Aug 122013

As I’m not one to dwell on the negative too long (although partial to revisit it frequently), I’m going to take a cue from the Guild Wars 2 Twitter account and share with you my top tips for Guild Wars 2.

Dodge, interrupt and mitigate

Relying on someone else to heal you is a great way to waste a lot of money on repairs, but most of your means of staying alive is in how you move rather than the skills you have. Relying on your healing skill will only help you til around level 35 and then you’ll be expected to dodge certain attacks. Practice until you get your timing right (the Daily Dodger achievement is good for this) on ranged enemies, and you can get out of circles most of the time.

Your other tools rely in stopping enemies from completing their attacks and from mitigating the damage from them. Interrupts (skills that daze, stun and knockback) are great for this, as are boons like Aegis, Protection, Regeneration and Vigor. Retaliation is useful too. Boons are something many new players overlook but they can make a huge difference to your fights and are one of the reasons why Guardians are loved so much.

Keep moving, rebind your keyboard shortcuts and stop clicking

You will swear at first and thank me later. WASD is evil, especially in a game like Guild Wars 2. Not that I’m knocking the keys themselves, but rather the actions bound to them by default. Every second you are stood still is a second you are making an enemy’s life easier and all that A and D do is hold you still while you turn. So do yourself a favour, rebind the strafe actions (Q and E) to A and D and enjoy not having to repair as much. This also has the added benefit of freeing up keys around where your left hand resides and one of my protips for any game is to not click your skills. Ever.


It takes a bit of shuffling to do but it’s totally possible to never click a skill again. By leaving 1-5 as weapon skills, using the reclaimed q and e for skill 6 and 7, and then making use of r, f and v to fill out the keyboard, you’ve got all the skills you need without moving your left hand much. Of course rebinding F means you need to find a new home for the “do everything” button, which I’ve found as G. And that’s meant moving all those dialog screens (guild, hero, friends, scoreboard etc) to the numberpad keys where they can be used when I’m not facing down someone who wants me dead. If that’s left you a bit bamboozled, here’s my keyboard layout in more detail. Use this as a base to work out what works for you rather than adopting it blindly, keyboards and hands vary wildly!

Be under no illusion that changing is hard and this takes a while to set up. But I can say I’m a better player for making this changes and I’m pretty sure you will be too.

Be curious…

Look at that view!

Look at that view!

…about what’s around the corner and about people. Guild Wars 2 is definitely a game for explorers and curious folks, who will be well rewarded for having a “what’s up there?” mentality. Racing to the finish will not help. In fact, you’ll be able to do more things by exploring.

Take Screenshots and Look Up

This kinda ties in with being curious. Tyria is beautiful and getting a bit of height can give wonderful screenshots. To get your character out of the picture, try using the /sleep emote. Likewise the skies and ceilings in Tyria are amazing. Look up frequently.

Get involved

The community for Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 is (mostly) wonderful. People are friendly, creative and encouraging to be around, with a varied background of talents and hobbies. If you’ve ever wanted to try writing, there’s a plethora of bloggers around to help you get started and improve your writing style. Likewise for artists and musicians. Programmers get the full support of the API community too. All in all, if you’ve wanted to make something in your spare time, this is a great subject matter for finding like-minded people to help you.

For those who like talking face to face, there are lots of opportunities at gaming conventions to talk to other fans. One of which is next week at gamescom!


This is Infinite Light. It’s a named exotic, not a legendary.

You don’t need a legendary

No really, you don’t. Legendary weapons are nice if you like their look but don’t feel you need one to be cool. There are loads of named exotics out there that look awesome and are just as hard to get. Several are much easier. Same goes with armor; unless you’re a fractals regular, you don’t need Ascended gear and shouldn’t feel like you need it to be a good player. Guild Wars 2 is about your skill, not how awesome your torch is (though that’s important too!).

Join a guild that does missions

Guild puzzles and guild rushes are great content that shouldn’t be ignored because they involve finding a guild. Both require cooperation between players and can even be fun if you fail. If you’re not up to the challenge of finding a big enough guild to do this, consider finding a public run on your server. The official forums and Reddit can be good for this.


Those are my top tips for getting the most out of Guild Wars 2. What are yours?

Dec 072012

I wasn’t going to write more in this series but after a request for more information by Felladin, how could I say no. So here we go – Conditions in Guild Wars 2.


