PvP Primer: Training Arenas—PvP Training Without Other Players
After completing the Nameless Masters quest, you might feel ready to try your hand at some PvP in a controlled environment (namely an environment without other players). In the Training Arenas (part of the Team Trials quest), you can begin to experience aspects of PvP entirely by yourself; the AI controls your teammates and your opponents. These competitions demonstrate the victory conditions for basic arena combat. Additionally, they net you Balthazar's faction, which you will need to unlock skills and items for PvP-only characters.
The Training Arenas consist of 4v4 combat. If you enter by yourself, you group up with three computer-controlled henchmen and fight against a team of four computer opponents. You can also grab up to three other people and team with them, choose your own assortment of henchmen in the Great Temple of Balthazar, or even bring Heroes along (Nightfall-only content). During the Trial, you go through four basic arena types:
- Annihilation: Destroy the enemy team.
- Obelisk Annihilation: Destroy the enemy team and capture an obelisk for extra damage.
- Priest Annihilation: Destroy the enemy team as well as a priest.
- Kill Count: Secure the most kills in a given amount of time.
If you lose any of the matches in here, don't worry. You can repeat this Trial as many times as you like by simply talking to the Master of Paths. While you fight, the Master of Paths stands nearby to guide you with various tips and objectives, such as using the Ctrl button on your keyboard to call targets or to let your allies know what skills you use.
As a general PvP overview, we suggest trying some or all of the PvP-only default characters in the Training Arenas. No matter which profession you choose you should, with enough practice, be able to win all four matches in the Training Arenas, though not always flawlessly (as the healer hench makes mistakes sometimes).
For an alternative to the default Skill Bars of each profession, try some common PvP builds. We have guides listed below for builds such as a Zealous Benediction (ZB Monk), Shock Axe Warrior, and Warrior's Anguish Mesmer.
Note: You will have to unlock some skills to try these builds. Unlocks are available by earning Balthazar's faction in PvP, by playing through the game's roleplaying content, or by purchasing them at the online store.
Monk Training With the ZB Monk Build
Goal: Flawless wins in all four arena matches without a healer henchman.
Instructions: Create a PvP-only Monk. To build a ZB Monk, you need Zealous Benediction, some fast-casting Protection Prayers, Condition and Hex removal, self-survival (often Assassin skills), and healing for allies. A standard ZB Monk Skill Bar might look like this:
Zealous Benediction [Elite]
Monk - Protection Prayers - Spell
Spell. Heal target ally for 30..180 Health. If target was below 50% Health, you gain 7 Energy.
Monk/Assassin ZB Monk Build:
Divine Favor: 9 (8+1)
Protection Prayers: 14 (12+2)
Healing Prayers: 10 (9+1)
Shadow Arts: 5
Note: To have the most success with this build, use minor runes to boost attributes, and the Survivor Insignia for Health.
Reversal of Fortune
Gift of Health
General play: Conserve your Energy and don't "over-heal" your party; use Zealous Benediction wisely for Energy-free Healing.
Over-healing occurs when you use a skill that heals for more Health than necessary to return an ally to maximum Health. It means you have spent too much Energy to heal. For example, if a player on your team has 480 maximum Health and takes 40 damage, dropping that player to 440 Health, you shouldn't immediately heal him with a skill that heals for more than 40, unless you think the opponent has started a spike. The extra Health just goes to waste. Wait until you see a teammate get to about 75% Health and then heal.
This tactic works best for protracted fights when the other team tries to pressure and out-damage your healing ability. In the Training Arenas, the AI attempts pressure damage. When you start fighting other types of teams (including the AI in the Zaishen Challenge), they might try some coordinated spiking damage. If this is the case, keeping Health levels at their maximum might stop a spike, and over-healing should concern you less.
For Zealous Benediction, wait until your intended healing target drop below 50% Health to trigger the Energy return. Use this whenever possible. It counters Health degeneration by offering repeated healing for no cost, and staves off spikes with a large heal.
Alternate Shielding Hands and Dark Escape to reduce the amount of damage you take. If using henchmen in the Training Arenas, you have to make sure to attack the opposing Monk so your team follows suit. Although you don't want to get into this habit for future PvP, in the Training Arenas you may have to stand still and wand (use your basic attack) so the henchmen keep attacking. As you do this, you will take a lot of damage, which should help you get used to the skills of the build and how they work. When you get to actual PvP, however, make sure to avoid damage and never just stand still and take it if you can help it.
Warrior Training With the Shock Axe Build
Goal: Win all matches except Kill Count in less than two minutes without a fighter henchman.
