A Profession For Guild Wars 2

January 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 35 Comments
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8 professions to choose from.

I’ve spent the last month mulling over which of the 8 professions in Guild Wars 2 I might play. There is a lot to consider. Overall I have to pick a profession that is right for me. This is more of a personal rundown of my choices for a profession than a guide for others.

The most difficult part of choosing is that Arenanet seems to have included several options to vary your gameplay on each profession. A melee thief can switch to a ranged shortbow or pistols. Both elementalist and necromancer have close ranged options along with the normal spell casting range. Saying I prefer a ranged caster over armoured melee doesn’t seem to matter much.

Casting Professions

Even so I find myself backing away from casting professions, no matter how impressive they seem. I think due to Guild Wars I may just be sick of the class type in general. That isn’t to say they don’t have their virtues.

The elementalist definitely has the shock and awe campaign of big animations and a wide range of different playstyles to choose from just by switching elements. I’ve been impressed from the beginning that you can cast and run around as much as you like, the stationary Guild Wars casters have worn on me. I think that is one element players familiar with other MMOs will love.

Another thing I’m kind of sick of playing is area of effect. Guild Wars was a group game, whether you played with real people or AI support, against groups of mobs. Area of effect made a lot of sense. Guild Wars 2 is much less about that game style and about being able to fend for yourself in any situation. I’m not saying elementalists can’t do this, just chalking up one less reason to play them.

Obviously I can vary my gameplay, air looks like a lot of fun, but if a majority of skills have some form of area of effect, and I’m not interested in ground targeted skills, why wouldn’t I choose something else?

The necromancer to me has more style than most other professions. It seems like the feel is more important to people who choose this profession than any other aspect. That feel being dark, gothic, occult, and yes maybe a little emo. Not really my thing.

I love how a lot of skills seem inspired solely by the feel of the necro, like the condition Fear. Though of course we’ve all seen fear in other games, it seems right at home with Guild Wars 2.

But, for me, I’ve never really been the type to want to micro-manage and control a bunch of things going on around me. Minions seem like a major reason to play necromancer, so that’s one less reason to play it.

Again, you can play the class any way you want and if that means without minions, I’m sure it’s viable.

Aside from those reasons for avoiding necromancer, I think one of the main reasons I’m not interested is the lack of physical damage. I’m a direct person. I’d like to do direct damage. Necromancer skills are spectral and mystical. I think I just want to damage with something in my hands rather than something summoned from the mists.

In the end I’m ruling out necromancer for the same reason some people will choose it, the feel.

The mesmer I might have had similar thoughts about, but not quite. It’s still too early to tell, not having seen the mesmer in any demo footage, but I feel like the clones are clever enough to escape the mystical trappings of a caster profession. They feel solid, until they shatter. The pistols help as well, and the beam like attacks of energy remind me more of other classes, not the necromancer.

Mesmer definitely has a more modern magical aesthetic, what with the pistols, magic that doesn’t seem ancient or occult, maybe even a psychic element to it. It’s a plus for me rather than a minus.

Casters are the least likely class-type I’ll play but if I had to play one it would be mesmer. It’s different than most other casting classes in MMOs.

Unfortunately that still leaves 5 professions to choose from.

Heavy Melee Professions

I can’t rule out the heavy armoured classes of warrior or guardian.

The guardian abilities seem killer. Shield of Absorption puts up a barricade that visibly blocks projectiles, for you and allies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything in an MMO quite like that, it’s like he’s erecting barriers right on the battlefield. There seem to be many skills in Guild Wars 2 that don’t feel like other MMO games.

Of course I can’t just choose a profession based on cool looking skills like Sanctuary or Hammer of Wisdom. I have to take into account my own playstyle, versatility of the class, and gut instinct. My gut instinct says I probably would not enjoy protecting people so much as whomping on them. I know each class can take care of itself but if a portion of guardian skills are dedicated to protecting other s or even myself and I’m not interested in that, then why not pick another class?

The warrior has it’s own impressive skills as most professions do, but I find it has a range of different weapons that I like. While I’m sure most professions will end up with a similar number of skills, I think nothing will change gameplay as much as what weapon you’re holding in your hands. The warrior and the guardian both have 11 weapons to choose from including aquatic weapons.