An overview

There are a total of 11 conditions that players can inflict in Guild Wars 2 and have a variety of effects and durations. When reapplied to a target with the same condition, some conditions will stack in duration or intensity and a couple don’t alter all. When a condition is removed by a skill, all of same condition is removed.

Bleeding – Does damage over time, where the damage applied per stack per second at level 80 can be calculated to be 42.5 + Condition Damage * 0.05. Multiple applications stack the condition up to a cap of 25. Your character may exclaim about bleeding when this is applied.

Burning – Does damage over time, where the damage applied per stack per second at level 80 can be calculated to be 328 + Condition Damage * 0.25. Stacks in duration. Your character may exclaim about being on fire when this is applied.

Blind – Causes target’s next attack to miss. Reapplication has no effect. Your character may exclaim that they can’t see when this is applied.

Chilled – Reduces movement speed and skill recharge of the target by 66%. Reapplication increases the duration of the condition. Your character may complain about being freezing when this condition is applied.

Crippling – Reduces the movement speed of the target by 50%. Stacks in duration. Your character may complain about their leg or feet when this is applied.

Confusion – Does damage when the target uses any skill (including auto attack), where the damage applied per stack at level 80 can be calculated to be 130 + Condition Damage * 0.15. Unlike all other conditions, damage from confusion is halved in sPvP. Multiple applications stack the condition up to a cap of 25. Your character may ask what is going on when this is applied.

Fear – Causes the target to move directly away from the caster or centre of the area causing the condition. Can’t be stacked.

Immobilized – The target can’t move or dodge. Stacks in duration. Some teleportation skills (such as the mesmer staff skill 2) still work.

Poison – Does damage over time, where the damage applied per stack per second at level 80 can be calculated to be 84 + Condition Damage * 0.1. Stacks in duration. Your character may exclaim about feeling unwell when this is applied.

Vulnerability – Increases the damage that the target takes by 1%. Multiple applications stack intensity by 1% per application up to a cap of 25. Your character may complain about feeling vulnerable when this is applied.

Weakness – Causes 50% of attacks to be glancing (which reduces the damage output of the attack) and reduced endurance regeneration by 50%. Stacks in duration.



Condition Damage

Condition Damage is one of the attributes that regularly appears on gear (both major and minor) and can also be increased through traits. However, it only affects 4 of the 11 conditions – Burning, Bleeding, Confusion and Poison. So if your preferred build doesn’t reliably generate lots of these particular conditions, stacking condition damage is going to be pointless for you.

For extra complications, every condition increases by a different amount in proportion to Condition Damage and level.


Condition Damage Bleeding Burning Poison Confusion Confusion sPvP



























































































This may seem really imbalanced, but the durations of the various conditions differs a lot.


Condition Duration

Condition duration is useful to everyone who can generate any type of condition, as it will apply to all of them. The game does not round the duration of conditions, but does round the number on the tooltip of the skill to the nearest 0.25s. Since the conditions that do damage per second (Burning, Bleeding and Poison) only do damage on the whole second mark there’s a possibility of being misled with how many pulses of damage you will get. Here’s a video I put together to explain.

(NB: In the video I say that the wiki is wrong. It isn’t. It’s just worded in a way that can be misleading)

So if the only conditions you have are ones that tick per second, there will be optimal steps of condition duration. Realistically there’s too many potential sources of conditions that may change at any time (due to game updates) to get into a meaningful discussion here, as it will be obsolete pretty quickly. What I have done however is note down the standard duration of each source of the big four by profession skills. A summary is below (click here for a condition duration by profession breakdown).


Note that not every condition made as a result of a trait is affected by Condition Duration. It is not clear if this is a bug or intended.

Currently the only common sources of increasing overall condition duration besides food are in Traits and Runes. It would be possible to raise Condition Duration to 54% using both of these. After that, it’s possible to increase the duration of a particular type of condition through Traits and Sigils (although there are some bugs in this area). These numbers add up; ie. +30% Condition Duration +20% burning duration = 50% longer burns.

