Leveling Builds

GW2. Beginner Class Guides and Leveling Builds to start your journey in Guild Wars 2.




Leveling is one of the best experiences in Guild Wars 2 because of how much freedom there is. Despite the many ways to do so, generally the first experience of leveling is done through exploring the open world maps and progressing the story. This is the time when most people learn the skills and traits of their class, so it is advised that you don’t play just one thing. Test everything out to find what performs the best for you.

However, there are some challenges you may face, especially when obtaining hero points from the expansion content which will allow you to use the elite specializations. Rather than using a budget version of an end-game build which you can’t reach the full potential of, the following builds are designed to make the process of leveling as efficient as possible while also allowing you to solo defeat many of the challenging hero points so you can even get to using the more powerful elite specializations.

NOTE: All classes are fun and viable, so find which one suits your preferences.


Elementalist

Elementalist is a standard magic user. It has access to only one weapon for skills but has four attunements which give different skills to use. Fire attunement gives you mostly damaging skills, Air is utility and movement, Water is healing and survivability, and then Earth is control effects.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Great sustain
  • Combos well with other players

Cons

  • Fragile
  • Many buttons to press
  • Rotation reliant

This suggested leveling build uses Fire, Arcane, and Earth traits and gains protection from casting auras which are available in air and water attunement while wielding two daggers. It is mostly a condition build so you want to use fire and earth attunement for damage and only swap to air and water very briefly to get out the auras then stick to earth and fire.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Dire (Condition Damage – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Carrion (Condition Damage – Power – Vitality)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Dagger / DaggerHeal / Utility / Elite

Skill Priorities:
Air > 4 > 2 > 33 > 5
Fire > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 2
Earth > 3 > 2 > 4 > 5 > 2
Water > 44 > 5 > 2


Trait Leveling Order: Fire > Earth > Arcane




Ranger

Ranger is in tune with nature. They use their environment and survival skills to their advantage as well as pets which can be found and tamed all around the world. Contrary to popular belief, ranger does not mean someone who uses bows at range, but rather someone who patrols in small groups or even solo, and often the melee weapons of rangers are very powerful.

Pros

  • Works well solo
  • Easy to play
  • Mobile

Cons

  • Selfish
  • Reliant on pets which have limited control
  • Lack diversity

This is a greatsword ranger build with two axes, it has insane modifiers to deal power burst damage. It uses Skirmishing, Beastmastery, and Wilderness Survival traits, with the Quick Draw trait allowing you to lower the cooldown of your next skill after swapping weapons drastically. It does not rely on the pet so much as on the actual weapon skills.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Soldier (Power – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Berserker (Power – Precision – Ferocity)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

GreatswordHeal / Utility / Elite
Axe / Axe

Skill Priorities:
Greatsword 3 > 2 > 5 > 2 > Axes > 3 > 4 > 5 > 2 > 3 > Greatsword 2

Recomended Pets: Juvenile Brown BearJuvenile River Drake


Trait Leveling Order: Beastmastery > Wilderness Survival > Skirmishing




Guardian

Guardian infuses magic into physical attacks and scales up aggressively in larger scale situations where they can support their allies no matter what role they choose to play. They must choose to retain the passive effects of their virtues or to cast them for a more immediate effect at the cost of losing the passive.

Pros

  • Team Oriented
  • Great sustain
  • High utility

Cons

  • Slow
  • Team reliant
  • Cooldown reliant

This power build with Zeal, Honor, and Valor traits greatly improves the effects and damage of symbols which are ground targeted circles available on each guardian weapon. Rather than using the actives of the virtues, it maintains their passives as well as the boons given by the symbols to gain plenty of buffs. Place the symbol on your enemies and stand next to them inside the symbol, or place the symbol on yourself and wait for the enemies to come to you.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Soldier (Power – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Berserker (Power – Precision – Ferocity)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Scepter / FocusHeal / Utility / Elite
Sword / Shield

Skill Priorities:
Scepter 2 > 3 > Focus 4 > 5 > Sword 2 > 3 > 1 > Scepter 2


Trait Leveling Order: Honor > Zeal > Valor




Engineer

Engineer has many scientific gadgets and tools at their disposal, making them very versatile or a jack-of-all-trades. They only have access to one set of weapons and a very low variety of weapons, but they can use tool belt skills which are based on the utilities they choose and have access to kits such as grenades, bombs, and flamethrowers to swap between sets of skills with no weapon swap limitations.

