Chosen Profession

August 27, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Posted in Guild Wars, mmorpg | 19 Comments
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I think there's somethign wrong with your back

I caught wind recently of Scary Booster and MMOGC talking about how they were having difficulty getting past the low levels because they couldn’t quite settle into a profession.

Scary Booster for instance tried a dervish, but rerolled as a ranger soon after. I can’t blame him. Dervishs require a lot of planning before and during fights. They’re dependent on enchantments, but whether you want health, energy, or damage enchantments can get pretty confusing. They’re squishy but are supposed to be a frontline profession, so that would suggest health or defense enchantments. If you run out of energy though you’re useless, so that would suggest energy. Keep all your skill slots for those and you won’t be doing much damage. They have the capability to do high bursts of damage but I find those bursts come around kind of slowly. It gets even more complicated with cover enchantments, enemy enchantment removal and purposeful enchantment removal but I’ll move on.

Here’s the official wiki’s guide on how to play a dervish.

To be honest I think the original 6 professions are what beginner players should look at. Assassin, ritualist, paragon and dervish are all much easier to play once you have a better understanding of the game.

MMOGC tried a mesmer for one of her first characters and decided after a few levels it wasn’t for her. I asked her why on twitter and apparently its a control vs direct damage issue. She asked about dervish, I did my best to explain in 140 characters what the dervish is about, and the she settled on ranger which I think is a good choice.

Ranger is a great example of a Guild Wars profession that can be easy to get into and simple enough, but turn into something much more complicated once you’re more used to the game. Take for instance one of my dead simple ranger builds.

Splinter Weapon, Barrage, Needling Shot, Sloth Hunter’s Shot, Distracting Shot, Savage Shot, Lightning Reflexes, Flesh of My Flesh.

This is great for PvE because in truth, you won’t need much else other than SW and B. Barrage itself does decent damage, I’m not sure I’d condemn anyone for using it on a single target even though its meant for multiple. Because Barrage doesn’t work with preparations, enchantments or weapon spells like SW are a popular substitute. It’s an effective combination on enemy groups.

The only problem lies in getting both skills. Splinter Weapon you can get in Kaineng Center from the skill NPC. Quick and easy once you can make the trip there. Barrage is an elite, and the earliest you can get it in Nightfall for instance is during a quest to unlock Koss. And only during that quest until late in the game. Have your signet of capture ready.

Needling shot is a great rapid fire way to get rid of near dead mobs.

Sloth Hunter is optional I’d say, I have it in that build to offer a single target high damage alternative, but you could easily replace it with something more supportive like a nature spirit or Troll Unguent or another ritualist spell from channeling magic perhaps. If you don’t want support skills Marauder’s Shot is a good replacement.

The two interrupt skills don’t necessarily need to be used. They’re there for last ditch efforts to take out high powered healers or prevent casters from doing heavy damage.

Lightning Reflexes is a great support skill because it helps you attack faster while defending yourself.

Flesh Of My Flesh is a resurrection spell. Since everyone should carry one of those, a reusable res from your secondary only makes sense.

Here is the official wiki’s guide to playing ranger.

One thing I might have suggested to both Scary and MMOGC was the warrior. Scary seems interested in melee while MMOGC seems interested in direct damage.

In most games the warrior is a tank, and in Guild Wars, the warrior can do that too. What most people don’t realize is that with the right build, the warrior is the DPS king. An axe or sword build can be the most devestating single target build in the game.

As a beginner I’ll admit its a little harder to put together the right build. Sever Artery and Gash should be pretty easy to get your hands on however, and they are the go to skills for a sword warrior. Neither is an elite, which allows for some diverse sword builds. Eviscerate is an elite axe skill, and one of the most punishing skills in the game. The reason these skills are so iconic is they create Deep Wound, a skill that temporarily reduces health by 20% and reduces the effect of heals.

One thing I would not have suggested to my fellow bloggers is the assassin. Most people don’t understand the profession. It is a precision machine, requiring you to go in, do high amounts of damage, and then leave the area as quickly as possible. It is very squishy, and dies quickly as a result. I was talking to Ryan and Relics of Orr and he said “Assassins are not just melee. They are melee and retreat. If you don’t know how to retreat, play a warrior.”

