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Downed State and Finishing

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August 7, 2012 - 2:16pm -- Lewis B
Downed State


Unlike other games in the genre, when your health reaches zero in Guild Wars 2 your character enters a ‘downed’ state. During this time your character cannot move or fight with their standard skills, instead they are given access to four skills that will allow you to rally and get back onto your feet.

Down and Out

When you are downed, your character is in a debilitated state. As a result, you cannot move, dodge, activate any of your skills or undertake any of your profession mechanics.  You can tell when you enter a downed state based on the fact your health will have reached zero and you are now stationary, in a heap on the floor.  Thankfully this means that you don’t yet have to give up the fight and although you are severely weakened, this does not mean you are finished.

Enemies when you enter the downed state will continue to attack you, based on your inability to avoid them.  Each time you are downed, whether from a player or enemy you incur one downed penalty.  This downed penalty reduces your health when in the downed state by 25% for each point and will last for a total of 1 minute.  After being downed 5 times within the space of a minute you will be defeated, resulting in you having to teleport to the nearest Waypoint.

If you are downed underwater it is actually called drowning and you’ll be prompted with a message stating “Swim to the surface!” while if you are downed on land the message will state “Fight To Survive!”

Downed Skills

Each profession has access to four downed skills.  Three of these are unique, based on the profession you play with the fourth common to all professions.  Unlike your standard profession based skills, those available in a downed state are not powerful. In fact they are often pitiful.  However, they are intended to buy you precious seconds to finish of your foes (and thus rally) or survive for long enough to heal yourself up and rally.

Downed Skills

Skill 1

For all professions this is your primary attack when downed and allows you to feebly damage your foe. In many instances, particularly in PvE this can often be enough to see off the last few drops of health the enemy might have which will cause you to rally.

Skill 2

A skill based specifically on your profession, this can vary drastically.  A ranger for example has Thunderclap which damages and dazes foes around their target (exceptionally useful for stopping people finishing you off) while a Necromancer can cause fear in their foes, causing them to run away.  Used at the right moment, you can seriously hinder anyone wanting to finish you off. 

Skill 3

The third downed skill tends to be offer defensive utility and again varies from profession to profession. Some are certainly better than others, but most can cause enough damage to finish off weakened foes. My particular favourite is the thieves, which allows you to drop a smoke bomb and vanish in stealth.  The rangers ability to call your pet to your downed location, to revive you, is also incredibly useful. 

Skill 4

Lastly is the universal skill available to all professions. Called Bandage, this skill calls your allies to help and restores your health while you channel it.  If you manage to complete the channel, you will rally. You should be aware however that bandage is easily interrupted so can be made useless if you are still under attack.

Recovering and Finishing

We've mentioned rallying a few times during the course of this beginners guide, but in simple terms, rallying is what allows you to get back up and back into the fight.  You can rally in several ways but this tends to happen from killing an enemy with your downed skills or during you attacking them and if someone else lends a helping hand.  

As also mentioned above, you can rally by using Bandage.  If you successfully channel skill 4 to the point where your health is restored, you will rally.

If you are unlucky enough not to rally you will enter a defeated state.  At this point you are considered dead and will need to return to a nearby Waypoint.  

There are two key icons you need to be aware of when playing, specific to downed.  The first is Downed Ally indicated by a blue icon and Downed Enemy, indicated by a red skull icon. 

Downed AllyDowned Enemy

F Key

In PvP (and unlike in PvE) you can actually finish players when they are downed.  This will kill the enemy player and force them to return to a Waypoint, unless another member of their party resurrects them.  You can finish another playing by pressing the F key but I should forewarn, you can be interupted when using the finishing move.  When you are near a player you can finish, the message "FINISH THEM!! [F]" will appear on your screen. 

Summary of Downed

1. You enter a downed state when your health reaches zero.

2. When in a downed state, your standard skills are replaced with 3 profession specific skills and 1 global skill all professions share. 

3. You can rally when downed by killing your foe through using your downed skills (or if someone else helps) or by using your Skill 4 (bandage). 

4. You can finish other players when they are downed by (default) pressing F next to their downed body.

5. Beware when finishing people as they will be able to fight back and disrupt your attempts with their own downed skills.  Learning each professions downed skills is incredibly important (the guardians is a nightmare!)

I'll be producing more guides in the coming weeks exploring the downed skills in much more detail, including those which are good, bad and just plain ugly. 

