With the recent Press Beta, and the bombardment of news that followed, we were presented with an influx of information fully revealing weapon skill sets and a large chunk (if not all) of each profession’s utility skills. We also saw the new Trait System that players have at their disposal to customize their chosen profession to suite their wanted play style. Now there have already been several websites that have used this information by creating helpful tools that many future players have begun to use to make their preferred builds. Although it’s great seeing these theorycrafters work with the information given to them, there is still one piece missing in this customization pie; Racial skills.
Remember, from the information ArenaNet developers have presented to us, we know that racial skills are more or less the flavor given to each individual race, making them distinct from each other in a mechanical sense. They also allow a person to tweak any given profession by giving them access to skills they normally wouldn’t have. Are you a guardian seeking a way to hinder an enemy’s movement without relying on a scepter or two signets’ activated abilities? Well, as a sylvari you can have roots magically grow from the ground to do just that, or as a charr you can place a few mines that can cripple, with the added benefit of bleeding, foes who step over them. Do you want to give your rifle wielding charr warrior some more gunpowder love? You’re in luck; charr can pull out a hidden pistol and shoot someone in the face with it! Let’s also not forget norn animal forms, asuran battle suits, and Hounds of Balthazar! Racial skills allow for a bit more diversity within any given profession, allowing for better customization to anyone’s play style.
Now, how impactful are racial skills to things such as the “soft trinity,” and for the rest of build creation in general? We don’t actually know yet! Unfortunately, racial skills weren’t available for use during the Press Beta, or the last few demos from what I’ve gathered, so we actually don’t know if we still have access to some of skills I touched up on briefly. It could be that racial skills do allow for an astonishing diversification of builds, where a warrior can have an AOE heal skill or a thief has more support in general outside of trait manipulation and one or two utility skills. Of course this does can come with its own set of challenges.
If a warrior can have access to an AOE heal as a sylvari (wild guess here!), then what’s stopping a player from making a sylvari elementalist, or worse forcing one, to tailor their character to be more of a healer? Well for one, racial skills are only available in PvE meaning that PvP players won’t be able to use that sylvari AOE heal, or any fun with fiery hounds of pure warfare. Secondly, ArenaNet has already stated that racial skills aren’t going to be as strong as their profession-based cousins. Remember that racial skills are meant to tweak a profession, and not to give them an overhaul. It could be that the AOE heal skill has a bit of a longer cool down, or it heals for far less than a profession-based heal skill. This all obviously will all have to depend on the current iteration that ArenaNet is on with racial skills.
These skills can be a game changer; they can be the layer of crust that our pie needs to truly be a trinity-free experience. They could also be dry and tasteless, and something players put aside the moment they get their first spoonful of sweet fruit filling. Worst of all though, they can be the part of a pie that’s chock full of nuts, making many of those that take a bite go to the hospital with a swollen, dissatisfied, throat. I do know one thing is for sure; the first elite skill my human engineer unlocks won’t be Mortar (though it is really cool!), it’ll be Hounds of Balthazar!
To The Readers: What are all of your thoughts about racial skills? Are they going to soften an already soft trinity, or are we going to see the return of the trinity through race and profession combinations? Do you think they’re even worth having on your bar? Do you even think they are in the game at this point? Please leave a comment below saying what you think!
About the author: TriggerSad‘s love for video games has lead him to pursue a career in marketing. He was attracted to Guild Wars through a close relative, and although he was very casual about playing it, he never could love another video game the same. His admiration to ArenaNet grew tenfold after discovering how passionate and honest they were with their fans during the development of their second MMO Guild Wars 2. For more of his thoughts on Guild Wars 2, or anything in general, you can go follow him on his Twiiter account @TriggerSad!