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Armour & Weapons

Published Oct 14, 2022 Updated Apr 13, 2024
Dak393 writer

Decide on your build

The last two stages of this first section can be completed in the background whilst working through the rest of the guide but since they will influence the gear you want to acquire they are listed first.

Once you have reached level 80 on your chosen profession, select what build you want to start working towards. Almost all builds require the use of an Elite Specialization so your next step is to start training the Elite Specialization required for the build you have selected.

There are two pages that can help you decide which build you want to work towards:

  1. The Beginner's Build Page lists a few easy to pick up builds that are ideal for the starter raider to have as their first raid character.
  2. The Main Build Page lists all the builds on this site and contains the full range of builds that you can consider gearing. The Builds page allows you to filter the list of all builds by Profession, since you already have a profession at level 80, filter this page to only show the builds for your profession.

All the builds on the builds page have tags based on what they bring to the squad, below are the tags on the builds explained:

Firstly there are tags that explain what type of role your build will be occupying within a squad.

  • Power - This class deals Power based DPS, classes with this tag will either be a full damage dealer build or a support that provides some boons to the squad whilst dealing a moderate amount of power damage.
  • Condition - Just like the power tag, this tag just means that builds will instead deal mainly Condition Damage based damage, either as a full DPS or as a condition based boon support.
  • Healing - builds with this tag provide a large amount of healing to either their subgroup or the entire squad depending upon how many healers your squad has. All healers in GW2 also provide the five players of their subgroup with many boons, the boons provided vary alot but the main important boons they provide are specified with the tags named after boons below.
  • Tank - tank tagged builds are builds that are able to tank raid bosses. Lots of raid bosses have an aggro mechanic based around Toughness, on these bosses you simply need to swap some of your gear to Toughness based stats depending upon what stats your build normally runs. All but a couple of raid bosses don't deal very much damage to the tank so it isn't hard to tank but you will be responsible for the movement of the boss which for most bosses is very important to simply keep the boss as still as possible but for a couple where movement is necessary you might need to think carefully about where you are moving the boss. Most tank builds are also healers as this is both great role compression but also makes healing the tank extremely simple, since you just heal yourself since you are the tank!
  • Handkite - This is a very niche type of build that is only used on a single raid boss and it should not be used to gear your first character.

Secondly there are boon based tags that explain what boons your support class will provide to your subgroup.

  • Quickness - quickness providers provide Quickness to their subgroup, this boon speeds up the cast of all abilities so results in a large damage increase for squads that have this boon.
  • Alacrity - just like quickness providers alacrity providers provide, you guessed it, Alacrity to their subgroup. Alacrity reduces the Cooldown of all your skills; this means that you can cast all kinds of skills: damaging abilities, healing skills, boon providing skills, Breakbar damage skills more often which results in both higher damage but also a higher quality of life, more Breakbar damage, more healing and so on. Once again this a great boon that you definitely want your whole squad to have high uptime of.
  • Might - might providers give their subgroups Might providers is another great offensive boon, it stacks up to 25 stacks and each stack grants 30 Power and Condition Damage. This means that a player with 25 stacks of Might will have 750 Power and Condition Damage more than a player with no stacks. This obviously shows how important it is for your squad to have access to 25 stacks of Might on all the players in your squad.

Gearing

Now that you have decided on a build to work towards, you need to acquire the gear to help your build fulfil its role. On the build page you will see the weapons, armour, trinkets, sigils, runes, infusions, and the stat prefixes of all gear.

All builds on this site are designed around using infusions and full ascended gear. Ascended gear is the second highest rarity of gear and has stats identical to the highest rarity of gear, Legendary. Ascended gear has the lucky side benefit of being able to be stat swapped for a small cost so as long as you have the correct type of weapon or weight of armour it can be changed to your desired prefix. The exact process is described on the Stat Changing wiki page. The third highest rarity of gear is called Exotic which is perfectly usable as starter gear and only has 5% lower stats than ascended gear.

It is recommended to start raiding with ascended weapons and trinkets, but not required.

The 5% stat bonus from ascended is more noticeable on trinkets as they grant more stats than armour. Having 5% more weapon strength from an ascended weapon is a significant improvement on any damage-dealing role as most of your skills include a damage calculation which includes your character's weapon strength. However, you can start raiding in full exotic gear as you work towards more pieces of ascended gear, both raid and strike encounters have a chance to drop ascended gear as well as will give currency that can be used to buy specific ascended pieces you might want. Due to the slightly lower stats, be prepared to practice harder to achieve the same results as other players!

