienced group
When to use budget food
  • Initial DPS training on the golem on a new class
  • As a new raider who is saving up for ascended armor
  • When you expect that you will need many pulls to kill a new or hard boss and might not make the money back on your kill
  • When you have spent over an hour on a single boss and defeat seems likely. If you are continually getting closer to the kill, continue to use top tier food to try to lock down the kill.

See the Standard and Budget Food/Util page for a breakdown on standard foods and budget options.


Composition refers to the makeup of a raid squad. It is usually a 5/5 split between support roles and dps. A raid squad is usually divided up into two subgroups (sometimes called parties) with 2 supports in each party, with power dps and the bs filling the rest of one party, and condi dps in the other. This allows for better boon and healing coverage. As you get more experienced you will find that you may not need two druids/healers for some fights, or might want to swap around your support classes for variety.

Typical Party Composition 
Party 1: Chronomancer, Druid, BS, Power DPS, Power DPS
Party 2: Chronomancer, Druid, DPS, DPS, DPS
Quick Pointers for Party Composition
  • Split the squad into two parties of 5 so all get an equal chance at chronomancer boon uptimes.
  • Never have two support chronomancers in the same party, nor two support druids.
  • If there is only one healing druid, the druid is put in its own party so there is no favoritism for heals and buff.
  • Regarding the BS: In a power heavy comp, the commander sometimes puts the two weakest dps with the berserker for the boost, or else favors the best two dps and groups them with the berserker. In a condi heavy comp, it does not matter where the berserker goes.
  • There are some bosses that require special roles like Deimos's handkiter. These niche roles are put in their own party because they do not interact with the group the same and do not need the buffs.

In regards to build compositions, a party is considered a condi comp when the dps players are mostly condition damage dealers, or power comp when the dps players are power based. The support players will usually also have some different adaptations to accommodate for the build comp. Some bosses are easier to do with a specific build comp, so it is not uncommon for experienced raid squad to change their build comps from encounter to encounter.

Group Tactics[edit]

If you're absolutely new to group content in the game, here is a quick crash course in general group content tactics.


(sometimes called Deathballing in WvW) You should almost always be right on top of the majority of the squad. Look for the off-chrono. The tank, if boss has a tanking mechanic, will usually stand on the other side of the boss and face the boss away from the group. The off-chrono and everyone else will stack on top of the back of the boss to avoid the boss's frontal attacks. While you may be wary of being so close to the boss, it is actually the safest spot to be, as the healers will be focusing their heals on the group. As well as healing, the closer you are to the chronos, the better your boons will be, and the better your damage will be. Healers should stand near the back of the group to be able to see the majority of the group and cleave through the group with their heals (in particular for druid staff).


Listen to call outs and make your own if necessary. While usually the commander or some other designated player will make call outs for mechanics, it is up to you to let the group know if you're struggling. Call out if you are downed, especially if you are downed away from the group. If you were a specific role and died in the fight or else need coverage, let people know so that they can swap to backup tactics. Call out if you need healing or boons.


In raids, there is a /gg chat command that instakills you. This is intended to help players quickly reset a fight. A commander may call GG in the middle of a fight to reset the fight for any number of reasons. When a GG is called, type in /gg, /ff, /qq, /resign, /surrender, /concede, or /forfeit to kill yourself and restart. If you are not the leader DO not call a GG, as this may lead to people accidentally killing themselves for no reason. Even when asking the commander for one, say "Should we restart?" rather than "Should we GG?". A good time to call GG is when one or more players die early in the encounter (sub 5-10%) or if all the supports/healers have died before halfway through the fight.


It is not unusual to have someone down in a fight, even in experienced groups. You might think that this would be the healer's job to pick up the downed, but it is not always the case. It is actually better for the group to pick up the downed rather than the healer, because the healer is probably focusing on keeping everyone else from dying to whatever downed the first guy. Unless reviving someone puts your directly at risk, revive the person!! It will be significantly harder to kill the boss with 9man or 8man or beyond.


Some bosses have phases where a breakbar is available. The breakbar sometimes makes the boss invulnerable, or sometimes it is a cast mechanic where you must break the breakbar in a certain amount of time or one player or the whole group dies. The breakbar is always important and requires CC (crowd control) skills to damage it. While the majority of the breakbar damage should be handled by the supports, all players are required contribute however they can. On fights where there are a lot of breakbars on short cooldowns, it is even recommended that you swap in some CC skills over your standard utility bar to help out. Look on your skills bar for effects. Interrupt your dps rotation if you have to, it is critical that the breakbar is broken in raids.

