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. Continue reading →
Most people who keep an eye cracked for Guild Wars 2 news have heard about the PC Gamer article that did some name-dropping in the caption of a GW2 image. The “Blue Mace Lady” that we have all come to know and love has an official name: the guardian.
Until this coming Thursday, the newly-named profession remains shrouded in mystery. Since speculation about this heavy-armor magic-user has run rampant for quite some time, however, the faithful (and frequently rabid) GW2 community has come up with plenty of hopes and theories.
Comparisons to other games have, naturally, cropped up ( – as well as cross-medium references to such heroes as the Green Lantern!)
Many forum-members across the fansites have been quick to point out the existence of a Guardian class in Lord of the Rings Online, a highly-defensive heavy tank that focuses on keeping aggro. Since GW2 is hoping to do away with the conventional idea of tanking and replace it with an emphasis on control, the analogy couldn’t be perfect, but the defense (or support, to use GW2 verbiage) aspect of the LotRO Guardian has inspired comparisons. NCSoft’sAion has a moderately well-armoured melee magic-user called the Chanter, to whom tentative comparisons have also been drawn. Wielding a staff offensively and switching to a mace and shield for more defensive play, the Chanter offers effective DPS (and debuffs), player-based AoE buffs, and only minor direct healing. Since many fans have long speculated that the BML is one of the options that will cater to those who enjoyed Monks in the original Guild Wars, the Chanter’s support-oriented blend seems like a likely parallel to the guardian’s theoretical role.
(In support of the guardian-Monk relation, folks have pointed out that the Monk skill “Guardian” seems to fit right in with what we’re expecting from the support in GW2.)
And, of course, one cannot talk about a heavy-armor support class without suddenly being hip-deep in references to WoW’s Paladin. These gentlefolk are popular for their ability to withstand heavy damage, as well as providing support through their auras, blessings, and seals.
There are others. Somanyothers.
Warning: Minor spoilers for the two novels ensue.
Disclaimer: This was written literally a few days before the Guardian release. That said, I still think the political implications still hold merit. So have fun with it.
I think we all figure at this point that the 2nd solider class is a paladin-like buff / defensive profession. And that Logan has become one. Agreed? Agreed.
So many moons ago in my re-hashed Guild Wars 2 profession speculation post, I stated that I thought the Seraph was going to be the 2nd solider class. I reiterated the theory on the forums and was generally met with disagreement. I had just finished reading Ghosts of Ascalon which is how the idea solidified in my mind, although I think I had come to the conclusion earlier when I saw repeated screenshots and artwork of winged armor, a motif that’s been attached to the Seraph. I wasn’t the first one to come up with the idea, certainly, but in both cases most people shrugged it off as improbable.
The biggest argument against the Seraph as a profession is the need for it to be multi-racial. From the lore we know that the Seraph were founded by Queen Salma to defend Divinity’s Reach and the new Krytan order. In Guild Wars 2, they are charged with protecting the endangered human race, the remnants of whom as far as they know mostly live in Kryta (although we as players can assume there are survivors in Cantha and Elona, they don’t know that…yet.)
With these facts, I can see why it feels hard to believe the Seraph would open their doors to non-humans. But if we take hints from Guild Wars Beyond, bits and pieces from the novels, and even some artwork from trailers, we gather enough clues to point to clear progression leading up to a sound possibility of Seraph as the 2nd soldier class. And the kicker here is that the entire possibility centers around none other than our elusive Queen Jennah. So humor me for a few minutes as I explain why this can very much happen.
The warrior is a master of weapons who relies on speed, strength, toughness, and heavy armor to survive in battle. A warrior can shrug off blow after blow to stay in the fight, all the while building up adrenaline to fuel his offense.
Adrenaline makes the warrior more powerful, increasing his damage output with every attack while powering up his burst skill. Each weapon set has a single designated burst skill which a warrior can trigger by spending all his built-up adrenaline to unleash a powerful attack. The warrior can use his burst skill at any time, but the more adrenaline stages he has filled, the more devastating his attack will be. Some burst skills apply more and varying conditions while others simply do more damage.
Each weapon serves a different role, allowing the warrior to customize his play style. Warriors can compliment main hand weapons like swords and maces with a shield, warhorn or dual wielded weapon, but their role is still mostly defined by the main or two-handed weapon.
A SWORD warrior is quick and mobile; he bleeds his enemies as he bounces between them with a Savage Leap.
An AXE warrior quickly builds up his adrenaline and can deliver powerful spike attacks.
A HAMMER warrior pounds his foes and the ground with area attacks that stagger groups of enemies.
