When it comes to structure defense in World versus World, players are given a variety of tools to work with. With only a handful of players on defense, some well-placed siege weapons can make a huge difference against a much larger force. Likewise, upgrading structures can help hold enemy invaders at bay until reinforcements arrive at key locations such as the borderlands garrisons.
Another way that smaller groups of players can help defend structures is something that I like to call "human wall bombing". In a nutshell, it takes advantage of the Adept level traits that cause an Area of Effect (AoE) to trigger upon falling damage. While a single player might not make a massive impact against a larger attacking force, coordinating a group of players to drop down on the doomed heads of their doomed enemies can be both fun and an effective means of pushing attackers back from gates or walls.
Shared Attributes Between the Professions
Before we get to the list of traits that factor in falling damage, there are a few things to be aware of. First, the elementalist is the odd profession out in that it is the only one that does not have a trait that specifically factors in falling damage. In the grand scheme of things that's probably for the best since elementalists can be extremely effective in WvW structure defense when strategically placed on the walls.
For all other professions, the falling damage traits share the following attributes:
- Each one is a major Adept level trait, so you will need to spend at least 10 points in the listed line
- When slotted, each trait listed will reduce falling damage by 50%
- The effect will only trigger once every 45 seconds
Otherwise, the results will differ between professions with some doing a form of AoE damage, and others offering either crowd control or protection. These can be combined in some interesting ways depending on your goals and which professions you have available, but let's take a quick look at the traits themselves.
Falling Damage Traits
|Explosive Descent||Inventions||Release a Barrage of Granades|
|Protector's Impact||Zeal||Create a Symbol of Protection|
|Descent into Madness||Chaos||Create a Chaos Storm|
|Toxic Landing||Curses||Creates a Poison Cloud|
|Soften the Fall||Wilderness Survival||Create Muddy Terrain|
|Descent of Shadows||Acrobatics||Release Blinding Powder|
|Death from Above||Strength||Damage and launch foes|
Taking note of the different results from the falling damage traits listed above, there are some interesting combos that can be formed when you factor in wall bombing with more than one profession. For example, pairing a ranger's Soften the Fall with a necro's Toxic Landing can help insure that enemies are less likely to avoid taking poison damage.
While there are a number of usage scenarios that are worth considering, there are two in particular that you may want to consider; gate defense, and creating an opening for incoming reinforcements.
For gate defense, your primary goal will be to prevent the enemy from building or using flame rams. Consider the professions you have available, and what other AoE skills they can slot to help quickly wipe out enemies that are stacked up on the gate.
For example, on my necro I'll trigger Toxic Landing followed by dropping 3 wells with the wells being slotted to trigger life steal and protection on use. That helps keep me alive in the midst of any AoE skills being used to bombard the gate at the time. For added protection you can also pair up with a thief to take advantage of their Blinding Powder, and their Dagger Storm can help keep enemies in the radius of the wells via the cripple and add some extra bleeding damage.
Regardless of which profession combos you use here, your goal is to push enemies out from the gate. Mind you, smart attackers will fall back and build a catapult or other long range siege at this point, but in the meantime you've helped hold the structure until reinforcements can arrive. It can also help create an opening for small groups to make supply runs if the gate isn't under close range bombardment.
Another thing to consider then is ways of helping more allies get into the structure to help defend or bring additional supply. The warrior's Death from Above paired with the guardian's Protector's Impact or the thief's Blinding Powder can be a huge help. Just be mindful that smart necros will often plant their marks just outside of the entrance portal, so be sure to save enough endurance to dodge roll back inside to avoid getting stacked with a number of conditions on your way in.
The falling damage traits are some of the most situational ones found in-game currently, and not something you'd want to spec into a trait line for if it doesn't fit the overall purpose of your build. In some cases the associated trait lines will be something you'll have spent at least the required 10 points in anyway, so a quick trait swap can allow you to temporarily take advantage of the strategies outlined above.
Another thing to consider is that there is a 45 second cooldown on the falling damage trigger, but by the time you drop, do some area damage, and climb back to the top of the wall, you'll generally be pretty close to the trait refresh. To make sure you aren't jumping the gun, turning on the numerical cooldown indicators on your skills can help assuming you're popping off some of your slotted utility skills immediately following your wall drop.
Finally, some professions do have some innate abilities that are optimal for defense from the relative safety of the walls. For those players, you'll want to target and call any enemy attackers actively using a flame ram and focus fire on them as a priority rather than using AoE for general harassment, followed by the flame ram itself. The ram is useless without an operator, so taking them out first can greatly impede the progress of attackers.