Hard CC Breakbar
Daze.png Daze 100 x duration
Float.png Float 100 x duration
Knockback.png Knockback 100 x duration
Knockdown.png Knockdown 100 x duration
Launch.png Launch 100 x duration
Radius.png Pull 100 x duration
Sink.png Sink 100 x duration
Stun.png Stun 100 x duration
Fear.png Fear 100 per second
Taunt.png Taunt 75 per second
Soft CC Breakbar
Blinded.png Blind 20 per second
Chilled.png Chilled 33 per second
Crippled.png Crippled 15 per second
Immobile.png Immobile 50 per second
Slow.png Slow 20 per second
Weakness.png Weakness 20 per second

There are two kinds of CC, called hard CC or soft CC. Hard CC forcibly moves the target and interrupts and locks all their skills. Soft CCs tend to be conditions that affect movement speed or hit chances instead of forcibly moving or skill-locking the target and while they still do breakbar damage, it usually does not do as much as hard CC.

  • Hard CCs will do all their 100*duration damage on cast. For example, a 3 second knockdown will do 300 breakbar damage on cast. The two exceptions to the hard CC list is fear and taunt. As conditions, they pulse breakbar damage like soft CCs.
  • Soft CCs will pulse breakbar damage over their duration. A 5 second immobilize will do 50 breakbar damage every second, for a total of 250 breakbar damage. For this reason, hard CC is preferred over soft CC in raids, as you want to maximize breakbar damage in the shortest amount of time.

Raid specific defiance bars - a full list of the raid bosses with breakbars and how large each is

Special Action[edit]

Some raid bosses give you a special action skill for the duration of the fight or pop them randomly on you throughout the fight or the raid wing. Be sure to bind your special action key to a key you remember. The special action will always make a popup noise and flash slightly when it appears, or sometimes you will get a screen edge color as well. You can turn up the special action sound by turning up Effects Volume. If you suddenly have an extra skill along your skillbar, it's almost certain that you will need to use this special action. Listen to callouts from the commander or your group and pay attention to your skillbar.


Mechanics usually refers to any of the skills or mini events that the boss will use on your squad. They are what separate the boss from a dps golem and the greatest thing standing in the way of your kill. In order to secure kills it is in your best interest to study the mechanics of whatever boss that you are doing beforehand. A trainer will usually go over these mechanics before the fight for new players, but it is difficult to visualize and recognize these mechanics until you are in the encounter, and in the heat of the moment, it is difficult to know what is happening.

When doing your research, avoid looking at world record run videos or speedrunnining videos, as these will try to ignore or negate mechanics and is not helpful for a new player to learn them. Look for videos that say "daily" or "casual" run. Dulfy has raid videos of every boss, and while some of her videos may have outdated builds or tactics, your main focus in watching those videos is looking for those mechanics that are explained in guides.

On AoE Mechanics: If the mechanic color is vivid green that usually means you want to go toward that color. Pretty much every other color, particularly if they're ringed by red, means it’s a bad thing and should be avoided and not stepped on.

Mechanics are the personal responsibility of each player. The more mechanics you fail, the worse you will do overall. This can be as simple as being teleported while doing a long cast, to failing to use a group saving skill. The better you get with raids, the quicker you'll be killing the boss. Sometimes this means that less mechanics are cast by the boss because he is alive for such a short time. ArcDPS has a mechanics addon which allows you to see how many mechanics you failed in one fight. You'll want to bring that number down as low as possible as you get more experienced with a fight.

Great Raid Guides and Videos
GW2 Wiki

Skill Rotations[edit]

You may be used to spamming random skills in open world PvE because it really doesn't matter all that much and most skills seem to do damage. In raids you will find that this is not effective at all. While most skills do some amount of damage, if they don't do more damage than simply autoattacking while waiting for another high damage skill, it's not worth using it all. Neither is using all your high damage skills at once then autoattacking while waiting for a series of long cooldowns. A good skill rotation separates the "good" players from the "new" players. You might have played elementalist since launch, but if you're just spamming all your skills through all your attunements, you're not utilizing your class to its full potential.

Snow Crows and Quantify both have skill rotations on their websites. They have tested these rotations vigorously, and constantly test variations to find the best average dps rotation. Through hundreds of trials, they have found the best, or near best, rotations that align hard hitting skill cooldowns together to form clean chains of high reward skill casting. Study these rotations. In real raid fight situations, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get these rotations perfect, but the closer you can get to the rotation, the better your personal dps will be.

