Guild Wars Combat Basics
Guild Wars offers a simple, yet exciting and fast-paced combat system. Whether you and your party survive or not can depend on split second decisions. To help you prepare for combat and make these decisions, Guild Wars Vault brings you this guide to the basics of combat.
Status Indicator - Guild Wars characters have two status bars, one each for health and energy. Both bars are located above the skill shortcut menu at the lower end of the screen at the center.
Health - Health is represented by the red bar above the first four skill slots. If a character takes damage that would reduce his or her health bar to zero they will die. The boy scouts among you may wish to come prepared with Divine Intervention for just such an eventuality.
Energy - Energy is represented by the blue bar above the second four skill slots. Energy is required to use most of your skills. You will find an energy cost in your skill descriptions. Spells like Glyph of Lesser Energy can be used to decrease energy costs.
Health and Energy Regeneration: Regeneration and degeneration are represented by small arrows, or 'pips', which are displayed on your health and energy bars. More pips means faster regeneration. Both health and energy will regenerate both in and out of combat, although, health regeneration is increased while out of combat and can be augmented by spells such as Healing Breeze or reduced by Malaise. Different classes have different rates of energy regeneration. The spell casters- Elementalists, Mesmers, and Necromancers rely on energy the most, and thus get the fastest rate of energy regeneration. Rangers regenerate energy a bit slower, however their expertise allows them to use their energy more efficiently. Finally, Warriors have the slowest regeneration rate of all classes- yet Warriors can rely on their adrenaline (see below) to keep them fighting even - and especially - when they are low on energy.
Adrenaline - Adrenaline is a system that applies to warrior skills that works in opposite fashion from energy. Adrenaline builds up as you attack and as you take hits. Warrior skills such as Sever Artery require a specific amount of adrenaline before they become available. There is no bar that indicates adrenaline, so warriors need to watch their skill window to see when those skills become available for use.
Effect Indicator - On the top left of the screen players can see both beneficial and harmful effects that are currently affecting them.
Death - Upon death characters can choose to be transported to the nearest resurrection shrine (if all the party is dead), or be resurrected by another player. All players can get early access to the Resurrection Signet skill. Monks have several resurrection spells with different attributes at their disposal. Characters that are brought back to life come back with a ?Death Penalty'. This penalty is a cumulative reduction in ability which can be worked off as you gain experience or can be cancelled all at once by going to a town or outpost. Until the death penalty is removed, the character's maximum energy and health is reduced.
- Bleeding - Loss of health over time.
- Blind - Severe loss of accuracy.
- Crippled - Movement speed is reduced.
- Dazed - Longer time to cast spells, easily interruptible.
- Deep Wound - Maximum health is reduced.
- Diseased - Health is lost over time with the possibility of this condition being spread to others.
- Exhaustion - Maximum energy is reduced.
- On Fire - Loss of health over time.
- Poison - Loss of health over time.
- Weakness - Melee attacks have reduced damage.
Several skills can inflict conditions, but some of the most powerful such as Epidemic, can spread conditions from one opponent to another.
Damage Types - There are several damage types in the game: Physical, Fire, Cold, Lightning, Earth, Holy, Shadow and Chaos. Player crafted armor has differing resistances and weaknesses to specific types of damage. Some creatures also have resistances and weaknesses to a certain damage type.
Default Attack - All character types have a default attack. This attack auto fires by default once started. However, there are several skills that will interrupt your auto attack, so keep an eye on it.
Skill Attacks - Skill attacks can be queued two deep. That is, you may activate one skill and while you are waiting for that skill to fire, you may click a skill that will immediately follow after the first is finished. Clicking more then one skill will result in the cancellation of the intermediate skill and the casting of the last skill selected.
Elite Skill - Elite skills are some of the most powerful in the game. As such, only one elite skill can be equipped at any time. Elite skills cannot be gained from quests or learned from normal skill trainers- they can only be captured from a boss-type creature (Bosses have a glowing aura around them), using a signet of capture.
Signet - Signets are a special group of skills requiring no energy. This attribute makes them invaluable.
Casting Time - Most skills will have a casting or windup time that your character must observe before the skill fires. Movement and sometimes, receiving damage can interrupt this process. Some skills such as Healing Spring are more easily interrupted. The Mesmer attribute, Fast Casting, can reduce spell casting times.
Skill Cool Down - Most skills also have a cool down timer that must be observed before the skill will be available for use again. The skill will be faded out of your shortcut bar until the cool down timer is up.
Dodging - Projectile attacks from casters and rangers may be dodged if you are fast enough. This is one of those 'skills' the developers like to mention as being more important in Guild Wars then accumulated time.
Weapon Short Cuts - Characters are supplied with a second short cut bar for weapons. These slots are located at the bottom left of the screen and are bound to keys F1-F4. This allows for easy transfer between weapons that may be needed for different skills or situations.
Combat Overview by Class
Elementalist - A master of the elements, as the name implies, this spell caster brings the attributes of Fire, Water, Earth and Lightning to fight at his or her side. Fire magic brings the ability to do tremendous damage from area of effect spells like Fire Storm, Inferno and Meteor Shower. Earth magic, is able to bring damage to the fight with the likes of Stoning and other offensive spells. However it, does more to protect the caster with Magnetic Aura, Kinetic Armor, and various wards. Water magic brings some defense with Mist Armor and Ward against Harm, and ice spells that can slow enemies and knock them to the ground. Lightning casters can bring a world of pain to one target at a time with Lightning Orb or to a group with Chain Lightning. Such casters also have the ability to blind their opponents as well as the chance to interrupt their actions. Manipulating all these elements requires a lot of energy, but worry not- the Elementalist Energy Storage attribute increases the maximum amount of energy the Elementalist can have.