Instructions: Create a PvP-only Warrior. To build a common Axe Shock Warrior, you need a core of skills such as Eviscerate and Frenzy. Make sure to create armor with the Radiant Insignia, as you need all the Energy you can get. Make a helmet with Axe Mastery +1, and pick a Stoneskin upgrade on armor to make sure your knock down lasts longer. Grab an axe with bonus damage while in a Stance or while Health is above 50%. Apply runes if you have them unlocked. Even if you have no runes, you can win each of the Training Arenas in under two minutes. After setting up equipment, add the healer, mage, and archer henchies to your party. Use the portal in the Great Temple of Balthazar to go to the Isle of the Nameless, and speak with the Master of Paths to enter the Training Arenas.
Elementalist - Air Magic - Skill
Skill. Target touched foe is knocked down and struck for 10..60 lightning damage. This skill has 25% armor penetration and causes Exhaustion.
Warrior/Elementalist Axe Shock Build:
Axe Mastery: 13 (12+1)
Air Magic: 5
General play: Pretty straightforward Warrior play: call targets and do as much damage as you can. Always target the Monk first, making sure to use the left Ctrl key to call your target so that your whole party attacks. You'll probably kill the Monk before all of your adrenaline skills have fully charged. After he goes down, watch for any of his teammates who use Resurrection Signet. Once he comes back up, go after him again, and hit all of your adrenaline skills in order: Eviscerate, Axe Rake, and Executioner's Strike. He should die even faster the second time, giving you the opportunity to switch and quickly hit another target while their team has no Monk.
If the Monk or one of your targets runs from you, Shock that foe to the ground. You can also do this on the Monk to prevent him from healing, or to prevent a skill from activating, such as a Resurrection Signet. Defensively, you can Shock an enemy Warrior pursuing your Monk. Once you've defended your Monk, return to the fight and take down their Monk. Targets should drop rapidly with the Monk down.
Mesmer Training With Warrior's Anguish Build
Goal: Win all matches with a healer henchman and any combination of other henchmen.
Instructions: Create a PvP-only Mesmer. Your goal will be to shut down melee characters and spread Health degeneration to the other team. As such, you should have a combination of Hexes and some way to keep Energy levels up so you can toss the Hexes around at will.
Pick a headpiece with the Illusion Magic +1 bonus and any other combination of armor and weapons that you like. For example, you may wish to enhance the recharge times of your Hexes (helpful for shutting down multiple targets), in which case you should create items that decrease recharge times. Apply runes if you have them unlocked. Even if you have no runes, you can win each of the Training Arenas. After equipment creation, add the healer, mage, and archer henchmen to your party. Use the portal to go to the Isle of the Nameless, and speak with the Master of Paths to enter the Training Arenas.
Crippling Anguish [Elite]
Mesmer - Illusion Magic - Hex Spell
Hex Spell. For 8..20 seconds, target moves 50% slower and suffers -1..3 Health degeneration.
Mesmer/Monk Warrior's Anguish Build:
Illusion Magic: 12 (11+1)
Inspiration Magic: 9
Protection Prayers: 9
Fast Casting: 6
Images of Remorse
Spirit of Failure
Mantra of Persistence
General play: Assist the team with defensive support by shutting down physical attackers, while adding pressure to healers with Health degeneration.
Focus on Hexing the Warrior and Ranger. Spirit of Failure works well on the Ranger, and Crippling Anguish makes it easy to get away from the Warrior. Watch for the Monk to use Remove Hex and interrupt this spell with a Power Drain to prevent the removal and recover some Energy at the same time. "Cover" your important Hexes with Images of Remorse. This way, if the Monk does remove a Hex, he'll remove the cover (Images of Remorse in this case) rather than the one you care about. Don't forget to use Mantra of Persistence to extend the duration of your Hexes. In actual PvP, let your team know if you cast Pacifism on someone. In the Training Arenas, Pacifism doesn't always work because most targets take damage most of the time. But if you snare the Warrior, he often gets separated from the action, and putting Pacifism on him makes sure he stays out of commission.
This template may take a little practice. If you cover Spirit of Failure with Images of Remorse, watch for the target's Health Bar to change back to the normal solid red, but with a pink down arrow remaining. This means the Health degeneration has ceased from Images of Remorse, and only Spirit of Failure remains on the target. When this happens, Hex your target with Images of Remorse again, keeping it active as a cover Hex as described above. You also might run out of Energy, so after you've Hexed as much as you can, tab through your opponents until you find an Enchantment to remove with Drain Enchantment. The enemy Elementalist usually has one, and the Monk casts Healing Breeze on different people.
Besides the three builds outlined above, you should be able to use any default setup for each primary profession and win the Training Arenas. Try to go in with a balanced team by subbing out the corresponding henchman to the profession you select. If you play an Elementalist , for example, don't take the mage henchman along with you. Eventually, you should be able to play any offensive profession and secure wins in the Training Arenas in under two minutes, and achieve flawless wins with any healing profession.