In general I think Guild Wars becomes much more comfortable for people when they gain a wide range of skills. Especially since skill bars really tend to anchor around elite skills, and many of those aren’t available until late in the game.

As to which profession is right for you, I really can’t say. I’m starting to think it takes longer for people to find the right profession in Guild Wars than in other games. Maybe thats because it really is quite different, or maybe its due to some flaw in design. I suspect its because to acquire a really good, working, efficient build, you have to put in a lot of effort. I don’t know. All I know is that after 5 years its hard not to be comfortable with various professions.

I wonder if we'll get a new login screen to promote Guild Wars 2



  1. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fail Assassin. You’ve seen me on my mesmer, I’m a very single-minded melee player. I don’t see my health or my energy until I need it and it’s not there.

    With the advice I’ve been given I’ve tried to get better at playing as an assassin and I think I could do it, but I also don’t think it’s quite for me.

    • i’m pretty fail too, even though i gear my skillbar with multiple defense mechanisms. I find watch yourself and flashing blades keep me alive slightly longer than most assassin players though

    • I have to say, while I enjoy playing all the professions, my weakest one is definitely assassin. Even now that I am getting some good skills finally, I’m still pretty poor at playing the profession.

      I had major problems playing a dervish (my 3rd char) and virtually abandoned that toon about halfway through Nightfall. But a few months ago I completely rethought everything, from skills to runes & insignia, which heroes and henchmen I take along and so forth. What a difference. My dervish is now a killing machine (still a bit squishy in certain harder areas) and I really enjoy playing that profession much more. Sometimes I will even take along a derv hero with a similar setup as the main melee char for my casting professions. I’ll even use dual dervishes (one hero and one hench) in places where I can.

      Ritualist (my 4th char after War, Necro, Derv), on the other hand, has been love at first sight. Even more with the recent Rit skill changes. My Rit was my first Legendary Survivor (okay, I had to re-roll her after a cheap death to a mesmer boss very early) and that was doing it without any Kilroy’s Punchout, just quests and lots of dead monsters in normal mode.

      • i have to admit i haven’t played rit, so even though i’ve said its probably not for beginners i’m not entirely sure. any thoughts on that?

        • I’d agree, Rit is probably not a beginner profession. Knowing where to place spirits, what types of mobs you are facing and what they can do, and having a good mix of skills are key to playing a Rit. Starting a Rit with little idea of the game itself would probably mean lots of deaths. But then my 1st char was a War and I died A LOT. Leaving Pre-Searing at level 4, not such a good idea for a new player. 🙂

        • I wouldnt say the Rit is not for beginners, like all the professions it has it’s own style which varies from attriubte to attribute. Really it all just boils down to being familiar with the skills, what, when, where, and how to use them.

          I would say for a beginner the easiest attribute line to learn for a Ritualist is channeling magic, which is mostly offensive spells and some decent energy managment.

          If you want to play more of a support role e.g. healer, restoration magic will be your main line. Playing a healing rit takes quite a bit more finesse than say a healing monk which lets face it is just the red bar Whack a Mole. The healing rit has a lot more back and forth targeting between itself and party members aswell as spirit placement etc.

          Communing magic and spawning power are kind of a mix of everything offense, support, and utility.

          Maybe the Rit isn’t as beginner friendly as other professions but I would say to play any profession really well it all comes down to knowing the skills, balancing your builds and understanding the mechanics of the game. The rit is a very fun profession to play though and I would recommend it, it is one of the more interesting professions I think.

  2. I came in to GW with people telling me about the various profs, and I had in mind a monk from the start – I usually play healers. And yeah, my monk is still my main, and I have fun with him.

    My sin, though, is mainly crit barrage. I can do daggers, but I don’t find it quite as fun. I used to crit scythe, but since the nerf to Mystic Regen, it’s harder.

    My derv…well, I really only have enchants on to rip off, do conditions, and essentially use the damage and sand shards to nuke. A ton of AoE damage. Sometimes, though, he has trouble staying alive.

    In short, I’m glad I started out with a core class. I didn’t get Factions until a month after I started playing, so I had some idea what I was doing when I rolled a sin the first time.

    On a different note, there’s a video floating around that shows one of the devs logging in. Although, I’m going to guess it was demo only, because, IIRC, it was only text in a box he was selecting.

