Note: this guide was updated 27th January 2013 to clarify the section on Trinkets.
This guide came about because, after hitting level 80, I wanted to know what set of armor I should be aiming to get and was thoroughly confused by all the options and terminology. After finding out a few interesting bits and bobs, I was asked to make a guide for others in my guild and have decided to go one further and share it with everyone. While this won’t tell you what gear is optimal for your character, it will help you make good enough choices without resorting to spreadsheets and complex maths. While I’ve included the numbers for those of you who like that kind of thing, they can be largely ignored.
Most of the armors and trinkets in this article are related to the Exotic tier, and I’m in the process of addressing the Ascended items better!
Understanding your attributes
Let’s start with the basic terminology and numbers. Every character at level 80 has a base of 916 in Power, Precision, Toughness and Vitality, and 4% Critical Chance. These and other statistics can be increased through traits, equipment and skills. You can see a summary of all these attributes in the top right portion of the Hero Panel. Here’s a breakdown of what all the different numbers mean:
Power – Every point in Power increases the attack statistic by one, which increases damage for all attacks.
Precision – Points put into precision increase the chance of a critical hit for the character. Many of the conditional effects of a skill or trait trigger on a critical hit. The amount of additional precision required to increase the chance of a critical hit by 1% is determined by the following formula: (0.0024 × Level^2) + (0.06 × Level) + 1
At level 80, the required precision to increase the chance of a critical hit by 1% is 21.16.
Vitality – Every point in vitality above the base raises the health of the character by 10, improving the character’s ability to withstand a single large attack and degenerative damage
Toughness – Every point in Toughness increases the armor of the character by 1, improving the character’s ability to withstand direct damage. It has no effect on falling damage
Attack – You get 1 point of this for every point in power. Used in damage calculations.
Weapon Damage – Comes from your weapons. Static for your profession at level 80. Used in damage calculations for some skills.
Condition Damage – Affects Bleeding, Burning, Poison and Confusion only. The calculations for working out the impact of raising the condition damage is different for each of these conditions (see separate section).
Critical Chance – This is derived from a base level of 4% plus an additional percentage determined by Precision. At level 80 21.16 precision is required to raise Critical Chance 1%. This number is always rounded up. Used in damage calculations.
Critical Damage – Comes from gear. Determines how much damage your critical attacks do. The base is 1.5x normal attack damage and additional percentages are added to the base. So +50% Critical Damage results in 2.0x normal attack damage. Used in damage calculations.
Armor – Sum of Toughness and Defense. Used in damage calculations.
Defense – Comes from your armor. Static for your profession at level 80.
Health – This is derived from a base level of health determined by your profession (see separate section), plus 10 health for every 1 point in vitality.
Healing Power – Comes from gear. Each point of healing power adds 0.125 healing for Regeneration and 0.06 healing for rejuvenation. It also affects active healing skills, but it is not know by how much at this time.
Magic Find – Not listed on the hero panel, but this attribute raises the player’s chance to receive rare loot from drops.
Just to make it even more complicated, the amount that raising the condition damage affects the damage done by Bleeding, Burning, Poison and Confusion depends on the condition in question.
|Condition||Condition Damage Used||Base Damage at Level 80||Equation|
|Bleeding||5%||42.5 per stack per second||Condition Damage * 0.05 + 42.5|
|Burning||25%||328 per second||Condition Damage * 0.25 + 328|
|Poison||10%||84 per second||Condition Damage * 0.10 + 84|
|Confusion*||15%||130 per stack per attack||Condition Damage * 0.15 + 130|
*Note that damage done by confusion is halved in sPvP.
You can learn more about condition damage in this post.
The basic health of your character depends on its profession and the standard 916 Vitality.
|Professions||Base health at level 80||Base health + Vitality at level 80|
|Engineer, Ranger, Mesmer||5,922||15,082|
|Guardian, Thief, Elementalist||1,645||10,805|
How to improve your statistics
There are 3 main ways you can affect your attributes: traits, equipment and skills. As the traits and skills very much depend on your play style and profession I’m going to concentrate on equipment here and how to make good choices about which statistics to prioritise.
