Neverwinter GWF Essential Tips and Advice

Neverwinter Great Weapon Fighter Essential Tips and Advice by trickshaw

GWF’s are just fine.

Step 1: You are not prepared…

The GWF is not a Barbarian.

Read it again. One more time. Process it. Accept it. The GWF has a big weapon (that’s what she said) but it doesn’t make him a Barbarian nor does it make him akin to other great weapon fighters from other games. Take all your preconceptions from the past and throw them out the window. Once you accept the GWF for what he -IS- instead of trying to force him into what you -WANT- him to be you can either move on to a class that is what you -ARE- looking for or you can continue on with a better understanding and all-around better gaming experience with the GWF.

Either way, you’re welcome.

So, what -IS- the GWF? The GWF is a tank/dps hybrid. Sounds simple enough so why do so many people have a problem with that? I’ll tell you why. You see, your average forum goer reads “tank/dps hybrid” but there’s a part of your brain which turns:

“Tank/DPS Hybrid”



And then people just lose their mind in game and rage hits the forum fans. It’s a well documented and proven fact that if you insert the acronym “DPS” into any given term that your average gamer will inadvertently shut down blood flow to the brain in order for your eyes to only see the acronym “DPS” in any sentence. For example, half of you just read this paragraph as:

“DPS… blah blah blah… DPS…”

So, in order to expedite this conversation I’m going to refer to the GWF as a Tank Hybrid only. These are the two words you need to focus on. Tank. Hybrid.

Hybrid sometimes confuses people so I’ll simplify it for you. Hybrid means that the end product is a combination of two things but never as good as those two things individually. At least in the gaming world. Hybrid also means that if you try to focus on one of those two things at the expense of the other of those two things then you end up with a final product which is referred to as “crap”.

“Crap” is a very technical and complex term which involves a lot of math and physics but can be simplified down to the following equation:

Wf(1 + Hf) + Wb (1 + Hb) + Wm(1 + Hm)

In the interests of the reader we’ll just use the basic idea that “crap” = bad. We don’t want “bad” now do we? Now that we understand what hybrid means let’s combine it with the other operable word in the aforementioned term: Tank.

In order for a Tank Hybrid to not function like complete “crap” you have to pay attention to the Tank aspect of said hybrid. How do you do that? There’s a number of ways but the two best ways, the two single changes you can make which will EXPONENTIALLY increase your survival as a GWF are the following:

Step 2: Steal Penetration

No, it’s not a name for a porno. Although…


Life Steal is the red-headed step child of Neverwinter survival stats and the reason I think is because people start to play with it and realize that you need to stack copious amounts of it in order to net a reasonable gain. That’s simply not very true. That and they see those little green numbers and they’re like, “well that’s lame”. Truth be told Life Steal is possibly one of the most over powered defensive stats in this game. And what’s even better is that nigh every piece of Life Steal gear you find while you’re leveling is attached with Penetration; another grossly under-rated offensive stat.

So, lemme get this straight, one of the best DEFENSIVE stats is, by default, attached to a great offensive stat which feeds off one of your main stats?!?! Yes, that’s why it’s called HYBRIDization.

The upshot to Life Steal is people are throwing it on the AH like crazy and for really low prices. You can log in, do a daily and have enough AD to completely regear your GWF in Life Steal/Penetration with AD left over. I do, however recommend, only gearing enough to net you around 7-10% Life Steal. For me, I save my off-hand, neck and waste for crit%/power; at low levels it’s either or, dont’ go for the split stats if you can avoid them.

That brings us to Deflection. The single, cheapest and most effective defensive stat you can accumulate and practically no one bothers slotting it. There are two things you can do to drive your deflection up by a large margin:

1.) Bravery Rank 3 nets you 15% Deflection. That’s so OP that I’m convinced it’s broken. The speed buff part of Bravery doesn’t show up on your character sheet but it is in fact working just so you know.

2.) Dexterity grants you 0.5% deflection and 1% crit. That’s a win/win if you ask me.

Step 3: Clerical Error?

If you didn’t take Cleric as your first companion then you should flick yourself in the eyeball. Did you do it? Good. You deserved it.

