It’s usually at level 30 when players finally get access to the first dungeon and start claiming just how hard and pointless it all is. Most common arguments usually look like this:
„This is too hard, it’s just not fun to keep dying so often and then keep running back from the checkpoint all the time, its like Diablo 3 Inferno mode all over again.“
„This isn’t possible without a healer, we need a healer to heal us from the back while we fight. It was a terrible idea from ArenaNet to remove heavy healing classes.“
And probably the worst of all:
„This is a waste of time, bye guys!“
People are having a hard time adjusting to the difficulty presented in dungeons, not only did they get used to „tanking and spanking“ by playing any of the other MMOs, but they have also gotten used to how easy and simple it is to progress outside dungeons that now this seems to be a big problem for them. If you just barge in and spam your skills in hope that you will succeed, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Sure some parts of the dungeons are obviously harder than others, but all of them can be beaten if you just know what to do, and more importantly, how exactly to play.
The removal of „the holy trinity“ (dedicated tank/healer/damage roles) seems to be confusing some people. In GW2, every player can play each role at all times regardless of their class, though some classes are obviously slightly better suited for some of these than others. If all of the players in the group know how to properly approach each encounter, then it should be possible to complete dungeons even with a team of 5 warriors or even 5 necromancers, and most definitely with 5 hunters. It’s also even possible to complete a dungeon with less than 5 people, it might take longer, but it’s nonetheless possible.
In dungeons, rules like „one for all“, „all for one“ and even „every man for himself“ all play a role in their own way. Each of these represents things that you should be aware of. All of the enemies hit hard, very hard even, so you will likely die several times on the very first enemy if you don’t understand how to adapt. Here are some tips and explanations to give you more insight and help you understand just how different gameplay in GW2 is when compared to other MMOs:
Know what you’re getting into – Preparation is key, simply having gear that’s up to date with your level won’t save you by default. If you are going into a dungeon that’s swarming with ghosts, be clever and upgrade your items by inserting sockets that do +3% damage to ghosts. This can be of great help especially if more players prepare themselves by doing this with multiple items.
Stay on your toes – It is vital to always pay attention to what’s going on and react appropriately. Locking onto your target and simply unleashing your skills as you please won’t ensure victory. Dangerous areas will often be indicated on the ground by red circles, you should try to avoid them whenever you can.
Use both weapon sets – Having two different weapon sets means you will have more skills at your disposal and also make you perform better as different situations present themselves.
Know what you are able to do – Knowing the skillsets you use will greatly reduce the time needed for you to make decisions in the heat of battle. Look at all of the available skills with all of the weapon options you can have, and pick the ones that are useful in more than one situation. Skills that cripple, stun, interrupt and push enemies away can prove to be better than those just dealing flat out damage. Crippling foes is also a very good idea to do when you see an enemy chasing after you ally who is trying to save himself by shaking them off.
Wisely use the skills at your disposal – Don’t just unleash everything you have as you please. If the enemy is already crippled, then wait for it to wear off before you use your own skill to cripple him again. For all you know he might have been crippled just a second ago, meaning if you use it now you won’t really gain anything and will have to wait for the entire cooldown to run down before you can use it again. For example, the infamous Lovers boss battle is a rather tricky encounter, as both bosses need to be kept separated at all time. If you have a skill like Stomp, don’t just use it at random. Look around and determine in which direction you could send them flying to keep the further apart. It is best to place yourself in between them before using such skills. It is also good to try and cripple them so they have a harder time meeting with each other.
Going Elite – Your elite skill can help you a lot, but don’t be discouraged of using it simply because it has a slightly longer cooldown. Use it often, because chances are it will be ready in time for the next fight…or two.
Your loadout is not set in stone – If you notice some of your skills aren’t all that effective, remember that you can change and equip other skills outside of combat, as long as they are not under cooldown. This is why it is essential to know what every single skill you have does, as you will have to regularly adapt for each encounter.
Pay attention – Always keep an eye on your health, enemies inflict massive damage so use your dedicated healing ability as soon as you can. The sooner you heal yourself, the sooner it will be available for use again. This is very important because no healer will look out for you. Also be sure too pay attention to your allies as well in case one of them goes down.
