GW2 Profession Response: Guardian

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.

Overview
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

The Guardian – Predictions, Predilections, and Prognostications

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’s Aion 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. So many others.

Continue reading

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.

GW2 Profession Response: Necromancer

Well, we’re halfway through the profession reveals with the Necromancer being officially released this week after its soft release at gamescon last weekend. We did a lot of coverage on what we learned from the con last week on Episode 7 of the Guild Mag Podcast, and we went ahead to discuss the new info on the official release in Episode 8, so give us a listen.

I have to say, although the preview and information seemed kind of short, it’s most certainly been the most unique and exciting profession reveal for me so far.

My favorite character right now in GW: Classic is my necromancer. I generally run Mystic Minion Master as much as possible in PvE and PvP.  I deviate to SS or Discord for PvE, though, and even enjoy a wells / support build every now and then when running PvPvE missions.

Needless to say, the Necro is one of the most versitile and involved professions of Guild Wars, and I’m really excited that they have carried on their overall feel and function into Guild Wars 2. THeir skills are much darker and even creepier than before; even knowing the demo vids are spiced up in post editing, you still really get the feel for macabre awesome that necromancers are all about.

The legacy of the minion master continues, although in a new unique form. Gone are the days of corpse reaping armires, something that would be too difficult in a persistent world where people don’t actually die (any MM who’s suffered from Lack of Bodies syndrome knows how painful this can be!). Instead, we’re getting skills to summon 3 different types of minions. Once summoned, their skill icon turns from a summon to a utility like gaining health or exploding them for AoE damage.

Necromancer threads are pretty badass.

Wells, another unique skill class I loved in GW:C will also be making a comback although only one at a time which is a little sad. Again, with no corpses the Wells will simply be summoned at the caster’s location and remain for a duration depending on that skill and traits, affecting their targets within range. Marks are new and similar to wells, except that they are targeted location and will either activate on their own after a given amount of time or manually by a second click of the skill button.

My favorite new mechanic, without a doubt, is the Death Shroud. Being the masters of death and chaos, Necromancers gain this spirit form instead of going into a downed state (or perhaps in addition to, I’m not 100% sure yet.). While active, they are given a unique set of destructive skills making them especially dangerous when downed.

Without a doubt, I will definitely be choosing Necro as my demo profession and am really excited about reporting in on what that’s gonna be like.

The necro release has been covered all across the internet: Kill Ten Rats scored an interview on the necro with ArenaNet, while PC Gamer, IGN UK, Massively, and MMORPG all excitedly responded to the reveal.

Fellow bloggers and community wigs have been covering the news like mad, as well. Hunter over at Hunter’s Insight goes into some pretty in depth detail on the videos. Nox of Conjure Phantasm’s response was short but hilarious. Belzan responds with some insightful thoughts and comments but isn’t as thrilled with death shrouds as I am!

GuildWars2 Guru is a flutter with responses, concerns, questions, and speculation!

Guild Wars 2 Profession Speculation

Arenanet spoiled us with the latest profession reveal: the ranger! As predicted by my Podcats buddies and 80% of the GW2 fanbase. Everybody’s in a hussle now about who’s next, what we will get to play at the demos at this summer’s big conventions, and who the final 8 will be.

What we know for sure right how: GW2 will have 8 professions (down from 10 in GW1) some of which GW1 players will be familiar with, and two that are new. They are  getting rid of the secondary profession mechanic, something that will be sorely missed, but I am looking forward to the profession / racial skill mixes and player combos to replace this.

They’ve separated the professions into three typical armor types: 3 cloth/light (scholars), 3 leather/medium (adventurers),  and 2 metal/heavy (soldiers).

And for weapons:
One-Handed: Axe, dagger, mace, pistol, scepter, and sword.
Two-Handed: Greatsword, hammer, longbow, rifle, shortbow, and staff.
Offhand only: Focus, shield, torch, and warhorn.

Our last major clue-hub is this collection of class art, 3 of which have been confirmed with the prof releases.

We know we’re getting Elementalists, Warriors, and Rangers. From the art, we can confidently say we’re getting Assassins and Mesmers. Four out of the six original professions, and one of the added profs making up five out of the six original professions making it to GW2. The last profession in that image (2nd from the bottom) is undoubtedly our 2nd solider  and one of the two new classes, likely a heavy support / buff profession.

