There are a total of 11 Conditions in Guild Wars 2, each causing a negative effect against foes through the use of your skills or traits. Each Condition has a specific effect and duration. When Conditions are reapplied to a foe that already has it, they either stack in intensity (increasing their effect) or duration, while some have no change. Conditions in Guild Wars 2 won’t provide you with huge instant damage numbers but instead offer a flexible, attrition based play style that can cause serious misery to your opponents over a period of time.
Condition damage is directly affected by your Condition Damage attribute and gains no numerical benefit from Power or Precision. In basic terms, the more Condition Damage you have the more damage all your Conditions will deal. Behind each Condition there is a maths formulae that allows you to calculate how much damage each Condition will deal, when you have X amount of Condition Damage. However, I suspect for many this is a daunting prospect and so the easiest thing I would suggest is you aim for a total of 1200 to 1300 Condition Damage if you are undertaking a Condition focused build. These values will guarantee you are dealing the height of what is possible, without overstretching yourself (and thus compromising other attributes).
You can have less or more than this dependent on your build or play style but I found venturing over 1200 results in only minor differences in damage, for a lot more effort (At 1400 Condition Damage Bleeding dealing 113 damage instead of 110 at 1300 Condition Damage).
Unlike direct damage skills, Conditions bypass an opponent’s armour value meaning you attack just their health pool rather than having a portion of it mitigated. You should also be aware that Conditions can be removed which can significantly reduce your damage output if they are stripped from the person you are fighting, so be wary of your opponent!
List of Conditions
Bleeding - Inflicts X damage per second. Stacks in intensity.
Bleeding, in many respects, is the bread and butter of Condition based builds. As it stacks in intensity this means you can apply multiple Bleeds, with each Bleed dealing a certain amount of damage.
For example, if an Engineers Explosive Shot causes Bleeding for 4 seconds and each second of Bleed causes 100 damage, you would deal 400 damage for the duration. If you fired twice in succession, there would be two stacks of Bleeding active, with each stack dealing damage per second, causing a total of 800 damage over 4 seconds.
In Condition based builds, it is paramount to achieve a large number of stacks in order to deal damage as quickly as possible. It isn’t uncommon to see stacks of Bleeding in excess of 10+ stacks, but the total cap on a single target is 25.
Blind - Causes the target's next hit to miss instead.
Almost all professions, in some form, have access to Blind. Some professions have a considerable amount of skills that cause Blind and effective use of it can be the difference between life and death. As the above suggests, when you Blind someone their next attack against you or an ally will miss. Skills that cause Blind tend to have long cool-downs due to their potency but can be vital in mitigating damage.
For example, as an Elementalist if you see a Warrior about to aim Kill Shot, which has a clearly defined animation (the Warrior gets down on one knee) casting Blinding Flash will cause him to miss and likely prevent a huge amount of yours or your allies health disappearing.
It should be noted that you can chain multiple Blinds but you have to reapply them independently after your foe has used each attack, otherwise your skill will be wasted. You could cast Blinding Flash > Warrior misses Kill Shot > Dust Devil > Warrior misses next attack. Casting Blinding Flash and Dust Devil after one another however, if your opponent has not attacked, will not stack Blind twice.
Burning - Inflicts X damage per second. Stacks in duration.
Burning as a single Condition (versus 1 stack of Bleeding) offers the highest damage out of all Conditions (although 25 stacks of Bleeding would surpass anything) and is reflected in the fact you cannot stack multiple Burnings. If you apply Burning twice, you will prolong its duration only. In many respects, this causes several problems for professions and players that choose to use Condition builds, as there is inevitably a skill overlap that causes an individual’s skill/skills to become redundant. Effective skill rotation to keep Burning active on your foe is the best method to counter this and I would recommend that during fights, you open with any skills that Burn so that the damage to them quickly stacks up and over the course of the fight, will allow you to use any Burning skills again.
Chilled- Reduces movement speed and skill recharge by 66%. Stacks in duration.
Chilled functions similarly to Crippled (see below) but could be considered its stronger counterpart. Rangers, Elementalists and Necromancers all excel at causing Chill while the Engineer through their use of Freeze Grenade can also cause it. Its ability to slow players by 66% and increase skill recharges by the same amount makes it incredibly potent as a control tool. Whether using Chill against a single opponent or a group, it allows for unrivalled opportunities to focus targets and bring them down. Skills such as the Engineers Freeze Grenade or an Elementalists Frozen Ground are excellent tools for diverting oncoming attackers or snaring them in place. A favourite combination of mine is to use an Engineers Freeze Grenade in a large group of enemies, followed by an Elementalists Meteor Shower to really deal heavy area of effect damage.
Confusion - Inflicts X damage each time a foe uses skill. Stacks in intensity.
