Difference between revisions of "Introduction to Raiding"

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Disclaimer: This guide is aimed at beginner-intermediate level raiders. The “rules” set out here will often have exceptions, but these exceptions will almost always apply to high-skill groups. In the interest of brevity, these have been omitted under the assumption that groups to which the exceptions would apply will already be aware of them.
This guide aims to be an introduction to raiding in Guild Wars 2. It will cover the various roles that classes will commonly fulfil within a raid, and how these roles were settled on. For new groups, there will be an explanation of how to set up a squad for an encounter and provide some good builds for new players.
If there are unfamiliar terms, the glossary may be of assistance.
When tackling raid encounters, one of the key ingredients to a successful kill is having an effective team composition. Like many RPGs, Guild Wars 2 features distinct roles similar to the “Holy Trinity”. However, Guild Wars 2 differs slightly in that it features a soft trinity of Damage, Support and Control. These map onto the traditional roles of DPS, Healing and Tanking, but with some additional functions:
===Damage (DPS)===
Deals damage. Damage is typically the most focussed role within a raid and most of the actions of Support and Control will be aimed at enabling the damage players to do their job. The design of attributes in Guild Wars 2 is such that damage roles will focus on either power damage or condition damage. In general the two damage types differentiate themselves as follows (though there are some exceptions):
Power - bursts damage in a short duration and hence suits fights with short phases. Condition - takes some time to ramp up their damage, but deals more long-term and so are suited to fights with longer phases.
Support comes in two main flavours - buff support and healing. Support players are often tasked with handling mechanics in fights, as they typically have downtime in which they do not need to be healing or applying buffs.
Buff Support - provides boons and/or unique buffs to the squad.
Healing - keeps the squad alive.
As a role, control usually manifests as the tank. It also refers to control effects (CC), and while this is rarely a dedicated role in itself it can inform the optimal builds fulfilling the other roles.
Tanking in raids is very binary - there will be a single condition that defines the current tank, and whichever player fulfills that requirement will be the tank. It is most common for the tank to be the player with the highest toughness stat, though other encounters have the tanking based on proximity, randomly assigned, use of specific Special Action Keys, or have no tank at all. It is extremely rare that control will be a role in itself, as will be explained below the functions of control are usually handled by Damage or Support players.
A kiter may be considered a subrole of tank. Rather than control the boss’s aggro, they will typically be the target of a particular mechanic, though the exact requirements of the role can vary greatly depending on the encounter.
==Role Fundamentals==
This section covers two fundamental rules that define how the previously described roles are typically covered.
===Role Specialisation===
One of the biggest stumbling blocks when moving from open world to raids is the need to unlearn much of what GW2 teaches players while leveling: That classes are built to be self sufficient, and able to perform all three roles at once.
Team-based game modes such as raids promote role specialisation, as focusing on one particular role will be much more effective than multiple players all trying to fill multiple roles.
To put this clearly - if you are playing a damage role, your job is to deal damage. Sacrificing damage to improve your personal healing or survivability lowers the effectiveness of the entire group. You must trust other team members to fulfil their roles. Do not plan for failure. With GW2’s active defense there are practically no mechanics that cannot be avoided with skill, mitigated through encounter mechanics, or outhealed by healers.
This is the reason why it is often recommended to run a “meta” build. These builds are optimised to perform their roles in the most effective ways possible. In cases where builds have options to fulfil other roles as well, this will have been chosen such that it has the minimum impact on their primary role, with the maximum gain of the supplementary role.
As previously stated, of the three roles damage is the most common to focus utterly on just one role.
===Role Compression===
Where damage is concerned, more is always better. With support however, it is possible for a build to provide more healing or boons than is necessary. Where this is the case, supports will often partially fill other roles, though their priority should always be the primary role.
“As much support as necessary, as much damage as possible”
Tanking is almost always a “compressed” role. Many classes in GW2 come with sufficient active defense to survive as tank (aided by healers) without the need to build for survivability at all, and so the tank role will be fulfilled by a damage or support (typically a support).
