Guild Wars Information

Guild Wars Information


Your character build is what makes your character. There are limits to your build – 8 skill slots, what primary profession/secondary profession you are, and what skills your character has learned. Within those limits, you can design your build however you want. Each profession has 4-5 attribute lines, and your secondary profession grants you all of that professions attributes with the exception of the primary attribute.

Primary attributes are primary profession specific attributes. Some affect skills in your secondary profession or have global effects. For example, Expertise, for Rangers, reduces the energy cost of all skills with the exception of hexes, enchantments and spells. Energy Storage, for Elementalists, gives you a larger energy pool which can be used by any skill from any profession. Some are more limiting, such as Divine Favour for Monks, which adds additional healing power to any Monk spells cast on a friendly character.

Considering that you only have 8 skills to use, builds are better off focussing on a specific role, instead of trying to play all roles, with a couple of flavour skills mixed in. For example, an Axe Warrior, is generally going to have 4 attack skills, a speed buff skill, a self healing skill, a resurrection signet (cornerstone #8 skill on most builds) and a form of knock-down. Below are some sample builds. To use them, simply copy the build string and paste it into template code in game. It’s easier to make sure you have the skills first, otherwise you’ll have to go hunting for them.

Shock Axe Warrior/Elementalist
Skill List: [Elite] Eviscerate, Executioners Strike, Critical Chop, Shock, Frenzy, Sprint, Healing signet, Resurrection Signet

Crippling Shot Ranger/Monk
Skill List: [Elite] Crippling Shot, Savage Shot, Distracting Shot, Apply poison, Mending Touch, Troll Unguent, Natural Stride, Resurrection Signet
Template Code: AyMxlxZOnEjq5xMbyr+mftAA

Blessed Light Monk/Assassin
Skill List: Reversal of Fortune, Gift of Health, Signet of Devotion, Protective Spirit, [Elite] Blessed Light, Dismiss Condition, Dark Escape, Return
Template Code: AzRRDfIk/3MTCjlk6RrbT3AFYA


The Level Cap
Guild Wars utilises a low level cap of 20. In Guild Wars Prophecies, this is reached relatively late in the campaign, about 3/4 of the way through in fact. It also has a new player friendly area set 3 years before the main game, where you get to around level 10 before moving on to the main game. Then you leave, you cannot go back. In Guild Wars Factions and Guild Wars Nightfall, there are islands on the worldmap used for the same purpose. However, they get you to around level 15-20, with the rest of the campaign designed for character already at level 20. You can go back to these islands at will.


The level cap was put in place to keep PvP combat balanced. It makes sure anyone competing in competitive PvP will have the same health levels and amount of attribute points to use, so no one is any more powerful than anyone else. This seems restrictive to new players who are used to having a higher level cap, but the whole games skill and combat system is designed around this level cap as well. Level 20 is where you can really start experimenting with builds.


As with the level cap, there is a power cap on weapons, for the same reasons (PvP balance). This also shifts the focus with damage dealing away from what your weapon does into what your build does. The weapon is merely the tool that the build uses, and also augments your build. For example, in the crippling shot build above, if you use a bow with a Crippling bowstring, your crippling shot will last for longer. If you use a Poisonous bowstring, Apply Poisons poison application will last longer.


The main attraction with rare weapons in Guild Wars is weapon appearance. You can go to a collector and get a maximum damage weapon relatively cheaply, but it will look rather plain. If you go out and try to find, say, a Storm Bow, which acts like a Longbow, you will have a much better looking weapon, but does the same damage.


This is a list of maximum damage values for the available weapons.


  • Sword: 15-22
  • Axe: 6-28
  • Hammer: 19-35
  • Bow: 15-28
  • Spear: 14-27
  • Daggers: 7-17
  • Scythe: 9-41
  • Staff: 11-22
  • Wand: 11-22



Martial Weapons

Swords all have the same attack speed regardless of appearance, as well as hammers, Axes, Daggers and Spears – though each weapon type has it’s own attack speed. The only difference is some weapon skins do difference damage types. Scythes all do slashing damage. Swords all do slashing damage with the exception of the Jitte, which does blunt damage. Axes all do slashing damage with a few exceptions dealing piercing damage, same with Daggers. Hammers all deal blunt damage with the exception of the Collosal Pick, which does piercing damage.


Shields are used on the off hand when you are using an Axe, Spear or Sword. A shield can add up to 16 to your base armour level, as well as have it’s own bonuses like extra health, even more armour, reduced condition durations on you, etc. Shields are also commonly used on casters who, even if they do not meet the shields requirement, gain an additional 8 armour and the bonuses that the shield carries.


