One of the things I took a while to learn when I first started out in the game was this rather unique mechanic to the MMO combat system. It wasn’t explain too well back then during launch, and I still think it isn’t today, considering I still see guildies and dungeon pugs require some explanations.
So what is a combo field? A combo finisher?
You may have notice some of your skills’ tooltips have lines read as “Combo Field/Finisher: [Type]“. Or that you see yellowish-white lines (with particle effects that look like puzzle pieces) surrounding some AoE skills. More interesting yet, you’ve possibly shot through, whirled in, leaped through, or blew them up, seeing a gray heart over someone (that could have been yourself) with some text in them. What are these?
This is the combo system! Simply put, someone lays down an appropriate AoE skill that has “Combo Field” in its tooltip, and it’ll put an environmental effect in the area that any allies (including the same person who set down the combo field) can interact with a combo finisher.
- For example, an elementalist with a focus weapon can set down a Flamewall to create a fire combo field. A ranger with a longbow nearby can shoot arrows (Combo Finisher: Projectile, 20% chance for some skills) through it to infuse Burning condition to their arrows.
- You can do this by yourself! A longbow warrior can unleash Combustive Shot for a fire combo field, then shoot through it (Combo Finisher: Projectile, 20% chance for some skills) for Burning arrows, or land an Arcing Arrow (Combo Finisher: Blast) on the field for AoE Might.
- Combos can let you overcome what may seem like inherent downsides at first. Thieves using dagger/pistol for their weapon set doesn’t seem like they can stealth at all compared to dagger/dagger, but this is solved by laying down Black Powder and then leaping through it with Heartseeker.
I encourage new players to experiment and see what they can discover and utilize for themselves! For a start, I recommend looking at your weapon skills (handy cheat sheet in the Build section of your Hero window) and see what you can do. Testing it out is short and simple, and if you’re playing with friends or other people, try practicing together (It’s a lot of fun).
Combo field/finishers explained in 60 seconds, credited to lokikaraoke and [MEGA] guild.
For more details and a list of all types of combo fields and finishers, consult the wiki. It’s great for anything you need to know and learn about Guild Wars 2. There’s a long list of available combo fields and finishers for each profession, but it’s useful to learn what everybody can do so that you can work together better when utilizing the combo system.
If you’re more interested in an intermediate level of play for combo fields and finishers, I recommend looking up other players’ guides on professions to see what they can do with the system.
tl;dr “put fire down, shoot through it” gameplay mechanic.