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AAHHH!!! I'm on fire!!!

Conditions are a whole lot of fun in GW1. Every profession has the ability to inflict them upon enemies and some professions (e.g., necromancer, warrior, and ranger) hand them out like candy. Other professions (e.g., monk and paragon) specialize in removing them. And still other professions (i.e., necromancer and mesmer) can transfer conditions from one foe/person to the next. Conditions remain one of my favorite playstyles and GW2 offers up a lot of opportunities to make your enemies suffer.

Conditions in GW1

Nine conditions existed in GW1 when Prophecies was released: Bleeding, Blind, Burning, Crippled, Dazed, Deep Wound, Disease, Poison, and Weakness. The condition Cracked Armor was added later, bringing the total to 10. What do they do? Glad you asked!

  • Bleeding – lose health over time (-3 degen)
  • Blind – 90% miss chance for melee/missile attacks
  • Burning – lose health over time (-7 degen)
  • Cracked Armor – you have -20 armor (min 60)
  • Crippled – move 50% slower
  • Dazed – increased casting time (x2) and easily interrupted
  • Deep Wound – max health reduced by 20% and receive less benefit from healing
  • Disease – lose health over time (-4 degen); is contagious
  • Poison – lose health over time (-4 degen)
  • Weakness – deal 66% less damage with attacks; attributes reduced by 1

Accumulated Pain inflicts Deep Wound on foes suffering from 2+ mesmer hexes

As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities for fun in GW1. Many conditions deal damage over time through degen, which caps at -10, and the numerous conditions that inflict degen can stack with each other to quickly reach that cap. There are conditions that work really well against specific professions, such as blind and weakness against warriors, or dazed and deep wound against casters. Condition heavy professions, such as the necromancer and ranger, gain a lot of control over their foes making the monk’s job easier by mitigating potential damage from said foes.

Conditions are distinct from hexes and available to all professions, whereas hexes tend to be caster-specific. Some hexes also have the ability to unconditionally or conditionally apply conditions to their targets. With conditions, everyone gets to have fun!

Conditions in GW2

Conditions are the new hex. A Kill Ten Rats interview with Eric Flannum confirmed that hexes will be no more in GW2 and that more emphasis will be placed on conditions. Still, according to the interview, many of the things you could do with hexes in GW1 can be accomplished with conditions in GW2 (I’m paraphrasing, since the interview was necromancer-specific). Mesmers are the hex-masters of GW1 (with necromancers being a close second). There is a lot of evidence that they will return in GW2, but clearly with less emphasis on hexes and potentially with more emphasis on conditions. If you want to know more about the potential for mesmers in GW2, Nox is your guy 🙂

Ten conditions have been released for GW2: Bleed, Blind, Burning, Crippled, Fear, Frozen, Immobilized, Poison, Vulnerability, and Weakness. Returning conditions (i.e., bleed, blind, burning, crippled, poison, and weakness) have been revamped and new conditions offer interesting new gameplay opportunities. Let’s have a look at what we know so far:

  • Bleed – damage per second; can stack this condition 9 times
  • Blind – miss next attack
  • Burning – damage per second*; is stackable
  • Crippled – hinders movement
  • Fear – foe runs away from you
  • Frozen – hinders movement*
  • Immobilized – hinders movement
  • Poison – damage per second; is stackable
  • Vulnerability – current effects unknown*
  • Weakness – current effects unknown*

*= speculation of effect or current effects unknown

We see the return of damage over time and movement hindrance in our GW2 conditions. DoT is self-explanatory, however, it should be mentioned that the 3 DoT conditions (bleed, burning, and poison) are stackable. This means that the more times these conditions are applied, the more effective they are. Additionally, you can apply more than one of these conditions at to further increase DoT! They stack with themselves (e.g., bleed + bleed = more bleed) and with each other (e.g., burning + poison = more DoT).

Which way did he go George?

Blind appears to have been revamped a bit from GW1. Before, it offered a 90% miss chance and now it is a flat out “miss your next attack.” I think this allows for more tactical use of the condition (i.e., apply it before the foe’s big attack) and decreases the cast-and-forget nature of GW1 blind that nearly shut down warriors entirely.

GW2 appears to emphasize movement on the battlefield. People are allowed to dodge effectively and flanking your opponents appears to be a fantastic way to hit them hard. This necessitates counters for these cool new tactics. Enter the revamped and new conditions that affect movement. Cripple has returned and appears to have changed little from GW1 to GW2. Frozen and immobilized also appear to hinder movement, but the specifics of these conditions has yet to be fully revealed. I have a feeling frozen will root you to your spot and immobilized will keep you from moving and attacking. As conditions, these can be removed of course.

Fear is unique to necromancers and has thusfar received a lot of flack. No one likes to lose control over their character and there were a lot of complaints on GW2Guru about the effects of fear in PvP. Presently, it has a duration of 2-5 seconds in PvE and 2 seconds in PvP. Izzy has said in numerous interviews that he is continuing to balance this condition. While it is a great way to get foes to get away from you when you are in dire straits, I feel I will have fun using this condition to make my foes run toward traps and wells and marks and fire walls and allies and other nasty things in the environment.

Run Away!!!

Finally, we have vulnerability and weakness. We really don’t know what these do at the moment. I’m speculating that it makes my foes easier to harm and allows them to deal less damage to me, respectively. If weakness from GW1 can be used as a reference, foes will deal significantly less damage.

Overall, I think we have a fine assortment of conditions to play with in GW2. I am interested to see how conditions will fill the role of hexes in GW2 and how/if mesmers will utilize them. DoT conditions are very similar to DoT hexes like Conjure Phantasm and may be the new DoT hex. Mesmers are also big on shutting foes down. The movement hindering conditions do a great job of emulating this concept by limiting a foe’s options. I think vulnerability and weakness are more the flavor of the necromancer, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mesmer dishing out this kind of punishment in the absence of Domination Hexes from GW1. I guess we’ll have to wait (impatiently) and see. But wait! There’s more!

Other Cool Stuff you can do to people!

Why is the world spinning?

Knock down is a staple of hammer warriors and air eles in GW1. It completely immobilizes a foe for a very short period of time and infuriates players like nothing else (ok, so maybe interrupts infuriate players more, but that’s another rant entirely). The best (or worst, depending on who has fallen on their bottom) part about it is it is not a condition. Why is this the best part? Conditions can be removed, and therefore, knock down cannot be removed! Many professions can knock down foes, but few can do it unconditionally (mostly warrior and ele).

Knock down returns in GW2, along with 3 other effects: Knockback, Stun, and Launch. They all sound kind of similar, I’ll admit, but here’s the skinny on each:

  • Knock down – foe falls down and is unable to move or attack for a short duration
  • Knockback – physically pushes foes away from the player
  • Stun – immobilizes and incapacitates foes for a short duration
  • Launch – launches foes into the air

These effects offer plenty of opportunities to keep your foes at bay and look like a bad ass while you’re doing it. Many of them are already used by the GW2 warrior, especially hammer and mace warriors, but I can see a special place for some of these effects with the caster professions. Elementalists can use Water Trident to knockback foes and Static Field to stun foes. I can’t wait to see what a mesmer could do with these effects.

So there you have it. Conditions offer lots of gameplay opportunities in GW1 and GW2. They are a personal favorite of mine and allow for a style of playing a character that is more than just hit foe with weapon/spell and watch numbers appear over his head. They are a staple of Guild Wars and will be a big part of Guild Wars 2. I’m looking forward to learning more about them in the coming months.