Last week I got an early peek at the new Build and Equipment Templates that are now available in Guild Wars 2. If you’re looking for a quick and dirty opinion from someone who has been playing since launch and has 30 characters at level 80…well..it’s not that simple. I have some mixed feelings on them but, to put it simply, I don’t think they’re for everyone. Keep reading if you’d like to know more.
How They Work
By now you’ve likely seen a build swap in action thanks to the video ArenaNet released on their social media accounts. With the click of 4 buttons, you can completely swap out everything. It really is that simple if you’ve done the work ahead of time. These builds allow you to have completely different armor, different stats, different everything. And, if you set up your key bindings swapping is actually as simple as pushing two buttons. The pictures throughout this article show the whole thing in action.
Your build templates can be shared in chat and become a clickable link you can inspect. So expect chat to be filled with build links when you log in. If you see a build you like you can save and you’ll be able to access it account-wide. It’s like having Meta Battle at your fingertips.
Your build template and your equipment template are two separate things that have to be changed independently of each other. Or you can keep one the same, though I’m not sure why you would when you can do so much more.
Templates for the Average Player
One of the big things that we’ve seen a lot of in the community since the details of the templates were announced was that it wouldn’t be enough. Some people are saying they have 25 builds for every character they have and that is something I just do not understand. For most of my 30 characters, I have 1 maybe 2 builds. I dabble a bit in WvW but mostly I’m a PvE player who avoids raids. It seems that these people are a very vocal minority. But they aren’t totally SOL either. If you have more builds than you can store then simply keep a notepad on your desktop with the codes for your other builds. Yes, you’ll still have to swap out your equipment manually but it’s not like they’re taking that away from you. That’s just continuing with the way things have always been.
For the average player, there are more than enough slots. Without a doubt, the biggest benefit most players will get is the ability to use both elite specs on the same character with ease. In fact, I made my 30th character last night just to do that very thing. Anyone who uses different builds for WvW, PvP, Fractals, or Raids will also find them handy. It makes me wish we had these back when Magic Find armor was still around.
As someone who mains an Elementalist who is played exclusively with an Engineer I’m excited about this function because it finally gives us the ability to weapon swap. Though with 30 characters my version of weapon swapping is changing characters and that is by design. For others, though this gives those two classes more versatility. Equally, Revenants will finally be able to use all of the stances on one character.
One thing I’m glad they didn’t do is make Equipment Templates sharable. This would create a toxic situation where people would demand to see what equipment you’re in before they start a fractal with you and other situations like that. Though that can be faked as easily as a faked build template that isn’t a direction I want to see the Guild Wars 2 community go in.
For most people, I don’t think templates will change the way they play unless they go out of their way to change their characters. Which is very possible. Until the idea of using both elites on the same character came to mind I honestly didn’t see any benefit for myself beyond having alternatives for my WvW Elementalist. Even then, because I have so many characters I really don’t think I will ever use them very much except to swap looks. Which is something I’ll talk about more below.
How They Can Be Expanded in The Future
As a roleplayer, the biggest omission from these new templates is a wardrobe template. This is Fashion Wars is it not? You give me those and I promise you I will pay for more. I’m the sort of person who has bags of armor just to swap looks. Now, I know this isn’t for everyone, but neither are build templates.
Another way they could be expanded in the future is the ability to link an equipment template and a build template together so that you just push one button and it swaps both at the same time. It’s just one little step further that would be a big quality of life improvement.
In the end, I don’t think build templates are going to be that big of a deal, except maybe on the sale of character slots. For most people, the number of template slots that you start with will be more than enough. For others…I still question why you have so many builds…but it isn’t a total loss either. It may not be exactly what you hoped for but nothing is being taken away and it will make things a little bit easier for you. If nothing else it will free up a bit of bag space. These are just my opinions though, and I know that my experience in the game is not the same as anyone else’s. Your views may be completely different. But before you make any final decision on templates give them a try and let the dust settle. Also, keep in mind that not everything has to be for everyone and maybe this just isn’t for you. Build and Equipment Templates are available in-game right now if you want to give them a try all you have to do is log in.