I wish there was a nicer way to say that but yeah, that’s pretty much the end all be all of it. Even at higher levels the cleric, who’s capped at rank 15, is probably the simplest choice to make in regards to survival. Every 30 seconds you are HoT healed for 20% of your HP pool? Yeah… I’ll take that thank you.

Step 4: Roar than meets the eye!

Get it? Roar than meets the eye? Shut up. My genius is wasted on you.

Anyway, Roar at rank 3 not only pumps out some solid damage but also nearly fills your determination bar when you manage to crit land it on 3 targets. With a modicum of practice using Roar becomes second nature. Not only does it push out some solid damage, not only does it fill up your determination bar but it also stun/roots melee mobs. A common tactic I used at lower levels was to run up to a group of mobs, Roar (which pushes them away and roots them) then immediately start charging Reaping Strike, when they break from the root they come at you…

This is when you mentally say to yourself, “COME AT ME BRO!”

…release Reaping and watch the entire pack just fall down. All without ever taking a scratch. See how easy that was? Also, as a plus Roar interrupts any non-boss charged attack. Need to stop that Giant from pounding your healer? Roar. Need to stop those clumped Erinyes from nuking your pet? Roar.

Roar is like the swiss army knife of GWF utilities. It damages. It builds determination. It roots mobs. It interrupts. It makes you feel like a manly man.

Step 5: Pouring like an Avalanche coming down the mountain…

I’ll make it easy on you, these are the only two Dailies you will ever need if you plan on only PvE’ing. If you want to PvP then you start looking at the other dailies. Otherwise, these are the only two you will need.

Slam will be your staple mass damage daily. You want damage, you pop it. Avalanche will be your situational daily. The daily you use when you need to get out of a bad situation. Getting surrounded by minions? Drop avalanche, which knocks everyone prone, and reposition yourself to a more advantageous spot. Need to avoid a boss AoE phase but you’re out of sprint? Avalanche.

Think of Avalanche as your tactical retreat but Slam as your go to Daily.

Step 6: Punch that baby!

I cannot stand… cannot… stand… watching videos of GWFs running around with Determination saved up. It’s not a finite resource. You will get more. If determination fills up you ****-ing punch that baby. Stop running around with a full Determination bar “waiting for the right moment”. Wanna know when the right moment is?

Right now.

That’s the right moment. If you have Roar slotted you’ll be filling that Determination bar up in the VERY NEXT FIGHT so freaking use it. Your number one mitigation tool is Determination. Stop saving it and start using it.

With that said, if you have 5/5 Unstoppable Action (and if you don’t you need to punch yourself in the throat) when you pop Determination that is the single best time to start dropping your encounters because you’re getting bonus action points (that’s the daily meter) when you do damage while Unstoppable and thanks to Unstoppable Action those bonus points are increased further. More on that later.

Step 7: Reap what you sow!

Despite popular belief, Reaping strike is pretty damned absurd. Admittedly, it’s not an easy ability to use. In fact sometimes it can be downright annoying at first. But with patience and practice it can surprise you and possibly turn out to be one of your favorite abilities.

1.) You’re going to get hit. That’s just how it is. Don’t want to get hit? Roll another class. But while you’re here, if you’re going to get hit, you might as well build extra determination WHILE you’re getting hit and that’s exactly what Reaping Strike does.

2.) Reaping Strike + Life Steal = butter. Who doesn’t like butter? Vegans. That’s who. So if you’re not a vegan than you should like butter ergo you’ll love Reaping Strike + Life Steal.

3.) As an FYI one charged Reaping Strike = the same amount of time it takes to swing Sure Strike 3 times or Wicked Strike two times.

4.) Want to watch your Action Point gain jump up by giant chunks at a time? Start using Reaping Strike.

Step 8: Don’t hate. Appreciate…

…Restoring Strike.

FunFact: Restoring Strike double dips into Life Steal. A Restoring Strike Crit + Life Steal is basically the equivalent of your Cleric Companion’s 30 sec ability. Also it hits like a truck and who doesn’t like trucks? Vegans that’s who. Those shifty eyed tree-huggin turnip munchers want to deprive me of my diesel guzzling F650? I dunno ’bout you but I live in Illinois… Global Warming is turning out pretty good for me.

Ergo if you love Global Warming then Restoring Strike is made for you!

