GW2: Gearing Up At 80

My Personal Gearing Strategy at Level 80

Once I hit 80, I was obviously interested in min maxing my gear for PvP, specifically WvW.  I took a four step approach to getting the gear I wanted at level 80.

  1. Get into full exotics as soon as possible.
  2. Optimize a set for your build.
  3. Buy Runes & Sigils.
  4. (Guild) Skins

Getting Into Full Exotic Gear

They way I did that was pretty easy.  It was different gear from different places.  As I gathered gold, I bought pieces off the Trading Post.  Once I had enough materials, I used my crafting discipline to craft a piece.  If I didn’t have the right crafting discipline, I had a guild mate craft me something.  You could even buy the materials from the Trading Post and come out a little cheaper.  Combining them with my own materials I found to be the best strategy.  Each time I had 42,000 karma, I hit the karma vendors in Orr.  WvW was slowest, but as I gathered enough Badges of Honor I was finally able to buy something off that vendor too.  While this quickly replaced my lower level gear, it wasn’t all optimal for my spec at the time.  However it gave me more survivability in WvW, which was the end goal.  I now have multiple sets of armor, and only one piece that is not useful in any spec.

Optimization

By optimization, I mean gear that is best for your build.  For instance, if I was going with a rifle bleed build on my warrior, I wanted Condition Damage.  While the WvW gear is nice, it is Power, Toughness, and Vitality.  It helps in WvW, and is better than any Rare item, but doesn’t match my Condition Damage build theme.  I wanted ‘Carrion’ gear, or Power, Vitality, and Condition Damage.

Essentially I followed the same strategy as above.  Once I had full exotics, I just waited to find the right item on the Trading Post, or the right karma vendor available.  You may want to be a little more careful than I was if you don’t want a second set.  I knew I wanted a second set of gear, so I was less thoughtful in planning out the karma vendor pieces, WvW Vendor, etc.

Choosing Sigils and Runes

Picking Runes and Sigils depend largely on your build.  There are three main sets of Sigils that I have seen:

  1. Procs – Chance to have some effect activate (bleed, slow, etc)
  2. Stacks – +10 to something each time you down a foe. (power, healing, etc)
  3. Static – An effect is always present (+5% damage, +5% crit, etc)

After some testing, I discovered you can get stacks from Sigils on offhand weapons.  This counts even if the offhand weapon is not used.  So if you dual wield like I do (sword and shield), then your main weapon can have a Sigil that procs, and your offhand can be a Sigil that stacks.  Either hand is good for a static Sigil.

Runes come in all shapes and varieties, and were the hardest for me to decide on.  In fact, the Runes I went with for my Squad Commander Build were ones I hadn’t even considered.  A few considerations to think of are:

  • Do you have enough defense in your build?  If not, think about vitality or toughness stats on your runes.
  • Does it complement your build?  Are you a Precision build but taking Power runes?  Sometimes this is good, just make sure it’s furthering your build strategy.
  • Are there any useless abilities?  Some runes call pets to attack, or give +100 to underwater weapons. Read the runes carefully and make sure ALL of the abilities are useful to you.  Some may give a bonus to freezing when none of your skills can freeze.

Looking Good

I happen to really like most of the Guild skins.  Nothing tells the enemy, or your allies, how awesome your guild is by the advertisement space you personally choose to display on your character.  I also happen to be very picky about my look.  I’ve wasted a transmutation stone or five in my time all in the name of looking how I want to look.  If you want to make the most of your money, save your transmuting until you’ve got the full set of gear.  If you’re like me and have to look acceptable at all times despite the cost, be prepared to pay for it.

There is a Right way, and a Wrong way

Use Magic Find boosts or food for gold farming.  Your return on this will come quickly.  You can also waste gold and time buying the wrong gear.  I do have a shield that I have ended up not using on any of my sets.  It ran me ~5g, so it wasn’t a small purchase exactly.  Level 80 transmutation stones are expensive too.  Just do a little pre-thinking before you commit to something.
Feel free to leave your own strategies in the comments below.

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