I never once noticed a combo field before the addition of the indicator, when field meets finisher. In the midst of all the particle effects on offer in Guild Wars 2, to pick out a pair of skills working in unison was often near impossible. After the symbol, I’m constantly aware of their utility and power.
For anyone who doesn’t know, a combo field is a specific skill that creates an area of effect, of a particular type. The type tends to be elemental and this determines the effect they cause on a finisher. There are a total of 9 fields and 4 finishers that trigger the effects, as indicated in the wiki-table below. You can also check out LoreChief's Combo Highlights for a full profession breakdown of their specific Combo Fields and Finishers.
Fields come in two forms, circular or wall based. If a player remains within a circular field any finishers they activate will trigger an effect, where wall based fields are concerned, only leaps or projectile finishers will combo but they have to pass through the field. In the current build however, it is possible to activate some finishers with wall based fields, though I'm unsure if this is intentional.
To provide two examples:
- If as a Mesmer you cast Chaos Storm (Field) and use Phase Retreat (Leap Finisher) you will trigger the combo field Chaos Armour on yourself.
- If as a Mesmer you cast Chaos Storm (Field) and use Illusionary Duelist (Projectile Finisher) you will trigger the combo field Confusion, per bullet that passes through the Chaos Storm and onto your target.
These two examples are specific to the Mesmer skills, but it is the use of cross-profession combo fields where things get really interesting, as not all professions have access to all combo finishers. A Mesmer has Leap, Projectile and Whirl but doesn’t have access to Blast.
Pairing with a Warrior, for this example, a Mesmer could cast Chaos Storm (Field) and the Warrior could use Stomp (Blast Finisher) which would result in Chaos Armour being applied in the area to all team mates.
Although some combo finishers only have a certain percentage chance of triggering, often 20% on projectiles (likely as a result of the rate of fire) some are certain, such as the Leap and Blast example I provided above.
The potency of such cross-profession combo finishers is undeniable and offers a whole host of new approaches to the way in which certain professions and profession combinations can interact with one another.
A specific example of where this worked wonderfully for me was during a structured PvP tournament match in the last Beta weekend. With a thief on our team, he would use Black Powder (Field) at the beginning of the match, and then use Cluster Bomb (Blast Finisher) to area stealth our entire party. This then allowed us to leap from the spawn point and run across the centre of Niflhel unseen, before working our way to Svanir or the Chieftain (dependent on which side we were).
Another favourite combination of mine as a Mesmer was the use of Time Warp when paired with a Thief. Coupled with a Chaos Storm, a Thief’s Unload would not only fire ridiculously quickly, but the bullets when traveling through the Chaos Storm resulted in stack after stack of confusion, dealing massive damage and killing Niflhel’s NPC in around 3 seconds. This spike made stealing the NPC easy, but killing it as quickly as we did often freed up precious time to rush to and hold the Keep.
The main hurdle to overcome in using combo fields is remembering which of your skills offer the finisher, while remembering what finisher type it actually is. Almost all are sensible in design but it is worth remembering that not every single skill is a combo field. An Engineers Poison Grenade is, but an Engineers Freeze Grenade isn’t, despite them both being area of effect spells that fall into the standard combo field rules (poison and ice elements).
I’m incredibly happy with the system in its current form thanks to the added indictor and I believe there is a great deal of tactical play yet to be discovered. The two examples I listed above show the real potential of combo fields. Many effects are obviously reliant on other players being aware of their surroundings and knowing which skills they can and can’t interact with. However, I’m confident effective use of combo fields is critical to gaining an edge over opponents.
With all that in mind, what uses have you found for combo fields; is there anything you would want to change and do you rate them as highly as I do?