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Mobile
  • Combos well with other players

Cons

  • Lacks a defined role
  • Many buttons to press
  • Reliant on aim to land many of its skills

This pistol build uses Explosives, Firearms, and Alchemy traits. It is mainly condition damage and the flamethrower and grenade kits are used to manage your positioning. Engineers have many options for ranged damage and control effects so they can escape from tough situations. It may be difficult to land some of the attacks while moving around so much and using all of the different skills so engineer players have to love movement and pressing lots of keys.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Dire (Condition Damage – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Carrion (Condition Damage – Power – Vitality)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Pistol / ShieldHeal / Utility / Elite
Grenade KitFlamethrower

Skill Priorities:

  • Tool Belt Grenade Barrage + Incendiary Ammo
  • Pistol 2 > 3
  • Grenade Kit 2 > 4 > 5
  • Flamethrower Kit 4 > 2

Use Supply Crate, Flamethrower 3, and Shield 4/5 to keep enemies at a distance. Use the Tool Belt Med Pack Drop for extra healing and cleanses.


Trait Leveling Order: Explosives > Alchemy > Firearms




Mesmer

Mesmer uses illusions and chaotic magic to deceive their enemies. Unlike other RPGs where illusions are mechanically just a debuff, they actually take shape in Guild Wars 2’s action combat as real objects and they make it hard for enemies to find the real mesmer. They can tax the enemy of their time and cooldowns with their illusions or shatter the illusions for a strong spell. While they are one of the most unique and rewarding classes, they are very vulnerable when the illusions are gone or enemies can discern which one is real. They also are great at thwarting their enemies’ plans with interrupts, elusiveness, or invulnerability.

Pros

  • Mobile
  • Illusions can distract enemies
  • High utility

Cons

  • Fragile
  • Shatters require clones which take time to create
  • Requires awareness and foresight

This is a power build with the Domination, Inspiration, and Illusions traits which give phantasm synergy. Phantasms are just illusions that do a powerful attack before becoming a clone, so you want to use all of your phantasm attacks and then recharge them with your heal skill Signet of the Ether and do them again.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Soldier (Power – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Berserker (Power – Precision – Ferocity)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Sword / SwordHeal / Utility / Elite
Greatsword

Skill Priorities:
Time Warp > Greatsword 2 > 4 > Sword 5 > Phantasmal Disenchanter > Phantasmal Defender > Signet of the Ether > Sword 5 > Phantasmal Disenchanter > Phantasmal Defender > F1 + 2


Trait Leveling Order: Illusions > Inspiration > Domination




Warrior

Warrior masters many weapons, allowing them access to the most choices for playstyles although they are all mostly melee oriented. They gain adrenaline when they hit and they can expend their adrenaline to perform burst attacks which depend on the weapon type they’re wielding. Warriors have the highest base defenses which makes them a forgiving class for new players and allows more experienced players to build very aggressively for big damage in close quarters.

Pros

  • Works well solo
  • Very durable
  • Heavy control and damage

Cons

  • Reliant on Adrenaline which takes time to build
  • Selfish
  • Long animations

This is a hammer and greatsword build with Strength, Discipline, and Defense traits. The mobility provided by both weapons makes it feel more fluid and you can solely break enemies down with the control provided by the hammer while the greatsword does great damage. You can take the hammer trait for more adrenaline in Strength, but that won’t be too useful on enemies that have defiance bars.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Soldier (Power – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Berserker (Power – Precision – Ferocity)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

GreatswordHeal / Utility / Elite
Hammer

Skill Priorities:
Greatsword 5 > 3 > 4 > 2 > Hammer > 4 > F1 > 2 > 5 > 2 > Greatsword > F1


Trait Leveling Order: Discipline > Strength > Defense




Necromancer

Necromancer can raise the dead as well as suck the life out of the living. They expose the defenses of their enemies so they cannot withstand attacks from you or your allies. When enemies die or necromancers land certain abilities on their enemies they gain life force. This allows them to enter death shroud which gives them new abilities and will protect their life with a second health bar.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Great sustain
  • Scales up in larger fights