Let’s look at how these durations change

With respect to Bleeding, it is only worth increasing Condition Duration if it results in at least one extra whole second, giving an extra pulse of damage. It is highly unlikely that it’s worth trying to increase your condition duration if most of your condition skills apply durations of 1s. Similarly for 2s and 3s conditions, trying to make 50% and 34% condition duration may just be too much when considering the sacrifices required to other attributes such as Power or Toughness. At 4s, things become a lot easier. An increase of 25% duration is achievable by raising the first trait line to 25, and will result in one extra pulse of damage. Of course this is a balancing act if you’ve gone Precision.

The reason it’s different for Burning and Poison is that they stack in duration. If you apply a 3.5s burn and then apply another 3.5s burn before it ends, the durations will add up to a 7s burn with 7 pulses of damage (even if the burns come from different people). If you wait for the first burn to end before applying the second, you’ll only get 6 pulses of damage. If you have lots of sources of these types of conditions, you may be able to get more pulses than you should by applying them fairly quickly. Of course, if you only have one source, or it’s really short, you may be out of luck.

It’s not all about these 3 though. The other 8 conditions will all be of use to you if they last a little bit longer. An extra .25 duration on Vulnerability may allow you to get a good hit on an enemy, or with Crippled allow you to catch up to them to snare again. Confusion is an odd one because on the one hand it looks like you get no benefit until the person with it attacks. But if you force an enemy to not do anything for 5s because you put Confusion on them, that’s 5s you can pummel them to your heart’s content. And if they do fight back, they get a slap in the face!


What happens at 25 stacks?

Conditions that stack (Bleeds, Confusion and Vulnerability) will stack up to a maximum of 25 applications. Any more that are applied are ignored until one of the existing applications ends.

When you have conditions applied to you from multiple sources they go into the same stack dependent on type. The same thing happens on enemies. So if you and someone else in your team can both apply 25 stacks of bleeding and try to, one of you is wasting potential damage from your conditions. This is why it may not always be a great idea to try to build a bar that can push so many of one type out. Having a bit of variety helps you work better in a team. Bleeding is the usual one where people clash.

It will also help if condition removal is used as most only remove certain conditions or a certain number of types.


What happens when players with different amounts of condition damage attack the same target?

Short answer: pretty much what you expect.

If you and someone else with different amounts of Condition Damage both apply a condition that stacks in duration on the same target, the durations will add and the ticks from the first source will all fire before the ticks from the second source do. Where durations go over the top of the second (ie 6.5s + 6.5s = 13s = 13 pulses) the Condition Damage of the source that made it go over the top of the second counts (the second person in this example).

For conditions that stack, each application acts independently and times out as expected.


What about compared with other attributes?

Damage from conditions is an unstable source because it can be removed. Many condition removals will remove the entirety of one type of condition, so if you’re fighting someone who uses it just after you’ve applied all your bleeds you’ll lose that damage source until your skills recharge. You can help mitigate the effect of a condition removal skill by not focusing on one type of condition.

Of course, you’ve still got the use of your weapons and other attacks while the conditions are working their magic, so Power and Precision are useful even in a condition heavy bar!


So which should I prioritise between the two?

This is a rough and ready step through the decision making process. There will be exceptions to the steps below, but this should give you some guidance.

1. Count your condition types and their raw durations using this table below (remember to take off armor, traits etc. You may find it useful to go into the PvP lobby).

Duration (s) Bleeding, Burning, Confusion and Poison Other Conditions















2. If you have less than 3 sources of conditions, either tweak your build or stop here. Conditions won’t have enough of an effect on your build to be worth dedicating gear decisions to.

3. Look at the number and duration of sources of Bleeding, Burning, Confusion and Poison you have. If around 60% of them are under 4s in duration score a point for Condition Damage. If around 60% of them are over 4s in duration, score a point for Condition Duration. If you’re roughly equal, score a point for both.

4. If you have more than 3 sources of other conditions, score a point for Condition Duration.

5. You should now have a tally that will give you an idea if Condition Damage or Condition Duration is more important to you. If you’re tied, they’re both useful!


In conclusion

Conditions are a very useful part of any build and their proper use can increase the overall damage output of a team. To get the most out of them, you’ll need to give some thought to the sources you have in your build. Don’t always trust the tooltips!



To make this, I used the ever useful Guild Wars 2 Wiki, this reddit thread, A guide to Bleeding by Boons and Conditions and the game itself. There was lots of testing – for science!

Thank you to my guild mate fafq for being a guinea pig for some experiments, and to Lissahkins for proof reading this article.



