Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Make a Good Build 101: Part 2

If you have been following me from Part One, you should have your weapon set, utility, and traits ready to go.  At this point, you have chosen the major pieces of your build and particularly “how you are going to play.”  Your gear in structured PvP is set in stone, and cannot be changed stat-wise.  The only thing that changes with an upgrade is the appearance of your gear. However, sigils, runes, jewels and most importantly amulets, all determine your final strengths and weaknesses and can dramatically change your overall stats.  Choosing the wrong amulet in particular can ruin your build, so you must pick carefully.  However, because you know what build you have at this point, it becomes much simpler and more intuitive to decide on stats. 

By far the most important piece of your remaining customizations is your amulet of choice.  At the moment there are a variety of options, but I am hoping they continue to add more combinations.  To find what amulets are available, click here:  http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Amulet.  Each amulet offers 3 stats, with one primary stat and two secondary stats.  In the beta weekend, I changed my amulet and saw huge differences in survivability and damage.  It may be hard to find the perfect amulet for your build.  I cannot stress enough how important this item is to your build.  It can change your damage output substantially, probably on the scale of 30% (my rough estimate), while also being able to increase your hp pool by a similar amount.  Don’t stress out though, again, you already know how your build works at this point.  You then have two choices, play to your strengths or cover up the cracks in your armor.  That is entirely dependent on personal preference and team composition, so I cannot provide an answer.  My advice is when trying out a new build, go for an overly defensive amulet.  When you are just starting out, because you are not familiar with your build, you will need some additional defenses to cover up some of your mistakes.  After a while, you will learn and become more adept at playing with your build, and you can switch to a very offensive amulet. At this point, you may see that you can die very easily, and you may want to move towards a slightly less offensive amulet.  Just keep playing with the gradient until you find an area that seems good. You can change these during a match, you just need to be out of combat.

The next most important addition is your rune choice.  There are a large supply of runes, but again, I am really hoping they add some more by launch. Again, to find what runes are available, simply click here:  http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Runes. You have 6 available rune slots, one for each major piece of gear.  I highly recommend stacking a single type of rune.  The bonuses are in particular very strong, and should not be passed up, unless absolutely necessary.  This part will probably take you a large amount of time.  There are just so many runes, and trying to match one to your build can be slightly challenging.  My advice is to take a look back at your overall build.  Most players will not expect certain types of rune effects at this level, and you can really use these to your advantage.  For example, six Runes of the Centaur provide 10 seconds of swiftness after you use your heal.  There are some heals with 15 second cooldowns, that can mean that two thirds of the time you can be running substantially faster than most players.  Use your knowledge to make unique builds, and you will be sure to surprise your enemies.  For the overwhelmed, I’d recommend looking at the major attribute of each rune and narrowing down your selection from there.

The next choice to make is deciding on jewels.  You have 5 jewels, one for each accessory you have on. This includes the amulet you equipped earlier.  Again, to locate the selection of jewels click here:  http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Jewel. Jewels can really allow you to tweak and fine-tune your build.  You are capable of changing one stat by a rough maximum of 125 points, and two by close to 60 points.  Jewels are substantial enough to make a small but noticeable difference, and the best will maximize every addition.

Sigils.  At long last, we have reached the end of our customization tutorial.  Each weapon equipped can have a sigil added to it.  Sigils can be found here:  http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Sigil.  Please keep in mind, a two-handed weapon can still only have one sigil attached.  Before you tell me that’s not fair, know that your MH weapon’s sigil only affects the 1-3 slots, and the OH weapon’s sigil only affects the 4-5 slots.  So don’t panic, they have balanced sigil at least theoretically.  I’d really like to point out to you the weapon swap and critical chance sigils.  With some builds you can have a very high critical strike chance, and sigils like Sigil of Superior Ice should jump out at you.  If your build is low on critical strike or you really don’t like RNG, I’d point you to the weapon swap sigils.  Being able to freeze your opponent at any given time, not only will surprise people this early in the game, but will be extremely effective at control in structured PvP.

Some Random Tips:
-Unless you are building entirely offensive, the minimum HP you want is 14k hp.  There are many glass cannon builds that easily strike 10-16K hits on you.  If you can survive the first hit, you will win. 
-Follow this order:  Weapons, Utilities, Traits, Amulet, Rune, Jewel, Sigil.  It will make your life easier.
-If you aren’t given a specific number in the trait description or need more information, look into the community forums.  There will most likely be someone who can answer your question.
-Do not start out trying the default build, take the time to make a custom build. 
-Condition Damage cannot be relied heavily upon at this point.  Every profession but the thief is capable of removing conditions very easily and consistently.
-If you are dying from very large hits, (for example from a glass cannon build), stack more vitality (increases your HP.) If however, you are dying from continual small hits, stacking toughness is more effective. 
I will be writing a Part 2.5, in which I will be making an entire build from scratch to finish.  This includes everything, as well as my decision for each part of the process.  I warn you, it may be a long post, and will probably be on a Shortbow Thief build.


  1. As much as I've been obsessively planning characters, I've totally overlooked runes and amulets. Looking into it now. Rune of the Pirate is hysterical. I'm looking at Rune of the Nightmare for my Mesmer's PvE build though, especially since she will need more points in malice, and chance to cause fear on hit is fun. Looks like a lot of runes max bonuses borrow from other professions, and not just those named for professions (nothing indicates they are profession specific.) Another one grants mist form at 10% health.

    1. I mean the ones named after professions seem profession specific but others do not, like the one that grants mist form like an ele is the rune of vampirism that otherwise seems suited for necros.

  2. I'm pretty sure there are no runes that are profession-specific. However, yeah the named one's like Rune of the Elementalist seems like it would work better for Ele's than most professions. There really are some quite interesting ones, and I would love to see how useful some of them are. Rune of Mercy would be perfect for a support thief build. Imagine reviving someone twice as fast, also and adding haste/quickness to the mix. You would basically get someone back on their feet in like 2-3 seconds. I think that could be very competitive in every aspect of the game.