That leaves us with five professions to ponder for two spots: necromancer, monk, ritualist, paragon, and dervish, and the 2nd new one.

Monk
I originally predicted Monk as one of the four professions we’d get before the convention demos this summer, but since then we’ve learned that there’s no dedicated healing class in GW2. As such, I figure it’s difficult to bring back the idea of the Monk because of this. What would they do? Just smite? We may not see them at all. On the same token, though, monks were so important to GW:Classic lore and are direct hands of Dwayna and Balthazaar (I mean just look at Mhenlo, come on!) that it’s also hard to imagine Tyria without them. Regardless, I have my doubts they’d be the next reveal anyway.

Necromancer / Mesmer
Two of the most unique and fun classes in the history of online gaming. The Necromancer of Guild Wars is an agent of darkness whose affinities are that of blood, curses, and raising the dead. Necromancers had many skills that required sacrifices of their own health or using the bodies of others to raise an army. Mesmers are enchanters by nature, using illusions and hexes to inflict damage or cause their enemies to damage themselves. They are also apt at interrupting and shutting down foes for small periods of time.
Do to their uniqueness and utility, I feel these professions were what set Guilds Wars apart from all other MMO’s at the time of its release. They were also considered the more advanced classes to play, and are both hugely affective in PvP. Because of their uniqueness to Guild Wars, I feel they have a chance of staying, though likely in a combined form. Their skills generally synergied well (illusion, domnation, and curses, for instance, were practically the same). I think Mesmers will be a new adventure class, getting an upgrade from cloth to leather and able to use pistols. Additionally, they will either be absorbing some of the Necromancer mechanics, or necros will be coming in a later expac as an additional class. The last of the original six is a toss up between Monk and Necromancer.

Dervish / Paragon
I’m certain these will be cut from GW2. First off, the exclusion of scythes and spears in the weapon list is one huge indicator.  There’s really no room for these guys in GW2, at least not off the bat. Despite their God Forms, the dervish were nothing more than self healing warriors that used scythes for AoE. I feel the idea of the Paragon will find it’s home in the 2nd Solider class: what I think will be the Seraph profession as indicated by the War in Kyrta who may use shouts and buffs. The picture has this profession holding a shield and mace, a weapon grouping that was suggested in a Q&A as being a support combo.

Ritualist
I don’t think Rit will be one of the original 8, but I have a feeling we may see them come back along with Necros in a future expansion. They are a different  and fun class with enough uniqueness as far as spirit summons, weapon skills, and channeling to bring them back eventually.

So who’s next?

I’m going to go out on a limb here with my prediction: I think we may be seeing the first of the two new professions next.

Why do I think this? It would make sense with 8 professions. Three already known: ele, warrior, ranger, followed by a new profession in mid August, right in the nick of time for Gamescom when the demo comes out. The new profession would be the big draw for existing fans, while the game itself will draw curious newcomers. Then the cycle begins anew: Assassin, Mesmer, Necro/Monk, new profession. By December, all eight professions are known, just in time for the first rounds of closed beta in January.
We’ve already seen a lot of this new soldier profession – 8 on the image -, although I’m sure right now s/he’s been easily confused with warriors. Still, though, I think a few of the screens are of this new class (wings on the head).

If not, though, I predict the next reveal to be the assassin.
First off, based on the image above we know they will be in there. We’ve seen them in screenshots now, and there seems to be a small pattern with the image on the official site. They seem to be revealing the classes spiraling outward from the middle. The assassin (lower left, crouched) would be the logical next step, and as a close-ranged fast melee class, would fit nicely.

What breaks the pattern, though, is the Scholar [1] > Solidier [2] > Adventurer [3] > Adventurer ??
Due to the weird armor break down, though (3 cloth, 3 leather, 2 metal) it’s not logical to follow a set pattern that way.

Anyway, if we’re going by this I predict the following (as to the pic):
4) Assasin
5) Monk/Necro
6) Mesmer
7) New Scholar (If Mesmer is an Adventurer) or new Adventurer (Gunner class, if mesmer is Scholar)
8) New Soldier

If we’re going by my original prediction + the image, I’d expect:
4) New Soldier
5) Mesmer (6 on pic)
6) Monk/Necro (5 on pic)
7) Assassin (4 on pic)
8) New Scholar/Adventurer (7 on pic)

Time to wait and see!