A warrior with a MACE disrupts his enemies with powerful stunning attacks, and hits them where it hurts leaving them susceptible to further blows.
A warrior with a GREATSWORD uses his momentum to deliver sweeping area effect damage attacks while gliding around the battlefield.
Warriors with a LONGBOW light their arrows on fire to inflict area-of-effect damage.
The RIFLE is a single-target ranged weapon that a warrior can use to pull monsters or finish off a fleeing foe.
Warriors have a number of special skill types:
Stances—These are toggle skills that let you turn on an enhancement at the cost of energy regeneration. For example, a warrior could hit Berserker’s Stance which drains his energy, but gives him adrenaline regeneration. You can easily toggle off Berserker’s Stance and send the skill into recharge.
Chains—A set of three skills that share a single skill slot, chains go off in sequence if you are hitting your target. For example, the sword chain skills Sever Artery, Gash, and Final Thrust are all on the same key, so rather than making a sword warrior spend three slots, they stack to fill only one slot. Chains effectively give a warrior two extra weapon skills on a weapon set.
Banners—The warrior calls down banners to buff his allies with attack power. A banner can be picked up and carried around to move the buff, or it can be planted in an area to convey the buff, allowing the warrior to continue fighting. One example is Banner of Courage, which increases the melee damage of allies within its range.
Shouts—Shouts are skills that affect a large area and give bonuses to allies or debuff enemies. A warrior could use the shout On My Mark to lower an enemy’s armor and call a target out to allied party members.
Charge Skills—Some skills can be held down to power them up for more impressive attacks. A warrior with a mace can wind up the powerful skill Obliterate and release it at four different power levels to do increasing amounts of damage.
A warrior can use nine different weapons. He can combine any of the nine weapons available to him in 19 different ways. The warrior weapons are:
Main Hand: Sword, Axe, Mace
Offhand: Shield, Warhorn, Sword, Axe, Mace
Two-Handed: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Rifle
A warrior can easily switch between his two active weapon sets in combat as needed, but swapping weapons triggers a cool-down that prevents warriors from constantly flip-flopping between weapons. However, a warrior can equip the Weapon Master trait to circumvent this cool down, and opt for a more wild back-and-forth combat style with both weapon sets. Outside of combat, the warrior can reconfigure his weapon sets before entering an encounter.
Warriors start a fight without adrenaline, and then build one strike of adrenaline with every attack they make. Warriors have three stages of adrenaline that take increasing amounts of strikes to fill – or they can release their stored adrenaline with a burst skill. Each stage of adrenaline also gives the warrior a direct passive damage bonus to every attack.
Burst skills spend all of a warrior’s adrenaline. Each weapon has one burst skill that improves at each stage of adrenaline. This improvement can be anything from doing more damage, adding additional conditions, increasing condition duration, or increased skill duration.
The ranger is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of them all as well, relying on his keen eye, steady hand, or the power of nature itself. A master of ranged combat, the ranger is capable of striking unwitting foes from a distance with his bow. With a stable of pets at his command, a ranger can adapt to his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.
A ranger is accompanied by his pet, a loyal animal companion. Rangers charm pets and then bond with them. A ranger can have up to three pets at his call, but generally speaking, only one pet can be active at any time. Pets’ base health, armor, and damage are based on the level of the player that owns them.
Pets are charmed by interacting with juvenile versions of the species you want to charm. There are a variety of Tyrian species that can be charmed, including bears, moas, devourers, and sharks. As you adventure with a pet, it evolves to become more unique and eventually allows you to give it abilities that compliment your tactics.
Rather than manage a unique resource in combat, a ranger will manage his pet, assigning them a behavior from aggressive to passive. A ranger can also manage his pet by giving commands such as “attack,” “heel,” and “stay.”
Rangers have a number of special skill types:
Traps–Traps are utility skills that can be placed at a ranger’s current location. When an enemy enters a trap, it is triggered. For example, Spike Trap will cripple and bleed enemies that pass through it. A trap can remain active as long as the ranger chooses to remain close to it. A ranger can only have one of each trap type out at any given time.
Spirits–A spirit skill summons a nature spirit that influences the area around it. For example, Sun Spirit applies additional fire damage to allied attacks inside its influence. A spirit stays out for a short period of time and goes away if the ranger wanders too far away from it. Spirits can be attacked by enemies and removed from the battle. A ranger can only have one of each type of spirit out at any given time.
