[GW2] Combos

Combos are poorly documented in-game (if at all) but they are awesome and useful. (This seems common for ArenaNet.) They are like LotRO’s fellowship maneuvers but simpler, less powerful, more mobile, and more varied. (This post adds “thought” to the previous “hey, these exist.”)

Let me digress immediately to note that fellowship maneuvers are how you can tell if you are in a really good fellowship. If your group nails its first three for long straights, you know this is going to be the best PUG of the month. They are why you want burglars in your group, and the bosses that are immune to fellowship maneuvers can be That One Boss because they take away one of your best tools for damage and recovery, knock out a key class feature, and eliminate a player skill factor that separates the great from the good.

Combos were mentioned during development, perhaps not under that name, and they do not seem to have had a lot of attention since. Remember something about shooting arrows through a wall of fire, then they become flaming arrows? This is that, although I’m not clear how often “shoot through” works versus “shoot from/into.” Combos are like getting free buffs and spells just for standing in the right spot.

GW2 expands “don’t stand in the fire” to “don’t stand in the red circles.” Combos add “do stand in the white circles.” It seems like half the weapon skills are fields or finishers. The link has a full explanation of what that means, but the easy version is “use your finisher skills in the white circles.”

I had several strong recommendations to use Evasive Arcana, but since I had been playing a scepter/focus elementalist, I had only one field available out of twenty skills. The unadvertised feature of Evasive Arcana is that all four effects are blast finishers, meaning that if you end your dodge in a field, you become a fountain of buffs. Staff elementalists get six fields.

Think of your elementalist as a healer for a moment. Two of those six fields are for healing and regeneration, and then you grant healing, regeneration, and condition-curing when you switch to water for your healing. Earth has a time-delayed blast finisher, so you could start that, switch to water, cast a healing field on the finisher, roll into it, and hit Arcane Wave. You just comboed three AE heals, plus several other heal and buff effects, and you have the base earth attack under that. If someone else stacked a field on yours, you might have just triple-triggered that one, too. [Update: commenter says “no”] And then everyone in your healing field gets to use their finishers, say the rangers who start getting stacks of regeneration from their shortbow attacks.

The next time you are in a big group fight, like a giant or dragon event, watch for people dropping fields on large clumps of characters. Last month, I might have thought those were griefers trying to annoy people by putting fire and lightning walls in their faces. And then the giant got 25 stacks of vulnerability in two seconds, plus several minutes’ worth of burning, and the players started stacking might and swiftness.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “[GW2] Combos”

  1. Thanks for shining a spotlight on one of the best – yet sometimes underused – aspects of GW2 combat. :) Evasive Arcana sounds sickly fun, actually – I love the idea of comboing your own abilities. You convinced me to level up an elementalist of my own!

    Just a small correction, though – Finishers can only activate one combo regardless of how many fields are stacked in the area. They’ll always combo with the oldest active field, from what I’ve heard.

  2. honestly I completely forgot GW2 even had combos. They really do need to add some info in-game for it. Now I need to go research longbow combos to see how I can be more badass.

  3. On the face of it it seems simple, shoot an arrow through a fire wall, but things like how traits affect it not so much, or does stats affect the condition damage.

    Is the confusion applied by allies in the ethereal fields put down by mesmers affected by the trait that lengthen it’s duration or condition damage, that would be a load of extra damage given to allies. Or for instance, using a blast finisher to apply a frost aura, traits that affect auras, also affect this ‘free’ aura. A blast in a dark field applies AoE blindness, necros have plenty of dark fields and a trait to apply chill on blindness, a necro with the trait can do the blast (bone minions!) for a blind/chill combo, but if say a warrior creates the blast does it only apply a blind. Having just tested it never thought to use bone minions for blast finishers before, going to try making use of that.

    It’s a fairly complicated system, I remember Arenanet saying they wanted to leave the discovery to the players, some players are going to go to the mists and see how all these work together, and others are going to read the resulting guides.

  4. The problem with these, while a cool idea, are crippled by the poor buff system that seem to have been designed to be “endured” rather than embraced and managed.

    In practice a fight in the open world is over before any of these things are useful (and when you get down to it, don’t matter in the open world)

    My biggest problem though has to do with positioning… we’re encouraged to dodge and remain active, but if you want to take advantage of this, you go to a specific spot. Inevitiable you’re going to have to move… which begs the question, is the 1-2 second “buff” you get from this a fair tradeoff from the loss of DPS and concentration by getting INTO the position to do it in the first place?

    To me, the answer is decidedly absolutely not.

    Additionally the randomness is just… well it just makes it even more worthless.

    If they overhauled the buff/debuff system, they’d be on to something. Not until.

  5. “Combos are poorly documented in-game (if at all) but they are awesome and useful.”

    Not. They just don’t do enough extra damage to have any real effect on any fight – and by “real effect” I mean “an effect on damage output and fight length you can see while actually playing and not just after the fact with a combat log parser.”

    And, if you’re watching carefully, you’ll see that the ones that grant boons to the player almost never last more than two seconds and are therefore completely and utterly insignificant.

    Really, it’s all psychological, “look at the hearts with words popping up, it must be doing significant damage,” regardless of whether or not it is actually being useful.

    1. You need to exploit these harder. Even if it is just a few seconds, if you can get a dozen of them, that’s big. Give me 9 stacks of might, and my damage numbers change. I’m leveling a Ranger, and I just discovered how amazing Healing Spring is in groups because it gives a 15 second water field. That is a LOT of healing and regeneration.

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