So you may know how to use every build in guild wars 2, but do you know how to use every build simultaneously? Build templates in guild wars 2 are how you organize and keep track of your traits and equipment and can be a great convenience, but there are also many ways to use these to gain an advantage in combat such as precasting buffs, performing multiple roles simultaneously, and circumventing long cooldown timers. Essentially they are loadouts that remember your setup and you can swap between them but your character is always on the template system which means any changes you make to your character you make to your templates which makes them less like a library of builds and more like a tool which is one of the main points I want to make in this video.
If you think of them as a library you might not think that they’re so good but I will show you how to get more value out of your template storage, but in general they should not be thought of as such. While this video will cover how templates can be used in PvP you can’t really gain as much of an advantage using them as you can in PvE and world vs world because you can’t swap templates in the middle of a PvP match however you can swap them when out of combat at any time in other game modes. You could say that there are more than three game modes in guild wars 2 but for the purposes of this video we will simplify them to just three because that is the threshold that build templates use. What I mean by that is that depending on which game mode you are in the game will automatically swap your template for you. If you’re in any PvE game mode like dungeons raids or fractals or open world the game will use the last build template that you had on while you were in those, any world vs world map will swap you to the world vs world template and any PvP game mode will share their own as well.
Multiple game modes can share the same build template but that is up to your choice. There are different types of build templates: there are traits and utilities in one template and then equipment and gear in the other. PvP uses the same equipment templates as your PvE and world vs world gear but instead you will need to swap the panel to show the amulet rune and sigils you will have three trait templates and two gear templates by default on each character and can unlock using gems up to 6 for each character. Before templates people used character slots for the same purpose now you can still use the characters to get more build organization but with less effort and investment. Equipment templates will hold your gear and remember their configuration once in a template slot gear will no longer appear in your inventory so if you think a piece of gear is missing check in your templates. Equipment templates are not effective storage for your gear creating new characters is still better for that but less convenient maybe, also you can use one piece of gear in multiple templates if you have legendary gear you can use them in multiple different configurations in different templates allowing for added convenience. The issue with that is if you want to change your stats at any time with legendaries you may want to change your runes and sigils as well so you may need legendary sigils and runes otherwise you’ll just be running around with tons of runes and sigils in your inventory which can become a mess.
There’s also a third component of build templates which is the build storage you can only store trade templates in your build storage because gear would get too complicated. The build storage or trait storage component can be used to share builds between characters, other players, and even be used creatively as an external trait template replacement. When you left click on the storage spot if it is empty your current build will be saved to that slot if a build is already in that slot it will load the saved build to your current template. Right click on a save slot to delete them. You can right click the number at the top of the template as well and copy or rename the template the link that you copy is now on your clipboard and can be pasted using control V in and out of game.
The link outside of the game isn’t useful but it can be transferred or stored and once it’s back in the game it gives you an inspect window showing the build. One good usage of this is to show people what build you’re running quickly just simply copy and paste it right back into the game immediately you can use the guild message of the day, a personal discord, or a notepad file to store those build links.
This isn’t that big of a deal because it really only takes several clicks to set your traits and utilities maybe if you can’t remember what they are or you need to swap them really quickly which can be used to your advantage. You can also keybind build templates to your keyboard or mouse so that you can swap them instantly. I like to use shift H J K for my traits and shift Y U I for my equipment that way I can organize builds and gear in the same number and quickly swap them. For example I put traits for a specific build on template 1 which is shift h and then the equipment for that build on equipment slot 1 which is shift y so I know that I can press two key binds that are vertical to each other to get all of the build instantly without looking at any UI. Then I do the same for slot 2. If you want to buy a third equipment slot you can do that to allow your third trade slot to get some more use but I would never buy extra trait slots unless you really want them and don’t care about the cost. Here’s why: you can use one of your trait slots as a representation of more slots what you do is designate a slot so basically your third slot or if you’ve bought more then you can use whichever one your last one is or just whichever one you want and then load up a ton of builds in your storage instead and then replace your designated slot with as many builds as you have storage slots effectively increasing the cap of builds your character can hold.
