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Introduction – What are Raids?

by Crustybot

Raids in Guild Wars 2 refer to 10-man instanced content that require extreme coordination to complete. They contain variety of encounters with special mechanics that groups need to navigate in order to avoid failure.

Currently, raids in Guild Wars 2 are spread out over four raid wings: Spirit ValeSalvation PassStronghold of the Faithful and Bastion of the Penitent. There is an overarching story that spans the journey of the first three raid wings, and a separate story for raid wing four. However, progression in these raid wings are not locked linearly. You don’t need to complete Stronghold of the Faithful in order to “unlock” Bastion of the Penitent content – you can engage any encounter in any raid wing at any point, provided you have the instance for it.

Raid Meta – What is it and why is it important?

Meta-gaming, or power-gaming exists in every game with a competitive or co-operative element. It simply boils down to what builds and playstyles are the most effective and efficient to clear content consistently. In this case, raids. You are not just playing for yourself, you are playing with 9 other people who take time out of their day to engage in content with you. Just because something is not meta, does not mean it is not viable. However, meta refers to the strongest, most efficient way to carry out specific and needed roles. So naturally, unless you have the encounter specific experience and skill to compensate, straying away from the meta or meta approximate ideals becomes a selfish exercise that hampers your team’s chance of succeeding.

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Pictured Above: Raid Meta Class until the end of time. Whenever it loses it’s place in the meta, it will Continuum Split itself back to a timeline where it has Meta status.

What are the roles in the current raid meta?

The current raid meta in Guild Wars 2 revolves around a concept called the “Mirror Composition”. This is based on the idea that a 10-man raid squad is divided equally into two 5-man parties with three support roles and two damage roles per party. This ensures consistent application of damage and support for the entire group.
Each strong build will contain a link to www.qtfy.eu or www.snowcrows.com, where they host detailed build guides, optimised skill rotations and boss specific tips. Please utilise these resources extensively if looking to learn raid roles and classes.Support Roles:
Might Stacker – A person who is capable of stacking Might reliably for their party.
Meta Might Stacker: Condition Phalanx Strength Warrior
Healer – A person who is responsible for the majority of healing in a party.
Meta Healer: Healer DruidCondition Druid
Boonshare – A person who is responsible for sharing vital boons to the party (quickness, etc).
Meta Boonsharer: Power Chronomancer
Tank – A person designated to hold the aggro of a raid boss where applicable.
Meta Tank: Power ChronomancerMinstrel Chronomancer
The role of Tank and Boonshare is rolled into one due to how well suited Chronomancer is for them. One Chronotank holds aggro and boonshares, Then one off-tank focuses on boonshare.

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DPS Roles:
All DPS roles are oriented around killing bosses, so each class will have a DPS role. Some have multiple, and the stronger DPS builds often come down to composition or encounter rather than raw number benchmarks.
Warrior – Condition DPS
Elementalist – Staff WeaverCondition WeaverStaff Tempest
Mesmer – Condition Mirage
Ranger – Condition Soulbeast
Engineer – Condition EngineerPower Holosmith
Guardian – Condition FirebrandPower Dragonhunter
Revenant – Condition Renegade
Necromancer – Condition Scourge
Thief – Condition DaredevilStaff Daredevil

“I have a build for X, it doesn’t have the same weapons or stats but it’s fine,

​right?”

No, meta builds, particularly for DPS, are what they are specifically because they result in the strongest personal effectiveness and group synergy. While it is possible to run some traits and utilities that diverge from the meta for specific encounters, changing the weapons, runes, sigils and especially the stat combinations results in a completely different build that does different things. Remember, every class is good enough to complete raids comfortably. But not every build is capable of completing raids at all. It’s not necessary to run the meta in order to clear content, but once you step outside of what is proven to be strong, you delve into experimentation. If you are already looking to learn encounters, then learning to play builds without well defined roles in addition to learning encounters will drag your team down. Commanders look for predictability in their squads, and having builds that heavily diverge from the meta means that it becomes harder for squads to identify strengths and weaknesses of their players. Even if Commanders are leading a Training Raid, it is incumbent on individual players to learn their classes, use a strong build and execute their skill rotations before even learning bosses.

“What is a rotation? I’ve never heard of that term when playing before.”

A skill rotation refers to the sequence of skill usages you need to go through in order to be the most effective. A skill rotation makes up a large part of a class’ playstyle, as different classes will need to focus on different things to accomplish different goals. For DPS classes, this means the sequence of skills to maximise your damage output. For PS Warriors, this means a rotation that upkeeps your might generation for the group, while doing as much DPS as possible. Druids don’t always have a strict rotation, but there are mini skill sequences that maximise it’s healing output, it’s Grace of the Land contribution, Glyph of Empowerment procs, etc. Not having a skill rotation or priority list that you adhere to put you squarely behind the eight ball when it comes to contributing to your squad. It is imperative that you learn your skill rotation and why each skill has it’s place in a rotation or priority list beforeyou start raiding. Raid environments will ensure that it is almost impossible to properly execute your rotation, so you have to know how to pick up rotation steps on the fly, or work around raid mechanics to deliver key skill sequences and improvise. Such as withholding CC skills for timed breaks, or saving certain burst skills for burn phases instead of using them during boss invulns.

So how do I get ready for raids if I have the build and gear?

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The best way to practice skill rotations is to utilise the Raid Test Golem, found in the Lion’s Arch Aerodrome. You need to be in a raid squad (you can create one from the top left hand menu) and you can find the entrance to the Special Forces Training Area next to the personal bank. Once there, you can create a golem to your specifications and practice hitting it to your content. For the purposes of learning rotations, and comparing benchmark scores, golems will need to be of a certain type to ensure consistency between your results and results used as benchmarks by the community.

For most classes, this will be:
– Four million HP
– Small Hitbox (Large Hitbox if DH or Elementalist)
– All Conditions including 25 Vulnerability Stacks (10 different Conditions maximum if Power Holosmith)

You will also need to apply boons and buffs to yourself that are considered realistic to have in a raid environment (5 boons):
– 25 stacks of Might
– Fury
– Quickness
– Regeneration
– Swiftness
– Alacrity
– Sun Spirit
– Frost Spirit
– 5 stacks of Grace of the Land
– Spotter
– Pinpoint Distribution (if Condition based DPS)
– Banner of Strength
– Banner of Discipline
– Empower Allies

Practice your role’s skill rotation until you feel like you understand it, and can do it in your sleep. Then, use it everywhere! Dungeons, Meta Events, Fractals. One of the best ways to become good at raid builds is practice. You’ll become accustomed to the ins and outs of your build, it’s strengths and weaknesses. So just keep playing and you’ll put yourself in a good position to learn raid encounters, since you already do other PvE content with the build!

Best of luck, and happy raiding!