Short bows have the fastest fire rate, but have a very short range. Longbows have a medium fire rate, and have range longer than your agro radius. Recurve bows have the same fire rate as a long bow but have a shorter range, but also have a very fast flight time, meaning they miss less. Hornbows have the longest fire time, and a slow flight time, but also have an additional 10% armour penetration. Flatbows have the same fire rate as a short bow, the range of a long bow, but a very slow flight time and a high fire arc, meaning they miss a lot. Each bow type is good in it’s own situation.


Caster Weapons
Caster weapons differ from other weapons. Their damage is very low, and very few skills actually utilise the weapon as a weapon. The come in 3 types – Staves (Staff), Wands/Rods, and Foci (Focus). The main purpose of a caster weapon is to augment the skillbar in a different way. Caster weapons are used to reduce casting times/recharge times of spells, which allows the caster to use their skills more often and/or faster. They also have large energy additions. A focus can add up to 12 energy to your energy pool, a Staff up to 10. Staffs also always have an additional up to 20% chance to halve the recharge on all spells regardless of their attribute line.


Weapons all carry at least one modification, or mod, slot, some have 2. Martial weapons and staves carry 2 slots, and offhand items, shields and foci, carry one. Each weapon type has it’s own modification list, and modifications are not global. An Axe Grip of Fortitude, for example, adding +30 health you your character, cannot be placed on a Sword. Modifications are best used when they compliment your build.


A Warrior, for example, would want 3-4 weapons to swap between when he is fighting. A Vampiric weapon for damage, which adds between 3-5 damage per strike that ignores all forms of protection and also heals the user. It has a life draining effect, but the damage boost more than makes up for it. Sundering is another popular modification, which can add up to 20% armour penetration to a strike, but only triggers 20% of the time, making it unreliable. However, it has no life draining effect. A warrior also commonly uses a Zealous weapon for faster energy regeneration and an elemental weapon for attacking other warriors.


Most weapons dropped in Nightfall will carry what is called an Inscription slot. In other campaigns, these inscriptions are bound to the weapon and cannot be removed or replaced. Weapons in Nightfall, however, can have them removed and replaced at will. This makes finding good weapons a lot easier. If you find a weapon you like but it does not have the inscription you want, you can remove it or replace it. Be careful, however, for removing an inscripion, like a modification, can destroy the weapon.


All weapons will carry a requirement. This is the attribute level you must meet for the weapon to get it’s full effect. However, there’s a few tricks to requirement. Meeting a requirement only affects what the requirement it is on the same line as. On a martial weapon, this will be the damage, same with staves and foci. Shields will have it with the armour level, foci with the energy bonus. All mods and inscriptions on the weapon are unaffected by requirement.


Also, meeting the weapons requirement will make it do the maximum base damage for the weapon, wether it’s requirement 7 or 13. The only difference a lower requirement makes is you don’t need as much in the attribute to get the weapons maximum base damage. However, with weapons that deal damage, the higher your attribute level is, the better chance you have to critical hit, thus increasing your overall damage. Meeting the requirement is all you need to get the maximum damage out of a weapon, exceeding it gives you a higher chance to score a critical hit. Lower requirement weapons (such as 7-8) are collected for prestige, but side from a little more build flexibility, aren’t better than a requirement 13 weapon of the same type.


Armour in Guild Wars is, again, like levels and weapons, capped. When you reach level 20, you’ll have armour available to you with that professions highest armour level. All armour is generic when purchased, and is upgraded to have special bonuses with things called ‘Insignia’. These are bought from other players, found, or bought from the rune trader. There are profession specific insignia and generic insignia. Generic insignia offer bonuses like +10 armour vs physical damage, extra health or additional energy for your energy pool.


Profession specific insignia offer better bonuses while under a condition that the profession is likely to be under, like extra armour on a Necromancer while controlling minions, or considerably higher armour on a Warrior with a high strength attribute. Below is a list of the maximum base armour level per profession.


  • Warrior: 80
  • Elementalist: 60
  • Mesmer: 60
  • Ranger: 70
  • Monk: 60
  • Necromancer: 60
  • Assassin: 70
  • Ritualist: 60
  • Paragon: 80
  • Dervish: 70


If you have any questions, please feel free to ask on our forums. We have a lot of friendly members who will gladly give advice and answer questions.