A ranger is mostly a master of ranged weapons, however, he can use sword or greatsword in melee combat. The ranger weapons are:
Main Hand: Sword, Axe
Off Hand: Axe, Dagger, Torch, Warhorn
Two-Handed: Greatsword, Longbow, Shortbow
A ranger has three active pet slots. Outside of combat, or through the use of utility skills, the ranger can swap their active pet. There are 12 different types of pets, including some terrestrial (spiders), some amphibious (lizards), and some aquatic (sharks). Within each type there are subtypes that can influence pets’ abilities. For example, a polar bear might have an Icy Roar, while a brown bear might have a Fearsome Roar. A ranger’s pet gets its level from its master, which determines their basic attack, armor, and health.
Pets have customization options. The first of these has to do with a pet’s evolution level. Pets evolve up to 20 evolution levels. Each pet type receives automatic bonuses at different evolution levels. For bears, these bonuses might be increased health or increased damage. Pets gain evolution points when the player gains XP while the pet is active. At certain evolution levels, pets will unlock ability slots (up to 4 total). Ability slots can be filled from a list of active pet abilities based on pet type.
In addition to managing his skills, a ranger will be able to manage his pet with limited commands and modes. This will be an interface element for the ranger class. Here are some examples:
Modes–Ongoing behavioral settings the ranger can toggle.
Aggressive–Attack what I am attacking.
Defensive–Attack enemies that attack me.
Commands–Specific, direct commands that execute right away.
The elementalist channels natural forces of destruction, making fire, air, earth, and water do her bidding. What the elementalist lacks in physical toughness, she makes up for in her ability to inflict massive damage in a single attack, dropping foes from a distance before they can become a threat. Yet, despite her incredible offensive potential, versatility is what makes the elementalist truly formidable.
Rather than swap weapons to adjust to new situations, the multi-faceted elementalist quickly adapts to new threats by attuning to different elements as needed. When the elementalist attunes to any of the four elements, she receives intrinsic bonuses that continually empower her.
With FIRE attunement, the elementalist can inflict scorching damage on multiple enemies by turning the ground to fire or raining down molten rock from the skies. Why kill just one enemy when you can burn them all? Just by attuning to fire, the elementalist automatically causes flame damage to any foe foolish enough to touch her.
When the elementalist attunes to AIR, she can harness wind and lightning to target specific foes with focused, high-damage attacks. Dazzling bolts of lightning rip from the elementalist’s fingertips, and brilliant flashes of light blind her enemies. When an elementalist attunes to air, nearby enemies are continuously pelted with lightning strikes.
WATER attunement forgoes the raw damage of air and fire, in favor of controlling an opponent’s movement. By creating slippery ice or freezing foes solid, water attunement ensures that the battle is always fought on the elementalist’s terms. Nearby allies receive continuous healing from an elementalist who is attuned to water.
In the most dangerous situations, the elementalist relies on the powerful defense of EARTH attunement. An earth elementalist uses the ground under her feet to defend herself and her allies, turning flesh to stone, destabilizing foes with seismic shocks, and destroying threats with volcanic eruptions. Earth attunement automatically confers magical protection to the elementalist.
Elementalists have a number of special spell types:
Glyphs—These arcane spells enhance or modify the natural power of the elementalist. She uses the Glyph of Elemental Power to increase the damage, range, and duration of her spells.
Signets—Signets provide an ongoing benefit to the elementalist, but can also be activated for a greater effect. An elementalist equipped with the Signet of Earth has increased damage resistance, but activating the Signet sends out a wave of stone, stunning nearby enemies.
Conjure Spells—The elementalist uses Conjure spells to summon useful items and potent weapons that she or other party members can use. For instance, she uses Conjure Flame to create a fiery rock to hurl at the enemy.
Area Spells—Using Area spells, the elementalist creates hazards and mayhem all over the field of battle. The elementalist fires lava arrows in a cone-shaped blast or creates walls of fire that scorch any enemies passing through.
The elementalist has four elemental attunements that they can tap into. These attunements are represented by four skills that are located on the bar above their normal skills. When an elementalist switches attunements, the first five skills on their bar will change. These five skills are based on the elementalist’s attunement and their current weapon, so that a fire-attuned elementalist will have different skills when he wields a staff than when he wields a scepter or focus. In addition to changing the elementalist’s skills, attunements also work like a normal skill and provide an ongoing effect.
Scepter (Main Hand) — Scepter skills specialize in close range combat.
Dagger (Main Hand) — Main hand daggers are fast and focus on medium range spells.
Staff (Two Handed) — Staves are slow casting long range weapons.
Dagger (Off Hand) — Off hand daggers specialize in powerful medium range abilities.
Focus (Off Hand) — Skills on a focus are powerful close range abilities.