The second limitation of exotic gear is that you cannot use infusions. Infusions are upgrade items that slot into all pieces of ascended rarity and above excluding the amulet. They allow builds to gain a marginal increase in stats to improve the performance of your build. For now, focus on the other gearing aspects aside from infusions. These can be worked toward after you have become experienced with your class and raiding in general if you want to push your performance to the highest level.

The acquisition of exotic and ascended gear for any build is described in the following sections:

  • Weapons
  • Sigils
  • Armour
  • Runes
  • Trinkets

Weapons

Ascended weapons are usually obtained through crafting; however, there are a couple of options for easier acquisition.

You can complete a Specialization Collection to obtain an ascended weapon related to your profession. However, not all builds use the weapon that is obtained through this method. In general, the Specialization Collections of both End of Dragons Path of Fire are cheaper than those of Heart of Thorns. All ascended weapons acquired from Specialization Collections only allow for a few different weapon prefixes to be selected which might not be the prefix required for your chosen build, they can however be stat swapped just like any ascended weapon.

The second route is to complete the Knight of Thorn Side Story achievements. You have a choice of a dagger, greatsword, scepter, shield, or sword with any stat prefix upon completing this side story. After you have completed the entirety of the Heart of Thorns story, you will receive a mail to start this side story at the next daily reset.

Finally you can simply craft one. To do so requires a level 500 crafting in the discipline that your weapon is a type of: Artificer for foci, staves and scepters; Huntsman for short bows, longbows, pistols, rifles, torches and warhorns; Weaponsmith for axes, daggers, swords, greatswords, maces, hammers, and shields. Levelling a crafting profession to 500 is quite expensive so it might be better to just use an exotic weapon until you acquire an ascended weapon through other means, for example dropping a weapon chest or ascended weapon from a raid or strike encounter as well as a tiny chance from any enemy or chest in the game, which can then be stat swapped to the prefix you want as explained earlier.

Exotic weapons can be obtained by either buying them off the Trading Post, where you will want to apply filters for the stat prefixes to obtain the correct stats; buying from dungeon vendors, which don’t usually sell very useful stats apart from Berserker; or by crafting them at crafting level 400. Levelling a crafting profession to 400 is far cheaper than going to 500.

For more information on leveling crafting check out gw2crafts.net.

Sigils

Once you have obtained the weapons for your build you will want to slot sigils into them. Many weapons come with sigils already in them so check that you don't already have a useful sigil in your weapon that you are overwriting. Most sigils can be crafted but some recipes are hard or time gated to acquire or are expensive. If you either don’t want to wait to unlock a sigil recipe or don’t want to spend money to level a crafting profession, then you can usually buy sigils from the Trading Post. After you acquire them you can simply double click on the sigil and then once on the weapon to slot them into your chosen weapon.

If you are using exotic weapons and want to upgrade to ascended gear then you either need a or . This retrieves your sigil from the exotic weapon to reuse it in the ascended weapon. Otherwise you will have to craft or buy a new set of sigils.

Armour

The difficulty of acquiring exotic armour will vary wildly depending on what stats you want.

The easiest is Berserker stats because it is a core-game stat. It is used by all power damage builds. For Berserker gear, the best way to obtain it is by buying it off the trading post.

Another very easy stat prefix to acquire is Celestial. As mentioned earlier in this guide if you use a Level 80 Boost that you get when you buy an expansion then your character receives a full set of celestial armour, weapons and trinkets. If you levelled your character without the level boost you can still use it on a level 80 character and you will still receive the celestial gear although that does mean you can't use it on any other characters you make.

For most other commonly used stat prefixes, either acquire some stat selectable armour pieces or substitute for a lesser stat prefix and hope that the ascended pieces of the correct stat set you have will make up for your armour not giving the correct stat prefix.

  • The easiest source of stat selectable exotic armour is Bladed Armor, an armour set associated with Verdant Brink, the first map of the Heart of Thorns expansion.
  • There are also a few boxes that allow you to pick a stat selectable piece of exotic armour that can be bought off the trading post for relatively cheap, they are as follows: Ice Golem's Maw Box (helmet) and Ebon Vanguard Shoulders (shoulders)
  • If you are willing to do PvP or WvW to gear your PvE character you can complete either PvP league chests or WvW skirmish rewards to obtain the .
  • Most of the Living World season 3 and 4 and Icebrood Saga story meta-achievements give single pieces of exotic stat selectable armour.

If you aren’t able to obtain the previously listed stat selectable armour, there are specific alternatives for different types of builds.