The Races of Guild Wars 2 and Who Will Play Them

Disclaimer – This post was written before we knew about the final profession line-up. It’s also kind of dumb / silly. Please take it as humorous satire and nothing more. 

 

As if it wasn’t already obvious, I’ve been playing video games and trolling the internet for a looongggg time (12 year veteran on the latter). Having been active in many online communities including RPs, forums, Live Journal, and MMOs, I’ve got a lot of experience with the different types of … *personalities* you will often find lurking around the web. And I’m being kind, here.

Every MMO that offers multiple races/classes, which is the majority of them, will find that certain demographics of players will stereotypically be attracted to a certain type of character or role. A common gaming stereotype, for example, is that females tend to be healers or casters, while males are more likely to take tanking and melee damage roles.

Now before I get chewed out for saying this, I’m more than aware that these are generalities and do not apply to everyone. But the same way Asians usually are smart, and lawyers usually are soul-less, we have to keep in mind that stereotypes are generally based on observable tendencies within certain demographics.

So anyway, this post is pretty much about this. Guild Wars 2 will offer five races, and here I’ve ranked them in the order of which I predict will be most popular, when, and who will be the people playing them. These predictions are based on an “assumption” that each race can play any profession and that there will be no racial affinities/passives (IE Sylvari have improved bow usage), both of which have a high possibility of being implemented and could change the demographics.

And while I hate to do it, I will be referencing WoW since it has the largest population of players and has been my main source of experience in the past.


Sylvari


Popularity Rank : 1
Player Gender: Majority Female
Popular Professions: Mesmer, Ranger, Ritualist, Monk
Naming Trends: Those related to the mystical, nature, gods, and pointing out that the player is female.
-Melandrus Daughter, Keeper of Wolves, M A L I N A, Hexual Healing, Short Skirt Double DD
Likely Personalities:
-Old School GW players who care about lore.
-15-year-old attention whores
-New GW Players
-Gay Men
It was a toss up between Sylvari and Human for #1, but Sylvari beat them out for several key reasons.
Old school guild wars players are very interested in the Sylvari because they are the only race we haven’t encountered in Guild Wars 1. We’ve played humans for five years, so it’s time for a change.
Gamers who have done MMORPG but aren’t familiar with Guild Wars will likely be intrigued by the Sylvari since they are mystical and unique yet not a generic elf race.
Teen and early college-age attention whores will likely roll Sylvari because they’re pretty with British accents. That would also include the bitchy ones who complain in PvP when you’re losing by 2 points, are offended by “Yo Momma” and “That’s what she said” jokes, and have character names like “Cutey Babe IRL.”

However, I think Sylvari will NOT be the Blood/Night Elves of GW2 because they don’t have much to cater to male players. While they are pretty, they don’t strike me as being “hot”, a big reason guys make female toons. The customization options are a little too out there and the males are too thin and lanky to attract many male players who’d rather play hulking, buff manly men (if you think I’m joking, google why Blizz made blood elf males more built, when they were originally much thinner).
I figure Sylvari to be the most popular at first, but expect them to get eclipsed by Humans with time.


Humans

Popularity Rank : 2
Player Gender: Fairly Even, leaning towards male.
Popular Professions: Warrior, Monk, Elementalist, Necromancer
Naming Trends: Generic First/Last names, as well as ones suggesting deep personality. Most likely to be named after existing NPC’s.
-Gerad Omalley, Elena Watson, Cynns Daughter, The Lone Hero, Legend Of Tyria, I Like Swords And Pizza
Likely Personalities:
-Role Players
-New MMO Players
-Lonely Housewives
-Guidos
-Guys who play girl characters.
There really isn’t much to say about Humans. They’re a staple in any MMO, and the most familiar, but kind of generic and boring. Many Role Players will roll Humans because of the familiarity. GW-RPers have often said the descendants of their current toons should be human, and being any of the other races would not make sense. RPers who are new to GW will lean towards humans since they have no idea about the lore of the other races. New mmo players choosing GW2 to pop their cherry will probably go for the “saftey” of being something familiar.
Lonely Housewives and cougars looking for some young, impressionable 20 somethings to make their husbands jealous will probably roll human. Psychologically, people are most likely to fall for a personality behind an avatar they can relate with.
Guidos will be humans cause that’s how they roll.