Confusion is a Condition originally intended to be unique to the Mesmer but was expanded to several skills on the Engineer as well as the Asura racial skill and a trait for the Necromancer (amoungst a few others). When you inflict someone with Confusion, each time that person attacks or uses a skill they receive damage based on your total Condition Damage attribute. Many Confusion skills only last for several seconds, with the Condition itself significantly reduced in recent updates due to the difficulties ArenaNet have faced in balacing it for both Player versus Enemy (PvE) and Player versus Player (PvP). The primary skill on a Mesmer for causing Confusion is Confusing Images which inflicts the Condition for a total of 5 seconds. Unless you are a Mesmer, you’ll rarely encounter this Condition unless on the receiving end at which point I’d simply recommend you resist using anything for its duration.
Crippled - Reduces movement speed by 50%. Stacks in duration.
Crippled is arguably the lesser counterpart of Chilled but remains incredibly important as it is a little more widely available through skills and traits. Like Chilled, it too stacks in Duration so can be chained effectively to keep a foe with reduced movement speed. If you plan on taking part in Player versus Player combat having some form of skill to slow your opponent (whether Crippled or Chilled) is incredibly important. For any Longbow Rangers out there, Muddy Terrain + Barrage is a wonderful combination and guarantees a huge amount of damage against a single or multiple targets.
Fear - Causes the target to run directly away from the caster.
Fear is a mechanic originally unique to the Necromancer but can also be used by Warriors and Mesmers. In the Mesmers circumstance, the Fear effect is as a result of Chaos Storm that causes random Conditions and so lacks the certainty of the skills available to the Necromancer or Warrior. When you’re affected by Fear your character will run away for around 1 second. During this time you cannot move or use any skills and as a result, you are incredibly vulnerable. As a Mesmers Chaos Storm is obvious (a giant purple electric cloud on the floor) primarily you only have to worry about the Necromancer and Warrior. A Warriors Fear Me! has a very limited range while the Necromancer can only cause Fear when using a Staff (Reaper’s Mark) that can clearly be seen on the floor, or when they are in Death Shroud. If they’re in Death Shroud it is often better to just avoid them until it wears off.
Immobilized - Immobilizes and prevents dodge. Stacks in duration
Immobilized is incredibly powerful and can, if timed rightly, result in yours or your opponent’s death incredibly quickly. Immobilize prevents you from moving entirely, including dodging, meaning for a period of time you are open to all attacks without the ability to mitigate damage or heal yourself. Many skills that cause Immobilize, such as an Engineers Glue Shot or Rangers Muddy Terrain have clear indicators that for very brief moments afford you the opportunity to avoid them. Others, such as a Thiefs Signet of Shadows are incredibly hard to identify and as a result you are likely to be immobilized very quickly, with no ability to avoid it. Luckily, Immobilize doesn’t last long and there are several traits you can take that significantly reduce the damage you receive when Immobilized. For anyone serious about PvP I really can’t recommend these traits enough as they will save your life, especially against the dread Elementalist Dragon Tooth combination.
Poison - Inflicts X damage per second. Reduces outgoing heals by 33%. Stacks in duration.
Poison stacks in Duration and is the only skill in the game that also reduces your opponents healing ability. Timed correctly, it can seriously hamper the opposition when they are low health as it significantly reduces a players ability to gain the most out of their heal. What I also love about Poison is that it deals a good amount of damage in a short period of time, though there are only four professions that have reasonable access to the Condition (Engineer, Necromancer, Ranger and Thief). As tempting as it is to simply use your skills, timing the use of poison can make fighting tough support professions such as the Guardian or Necromancer a lot easier.
Vulnerability - Reduces armor by X. Stacks in intensity.
Vulnerability is a Condition that mainly benefits others in your party, as Conditions ignore the armour values of an opponent. In reality, Vulnerability is relatively weak in its current form only providing a maximum armour reduction of 30 at level 80, which in the grand scheme of things is ignorable at best. I’d safely say that there’s very little reason to pursue skills or traits that cause this if it’s at the expense of any other condition.
Weakness - Causes 50% of attacks to be glancing and reduces endurance regeneration by 50%. Stack in duration.
Weakness is a Condition that causes attacks to result in a glancing blow (50-75% reduced chance to hit) while also slowing endurance regeneration by half. Against professions that hit hard and fast as well as use continuous endurance to their advantage (such as Thieves) it is incredibly useful in reducing incoming damage but also preventing foes from dodging as frequently. Using Weakness and Cripple/Chill is a sure fire-way of significantly hampering your opponent.
- Conditions bypass armor and affect a foes health directly for maximum damage.
- Dealing high damage with conditions is reliant on you having a large amount of Condition Damage.
- Relying on Condition Damage can leave you vulnerable, as it can be easily removed by other professions.
- Conditions you receive or inflict on other professions can be turned into Boons.
- Conditions that stack in duration only, such as Burning, mean that two players cannot stack Burning on the same target twice but you can prolong the damage.
- Conditions are an excellent form of control through their debilitating effects and ability to apply huge pressure to foes.