Well it’s been a hearty five months since our last reveal, and we’re happy to finally devour our newest profession: The Guardian.
After some questionable leaks last week and some early reveals this morning, ArenaNET finally got around to updating the official site with their side of the story. And I have to say… wow.
The idea of the guardian is not new to MMOs. It’s our heavy-armor wearing protection class, with a strong focus on defense. The guardian is aimed to appeal to the monks of GW1, with rehashed skills like Shield of Absorbtion and Aegis that will sound quite familiar to those of us who liked to play prot.
I enjoy the idea of this mitigation style of support play vs simply healing. It’s more tactical, proactive, and far less dull. If this is what ANet had in mind for rehashing the MMO-Triad, then I’m even more convinced now than ever that they are definitely heading in the right direction. Shields, absorption, and deflection and knowing how and when to use such skills sounds much more appealing than watching health-bars and making sure they don’t hit 0. Also feels less stressful while still being challenging. So dare I say it, it seems all-around more fun than straightforward healing.
The defensive utility goes beyond simple shields, though. The guardian’s second role is in control, and they make use of Guild Wars 2’s combat mechanics (like knockback) to keep enemies at bay. They also have the use of wards, quite literally creating “walls” of aura that force enemies to move around them or in some cases, get locked out / in an aura. This seems to be a strong indicator that these guys will be such a boon when adventuring out into the new Tyria.
The unique feature of the guardian is his virtues. There are 3 buffs for each role, that affect both the guardian himself and his allies. Justice for firey DPS goodness, courage for defense, and resolve for healing. The latter two have two minute cooldowns while the former has a 30 second cooldown. Interesting choice, and of course, subject to change with time.
Guardians’ use of a mix of magic and melee weaponry is interesting. I guess this suggests that their roles and skill sets can differ enough to change their position within a fight, making them somewhat versitile in combat depending on the situation. Unless melee-ing mobs in the face with a staff is a legit fight tactic. Knowing ANet, this isn’t impossible.
First of all, I have to say.. the sounds during the demo fights are amazing. Anet is putting a lot of effort and dedication into making the game sound as great as it looks, as they illustrated in a former blog post. That being said, we’ve also been told they spice up the skill demo videos visually and audibly to jazz things up. We can probably expect it to not sound -as- epic in actual gameplay, but we can hope they keep some of that awesome metallic reverberation!
I’ll be honest, I was a little confused as it feels like some of the videos were using a mix of skills and not just the main one… still, they all seem impressive. Shield of absorption is a straightforward bubble of protection. Zealous Defense seems to mitigate incoming attacks by being a fast whirlwind attack itself, and Wall of Deflection came out as my favorite so far, what with having someone shoot themselves in the face (you can never go wrong with that).
Faithful strike appears to just be a special attack with a fancy animation (probably a simple extra damage skill, unless those shield buffs are part of it.) The spirit weapon (Hammer of Wisdom) sounds like a fun and unique set of skills. They literally summon a ghostly weapon to fight along-side with (nothing like the Ritualist weapon skills, which is what I thought of when I first saw the name.)
The biggest worry many, myself included, have right now is that it seems the guardian’s focus on utility might be a little *too* good. It’s built with the support-savvy players in mind, as Jon Peters stated in his interview with OnlineWelten:
The guardian is a profession for people who like to help other people, and therefore his defensive abilities reflect this play style. We are very aware that people like having roles, and rely on those roles to create dynamic combat situations.
Jon states several times throughout the interview, though, that every profession will have his/her own ability to support and control and not to worry about guardians being the “go-to” guy for these roles. He’s pretty confident in this, but I also know how gamers (and Guild Wars players) can be when it comes to this stuff. The meta-game and obsession with min/maxing is a dark cloud that looms over every MMO that comes out.
Now, it’s difficult to balance classes in games, that’s just a fact of development. ANet is trying their best to eliminate the need for the a dedicated healing / tank: this they probably have achieved well. That doesn’t eliminate the idea that some will be more desired than others. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. The problem lies in the absolute need for a specific class to be in a party for it to succeed: this is a huge problem with games like WoW. If you don’t have a tank and healer, you can’t do anything.
GW2 gets rid of that. Sure, a water ele for heals or a Guardian for support is nice to have. Perhaps they are more efficient / better for those roles than other professions. But the point of Guild Wars 2 is that with the right group of people with the right mindset, they aren’t needed to still do a phenomenal job, and it’s that fact that will make the game so groundbreaking.
Well, we still have three professions and a beta to really get a chance to see how this will pan out. All in all: this was an exciting reveal for me. This class seems the most interesting so far and one that I might actually take a stab at when given the chance.
Link Section | To Be Updated
News: Official GW2.com | EuroGamer | GameSpot | OnlineWelton Interview w/ Jon Peters
Communities: Quaggan | GW2Guru | GW2 Forum | GW2 Fans
Blogs: Massively | Kill Ten Rats | GuildMag | Hunter’s Insight | Belzan | Secret Agent Cat
To the readers: So what are your thoughts? Like? Dislike? Do you think the guardian is op? Has potential to be a dedicated support profession?