The end of the last week gave a lot to chew on over the weekend with the Guild Wars 2 expansion’s first look at an elite specialization: the chronomancer. Elite specializations are basically Dungeons & Dragons prestige classes that build upon a core class. The chronomancer builds on the mesmer, in this case.
Being a chronomancer gives another shatter, the ability to use a shield, and a new type of utility skills, wells. The theme of all these powers is the manipulation of time, which is most notable in the form of Alacrity. Alacrity is a new buff that lowers the recharge duration of recharging skills, which makes it the opposite of the Chill condition.
I was blown away by the chronomancer on Friday’s Twitch demonstration. Dulfy provides all the notes in her usual fine form. As an aside, I really did not like the use of pre-recorded video. It didn’t feel like a great demonstration. It was neat that ArenaNet showed off a new sub-area and enemy, but there was a lot lost in the busyness of the videos. I would have much preferred a “now I am going to demonstrate the shield projectile ability after I explain it a bit”. Real time has a lot to be said.
Anyway, what I kept thinking through the end of the week news overload was “why wouldn’t a mesmer want to be a chronomancer?“
This is very important. Probably the most important thing to Guild Wars 2. Will new overshadow old? Of course it will in terms of shininess. That’s expected. Shininess wears off, and that’s when the important stuff remains.
The first paper answer is that elite specializations are part additive, part replacing of the core specializations. The additive part I said above where the chronomancers gives another shatter, the ability to use a shield, and a new type of utility skills. A chronomancer does not have to use a shield or slot wells, but that might be decreasing synergy of the trait line. The trait line is the part that is replacing. Now a chronomancer only gets 2 core specializations with the required elite specialization, which starts to narrow the field quite a bit.
I have a feeling this is where the trade off is. The core specializations, in their current form of development (check out that_shaman’s amazing build calculator on Dulfy!), I feel are going to be generalist. For example, the necromancer’s Death Magic line has a lot to do with minions, but taking 10% less damage from poisoned foes synergizes with condition builds and Unholy Sanctuary synergizes with Death Shroud builds. The Death Magic line can be the tertiary line to my Condimancer build. I don’t feel like I have to take minions or staff because I took Death Magic.
I have a feeling that this is not the case with elite specializations, and I could be totally wrong. I think that players that take the elite specialization are going to be chronomancers flavored with two core specializations. ArenaNet pretty much confirms this (see Will There Be More? section).
Bhagpuss writes that he is loathe to give up his greatsword lasers and bubbles. Will the chronomancer trait line synergize with Domination and Inspiration? Probably. But, I have a feeling that chronomancer might not be the best choice for a lasers and bubbles mesmer wanting that to be the primary focus.
What I do really like is that the mesmer community feels that ArenaNet has responded to their desire for more PvE area-of-effect ability. This gives me hope for a dungeoneering necromancer. Another specialization is on its way sometime nearing the end of the week, with a final one completing the set in the next week. After that, is it another beta time?