Guild Wars 2 has without a doubt the most fluid and engaging combat system in any MMORPG. When you finally learn how to control your character to how you wish to move it feels really rewarding but because of that there are many things to learn to improve your gameplay. This video is going to show you how to improve your mechanics and what to practice to become skillful. This is going to assume you have a keyboard and a mouse. If you’re playing on a laptop please plug a mouse into the USB also if you have some sort of disability to use both hands on a keyboard and a mouse you can check the end of the video where I’ll provide some ideas for accessibility. If you want to be as skillful as possible you have to first make sure you get value out of the inputs you perform.
If you are reaching unnecessarily across the keyboard or clicking skills you’ll want to change your keybinds. It may feel uncomfortable at first to change your keybinds but later on it will help you to get those unnecessary movements out of the way. You may think that pressing your 789 are comfortable right now but unless you have spider hands it’s unnecessary time and movement you’re using to get those keys and you could be using that to press other keys. To do this you want to swap some of your keybinds for more efficiency, first of all the default keybinds put turn left and turn right on A and D which are prime keys and then strafe left and strafe right on Q and E. Since you can turn your character much more effectively with your right mouse button than the turn keybind you can just rebind strafe to A and D and use Q and E as other keybinds.
You’ll want to remove double tap to evade and bind dodge to your mouse or something easily pressed because it is essential to Guild Wars 2 combat. Remove auto targeting because you can use skills while detargeting. This is especially important for aiming non-ground targeted skills in areas that your enemy currently is not in so for example if you want to land a range attack but if you cast it on them they will move out of the way by the time it catches them since Guild Wars 2 is a hybrid of action and tab target you can sometimes use targeted skills without a target to lead the target on.
Also you can use leap skills without a target to move more freely if you have auto targeting disabled. You will also want to lock ground targeting at max range to allow for quick motions to reach that maximum range rather than trying to precisely get it you can just push your mouse as far out as possible and that will lock it to the maximum range. Not only should your keyboard finger movement be kept to a minimum to increase efficiency but so should your mouse. You’ll want to increase the DPI of your mouse which basically moves your mouse cursor further per unit you move the mouse. You don’t want to be moving your arm when you move the mouse just your wrist.
You can also increase your camera rotation speed but DPI would be better because it would affect all things. Camera and Movement: you can enable action camera through designated keybinds a lot of people like action camera because it allows them to move their characters more freely while in combat but the reality is that it constricts your vision and limits your mechanical potential. Learning to use free camera to its highest potential is one of the most important things to get used to. Think of action camera as crutches: they will enable you to walk when you’re learning but then you won’t be able to run while you still have your crutches because they’ll slow you down. The main benefits of action camera is that you can always move forwards whichever direction you are facing which means that you will move at maximum speed. Moving sideways is slower than moving forwards and moving backwards is even slower than that so you’ll be moving at a disadvantaged speed if someone is running straight at you and you are backpedaling away from them.
The thing is action camera will not allow you to use ground targeting skills very precisely unless you have snap ground targeting to target option enabled. Even then you can’t lead people on. It gives you a lot more convenience but if you’re trying to beat someone you’ll want every advantage you can get and free camera gives you much superior mobility and precision. Also some skills require you to face your target so you will need to backpedal sometimes if you want to attack in a certain direction while moving in the opposite direction. The problem is that getting good at using free camera takes much more skill. You need to unlock your camera using your left click and that will allow you to see where you want without affecting your movement, then you can re-lock your camera by holding the right mouse button down.
Learning to separate your camera from your character not only mechanically but mentally will allow you much more control of situations. You’ll be able to fight people while also scanning the perimeter for any incoming allies or enemies and be able to cast skills while kiting. One important trick to learn is combining the about face keybind with free camera to get quick motions on skills that move you backwards to go in a direction that you wish to go towards. To perform it more specifically you unlock your camera with the left click then you move your camera in the direction you wish to go, press your about face keybind, then your key that makes you move backwards, then realign your character with your camera by right clicking your mouse. Practice this a lot to get into a fluid motion.
Positioning and Ability Ranges: another thing that is important to learn and improve at is your positioning. The previous section taught you how to be more aware of your surroundings but if you don’t do anything with that knowledge and you stand in vulnerable positions you’ll just die so if you want to have better positioning you not only need to learn the abilities you’ll be facing but you’ll also need to learn the range and timing of your abilities so that you can position yourself more safely while also playing as aggressively as you can without creating more risk than necessary. One of the most common things I see with players who die in PvE content that I personally consider trivial is that they stand right inside the boss and eat every mechanic instantly.
Then I try to explain to them that they shouldn’t stand inside the boss and then they exclaim but look at my DPS! Yeah some of your abilities on some of your classes do more damage when you stand inside the boss but the reality is they aren’t standing inside for just those attacks they’re just doing it permanently because that’s what they saw on the DPS benchmark video. If you use positioning intelligently you can stand at maximum range of your abilities and then move inside for your one or two skills that need it and then move back out.