Charr

Popularity Rank : 3
Player Gender: Mostly Male
Popular Professions: Warrior, Ranger, Elementalist, Assassin
Naming Trends: Many last names compounded with weaponry, attempts at being badass/threatening, taunts, rappers and LoLcat references.
-Cheza Swiftarrow, Thulo Axesmash, Oh Noes Ur Dead, Jay Z Fo Reel, I Can Haz Meow Mix.
Likely Personalities:
-Olllld School GW Players
-Thugs
-Jocks
-Gold Farmers
-12-year-old boys
-Girls who play FPS/RTS
The Charr come in at a close 3rd on the list by a small margin. Old School GW players will love playing the race that, quite literally, shook their world 5 years ago when the game first started. They have a great, war-ridden background story and are likely to attract “Horde”-ish players.
Being the angry beast-race, the Charr will attract lots of the macho-men who like to tear shit up (and who wouldn’t?). 12-year-old boys will also like Charr because either (wrongly) think they are or wish they were as badass as the Charr. Girls who play FPS/RTS games are also likely to play Charr, because they are violent in nature and like bossing guys around.


Asura

Popularity Rank : 4
Player Gender: Fairly Even, leaning towards male.
Popular Professions: Elementalist, Mesmer, Ritualist
Naming Trends: Abusive names challenging the TOS, geeky/nerdy references, phrases of self importance, Engrish, Asian Characters.
-Horney Was Your Mom, Naga Stole My Focus, H A X X E R, Yodas Sister, Rove U Rong Time, 流感吮
Likely Personalities:
-Trolls
-Attention whores pretending to not be attention whores.
-College kids with IT degrees.
-Misguided Felica Day fanboys.
-Asians
The Asura are predicted to be the annoying, short race that the Gnomes have been to WoW, and as such most likely to attract trolls. It’s ironic because they also, as a race, have an unjustified superiority complex to everybody else, most likely compensation for their lack of real credibility shortness. Asura will be the ones dancing on your body in PvP, taunting in general chat, and starting fights in trade/forums.
Attention whores pretending to not be attention whores will be attracted to this race. Asura are cute enough to satiate their need for vanity but ‘different’ enough that they won’t seem like the generic pointy-eared loving facerollers. These are the most dangerous brand of attention whores because they are manipulative and cunning. Most likely the ones to act cool in public but then cry about how their boyfriend left them in WoW for some asian chick who rolled Druid in an attempt to draw you into their trap.

College kids with IT degrees and Asians will like Asura because they will feel a kindred connection to those with an affinity to technology and giant mecha.

Norn

Popularity Rank : 5
Player Gender: Fairly Even, Leaning Towards Male
Naming Trends: Animal references, Nordic/Viking influenced nominers, annoying foreign lettering, references to literature and mythological deities.
-Keeper of Ravens, Cnaiür urs Skiötha, Beowulf From Toronto, The Fist Of Zeus, Woof Bears, Izzies Bank Alt
Popular Professions: Ranger, warrior, dervish, paragon
Likely Personalities:
-Chill Players
-Bored Players
-Canadians
-BankAlts
-Goofballs / Fake RPers
-Short People
I think Norn will be the least played characters because, ascetically, they are just overgrown humans and other than shape shifting they don’t have anything that I feel would attract any specific group of people. Because of this, they will also be the race with the chillest players. They have that “kinda human, but just different enough” feel. People will roll them just to try and then find they’re kinda cool/fun and stick with it.
I feel many bank alts will be Norn, as well as general goofballs because they are such a serious, viking race and it’s funny to imagine them dancing on mailboxes.
Short people will play Norn for the obvious reasons.
I feel like the Norn will be the Tauren of GW2, with a player base that’s laid back and generally liked by everyone, except the Asura because they hate everybody.

Well, with Guild Wars 2 still well over a year off, it’s going to be a long time before I get to see whether I’m right or wrong.
It will be well worth the wait.