For healer-type builds you ideally would be running Harrier stats. However, since quite a few healers run 100% boon duration to be safe, the actual boon duration requirement is a bit lower. You can afford to run Magi stats if you can’t obtain Harrier armour from the previous stat-selectable sources. Magi stats are also convenient since almost all healers will run which requires you to do the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon to unlock the ability to buy the runes and then do any dungeons in the game in order to get Tale of Dungeon Delving to purchase the runes themselves. The vendor you buy monk runes from also sells exotic Magi armour which already has monk runes slotted in them! Disclaimer: whilst running lower boon duration on your healer is possible, you should still try to improve your gear to ascended Harrier gear as having the extra boon duration will be more helpful to your team.

For condi-type builds you usually run Viper and sometimes a piece or two of Sinister gear. Sinister is taken because full ascended viper stats can overcap on your Expertise (condition duration) so Sinister gear prevents wasted Expertise from viper stats - with exotics this won’t be an issue, so don’t worry about Sinister gear. One way to get an easy piece of viper gear is to complete the final story step of the Heart of Thorns story which will give you a box containing your choice of any exotic viper armour or weapon. A second choice is to get some exotic gear with either Carrion or Rabid stats. Carrion gear is useful for condi builds that don’t have condi on critical hit traits. Be careful with Rabid gear as it does give Toughness that can easily mess up tanking in your squad. It is generally best to avoid any Toughness stats, especially as a DPS, this is because as mentioned in the picking builds section quite a few bosses in raids aggro on the player with the highest Toughness.

For boon duration-type builds that need stat types like Diviner it is usually going to be easier to get Berserker armour and find boon duration from other sources. Other sources of easy boon duration include:

  1. Ascended Diviner weapons or trinkets.
  2. Running a few exotic Celestial pieces - similar to Rabid gear you might need to watch your Toughness so you don't steal aggro from your tank.
  3. or changing rune from something like Scholar to or similar boon duration runes.
  4. Swapping food to and can net you an easy 16% boon duration.

End of Dragons stat prefix armour

The two new stat prefixes added with End of Dragons are Dragon's and Ritualist's. For Dragon's stats you can craft Jade Tech armour that you buy recipes for from any Xunlai Jade Sales Associate, for Ritualist's stats can craft the Exotic Ancient Canthan armour that you buy recipes for from Chin-Hwa. For the Ancient Canthan armour you will need to have unlocked the rare version by playing through the End of Dragons story.

Runes

After you have gotten your exotic armour, you will want to slot in some runes to complete your armour set. Acquiring runes is similar to sigils where you can either buy them from the Trading post or craft them yourself, once again make sure to check you don't already have a useful rune set in the armour you have acquired! Crafting is usually cheaper but it will require investment to level your crafting professions.

Some rune sets do require you to do dungeons and buy from the dungeon armour vendor. The notable examples are from Ascalonian Catacombs used by almost all healers and from Twilight Arbor used by a few condi damage builds.

Just like sigils, you will need a or to retrieve your runes from exotic armour when you upgrade to ascended armour. Some pieces of exotic armour aren’t salvageable siuch as level 80 boost gear or karma gear so you might just have to buy a new set of runes if you're not careful.

Trinkets

The final part of gearing your build is to get some trinkets. Depending on the stats you want, acquiring them can vary wildly. You can either get trinkets that have a specific stat prefix or get trinkets that will allow you to select any stat prefix. Listed below are ways to obtain trinkets which already have a defined prefix.

  1. For Berserker trinkets the amulet and rings are quite easy to get but accessories can be difficult to obtain. The rings can be bought for 10 pristine fractal relics each which just requires a few days of doing fractals. Berserker amulets can be bought from laurel merchants for 30 laurels or from WvW laurel merchants for 20 laurels and 250 badges of honour if you feel like doing some WvW or have them from achievement milestones to subsidise the cost. Berserker accessories cost 12 guild commendations and 5 gold each.
  2. Harrier trinkets can be bought for laurels, trade contracts and s from heart vendors in Path of Fire maps. The amulet can also be obtained from the Path of Fire story act 2 story meta-achievement. There is only 1 Harrier accessory so you will need to get a second stat selectable accessory from another source and pick Harrier stats.
  3. There aren’t any Viper prefix trinkets so you will need to get all trinkets through stat-selectable sources.
  4. Diviner trinkets can be bought for laurels from vendors in Thunderhead Peaks. This does require owning All or Nothing (season 4 episode 5) which costs 200 gems if not unlocked. There is only 1 diviner ring and accessory available this way so you will need to acquire a second ring and accessory through stat-selectable sources.