It’s therefore important to know how each skill functions and in what situations you can use them for example using the free camera movement I spoke about earlier and your knowledge of skills that require you to face the target or not you can swap your movement depending on which skills you are using when you need to kite. While casting a skill that requires you to face the target backpedal but then swap to running forwards when casting skills that don’t require your character to face them. Optimize how fast you can move by swapping through those different types of movement to reach the safest spot to use each and every skill. Obviously if you don’t need to move then mindlessly moving your character is a waste of time you should be swinging your camera around to gain more information at that point.
The ability to use terrain in combat is a massive advantage and most outnumbered situations and unfavored matchups are won using it. It is much harder to kill someone who is moving than it is to heal yourself when moving so taking the most complicated path will make it much harder for players to kill you and it can allow you to bait people into your bursts and help you survive long enough until your cooldowns are up or until help arrives. Whether you like it or not jumping puzzles are an integral part of guild wars 2 and refusing to learn or get good at them will put you at a big disadvantage. Use your camera to look around for terrain at the start of every fight rather than tunnel visioning on the fight. Instead of running into flat lands when you need help run towards terrain or instead of running around terrain use shortcuts through them. Obviously if you use the same terrain every time you will become predictable but most Guild Wars 2 maps are littered with objects to climb on just most of the time you don’t recognize it.
You should practice using your skills while jumping because some skills have different hitboxes and projectiles. Creating distances in the z-axis or essentially height will allow you to avoid a lot of damage for example thief backstab has a very small hitbox. In a lot of cases a thief will miss backstab if you jump down a slope because you will be further in the air than they can jump to reach. They of course can jump and backstab but then they can’t jump as high into their backstab if they also wish to steal backstab. Another thing you can do is hide your back to terrain against backstabs: they can’t hit your back if they literally can’t stand behind you. The same also goes for ledges where they would fall off the edge if they tried to hit your back. Jumping can also be performed with certain leaps or dodges to make them go further you do this by jumping and pressing the other key basically at the same time.
Technically you want to jump first but not even a split second later you are pressing that other key. You will then jump and then dodge or use that skill at the same time. This is especially good for using terrain because while you are in the air you generally can’t use skills so while you’re jumping up the terrain you are vulnerable first of all because you aren’t able to counter pressure as much especially if they’re attacking from range and secondly because while you’re in the air you cannot decide to dodge until you hit the ground so jump dodging allows you to stack the two on top of each other for a safer ascent. Also projectiles can be line of sighted by terrain so if you want to have a clearer shot at something you can jump to get a better angle or to maximize the distance that your projectiles go. Jumping can be a useful tool but also a vulnerability depending on when you do it.
Separate Skills from Rotations and Learn Combos instead: basically this goes for everything that you want to be skillful at. You want to know every process and part so that you can perfect it from start to finish. For Guild Wars 2 this means knowing all of your traits and skills and yes actually reading your tool tips. I know it may sound pretty obvious to most people who care about getting better but there are plenty of people who have no idea what their builds do because they just copy pasted some website. Most people who learn builds from DPS benchmarks don’t know how to act in situations that aren’t just hitting a DPS golem. What if you need to do a raid mechanic in the middle of your rotation do you just auto attack until the rotation is off cooldown and start over or do you improvise? Skill comes not from your ability to adhere to rules but your ability to adapt to exceptions which is more important in unideal situations because you’re going to succeed in ideal situations anyway.
Be able to independently use and know when to use your skills. I suggest creating and theory crafting your own builds at first. Figure out which skills are more valuable and build or play around them then once you think you’ve optimized it check out the meta build and compare what they choose and consider why. That way when things go wrong you can fall back on skill priorities rather than rotations. Another important keybind to learn is to stow weapon. This will cancel your current animation and put that skill on a 4 second cooldown the same as if you had been interrupted. If that skill had some sort of effect like a stun break movement or combo finisher at the beginning then it will go on full cooldown because then you could abuse that if it wasn’t there. This is important to use to not waste skills that you know will not land or that you decided you no longer wish to use for example if my teammates land a really long stun on someone I should stow my short stun because that would override their longer stun with a short one or if the enemy is using a counter attack block even if I’m just spamming auto attacks I would want to stow so I don’t proc their counter attack which will give me more trouble in the future. You can also use stow to bait out resources from the enemy by using large animations that everyone knows to dodge but you can use it again in 4 seconds if you stow it. Obviously if you mind game like this you’re essentially doing nothing and you will just fall behind in a team fight so you generally only stow bait in small scale fights or 1v1s.
You want to get stow weapon on a decent keybind but it doesn’t need to be too close because if you’re stowing you’re trying to cancel an action which slows down gameplay not speed up like a huge combo. You can also use stow weapon to cancel aftercasts of skills that get all of their effect early on in the animation so that you can continue controlling your character and of course like any of these suggestions it will feel worse at first when you’re still learning muscle memory but it is necessary to improve.