As always if you have any comments, please leave them down below. Please also let me know if you found this article useful!

Vitality vs Toughness

 Posted by on October 31, 2012  Guides, Guild Wars 2  3 Responses »
Oct 312012

Having looked before at the offensive attributes Power and Precision, it’s time to turn the microscope on Vitality and Toughness. If you haven’t read the post on Power vs Precision I suggest you do as I’m going to be building a little on the theory.

A dose of reality

Vitality raises your character’s health by 10 per point, while Toughness reduces the effect of direct damage. Because they affect survivability in different ways, in order to compare the two accurately you need to take a different approach to just comparing raw numbers. Really, when it comes to survivability the only thing that matters is how many attacks your character can take before it is chomping on the dirt, and that means creating a hypothetical attacker. Our attacker will be similar to the one we created for the Power vs Precision article, with 1000 weapon damage, a skill multiplier of 2 and a Power level of 1500 (I consider this around average) with no additional Precision or Critical Damage. Just as before, actual results will vary!

The damage that this attacker does to your character is related to Armor, which is the sum of Defence (from your actual armor) and Toughness. As a result, the amount of damage taken by a character will depend on their profession type – Scholar, Adventurer or Soldier. The number of times a character can sustain damage will depend on character health, and therefore Vitality. Unfortunately, the amount of base health of a character isn’t broken down by armor class, but on the following table.

Professions Base health, level 80 Base health+vitality, level 80
Warrior, Necromancer 9,212 18,372
Engineer, Ranger, Mesmer 5,922 15,082
Guardian, Thief, Elementalist 1,645 10,805

This means that Elementalists, Mesmers and Necromancers will all survive a different number of times for the same hit, so we’ll have to break down survivability by profession. And because no character is going to survive 100 hits before taking a dirt nap, we’ll have to break normal and critical hits apart.


When it comes to improving Vitality and Toughness, there are a few options available to players. The clearest ones are through traits, and it’s possible through sacrificing points in other lines to push both Vitality and Toughness to +300. There are also options through armor, jewellery, runes and more.

Overall I’ve calculated that any character should be able to get an additional 1095 Toughness through prioritising it through traits, armor, jewellery and runes, and an additional 751 Toughness through minor attributes on armor and jewellery and pushing the traits. In a similar way, it’s possible to get an extra 780 Vitality through traits, armor and runes (there are no jewellery pieces with primary Vitality) and 751 through minor attributes on armor and jewellery and with traits. You may be able to squeeze another 30 or so points somewhere but that’t nothing to write home about.

However, it’s important to note that just because you could push all your gear towards survivability it may not be advantageous to. The first line of defense is always to not get hit, which you can do for free by using appropriate positioning, skills and dodges. Also, if an enemy is dead it can’t kill you – it’s no good surviving if you can’t take anything down! But more on that later; let’s get to the maths!


Here’s the data on how many hits all the professions can take from our imaginary attacker.

Profession Health Armor Standard Attack % of total Hit count Critical Attack % of total Hit Count
Elementalist 10805 1836 1,634 15.12% 7 2,451 22.68% 5
with Secondary Toughness 10805 2587 1,160 10.73% 10 1,739 16.10% 7
with Primary Toughness 10805 2931 1,024 9.47% 11 1,535 14.21% 8
Mesmer 15082 1836 1,634 10.83% 10 2,451 16.25% 7
with Secondary Toughness 15082 2587 1,160 7.69% 14 1,739 11.53% 9
with Primary Toughness 15082 2931 1,024 6.79% 15 1,535 10.18% 10
Necromancer 18372 1836 1,634 8.89% 12 2,451 13.34% 8
with Secondary Toughness 18372 2587 1,160 6.31% 16 1,739 9.47% 11
with Primary Toughness 18372 2931 1,024 5.57% 18 1,535 8.36% 12
Thief 10805 1980 1,515 14.02% 8 2,273 21.03% 5
with Secondary Toughness 10805 2731 1,098 10.17% 10 1,648 15.25% 7
with Primary Toughness 10805 3075 976 9.03% 12 1,463 13.54% 8
Engineer, Ranger 15082 1980 1,515 10.05% 10 2,273 15.07% 7
with Secondary Toughness 15082 2731 1,098 7.28% 14 1,648 10.93% 10
with Primary Toughness 15082 3075 976 6.47% 16 1,463 9.70% 11
Guardian 10805 2127 1,410 13.05% 8 2,116 19.58% 6
with Secondary Toughness 10805 2878 1,042 9.65% 11 1,564 14.47% 7
with Primary Toughness 10805 3222 931 8.62% 12 1,397 12.93% 8
Warrior 18372 2127 1,410 7.68% 14 2,116 11.52% 9
with Secondary Toughness 18372 2878 1,042 5.67% 18 1,564 8.51% 12
with Primary Toughness 18372 3222 931 5.07% 20 1,397 7.60% 14