Aside from that I particularly like the idea of the burst skills, building them up and letting them loose. Its also got a few impressive visuals like cyclone axe or stomp. The heavy armour generally looks good from what I’ve seen, and out of the professions I’ve mentioned so far, warrior seems more likely.

Another thing I like is there is some small amount of emphasis on movement, if not yourself, then throwing your opponent around.

From demo footage it definitely seems like a warrior can keep its enemy off balance and under pressure.

Medium Armoured Professions

I’ve definitely been feeling a vibe towards ranger-like and leather clad classes these past few years, generally choosing those types of characters in the games I play. Ranger in Rift, rogue in Dragon Age, sneak thief in Skyrim. That doesn’t seem to be changing for Guild Wars 2.

The engineer definitely has a lot of solid qualities. The limited number of weapons is supplemented by engineer kits. These numerous kits change the first 5 skills and broadly change how the engineer is played. The mine kit reminds me of throwing mines down in Fallout 3, the flamethrower reminds me of The Thing, and the grenade kit reminds me of Medal of Honor.

I think if I was going to be playing engineer it would be dual pistols. The rifle has some cool skills, but I can’t really picture myself running around with it.

The engineer gives me the feeling that there are a lot of things I need to keep in mind. What kit to switch to, what its toolbelt skills are, where my turret is. I think there is a lot of strategy involved, a lot of planning ahead.

I’m not the type to plan ahead.

The thief might be a better choice because of that. Instead of planning ahead, I can react afterward. Much more my style, believe me. With skills that can send me into stealth so I can escape and heal I’d be much better off.

Thieves also have a certain je ne sais quois, a style for which many people will be choosing the thief. I can’t blame them.

Gameplay wise I’m not sure. Leaping Death Blossom looks incredible from a stationary 2005 MMO point of view. Teleports, stealth, stealing, acrobatics, it all looks relatively decent.

However there is a problem. How will initiative play out? I’m not sure why Arenanet goes through the trouble of removing all energy, and still has initiative as a resource. Is energy relevant at all at this point? I think recharge times might just be the sole resource Guild Wars 2 needs, and if that is so, initiative is a hindrance not a unique mechanic.

The ranger has its own problems. Yet somehow it has landed at as one of the most likely classes I’ll play. I’m not a fan of how pet skills have played out. Their response times after attacking are a little slow. I don’t like how you are limited without your pet. In essence the problem with the pet class is the pets. And that’s never good.

However I like some of the skills a lot. Serpent Strike and Hornet Sting, Whirling Defense, Slash – Kick – Pounce. I like the agility and animations of these skills. There is as much movement here as with the thief, or the warrior.

Plus I get a pet, and once again my feline companion would be named Battl er, Cringer. I mean Cringer.

Conclusion

And that is how things are looking for me. From least likely to most likely. There are no hard decisions here, after all I haven’t played these professions right? Not to mention there is still time to change things, and many things will be.

I don’t expect a lot of people will agree with my choices but then to each his own. What profession are you guys going with?

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35 Comments

  1. I’ll probably try them all out with structured pvps buff system probably during open beta. Guessing from what we know it’ll be between mesmer and guardian for me.

    • Yeah eventually I will have tried them all out at least I’m sure, and probably have one of each once the games come out depending on how many character slots I get etc.

  2. […] Insight gives us a breakdown on the eight classes of Guild Wars 2, weighing the pros and cons and doing a generally fine job of helping us understand how the article […]

  3. I think Arenanet has done a good job of making the decision difficult. I will probably try them all out at some point. But the ranger has always held a special place for me since it was my main and my first class in GW1. The next question is which race do I pick? Since my main ranger in GW1 was human, I may choose that again. But I really like all the races and will choose each eventually (at least to see the different stories if for no other reason).

    • The classes definitely have a lot more to them than just wrapping a few common descriptions around them. Lots of “It’s a caster, but…” type of stuff.

  4. Definitely Mesmer Or Thief For me on the release. (if i can get the game!)
    But i know i’ll eventually create at least 1 character for every professions.
    And those 5 races. And all those personal story options… This game’s gonna take YEARS of my life.

    • Yeah I’ll definitely have one of everything. But i know i’ll have to buy some character slots.

  5. I’m an altaholic and will also likely play them all eventually, but for a main I’m leaning heavily toward the Mesmer or the Engineer.

