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. [ The Three Facets Of Guild Wars 2 Combat ]

Combat constitutes the most basic aspect of Guild Wars 2, as it also
Unlike traditional MMOs, professions in GW2 are not molded into a particular role of the infamous "holy trinity", i.e. Tank, Healer or Damage Dealer. Instead, every profession is designed to be self-sufficient and able to fit one or multiple traditional roles.
This is, however, not to be confused with the widely spread wrong assumption that "Guild Wars 2 has abolished the holy trinity of MMO gaming". It has not.

The Three Facets Of Guild Wars 2 Combat

The "holy trinity" has rather been renamed and slighty re-arranged, the three pillars of GW2 combat being: Damage, Support and Control.

Three Facets of Guild Wars 2 Combat: Damage, Control and Support


If combat is the most basic aspect of Guild Wars 2, then Damage is the most basic aspect of its most basic aspect. The wiki defines Damage as "any effect from an action which results in a target losing health" and also remarks that "all professions are able to deal damage in a useful way, mostly by using skills." The latter sending a key message: All professions in GW2 are able to deal damage, there are no designated "Damage Dealing Classes" - although the ways in which damage is dealt still vary greatly.
The detailed formulas for dealing damage are currently unknown. Once they become available, this article will be updated.


The second pillar of GW2 combat is Control. It is "the act of manipulating enemy movement, damage, as well as many other game mechanics. Correct use of control is a way to turn the tide of the battle". Guild Wars 2 knows the following types of Control:
  • Controlling of movement (e.g. Cripple)
  • Controlling of damage (e.g. Blind)
  • Controlling of healing (e.g. Poison)
  • Controlling of active defense (e.g. Weakness)

A more detailed view on effects (including those of the Control pillar) is being provided in our article about GW2 effects.


The third pillar of combat in Guild Wars 2 is Support. "It consists of providing increased effectiveness and survivability in combat via additional healing, boons, defensive actions like blocking or cloaking as well as combos. Supporting is a way for players to work together to accomplish a shared goal". GW2 knows the following types of support:
  • Healing
    Healing is the simplest form of support and refers to replenishing health of the player or allies, usually available to players with certain skills and traits. All heals are directly increased by the secondary attribute "Healing Power". Healing skills are not only found among the reserved healing skill slot, but also among weapon and utility skills.
    The official wiki provides a list of all healing skills.

  • Boons
    Boons are positive effects, as opposed to the negative conditions. They are the equivalent to the "buffs" found in other MMORPGs or "Enchantments" in Guild Wars 1. While the duration of buffs can be stacked, their effectiveness cannot - the only exception being "Might". Our article about GW2 effects contains a detailed list of all Boons.

  • Active defense
    Active defense does not solely refer to specific skills on your hotbar, but to active positioning of your character. Projectiles can be blocked by obstacles in the environment or by other players/MOBs standing in their way. So guarding an allied player by standing between him and a shot is possible.
    Aside from positioning to take advantage of collision and environment, actively defending self and allies from harm has countless methods and some of them strongly overlap with the other two pillars of GW2 combat; Control and Damage. Pushing the enemy away, blinding or crippling them or causing them to run away in terror will eliminate much of the need for healing or defensive boons.
Some traits also enhance certain aspects of Support, granting Boons and other passive effects to allies.

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