So overall, raising Toughness by 750 points allows characters to take between 3 and 4 more normal hits and around 2 more critical hits. Prioritising Toughness will only help against 1 or 2 additional critical or normal hits. Considering the sacrifice in Power output, that doesn’t seem a very good trade off to me!


Again here’s the data on surviving our imaginary attacker

Profession Health Armor Standard Attack % of total Hit count Critical Attack % of total Hit Count
Elementalist 10805 1836 1,634 15.12% 7 2,451 22.68% 5
with Secondary Vitality 18315 1836 1,634 8.92% 12 2,451 13.38% 8
with Primary Vitality 18605 1836 1,634 8.78% 12 2,451 13.17% 8
Mesmer 15082 1836 1,634 10.83% 10 2,451 16.25% 7
with Secondary Vitality 22592 1836 1,634 7.23% 14 2,451 10.85% 10
with Primary Vitality 22882 1836 1,634 7.14% 15 2,451 10.71% 10
Necromancer 18372 1836 1,634 8.89% 12 2,451 13.34% 8
with Secondary Vitality 25882 1836 1,634 6.31% 16 2,451 9.47% 11
with Primary Vitality 26172 1836 1,634 6.24% 17 2,451 9.36% 11
Thief 10805 1980 1,515 14.02% 8 2,273 21.03% 5
with Secondary Vitality 18315 1980 1,515 8.27% 13 2,273 12.41% 9
with Primary Vitality 18605 1980 1,515 8.14% 13 2,273 12.22% 9
Engineer, Ranger 15082 1980 1,515 10.05% 10 2,273 15.07% 7
with Secondary Vitality 22592 1980 1,515 6.71% 15 2,273 10.06% 10
with Primary Vitality 22882 1980 1,515 6.62% 16 2,273 9.93% 11
Guardian 10805 2127 1,410 13.05% 8 2,116 19.58% 6
with Secondary Vitality 18315 2127 1,410 7.70% 13 2,116 11.55% 9
with Primary Vitality 18605 2127 1,410 7.58% 14 2,116 11.37% 9
Warrior 18372 2127 1,410 7.68% 14 2,116 11.52% 9
with Secondary Vitality 25882 2127 1,410 5.45% 19 2,116 8.17% 13
with Primary Vitality 26172 2127 1,410 5.39% 19 2,116 8.08% 13

Overall, raising Vitality by 750 points allows characters to take 4 or 5 more normal hits than a normal character, and around 3 or 4 critical hits. Because there’s such a small difference between prioritising Vitality and having it as a secondary attribute (around 30 points, or 300 health), being attacked by someone with this amount of power makes very little difference and may only allow you to survive one more attack. Again, this seems like an extreme trade off.

Comparing the two

So it looks like points in Vitality go further than points in Toughness and in many ways this is actually true. Toughness only affects direct damage and has no effect on damage from conditions at all, so even if you do have several thousand toughness, you might not survive very long if you get bleeding, burning and poison stacked on you. This is where Vitality shines, because it will help you survive condition stacks for longer.

However, as your character face foes with higher amounts of Power and Precision, Toughness will reduce the damage these foes can do allowing what health you have to effectively go further. It’s not enough to only look to raise Vitality as you’ll find your health will disappear quickly against heavy hitters and you’ll be unable to heal effectively unless you look at raising Healing Power.

Choosing your equipment

Like so much in Guild Wars 2, you’re going to be making a compromise when it comes to choosing equipment and that brings up the big question of how much survivability is enough. Every second you’re fighting is a second you can use to cause damage and apply conditions to the enemy, move to a more favourable position, heal, remove a condition or get an ally involved to help. Your skill, the weapons you like and the utilities and traits you want to use will play into assessing this.

