I'm re-posting this guide to expose it a bit more to the forum, as per Fencers' suggestion.
This post is about how each weapon's skills handle. The official GW2 website touches a bit on each weapon in its warrior description, but I wanted to shed a little more light on how each setup seems to work within the game and to what playstyles they seem to cater, based on my experiences in the beta events and stress tests.
Note: These descriptions are set up in a reference style. If you're reading through the entire post and things seem to get a bit redundant or repetitive, it's probably due to each entry being self-contained.
Table of Contents:
I. One-handed Weapons
A. Axe Main-hand
5. Axe/War Horn
B. Mace Main-hand
5. Mace/War Horn
C. Sword Main-hand
5. Sword/War Horn
II. Two-handed Weapons
III. Ranged Weapons
I. One-handed Weapons:
A. Axe Main-hand
1. Axe and Axe
The double-axe setup is designed for high melee damage with limited chasing and finishing capability. This combo allows for high single-target bursts from Chop (main-hand axe) and Dual Strike (off-hand axe), as well as high damage to all enemies near the warrior from Cyclone Axe and Whirling Axe. If an enemy begins to flee, this combination allows for either a cripple through Throw Axe or a leap towards the target through the one-hand-axe adrenaline skill, Eviscerate (which doubles as a high-burst damage skill).
If you're keen on the "berserker" style of gameplay, with high damage potential at the cost of defense or utility, the dual-axe combo might be for you.
2. Axe and Mace
An axe combined with a mace trades some damage potential for utility. While most of the damage from the axe is retained from Chop, Cyclone Axe, and Eviscerate, this combination has the options of applying the vulnerability condition (reduced armor) from Crushing Blow and knocking enemies to the ground with Tremor. These two abilities from the mace allow for more battlefield control than two axes, at the cost of some damage potential.
If you like high damage combined with limited control of your opponents, an axe and mace may fit your playstyle well.
3. Axe and Sword
An axe and a sword focuses on a combination of burst damage and damage over time. The axe abilities provide burst damage through Chop, Cyclone Axe, and Eviscerate, while the sword provides bleeds through Impale and Riposte. Additionally, Impale doubles as a ranged attack, while Riposte doubles as a defensive skill.
If you're looking for a blend of immediate damage and condition damage, you may take a liking to the axe and sword setup.
4. Axe and Shield
An axe and shield combination is the balanced setup of damage, control, and defense. The axe provides the damage with Chop, Cyclone Axe, and Eviscerate, and the shield provides the control through Shield Bash and the defense through Shield Stance.
If you want a blend of damage, control, and defense, take a look at the axe and shield combo.
5. Axe and War Horn
The setup of axe and war horn forgoes defensive capability in exchange for damage and utility. Chop, Cyclone Axe, and Eviscerate from the axe bring high damage potential, while the war horn provides swiftness (run speed) through Charge and vigor ("dodge power" regeneration) through Call to Arms. In addition, Call to Arms applies weakness (reduced attack damage and "dodge power" regeneration) to nearby enemies.
If you enjoy high damage coupled with the ability to help other players with boons, an axe and war horn may be what you want to use.
B. Mace Main-hand
1. Mace and Axe
The combination of a mace and an axe is oriented around control and defense while also enabling the player to retaliate with moderate damage. The mace ability Pommel Bash dazes enemies, preventing them from using their abilities temporarily, while the mace adrenaline skill, Skull Crack, will stun an enemy, preventing all action for a short duration. The defensive capability of this setup comes in the form of Counter Blow, blocking an attack and retaliating, or generating adrenaline for Skull Crack, depending on whether you are hit or not. The damage of this combo comes from the axe, either from Dual Strike or Whirling Axe.
If you'd rather lock down opponents before you dole out the damage, the mace and axe setup is something to give a try.
2. Mace and Mace
A combination of two maces is heavily oriented around controlling opponents. The main-hand mace provides Pommel Bash for dazes, Skull Crack for stuns, and Counter Blow for damage mitigation or adrenaline for Skull Crack, while the off-hand mace allows for armor reduction through Crushing Blow and knockdowns through Tremor.
If you enjoy keeping an enemy out of commission while your allies deal the damage, two maces may be the way to go.
3. Mace and Sword
A mace and sword setup is centered around control and defense while applying damage gradually. Pommel Bash and Skull Crack provide the control, Counter Blow (mace) and Riposte (sword) provide the defense, and Impale and Riposte provide the damage through bleed conditions.
If you like slowly killing your enemies while countering their attacks, consider the mace and sword setup.
4. Mace and Shield
A mace and shield is purely a defense and control combination. The mace and shield both allow for stunning your opponent (through Skull Crack and Shield Bash) and for blocking incoming attacks (through Counter Blow and Shield Stance). The mace also allows for dazing enemies with Pommel Bash.
If you prefer a "tanky" style of play, with high defense and control, take a look at the mace and shield.
5. Mace and War Horn
A mace combined with a war horn focuses on control and support, while also allowing for some defensive power. The mace provides the control through Pommel Bash and Skull Crack and the defense through Counter Blow, while the war horn provides the utility through Charge (run speed) and Call to Arms ("dodge power" regeneration).
