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Warrior Guide

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August 7, 2012 - 9:24am -- Sardu
GW2 Warrior Guide

Warriors are an incredibly versatile profession that benefits from the ability to wield a wide variety of weapons. While some weapon sets may give a polite nod to the more traditional warrior archetype of a sword-n-board melee combatant, the warrior in Guild Wars 2 can be a major damage dealer in both melee and ranged combat. They also have excellent survivability, can grant positive benefits to allies, and really ruin their enemies day through a variety of negative conditions and crowd control abilities.

GW2 Warrior Icon

Warrior Quick Facts

  • One of Guild Wars 2's two Soldier professions
  • Able to wear Heavy armor
  • Can wield a large variety of weapons
  • Builds Adrenaline to unleash powerful attacks based on their active weapon set
  • Able to focus on both melee and ranged combat styles
  • Uses a strong combination of physical and condition damage
  • Can create a variety of Banners to support and bolster allies
  • Can be highly mobile, while greatly reducing the mobility of foes

Warrior Themes and Combat Roles

Thanks to the ability to wield the largest variety of weapons of all the professions in Guild Wars 2, the warrior also tends to offer some of the most diverse options for how you choose to approach combat. While they can certainly be played with a more traditional sword-n-board approach befitting of the typical RPG warrior, they can also be a DPS powerhouse, crowd control specialist, or masterful ranged combatant.

Don't let the use of heavy armor fool you; the warrior can also be one of the most highly mobile professions, pairing particularly well with their ability to hinder the movement capabilities of foes. This combination greatly reduces the all too common issue for melee classes in MMOs where you can dish out a lot of damage, but tend to get kited by ranged attackers to the point of uselessness.

Another thing to note about the warrior is that most of their weapon sets focus on a very specific theme or damage type, perhaps more so than any other profession in the game. This is partly due to the fact that the warrior in GW2 draws heavy inspiration from many of the strongest primary / secondary skill synergies in the original Guild Wars. As you'll learn below, these concepts aren't necessarily limited to GW1 warrior skills. For example, the longbow skills draw heavy inspiration from ranger skills that focus on inflicting the Burning condition.

GW2 Warrior Character Creation

The warrior is a solid option for solo gamers thanks to a combination of being able to equip heavy armor, remain highly mobile both in and out of combat, and deal heavy damage through normal attacks and their unique Adrenaline mechanic. The learning curve does tend to be a bit steeper than other professions, however, because you will have a lot more weapons to learn and eventually master.

In group settings you can approach the warrior in a number of different ways. While you could certainly fulfill a more traditional tanking role, you will also be equally capable of providing strong melee or ranged DPS. This versatility also tends to make the warrior a strong choice for any game type, be it general PvE, dungeons, structured PvP, or World vs. World.

Warrior Weapon Sets

Starting at level 7, the warrior is able to equip two unique weapon sets. These can be actively swapped by pressing the [`] key at any time out-of-combat, though there will be a short cooldown after swapping weapon sets during combat before you will be able to swap back again. For more information on how this system works, please refer to our Intro Guide to Builds.

The weapons that warriors can equip along with their associated skills can be seen in-game by opening the Hero window [H] and selecting the Skills and Traits tab on the left. We've also added a list of available weapons for the warriors below:

Main Hand







Harpoon Gun

















As you can see, the warrior has a sizable list of options for weapon sets, so you will want to acquire plenty of weapons early on to begin the process of unlocking all available weapon skills. While doing so, be sure to pay particular attention to any weapon sets you naturally gravitate towards, and don't be afraid to "think outside the box" when it comes to your overall build concept.

For example, just because you notice that many warriors are using sword / sword and greatsword for their weapon sets in sPvP, don't feel as though you need to follow suit. Remember, the warrior can be just as viable when played as a ranged character, and it can always be a good thing to keep your enemies guessing as to your personal combat style.

