[GW2] Skill Developments

It’s pretty apparent that even after the profession is officially disclosed, ArenaNet is not happy to let their professions stagnate in pre-beta testing. Profession and skill herder, Jon Peters, wrote a really nice Friday blog post on the official ArenaNet blog about some of the things that have been iterated upon for Guild Wars 2.

First off, the engineer gets… well another skill bar putting the profession as skill master, one full skill ahead the elementalist. An engineer gets 4 toolbelt skills which are based on their slotted heal skill and 3 utility skills. This is 23 more skills for the engineer. What’s really nice is that this also allows the engineer to not have to rely on skill swapping utilities quite as much to adapt prior to combat. For example, an engineer in a single-target DPS fight might not want to pull a flamethrower out, yet it would suck if the engineer is heavily penalized for having the skill-turning utility locked in the slot. The toolbelt skill still gives the engineer some benefit for having the flamethrower slotted even if the flamethrower is not going to be used.

Pets get an interesting change. Rangers now have two pets loaded, with one in play and the other on deck. The pets can be swapped at any time, even if one pet is downed. There is a cooldown with this function though. Still one pet dying and then replacing the carcass with a fully-loaded backup seems pretty great. Also, when the cooldown expires the freshly dead pet now comes back at full health! Sounds necromancerish to me. In fact, it seems like ArenaNet is going in a more skill-like direction like a necromancer’s minion or engineer’s turret, instead of a full-born NPC sidekick. It sounds much more fluid now.

Finally, cross-profession combos. Peters sets forth the basics of the combo system. An “initiator” creates a field effect, which can then be modified by an number of “finishers.” This seems pretty simple, and from the few cross-profession combos we’ve seen, it makes sense. However, it appears ArenaNet is pushing hard to have many unique combos. For example, a thief’s Leaping Death Blossom through a guardian’s Symbol of Faith removes conditions from nearby allies. A warrior Stomp inside a thief’s (?) Smoke Screen will give all nearby allies cloaking. I am glad ArenaNet is really pushing this system beyond “projectiles through [X] get damage + [X].”

Peters also hints mid-paragraph that the last profession is currently undergoing testing. Anyway, this gives fans something nice to chew on for a little bit. But, I am sure the professions will keep evolving right up to launch and then beyond.


12 thoughts on “[GW2] Skill Developments”

  1. long time reader, first time poster.

    When they mean combos, they do mean combos! Think of the possibilities of combinations from same/different professions. I do worry though about the balance the combo provides. I fear it might break their philosophy that any profession is welcome to become ‘seeking [profession] because it’s a great combo’.

    Also if they introduce more skills from upcoming professions. I do wonder how hard will it be to balance them all.

    1. I think they are not going to be that strong. It’s like more of the level of “oooh, that’s nice” instead of “we need this necessity.”

      I think it’s another way that players can “bond” in game without speaking. They just see each other acting and act to combo it.

      1. Once we get to the really hard stuff, an understanding of the network of combo effects will probably open multiple avenues to success. i.e. “Man, this would sure be a lot easier if we had some form of AOE condition removal when the dragon does his breath…” THIEF: “Hey, if the Guardian drops Faith..” etc.

        1. Almost every class has a similar ability to another. So it won’t be a specific class that is needed but rather any player with a skill that can make use of the opportunities.

  2. I am still not a fan of flamethrowers and Engineers, so let’s go straight to Ranger pets. I hope this pet-swap isn’t that instant, it feels a bit strange to be. But maybe one has to see this in action.

    Combos seem to work on the first come, first serve basis as the mentioned “stacking” got removed.

    I wonder when GW2 is finally finished. Their new ideas is cool but this also makes one wonder when the game will be finished. Balancing is important (not too easy, not too hard – very important for PvE, at least IMO) and simply can’t happen when they have still quite new ideas in November/December. PvP balancing will also take some time.

    We just don’t know their schedule but this gives me the impression release is still far away.

    1. Arenanet likes to only announce things that they are happy with and hence have been testing for quite some time, so all of these features most likely have been in testing for a while.

      Beta seems close!

      1. I wouldn’t assume they were working on it for too long. They said that they actually were responding to our comments from the demos which were in august. They seem to be still in creative mode. However, the creative mode is the only mode arena net knows. They will be coming up with things even after release. I think there are major things in play that once they are tested and proven successful then they release a release date. Like parts of the world map, the last profession, and WvWvW.

        We can expect them to continue tweaking the professions for the next couple of years, but it will just come out in patches rather than in the box. I see nothing wrong with that. In-fact that makes me happy.

        Oh, and your screen name creeps me out.

    2. Agreeing with the previous people, you’re right Longasc but these aren’t really new features – more re-workings of old existing ones. They’ll still need some balancing, but they’re iterations of ideas which have been tweaked in response to testing already.

      Cross-profession combos should be a popular thing for beta testers to play with anyway :)

  3. We old folks still remember the first days of GW1, where the attributes of a character could have been reassigned only after accumulating some XPs. So in other words we were not free to alter our stats at will, like today. This system was dropped like 3-6 months after the release. So post-release tweaks and even major changes would not be a new thing to ArenaNet, that is the way they work.

    For this reason, I am not too worried about the fluid state of GW2 skill system either: there is not only a single correct way exists. They can release something the players will enjoy, and then they can alter it to be different just to find out, that players still enjoy it. No need to wait for the perfect, final, never-changing variant

  4. A bit of reading between the lines from yours truly;

    The system reminds me quite a bit of Tales of the Abyss, in which elemental skills would place an area of the corresponding element on the ground. Certain skills could then be powered up by standing in the right field when using them.

    So far, they have talked about 7 initiators: fire, ice, lightning, light, dark, poison and smoke.
    Finishers is a bit more tricky. I would say they have 3 revealed so far: projectile, “stomp” and “spin”. I believe what you call an unique combo with Leaping Death Blossom is merely LDB acting as a finisher of what I call the “spin” type.

    The way I see it, the way I see it the initiators control one aspect of the combo, the effect, a “theme”. For example, burning for fire, slowing and armor for ice, immobilize for lightning, concealment for smoke, condition removal for light, poison for poison (duh) and fear for dark.
    The finishers would then be the application of these effects, as in the example of the ricocheting axe and firewall, this is a fire+projectile combo, which modifies the projectile to give burning to anything hit. Likewise, LDB through a Symbol of Faith would be light+spin, giving condition removal near the end of the spin, and the armor of frost example being ice+stomp.

    Assuming they have slightly more finishers (say, 6), that would give us 6*7 = 42 combinations. This would be the end of the system design for ANet, putting the rest of the work in creativity/usability of making combo effects that are intuitive, and adding an extra layer to the skill design process (determining what initiators/finishers are applicable for a skill).

    That is my, IMO realistic, bet on what the combo system might be more precisely.

  5. Sounds like the list of critical fixes is getting shorter. Launch date appears no closer. Will we get the last profession for the holidays or are they saving it for PAX East?

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