Personal story During character creation, elementalist characters must decide which of the four elements they prefer the most.
In my first speculation post, I was pretty sure we’d be getting either the new class or the rehashed assassin, but instead we got the Necromancer. I got thrown for a loop regarding it’s location on the profession drawing, too. I can fully admit my folly; that first post is pretty old and I had since admitted (especially after reading GoA) on one of our podcasts that Necromancer would make the most sense to be next. So with new speculation on last four classes for Guild Wars, my final predictions for the rest of the releases will be [Theif/Sin] > Mesmer > Templar/Seraph > Engineer/Alchemist/Gunner.
With the convention release being the Necro, the only sound opportunity for one of the two new professions to step up to the plate has passed. I don’t figure there’d be any reason not to leave them for last at this point. So, I’m going to assume the 2nd to last will be the Blue Mace Lady (Soldier) since we’ve at least -seen- a lot of art of this class. The last profession release will be the 3rd Adventurer class that we know pretty much nothing about (Engineer / Alchemist / Gunner). That leaves us with our 2nd Adventurer (Theif) and our 3rd Scholar (Mesmer), both of which have concept art and screenshots from the game that we can pretty much trust at this point.
There’s been a lot of screenshots of a plated class with the feathered-designed helms. At first everybody assumed it was just a warrior wearing pretty armor, but since then there’s enough reason to believe that these soldiers are in fact the new profession, or the armor is in the style of them. I have a solid feeling the 2nd heavy armor profession will be the Seraph as mentioned in the book. They are predominately a force in Divinity’s Reach, lead by Logan Thackeray, that defends humans but there’s a possibility they will open their doors to other races in the new book, Edge of Destiny. Replacing monks is likely what these guys are doing, so I assume they are going to be the templar / paladin type profession who are charged with buffing and protecting their comrades. For all it’s newness, we have a pretty solid idea with this profession is likely to be about, it’s just the name that escapes us for sure.
The assassin class we’re getting is actually a little mysterious, more so than the [Seraph]. With our current four professions all being able to dual wield daggers, and the ranger getting a lot of the swift poison / dodgy melee mechanics that were what defined the sin in Guild Wars Classic, it’s really up in the air what exactly the new style is going to be. ArenaNet did say way back in the days of yore that we would see old classes return but rehashed enough to be re-named. I think our sin is going to be that class. There are still some old mechanics that’ve yet to be claimed: namely speed buffs and shadow stepping. Good friend and fellow podcaster Malchior silently fumes at the thought of the return of such a thing but I kind of want it to come back. I enjoyed shadowstepping to allies and enemies and it was a difficult skill to use correctly. However, his very logical alternative idea is that the sin’s upgrade will be stealth, something they didn’t have before. It fits; brand new to Guild Wars, it’d be just enough of a shift to warrant a class name change. There were allusions to this profession in the Ghosts of Ascalon book, as well as possible lock-picking. We’ll find out soon as it’s most likely the next big reveal (guessing mid-September).
Ninja stars suggest wall-climbing, stabby stabby goodness may be coming.
Mesmers are equally difficult to pin down. They already said there aren’t any hexes this time around but there are skill classes that are hex-like in their mechanics. With Necromancer not having many, we can assume whatever it is will be the mesmer’s job. I imagine they will be able to dual wield pistols, too. By imagine, I mean hope with all my nerdish heart. I’m not sure if we’re going to see a return of interruptions, the mechanic that absolutely defined mesmers in PvP. With the lack of a dedicated healing class, a huge chunk of utility for interuptions is lost. That isn’t to say they won’t make a come-back in a dumbed down version (not much unlike Fear), but it definitely won’t be to the degree it is in GW:Classic. I assumed they might be different enough to get a name-change, but mesmers the got a specific mention in the Ghosts of Ascalon book which may allude to them still being around.
So down to our final mysterious adventurer profession. There is precious little on this guy, and not even the armor class is truly known (we assume it’s Adventurer, but if the Mesmer is stepped up a level it could be a Scholar). There’s no art or screenshots that could possibly suggest or give any sort of hints. Guru has one lengthy thread on the topic with speculation and gathering of clues. It seems people are leaning towards a funky utility class like Engineer or Alchemist, both of which have gotten passing mention in one way or another but no confirmation on their implementation in the game.
It’s hard to say. ArenaNET is doing an amazing job keeping this last profession under wraps. We’re hoping to get more clues as opposed to simply being kept in the dark until its official release, but who knows!
Final word: in the event A-Net decides to get crafty, they might release that new soldier class after all, in which I will officially throw in the towel on trying to guess.