You can contact the author of this post by email at [email protected] or follow them on Twitter @PersistentWorld



Ravic's picture
Submitted by Ravic on

A few things I'd like to add:

-  Your #3 skill starts off on cd when go down.  Even if you interrupt the initial stomp with your #2, your opponent will still have time to stomp you before your #3 comes off cd.

-  Your #4 ability heals for more the longer you channel it.  Also, any kind of damage (including condtions already present on you) will interrupt the channel.

-  While you are immobilized when downed on land, you can swim around while Drowning.  However, if you reach the surface, all of your abilities will be locked out and you will be rooted in place.  You will heal rapidly at the surface, though.

-  As of BWE#3, stomping no longer works underwater.  While you still get the message telling you to finish them, and you can still interact with a drowning enemy, doing so did nothing.  I'm not sure if this is a intended change for underwater combat, or if it was simply bugged.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

They are great tips Ravic, thank you! I'll add some of those in, although we'll be covering more about underwater combat and drowning in a separate guide :)

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

Thief port and smokebomb abilities need a longer CD timer IMO, but they are counterable.

whoresbane's picture
Submitted by whoresbane on

Interesting guide. I can see how finishing will be a pain in the middle of a pvp fray.

"The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists."

Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

Useful article, and I really love GW2's last chance downed mechanic. I've seen far too many people in sPvP completely ignore the downed state however, either by not stomping opposing players, or not using any skills themselves once downed. I guess they're stuck in the mentality that once you reach 0 health, you're out of the game. 

Were the necromancer's downed skills swapped during the last beta? As fear was their 3rd skill, whilst fetid ground was their 2nd. Is fear available immediately now upon being downed? 

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

I think it is Wedge, which makes it absolutely awesome.  I will double check that though, although our resident I-Love-Dead-Things-Sardu will answer it better than I.

Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

I hope it is, as it finally provides necros with a chance to briefly counter finishing moves, like all the other professions (except perhaps mesmer; not quite sure how their clone skill 2 works). 

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

Yes, necromancers now have fear as the 2nd skill when downed.

They seemed to give every profession some way to interrupt a finishing move, or 2 in the case of thieves. It is possible to finish them off right after the first teleport, but you have to be quick. You only need to waste a couple of seconds and the stealth is ready, and by the time they reappear they have the teleport ready again heart

Most of the time it takes 4 attempts to finish off a thief.

EDIT: I forgot about the mesmers, I think in their case the clone can be finished off instead of them. I also think I saw someone reviving one in some video

Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

Ravic's picture
Submitted by Ravic on

Yeah, it's a definitely a conscious effort by Anet to proved each class with an equal chance of surviving after being downed., while still having them retain a bit of uniqueness.  While a thief can stealth if you don't stomp them fast enough, a warrior self rally for a brief time, a ranger can have his pet come rally him, a elementalist can go into mist form and move around, and a guardian can put down a healing area to rally himself faster.

Each of these #3 abilities change how you want to finish a player.  Against a thief, unless you can stomp him really quick, you want to put a few conditions on him and just watch him bleed out.  Against a warrior, you want to have 2 people stomping him, since he can only interrupt 1.

Mesmers have a broken #2 skill.  If you use it while someone is already in the process of stomping you, you will still get stomped.  The ability doesn't teleport far enough away, and it doesn't break target.  What it really needs to do is have you summon a clone, and have the clone absorb the current stomp attempt.  However, the #3 skill for mesmers is absolutely dirty.  The Phantasmal Rogue hits like an absolute truck and can easily kill someone for you if they don't stomp you fast enough.

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

One big thing you forgot to mention is the ability to revive downed allies. It seems obvious to us, but we can't expect everyone reading these to be that familiar with the game.

From what I've seen, one of the big differences between good players and not so good players in structured PvP is that the good ones revive their allies before they can be finished off instead of just letting them die. Some of the best players I've been able to find pop all they CC when someone is downed, just to make sure their team gets the finish / revive.

Needless to say, reviving often also decides the winner in WvW or some of the tougher dynamic events. Thankfully, most people seem to realize what to do when "REVIVE (F)" pops up on their screen, but it's still something new players should probably be told before they're knee deep in downed allies in need of reviving smiley

Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

We are covering reviving and tactics on how to revive effectively (using traits and tricks) in a separate guide :-)