    I don’t really have a reason for the Mesmer, except to say it’s shiny.

    With the Engineer, I’m obviously your opposite: I like the planning ahead strategy stuff.

    I could completely change my mind after getting in game — in the past in almost every game I’ve played, my plan is usually to pick a healing class and run with it, so GW2 is taking me out of my default patterns.

    I’m convinced that can only be a good thing.

    • The practical experience is sure to be a whole lot different, but I doubt my mind will change much.

  6. Well I’m certainly hoping to make my decision during some sort of beta access, not just based on what I’ve read! 🙂

    But right know, based on what I’ve read, all I can say that I lean towards something ranged. There’s just so much talk about movement in battles that (especially with my Australian ping) I think I’ll enjoy it more striking from range rather than trying to melee.

    • I think I’ve learned a lot from the demo videos personally, and skill videos to some extent, reading is helpful but not important to my decision making process.

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  8. I’m likely going with the Necromancer (unless Mesmer makes a huge impact on me) despite the emo gothiness of it – I’d much prefer the aesthetic of the Ele, Ranger, or Engineer, but when I actually got around to playing, Necro just seemed to fit my playstyle the best. Had I not played, I would probably still be rooting for Ranger or Engineer, actually.

    I look forward to revisiting all the classes whether during open beta or at launch, though, and see if my observations still bear out.

    • So hard to classify the professions playstyles when they feel like they vary more than other games. Minions are fine and everything but I don’t want to use them. If anybody is going death nova it is me.

  9. Bah everyones going Mesmer, like me! After all the games I’ve been healer, and I’ve watched everyone ignore me and level faster, farm faster and then ask me to group (besides from GW that is); I promosed myself to not go healer in the next mmo I play. Anet must have got wind of it and just removed the healer altogether since I wasn’t going to play it.
    I suppose I should go ele, but I can’t help thinking that in PVP it’s just not going to get much use due to their straight out damage (go go massive assumptions!). I hate tech stuff so I am not making engineer my main; that would leave me probably guardian.
    The guardians abosption shield reminds me too much of a disc priest in WOW which is my main so it doesn’t excite me like it does you. WOW has done a resonable job of copying GWs heal and prot takes on priests (heal and disc).
    Anyway, I have never played a theif since I like my lawful/good dispositions and thus dislike all theifs right from the start.
    Mesmer is the only one I can even think of starting with, all the rest seem too normal or done before. For me Mesmer, and a long long drop to ele.
    Sorry Anet, lucky the actually game looks much more awesome than your professions do. Don’t think you really changed up the mmo space that much in this space! Looking at the Mesmer makes me think its really the only one you made “new” and thats from GW. I’ll give you engineer but only just.

    • A lot of people going mesmer but i suspect a lot of the hype of it being the last one to release may be one of the reasons. In the end i think a lot of people will end up dividing evenly amongst all the professions.

      • Yeah, just started reading through the replies and thought: hmm, maybe not the Mesmer 😀

  10. Necro will be my first – that’s has everything to do with how it plays and nothing at all to do with the “feel” of the class. Their playstyle, especially what I’ve seen so far of the axe/warhorn and dagger/dagger weapon combos, is very appealing to me.
    .
    After the necro things get a lot more unclear, and flexible, but right now it looks like the Warrior has moved up to 2nd place on my list (again, because of how it plays) and then it looks like an experimentation with thief and mesmer will need to be done.
    .
    The necro and warrior both appeal to me for their durability and ability to “outlast” opponents in difficult fights, whereas the thief and mesmer both appeal to me based on their highly mobile, “hit-n-run” capabilities. The mesmer in particular seems like it might be able to really frustrate opponents with that style of combat, but both are able to play “now you see me, now you don’t” in their own way.
    .
    Like yourself, I would have to point to the “burst” damage potential of the warrior as one of the primary factors in it claiming the 2nd spot on my list, and I’m also very curious about the viability / playstyle of a warrior using rifle and longbow as the two equipped weapons to swap between.
    .
    The class mechanics of these 4 classes are also the most appealing to me, with the necro’s death shroud ability again placing it easily in first place.

    • I don’t mean to imply everyone will choose necro because of the feel but certainly a lot of people will.

      It kind of seems like a lot of people like half the classes and not the other half.

