[GW2] Reaper Shroud

My necromancer in Guild Wars 2 is everything. I have stuck by and loved my necromancer despite all it’s problems and inefficiencies. It gets even worse, I have often played a condition-based necromancer in dungeons and open world events. I’ve always hoped that being at the bottom, the only way to go is up, or in a twist, possibly to something more necro-y, the revenant.

The reaper elite specialization gives the feeling that it was designed with a serious amount of attention. It is a kit that feels cohesive to turn the necromancer into a cleaving, controlling powerhouse. The greatsword weapon skills seem like they have zero fat. The new offensive shouts are going to be a blast to use in many of the game modes since each shout grows in power the more enemies there are to hear it. I feel, there are going to be a lot of reapers running around.

Yet, all this would have that sickly death pall if it weren’t for one change. Death Shroud. This mechanic that has been the white paper bane of the necromancer. Thankfully, the reaper’s first trait is getting the new Reaper Shroud. 

I want to put a little perspective on this first. Necromancers only melee option is dagger. Dagger #1 is the highest DPS a necromancer can get, and it can cleave two enemies. In PvE, where melee cleave reigns, necros basically use one skill, the dagger auto-attack. Compare this to warriors and rangers that have to at least press #2. The dagger necro isn’t horribly bad if one looks at the off-hand skills, the wells, or minions that usually accompany a dagger necro. Then there’s Death Shroud, which becomes a minor toolkit instead of a “mode”.

It feels bad when I want to exit Death Shroud and go back to pressing #1 because I don’t feel a reason to remain in Death Shroud. I just want Death Shroud for a momentary “shield”, or a fear, or a gap closer. Or, perhaps it’s traited for me to open and close Death Shroud to get a few boons or condition cleanses. It’s never been something I’ve been excited to stay in.

With Reaper Shroud, I feel that has all changed. It seems like Reaper Shroud is a “mode” more like Lich Form than an engineer’s throwaway skill hidden in a toolkit.

The first skill, the Reaper Shroud auto-attack gives life force on a third hit. It allows the necromancer to stay in Reaper Shroud longer. The third skill, Infusing Terror, pulses stability for 8 seconds, as long as the necromancer stays in Reaper Shroud. Without traits or weird synergies, right off the bat ArenaNet has designed Reaper Shroud to be something that necromancers want to stay in.

Soul Spiral might be the skill that finally gets greatsword warriors envious. And to top it all off the capstone skill freezes, stuns, deals high executioner damage, and then to make sure, creates an ice field. Targets aren’t going anywhere.

The only one I am slightly uncertain about is the gap closer, Death’s Charge. I don’t have any qualms, or anything, but that’s one I feel I would have to play around with to understand. On paper it seems good, I’ll say that. It could also be an underused skill, or one that sends players in directions they don’t want.

Does the reaper fix all the necromancers problems? Definitely not, but it strongly answers one problem in a manner that makes it cohesive with the entire melee-oriented reaper kit. Reaper Shroud is going to become something necromancers want to stay in. It’s going to become a mode that adds to the base melee build.

It also makes me wonder, what could possibly be done to the core Death Shroud to make it similar across all the core specialization builds? That is not an easy answer. Still, I am grateful ArenaNet appears to be moving upwards with necromancer through it’s elite specialization and apparently also further reworking the core traits, such as making the blood line more group supportive.

These make me glad I stuck with my favorite class, in spite of all it’s problems. I am still looking at revenant with great interest, but at least it’s going to be a tough decision if I want to change my main class.



7 thoughts on “[GW2] Reaper Shroud”

  1. It’s been long one of my concerns that they won’t fix enough in the original classes and it seems like it’s turning out to be true. Their half fast approach to conditions for example (there are three other kinds that need attention when it comes to stacking but they only focused on two) and then there’s a truly nerfed class beyond any other class out there Engineers have suffered more setbacks and nerfs in PVE than any other class to date yet I’ve yet to see anything at all addressing the mountain of crap they’ve done to that class to make it less than fun!

    1. Wait, what other conditions do you feel desperately need to stack in intensity?

  2. These discussions mystify me. I have at least one of all the classes at 80,. What’s more I have two warriors, two elementalists, two engineers, two guardians and three rangers. I’m about to start a second mesmer – just waiting for a good Gold/Gem exchange rate to bu the slot.

    In the entire time I’ve leveled all of those classes I have never once felt that any of them was underpowered, limited in options or not fun to play. All of them feel powerful. The main limitation is very clearly my ability to play them not any shortcomings of the classes themselves.

    I find it very hard to understand what criteria people are using to decide that classes are “broken”. It’s hard to understand in most MMOs and especially so in GW2. They all seem to play just fine to me, which is why I get a lot more frustrated by developers constantly fiddling with them in attempts to fix what I can’t see was broken in the first place.

    1. Necromancers aren’t “broken” so much as very sub-optimal in dungeons. I have played many dungeons just fine with my necromancer, and I have specific memories where I “saved the day”. However, it’s not just that they aren’t wanted in comparison to a guardian or zerk warrior, it’s that they aren’t wanted at all. They are the last pick.

  3. I’m with Bhagpuss to some extent. I’ve got level 80s of secen classes, with just my necro still lagging behind because I just don’t feel the class I’m afraid. That’s more a matter of taste than of anything else though – I find I can do the game content just fine with all of them, to include PvP, WvW, explorable dungeons and fractals at the sane levels.
    However… some are easier to play than others. I love my Mesmer, but I actually have to think and (gasp) use all of my skills with her to survive most fights, whereas my ranger whips out his longbow and can get gold on any event while I’m doing emails on my iPad. I suspect the criteria for ‘broken’ are pretty much “ZOMG, I have to actually PLAY this class instead of just throwing on zerker gear and using 100 Blades as soon as it comes off cooldown”.

    1. Kind of, you hit closer than Bhaggy. Necromancers are just extremely sub-optimal for dungeons and group PvE content.

      1. And then we get into the old chestnut of the difference between ‘optimal’ and ‘good enough’ and how ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough for group content with some people, if they feel that you’re reducing the number of dungeon runs they can do in an evening by 5% or even 10%…

        I thought long and hard about this one before I came to the conclusion that really, it’s just that there are some kiddies out there who haven’t taken their Ritalin and my life is so much more pleasant if I avoid them. Since very few of my builds are ‘optimal’ it’s probably to their benefit that I avoid them as well.

Comments are closed.