This guide discusses rangers specialized in using traps to overcome their enemy. Traps are a powerful weapon when used correctly, but in inexperienced hands they become incredibly ineffective. This guide is intended as a starting guide for new trappers, but it includes more detailed information and tips for more experienced trappers.
General Concepts and Theory
There are many ways in which one could describe a theory or general concept behind the usage of traps, but deriving from common knowledge of traps in the real world and in the form of a definition, one could simply say it is the setting up of a device or an idea which catches an enemy unaware- and it is in this way that Guild Wars implements them. Unless an opponent is targeting a Trapper specifically and taking note of the skills being used, traps can be set up without the detection- that said, this means there are different tactics one needs to be aware of depending on trap usage during PvE or PvP.
Player Vs. Environment
PvE trapping might be considered the easiest form of trapping within the game, as the enemy A.I. does not detect traps and will generally not act to avoid them if one is set. That said, those using traps generally plan ahead of time and plant traps outside of the aggro radius of an enemy in an area where one can easily invoke the enemy to chase over, activating the trap. This minimizes the risk of the trap being interrupted while setting it up, and ensures that as long as the enemy follows suit it will become affected by the trap.
Player Vs. Player
PvP Trapping, on the other hand, is generally more difficult, and not just for reasons in that the enemies are actual players - aside from noticing your traps and avoiding them, other players may attack at range in attempt to disrupt the trapping. Each form of PvP utilizes traps differently.
Traps are generally not effective in 4-man arenas. As there are only 4 people on each team, more attention is paid to each; your traps become immediately apparent, and the opposing party will take measures to disable your trapping. Traps remain, however, a powerful tool; if you have a blindbot on your (TA) team, trapping becomes a safer option, and one to be considered.
The maps in RA/TA are generally open; only a few have small passageways where you can force people into traps. On Priest Annihilation maps (Seabed and Deldrimor arenas), trapping the gate in front of your priest will protect him from enemies trying to slip in for an easy kill. In The Crag, trapping the Resurrection Shrine will cripple players as they spawn (the traps won't inflict damage, but the conditions will still be applied).
Trapping in Alliance Battles can be a very effective way of slowing down the opposing team's progress. Many players tend to underestimate traps, and run straight through them en rout to their destination. Traps can be used both offensively, and defensively. Examples include:
- Trapping around, or on shrines to slow, and if possible prevent their capture. The skill Serpent's Quickness can be very helpful for it lowers the recharge of your skills.
- Trapping on, or under bridges is very effective, as the trap will still trigger, regardless of whether your foe is underneath or on top of the bridge.
- Trapping teleporters is useful once your team holds the resurrection shrine(s). Players will teleport onto the traps, and possibly be killed, depending on how many you put there.
Keeping one step (or shrine) in front of the opposing Faction, while setting traps on a predicted route, will greatly slow down progress, buying precious time.
Cripple inducing traps such as Snare and Barbed Trap allows you to control the opposing team's movement from shrine to shrine. Couple them with a Tripwire a very short distance behind, and you are 2 more seconds ahead of your opponent.
Skills such as Escape and Natural Stride, which provide a speed boost and a means of blocking attacks, are very helpful in Allliance Battles, for movement is pivotal, and trappers can have a difficult time during the heat of battle.
Trappers are a common sight in Heroes' Ascent, as they benefit the team greatly on most (if not all) maps:
- For standard Annihilation maps, combining defensive and offensive traps yield best results; no unique tactics are required.
- In the Priest Annihilation maps, Burial Mounds and Dark Chambers, "priest swapping" is a very common practice. Trap the stairway leading to your Priest to leave a nasty surprise for the opposing party.
- Trappers aren't a huge help on Altar maps, unless your team can pressure another into moving over traps; trapping the Altar serves little purpose, as a team needs only to stand nearby to "cap" it.
- Trappers shine on Relic Runs. Leading the opposing team's relic runner with Barbed Traps and Snare/Tripwire combos, the trapper can slow him to a crawl. Also, trapping the other team's Resurrection Shrine is devastating; immediately upon Resurrection, each person is set on fire, starts bleeding, and walks with a limp.
- In the Hall of Heroes, depending on the map, trappers can win the match. In Murder Ball, utilize Relic Run tactics; lead the runner with traps, and he'll be hard pressed to give the Relic to his Ghostly Hero in 60 seconds. For the Alliance Battle-esque Capture Points, trap the stairways leading to each Altar/Shrine; typically, teams will split up to cap as many as possible, and split teams with no Condition removal will be gimped and not able to cap. For Kill Count and King of the Hill maps, standard tactical trapping is all one can do to influence the battle.
Trapping in GvG is a hard task, and generally not effective. The abundance of wide, open areas and the lack of cramped pathways reduce any trapping done to generic offensive/defensive trap placement.