While I do play mesmer primarily which has lots of movement options, I consider surviving around 12 hits to be enough on any of the professions I play regularly (warrior, elementalist). This does mean that the gear I want will be different on all of them. For example I may be able to “get away” with just having offensive gear on my warrior, but since I like having money that isn’t spent on repair bills, I’ll have to consider something different on my elementalist.

Ultimately, the equipment you choose is going to come down to the options supplied to you by the game. And at this point I’ll bring up the post that started this all off which is designed to help you understand your options and make an informed choice – Attributes and Equipment in Guild Wars 2.

Hopefully you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please do leave me a comment below or stalk me on Twitter.

Power vs Precision

 Posted by on October 18, 2012  Guides, Guild Wars 2  7 Responses »
Oct 182012

After the post I made last week about gear and attributes in Guild Wars 2, I got not only a great response which I’m truly grateful for, but also had a number of really good questions and discussions with a number of friends and players. This post is the outcome of one of those discussions about the pros and cons of stacking Power over Precision. There’ll be another later about Toughness vs Vitality.

This is going to be a little bit more maths heavy than before (which was mostly just tables of options), but hopefully I can make it simple enough for most to follow without a headache!

How damage is calculated

In Guild Wars 2 according to the Wiki, damage is calculated according to the following equation:

Damage = ( Power * Weapon Damage * Skill Multiplier ) / Target’s Defence

This is just one hit though and on its own it means very little. We need to look at what happens over a number of attacks and that’s where critical chance, critical damage and precision all roll in. In order to investigate the effect of all these mechanics, I’ve had to make a number of assumptions about various values that may not be true in game. For example, I’ve assumed that all weapons deal 1000 damage, the skill multiplier is 2 and the target is a scholar who has done nothing to improve their toughness. Just because the numbers don’t tally exactly doesn’t mean the trends that they tell us aren’t useful – in fact the opposite. To minimise the effect of these assumptions, I’ve changed none of them in any of the calculations.

This means the only factor in the equation we’ll be changing is Power, and we can investigate Precision by looking at a number of attacks and varying the number. So, I have also assumed that the number of critical hits in 100 exactly tallies with the percentage chance to critical hit (ie if the critical chance is 30% then out of 100 attacks, 30 of them will be critical hits).

In the game there are lots of things that affect how much damage an attack does, including things like Might, Fury, Protection, Vulnerability and Toughness, or if it actually lands at all. You can read more about this on the Guild Wars 2 Wiki.

Your actual results will vary. 

The base line

The base line for all professions is 916 Power and 916 Precision. As was explained last time, every point in power equates to a point of attack damage, so by default all characters have 916 attack. Precision relates to the chance to do a critical hit. The first 916 Precision equates to 4% critical chance. Every 21.16 points in Precision thereafter raise the critical chance by 1% (at level 80). The amount of damage a critical attack does is controlled by Critical damage, which is based on 1.5 times the normal attack. Raising critical damage by 1% results in an extra 0.01 multiplier on damage (ie 1.51 times the normal attack).

All in all, a bog standard character will do a normal hit of 998 and a critical hit of 1497. Over 100 hits, on average they will do 101,778 damage.

Raising power

To see the effect of power, I’m going to just run through the calculations of raising it in steps of 200, probably further than is possible through equipment and gear.

Power Precision Critical Chance Critical Damage 1 hit 100 hits
916 916 4 1.5 998 101,778
1116 916 4 1.5 1,216 124,000
1316 916 4 1.5 1,434 146,222
1516 916 4 1.5 1,651 168,444
1716 916 4 1.5 1,869 190,667
1916 916 4 1.5 2,087 212,889
2116 916 4 1.5 2,305 235,111
2316 916 4 1.5 2,523 257,333
2516 916 4 1.5 2,741 279,556
2716 916 4 1.5 2,959 301,778

So looking at the trend here, we can see that an extra 200 points into power will reward the player with an extra 22,222 damage over 100 attacks.

Raising precision

Similar to what we did with power, I’m going to run through the calculations of raising precision in steps of 200.

