Guild Wars 2 Warrior Overview

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.

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.

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.

Weapons

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.

Adrenaline

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

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.

Personal story

During character creation, warrior characters must decide what kind of helmet they wear.

You can find a full list of all known warrior skills on GW2Wiki.

Information from the official Guild Wars 2 website and GuildWars2wiki.com.

Guild Wars 2 Ranger Overview

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.

Weapons

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

Pets

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.

Pet Evolution

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.

Pet Controls

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.
  • Passive–Don’t attack.

Commands–Specific, direct commands that execute right away.

  • Attack–Attack my target.
  • Heel–Come to me.
  • Stay–Do not move.
You can see a full list of currently known ranger skills and companion pet skills on the GW2 Wiki.

Personal story

During character creation, a ranger will have the option of choosing from one of three animal companions to start off with. This selection is different for each race.

Information from the official Guild Wars 2 website and GuildWars2Wiki.com

Elementalist Overview

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.

Attunements

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.

Weapons

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.

Check out a list of currently known Elementalist skills at GW2  Wiki.

Information from Guild Wars 2 official site and Guild Wars 2 Wiki. 

Guild Wars 2 Hall of Monuments Rewards Revealed!

So Arena-Net released the Guild Wars Hall of Monuments calculator deal today.
This feature is so ridiculously amazing, it’s not even funny.

You input your character name and it tallies up your achievements. Each one is given a certain point value.
There’s a total of 50 points, and each level from 1-30 unlocks an in-game reward. There are titles every 5 levels and a pet, mini-pet, piece of armor, or weapon. Many of these rewards are major tips of the hat to Guild Wars One, like the Black Moa and Fiery Dragon Sword. After level 30, there are only 4 more titles to get at 35, 40, 45, and 50. The cool thing with the tool is that it also shows you a to-do list in case you wanna try to advance your score, and makes it print-able!

What this does is make all the psychical vanity stuff accessible to everybody who plays through the game a decent amount. Most are at least at 15 points, so halfway there alerady.
It’s account-bound it would seem. I have my HoM shared and so all my characters show up as having the same rewards, which is great.

Another cool feature: The heritage armor will be transmutable without needing to purchase the stones from the in-game store, as quoted by Regina:

For the Hall of Monuments rewards, we will provide players the means by which they can transmute the stats/appearance of these particular items without having to purchase transmutation stones in the in-game store. The development team is still working out the exact mechanics of this, though.

I’m at 22/50. 8 more points and I’ve got all the unlock-able stuff, and then it’s just titles after that that I may or may-not go for. Who knows!

But this is definitely going to make me play Guild Wars again for the coming months! Great planning on ANet’s part, especially after all the upset over transmutation stones last week. I must say. I’m very, very happy about this.

If you’ve got a Hall of Monuments and a few achievements, go check out their calculator here. Join the excited chatter at Guild Wars 2 Guru and Guild Wars 2 Forums as well!

Guild Wars 2 Character Creation: How far is too far?

We’ve come a long way in video game RPG character customization, thanks to technology’s relentless pursuit to take over the world.
Once upon a time your character was a completely pre-set compilation of pixels. Eventually you got fully rendered characters, albeit set in stone in regards to looks and gender.

Now, you have a whole slew of creative freedoms that perhaps nobody dreamt possible even five years ago.

Guild Wars 2 is set to have a similar character creation process as AIONs. In and old interview from Guild Wars 2 Guru, Eric Flanmum had the following to say about it:

GW2Guru: Can you tell us anything about character creation options? What tools will we have available to personalize our character?

Eric Flannum –Lead Game Designer: We’re still finalizing details on character creation but you can expect to see a ton of physical options such as body type, height, and advanced facial customization. In addition to these physical options you will be able to customize your characters background and personality by filling out a biography. One of our designers, Ree Soesbee will be talking in more depth about the character biography in an upcoming post on our website.

Whether or not GW2’s system will be as detailed as Aion’s remains to be seen.  I’m still very excited at the prospect of being able to personalize my character to fine-detail. In Guild Wars Classic, we had very limited options other than height that was scale-able. I’m hoping we get to mess with facial features and body features as much as we can though I wouldn’t be opposed to some limits.

Aion’s character creation is probably one of the best known out there, and arguably the best thing about the game.
You’re given a standard starting point from body types, hair styles, and faces. After that, you can use their crazy bar system to nip-tuck your character to absolute perfection (or perhaps, imperfection) as desired.  You can easily spend hours upon hours fine-tuning your character to be exactly how you want him or her to be.

The downside is its’ easy to go overboard and create some really funky looking people, and I remember reading a lot of complaints about it. At first I couldn’t really fathom what the deal was but once you encounter some of these “unique” characters in-game, I can see why for some it might make the experience a little jarring.

Anti-lurk QnA:
Do you think Guild Wars and future MMO/RPGs should allow for this level of customization? How far can creative freedom go before it starts to infringe on immersion? Do you think having limits to character creation, even with this level of tweaking options, is justified or counter-intuitive?

Here are some examples of how far the creation can go!

For more, check out this thread over at MMOsite.

Are F2P MMOs the new standard?

Rift is typical fantasy, but really beautiful.