For ascended backpieces the easiest source is the Raise the Banners achievements, available after completing the Path of Fire story. There are 3 different achievements depending on a choice you make during the story and a 4th from doing those 3.

The easiest way to get ascended trinkets with selectable stats is using Living World episodes. Most Living World episodes from seasons 3 and 4 can provide you with a few trinkets. All trinkets require map currency and some map currency is a lot easier to acquire than others. The episode A Crack in the Ice (season 3 episode 3) has very easy to acquire map currency and allows you to get a backpack, an accessory, and a ring.

Many ascended trinkets are unique, which means that you can’t equip 2 of the same item. This can be circumvented by either infusing or attuning rings. Rings can be in 4 states: non upgraded, infused, attuned, and infused-attuned. If you have 2 unique rings that are in different states they can be equipped at once. Due to this you can acquire 2 rings from A Crack in the Ice, filling 4 out of the 6 trinket slots.

After A Crack in the Ice the next most useful episode is War Eternal (season 4 episode 6), which can provide you with an amulet, accessory, and a ring - 3 trinkets (4 if using the upgrade trick) which, when combined with A Crack in the Ice, will make a full set. The main downside to using Living World episodes is that each episode costs 200 gems if not already owned or purchased in packs for 20% off.

The next best option after Living World episodes is to do fractals and buy trinkets using pristine fractal relics. Stat selectable rings, amulets, and accessories can be bought for 100 pristine relics each.

End of Dragons stat prefix trinkets

For ascended trinkets can complete the End of Dragons story meta achievements which award one accessory and amulet each of Dragon's and Ritualist's stats along with a ring that you can select one of the two prefixes from. For other trinkets you will need to complete the Specialization Collection for your profession in order to unlock the Ministry-Approved {new elite spec} collection which gives you the ability to buy an amulet, ring and accessory for the two new stat types.

If you don’t want to get ascended trinkets, then you can simply buy exotic trinkets off the Trading Post:

  1. Berserker trinkets can be found by searching for Ruby Orichalcum. The trinkets are called , , and .
  2. A full set of Celestial trinkets can be acquired if you consume a Level 80 Boost on your character.
  3. Harrier trinkets can be found by searching for Brandspark. The trinkets are called , , and .
  4. Viper trinkets can be found by searching for Black Diamond Orichalcum. The trinkets are called , , and .
  5. Diviner trinkets can be found by searching for Serpentite Orichalcum. The trinkets are called , , and .

For exotic trinkets of End of Dragons stat-sets, Dragon's and Ritualist's you are able to obtain one amulet, ring and accessory per profession as part of your classes Specialization Collection. For the other ring and accessory you will need to buy them from the Trading Post, For Ritualist's you want to search for Polished-Resin Orichalcum and for Dragon's you want to search for Jade Orichalcum.

For exotic backpacks you can buy a Lunar New Year backpack from the Trading Post. They all have a name that follows the Lucky Great {animal} Lantern naming scheme, the cheapest one at the time will vary depending upon what the animal of the Lunar New Year is as the game will have had an influx of that backpack from the most recent Lunar New Year event.

Food

Along with all the armour, weapons, and trinkets, your build will also need food and utility items to maximise effectiveness. The food and utility are listed on the build page.

Ascended food is unique in that a player that uses it will drop an interactable feast that allows anyone to share the same food. This can be very useful in a beginner group as you might only need 1 ascended feast for all your DPS players. Ascended food does require 500 Chef to craft however.

All non-ascended foods can be bought on the trading post or you can choose to craft them. Crafting is cheaper but does require levelling Chef. It is a better investment to level Chef than armour or weapon making crafting professions because food is constantly used as well as if you reach 500 chef then you can share your food with friends or random players in your squad.

Rotation practice

The final stage before being ready to raid is to practice your build’s rotation. Since you will likely not have the best gear at this point you will be at a disadvantage. Therefore, it is very important that you practice very thoroughly to overcome this disadvantage. You can outperform people with better gear as long as you commit yourself fully.

A guide on how to set up a golem is listed in the Special Forces Area guide.

The build pages for DPS classes and supports list the opener and rotation in addition to a rotation video. For more supportive healer roles there might not be a rotation listed on the page but you should read the build guide to figure out what skills you should prioritize and when to time certain skills. You can help your squad deal with damage or mechanics by using specific skills.

For all builds you should read through your traits and utilities as well as the build guide to understand how certain combos and parts of the build work together and complement each other.

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