Given the overall depth to the weapon set options (the warrior has a total of 19 possible combinations - more than any other profession in GW2) and the thematic nature of many sets, there is simply too much to cover for a basic guide. But be on the lookout for a separate guide to warrior weapon sets, themes, and combat styles in the near future.


The unique profession mechanic for warriors is called Adrenaline. As you attack foes with your weapon skills, you will begin building up adrenaline which can then be used to unleash a more powerful attack based on your current weapon set by pressing the [F1] key. You should consider this skill an extension of your normal weapon skills, and will want to get into the habit of utilizing it in combat early on.

You will start out with 1 level of adrenaline, which will be displayed directly above your weapon skills as shown below:

Warrior Adrenaline Tip

Within the first few levels you will unlock a total of three levels of adrenaline. You must fill at least one of these to use your [F1] skill, but the more levels you fill, the more poweful your [F1] skill will be. The results for having 1, 2, or 3 levels of adrenaline will be shown in the tooltip for each of these skills.

A complete list of adrenaline skills and their associated weapon sets can be seen below:


F1 Skill




Leap at your foe with a devastating attack. Effect increases with your adrenaline level.


Arcing Slice

Strike your foe with an uppercut that grants Fury



Jump to the targeted location and slam your hammer down, damaging and stunning foes.

Harpoon Gun

Forceful Shot

Fire a forceful shot. Damage increases with adrenaline level.


Combustive Shot

Ignite target area, Burning nearby foes. Effect increases with adrenaline level.


Skull Crack

Stun your foe with a skull crack. Effect increases with adrenaline level.


Kill Shot

Fire a powerful shot. Damage increases with adrenaline level.


Whirling Strike

Strike all foes around you. Effect increases with adrenaline level.



Immobilize your foes with a flurry of strikes. Effect increases with adrenaline level.

Warrior Trait Lines

Upon reaching level 11, you will begin earning Trait Points (1 per level for a total of 70 at level 80) that can be spent in any of the five available Trait Lines. Each point spent will increase 2 primary or secondary attributes, with every 5 points spent unlocking either a Minor or Major trait.

The trait lines for the warrior are listed below, along with their associated attributes and weapon or utility skill type associations.


  • +10 Power per point spent
  • +1% Condition Duration per point spent
  • Improves - Banners (minor), Greatsword and Spear, dual wield damage


  • +10 Precision per point spent
  • +10 Condition Damage per point spent
  • Improves - Greatsword, Spear, and Harpoon Gun, Bleeding damage and duration


  • +10 Toughness per point spent
  • +10 Healing Power per point spent
  • Improves - Hammer and Mace skills, survivability


  • +10 Vitality per point spent
  • +1% Boon Duration per point spent
  • Improves - Longbow and Warhorn skills, Shouts, Banners


  • +1% Critical Damage per point spent
  • +1% Burst Skill Damage
  • Improves - Adrenaline skills (burst damage), weapon swaps, Signets, adrenaline gain

Additional Warrior Notes

Along with the adrenaline mechanic, the warrior also has access to three unique skill lines; Banners, Stances, and Physical. Banners are physical objects that can be summoned and placed on the ground to grant different benefits to allies during combat. They can also be picked up and physically carried by any allied player, so in a sense they could be considered a form of mobile AoE (area of effect) buff.

Stances are a utility skill type that grants a direct benefit when used. While stances tend to be used a bit more situationally than other utility skills, they can also be incredibly powerful skills. For example, Balanced Stance grants Stability which means you can't suffer from negative crowd control effects for the duration, while Endure Pain will negate incoming damage for a few seconds.

Finally, the Physical skill line is all about providing various forms of crowd control. Physical skills can also be incredibly powerful, particularly in structured PvP combat situations as they can help you keep enemies physically impaired while you smack them over the head with your weapons. If you intend to focus primarily on melee weapon sets, the physical utility skills can be a great way to augment your overall effectiveness in combat.


Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

Great article. Two things: There are only 2 soldier professions, and you missed out the Hammer F1 burst skill in the list. 

