A gimmick build is a build which focuses on a single strategy or relies on certain mechanics of the game and exploits them as much as possible in order to minimize the effort required to reach the user's goals. They are often regarded as builds that do not fit within the metagame or the common views of a "balanced build". One of the main differences between a gimmick and a balanced build is that where a balanced build is adaptable to different circumstances, a gimmick build will focus on a single strategy. When certain conditions are met, the gimmick can be very effective, but if something goes wrong, it often fails to work at all.
One of the purposes of a game balancer, such as Isaiah Cartwright, is to ensure that gimmick builds do not become prevalent, or that they are at least easily countered by skillful players. Gimmicks exist in virtually every form of competitive multiplayer computer game made in the past 15 years, but in most games they are not a replacement for skillful play. The term "gimmick" in the context of Guild Wars generally refers to a gimmick that is overpowered, not merely a gimmick in the more broad sense of the word.
Ideally, in any game, if a particular strategy is easy to play, it should be equally easy for other players to defeat. A classic example of an ideal gimmick in Guild Wars is EoE bomb, a build which relies on a single skill (Edge of Extinction) for victory. The team uses EoE, then all but one member of the team kills him/herself at the same time, in effect, causing everything in range to take hundreds of damage, possibly more, depending on the health of the other team's members. Obviously, this is a very powerful effect, but it is effortlessly countered by any team that sees it coming.
 Examples of Gimmicks
- Builds that only work against a specific enemy. These builds rely on flaws in the enemy's skills or AI combined with skills chosen only to counter as needed. The first example of this was the wide array of builds created to quickly defeat the Doppleganger in Augury Rock. The most blatant gimmicks use only PvE skills which the Doppleganger cannot mimic or loading the action-bar with enchantments that drain the Doppleganger's energy without improving its combat ability. Against any other enemy, this build is useless.
- Builds composed of many characters of the same profession (5-8 paragons, 8 necromancers, 8 Elementalists, etc) are considered gimmicks. These usually rely on exploiting or abusing the primary attribute of their chosen profession to provide enough energy to outlast the other team (either by spiking, in the case of a full necromancer party, or by general invincibility, in the case of 8 paragons).
- Builds that rely on hero AI. Whether it be timing Discord perfectly when the conditions for the spell are met, flawlessly maintaining Tainted Flesh on the entire party, or interrupting skills with split-second precision, heroes offer some advantages over players. Either way, builds that rely on the perfect AI timing/organization are gimmicks.
- Builds packed with enough standalone imbalanced skills/methods to create one great, overpowered product are gimmicks. Spiritway, for example, in its most recent incarnation (nerfed in September of 2009), combines defensive stances like Escape and Lightning Reflexes with dagger attacks that have almost no activation time or recharge in order to spam Death Blossom, causing wide AoE damage. Weapon spells like Splinter Weapon and Warmonger's Weapon on the frontline rangers are often combined with Echo or Arcane Echo to deal devastating damage and make casting nearly impossible for the opposing team. Traps hinder both the enemy's offense and defense, as multiple players are hit with Blind, Dazed, Bleeding and Crippled. Spirits like Life, Recovery, and Preservation keep the party safe from pressure damage, and Soul Reaping-fueled Necromancer/Ritualist backlines pump out high-cost heals without falling low on energy thanks to spirits and extremely common deaths. Any one of these facets taken out of the build isn't extraordinarily imbalanced, but when combined, they create a build overpowered enough to be considered a gimmick, one that requires very little effort to execute correctly.
- Farming builds can be considered gimmicks, though this varies depending on the build. Some farming builds do require genuine skill to be performed effectively, but most, such as Shadow Form teams, involve merely pressing buttons repeatedly with little other effort involved.
 See also
- Gimmick on Wikipedia