Cons

  • Slow
  • Reliant on death shroud which takes time to build
  • Selfish

With Blood Magic, Soul Reaping, and Spite traits, this build can life steal to give you damage and healing. The passive of Signet of Undeath with the Signets of Suffering trait gives a constant source of life force even while in death shroud to allow long shroud durations for safety and damage. Just remember to not cast Signet of Undeath unless you want to revive allies.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Soldier (Power – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Berserker (Power – Precision – Ferocity)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Dagger / WarhornHeal / Utility / Elite
Axe / FocusDeath Shroud

Skill Priorities:
Use Dagger 2 and Axe 2/4 when out of shroud. Before entering shroud make sure your minions are summoned. Use Shroud 3 to get quickness from Dread to spam 1 for single target damage and then 4 and 5 for multiple targets.


Trait Leveling Order: Blood Magic > Soul Reaping > Spite




Thief

Thief uses subtlety and speed to get things done. Rather than cooldowns on the weapon skills, it has a shared resource that all weapon skills pull from, allowing you to choose which skills you need for the situation. This resource called initiative can be heavily invested into one skill for burst damage, or spread out among others to be more versatile. Thieves do not provide much support to allies and often are required to find indirect ways to solve problems rather than fighting fairly, but they have the tools to achieve this with stealth and many teleports.

Pros

  • Mobile
  • High burst
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Fragile
  • Single target focused
  • Selfish

This is a condition damage build with a pistol and dagger set and Shadow Arts, Deadly Arts, and Trickery traits. Whenever you are in stealth, your 1 skill becomes a sneak attack, which is a high burst skill based on the weapon you are wielding. On pistol the sneak attack is a multi-hitting ranged attack. The elite skill Thieves Guild summons allies to help you, because you don’t need to play fairly you just need to win. You can also share your venom to the thieves guild for a good burst opener.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Dire (Condition Damage – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Carrion (Condition Damage – Power – Vitality)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Pistol / DaggerHeal / Utility / Elite
Shortbow

Skill Priorities:
Use Dagger 5 when in melee range to gain stealth, then use the sneak attack then the Pistol/Dagger 3 skill Shadow Strike which is a dual attack (3 skill while dual-wielding) to get to range and spam the 3 skill Repeater. Continue gaining stealth using Steal, Hide in Shadows, Cloak and Dagger, or Shadow Refuge and using the sneak attack.


Trait Leveling Order: Trickery > Shadow Arts > Deadly Arts




Revenant

Revenant channels legends of the past through the mists, the place where spirits of the dead linger. The legends you choose to commune with will give you an entire set of powerful skills, but you can’t mix and match skills like other classes. These skills not only have cooldowns but they cost energy, a resource you recharge over time or whenever you swap between your two legend choices. Managing this energy resource can be difficult for newer players, but allows powerful combos and sustained damage when managed efficiently.

Pros

  • High utility
  • Great sustain
  • Mobile

Cons

  • Energy and cooldown reliant
  • Lack of diversity
  • Requires an expansion to play

Revenant is the only class you need to buy an expansion to access, but just because you have an expansion doesn’t mean you have an elite specialization. You still need to level up, so here is a power build with two swords and Devastation, Invocation, and Retribution traits. Because energy management is the hard part, this build doesn’t require many choices for using your energy, but also has many sources for gaining energy.


  • Recommended equipment:
    • Cheap
      • Mix of the following stats:
        • Soldier (Power – Toughness – Vitality)
        • Berserker (Power – Precision – Ferocity)
      • Runes:
      • Sigils:
    • Expensive
      • Celestial stats

Sword / SwordHeal / Utility / Elite
Staff

Skill Priorities:
Always upkeep either Impossible Odds in Shiro stance or Vengeful Hammers in Jalis stance. Otherwise use all of your sword skills when possible. Swap legends below 10 energy to gain an extra 25 energy due to the Charged Mists trait. Your F2 is extra energy as well.


Trait Leveling Order: Invocation > Retribution > Devastation




Video Guide

Credit to Vallun for the video.

Leave a Reply