Step 9: I’ve got my priorities straight!

Half the time I see a GWF video I’m watching players who are just randomly smashing abilities and then they wonder why they aren’t doing so well. Playing a GWF isn’t mindless. It requires positioning, it requires tactics and it requires knowing when to go all out.

Some people call them rotations. I prefer to call them priorities because unlike in other MMOs you don’t have enough abilities to really “rotate” in Neverwinter. Not in the traditional sense.

Your main priority should be getting Determination up. Your second priority should be to drop your encounters after you’ve punched Determination. And if you have Restoring Strike that should be your number one encounter to pop if you don’t have a full HP bar. One minion left in the pack with a sliver of health? Restoring Strike up? Overkill the **** out of that poor goblin. Hit him so hard in the daddy bags that his kids feel it in their digital hovel… wherever that may be. You get healed and by the time you get to your next encounter Restoring Strike should be close to back up for you to use again.

Priorities. Learn them. Follow them. Profit.

Step 10: Know your role.

You aren’t a TR. You aren’t a GF. You’re the guy that’s in between. You’re the mop up crew. The only time you should ever feel inadequate is if, at the end of a dungeon, you’ve been out damaged AND out killed AND out survived. That TR might have you trumped on raw damage but that’s because that’s his job. He’s supposed to pump out copious amounts of damage on bosses and elite mobs.

You’re the guy that’s supposed to wipe up all the adds and keep the rest of your party safe. That’s what you do and the TR can’t compare. Later on, much… much… later on you will start seeing gear that will allow you to alter your role for PvP and PvE. That’s the whole point behind end game. But until then this is the role you’re supposed to fill. This is what you’re supposed to do and if you understand that, embrace it and execute with the knowledge that “this is what I do and I’m king of my domain” you will have a much easier and enjoyable experience.

So how do you “measure” your performance? Simple:

1.) You soak more damage than anyone else except the GF
2.) You do more damage than anyone else except the TR and sometimes CW
3.) You have more kills than anyone else on the board
4.) You have more heals than anyone else except maybe the GF

If you managed to check off everyone of those criteria than congratulations, you’re doing your job the way it’s supposed to be done.

The idea is balance. You’re a balanced class for a balanced role. You have WAAAAY more survival than a TR and WAAAAY more damage than a GF start playing like it and you’ll make your groups much more efficient. As you level up and gear up you can start planning on being a PvP stun burst god or a PvE glass cannon dirvish but until then you simply don’t have the stats to “dedicate” to one role so you embrace the role that the devs intended…

A Tank/DPS Hybrid.

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10 Responses

  1. DoubleA says:

    Great guide! Took this to heart right off the bat and made a huge difference second time around! We’re a very mobile class. We should always looking for CA. Weapon master strike is awesome debuff, and once you get indomitable battle strike…. Use it!

  2. GWF from Mindflayer.. says:

    Your GWF dies, unless it’s using a tanking set?
    The titan is a tanking set, which I reckon you know already. I just don’t understand what some people are doing with the class. It’s like they have no clue what they’re actually playing. Which is good for me, since it mean’s less people will be playing my class. :)

  3. GWF from Mindflayer.. says:

    So I read through the guide.
    And sure, you make a fair few valid points, and so do some of the people in comment section.
    I’d like to point out a few things however.
    And this might come as a shock to you, but I play a GWF, and it’s the only toon that I’ll ever focus on. I absolutely love it. And I’ll get to the point right now, so this doesn’t just drag out.

    1. There’s no one way or the highway with the GWF Trickshaw. I don’t know where you got that from.

    2. Wrastor, you took the words out of my mouth.

    3. Astaria, parties use 2CWs, 2 DC’s, and a TR now, because of a few reasons. One being that they can just use singularity to drop mobs of edges, pull bosses, and use every exploit in the book to ignore what the game is about. Sure it might seem fun to get the epics from a T2 in 30minuts or less, but you’re missing the point of the whole f-ing dungeon. And I’ll laugh my wee-wee off when they close off every single boss room, and you try kiting a boss with endless amounts of aoe mob spawns.