Find your class's written rotation and rotation videos here:

You will have to interrupt your rotation occasionally for phase changes and CC phases in real boss scenarios. This is not cause for panic or upset. Learn how to return to your rotation. This may mean that you occasionally skip a high damage skill to cast it later during a burn phase, or that you skip a few steps to restart your rotation. The faster you can return to your rotation, the better you will perform.

Some classes do not have an actual rotation but rather a skill priority list. These generally are easier classes to play. However, pay attention to what will increase the damage of your skills and chain those together. This is especially important for scourge, where the order in which they cast their priority skills can give them damage increases.

Healer classes often do not follow a strict rotation, but rather act situationally. This calls for the player themselves to become more situationally aware and passive in order to react, rather than casting long cooldown high healing skills through random rotations.

Getting to Know Your Class and Improving Yourself[edit]

Obviously, the most foolproof method of getting gud at your own class is through practice. Raids don't have repeat rewards, but practicing them outside of your training group in other training runs or in fractals is a great way of improving yourself.

Practicing a DPS class is easy. You can form a squad even without a commander tag, and enter the Special Forces Training Arena to practice your DPS rotations. For a lot of the more difficult to play classes like weaver and rifle holo, there are lots of video guides on Youtube explaining why the rotation is the way it is. You can also ask an experienced player to enter with you and walk you through the rotations and what they find effective. Take a look at the Snow Crows' website benchmarks. Strive to reach 80% of that benchmark. With enough practice on a static golem, your rotation becomes muscle memory and you will be able to pull it off correctly the majority of the time.

For healing classes, it's not something that you can do by yourself in a training arena. Never fear, this game is filled with group content and there are many opportunities where you can practice. If you aren't able to run higher tier fractals yet, you can easily practice even in open world group events like World Bosses and Bounties. If you can keep a bunch of rampaging lootchildren alive, you can keep your squad alive.

Chronomancers can practice their boon output rotations by themselves in the Special Forces Training Arena. Attack the golem and try to upkeep boons on yourself without putting any on at the console. If you can keep 100% quickness and alacrity, as well as high uptimes on your auxillary boons, you're doing it right.

Don't underestimate the power of listening. Always listen to callouts. Stay open minded and humble. Never be afraid to ask your trainers and guildies what they think you can improve on. The commander tends to be the most experienced player in the group, and if he/she has advice or calls you out on something, you should listen and take in what they are saying.

Understand your build. It's easy to pick up a build off one of one the meta build websites, but not really know what any of your traits are. Read what your traits are and what they do. At first you might wonder why that is the recommended trait to bring, and that can prompt a study of your build. Sometimes this helps you realize something you've been doing wrong with your class. Sometimes this is just a random trait that doesn't really benefit your build but must be taken because the rest of the traitline/trait tree is too good to not bring.

Finding Your Main[edit]

One of the best ways to improve your gameplay is to understand what kind of role you like to play best. Think about your favorite kind of gameplay. Some people are more comfortable when they don't have to compete to be the best dps, and are satisfied with knowing that they can contribute and support their team with boons or heals. Or some people like being competitive and seeing themselves at the top of a dps log and killing things fast. Do you like support gameplay or dps gameplay? You may not have had experience with support gameplay in openworld PvE because it's not as great for solo gameplay, but if even the idea of it appeals to you, it's worth trying. Maybe you've had experience in other MMOs as a support type player. It's not so different in Guild Wars 2.

Another way to find something to main is to look at what your favorite class is. This is might be a little more jarring to you, because what you like to do in openworld PvE with your current favorite class might not work so well in raids. If you truly enjoy a class, however, it might be exciting for you to discover the potential of a different playstyle with that class. Your previous experience with the class will help you tremendously in adapting your playstyle to the meta builds of that class! But if you just can't gel with the current list of optimal builds with your current favorite class, there are many easy to play builds out there that you can still try. See Forgiving Raid Builds.

If you're constantly being forced into a role that you don't enjoy simply because you're the only one in your group who has it geared, talk to your commander and squad about how you feel, and try to role swap from time to time, or completely.


Most experienced raiders have multiple raid ready characters in different roles. Some guilds even require it. This helps to ensure that one player is not stuck doing the same role week after week, and also allows people to try new classes and roles to keep the raid experience fresh. I'd advise a new raider to try to stick to one class at first when it comes to raids until they are comfortable raiding with that one class before branching out and trying something new. An exception would be if you started as a dps class, it might be worth it to try a healer or boon support class if your raid training squad is lacking in them.