In GW1, I really disliked the warrior (tanking is so dull, and I felt they did too little dmg), so I put off trying it out in GW2 until the final BWE. I'm glad I did try it though, as they're amazing in GW2! Like you mentioned, they come prepared for everything. Heavy armour, huge diversity of weapons for every situation, mobility, group support, DPS, the works. 

My favourite skill for them is either Savage Leap (love the animation of it), or the Longbow burst skill Combustive Shot. Or both; fire combustive shot, then leap into it for a fire shield ^^

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

That's what I get for trying to save time by reusing code from the other profession guides I've written! Both things have been fixed. :)

As far as GW1 warriors, I was in the same boat. While I did have at least one primary warrior character, I more commonly did things like nec/war builds since the warrior itself was indeed kind of boring to play.

whoresbane's picture
Submitted by whoresbane on

I hated the warrior in GW1. Now im very excited about the warrior class and it will be the my first character. Thanks for this guide!

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

oneeyered's picture
Submitted by oneeyered on

My main hands down. I too struggled with the warrior in GW in comparison to other classes. I found the axe build to be the most viable back then along with a profession from the NF campaign. I have always loved melee classes and have always felt sub-par to all others in most games when playing them except for DAOC.

The warrior in GW2 simply rocks! I am excited to spend considerable time with my main Asuran warrior.

Its a simple world for complicated people



sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

In BWE1 I was surprised at how effective a warrior was in sPvP with a rifle.  I don't know if they've toned it down since then, but it was quite viable.

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

Rifle is definitely still viable in sPvP, though we've turned a corner where more players are conscious of the overly obvious animation for Kill Shot and are reacting accordingly, diminishing its usefulness as a result.

Galen's picture
Submitted by Galen on

I'm sure we will be rehashing this discussion again when the guide on Warrior weapons comes out, but I prefer the Longbow over the Rifle.  I like the visual of the rifle, but I find the Longbow skills much nicer.  I especially like the combustive shot.  Thing sounds like a cannon going off!

Oh, and btw, very nice guide :)  It realy does hit on all the bases, imho.

I originally played a warrior for like 5 levels in BWE1, but at that time I thought it a bit slow and clumsy feeling, at least in PvE.  I wasn't that thrilled with it then, but then I tried it again in BWE3, this time as an Asura.  It was a total blast!  At launch I'm going to try it on a Charr again and see how it feels, see if my love was for a Warrior or an Asura.

To test this theory I'm thinking I'll try an Asura necro, cause I did also play a Char Necro for a bit in BWE3 and absolutely hated it!



Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

I preferred the Longbow as well, at least in PvE. The powerful AoE is so useful. The Rifle is much more a single target DPS weapon, so great for bosses. 

aerdred's picture
Submitted by aerdred on

@Wedge (first reply):

You'd actually have to get into the field and then use a leap for the fire shield. Linear fields you just have to pass through with the leap or projectile, but circular you have to leap or fire out of (I'm 90% sure the skill mentioned is circular).

Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

Really? Fair enough, I never really noticed. Combustive Shot has such a large area of effect, I may have been in the circle already when I leapt. I also like firing Arcing Arrow (Longbow skill 3) into the Combustive Shot flames, giving 3x area Might to all allies nearby. 

In fact, I think I just love the combo system laugh

NemisisZer0's picture
Submitted by NemisisZer0 on

I have an Engineer as my main and a Warrior as my alt, which is a funny contrast.  The former being one of the more complex classes in GW2 , and the later being a more straight forward class.  I really like this setup though, switching between their play styles never gets old.  I was shocked at how mobile and flexible the Warrior is compared to GW1's version.

dudmwqwi's picture
Submitted by dudmwqwi (not verified) on

Panda.9702's picture
Submitted by Panda.9702 (not verified) on

Yeah i know right

Peter's picture
Submitted by Peter (not verified) on

"But be on the lookout for a separate guide to warrior weapon sets, themes, and combat styles in the near future."

Still looking...