    To note another point, my main group that I do dungeons with have the following setup.
    One of each class, with me on the GWF, and guess what?
    We’ve cleared absolutely everything, and we do it with ease, and not a single exploit was used. And we’re so tired of people using them that we’re gonna start running live streams and upload video guides for every boss that we have killed with this setup..

    Oh, and by the by trickshaw. I top the damage, usually by nearly 5-8mill over the next in line, kills, and I’m second on healing and damage taken.
    Stop narrowing down the class to a role it doesn’t have to be. Oh and FYI, deflect and lifesteal are both rediculously shit for a GWF, and the same goes for ARP. yupp, you heard me.
    1. You lose your main stats if you go for lifesteal and ARP. Leave those to TR’s.
    2. The only three main stats a GWF should focus on, are Power -> Critt(until 40%unbuffed) -> Recovery. In that exact order.
    3. Deflect doesn’t get usefull until you have 1500-1800, that’s a lot of stats for a class that doesn’t rely on being a tank.

    Stop being close minded about every class.
    The only 2classes that has a main job, are the DC and the Tank. The other three have to vary, depending on the situation.

    Thanks for reading and I ment no offense to anyone. And in regard to my grammar, English is not my native language.

  4. greebo the barbarian says:

    In case you had trouble understanding; this guide is the MOST VALID GWF GUIDE Ive found.

    Use the principles therein; you will be able to buy your gear cheap, and use your skills effectively.

    The end, may The Grobble find you

  5. greebo the barbarian says:

    Talk all the junk you want.

    When Ive used other GWF guides; they are junk by theorycrafters that don’t know CRAP about anything.

    Every time I ditch that and use this guide; I ask myself why I ever tried otherwise.

    You guys talking junk with your theory-crafting remind me of the GWF that beats on the boss while the cleric dies.

    They get to the end with top score in damage, and top score in “newbie who doesn’t know wtf he is doing.”

    May you The Grobble find you,

    Good greeblings

  6. Astaria says:

    Wrastor I am with you. For those out there who are building GWF, be very careful. I am pretty sure that trickshaw and others cant even tell you what funcitons are actually proven BROKEN on a GWF (and there are many). Trickshaw you write well, but you are advocating balance. The one point you stress here is – fighter, heal thyself – which is a focus! Well, if you do that, you will make a GWF that is seriously DPS gimped, and I havnt tested, but I dont see the lifesteal and such really helping matters enough to offset. This build probably will help you do the quest line solo… but then your career is done. More DPS than a CW with this build? NO way. Proper CW build right now can kill A GWF in under 5 seconds certain, most the time about 3 seconds and to make matters worse the GWF cant engage because of cheap teleporting. More ability than a rogue? No way. I have both and my rogue if standing there dies (and I laugh when rogues stand there) – but my GWF dies without Titan set if I stand alot – which our abilities force/dictate .

    Right now, the Dungeon mix (for success) seems to be 2 DC, 2 CW and a Rogue. See any melees? Especially the GWF – which is supposed to excel at multiple (adds) targets. It isnt happening. Let me know who it is that incessantely invites your GWF to a Neverember Dungeon run, so I can get on that list…..

  7. Wrastor says:

    “As an FYI one charged Reaping Strike = the same amount of time it takes to swing Sure Strike 3 times or Wicked Strike two times.”

    This is where I stopped reading. Either you haven’t timed the attacks yourself or just making a guess.

    Sure Strike is 2 APS (attacks per second)
    Wicked Strike is 1.2 APS

    Reaping Strike takes approximately 2.2s to full charge and release (even with a better connection its not 2s).

    So that means: Sure Strike will hit 4 times during the charge-up. The timing between Reaping and Wicked Strike is almost negligible that Wicked Strike is just a lot easier to use in terms of aoe.

    Source: Myself and 3 others frame counting and stopwatching animations in order to min/max.

  8. Gorf says:

    Great insight and fun read. Thank you!
    As mentioned before, a short overview of talents to skill would be much appreciated.

  9. Backxor says:

    Hey there trickshaw,
    thank you very much for your guide! Great style btw! Was really fun to read ;)
    I dunno if I missed it but I’d really like to know which feats to skill.
    Thanks in advance!


  10. Anonymous says:

    Good storyboard. Gave me insight to learning about this class. Thanks for posting this here!

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