Underwater Combat in Guild Wars 2

We've all experienced the world of Tyria as a beautiful, dangerous place, with a huge number of places to explore, and in Guild Wars 2 this experience extends to below the waterline. With the presence of the friendly Quaggan and the not-so-friendly Krait races in aquatic areas of GW2, underwater combat was always going to be something every player would eventually encounter. Underwater combat.

Gone are the days of having to run AROUND a watery obstacle such as a lake, river or sea! In GW2 you can literally dive right in and experience the aquatic wonderland that the GW2 game designers have prepared for us enjoying spectacular sights, diverse challenges and powerful enemies.

Your personal story will take you under the sea where you'll encounter a fearsome assortment of underwater dwellers including deadly Thundershrimp and ice-water Barracuda, along with a variety of sea monsters determined to remove you from their underwater world. In addition there are a variety of dynamic events found in the aquatic environment plus most dungeons have underwater content. Lots of opportunities to get wet ahead!

One of the Guild Wars 2 Blog's favorite people, Colin Johanson, explained the effort that's been made to make the underwater areas of GW2 a truly spectacular gaming experience when he said this...

The deeper you get in the ocean, the outside of the screen changes a little bit to try to give you a sense of depth, and give you a little bit less visibility and a little more haze as you drop down. So it feels like you're actually like a scuba diver who is going down deeper and deeper into the ocean. Then as you start to swim back up, that starts to clear up so you have a better sense of which way you're going on the Z axis.

Also, from the content perspective, the spawns and the content you experience are layered on certain levels of the ocean, just like what you would find in a real ocean. So up around the top of the ocean, it's generally very safe. There are not a lot of creatures up there, if there is there's usually a lot of ambiance or little things floating around on the top.

Fortunately we don't need to carry any special gear for swimming on or below the water's surface in GW2. If you just need to cross a river or lake to get to the other side, you can simply swim on top of the water without diving below. Be warned though, while swimming on the surface you're unable to fight and are easy prey for any hungry foes lurking below.

When you dive underwater all that's required is to tilt your camera down and keep moving forward and you'll submerge. Once you do this you'll be automatically equipped for underwater action.
Aqua breather image You'll get a mask-like breathing device called an aqua-breather, an underwater weapon set and a whole new set of skills in slots 6 through 10 with some interesting underwater equivalents to replace the land-based utility, heal and elite skills.

While you get a default breathing apparatus to start GW2 with, you can find all sorts of cool gear to help you explore the deepest depths of the ocean.
Here's a 20 minute video of some excellent underwater action in Guild Wars 2, narrated by Jon Peters, one of GW2's game designers.

Underwater Weapons

There are three new weapon types in Guild Wars 2 that you use ONLY for underwater combat.


Close-quarters melee weapon used by Warriors, Guardians, Thieves, Rangers and Necromancers.


Long-range magical weapons used by Elementalists, Necromancers and Guardians.

Harpoon Guns

Long-range mechanical weapons used by Engineers, Rangers, Thieves and Warriors.
Underwater harpoon gun. Underwater combat using harpoon guns.
If your health goes to zero while underwater you go into a "drowning" state, which functions like the downed state you experience when on land except with a limited ability to move. When you're drowning, there are three ways to recover.

  • You kill an opponent, which will cause you to rally.
  • An ally can revive you, just as they can above water.
  • You reach the surface of the water, where you will stop drowning and regain health. When your health bar fills all the way you'll be revived.

As it forms part of your personal storyline in Guild Wars 2, underwater experience is going to be a vital, important part of the game. The GW2 Krewe are working on our tans as we speak! GW2 swimming and diving.

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