Mechanics and Tactics
How a Trap Works
Every trap will normally require 2 seconds to activate (reducible with Trapper's Speed), provided no hexes inhibit this activation time. After that, traps will generally be active for 90 seconds after they are set, after which they will trigger automatically whether or not anyone is within its effective radius. Almost all traps available in the game will cause some type of damage, and almost every trap will inflict a particular condition on its victim- the only exception is Healing Spring, which heals allies every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. The cost of a trap varies between each type of trap, ranging from 5 to 25 energy, and all Ranger-specific traps are affected by the Ranger's Expertise attribute. Healing Spring affects all adjacent allies, while all other traps have a radius that affects all "Nearby" targets (about 20 feet, 3 circles outwards at the Battle Islands training center), which is a generous range.
Classes and Trap Contributions
More often than not, a trapper will be a Ranger primary due to the solid armor rating, elemental defense, runes to increase Wilderness Survival, and incredible energy management from Expertise. Preference of a secondary class for a trapper will vary, but notable candidates include Warrior and Mesmer.
Depending on what primary or secondary class is used, different skills and tactics are employed to bring out the fullest potential in trapping:
- Mesmers can use Mantra of Resolve to assure a mild level of success, however, Ranger stances (namely Natural Stride and, rarely, Whirling Defense) do a better job overall of preventing interruption while trapping.
- Warrior secondaries with high Tactics can use several stances to prevent trap interruption.
- Dervish secondaries offer Pious Concentration, which is helpful even with low attribute investment in Earth Prayers.
While other professions can aid in trap setting, trapping is best done with a bar full of Ranger skills. Trapper's Speed and Serpent's Quickness can reduce the recharge time of the trap skills, while Oath Shot can recharge them completely. Quickening Zephyr can halve recharge times at the expense of increased energy cost (which can be mitigated by adding points to a primary Ranger's Expertise attribute and/or using Energizing Wind). Finally, Rangers equipped with Trapper's Focus (which is tied to Expertise) prevent normal attacks from interrupting them.
Tactics on trap usage vary depending on the situation. Generally, a group will try to ensure a group of enemies is damaged and affected by a trap, and so careful planning and coordination is required.
- In narrow corridors where it is hard to maneuver, laid traps are highly impossible to avoid, making these prime areas for traps- unless it is doubtless that an enemy will pass through a specified area, trapping in wide open spaces may be fruitless, and the enemy may not come anywhere near the area.
- Particularly noted in missions like Thunderhead Keep, traps can be activated by an enemy passing directly under a trap that has been set up above the position, and vice-versa, so setting up a trap directly above an area where traffic is guaranteed is a suitable tactic.
- Particularly of note to those farming the Underworld are groups of Trappers that set up multiple traps in a specific location, using skills that reduce the recharge time to set up a large number of traps before the 90 second limit is up- while all the traps are still active, a player will aggro a mob past the location, and the mob will suffer all the damage from every trap they encounter.
- Though it may be something of a longshot in GvG matches, if a snaring trap is laid on the path that a flag runner might take, it presents a rather juicy target and an opportunity to prevent the runner to take position of the flag stand or Obelisk for their team.
- Farming groups in many areas will find the use of traps, coupled with Edge of Extinction, a fatally effective combination. Though great care and coordination is required, whole mobs can be eliminated in this manner with satisfying results.
Wilderness Survival is the most important of the attributes of a trapper. All Ranger-specific traps in the game, excluding Viper's Nest, are tied to Wilderness Survival. Therefore the trapper should have more points in Wilderness Survival than anything else (12+headpiece+rune=14, a solid level for trapping). Wilderness Survival also increases the duration of many Nature Rituals.
Expertise is also very important for trappers. It lowers the huge energy costs of the traps so that the trapper is able to set many more traps than he normally could. A trapper should have a very high expertise rank, preferably 12 or 13.
Depending on the task at hand the trapper might want to use skills from a secondary profession or the Marksmanship attribute. The trapper will generally have only a few attribute points to spend on these skills and he should never spend points in more than one secondary attribute.
Without traps there wouldn't be a trapper. A trapper with only the Prophecies Campaign usually uses all 4 traps available to him - Barbed Trap, Dust Trap, Flame Trap and Spike Trap. Access to the Factions Campaign skills adds more variety with Snare and Viper's Nest. Access to the Nightfall Campaign skills adds even more variety with Tripwire and Smoke Trap. Access to Eye of the North skills will give you more combinations with Piercing Trap. Each trap has its pros and cons and the trapper should carefully decide which traps to include depending on the task he wants to have.
With access to Eye of the North, there are also two PvE-only traps, tied to titles rather then any of the Ranger's attributes. The Deldrimor Title Track has Black Powder Mine, which causes Blind and Bleeding, and also hits for a fairly good amount of untyped damage. Ebon Vanguard Title Track grants access to Weakness Trap, which strikes for an above-average amount of Lightning damage, and causes Weakness. Weakness Trap also has the benefit of knocking down Charr that trigger it, which can be useful if you plan to encounter Charr in the area.