==Group Requirements==
Aside from the specific requirements required for each encounter, there are a number of common effects that groups should seek to provide on (nearly) every encounter.
===Essential Boons===
One of the key support aspects that every group should fulfil is providing certain essential boons. These boons are considered essential because of the huge damage increase each provides - if a class could provide just one of these boons to the group it would be worth taking even if it did literally nothing else. In practise though, most boon supports can provide multiple boons.
''Might'' - Might provides a massive damage boost to both power and condition damage builds.
''Quickness'' - Quickness speeds up (almost) all actions in the game, allowing players to get more skills into a smaller window of time. This is of huge benefit to all players.
''Alacrity'' - Lowers the cooldown of all skills. Similar to quickness, this allows more skills to be activated within a smaller window of time, and is of huge benefit to all players.
''Fury'' - Increases the chance to critically hit by 20%. Almost every power build will require fury to reach 100% critchance. In addition to the damage boost, many builds have on-crit effects that form part of their rotation and it is especially important to those builds. Even condition damage builds frequently have on-crit effects that make the boon very strong even when there are no power builds.
===Additional Buffs===
'''“Non-essential” Boons'''
The above boons are essential for every damage class, and should always be provided. Some builds rely on additional boons, and these should be provided when you have such builds. Generally some amount of these boons will be provided by the class in question, but the higher uptime the better.
''Swiftness'' - Swiftness provides a damage boost to both power Weaver and power Warrior (and elite specs).
''Vigor'' - Vigor provides bonus condition damage to Mirage, and increases the damage potential of both Daredevil and Mirage as their rotations involve frequent dodging.
''Retaliation'' - Power guardian builds (and elite specs) gain multiple beneficial effects from having retaliation.
'''A note on regeneration'''
In the event that you are running with two (or more) healers, at least one of them is likely to be a druid. Druids’ primary healing and buffing abilities are found in Celestial Avatar, which is charged through healing and damage. By far the most effective way to charge Celestial Avatar is by the druid applying regeneration to allies. If players receive regeneration from multiple sources, the most powerful effect will be the “active” one and so it is important that other healers avoid applying too much regeneration in case it overwrites the druid’s.
If the group has more than one druid, they should avoid taking the Water Spirit heal - this provides 10-target regeneration, resulting in the druids competing for regeneration application.
'''Unique Buffs'''
In addition to boons, several classes provide unique buffs. There are many different types but two in particular bear highlighting:
''Permanent buffs'' - There are several buffs that are constantly applied in an AoE as long as the provider is in combat, such as Spotter. While not as powerful as other buffs, they will often be the deciding factor for determining which supports to take.
''Banners'' - Warriors can drop banners on the field that provide attribute boost to 10 players. The buffs are not affected by the Warrior’s attributes, so they can run a full DPS build (aside from the utility slots for banners). For this reason a squad is greatly benefited by having a warrior on every encounter.
''Spirits'' - Rangers can bring powerful spirits as utility skills. As the vast majority of groups will require a healer, these are most easily taken by a druid. The spirits are potent enough that it is worth running at least one ranger build to take a spirit even if a druid is not present.
'''Essential conditions'''
While many classes benefit from particular conditions being on the target, the only truly essential condition is Vulnerability. Many builds (particularly power) provide enough vulnerability to keep it capped on a boss, but in the event vulnerability is not capped it will be required to make some adjustments. By far the simplest solution is to have a druid take Storm Spirit.
An aspect of role assignment that is often underappreciated. Around half the raid encounters feature enemies or objects that will spawn near the group and can either cause serious damage to the squad or waste the squad’s time dealing with them. Depending on the encounter the simplest solution is to use skills that pull enemies into the boss where they will be quickly killed by the DPS, or skills that hit targets over a large area so that enemies or objects will be defeated without the need to take focus off the boss.
