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Note: Some of this information may have become outdated due to the rapid pace of balance tweaking in the genre.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?
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.
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.
|Ranger||0 (0)||0 (0)||1 (0)||1 (0)||0 (0)||0 (0)||0 (3)||0 (1)||1 (0)||3 (4)|
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.
|Ranger||0 (1)||2 (6)||12 (0)||1 (0)||15 (7)|
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.
|Field||Blast Finisher||Leap Finisher||Projectile||Whirl Finisher|
|Dark||Area Blindness||Blindness||Lifesteal||Leeching Bolts|
|Ethereal||Area Chaos Armor||Chaos Armor||Confusion||Confusing Bolts|
|Fire||Area Might (x3)||Fire Armor||Burning||Burning Bolts|
|Ice||Area Frost Armor||Frost Armor||Chilled||Chilling Bolts|
|Light||Area Retaliation||Retaliation||Remove Condition||Cleansing Bolts|
|Lightning||Area Swiftness||Dazing Strike||Vulnerability||Brutal Bolts|
|Poison||Area Weakness||Weakness||Poison||Poison Bolts|
|Smoke||Area Stealth||Stealth||Blindness||Blinding Bolts|
|Water||Area Healing||Healing||Regeneration||Healing 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.