Around half of the improvements you can make in PvE come from the choices you make about the type of armor you have. At level 80, all types of armor reach a plateau for defense depending on profession. Here are the maximum defense values:
Each armor piece also comes in 14 variations (though they may not be available for every skin without transmuting). Every variation has a main attribute and 2 minor attributes.
|Giver’s||Toughness||Boon Duration||Healing Power|
|Shaman’s||Vitality||Condition Damage||Healing Power|
|Apothecary’s||Healing Power||Toughness||Condition Damage|
|Traveler’s||Magic Find||Power||Condition Damage|
The numbers used depend on the armor piece that the type is applies to.
*Main: +14.88% Critical Chance. Minor: +10.44% Critical Chance.
So for example, Valkyrie armor will give you +315 Power, +224 Vitality and +16% Critical Damage and Knight’s armor will give you +315 Toughness, +224 Power and +224 Precision. You don’t need to take an entire set of armor if you don’t want to, but that’s going down the optimal route!
We’ll come back to additional ways to modify your armor later but let’s move on to accessories.
This is a term that wraps up Amulets, Earrings and Rings in PvE. There are no inherent bonuses with trinkets (ie akin to defence for armor), it’s all about boosting attributes. Unlike armor, there are Exotic and Ascended levels of Accessories, with rings added in November 2012 and amulets in January 2013.
Exotic trinkets come from a variety of sources, mainly through crafting. Here are the varieties and their armor equivalents:
|Ruby||Beserker’s||Amulet||90 Power||64 Precision||5% Critical Damage|
|Ring||67 Power||48 Precision||3% Critical Damage|
|Earring||56 Power||40 Precision||3% Critical Damage|
|Beryl||Valkyrie||Amulet||90 Power||64 Vitality||5% Critical Damage|
|Ring||67 Power||48 Vitality||3% Critical Damage|
|Earring||56 Power||40 Vitality||3% Critical Damage|
|Emerald||Knight’s||Amulet||90 Toughness||64 Power||64 Precision|
|Ring||67 Toughness||48 Power||48 Precision|
|Earring||56 Toughness||40 Power||40 Precision|
|Coral||Rampager’s||Amulet||90 Precision||64 Power||64 Condition Damage|
|Ring||67 Precision||48 Power||48 Condition Damage|
|Earring||56 Precision||40 Power||40 Condition Damage|
|Snowflake||-||Amulet||3% Magic Find||64 Healing Power||1% Boon Duration|
|Ring||3% Magic Find||48 Healing Power||1% Boon Duration|
|Earring||3% Magic Find||40 Healing Power||1% Boon Duration|
|Chrysocola||Carrion||Amulet||90 Condition Damage||64 Vitality||64 Power|
|Ring||67 Condition Damage||48 Vitality||48 Power|
|Earring||56 Condition Damage||40 Vitality||40 Power|
|Sapphire||Cleric’s||Amulet||90 Healing Power||64 Toughness||64 Power|
|Ring||67 Healing Power||48 Toughness||48 Power|
|Earring||56 Healing Power||40 Toughness||40 Power|
|Passiflora||Apothecary’s||Amulet||90 Healing Power||64 Toughness||64 Condition Damage|
|Ring||67 Healing Power||48 Toughness||48 Condition Damage|
|Earring||56 Healing Power||40 Toughness||40 Condition Damage|
|Opal||Explorer’s||Amulet||3% Magic Find||64 Power||64 Precision|
|Ring||3% Magic Find||48 Power||48 Precision|
|Earring||3% Magic Find||40 Power||40 Precision|
|Candy Corn||Traveller’s||Amulet||3% Magic Find||64 Power||64 Condition Damage|
|- *||Soldier’s||Amulet||90 Power||64 Toughness||64 Vitality|
|- *||Shaman’s||Amulet||90 Vitality||64 Healing Power||64 Condition Damage|
Each exotic trinket comes with a slot for a jewel upgrade, which come in the following varieties
|Exquisite Ruby Jewel||25 Power||15 Precision||3% Critical Damage|
|Exquisite Beryl Jewel||25 Power||15 Vitality||3% Critical Damage|
|Exquisite Emerald Jewel||25 Precision||15 Toughness||15 Power|
|Exquisite Coral Jewel||25 Precision||15 Condition Damage||15 Power|
|Exquisite Snowflake Jewel||3% Magic Find||15 Healing Power||1% Boon Duration|
|Exquisite Chrysocola Jewel||25 Condition Damage||15 Power||15 Vitality|
|Exquisite Sapphire Jewel||25 Healing Power||15 Power||15 Toughness|
|Exquisite Passiflora Jewel||25 Healing Power||15 Condition Damage||15 Toughness|
|Exquisite Opal Jewel||4% Magic Find||15 Precision||15 Power|
Note that if crafted, Trinkets are created with the similarly named jewel in the upgrade slots (ie the Emerald Orichalcum Amulet is made with an Emerald Jewel in the upgrade slot). The exception are Candy Corn items which are made slotted with Opal jewels. You can change the jewels if you wish.