The more you practice and the more strict you are the faster you will learn. If you’re queuing in the PvP lobby don’t just afk for five minutes during the queue, hit the golems the whole time practicing your combos while kiting and managing your positioning. If you’re a PvEr do group content without a healer or solo so you learn how to manage your health while also optimizing your time. When something takes a while to do you eventually adopt better strategies in this process. Don’t React, Predict: other than just becoming comfortable with your keybinds you can’t really work on reaction time but being prepared to react to something will allow you to prepare a reaction and overlap some of that mental energy before the event you need to react to. You should learn not only your build but also your enemy’s build and skills. This may take a while but just creating a character and loading up their meta build and checking out all their skills and traits will help you to understand their weaknesses and cooldowns. You can also enable standardized enemy models which will make every character look the same so that you can learn how one animation looks and react to that rather than having to learn how that same animation looks when there are five different races with different animations and legendary weapons can also change animations of skills. Personally I don’t enable this because it ruins a lot of the player identity but if you really cared about improving your reaction times enabling this would make a difference. Another thing that you can do is count dodges and cooldowns in PvP this has to do with predicting based on the enemy build but it is also a product of learning skill priorities rather than rotations which we talked about earlier.
Every class has two dodges except mirage which has one and daredevil which has three so you know if the enemy dodges once they have one more dodge for the next like 5 or 10 seconds before the dodge recharges. Obviously there are energy sigils and vigor and other ways to gain dodges from weapon skills but you don’t need to analyze everything you just need to understand probabilities. In other words if you run up to someone and immediately use your big animation massive attack chances are they will dodge because they have plenty of resources to do so. Later on in the fight they may be more vulnerable to those attacks because they have less cooldowns and use some dodges but you can’t just sit there and wait for them to dodge you need to pressure them to bait out those dodges. Generally some things will still land but keeping track of how long ago they dodged or used their stun break will help you to ensure that your big damaging attacks land.
If they just double dodge that’s a really good indicator that someone is vulnerable and if you think they’re out of dodges or cooldowns and they end up having one more dodge or cooldown well then they’re really out of stuff now. You should also try to line up combos in succession rather than stacking them all on the same animation because if the enemy dodges one thing they’ve dodged them all, but if you spread them out they need to dodge twice to avoid all the damage and if you’re in stealth then yeah you do want to stack all of your damage on top of each other it’s just based on what you predict. Also you can bait out dodges with just your presence sometimes as a warrior you do tons of damage and CC in melee range, nobody wants to be near that so what I often do as a warrior is rush up to them and start attacking.
As soon as they dodge away I get in range of and pre-cast my stun combo into it. If they want to dodge that they now have to use two dodges and then they have a series of stuns coming at them so chances are they’ll get hit by at least one and if one lands I get to arcing slice and hundred blades them. If I reverse that order and use all my heavy damaging skills first they can just dodge them when they see them coming then my CC skills come later when I’ve already missed all my big damage skills and I essentially get nothing out of it. This is why it’s important to learn combos and priorities so that you can get the most out of every skill you use by reacting to your opponent. Accessibility: so now I want to go over some ideas that may help people who don’t necessarily want to practice that hard or simply can’t because of physical limitations. If you’re playing with one hand for whatever reason you know like maybe yeah you know it’s probably best to play with a gaming mouse.
You can walk forwards by holding both mouse buttons down. This isn’t a keybind it just works for everyone and this means that you can move your character and your camera with the mouse then you can employ a really easy build to play like my flamethrower scrapper build and use one button and a bunch of passive traits to power up your flamethrower auto attack. You can also forego some of the suggestions from before because if you don’t have the option to tab and click through targets you can enable auto targeting, just make sure you really need it. You can also enable melee attack assist if you have problems perceiving depth as this will make your character stop moving when you reach the target so you don’t need to run through them though this has a lot of limitations added to it. There are many creative ways to change your settings and keybinds to make a specific build easier to play but most players keep very general keybinds to allow them to play most classes so players who have to be creative to get around these limitations usually have the least amount of content to help them with that.
Auto attack is something most players keep on their 1 skill but you can actually make any of your weapon or utility skills auto fire. Simply control right click them and you will see a clockwise arrow icon around your skill. Only one skill can be auto casted at a time but if you have a skill you want to use but you can’t fit more keybinds into your rotation you can have it auto cast which is especially good for instant cast skills that won’t interrupt your flow but also provide a lot of your damage or sustain, for example the flamethrower build I suggested is very low actions per minute but there are more skills to press than just flamethrower 1.
Also the flamethrower 1 doesn’t work with autocast very well because you want to be using it constantly and aiming it to cleave many targets not waiting till the game detects that you’re in range of your current target so often you want to manually press that but you do have very low cooldown gyros that you can put on cast so that you can make sure that you get your sustain at some point. Even if it’s wasted sometimes is better than never using it. This video is getting a little bit long but you get the idea: look through your combat options and keybinds and even check out my build templates guide to understand how you can make the game more accessible through those as well. So there it is you have all you need to become a mechanical god you just need to input your own effort now anyways if you like this video subscribe and like it for more leave a comment below if you have any tips to improve your skill that I didn’t include in the video and if you have any questions that I didn’t answer you can ask them below as well or go to my discord links are below.