Guild Wars 2 Build Templates Guide

GW2. This guide shows how to organize and create convenient playstyles using the build templates feature.

Build templates are how Guild Wars 2 allows you to organize and keep track of your traits and equipment throughout game modes which can be a great convenience. However, there are also many ways to use these to gain an advantage in combat.

What Are Build Templates

Build templates have three main parts to them and whenever you enter any of the three main game modes of Guild Wars 2: PvE, WvW, or PvP, the game will automatically swap to the template you were in the last time you were in this game mode. This also means that you are always within the bounds of the template system and whether you choose to use them or not you are interacting with that system, so learning how they work will benefit you greatly.

You can swap between these out of combat in PvE and WvW but can only swap them before a match begins in rated PvP. Tinkering with a template cannot be done without permanently changing the template, unless you put it in storage first. Because of this you should not think of the build template system as a library of builds but rather as a tool for convenience.

Trait and Utility Templates

Trait templates include all of your specialization traits and your utility skills. Your weapon skills are tied to which weapons you use which are part of your equipment templates, so using both is important.

Right click the number at the top of your templates to, among other options, be able to copy paste the build link in text. Copying the build link will put a line of text in your computer’s clipboard memory and you can repaste this text in and out of Guild Wars 2 using Ctrl + V. Outside the game the build link is not very useful, but it can be shared on websites and other players can copy paste that back into the game which will have functionality in Guild Wars 2 allowing you to inspect and copy those traits/utilities.

Equipment Templates

Equipment Templates include your armor, weapons, and trinkets. For PvP where gear does not affect your build, but an amulet and runes/sigils decide your build independently, you will need to go to the PvP panel inside your equipment template to change those.

When in your equipment template, gear will no longer appear in your inventory, so it can be useful to look around other templates if a piece appears to be missing. To manage your equipment you can left click on a specific piece and it will show to the left every item in your inventory or in another template that can be used in that slot. For example, if you select your main hand weapon you will see other main hand weapons, two-handed weapons, sigils, and infusions to the left. All of these can either replace this slot or enhance it. However, off hand weapons, runes, or anything else that cannot go in your main hand slot will not appear unless you select your off hand.

This also means that you can use a single piece of equipment in multiple templates. Legendary equipment which can change stats for free can also exist in multiple templates using different stats in each.

Trait Template Storage

Trait Template Storage allows you to save a trait template slot for later so you don’t change it or to remember it. You cannot save equipment templates in your template storage because pieces of gear are not as universal as traits. The difference between trait templates and trait template storage is that storage is account bound so you can receive traits from other classes or characters and place them in your storage until you are on a class that can use those traits.

Left click on an empty storage slot to save your current traits to that slot. Left click a storage slot that has a build on it to load it onto your current template slot. Right click a storage slot that has a build on it to delete or share it.

Every character will start out with 3 trait template slots and 2 equipment template slots by default, but you can buy up to 6 of each from the gemstore per character. Your account will have access to 6 storage slots by default and can be upgraded to 24 in total.

  • Trait Template slots cost 300 gems each
  • Equipment Template slots cost 500 gems each
  • Storage Template slots cost 500 gems for a bundle of 3

How to Use Templates More Efficiently

Generally it is more valuable to buy character slots than template slots because you also get more inventory space, but if you can’t level up another character, there are some ways to optimize the usage of your build templates and to save money.

First of all, templates are not meant to be used as a library of builds because they are very limited at doing that. If you do wish to remember a large amount of builds and store them in one place, using the template system will not suffice. However, you can use the template system to make it easier to do so. Using the build link you copy from the game you can paste those into a discord channel, a notepad file, or even into the guild message of the day for easy access to trait template links.

Another way to optimize your templates can be done using some creativity. If you are tight on money and can’t afford more templates or characters, you can use one of your trait template slots to represent your template storage slots.

For example, you have a minimum of 3 trait slots per character and a maximum of 6 but can substitute any of your storage slots onto your templates. That means you can mentally dedicate your storage slots to a single character to extend their maximum trait slots by the amount of storage slots you allocate to them. Designate one of your trait template slots as the representative slot (mentally) and then place any of your stored builds on that slot and you won’t need to delete or overwrite any slots and keep them organized while also increasing your potential.

This method also means you can get more value on your build template purchases through storage slots because they cost 500 for 3 and regular trait slots are 300 for 1. Of course you can only have so many storage slots and you have to dedicate them to a specific class, and it takes slightly more effort to do this than just buying more templates. Decide which is best for you.

Keybinding templates can also be very important for swapping between them without opening any UI panels and for even more convenience. Find them near the bottom of the keybinds in your options. I personally place my templates on F7 + F8 (for first set of equipment and traits), F9 + F10 (second set of equipment and traits), and F11 + F12 (third set of equipment and traits). Other options can be, equipment templates on Shift + Y, Shift + U, and Shift + I and then trait templates on Shift + J, Shift + K, and Shift + L. So Shift + Y and Shift + H are for equipment template 1 and trait template 1. This allows the organization of equipment and traits that I organize for each other to be keybinded vertically to each other. You can find other creative methods to organizing and remembering your templates through keybinds.

Practical Usage of Templates

Even though most players will want to place all of their favorite builds on their templates, there is much greater potential for convenience and reasons to use them otherwise. For example, if I really enjoy playing a power Thief build with Sword and then sometimes I like to play a power Thief build with Daggers I only really need to change my weapons and a couple traits to play either of these. Using separate templates for these two builds might feel nice because they are my two most used builds, but in reality swapping between them does not take much effort. However, if I sometimes like to play a condition thief build I would not only need to change the traits much more but also the equipment quite drastically. If I have to manually change every piece of gear and traits to swap between power and condition I have to do much more work. I would get much more convenience from putting my condition build on one template and my power build on the other, and then when I want to tinker with variants of those builds I can just change the original template.


This is why it is suggested to organize templates around archetypes like Condition and Power, playstyles like DPS and Support, or even Roaming and Zerging rather than organizing your templates around specific builds. You can think about what kind of build you wish to run and then swap to the template that is closest to that and go from there. This will minimize the amount of time it takes to get to your desired build and allow you to get back in the action as soon as possible. It is also better for players who like to adapt to the situation rather than run the same build everywhere.

Getting the Most Out of Templates

The true potential of build templates in Guild Wars 2 can even be a bit scary in terms of power creep. You could create templates of the same build but with slight changes and swap between those two builds using keybinds depending on the situation and as long as you are out of combat. You wish to play a roaming Spellbreaker build? Create one version with Endure Pain to counter power builds, and one version with “Shake It Off” to counter condition builds.

Going even further than this you could create two very dissimilar builds and overlap their effects using build templates. For example, a Guardian can have one template with tons of boon duration equipment and traits and precast a long duration of protection, quickness, swiftness, fury, stability, and other boons. Then they can swap to a heavy damage build and maintain those boons to give them sustain that the latter build could not achieve. This is sort of balanced by the fact that utility skills keep their cooldowns after swapping templates, but with good timing you could create an explosive combination. Also weapon skills do not share cooldowns with other weapons and some skill effects can have longer durations than their cooldowns, so some things can provide clear advantages.

This is an issue that the developers Arenanet are aware of and are monitoring in case it gets out of hand. In some cases this is kind of tolerable and can even create interesting speedrunning strategies in PvE, but then there are other situations like abusing mobility to get out of combat and swap between a super safe bunker build and a heavy one shot build in WvW which most would rather not see happening.

If you want to know more, I strongly recommend you watch this video:

Credit to Vallun for the video.

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