If you like supporting your allies while being able to defend yourself, a mace and war horn may suit your needs.
C. Sword Main-hand
1. Sword and Axe
The sword and axe setup focuses on high damage combined with high mobility and control. The sword provides mobility through Savage Leap, damage over time through bleeds from Sever Artery and Gash, and control through Hamstring, with the adrenaline skill, Flurry, providing both control through immobilization and high damage. The off-hand axe's role is purely damage via Dual Strike and Whirling Axe.
If you're looking to jump from enemy to enemy, dishing out damage and leaving them to bleed out as you move on to the next target, the sword-axe combo may be just what you need.
2. Sword and Mace
A sword and mace combo is oriented around high mobility coupled with high control. Savage Leap from the sword brings the mobility, while Hamstring and Flurry from the sword and Crushing Blow and Tremor from the mace bring the control.
If you're keen on quickly moving between targets, locking them down while your allies finish them off, the sword and mace may suit your playstyle well.
3. Sword and Sword
The sword-sword setup is centered around damage over time and adaptability. With the main-hand sword's Sever Artery and Gash, the off-hand sword's Impale and Riposte, and the burst skill Flurry, this combo can apply several stacks of the bleed condition to targets very quickly. Couple this with the mobility of Savage Leap from the main-hand sword and the defensive power of Riposte from the off-hand sword, and you have a setup that can adapt to the situation on the fly.
If you prefer a playstyle that can change its focus on a whim, give the dual-sword combo a try.
4. Sword and Shield
The sword and shield combo combines the mobility of the one-handed sword with the defense and control of the shield. The sword provides mobility through Savage Leap and control through Hamstring, while the shield provides defense through Shield Stance. The fourth skill of this combo, Shield Bash, offers a doubling-up of both mobility and control, as it's a dash followed by a stun. Combining Shield Bash with Savage Leap can allow for very quick adaptation to battlefield hazards.
If you enjoy high mobility and control with defensive power to fall back on, the sword and shield combination might be just what you need.
5. Sword and War Horn
The sword-war horn combination combines the high mobility of the sword with the utility of the war horn. Savage Leap allows the warrior to navigate the field as needed. This synergizes well with the war horn's Charge and Call to Arms skills, providing boons to allies and conditions to enemies anywhere on the battlefield.
If you like being able to get anywhere you're needed at a moment's notice, the sword and war horn may be just the setup for you.
II. Two-handed Weapons:
The greatsword is centered around high single-target and area damage, mobility, and putting your opponent at a disadvantage. Greatsword Swing, Greatsword Slice, Brutal Strike, and Hundred Blades all deal large amounts of damage. The greatsword's adrenaline skill, Arcing Slice, not only deals a large amount of damage, but will also grant you the fury boon, further increasing your damage through increased crit chance. The mobility of the greatsword comes from both the Whirlwind Attack and Rush skills. Additionally, Greatsword Swing and Greatsword Slice apply stacks of vulnerability to your opponent, increasing the damage they take, and the fourth skill, Bladetrail, will throw your sword, crippling any enemies caught in its path.
If you enjoy high mobility while cutting down foes in your way, the greatsword might be your weapon of choice.
The hammer is centered around high area-damage and controlling your opponents. Hammer Smash, Hammer Shock, Staggering Blow, and the adrenaline skill, Earthshaker, all deal area damage to anyone nearby. In the cases of Hammer Shock, Staggering Blow, and Earthshaker, these abilities double as ways to control your enemies with a cripple, a knockback, and a stun, respectively. Additionally, the second skill of the hammer, Fierce Blow, applies weakness to your opponent (reduced "dodge power" regeneration) and the fifth skill, Backbreaker, knocks an opponent to the ground; both of these abilities add to the hammer's potential for controlling enemies.
If your playstyle focuses on keeping your enemies at a disadvantage while crushing their bones to dust, take a look at the hammer.
III. Ranged Weapons:
The longbow is centered around ranged area-damage coupled with limited utility and control. Fan of Fire, Arcing Arrow, and Combustive Shot (the adrenaline skill) all deal their damage in an area, with Fan of Fire firing three flaming arrows in a spread formation and both Arcing Arrow and Combustive Shot firing a large arrow that will explode when it lands. In Combustive Shot's case, the area where it explodes will be set on fire, burning all enemies in the area and creating an area through which allies (or the warrior) can fire projectiles to light enemies on fire. The longbow's control capability comes from its second ability, Smoldering Arrow (blinds a foe, causing their next attack to miss), and its fifth ability, Pin Down (immobilizes a foe).
If you enjoy raining down fiery death on several enemies at once, give the longbow a try.
The rifle's focus is ranged single-target damage and limited control of enemies. Bleeding Shot, Volley, and Kill Shot are all purely damage-oriented, with Bleeding Shot also applying a bleed to enemies, not surprisingly. Aimed Shot, in addition to damage, also cripples enemies, while Brutal Shot applies vulnerability (reduced armor). The rifle's fifth skill, Rifle Butt, knocks away a foe in melee range.
If you prefer sniping down a target from far away, the rifle may suit your needs perfectly.