This is the first of a series of posts I will be making about each profession in Guild Wars 2. I plan to discuss the weapon options for the classes, where I see them fitting into team compositions, what their playstyles seem to cater to, and any concerns I may have about them. So without further adieu:
Meet the Warrior!
The Warrior is one of the two Soldier-class professions in Guild Wars 2. The Warrior and the Guardian are the only two professions that can wear heavy armor, and the Warrior is reported to be one of the most durable professions in the game. As a master of weapons, the Warrior has the widest selection of weapons to date:
- Main Hand: Sword, Axe, Mace
- Offhand: Shield, Warhorn, Sword, Axe, Mace
- Two-Handed: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Rifle
That is 12 different weapon choices, with 19 possible combinations per set, and 342 combinations between the two weapon sets they can have equipped at a time (assuming the sets are not identical). While most of the weapons are focused on melee, it is worth noting that the Warrior is fully capable of using ranged weapons with the rifle and longbow, and will be fully competent with them. With all of those choices, the Warrior has quite a bit of fine tuning that it can do to get just the right feel for whatever you want.
From what I have gathered watching the videos from various demos, the sword seems to be mostly about making quick attacks and inflicting some conditions like bleeding and crippling. Given that conditions stack their effects with one another, stacking bleeds may prove to be an effective damage mechanism, though it is hard to tell at this point. The sword on-hand also has one of my favorite skills that I have seen thus far: Savage Leap. Essentially, the skill acts as a distance-closer and attack, and is on a fairly short cooldown. The best part? There is a trait that can be equipped to cut the cooldown in half! I’m a big fan of mobility based combat, and given that you can activate this skill without even having a target means that we can see some very in-your-face play from warriors.
The axe appears to be a fairly straight-forward damage based weapon. It swings pretty fast, does lots of damage, and has little in the way of conditions. My guess is that this is the weapon with the highest overall DPS, which isn’t a surprise given the strength of axe warriors in Guild Wars 1.
The mace is interesting because it is a new weapon to the Guild Wars franchise. Maces are one handed weapons that appear to be focused on slower strong hits, and are somewhat control-condition based (cripple, daze, stun). My suspicion is that the mace will be one of the go-to weapons for shutting down enemy casters that have more slow-casting spells that can be interrupted with dazes and stuns.
The shield, as you might expect, is all about defense. At the moment, I am not sure if having a shield also grants a bonus to your armor or damage reduction since it already provides defensive skills. It has a shield block that allows you to reduce incoming damage for a period of time while you hold the stance, and a charging attack that closes the distance and stuns the enemy. I can definitely see sword and shield being a very popular item set in PvP with two distance closers, a bleed stacker, and two stuns. If shields give an additional bonus to armor, that will be yet another point in their favor.
The warhorn is another new weapon to GW. The skills are Call to Arms and Charge, the former being an AoE knockup and allied buff, the latter being a speed and health regeneration booster for the team. This could be a very competitive item with the shield, with the shield specializing in going to-to-toe with the enemies, and the warhorn providing strong allied support. I would not be surprised to see the warhorn in a lot of secondary weapon sets for something to quickly switch to for allied buffs. It would work pretty well with a bow or rifle in the alternate slot to be a mostly ranged warrior that could give his other ranged allies some support when the enemies closed in.
The greatsword has an interesting mixture of abilities. There is an AoE attack, a regular single target damage attack, a cripple, a knockdown and a distance closer (with AoE damage). There doesn’t seem to be a strong focus for this weapon, though since it has to fill all 5 slots alone, I suppose they want it to have some of the same versatility as something like an axe and shield combination. We don’t have any information on the two-handed hammers yet, but it has been indicated that they include a knockdown and some AoE as well. In fact, it seems a common theme so far that most two-handed weapons have some AoE ability- perhaps that will be one of their defining niches.
The rifle and the longbow are the two ranged options for the Warrior, with the rifle focusing on single target damage and faster projectiles and the bow using more slow-moving AoE powers. Although they have said that you can be a Warrior that only uses ranged options, I kind of fail to see the point of having two separate ranged weapons when they will likely have comparable ranges. It seems that if they close the distance on you, you would want a melee weapon, and if you can kill them at range, you don’t need to worry about switching weapons. While the longbow seems to be a strong choice, I just haven’t been convinced about the rifle yet unless it does a lot more damage. Time will tell I suppose.
The unique mechanic
The Warrior has a special gauge that fills up as they deal and take damage called Adrenaline, and each on-hand weapon has an associated Burst Skill. The adrenaline bar has 3 marks or stages as it fills up. When there is at least one stage filled, the Warrior is able to unleash a powerful skill, the Burst Skill, that does a lot of damage, sometimes adds an effect, and depletes the adrenaline bar. Depending on how much adrenaline the Warrior has, the burst skill will be more or less powerful.
I actually don’t have many for this class. The only fear I have is more of a meta-fear that many non-GW players will see Warrior and immediately think “Tank!”, and try to play it as a low damage dealing meat shield that doesn’t really do very well. Veteran players of GW will know that the Warrior was in fact a very damaging melee class, that there was no Taunt mechanic, and that their only weakness was their relative ease of being shut down (by CC) with little energy to use their secondary profession’s skills. Of course that was one of the primary jobs of monks- to keep the damage dealers doing their thing. I can see the rifle perhaps being more useful in PvP where focus fire is more desired, or against large bosses like the Shatterer, but less emphasized in “normal” PvE. I haven’t decided if that is desirable.
Why this class is for you
The Warrior is all about being in your face and dealing a lot of damage while maintaining strong survivability. If you don’t want to be concerned with bobbing and weaving in and out of combat like a skirmisher or running for cover if the enemy notices you, then this profession should be a good fit. Even the ranged options are more focused on dealing damage than on staying away from the foes. Warriors will be powerful engines of destruction, plain and simple, and they look really fun.