When new players ask what build they should run, veterans often answer with “any build is viable in open world.” While this might be true for veteran players, it doesn't help players who are still learning the game. For someone coming into level 80 maps for the first time, or trying to do story instances alone, running with a random unoptimized build can be immensely frustrating.
These builds are meant for players who need help with level 80 open world and story content. They can easily defeat normal enemies and story bosses without support from other players. Many of these builds are also capable of soloing group events, champions, and even fractals and raid bosses if played well.
Where possible, a build has two equipment variants: a "Standard" variant which shares gear with common fractal/raid builds, as well as an "Optimal" variant for players who have spare gold or aren’t interested in group content. They also list variant traits and skills that are worth swapping to in specific situations.
To all new and returning Guild Wars 2 players, we hope you find these builds useful!
Note: These builds are for roaming by yourself or doing regular group events. For bounties, world bosses, or boss-focused meta events like Triple Trouble and Dragon's Stand, you should play a Fractal or Raid build.
Important Links and Resources
Ways to Earn Gold (WIP)
Last updated for the 8 May 2018 balance patch
Q: Can I play these builds in dungeons, fractals, and/or raids?
A: No, these builds are for open world. When joining a dungeon, fractal, or raid group, you should play a build tailored to group content. Many of these builds have a Standard gear variant that allows you to easily swap to a similar fractal/raid build, which is linked in the same section that the gear variant is listed.
Q: I don't have the right stats/runes/sigils/unlocked traits for this build. Can I still play it?
A: Yes, but your effectiveness will be severely limited. Having the right gear and traits is important for maximizing a build's potential. You can still run a build that's close to the recommended build, but you should work your way up to the right gear/traits as soon as possible.
Q: I haven't reached level 80 and don't have these skills/traits unlocked. What should I do?
A: Under level 80, all content is trivially easy, so you shouldn't worry about running the absolute best build. Instead, you should try out different weapons, skills, and traits to learn how they work. If you start finding story missions/normal enemies difficult, make sure you're wearing gear appropriate to your level.
Q: Why do so many of the builds use full damage stats?
A: In open world content, offense is the best defense. You can kill most enemies before they get a single hit in, and all enemy attacks can be avoided with smart dodging and positioning. Meanwhile, the more damage you sacrifice for survivability, the longer you'll take to kill enemies and the more damage you'll end up taking.
All group events and achievements -- even incredibly hard ones like Migraine -- are doable in full damage gear. If you have trouble surviving, you should first adapt your skills and traits, and keep an eye out for specific attacks that you should avoid. Defensive stats won't save you if you don't first learn to dodge attacks.
Only if it's absolutely impossible for you to survive should you consider swapping a few pieces of gear to defensive stats:
- Power builds: Marauder's or Soldier's
- Condition builds: Trailblazer's
Q: The build suggests (X weapon/skill/trait) but I find (Y weapon/skill/trait) more fun to use. Can I use that instead?
A: If you really want to. These builds are suggestions about what combinations of weapons, skills, and traits will be most effective, and some combinations will naturally be more effective than others. However, if you have no trouble getting things done in open world, you can play whatever you like.
Q: I would like to contribute suggestions/gameplay tips/new builds. Where do I start?