Overall, your character can wear 1 amulet, 2 rings and 2 earrings at a time, each with an upgrade slot. So for a full set of Ruby gear you’d get the following bonuses
|90 + 67 + 67 + 56 + 56 + (5 * 25)||461 Power|
|64 + 48 + 48 + 40 +40 + (5 * 15)||315 Precision|
|5% + 3% + 3% + 3% + 3% + (5 * 3%)||32% Critical Damage|
The ascended tier of items was added in November 2012 and will be extended in January 2013. Currently they can only be obtained from BUY-4373 in Fractals of the Mists, but will soon be available in exchange for the new currency laurels. While Ascended items follow similar statistics patterns as Exotics, the bonuses that would come from runes or gems are included in the items themselves.
Instead there is an offensive or defensive slot for an Infusion which can be added to items at the Mystic Forge. Offensive and defensive refer to the small bonus that comes with infusion (ie Power is offensive, Toughness is defensive). Versatile infusions can be placed in either an offensive or defensive slot.
Because ascended items are currently being expanded and for the sake of keeping this post manageable, I will be starting a new post on them in the coming days.
Choosing what’s right for you
NB: this guide assumes that characters are not wanting to go for full support as it isn’t really useful in open world PvE.
- Work out what weapons you like using and look at the skills. Note which ones generate conditions that are altered by condition damage and which have effects that are triggered on a critical hit. If you have few skills that inflict Burning, Bleeding, Poison or Confusion, strike items that increase condition damage off the list because you’ll do more damage by increasing Power, Precision and Critical Damage. If you have a lot of skills that have effects triggered on a critical hit, you should try prioritise Precision because that will make those effects happen more often. If you use roughly the same utility skills, include them in this process.
- Think about your survivability. Do you survive well at the moment? How do you stand up against conditions and direct hits? Are you wanting to be a well rounded character, be a tank or a glass cannon? If you struggle against conditions, are a Guardian, Thief or Elementalist you should look to increase your Vitality. If you get bashed around a lot, are a Necromancer, Mesmer or Elementalist, you should look to increase your Toughness to better survive hits. If you want to increase both, work out what’s more important and prioritise that for jewellery.
- Where else are you lacking? Do you want to be able to heal more? What about having a small chance of getting rarer drops? Are these more important that having a better damage output or survivability?
- Hopefully by now you’ve got some priorities. Look at the jewellery options and choose what best suits, remembering Power is useful to all professions. If there’s no clear good option, move on to step 5 and come back to this step.
- Choose your armor choices to round off the remainder of your priorities.
- Still confused? Try reading my posts on Power vs Precision, Vitality vs Toughness and Conditions to see if that clears anything up. If not, get in touch and I’ll see if I can help out.
- Look at other items below and tweak the result!