If the traps' main purpose is to deal damage, taking Snare is a bad choice. If you want to prevent the enemy from dealing damage, take Dust Trap to cause blind, Spike Trap to knock down and Barbed Trap and Snare for crippling the enemy. Piercing Trap's base damage is more than double with a high level of Wilderness Survival, in case your foe has Cracked Armor. Well of Ruin is a useful support skill for this in PvE, but can be hard to use in Zaishen Elite for example, since the idea there is to kill all foes at once (for a trapper). All of the offensive traps, with the exception of Tripwire and Piercing Trap, cause one or more conditions. The trapper should examine them carefully and decide which ones he needs. Taking note of the energy costs is also wise, even though high Expertise rank and some other skills might affect it.
Depending on the team and fighting place the traps are used in different ways. If you are playing PvE with a full trapper team, all members set traps in one spot and pull the enemy to them. If the trapper is part of a mixed team he closes in on the enemy with the teams warriors, setting traps to deal damage or stays with the casters to protect them from harm. Selecting the proper traps is crucial, so discuss your game plan with the team before beginning.
Nature Rituals are possibly the most efficient way for a trapper to lower the high energy cost and shorten the long recharge time of traps. Nature Rituals can also boost the damage of traps and cause other positive effects.
Nature ritual spirits can also be used as bait. The team can set their traps around a spirit and retreat to a safe distance. The foe will will try to attack the spirit first and therefore setting of all the traps near that spirit. This is an effective way to make sure the traps you set will have an effect on the enemy (will only be effective in PvE).
Full trapper teams often use Energizing Wind and Quickening Zephyr together as this both lowers the energy cost and shortens the recharge time. Some teams only use EW and shorten the recharge time with the stance Serpent's Quickness. Winnowing and Brambles add damage to the traps and Edge of Extinction makes it easier to kill whole enemy mobs at the same time.
Stances are often used by trappers. One of the most useful stances is Trapper's Speed which shortens trap recharge and activation by 25%, thus reducing the long recharge and casting times of traps greatly. With high expertise, Trapper's Speed can be maintained at all times. Another very useful stance is Serpent's Quickness which shortens the recharge time of skills by 33%, helping mitigate the long recharge time of traps. However Serpent's Quickness itself suffers from a long recharge time and cannot be maintained permanently.
Stances which provide you with a chance of evading or blocking attacks or preventing interruption, like Whirling Defense or Mantra of Resolve, are great when the trapper is needed to set traps while being under attack, or has to pull enemies into traps.
Preparations don't generally help trappers, but those who have Guild Wars Factions might want to consider the elite skill Trapper's Focus. It prevents your traps from being easily interrupted, but you will not be able to take Spike Trap or Smoke Trap.
There are many skills which a trapper should consider when creating his build. Resurrection skills are often taken in case something goes wrong. Energy management skills might come in handy, especially in prolonged trapping situations.
Various unexpected other skills might solve unusual or special situations. Go through the list of skills and think about the places you are going to use the build in. If you are entering the Underworld your build is very likely to be a lot different than the build of a trapper in a PvP team.
Traps cost a lot of energy to use, so a trapper has to maximize his energy. In addition to lowering the energy cost of traps with skills a trapper should also raise his maximum energy. Radiant insignias are the only real choice for a trapper. The 8 extra energy allows to set up more traps, where the additional armor or hit points from other armor types do not benefit a trapper as he shouldn't be taking a lot of hits from attackers.
The trapper will of course want the best possible Vigor rune available as there are no penalties for having one. As discussed earlier, a superior Wilderness Survival rune is almost a must. Minor Expertise and Beast Mastery runes should also be taken as they don't have any penalties.
Most beginning trappers bring only their usual bow with them, but a trapper won't have enough Marksmanship to use it effectively. A bow, however, is not the choice weapon for a seasoned trapper; they will stick to a Staff or Wand/Offhand combo for the extra energy. Most Unique staves come with +15 total energy; with the coming of Nightfall and +5^50 energy inscriptions, +20 energy staves are a more common choice for trapping.
The Fires in the East quest reward is a staff that provides 13 energy, and can be upgraded with a perfect Insightful Staff Head, for a total of 18 energy (at full HP). Adding a +5 AL or a +30 HP staff wrapping upgrade to this in addition to the head will make this one of the best staves a Tyrian character will have early access to.
R/Me Basic PvE Defensive/Farming Trapper
|Ranger / Mesmer||Attribute Rank|
|Wilderness Survival||12 + 3 + 1|
|Expertise||12 + 3|
- Resurrection Signet can be replaced with a spirit (Quickening Zephyr or Energizing Wind) in a trapper team, or Flame Trap if resurrection is not necessary.
R/Mo Basic General Trapper
|Ranger / Monk||Attribute Rank|
|Wilderness Survival||12 + 3 + 1|
|Expertise||12 + 3|
- Resurrection Signet should replace rebirth in PvP.
- Smoke Trap can be used in place of Spike Trap, and Natural Stride in place of Trapper's Speed or one of the traps, although monks or Ritualists should be expected to use blocking spells such as Weapon of Warding and Guardian on you either way to decrease chance of interruption.