Guild Wars 2 Attributes Guide – How To Improve Combat

Year 2012 seems to be a gaming year focusing extremely on MMO games, as we’ve seen some major releases, out of which one soon-to-be-released title is Guild Wars 2.

In this guide, we’ll go over the Attributes in Guild Wars 2, looking at what they are, their categorization, and how they affect your character. For more help on Guild Wars 2, read our Currency, Crafting and Dynamic Events Guide.

Guild Wars 2 – Attributes

Attributes in Guild Wars 2 is the name for the various fundamental characteristics that strengthen your combat effectiveness. Each profession in the game has access to ten attributes. Of these ten attributes, nine are common or shared by ever profession, while one is unique for each profession.

Attributes are divided into various types. These are:

  • Primary Attributes – Further split into 2 offensive and 2 defensive attributes
  • Secondary Attributes – Also split further, this time into 3 offensive and  2 defensive
  • Profession Attributes – Unique for every profession

Primary Attributes:

Primary Attributes increase naturally as your level progresses. The four attributes are:

  1. Power (offensive)
  2. Precision (offensive)
  3. Toughness (defensive)
  4. Vitality (defensive)

Every point in Power increases attack by one point. Basically, this is the main thing that would determine your native damage. So, the more power you have, the more damage your attacks would have.

However, this does not hold true for Condition Damage focused builds. We’ll discuss Condition Damage in Secondary Attributes in detail.

Precision increases your critical hit chance. Critical Hitting is essential in any MMO game, and Guild Wars 2 is no exception. It’s not always the spike damage that you may be looking for from critical hits, as many effects from skills or traits largely depend on critical strikes.

Sadly enough, points in Precision scale your critical hits by a very small amount. You might want to consider using traits that add to your Precision if you are looking for a crit-based build.

Toughness is synonymous to the Armor concept in other MMO games. Basically, the more points in toughness, the higher your armor, and the more capability you will have to withstand incoming damage.

Toughness however, does NOT mitigate Condition Damage, but only reduces the damage from physical attacks and spells.

Like Precision, there are certain traits that will increase your Toughness be a specific amount. There is no hard-fast rule as to how much Toughness you should have, but if you feel you are a touch too squishy, you might want to find a way to increase this attribute.

Vitality is basically the amount of total health you have. Personally, this is the Attribute of greatest concern, as large health not only allows you to have greater sustenance, but can even prevent the need of investing too much in Toughness.

Therefore, I highly recommend equipping a couple of items and perhaps using one odd trait that would increase your Vitality points.

Each Vitality point adds 10 health points to your health pool. So, if you have around 1000 Vitality, you would have a total of 10,000 health points.

Secondary Attributes:
Unlike Primary Attributes, Secondary Attributes do not automatically increase as your level progresses. Instead, you need to increase these attributes through specializing in trait lines or from items and equipment.

The five Secondary Attributes are:

  1. Boon Duration (defensive)
  2. Condition Damage (offensive)
  3. Condition Duration (offensive)
  4. Critical Damage (offensive)
  5. Healing Power (defensive)

Boon Duration aka Concentration:
Boon Duration increases the duration of Boons by a percentage amount that is exactly according to the number of points you have invested in the specific trait line. That might sound very complicated, but it’s all actually very simple.

For example, if you were investing around 20 points in a trait line with various Boons, the duration of your Boons for that trait line would increase by 20% – it’s that simple.

This attribute is extremely useful when making a Boon-dependent build, or when making an offensive support. Also, with certain items that increase Boon durations, this can stack up to give huge duration bonuses.

Condition Damage aka Malice:
We talked about Condition Damage, and how it is independent on the amount of Power you have. Conditions are basically DoT and CC effects like Bleed, Poison, Confusion etcetera, and additional points in Condition Damage make such conditions deal much larger damage.

Without sufficient points in Condition Damage, the damage from Conditions is almost of no value. Generally, Condition-focused builds are much more difficult to make, as for proper effectiveness one needs more than 1000 points in Condition Damage.

However, once these builds are completed, they are arguably more rewarding than Power-based offensive builds.

Condition Duration aka Expertise:
This is very similar to Boon Duration, except that it increases the duration of Conditions rather than Boons. It also has the same mathematical application as Boon Duration increase – it increases the Condition duration by a percentage value that is equal to the number of points you have invested in a trait line.

Condition Duration goes exceptionally well with Condition Damage, and is also a key focal attribute when making a Condition Damage based build.

Critical Damage aka Prowess:
Critical Damage is quite self explanatory: it increases the amount of damage your critical strikes do. The effectiveness of this attribute is obviously heavily dependent on Precision, which increases your crit chance.

Critical Strikes generally do 50% extra damage than normal strikes. This means that if you are doing 100 damage, your critical hit will do 150 damage. Increasing the Critical Damage will add to that extra damage percentage, with 1% for every point in Prowess.

This means that if you have 50 points in Critical Damage, and are once again doing 100 damage with normal hits, your critical hits wont do 150 damage, but instead do 200 damage because of the (50%+50% from 50 points in Prowess=100) increased critical damage percentage.

Healing Power aka Compassion:
This is a defensive or support-based attribute. Compassion or Healing Power increases the amount of heal being done to you and/or the amount of healing you are doing. Every point in Healing Power will add one additional point health point in the amount of healing you are doing.

So, if your healing was giving you 1000 health, with 100 points in Healing Power it will give you 1100 instead.

Profession Attributes:
These are unique attributes, different for each profession. Every profession has only one Profession Attribute available.

Like Secondary Attributes, Profession Attributes do not automatically enhance with your level progression. Instead, they require investment on your part, into a specific trait line.

The Profession attributes are:


Intelligence – Reduces the recharge of elemental attunements; linked to Arcana


Ingenuity – Reduces the recharge on all tool belt skills; linked to Tools


Willpower – Reduces the recharge on all Virtues; linked to Virtues


Guile – Reduces the recharge on shatter skills; linked to Illusions


Hunger – Increases size of life force pool; linked to Soul Reaping


Empathy –Enhances pet attributes; linked to Beastmastery


Cunning – Reduces the recharge of Steal; linked to Trickery


Brawn – Enhances damage of warrior burst attacks; linked to Discipline

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