You can get surprisingly far into Guild Wars 2 without fully understanding its important CC mechanic. The lack of tutorialisation is a common lament for veterans and a puzzle to newer players, who might be wondering what this mysterious initialism yelled in chat is all about. Learning how to efficiently ‘break bars’ using CC, as in Crowd Control skills, is vital for higher levels of play and makes difficult enemies a lot easier to kill. This guide should help you brush up on how it all works.
The Defiance Bar
Also known as the break bar or CC bar
The blue bar which appears underneath an enemy’s health bar is your target. You must attack it on sight! You must break it. How should you break it? This will be discussed below, but first, why should you break it?
The defiance bar is baked into a lot of tough boss mechanics which reward those who break it and punish those who do not. For example, breaking it is the only way to save friends from being insta-killed by raid bosses Mathias or Samarog, and it’s the only way to progress to the next phase of the Amala bossfight in the Twilight Oasis fractal.
However, it’s also helpful against open world champions, where you often aren’t punished as heavily for ignoring it. This is because breaking a bar also weakens an opponent significantly for a short time. Not only does it usually stun them, giving you and your friends some relief from their highly damaging attacks (and from Path of Fire onwards, bounty mechanics), but it also increases the amount of damage you can do to them by 30% for power damage and 100% for condition damage through the Exposed effect.
Now how do we break it? Think of the defiance bar as a health bar you must deplete, but the only way to affect it is through Crowd Control skills, of which there are two types: Hard CC and Soft CC. These skills can be identified by the purple icons within skill tooltips.
Something to note is that if a partially depleted CC bar is left alone, it will regenerate even if the enemy is in combat. After breaking a bar, it might also regenerate while being orange in colour. In this case, no CC skill can affect it and you have to wait until it has finished resetting and is blue again.
- Sink (Underwater)
- Float (Underwater)
- Petrify (Thief)
- Jade (Revenant)
You might notice that hard CC skills are those which would interrupt normal enemy skills. When this type of CC is used, it takes chunks out of the break bar, like flat damage to a health bar.
If a group of well organised players all use hard CC together, the defiance bar can be broken fast.
These skills may be harder to figure out intuitively, but Soft CC are all skills which would hinder a normal enemy’s attacks without interrupting them. When this type of CC is used against a break bar, it does small amounts of continuous damage over a short time, like condition damage to a health bar.
These are useful if you’ve run out of Hard CC and want to prevent the defiance bar from regenerating. It’s also used for certain tactics against raid bosses when your commander may call for a ‘slow break’ or when you know you’ll need your more effective CC at a more important junction. For example, you can end a Vale Guardian split phase with Soft CC easily, leaving all your Hard CC ready for the main boss itself.
Congratulations, you are now a powerful breaker of bars! When someone says ‘Bring CC’, you now know how and why. You can slot in those utilities, and maybe you even have a special weapon to bring along just so you can laugh in the face of those defiant bars!
Not only that, you are now one more player spreading the gospel, chanting that ineffable “CC!” in chat. CC, friends. CC.