This is much more cost effective because buying a trait template slot costs 300 gems but buying three storage slots is 500 so it’s like 400 gems cheaper than buying three trait slots. Obviously if you are using keybinds to swap your templates this isn’t going to be as convenient but you can do a mix of keybind templates and then a designated template slot for builds you won’t need to swap on the fly. In general I like to organize my characters based on game mode and the build templates organized based on roles in that game mode. If you can’t afford character slots and use one character for every game mode then you can organize your templates based on generalized roles for example one armor set for condition damage and one armor set for power damage or one armor set for boons and support.
You would need to share gear between PvE and world vs world which may not be optimal for either but you can decide which is your priority you can also split your trait templates from being corresponding to gear templates or mix and match them as you see fit. Your limits are much further than you think if you can just be a little bit creative. I suggest most people will want to use them for convenience and not so much play styles because changing a few things in the playstyle can be done very easily manually but a whole role can be a bit exhausting to swap between all the time. In PvP you can swap between templates to confuse the enemy.
At the start of each match you have a minute to look at comps and decide how to build around them. If I’m a rifle deadeye and I don’t want people to slot in reflex to counter me I can load into a map on a different build like a daredevil or core thief wait until the match is about to start and then swap back to deadeye. This doesn’t give them time to adapt and you get to free cast more often even though this is a bit sweaty and I wouldn’t do it personally because it doesn’t really change the gameplay. Also if you do this multiple times people will start to catch on in world versus world and PvE you can use build templates to much more effect than just mind games. In PvE specifically speed runs absolutely abuse the build template system swapping between boss killing builds, aoe builds, or mobility builds depending on what you’re facing and of course circumventing long cooldowns.
You can for example go firebrand and precast a ton of quickness and other boons and then go a full damage dragon hunter build and blow stuff up or you can go a full venom sharing thief and give your entire party venoms then swap to a build more balanced with abilities once the venoms come off cooldown and this may not be an issue in PvE because the mobs won’t go complaining on the forums that you abused templates against them but in world versus world this has some dire implications. Thieves who can quickly get out of combat using mobility can swap builds essentially mid-fight swapping from a high damage burst build. If things don’t work out they can just shadow step out of combat and swap to a super safe super high stealth uptime build and wait for the opening to swap back and go for the kill. Also zergs are full of guardians when defending an objective you could have every guardian swap to dragon hunter and precast tons of traps at the opening of the gate then swap back to their normal builds in preparation for the enemy to enter.
Even with many of them swapping to a minstrel build the amount of cc from the traps could easily turn the engagement in their favor. I think templates should not allow this kind of gameplay it is concerning for the legitimacy of the game’s systems. Sure it can be fun at first but imagine if this kind of gameplay became standard for every engagement it would make the game so much more UI oriented and in a way more pay to win because the more build templates you can afford the more you can abuse the system. Yes you can buy gems with gold but it’s still quite an advantage based on how creative you can be and it does contribute to power creep quite a bit as well. Here are some ideas I came up for each class to effectively utilize build templates. For thief I already talked about swapping builds by using mobility to get out of combat and also pre-casting venoms but you can also swap between a scouting build with shadow trap and tons of mobility and survivability and then swap back to your combat build when you reconvene with your party.
For necromancer there are two types of zerg builds you can play one is power reaper and one is power scourge. The difference is one does its damage from range but is slow the other is damage in melee but a little bit faster. If you’re playing reaper in a group that doesn’t like to go melee you’re gonna feel pretty bad because you’ll either die from being focused or not be able to use your shroud for damage. Scourge can be good in potentially more situations but if it doesn’t have support it’s a sitting duck. Reaper would be better in situations where your positioning is more vital to your survivability than your teammate’s support will be. You can generally use the same gear for both of these variants you could just change the traits using build templates also you can create a template full of minions, summon them all and then swap out of that template for a ton of life force.
For guardian I already mentioned pre-casting traps and boons but you can also swap between builds depending on how many you’re facing in world versus world. Swap to a sword of justice staff scepter build for doing as much dps as possible in blobs or if you’re fighting a smaller group of 15 and it’ll be a little bit harder to land a lot of your damage you can swap to a longbow dh which can pull people into your own damage.
