A build is any full or partial set of skills that works well enough together that you personally or the community at large feel it’s acceptable to use more than a couple times. There are entire websites and wikis dedicated solely to Guild Wars builds because with so many skills available and only 8 skill slots the possibility are nearly endless. Many of the popular builds get lovingly named, often quite distinguishable names. There is also constant tweaking or changing of skills, so a build that may be very strong one month might be considerably weaker the next.
Well this is all well and good, Tally, but where’s the gosh-darn co-op bit of this? I’m please to inform you co-opians that TEAM synergy and TEAM builds also play a very important role in the game, and this is where things can get extremely interesting. Many of the missions (set instances where you and your teammates experience the story of the campaign) are casual enough that your team doesn’t need a very strict plan to complete it. Certain missions, elite missions, and often bonuses associated with many missions, however, do require coordination, and for these team builds are often conceived.
If you’ve play an MMO or two, you most certainly know about the idea of a group composition (e.g. healer, tank, a couple dps, etc.). Guild Wars has build compositions. For example, there was a popular team build quite awhile back for one of the elite missions, Tomb of the Primeval Kings. It was called B/P, as it consisted of mostly B/P rangers, B standing for the elite skill Barrage and P standing for pet (rangers get access to one pet that they have charmed; it accompanies them whenever they have the Charm Animal skill equipped). The team build was composed of 1 or 2 monks who had a large amount of freedom of what skills they brought (just limited or no enchantments, and often a semi-spammable spike heal), a Minion Master necromancer who focused on raising minions, a battery necromancer (specialized in keeping the monk(s) and other necro supplied with energy, or mana in layman’s terms), and the rest filled up with B/P rangers. Since the mobs in the area did a crazy amount of damage, the build focused on creating a wall with minions that the necro created and pets from the rangers. When the pets died, they left exploitable corpses for the necro to keep raising minions as his/her minions died.The battery necro kept the energy flowing along with some other utility skills he/she had brought, and the rangers spammed Barrage (a skill that shot several arrows to hit several mobs all at once) and interrupts when a dangerous skill needed to be interrupted. If you had good or experienced players, this build could rip through the area like no one’s business. If someone wasn’t doing their job, the team could easily wipe.
Another Co-Opportunity that I think deserves mentioning for Guild Wars is the ability to play with friends for small chunks of time if folks don’t have a lot of time. Again, if you’re familiar with MMOs, dungeons/instances often take a considerable amount of time. Sometimes those with children or other urgent commitments will either have to leave early or just decide not to partake at certain times due to this time commitment. In Guild Wars, many of the missions can be completed in 15-30 minutes or less. A large amount of time can also be spent trying to get a party together in most MMOs, waiting for people to log on or to be ready to go. In Guild Wars you can fill up your remaining party with henchmen or heroes, so you and your friend(s) can get going as soon as you want, no waiting required.