Cross-Profession Combos In Detail

#1 Edited by Benny (1936 posts) -

So, up to this point it seems like there isn’t much emphasis on professions having specific roles or duties within groups, or rather, much emphasis on what each profession’s role is if they indeed do have one outside of the holy trinity. From the information I’ve gathered and the small amount of time I’ve spent with each profession in the game, it’s become apparent that understanding the way professions combine with one-another, regardless of what those professions are, is a major component of the combat in Guild Wars 2. Knowing how best to combine with other professions will likely be one of the things that separates the good players from the bad.

With that in mind, I thought I’d make a thread about cross profession combos wherein people could theorycraft a little and help each other decide what profession they would eventually play, as the cross profession combo system (henceforth known as combo system for the sake of brevity) plays a huge part in the game’s combat and isn’t really explained too well up front. Personally I’d hate to make a decision at the start of an MMO that I’d regret 60 hours down the road which is why I’m paying so much attention to the game now to avoid doing exactly that.

Note: Some of this information may have become outdated due to the rapid pace of balance tweaking in the genre.

What is a combo field?

A Circular Combo Field

Setting the ground on fire, laying down a poisonous mark, smashing a holy rune into the ground and many other wildly different skills set up what is known as a combo field. These abilities will usually have helpful or hindering effects on their own but will also be available for use by you or your allies in a combo, by using a finisher ability (more on those later.)

A combo field is easy to spot from the white outline of the area in which it is active. It could be a rectangular line in the sand or a blazing circle out in front of you but you will be able to see its area of effect from its white outline.

Combo finishers?

With a combo field set up, making the most of it is as simple as using an ability that is labelled as a combo finisher and making sure that this ability interacts with the combo field ahead of you (a list of which can be found further down.)

If a Warrior creates a fire combo field on the ground, a Ranger using Hunter's Shot to fire an arrow through the field would cause their arrow to be set on fire and inflict burning on their target. And all they had to do was think about where they were standing before they used their ability.

Who has what?

Each profession has a variety of combo fields and combo finishers at their disposal. Elementalists have the most fields, with at least 9 at the time of writing, while Warriors have but one.

Numbers in brackets indicate pet abilities.

Combo Fields

ProfessionDarkEtherealFireIceLightLightningPoisonSmokeWaterTotal
Thief1000001204
Guardian0000500005
Warrior0010000001
Ranger0 (0)0 (0)1 (0)1 (0)0 (0)0 (0)0 (3)0 (1)1 (0)3 (4)
Engineer0020101105
Elementalist0051010029
Necromancer4100101007
Mesmer0300200005

Where combo finishers are concerned however, Warriors have the most of any class weighing in at 25 total. From this information it’s easy to see how Warriors may play slightly differently to other classes where combos are concerned.

Numbers in brackets indicate pet abilities.

Combo Finishers

ProfessionBlastLeapProjectileWhirlTotal
Thief1114218
Guardian21036
Warrior8310425
Ranger0 (1)2 (6)12 (0)1 (0)15 (7)
Engineer714012
Elementalist925117
Necromancer50117
Mesmer03205

How does each field and finisher combine?

This table is incomplete but should give a good indication of which fields are more offensive and which are more defensive, what fields to use in a pinch and those that need time to be more effective etc.

FieldBlast FinisherLeap FinisherProjectileWhirl Finisher
DarkArea BlindnessBlindnessLifestealLeeching Bolts
EtherealArea Chaos ArmorChaos ArmorConfusionConfusing Bolts
FireArea Might (x3)Fire ArmorBurningBurning Bolts
IceArea Frost ArmorFrost ArmorChilledChilling Bolts
LightArea RetaliationRetaliationRemove ConditionCleansing Bolts
LightningArea SwiftnessDazing StrikeVulnerabilityBrutal Bolts
PoisonArea WeaknessWeaknessPoisonPoison Bolts
SmokeArea StealthStealthBlindnessBlinding Bolts
WaterArea HealingHealingRegenerationHealing Bolts

How combos may affect your profession choice

During my time spent playing a Warrior in the beta, I found myself concentrating on flinging weapons and loosing arrows through combo fields and only a few times did I set up a wall of flame in front of a target to allow allies to get the most out of it. It seemed like using my finishers to boost my damage output would be of the most benefit to the group.

However, finishers can also be used to assist your allies. Using a ground smash ability as a Warrior while standing in an ice field will give all allies caught in the radius frost armor.

As a Warrior, getting the most out of combo fields to hinder foes and help allies can be far more effective than just using them as an excuse to go nuts with your finishers.

And I’m sure it will be different for every profession. With an Elementalist for example, knowing how to get the most out of your group by placing the right combo fields at the right time could be of huge importance. Dropping a lightning field at a boss’ feet right before he starts spinning out of control could allow a Warrior to smash the ground inside the field, giving everyone nearby lightning speed to get away from the rampaging boss quicker, and with less damage.

So if all you get from this post is an awareness of the combo system’s existence, I’d encourage you to experiment and share your experiences next time you play and hopefully we can build a decent resource for new players and vets alike that helps them make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing which profession they sink hundreds of hours into.

Thanks for reading and as a bonus, here's some screenshots of armor from the last beta weekend event.

All information from here, here and here.

#2 Posted by Ragnarok512 (159 posts) -

I've been wondering how this works. Thanks for the info.

#3 Posted by Dark_Lord_Spam (2948 posts) -

Really nice summary, dude. It's easy to  tell you put some time into it. I was trying to read some of this info on the wiki, but having it all on one page definitely helps. 
 
One minor thing: you may want to clarify the parenthetic ranger numbers as being for pets (at least, that's what I'm guessing they are).

#4 Posted by Maystack (898 posts) -

Awesome work dude, this is a great overview.

@Dark_Lord_Spam said:

Really nice summary, dude. It's easy to tell you put some time into it. I was trying to read some of this info on the wiki, but having it all on one page definitely helps. One minor thing: you may want to clarify the parenthetic ranger numbers as being for pets (at least, that's what I'm guessing they are).

I don't know if he's edited it after you said this, but it does say that the numbers in brackets are the pets above the two tables.

#5 Posted by Benny (1936 posts) -

Thanks for reading guys and yeah the bracketed ones are indeed pet abilities. There might be one or two combos I missed also so I'll update it if I find them.

And yeah this information is a bitch to find clearly presented so if it helps others get a feel for the system thats awesome.

#6 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2494 posts) -

Dude. Fantastic work here!

*reads again after first scan through*

#7 Posted by UssjTrunks (534 posts) -

I had no idea how these worked. Awesome job.

Just one question. Does the game tell you when a combo-finisher can be used, or do you have to learn all the combinations yourself to be able to identify them?

#8 Posted by shinboy630 (1116 posts) -

@UssjTrunks said:

I had no idea how these worked. Awesome job.

Just one question. Does the game tell you when a combo-finisher can be used, or do you have to learn all the combinations yourself to be able to identify them?

They are pretty easy to recognize visually, so if you are paying attention it shouldn't be overly difficult to combo.

#9 Posted by project343 (2807 posts) -

Such a good write-up! :D

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