One of the most noticeable things about Guild Wars 2’s combat is your ability to move out of the way of incoming attacks. I know, I know, its not radical, but stick with me. You can move out of the way of dangerous attacks in Guild Wars 2 through two different actions. First, normal movement can actually get you out of the way of things, but more regularly you will use an evasive dodge roll.
But why dodge?
As a new player, this is the single most important concept to wrap your head around. In other MMO’s movement is only really important for the ‘Big Attacks’. Giant area effect of Fire? Probably want to get out of that. Maze of Toxic Venom? I wouldn’t suggest touching those green walls. Other than those instances though, there wasn’t much of a reason to move around. However, Guild Wars 2 takes things a step further. For the most part, attacks hurt, and I mean every attack, a lot. There are certainly still attacks that enemies will telegraph rather obviously, and for the most part these will put you into a downed state almost immediately. While this doesn’t mean you’re out of the game, it certainly makes you less effective.
A very wise forum member once summed up the entire idea of mobility and dodging in one perfect sentence; “Being able to instantly close distance…and immediately follow that by instantly opening distance [is] an unbeatable tactic”. As I see it, movement really is the key to success. Damage output, good skill use, and gear are all important, but movement still seems far more important than it ever has been. It deserves your attention.
Most of the abilities in Guild Wars 2 that you’ll have at your disposal can actually be used while moving. This means, you should be moving! Different professions are going to accomplish this in slightly different ways. Thieves for instance tend to roll in and out of combat, dealing a spike of damage, then moving away before they can be hit. Warriors would be more likely to stand their ground, but should still be ready to move out of the way of big attacks.
Dodging is the most obvious way to avoid attacks. By either pressing the dodge button, or double tapping a movement key, if you have that option enabled, you’ll perform an acrobatic and quite impressive looking dodge. Dodging uses 50 points from your endurance pool, which is located just above your Health meter. Initially, you have enough endurance to perform two dodge rolls before running out. Don’t worry though, endurance regenerates pretty quickly over time, and many classes have a means of increasing their regeneration or otherwise gaining more endurance. While you are performing a dodge roll, you are essentially immune to damage, which is represented by the quality of Evasion. It is an invaluable tool for staying alive, getting out of the so called ‘fire’, and moving around the battlefield.
There are two conditions which prevent dodging: Chilled and Immobilize. Having a way to remove these conditions can be an important part of keeping yourself mobile. They are relatively easy to notice, but you should take particular note of enemies who are able to bring these to bear against you.
Now there is another side to movement in Guild Wars 2. Most classes have at their disposal, melee and ranged abilities. These different attacks vary widely in range. Thus, we might consider every battle in Guild Wars 2 to have different fields of combat. The closer your field of combat is to the enemy, generally the greater damage output, as well as a greater chance of being hit by powerful enemy attacks. The further away you are, the less damage you are likely to do (except if we are talking about siege weapons of course…). Yet, consider this: an enemy, be they NPC or enemy PvPer, can only attack in one way. The attack they use may be an area of effect, and sweeping strike with a greatsword, or a single rifle shot, but if you can move out of that arch or circle of attack, you are all the better.
So move! Strafe, dodge, walk, zigzag even. It doesn’t matter, just move. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve avoided an attack simply by walking as I fired into an enemy. Using Weapon Skills and Utility Skills to move around the battle, dipping in and out of the range of combat is an invaluable skill to learn. It may take you a little while, but stick at it. Soon, it’ll be the greatest tool you have at your disposal.