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.