If I learned anything from the recent trip to PAX, it’s that the world of MMORPG’s is ever expanding. Perhaps exploding is a better word? I must have played at least five different games: GW2, Rift, DnD Online, LOTR, Terra…and that’s just the start. The thing that shocked me most, though, was that most of these games come with a subscription fee.

The eastern-style of free-to-play MMO-RPG’s making it’s way over to the other hemisphere has been a hot topic for a while now, but the ball really got rolling when Tom Chilton of Blizzard fame suggested that subscription-based cash-cow World of Warcraft may one day follow suit and EverQuest II announced a watered-down F2P version of itself.

Needless to say, online gamers all over America and then some flipped their collective shit at the “news”, freaking out and wrongly declaring “FREE-WOW WORLD, DREAMS HAVE BEEN REALIZED” malarkey.

Unsurprisingly they ignored the fact that he also declared this wasn’t going to happen “anytime soon”, if at all, which likely means Blizz is waiting for their next big hit to take the place of WoW. Let’s face it, guys: Blizzard will most likely be the ones to make the much-fabled WoW-Killer.

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if this happened sooner rather than later. For the first time since WoW started, subscriptions have declined. They continue to do so, and that’s with nothing out there right now that’s even much competition. People are, as many have said said, simply getting bored with it. This is following an overall trend in subscription MMO’s losing players, with the exception of seven-year-old Eve Online who have boasted more players than ever.

Subscription MMO's dying slowly from lack of HOTs.

The reasons is pretty clear: there are tons of free to play MMO’s out there of notable quality, and others that are dropping their subscriptions in favor of micro-transaction supported markets. This is a very Asian concept and is common in flashy Korean and Japanese based online games. It’s worked well in the far-east, but never quite picked up in the west until now. These days there are many options where players can get their hack and slash fix without paying 10-25 dollars a month for it. People are willing to settle for something a little less in terms of content if it means it’s free, and who can blame them with the economy being what it is? But free doesn’t have to mean a shitty game, either.

Guild Wars was one of the first western MMO fantasy games of quality to dedicate themselves to  a free-to-play environment from the start, supported by new content every six months and small upgrades like storage and character slots.  Once they switched gears to their new game,  additional content ceased and they added vanity micro-transactions like make-overs and costumes to continue financial income. Determined to stay true to their original gaming model, ArenaNET has promised that the sequel would be just as free to play as the original and offer nothing less than groundbreaking graphics and gameplay. Ambitious, yes, perhaps a little risky. But brilliant, none-the-less, and very necessary a move to shake the long-stangant idea of what an MMORPG needs to be.

Most people will pay for one game only, rarely two, which puts all subscription games at ends with each other. Theoretically, a game is more likely to have a larger or more dedicated player base if it’s free to play than not, because they’re not competing for a spot on the “please pay for me” ballot. A F2P game is more likely to have people return to it after absences and warrants much less feelings of forced play-time and resentment (“Oh, I have to play to make it worth the money I put down…”). Someone who has their main sub-based MMO likely has their guilty side-dish F2P games as well (GW, TFII, and Starcraft would be mine :D).

One huge fear gamers have about F2P supported by Micro-Sale games is that they feel selling vanity services eventually leads to selling items that give them clear game-play advantages over others. People seem to have this huge vendetta against the idea of “paying for content” because this is immediately what they assume is the case. Every time WoW puts another vanity item in the online store, you get droves of threads crying out blasphemy and wondering when they will cross over to the dark-side of selling gear and levels. But there is a deep irony hidden in these caverns.

Everquest II’s  “extended” model is another, albiet misunderstood, marketing tool that takes advantage of the popularity of F2P mmos. The part many gamers initially found hard to swallow is that it’s basically a glorified eternal trial-version. You’ll eventually cap-out on stuff to do unless you pay, and that part is where the “optional” content comes in and this is what the gaming community is hemmraging about. But the very people who scoffed at the idea of EQII:E’s model are the same ones blowing 25 bucks on ponies and ponytails. And lets consider this: how would one define WoW-style expansions ? Oh yeah. Paying for additional “optional” content, except that it’s not. WoW expansions are literally optional, but far from it in context. We all know this.

So then, what difference is there between buying the expansions every two years for WoW or paying 10 dollars in EQII:E for a new level cap and gear tiers? Absolutely nothing.

If WoW’s recent, though sometimes questionable, dabbling in micro-transactions on top of subscription fees and Guild Wars’ F2P model supported by micro-sales are any indication, we see clearly people -are- willing to pay extra for vanity items. Pets, mounts, costumes, and make-overs. Transfers, bonus missions, storage, and sex-changes. If you offer a good game to base something on, players won’t mind investing a little extra into it, especially if that game is free-to-play to begin with and they feel compelled to support something they enjoy.

There are many games that will doubtlessly continue to charge monthly, especially those based on franchises like Final Fanatsy or Starwars. But we could definiately see a huge shift towards the end of free to play MMO’s supported by optional content and this is something that I think everybody should be excited for, not fearful of.

Now to encourage all you lurkers to comment, I have some questions for the masses: Do you think F2P will eventually eclipse sub-based mmo’s? Why or why-not?

Guild Wars 2 Profession Speculation: Reprise

 

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.