If you feel like you're not performing well on a certain class and want to change to something new, first try to understand why you're not doing well on your current class. It may be that you're running a suboptimal build and need to edit your build to a meta build, or that you've chosen a too difficult class to play for your current skill level, like a power weaver or rifle kit engi. Once you decide that a build is not a good fit for you, you can try something else. Don’t swap classes simply because you want some variety, you can do so when you're much more experienced and comfortable with the boss encounters! Otherwise you might get frustrated when it seems none of the classes are working out for you when in reality, it's because you yourself are falling victim to mechanics and bad gameplay.


PUG stands for "pick up groups". This refers to the LFG (looking for group) functions that most MMOs have, where you pick up players and form a group together for an event. Nowadays, pug often refers to a singular random player instead of an entire group, or as the action of joining a random group as a singular player (pugging).

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to pug as a new player. Before pugging, however, do your homework and read up on the fights and watch some videos so you at least know what to expect.

While rare, sometimes you will see a training LFG with the description of "no exp req" or "new players welcome". Sometimes guilds run trainings but can't generate enough interest in their own guild so have to fill the squad using the LFG. Be considerate of others and read the LFG description.

If it says "EXP" or "ping kp", don't join if you don't fulfil the description. Definitely don't fake ping kill proofs. Definitely don't join if they are looking for a specific role that you are not (ex: a dps joining when the LFG states looking for a chrono). While you might jump at the chance for an easy kill, it is unfair to join a group that is far more experienced than you and expect them to make up for your inexperience without their knowledge.

If the LFG does not specific experience, you can join and ask if it is ok for an inexperienced player to join. While most of the time the answer will be no, you may luck out with a commander confident enough to carry a player. He may even take the time to explain the fight to you, but again, do your own research beforehand. Always be prepared.

Alternatively if you are the new team and you are looking to fill out your raid squad, be considerate in your LFG. Don't look for carriers and list for experienced when your own team is not experienced. The pug can tell that you are inexperienced and he will not stay long. Always list what roles you are looking for, as well as boss you are doing.

Example: Wing 1/VG Training LF 1 Druid, 3 DPS, no exp req 

Put a discord server link in your squad message. When pugs join your squad ask if they are experienced or not. If they are not experienced, ask them to join your discord so they can listen in on any explanations or callouts. If they are experienced, let them decide if they want to join or not, they may not need the callouts.

Forming a Raid Team[edit]

One of the reasons people find it hard to start raiding is finding ten people to regularly raid with. It's not as easy to pug ten whole people, and finding a squad in LFG that accepts new or inexperienced players feels almost impossible. While this is a valid concern, there are ways that you can find or create your own raid squad.

Raiding is a time commitment, both long and short term. If you can't commit to a certain schedule long-term or commit to 2 hour long game sessions, perhaps becoming part of a team may be too difficult for you, but fear not, you can still raid casually by pugging or filling in squads from time to time.

Make Your Own[edit]

When trying to make your own squad, it is advised that you should be fairly experienced in at least the other aspects of the game, lest you be overwhelmed with the sudden skill level upgrade requirement. Be at least a runner of T4 fractals, and try to at least read up on guides and references about the Guild Wars 2 raid. Definitely don't go into a raid blind, let alone form an entire squad blindly. As a new leader try to start out as a critical support role such as tank chronomancer.

If you have friends that you run fractals or dungeons with regularly, you can ask if they're interested in forming up a raid squad. Try to fill up support roles first as it's easier to fill up your squad with lfg pug dps players. If you can get at least 5 starting members If you enjoyed a raid with a good pug, friend them! And ask if they are interested in joining your squad. There are plenty of floating pugs that aren't attached to a squad and want to be, or people who just love raiding all the time.


Seek out training squads. Many training squads eventually find their footing to become a full-fledged farm squad, so even if it is frustrating to fail on training runs, persevere and stick to the group if you want to become a regular squad. Even in raid training guilds, if you regularly attend their training sessions, you might not form a team, but you will meet people who you can befriend and maybe eventually form a team together.

When you become skilled, when pugging raids, people will notice. If you practice hard and do well in raids, you might get asked to become a static member! You can boost the chance of this happening by also joining their voice comms, being polite, but also building a rapport with the squad.