    • this early on i doubt they’ve finalized the log in screen at all. they changed it quite often during gw’s reign.

      i think most of the 4 later professions were more difficult than people realize.

  3. I also think the in-game description of the profession is inadequate. What they give is a good overview, which generally is sufficient in other games, but in Guild Wars because the professions seem so much more in depth and encompass so much more, it just fails to give you an accurate idea and feel. I had to go to other online resources to read more about the playstyle, as well as experience it for myself hands on.

    • hmmm its been a while since i’ve gone through character creation, but as i recall its a very general overview isn’t it? good point.

      I hope the ranger suits you more.

  4. One of the things I think that sets Guild Wars apart from other games is with all the different skills, even fairly early in the game, the options and how to play them can be a bit overwhelming to a new player. Many of the people I’ve chatted with that didn’t stick with GW very long, while usually claiming they left because of the instancing, eventually mention how ‘unfair’ the combat was or they got stuck on missions or in areas that were ‘too hard’. Mainly, they seemed to have really poor builds (sometimes never having gotten more than the first 8 skills!), often went with a poor choice of secondary prof (I did that myself on my first characters) and never really got into thinking of their character as part of an integrated team. When playing GW I’ve always thought of it more as putting together the right group of players/heroes/henchies for that mission or area, with skill builds that complement each other if possible. That is one of things I enjoy the most and will also miss in GW2. I also don’t mind more experienced players giving me helpful suggestions on builds for areas they know better than I do, as long as they are just suggestions.

    In most other MMOs I’ve played (all of them actually), your profession is very narrow, in that you pretty much play it a certain standard way. Perhaps GW1 is too flexible in some ways. I think I was actually lucky, as GW1 was really my first MMO for all intents, so I really took a liking to that variety and huge array of options, and then felt very limited when I started playing other games.

    • Guild wars is pretty unique, i agree, that you can have such diverse and completely different play styles in the same class.

      Thing is, if so many people have such a big problem with that, I’m not sure its a such a good thing. if it hurts their business, confuses new players, etc.

      I know i enjoy the wide range of play styles, I’m just saying its not without its faults.

      • Diverse is fine if you have a really good tutorial system to teach players how to play the game. I started with Prophecies, which I think it is fair to say doesn’t have that. So I wandered around clueless for quite awhile. Factions and NF are a bit better, but considering the questions I see new players asking, still not as good as they should be. And sending new players to the wiki is not an answer. Many people just want to jump into a game and start playing, so you need to have something in place to teach them in a friendly way. Something few games manage.

        I’m really interested to see what they do in GW2 for tutorials. I expect GW1 players will pick things up with little problem, but how will people coming from other MMOs or non-MMO players do?

  5. Each profession has it’s own unique play style and all of them can get pretty complex. Guildwars kind of stands out alone in the rpg genre offhand I cant think of any other game that is like it. Ultimately I would say if you are a beginner start with prophecies as it’s progression is really the most suited for learning the mechanics of the game.
    As to which profession is easiest for beginners I really I dont think there is one, it all boils down to the individual and how well they can grasp the game. I would suggest trying them all.

    • I’m not sure i agree. due to the complexity i’d want to keep it simple for new players, and therefore wouldn’t advise trying everything. but thats me.

  6. As someone who plays Ranger, Archer, Hunter, Gunner, Sniper, I can go on and on with this, the archetype does lend itself well to blossoming players. Melee isn’t friendly, I’ve seen it happen time and time again on heavy to mid armor types once you get into the fray you’re pretty much committed unless you got something like which is unique to guild wars the return ability for sins and that can be a crap shoot still. My advice after being a long time mmo gamer: If you’re new play a ranged.

    • such confidence in your conclusions ven. the grizzled veteran. next you’ll be telling us about the trenches in france.

  7. Thanks for your help Hunter, I decided to roll a warrior. So far I’m loving it. I got him set in Nightfall having a blast beating mobs down with an axe and shield.

    • cool. yeah the warrior has a lot of unique elements to it. lately all i’ve been doing is playing this high concept warrior build that does nothing but knock downs and high direct damage. its a mostly ‘eye of the north’ build though.

      on a side note you should get “for great justice” and something that improves your attack speed, then put in a couple of great adrenaline skills to balance out the energy that’ll take up.

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