Getting Started in PvP: The Build Up

In this post I’m going to cover how to actually start getting ready to get into a match and fight. Before you go jumping into the queue, you’ll want to set up your traits, weapons, utility skills, and stats.

This is actually one of my favorite things about PvP in GW2 – no matter what level you are when you get in to PvP, you have access to all utility skills and traits (save 4 of the highest tier traits) so you can play around with them and change them as needed without having to worry about unlocking them.


If you’re reading this guide, you probably already have a well enough grasp on your character in PvE. You’ve probably tried most if not all of the weapons available to your profession and picked out a few that you enjoy using the most. When you go to try PvP, I urge you to try using all of the weapons again at least once. That sounds like a bit of a drag, but since PvP combat is so different from PvE combat, you might find different weapons more useful once you start PvPing.

One great thing is that you don’t even need to have Rare or Exotic items to give a different weapon a go. Remember in the last guide how I said there were weaponsmith merchants in the PvP Lobby? You can go over and grab whatever weapons you can use for your profession and give it a try!

“But what about stats?” you might be wondering. If you go to the top of your screen, you’ll notice a helmet icon. Click on that and it will open up your PvP Build window. One tab in this window houses your traits (which I will get to shortly!) and the other shows your weapons.

In this tab, you get to choose a superior sigil for each of your weapons from the list to the left. It’s a very long list! Take your time to find one that meshes well with the skills that your weapons provide. For example, you might not want to use a sigil that increases bleed durations if your weapon skills don’t put bleeds on your enemies.

Additionally in this tab you’ll be able to slot a rune and amulet to give you more stats, since everyone is otherwise auto-balanced. Again, take your time going through the list and pick a rune and amulet that will mesh well with your profession and skills. Once you get your traits set up, it’s a good idea to take a look at these again before heading into the queue.


Utility Skills

Although in the core part of the game you have to earn skill points and use them to unlock your healing, utility, and elite skills, in the PvP area you automatically have access to all of these skills. This gives you an opportunity to play around with them more than you might in Tyria, especially if your character isn’t quite level 80 yet or just haven’t gotten around to unlocking all the skills yet. As always, make sure you read the description of each skill carefully. Test them out on the test dummies on the western end of the PvP Lobby and figure out which skills you might like to use.


As you get underway with PvP, you’re probably going to changing your traits around quite a bit. Don’t worry though – the traits you set up in the PvP Lobby do not affect the traits you have set in Tyria proper. This allows you to change things around as freely as you need without having to keep track of your PvE and PvP trait set ups differently. The same goes for the utility skills mentioned above. In fact, you will probably use very different utility skills and traits than you do for working on hearts or doing world bosses or doing dungeons.

When you first get to the PvP Lobby and open your trait panel, you’ll have a default trait build already in place. This is fine for your first handful of matches while you get used to maneuvering around enemy players and figure out the layouts of the match maps. However once you get a feel for those things, you’ll want to start figuring out your build.

If you already have a thorough knowledge of your profession’s traits, putting together a desirable set of traits probably isn’t too difficult. However if you’ve only recently gotten to 80 or just haven’t played around with your traits much, then this might be more new for you. I recommend taking a look over at and clicking on the section to the far right – “Ranked Arena”. Here you’ll find trait, weapon, and utility skill set ups for each profession that people have thoroughly tested and proven to be effective in PvP.

The thing with these builds though is that to use them, you might have to completely change the way you have been playing your profession. For some people that’s not too difficult, so these builds can be great to try. If you’re looking to ease into things more, I recommend taking a look at the builds and utilizing parts of them that fit your current style or interests. As you play more and more, you’ll get a better grasp of your PvP playstyle – whether you’re looking for high DPS or survivability or lots of crowd control options.

Since this is just a ‘getting started’ guide, I won’t go into traits too much more. More advanced players spend a ton of time tinkering with their builds and discussing them. But for now, basic trait set ups and guides on metabattle should tide you over. The next and final part of this series will be about the different match types, maps, and phrases you might come across in a match.


  1. Just wanted to fire you a quick thanks. After your last article on PVP I decided to venture into the mists for the first time and had a great time. My first match I managed to rack up 12 kills and we won! Will definately be back.

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