Stay close, but not too close – Staying close to each other is a good strategy as you can more easily see and revive your friends when they are downed. Be careful not to be too close to your friends though, we don’t want a single enemy attack damaging or downing the entire party.
Know when, and who to revive – It is very important to revive your allies. The sooner you start reviving your allies the shorter it will take, but don’t always do it automatically when you see them on the ground. If you are under fire and taking damage, then your own safety has priority because if you go down now, others will be 2 members short and will also have more reviving to do. Also worth noting is that reviving will take significantly longer if they already bled out, sometimes it’s better to just focus on taking down remaining enemies and then reviving your allies after the battle.
Never give up – Don’t give up when you get downed. You still have a few tricks up your sleeve, a well placed interrupt can go a long way to aid your allies in battle, even if death is certain some classes can still move around so use this time to better position your body so that allies can easily bring you back. Be sure to keep throwing rocks as every single hit you make will count towards a faster and easier victory, no matter how weak it might be.
A quick comeback – If you notice nobody is helping you get back on your feet and are about to bleed out soon, don’t be afraid to use skills like Vengence. Having a few extra second to interrupt or pull enemies away from your group can help them a lot.
As soon as you die (bleed out), you need to respawn and quickly travel back to help your allies. Don’t be lazy, unless there’s only one enemy left and the rest can take care of him with little effort. Update: A recent patch has disabled respawning via waypoints while your party is still engaged in combat in order to prevent “zerging” and enforce more teamwork.
Know when to pull back – You might start taking heavy damage as soon as you enter melee combat, DON’T stay there. Pull back and take care of your wounds. A ranged weapon is always a good choice to have for a backup plan, as you can then shoot the enemy from safety while recovering. And yes, this applies to heavy armored warriors as well. Knowing when to go in and when to step back can save you from many deaths. Don’t think that you are not helping out our team simply because you are not always attacking, staying alive has more uses than staying dead after all.
Dodge is your best friend – Evading attacks won’t happen on its own because of some stat or random dice roll that takes place behind the scenes. Don’t forget that you have to dodge and evade attacks manually, regardless of your class. You must use this frequently as it will save you from whatever might have just killed you. If your energy (the stamina bar used for evading) is always full, then you know you’re doing something wrong.
Focus fire – The best way to win an encounter is to weaken the enemy numbers first. That’s why you should all focus on one specific target at all times, preferably enemy casters or healers. All players can manually call out targets by holding the ctrl key and double clicking the enemy or hitting the T button. Other players can then quickly select that same target by simply pressing T on the keyboard. If another player has already called a target to focus on, it goes without saying that you need to stick with it instead of calling another target.
Always keep moving – Never stand in one place, even if you are engaged in close combat. By moving around you have higher chances to evade danger. If you were already moving at the time you realized something might happen in an area around you, then you are already half way out to safety.
Use your surroundings – If an enemy is shooting at you, don’t be afraid to move and hide behind a pillar or a wall for some cover. This will block their line of sight, reduce damage aimed at you, and also buy everyone some time if the enemy decides to chase after you. Each and every second the enemy doesn’t spend attacking goes in your favor.
Communication is key – Last but not least, don’t forget to communicate. If you know something they don’t regarding anything, let them know and they might do the same for you. If you have been here once before already, tell them about the fight that lies behind the next corner. Don’t assume they know every single detail just because you do. Nobody is born with knowledge and tactics required for the next encounter and everyone eventually has their first time being there. If nobody noticed that you got downed while staying back to shoot from afar, tell them so they can come and help you. Also, don’t be mad if you’re not getting any attention while downed, they might have realized that their efforts to revive you might be a setback for the rest of them as their efforts could be better spent elsewhere, especially if you’re located in a dangerous area.
After reading all this you might be thinking „boy is there a lot going on here“, and if that’s the case then yes, you’re right. Instead of just following one set formula of tanking and spanking, GW2 was designed so that you would be engaged at all times. You actually have to play and think about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what is best to do in a situation at hand, instead of just standing there next to a boss, minding your own business dishing out damage while the tank and healer mind theirs as well. It’s all about slowing down enemies as many times as you can, and shaving off precious seconds by quickly reviving allies. Once you get the hang of it, it can get quite intense and thrilling, so don’t forget do come back for Explorable Mode which ups the challenge even further.