If you were one of those fans speculating, you'll be happy to find out you were correct: ArenaNet revealed the warrior today, along with a video, several beautiful screenshots, and an extensive description complete with a peek at some of the warrior skills.
They didn't stop there, however. Game Designer Ben Miller stepped in with this update to introduce us to the system of traits. Traits will work with your skills and attributes, becoming part of your build in order to make you even more powerful.
Information regarding classes, skills, and combat is near the top of the wish-list for almost every Guild Wars 2 fan -- just below "beta" and "launch" -- so this is exciting news. Follow along after the jump to see what ArenaNet had to say in this latest update.
The warrior in Guild Wars 2 "is a master of weapons who relies on speed, strength, toughness, and heavy armor to survive in battle. A warrior can shrug off blow after blow to stay in the fight, all the while building up adrenaline to fuel his offense." This role is a familiar one to Guild Wars fans, but the skills, battle, and combat animations have received a heavy upgrade, just as with the elementalist.
The description of the warrior as a master of weapons is accurate, as the warrior has an extensive list of weapons to choose from. Nine different weapons and offhands are available from the standard swords, axes, and hammers to newer items such as rifles and warhorns. The available items give 19 different combinations, making for an extremely versatile frontliner. Each weapon, as we already know, comes with its own special set of skills, attributes, and traits. We'll look more at traits in a moment, but the skill sets for the warrior are composed of some familiar elements that have been made even bigger and better, per the usual for ArenaNet.
Banners, for example, are reminiscent of the current set of Ebon Battle Standards. They're even handier to have than the Ebon skills, as they can be picked up and moved around as needed -- which should prove very helpful as the battle moves around. The use of adrenaline skills will remain, but they are a bit more versatile. You'll still gain a strike of adrenaline with every hit you deliver, but rather than waiting to gain "x" amount of adrenaline to unlock a skill on your bar, you'll have a choice. There are three different levels of adrenaline that make your attacks increasingly powerful as well as a "burst skill" that uses all adrenaline in a similar fashion as current skills such as Wild Blow. Burst skills are more powerful with more adrenaline as well.
Shouts, stances, and skill-chaining are all well-known battle concepts that will carry over into Guild Wars 2, along with interesting new charge skills: "Some skills can be held down to power them up for more impressive attacks. A warrior with a mace can wind up the powerful skill Obliterate and release it at four different power levels to do increasing amounts of damage."
The introduction of traits is an exciting one because it adds even more versatility and power to a design originally thought by fans to be too rigid and restrictive. Traits are essentially a third dimension of your build, something that you'll add to your skills and attributes as you progress to become more proficient at your chosen path. "These are similar in theme to the profession specific attribute lines in the original Guild Wars. Each trait line has a number of major and minor slots. Warriors, right now, have two general lines called Power and Tactics as well as lines for each of the weapons they can wield. As you master traits, you slot them into these lines, affecting your character."
The method of gaining traits is as personalized as the rest of Guild Wars 2: A warrior might learn a trait by defeating a highly-skilled swordsman in a duel while elementalists will seek out arcane tomes or places of power to gain knowledge. The method of learning through brains, brawn, or other means will naturally follow the overall method of your profession. Each profession has over 100 traits available to learn, so there are enough choices out there to satisfy those seeking a truly unique build and to keep altaholics busy for a long time.
Traits were created to be adaptable and versatile while you're adventuring in Guild Wars 2, giving you the ability to change your combat style to meet the needs of the situation: "We want experimentation with traits to be fun and engaging, so we've made the rules for changing traits extremely flexible. With no in-game cost, you can respec at will, outside of combat. This means you are open to experiment with what works and what doesn't work on the fly, without having to go back to town or worry about if you have enough gold."
The update gives a clear and interesting walkthrough of how the setup would work in a GW2 battle situation and should shut down any concerns of the skill setup being too restrictive once and for all.
The full update can be read on the Guild Wars 2 site, and don't forget to take a look at our gallery for the latest batch of screenshots as well as the brand-new warrior video right here.