There are numerous skills that can fulfil this function, but two in particular are worth mentioning due as they are by far the most effective:
''Temporal Curtain'' - A Chronomancer can take an offhand focus to access Temporal Curtain. The curtain itself can be placed at 900 range from the Chronomancer, and activated a second time to pull up to five targets within 600 range to the center of the curtain. Unlike other options, the pull is not restricted by line of sight, can pull to remote locations, and affects a larger AoE than most alternatives.
''Epidemic'' - A condition necromancer can take Epidemic as one of their utilities. This is a low-cooldown skill (when traited) that can hit up to 5 targets within 900 range of a primary target, copying conditions to them. With sufficient conditions on the main target this is enough to kill the majority of additional enemies, thus offering an incredible amount of cleave without ever needing the necromancer to take focus off attacking the boss.
While the above options are strong in their own right, they can also be supplemented by additional skills. The following are worth mentioning as they are taken by support classes that many groups will already have in the group.
''Blazing Edge'' - Firebrand will normally take an axe for DPS or to provide fury. This skill is a moderate 600 range pull on three targets.
''Path of Scars'' - A ranger (typically a druid) can take an offhand axe in order to gain this skill, which will pull three targets towards the player. The skill has a range of 1200, but will only pull targets 450 units as the axe returns and is somewhat slow moving.
The above two skills are not strong on their own, but can be very effective when combined with Temporal Curtain - either by using them to pull foes closer after Temporal Curtain groups them up, or by pulling additional foes that may have been missed by Temporal Curtain.
''Scorched Earth'' - If the squad’s banner berserker is running condi, then their longbow burst skill is Scorched Earth - a large 1,200 range AoE that deals a large amount of burning and can be used very frequently while berserk is active. The AoE is divided into 5 separate sections, each of which has its own target cap, so the skill could theoretically hit up to 25 targets. The best use of this skill is for the berserker to line themselves up so that the boss is between them and the target(s) to be cleaved. Not only will this allow for effective long-range cleave, but hitting multiple targets will provide higher stacks of furious, making this a DPS increase!
'''Crit Chance'''
As was alluded to when discussing fury, power builds’ gear is optimised around reaching 100% critchance. In order to do this, fury, Banner of Discipline and Spotter are always assumed to be present. The first two are sufficiently powerful that they should always be taken, but many classes do not require Spotter so it is not essential to apply it to everyone.
All these factors will combine to define the structure of a squad.
The vast majority of buffs can affect either five or 10 targets. Where an essential boon or buff is only 5-target, there will need to be at least two sources in order to cover every player.
The examples below cover the most common options (as of date). Other options may also be viable, particularly in regards to might and fury.
''Quickness'' - There are only two reliable sources of quickness in the game - Chronomancers and Firebrands. Daredevil or thief can also provide quickness on raid encounters with the consume plasma stolen skill (currently Adina, Mursaat Overseer and Matthias).
With the right build, chronomancer can provide 10-target quickness with seize the moment, but this requires the entire group to remain closely stacked as the AoE is small.
More usually, both Firebrand and Chronomancer will provide 5-target quickness within their own subgroups.
Chronomancer bring the option for excellent pulls and is a very effective tank due to its high amount of active defense and the ability to provide boons at range, meaning that they can be further from the group. However, their wells provide boons after a few seconds delay, making them less reliable if players move a lot.
Firebrand’s quickness is limited to a narrow cone and a small AoE around the firebrand, making them less suited to tanking and they do not have as strong a pull as a chronomancer. However, they do more damage than chronomancer and can provide a wide variety of boons (including fury). They also apply quickness frequently and instantaneously, making them more reliable.
''Alacrity'' - There are only two reliable sources of alacrity in the game - Chronomancers and Renegades. While chronomancer can only provide alacrity to five targets, Renegade can provide it to 10.