Most count recharge skills like spirit weapons will give their cooldowns to the next trait template that is swapped to even if you have count recharge left but when you have the zeal trait eternal armory there is some weird coding where the skills have a different identity and they no longer give a cool down to skills in that slot when you swap templates you can even have two templates full of spirit weapons but one template has eternal armory and one doesn’t and you can spam two separate sets of spirit weapons by going in and out of combat and each one is cooling down while you’re using the other.
For Ele roaming in world vs world allows you a lot of different builds that you can play but sometimes you might get stuck defending an objective and if you can swap to a staff weaver you can defend from on top of the walls while you’re outnumbered because you can’t really go near so the staff really allows you to pop some like meteor showers on top of the enemy siege or even if you want to aggress on someone else’s walls from below meteor shower you can just swap to a build that’ll do as much damage as possible just to get that down and then swap back to your normal support build or whatever. For mesmer chronomancer and mirage can both play similar power builds but on chronomancer you get a 25 movement speed boost for free while mirage will usually like to run a movement speed rune. You can use equipment templates to put different runes on different sets of gear and basically not lose the effectiveness of that chronomancer trait. Also while mesmers can play very important roles within a zerg the time that their role is important is very niche like on initial engagements they can put down veils to stealth their zerg or they can use focus pulls and gravity wells to get enemies off of walls and siege.
They can also do massive portal plays and time warps for golem rushes. You don’t really need a gear set to do any of those so you can easily create a build template with all of the mesmer utilities on it and swap to that when the time is right and then go back to your normal build for scouting, roaming, or ripping boons for your team. Warriors have a trait called signet mastery which gives a 100 ferocity buff for one minute. If you swap out that trait you will lose the buff but if you swap out the signets you will still keep the buff so if you have two identical trait templates with signet mastery except for one of them has five signets to pre-cast the ferocity buff and those signets are all generally 30 seconds or less cool down so you can swap to a very aggressive kill shot build with the extra ferocity and do insane crits while also having cooldowns to escape with later. Banners will also remain after swapping templates so you can gain the benefits of them in a fractal encounter and then swap templates and take the mistlock singularity cooldown reduction to get your utilities back and you basically get free banners. For engineers sneak gyro is one of the most powerful abilities on a scrapper because of the group stealth it provides but the cooldown can be pretty long you can either do a huge stealth combo and then swap to an overheat holosmith and explode on people from stealth or just give your team that massive support utility out of combat and then go into the fight as a non-scrapper build. Ranger pets are part of build templates and you can have access to plenty of pets but the menus you need to go through to change both your pets can be cumbersome depending on the type of gameplay or match up you can swap to a different set of pets quickly which is especially useful for soul beasts.
Yes you can already swap between two pets out of combat on soulbeast but now with templates you can essentially change the number of pets you can swap between significantly. If you swap templates while merged you will actually bring that pet into the next template but the template will go back to normal once you swap out and back into it allowing you to create more combinations of pets with builds on the fly. Say you want to play a specific soul beast build but want to use a pet that is on another soul beast build. Go to the build with that pet on it and merge then swap template to the build you want to use that pet on this allows you to access more pets without going through the pet UI.
For revenant there aren’t really many long cooldowns so generally you can’t get too much value from precasting but you can give value to your teammates’ cooldowns by swapping your gear while out of combat to a boon duration renegade build and give alacrity to your mesmers or other party members who have important cooldowns in between fights and then swap back to your regular build. Imagine this gets so out of hand that zergs are constantly counter swapping each other with the ability to swap specs this fast in combination with a thief mesmer scouting formation designed to bring party members who swap classes or die back to the zerg and inside repaired walls using a succession of portals. It would be pretty uninteractive and I truly believe the possibilities are much further than we think and the only thing holding us back from ruining the entire balance of the game is our creativity and how hard we want to try to learn to pull them off.
But anyways if you like the video and want more like and subscribe and leave a comment below on any clever uses of build templates you can think of and do you guys think that the abuse of templates should be nerfed if so how should combat be harder to get out of should templates have more restrictions. I think that players should really not be swapping builds that often and sticking to one build and one role.
If they want to adapt they can swap a trait out of combat here and there but a whole template should have a cast time or might only be done at a waypoint to prevent these instant archetype swaps also join my discord it’s in the description along with some other links and you can ask me any question considering build templates or really anything else in there and I will see you guys next time..