  11. I’m thinking I’ll split my time between a thief, mesmer, and ele. Most likely. That also plays into wanting to explore the human, sylvari and asura main cities too.
    .
    I’ve recently switched from playing mostly caster types in Aion to a templar (plate armor and a big two handed sword), so I don’t really want to be playing anything like that in GW2, thus I’ll put warriors and guardians on the back burner for later on.

    • I think people regularly choose classes based on what they think they’ll get bored with. I certainly do from time to time. I’m just wondering how much gw2 can undercut that sort of decision process by being very diverse in each class.

  12. For me it’s helped to write everything down to plan things out,
    so far It starts out Guard, Warr, Thief, Ranger, Engine, Ele, Necro, Mes with Guard as my main.
    I really love to play melee/close range types with a surprised attached, with the Guard I don’t want to be a crutch like my expirence in WOW I want to be a threat and be able give my buds a boost here and there, that being said I wont say I’m not guilty of waiting to seeing my opps say “Y U NO DIE” in PVP.:p

    • I actually wrote down a number of things similar to this, with character names, and lost it all with my computer crash. probably won’t bother again. Pvp isn’t something that gets a lot of mention on this blog, but, perhaps i should think about a follow up post where i take it into consideration. or maybe that will have to wait until i actually play.

  13. I’ve spent far too long deliberating over this decision (considering I’ve not even played yet!), but I’m fairly set on a ranger main currently.
    I do like adventurer armor the most (thus far), and ranger just hits the perfect sweet-spot of versatility (multiple ranged & melee styles), loot collection (had my fill as a GW1 necromancer watching 99.9% of the cool gear go to warriors) & profession mechanic – got to catch them all!
    I have my 4 alts mapped out too, but ranger keeps rising to the top when I consider which of my professions HAS to be lavished with time and attention.

    • i agree, ranger just seems to have multiple good things going on, and i love the mobility of some of the skills. can’t wait to try it out.

  14. Human mesmer with a pure caster flavor, human thief with a emphasis on the martial and stealthy elements, norn ranger; a louder, more explosive char thief and a sword slinging asura mesmer.

    Part of what has me so excited about GW2 is that it’s so much more alt friendly than other games, in part because of the personal story but also the way in which a single profession can be taken in so many different directions and, if ANet lives up to their promises, excel in any of them. It’s just so much more immersive and allows you to build characters the way you want rather than the way you have to to fulfill specific roles.

    • And why did you have to spotlight the guardian’s shield of absorption? Originally my asura was going to be a guardian because I loved that skill, the look and the sound especially, and I loved the thought of an itty bitty asura casting a great big bubble but otherwise it’s not the kind of arch type I enjoy playing. But man, do I love that skill.

      • There is high quality video for it.

    • I very much like how anet, and admittedly trion to some degree, have allowed classes to vary as much as they have. definitely makes for different experiences, even on the same profession.

  15. Necromancer was my main in guild wars. I planned to make a human necro at first, but then the engineer was created.

    • From the amount of time i spent as ele in gw, i could just never play it again much. Opposites i guess.

  16. I really do not like pets, I won’t go Necro, Ranger… or even Mesmer as a result. I don’t even much like the idea of Engy because of the turrets, but I figure that’s probably tolerable if the rest of the class fits my style.

    Basically, I’d prefer to play a Guard or Warrior but ultimately I’ll likely pick the highest skill-cap class. I always fancy myself to be pretty good at these sorts of games and I like playing a class where the effort to be better than average can actually be made apparent.

    • I think that is certainly the case with gw2. No nonsense about whether someone has outgeared you but whether they’ve out played you.

  17. I’m all in for the Warrior. All the videos I’ve seen of actually putting up your shield to block to holding down the button to power up your attack has me screaming EPIC at my monitor.

  18. I plan on either a ranger or an elementalist as my main.
    I really like what they are doing with the ranger and the pet system.
    The elementalist just seems awesome to me.

    When it comes to the thief I think of the initiative as the cool down time and not as a energy. If they used a cool down time for each skill instead of the initiative then it would destroy the way they are trying to make the thief. Which is to decide if I want to do a big attack and use death blossom or unload skill back to bak without waiting for cooldown and using up 8 initiative and then waiting for the initiative to recharge which can be considered their cool down time. Or you can use skills that use less more then twice back to back. That’s how I think of initiative.


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