Renegade brings a number of powerful benefits: With staff, it has access to the most powerful CC in the game (Surge of the Mists); it provides Assassin’s Presence, which is a strong unique buff; it boosts both survivability and DPS with Soulcleave’s Summit; and it has the option to bring Legendary Dwarf Stance allowing for permanent stability uptime or Legendary Centaur Stance for more support and projectile defense.
''Might and Fury'' - While many classes can provide might to allies, three in particular are worth mentioning because they are able to keep both might and fury capped on 10 targets: Druid, Tempest and Deadeye.
Per the rule of role compression, these builds will typically also perform healer (Druid and Tempest) or DPS (Deadeye) roles as well. As the majority of groups will require at least one healer, Druid and Tempest may be the most suitable and druid is by far the most common for the following reasons:
* It provides Frost and Sun spirits, which are two potent buffs unique to ranger. It can also provide a storm spirit if the group’s vulnerability output is lacking.
* It provides Spotter to its subgroup.
* It can heal and provide might while off the stack. This enables a druid to handle other mechanics away from the group without losing much effectiveness.
* It can provide a good amount of CC through pets.
* It has the option to bring an offhand axe for additional pulls.
''Healers'' - Depending on the boss, a squad may desire multiple healers. While groups should always be aiming to have as few healers as possible, as many as necessary should be taken. It is most efficient to have a druid as one of those healers, but druid’s sustained healing is comparatively weak so it may be beneficial to run a different class as an additional healer.
Special mention must go to Scourge - while it has low healing and provides practically no buffs, it has the strongest access to barrier in the game. Barrier effectively prevents the targets from taking damage and can even allow the group to survive some attacks that would otherwise instantly down players. Scourge also has access to transfusion, which will teleport downed players to your location and begin reviving them. This enables scourge to save a group from situations that would otherwise be a wipe.
''Unique Buffs'' - Warrior and Ranger provide incredibly powerful buffs at minimal cost so these comps will assume the presence of a druid and a banner warrior.
It is important to note that reviving players from down state is everyone’s responsibility - letting a player die because a DPS player won’t break their rotation will result in much lower DPS overall.
The exceptions to this rule are as follows:
If reviving the player would get other players killed.
The tank should not revive as they will turn the boss towards the rest of the group, making matters worse.
Healers are well suited to reviving as healing % modifiers affect the speed of reviving. However, in cases where there is only one healer the loss of healing on the remaining players can easily lead to more people being downed. With multiple healers this is less risky, but you should still avoid having all healers reviving.
Of course, everyone should still revive as a last resort if no-one else will.
At the start of a raid encounter, support classes should begin providing their essential buffs as soon as possible. However, all boons will be removed from players shortly after the encounter begins (varies from encounter to encounter, but usually within three seconds). This means that players providing boons need to wait until after this boonstrip occurs before they begin.
Generally speaking, buffs apply on the following priority list: Subgroup -> Proximity. This means that a five-target buff will be applied to members of the subgroup within range, and if this is less than five, it will then be applied to the closest player regardless of subgroup. Similarly, if there are more than five targets within the subgroup in range, it will apply to the five closest players to the source of the buff.
This behaviour can be useful when applying buffs that would overcap (be provided to the same target more times than is necessary for permanent uptime). This is particularly notable with regards to permanent application buffs such as Spotter and Assassin’s Presence. These buffs have a 9 second duration but are applied every 3 seconds, which means they can easily be maintained on more than five targets. Hence it is easy to have six or more targets in the same subgroup have the buff permanently applied to them due to the natural changes in positioning within the subgroup. Other buffs (such as quickness and fury) may not be so evenly distributed however, so in practise is may be safer to limit a subgroup to six players, or seven in cases where there will often be one member away from the group (such as Slothasor).
The priority of buff application applied to both buffs and boons, but healing is slightly different: a healing skill will not activate on a player that is at full health (there are some exceptions, typically when the healing skill also provides a buff) and will instead apply to the closest target that can be healed. This means healing will “overflow” to other subgroups, though the healer’s subgroup will still receive more.
