Project Standardized Testing
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Party Size 4 Party Size 6 Party Size 8

A testing route for party size 4 team builds and the results with various teams.


The goal is to find general use builds for missions and vanquishing which support all common builds of a certain type, i.e. weapon based melee builds or offensive casters.

In order to make general builds they are tested against the more troublesome foes found in party size 4 missions and vanquishing. The assumption is that builds which can deal with those foes very well are likely to be suitable for the entirety of party size 4 content, excluding Titan quests and Winds of Change.

  • (Prophecies) Grawls. The combination of knockdown warriors, multiple healers and patrolling foes renders eastern frontier the most difficult party size 4 area. Even before 2011 there have been notions of this area being especially hard to beat.
  • (Prophecies) Charr. Rangers deal much damage and cause scattering. Warriors can deal great AoE damage with Hundred Blades triggering Mark of Pain. Lingering Curse puts the team under long-lasting pressure and Lava Font is especially dangerous for melee heavy teams.
  • (Factions) Naga. Their delayed AoE damage from Spirit Rift and Shatterstone can add up to troublesome spikes. They can also swarm the team due to their patrolling behaviour.
  • (Factions) Crimson Skull. They appear in large numbers and thus inflict much pressure.

In order to keep the testing time reasonable there are just two areas on the route which cover two of the four more troublesome foe types each. The charr in eastern frontier aren't as plenty as those you may face at the end of some missions, but doing a medium difficulty test in 5 minutes serves the purpose of this project more than a higher difficulty test consuming 25 minutes. As a result this route should take about 20 minutes in total for a single test run. This is not taking into account additional runs with the purpose of getting used to a build in the first place, testing build tweaks and checking against RNG influences, so the actual testing time for a team build will usually be greater.

Testing Areas

Eastern Frontier

Enter from ruins of Surmia, keep going east, leave the street when it's going south and finally turn north to face some charr.

Number of Foes

 30–40  Grawl
 3–8  Devourer
 9–18  Charr

Panjiang Peninsula

Enter from Tsumai village. Go south-southwest to the naga cave and pass through it, exiting into crimson skull terrain in the west. After passing the bridge go south to the boss Cho Wei.
Note: Factions characters who have done some Tsumai village quests might face less foes.

Number of Foes

  3–4  Kappa
 18–24  Naga
~45  Crimson Skull

Test Results

Ideally you submit your results on this page before voting on a build. Don't be afraid of going into detail, as it will help making this project a success. You can use this formatting template:

;Tested by ~~~
:'''Eastern Frontier, Grawl''': 
:'''Eastern Frontier, Charr''': 
:'''Panjiang Peninsula, Naga''': 
:'''Panjiang Peninsula, Crimson Skull''': 
'''Rating''': # effectivity, # universality. Player build used for the tests:
{{clear}}<br />

Team - 3 Hero Hexway (talk · rate)

Tested by Krschkr (talk)
Eastern Frontier, Grawl:
  • Hexway: Thanks to Frustration, Arcane Conundrum and multiple interrupts throughout the team the heroes have no issues with killing through multiple grawl healers at once. Thanks to Ineptitude and Clumsiness the grawl warriors aren't that terribly troublesome either; their Backbreaker usually doesn't get through. If possible the player should try to ball the grawl a bit so the killing is easier and grawl warriors attacking up to 4 different targets doesn't become an issue. The killing speed could be better, but I'm quite content with it given the player doesn't contribute or coordinate damage. Video.
  • Minion: Harder against the first few grawl, but as soon as minions have been created the player has barely anything to do due to aggro shifting and Death Nova deals plenty of additional AoE damage which roughly compensates the loss of direct damage the hex mesmer provides.
Eastern Frontier, Charr:
  • Hexway: For aggroing large amounts of charr it makes a lot of sense to tank them with Spirit Bond and Shield of Absorption (every proper PvE monk build has those two) but if it's just one or two groups the mesmers destroy them easily without this tactic. Video
  • Minion: Didn't notice a difference. Probably slightly better against warriors and slightly worse against casters.
Panjiang Peninsula, Naga:
  • Hexway: The mesmer heroes deal pretty well with the naga. The casters are killed very quickly due to the mesmer AoE and the warriors can't do much against the two illusion magic mesmers. Issue 1: A player build without Spirit Bond might have trouble in there. I wouldn't recommend running full healers anyway because full prots or hybrids simply perform better. But I wonder whether a ritualist healer would have proper means of protection against the naga. Issue 2: When there are no melee naga (or their AI does silly things and they don't attack the heroes immediately) the mesmers stay close together and might get hit hard by AoE damage. The kill speed is pretty good though, so any proper backline build should be able to keep the team somewhat stable. Especially if the player was to take Ebon Vanguard Assassin Support for the combat initiation, but that's a free win anyway. Video
  • Minion: Minions give a big advantage against the warriors, the build performs well overall.
Panjiang Peninsula, Crimson Skull:
  • Hexway: Wanderlust can be a bit annoying, especially if it focuses the mesmer with Spiritual Pain. But the heroes do an admirable job at taking out damage and healers alike, no trouble here. The only event that can turn out troublesome is having the player get caught in a wanderlust trap while he takes additional pressure. For this to happen he has to run into the foes first without pulling back afterwards. Video
  • Minion: Slightly better performance due to foes balling tightly and keystone signet getting to work. Minions allow dealing with accidentally lured additional foes (but are also the main cause for that to happen), soak up hexes and explode, taking foes with them.