Other ways to improve your attributes
During your personal story you will be given 2 Back Items as a reward which fits into one of the slots near the accessories. There are 3 sources of statistics – the personal story, the guild armorer and from dungeons. They have an upgrade slot (the level 33 version is currently bugged). This is only a selection of the backpacks in the game (but most of the level 80 ones) – you can see the rest here.
|Ghost Eater’s Hide||Ascalonian Catacombs||+3% Magic Find||+16 Power||+16 Condition Damage|
|Beserker’s Spineguard of the Beserker||Personal Story||+18 Power||+13 Precision||+1% Critical Damage|
|Cleric’s Spineguard of the Cleric||Personal Story||+18 Healing Power||+13 Power||+13 Toughness|
|Rampager’s Spineguard of the Rampager||Personal Story||+18 Precision||+13 Power||+13 Condition Damage|
|Guild Assassin’s Backpack||Guild Armorer||+20 Power||+14 Precision||+1% Critical Damage|
|Guild Caretaker’s Backpack||Guild Armorer||+20 Healing Power||+14 Precision||+14 Vitality|
|Magi’s Spineguard||Fractals of the Mists||+20 Healing Power||+14 Precision||+14 Vitality|
|Guild Defender’s Backpack||Guild Armorer||+20 Power||+14 Toughness||+14 Vitality|
|Soldier’s Spineguard||Fractals of the Mists||+20 Power||+14 Toughness||+14 Vitality|
|Risen Spineguard||Arah or Fractals of the Mists||+20 Vitality||+14 Healing Power||+14 Condition Damage|
|Rabid Spineguard||Fractals of the Mists||+20 Condition Damage||+14 Precision||+14 Toughness|
|Prototype Fractal Capacitor||Fractals of the Mists||Various|
|Quiver of Swift Flight||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Power||18 + 17 Precision||4% + 1% Critical Damage|
|Book of Secrets||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Power||18 + 17 Precision||4% + 1% Critical Damage|
|Bowyer’s delight||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Power||18 + 17 Toughness||18 + 17 Vitality|
|Koss on Koss||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Power||18 + 17 Toughness||18 + 17 Vitality|
|Sights Be True||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Toughness||18 + 17 Power||4% + 1% Critical Damage|
|Symon’s History of Ascalon||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Toughness||18 + 17 Power||4% + 1% Critical Damage|
|Endless Quiver||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Condition Damage||18 + 17 Precision||18 + 17 Toughness|
|Tome of the Rubicon||Mystic Forge||32 + 24 Condition Damage||18 + 17 Precision||18 + 17 Toughness|
|Quiver of a Thousand Arrows||Mystic Forge||32 Power + 5% Magic find||18 + 17 Vitality||18 + 17 Toughness|
|There with Yakkington: A Traveler’s Tale||Mystic Forge||32 Power + 5% Magic find||18 + 17 Vitality||18 + 17 Toughness|
Crests can be applied to any piece of equipment. There are 5 variants.
|Magi||+20 Healing Power||+14 Precision||+14 Vitality|
|Rabid||+20 Condition Damage||+14 Precision||+14 Toughness|
|Shaman||+20 Vitality||+14 Healing Power||+14 Power|
|Soldier||+20 Power||+14 Toughness||+14 Vitality|
|Traveler||+3% Magic Find||+14% Power||+14% Precision|
Runes are added to armor and provide additional bonuses which stack depending on how many are applied to armor. You can look at all the options here. Mixing and matching may be useful. Every rune has a primary cumulative attribute which is given with 1,3 or 5 armor pieces with the rune. For example, slotting 5 Superior Rune of the Baelfires will give an additional +165 Power.
Runes and armor bonuses combined roughly equate to jewellery bonuses.
In addition to providing damage or defense, weapons have attributes similar in style to armor. When working out type what you want, look closely at the skills that weapon (or weapons if they’re both one handed) give and make the choices based on maximising those skills.
These are added to weapons and provide additional bonuses. The wiki article explains these pretty well so take a look.
Don’t forget to improve this. It won’t be used when you’re on land but the bonuses come into affect as soon as you go into the water – don’t be caught out using the aqua breather you started with!
And finally, a note about sPvP…
In sPvP the inherent bonuses in armor and jewellery is moved into a single PvP amulet which provides all of the bonuses to statistics. Runes and Sigils can be applied as normal.
Was this useful? Let me know…
Just like the community surveys before release, I do this stuff because I hope people find it useful. If you did, let me know. Not only does it give me a warm fuzzy feeling, but it also makes me more likely to do it again! There are comments below, or if you’re shy you can contact me through the about page!