Power Precision Critical Chance Critical Damage 1 hit 100 hits
916 916 4 1.5 998 101,778
916 1116 13 1.5 998 106,493
916 1316 23 1.5 998 111,209
916 1516 32 1.5 998 115,925
916 1716 42 1.5 998 120,640
916 1916 51 1.5 998 125,356
916 2116 61 1.5 998 130,071
916 2316 70 1.5 998 134,787
916 2516 80 1.5 998 139,503
916 2716 89 1.5 998 144,218

Once again, looking at the trend, an extra 200 points in precision raises the critical chance by 9.45%, resulting in an extra 4,715 damage over 100 attacks.

That’s a big difference

So we’ve established that (for these numbers at least) you’re going to get around 4.5 times more damage putting 200 points into Power rather than Precision. So are there any reasons at all to put points into Precision?

The answer is yes, to a point. There are a number of skills that have effects that fire on a critical hit, so increasing the chance to critical hit is something you want to do – you just don’t want to ignore power so much that your character is very weak. So if you raise your Precision up, you might want to consider raising Power as a secondary attribute to make sure the attacks that do become critical hits do even more damage. Of course, this will mean sacrificing points you can put into your survival or other wanted benefits.

In reality, Power and Precision aren’t mutually exclusive. Many armor and jewellery pieces have both Power and Precision on them in varying proportions. Working out exactly what proportions you need to get the best out of your character isn’t easy (we haven’t factored in condition damage or might for example) but hopefully you’ve now got an idea of which is better for you!

Of course, these aren’t the only common considerations for characters – I’ll be taking a look at Toughness and Vitality soon.

Your Feedback

I value it. A lot. If you’ve noticed a mistake somewhere, something isn’t clear or just want to give me a virtual cookie you can do so below or on Twitter. Thanks for reading and for sharing!

Oct 092012

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:

Primary Attributes

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

Secondary Attributes

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.

Condition damage

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
Warrior, Necromancer 9,212 18,372
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:

Armor Piece Scholar Adventurer Soldier
Helm 73 97 121
Mantle 73 97 121
Coat 314 338 363
Gloves 133 157 182
Pants 194 218 242
Shoes 133 157 182
Total 920 1064 1211


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.






Beserker’s Power Precision Critical Damage
Soldier’s Power Toughness Vitality
Valkyrie Power Vitality Critical Damage
Rampager’s Precision Power Condition Damage
Knight’s Toughness Power Precision
Giver’s Toughness Boon Duration Healing Power
Shaman’s Vitality Condition Damage Healing Power
Carrion Condition Damage Power Vitality
Rabid Condition Damage Precision Toughness
Cleric’s Healing Power Power Toughness
Magi Healing Power Precision Vitality
Apothecary’s Healing Power Toughness Condition Damage
Explorer’s Magic Find Power Precision
Traveler’s Magic Find Power Condition Damage


The numbers used depend on the armor piece that the type is applies to.

Attribute Level Hat Mantle Coat Gloves Pants Shoes Total
Power Main 45 34 101 34 67 34 315
Minor 32 24 72 24 48 24 224
Precision Main 45 34 101 34 67 34 315 *
Minor 32 24 72 24 48 24 224 *
Toughness Main 45 34 101 34 67 34 315
Minor 32 24 72 24 48 24 224
Vitality Main 45 34 101 34 67 34 315
Minor 32 24 72 24 48 24 224
Condition Damage Main 45 34 101 34 67 34 315
Minor 32 24 72 24 48 24 224
Healing Power Main 45 34 101 34 67 34 315
Minor 32 24 72 24 48 24 224
Boon Duration Main
Minor 1 1 1 1 1 1 6
Magic Find Main 3 3 3 3 3 3 18
Critical Damage Main
Minor 2 2 5 2 3 2 16

*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:

Gemstone Armor Equivalent Trinket Main Minor Minor
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

*These two equivalents only exist for amulets and are the Emerald Pendant and Sapphire Pendant for Soldier’s and Shaman’s respectively

Each exotic trinket comes with a slot for a jewel  upgrade, which come in the following varieties

Gemstone Major Minor Minor
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

Calculation Total
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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. Choose your armor choices to round off the remainder of your priorities.
  6. 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.
  7. Look at other items below and tweak the result!

Other ways to improve your attributes

Back Item

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.

Name From


Main Minor Minor
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.

Crest Type


Main Minor Minor
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.

Aqua Breather

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.


This guide was compiled from information found in game, on Guild Wars 2 Wiki and Guild Wars 2 Database.

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