Rating: 5 effectivity, 5 universality. Player build used for the tests: Build:Mo/any PvE Aura of Faith Prot

Team - 3 Hero Discordway (talk · rate)

Tested by Krschkr (talk)
Eastern Frontier, Grawl: Against one healer it works great, against two healers it usually works, against three or more healers you'll have a bad time and long fights because you're unlikely to kill a foe within the duration of AP. If you have minions at this point you can try to wear out the grawls with Death Nova and pressuring targets which were hexed by the necromancers, but it takes quite some time. If you don't have minions it's a wipe. The main reason why it works so well against fewer healers is the dual knockdown on a healer, so PvE skills carrying the player. No enchantment removal, so a target enchanted with Healing Hands will most likely survive the next 10 seconds and end up at full health due to minion attacks.
Eastern Frontier, Charr: The charr attack minions and their healers can't do much against the pressure. Safe and comparatively fast.
Panjiang Peninsula, Naga: Somewhat unstable. If casters and warriors go for the minions initially you have enough time to call the casters and kill enough of them to have not much to worry about anymore. But sometimes they go for your team members right away which results in some deaths, but at least not a wipe.
Panjiang Peninsula, Crimson Skull: No trouble here. The minions soak up the entire damage and the healers can't outheal the damage. Nonetheless killing so many targets takes a lot of time, this team is pretty slow in comparison to those with mesmers.

Rating: 4 effectivity, 4 universality. Player build used for the tests: Assassin's Promise Caller

Team - 3 Hero Dual Mesmer (talk · rate)

Tested by Krschkr (talk)
Eastern Frontier, Grawl: The team isn't very fast at killing the grawls, but it's been very stable in all my test runs. The mesmer interrupts will take care of the healers eventually, especially as their warriors receive so much damage that they can't keep them up long. Still, not the build's greatest strength. I admit that I resorted to some degree of buildwarsing with Sympathetic Visage, but it also annoys the charr warriors a bit and wrecks devourers! Still, it would probably make sense to go for Accumulated Pain in non-grawl areas. Same result with the bow ranger as with the axe warrior. Video
Eastern Frontier, Charr: It can happen that a mesmer removes Ether Renewal, but I haven't seen that cause issues yet. Video
Panjiang Peninsula, Naga: The protection against the naga is extremely good due to having a full prot with Protective Spirit and Spirit Bond. Only one thing can break the team against them: Warriors camping the E/Mo and applying dazed on him without the Ineptitude mesmer taking them out. The killing speed is pretty good here. Same result with the bow ranger. Don't ball with the heroes. Video
Panjiang Peninsula, Crimson Skull: In the melee variant without a dedicated healing skill the E/Mo might have trouble keeping the player alive, but even if he dies it doesn't seem to turn this team noticeably unstable. With a bow ranger this is fairly easy and very safe, as the player can start contributing damage right away, doesn't suffer from snares and can even dodge wanderlust easily. Issue 1: The mesmers don't have Spiritual Pain, so taking out the very annoying spirit of Wanderlust takes some time. Wouldn't be that much of an issue if the player had "I Am Unstoppable!" (which I refused to use in the tests as builds have to work for players which don't have that skill). Issue 2: If wanderlust keeps the E/Mo down someone might die eventually. But that's true for any solo healer team. Video

Rating: 5 effectivity, 5 universality. Player builds used for the tests: Build:W/any Warrior's Endurance Axe without PvE skills for the melee variant and a single-target bow ranger without utility (OgATcXslZam8UCVSmM3iC8uE5A) for the ranged variant.

Team - 3 Hero Triple Energy Surge (talk · rate)

Tested by Krschkr (talk)
Eastern Frontier, Grawl: As a mesmer or elementalist player this is just about how quickly the heroes kill the healers, given the warriors will be blind permanently. And they kill them pretty quickly! Not as fast as a team which balls them and spikes (with whichever damage source, mesmers or Mark of Pain and Splinter Weapon), but that's a tactic more usually applicable for melee player builds anyway. As a paragon or ritualist some aggro management is required; just don't lure the entire map. Video
Eastern Frontier, Charr: Most teams have no trouble with the charr, so it's surprising that they are this team's weakest, although not weak spot. The Ignite Arrows can cause the mesmer heroes to scatter, which will prevent them from selfhealing and killing charr. The same can happen to all teams without minions, though, and will also affect healers. The only disadvantage this team seems to have in these cases is that the mesmers run around with few health points. Video
Panjiang Peninsula, Naga: In multiple tests against the Naga the success rate is surprisingly high (I'd say above 80% in general). Non-mesmer players might even have an advantage here: Ritualists have an excellent way to manage aggro, paragons can reduce the damage to ridiculously low amounts, elementalists kill faster. The mesmer doesn't do as much against the main threat here, the naga casters. Video
Panjiang Peninsula, Crimson Skull: The best result against the crimson skull I've ever seen. The mesmers just kill the masses of foes extremely quickly; because a lot of their pressure comes from auto attacking with 8 people both mesmer and elementalist players can shut down their damage output decisively. Note that in the video, which shows how well those heroes deal with large numbers of crimson skull foes, the map is not yet uncovered; this was a first try result. (Yes, I'm impressed by this build.) Video

Rating: 5 effectivity, 5 universality. Player builds used for the tests: Build:P/W Soldier's Fury Spear, Build:Me/any Ineptitude, Blinding Surge Elementalist (OgBSgYGTughDXVfDeDLg6Q0lA), offensive ritual lord communing ritualist (template code lost).