Mesmer - Like the Elementalist, the Mesmer is a casting class. Unlike the Elementalist, the Mesmer finds its strength in manipulating magic rather than dealing with it directly. Domination magic allows the Mesmer to interrupt and punish players for attempting to fight back. Wielding spells such as Empathy and Backfire, the Mesmer can deal with melee and magic users alike. Inspiration magic gives the Mesmer the choice to hex their enemies, stealing their energy with Ether Lord or Spirit Shackles. Not to mention the ability to steal skills with the likes of Inspired Enchantment Inspired Enchantment. With Illusions, the Mesmer is the bane of the battlefield. Any player dreads being hit with Conjure Phantasm or Crippling Anguish, especially if they are unprepared with a counter spell. The Mesmer's Fast Casting attribute allows the Mesmer to cast spells faster than you can say ?Death Penalty?.
Monk - While the Monk has the ability to inflict pain on his or her enemies, the Monk's true calling is healing and protecting and if need be, as well as resurrecting his or her party members. Divine Favor skills are the primary Monk's ace in the hole. These heals can only be increased through the Divine Favor attribute and give the primary Monk not only more healing power, but the ability to preserve energy stores with spells like Divine Spirit and the Blessed Signet. Healing Prayers supply the primary and secondary Monk with single target and group heals as well as an improved resurrection spell in Restore Life. Protection Prayers give the Monk the power to change incoming damage into health and to deal with negative hexes and conditions applied by their opponents. Protection skills also allow the Monk to disrupt their enemy's ability to effect damage outright or to block it when it comes with spells like Guardian and Aegis. Smiting Prayers give the Monk the ability to deal out direct damage as well as power to redirect incoming damage back to its source. Among these skills the Monk can also find a direct counter to Necromancers with the likes of Scourge Sacrifice and other skills. The smiting Monk deals holy damage, which is particularly effective against undead creatures.
Necromancer - Followers of magic's dark path, the Necromancer gains power from death and decay. Through sacrifice and the exploitation of corpses, the Necromancer gathers the power to debilitate his or her enemies and to raise the leftovers of the fallen to do their bidding. Blood Magic calls on the Necromancer to sacrifice health to enable his spells to deal damage, generate energy and adrenaline, or increase the power of his allies. Blood Magic also gives the Necromancer the ability to recover health with spells like Vampiric Touch and Vampiric Gaze. Soul Reaping keeps the Necromancer full of energy by extracting the essence from souls of creatures that die nearby. Curses like Defile Flesh can disrupt healing while others reduce the combat effectiveness of enemies with weakness, health degeneration and other conditions. Curses also provide for surprising melee counters with the likes of Faintheartedness, Price of Failure and Rigor Mortis. Death Magic skills allow for the use of corpses to raise creatures bound to the Necromancers will as well as everything from gaining life to teleportation. Corpses are a Necromancer's best friend. Don't wander too close to a Necromancer Well of Suffering or you might find that it is your corpse that bone horrors are calling home.
Ranger - With the ability to dodge many attacks, set down traps, summon spirits, and send creatures into battle and rain death from a distance, Rangers are at once, an artful and dangerous class. Beast Mastery gives the ranger the ability to increase the effectiveness of pets through increased armor, damage and the ability to mitigate incoming damage. However, Rangers that choose not to concentrate on pet skills would not be wise to overlook skills such as Energizing Wind, Troll Unguent and Serpent's Quickness. Expertise decreases the amount of energy a ranger spends on attacks, preparations, and traps, and gives the Ranger greater melee and projectile defense skills as well. Skills like Escape and Lightning Reflexes can mean the difference between life and death for a Ranger. Marksmanship affects how much damage the Ranger will deal with his or her bow, and is the gateway to direct damage. With just under twenty skills almost exclusively devoted to damage, the ranger can find a skill for any occasion. Wilderness Survival is how the ranger applies conditions as well as the ability to bring more damage down on opponents. Among this varied group of skills Rangers can find the means to cripple, poison, bleed, set on fire, remove hexes, mitigate damage, decrease skill recharge time, slow enemies as well as others. Be sure not to miss Nature's Renewal.
Warrior - Don't ever call a Guild Wars Warrior a meat shield. You are likely to lose your head. While Warriors can absorb damage, their ability to dish it out is what draws many players to this class. Strength gives the Warrior the ability to tear through his foes' armor. Axe Skills allow the Warrior to inflict damage and to pile conditions on top of it. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wounded, crippled and unable to attack because your skills are being interrupted. Better to find a way to stop an axe Warrior from landing Penetrating Blow, rather than trying to deal with it afterward. You may not get the chance. Sword Skills bring another condition to the fight, bleeding. It is tempting to think of the sword as less of a damage dealer then axe or hammer, but that would mean you were ignoring skills like Galrath Slash and Final Thrust. Sword skills also allow a way around an opponent's armor and melee defense. Hammer Skills are truly the crushing blow of melee combat. With several attacks like Counter Blow and Belly Smash, the hammer wielder can keep an enemy knocked down and unable to mount any kind of response. Not to mention the ability to apply weakness, the bane of other melee characters and creatures. But a Warrior is not only about bashing- attribute points placed in tactics allow for a wide range of strategic skills that impart many warrior advantages on his or her party with shouts like "Charge!" and "Watch Yourself!"
*** This article was written by QIX_BOTF and because it's wonderful guide that shows how to fight, I decided to post it here. ;)