Looking at the most common options above, a squad of ten players will usually be divided into two subgroups and each should have a source of quickness. A renegade can provide alacrity to 10 targets, so only one will usually be needed.
This gives three options for sorting out quickness and alacrity:
Firebrand, Renegade
Firebrand, Renegade
Next, the most common options for providing might are both 10-target, so can be placed anywhere. However, while firebrand can maintain permanent fury in its subgroup, Chronomancer cannot.
If we assume the use of a druid, in double-chronomancer setups, they should take a storm spirit to provide 10-target fury. In a mixed comp, the druid should be placed in the chronomancer’s subgroup and can provide fury with Call of the Wild (and only take storm spirit if extra vulnerability or CC is needed). In a double-firebrand comp, the druid does not have to provide fury.
As a warrior’s banners hit 10 targets, it does not matter which subgroup they are placed in. However, as the warrior should typically be doing less damage than the DPS players, it may be recommended to place them in the druid’s subgroup if a renegade is being taken.
If there are additional healers, these should be spread such that there is at least one in each subgroup.
All that remains is placing the DPS players. Three classes in particular are of note:
Weavers and Power Berserkers (DPS or banner) - Both of these classes get a significant damage buff from swiftness and require Spotter. As the druid is also the most reliable source of swiftness thanks to Call of the Wild, these classes should be placed in a druid’s subgroup.
Next, Dragonhunters require high retaliation uptime, which is best provided by other Dragonhunters. Hence Dragonhunters should usually be placed together, or split evenly between the two subgroups if there are too many. As Dragonhunters don’t require spotter, it will often be best to place them in the renegade’s subgroup if there is one.
Remaining DPS should be placed depending on whether they require spotter to critcap or not.
==Simple Raid Builds==
When starting with raids, it can be helpful to have a build with a somewhat simple rotation that can allow you to focus on mechanics as you learn. The following builds are chosen such that they have a simple rotation with a lot of the damage carried by the autoattack.
===Condi Soulbeast===
A variation of Condition Soulbeast - replace the dagger set with a second shortbow (identical to the other), replace Quick Draw with Light on Your Feet and Ambidextrous with Refined Toxins. The rotation here is functionally using skills and weapon swapping off cooldown. Being fully ranged makes it easier to avoid AoEs, though it is heavily reliant on flanking the target to achieve the best DPS.
Auto (Dagger) - 12.7k        Mashing cooldowns - 24.7k        Benchmark - 31k?
===Power Holosmith===
The Power Holosmith can be modified by replacing Grenade Kit with Photon Wall (or Throw Mine on large hitbox targets).
Auto (Sword) - 15.9k        Mashing Cooldowns - 18.6k        Benchmark - 34?
===Power Daredevil===
Auto (Staff) - 21k        Mashing Cooldowns - 29k??        Benchmark - 35.6k
Power Deadeye
Auto (Dagger)    - 20k        Mashing Cooldowns - 28.2k        Benchmark - 33.5k
Auto (Greatsword) - 16.9k    Mashing Cooldowns - 28.3k        Benchmark - 33.4k
Auto (Sceptre) - 12.9k        Mashing Cooldowns - 23k        Benchmark - 28.5k
===Healing Tempest===
As druid has a lot of responsibility, and relatively low healing. A tempest is an excellent option as a second healer that provides a huge amount of healing over a wide area.
===Quickness Firebrand===
There are three flavours of quickness firebrand (power, condition, healing) but all provide quickness in the same way. It is very simple to
Power DPS
Power Reaper
Power Holosmith
Power Daredevil   
Power Berserker
Power Spellbreaker
Condi DPS
Condi Soulbeast
Heal Tempest
Buff Support
Power Quickbrand
==Raid Guides==
Links to Raid guides.

Revision as of 19:00, 6 December 2019