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ArenaNet reveals new combat information for Guild Wars 2

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Yesterday's unveiling of the Elementalist class for Guild Wars 2, along with the new combat information, sent the Guild Wars community into information overload. Fans were incredibly excited to see so much new information, but there was an underlying reason beyond the obvious happiness at receiving so much concrete knowledge.

The reveal of one class in such great detail means that others are obviously coming soon, so the excitement was increased by the knowledge that more is on the way, and hopefully soon. Of course, there were also some concerns. Are we going to hear those catchphrases -- "I'm so stunning" -- over and over and over? What about that skill bar setup -- is it going to lock us into rigid, unchangeable builds?

The important thing to remember is that the team behind Guild Wars 2 is made up of gamers, people who love MMOs and the Guild Wars universe as much as us. It's what makes them great at what they do, and it means that they likely don't want to hear "Here come the flames!" a hundred times an hour any more than we do. Guild Wars 2 is still being developed, so this is only a first look at things.

With that in mind, follow along after the jump, because ArenaNet has more for us today.

Today's reveal was all about combat -- expanding on what we learned yesterday and in previous months as well as offering even more information -- so let's take a look at the newest details.


While it will have familiar elements, weaponry in Guild Wars 2 will be much different than what we know now. Things will change to reflect 250 years of advancement, especially in the case of firearms. We knew there would be guns in Guild Wars 2, and today brings confirmation of that: you can wield a one-handed pistol or a two-handed rifle. The diversity of bows will be whittled down from the sometimes-bewildering array that we have now to simply a longbow and a shortbow, and finally we see a few new items in the mix: a torch and warhorn. Basic weapon use is clarified a bit -- from the sounds of things, there are definitely some profession restrictions that vary from one to the next.

If you're worried that the weapon list sounds too narrow, don't. The addition of environmental weapons presents some huge opportunities for players to interact with the things around them in a pinch. This goes way beyond picking up a rock and flinging it. It's a very dynamic, constantly changing system with incredible potential: "Wooden planks used to smack enemies can be gained by killing oakhearts, or found in the rubble caused by centaurs breaking down a wooden gate. Breaking a barstool over the head of a rowdy bar patron can yield a chair leg that can be used to great effect as a club."

"In other words, rather than an 8-skill bar made up of a strong primary profession and a slightly weaker secondary profession, you're going to have twenty skill slots to work with and two professions at full strength."


The beginning of this section sparks an important question: "There are eight professions in Guild Wars 2, many of which will be familiar to fans of Guild Wars, as well as a few professions new to the Guild Wars world." Well, there are ten now, so at least two will be cut, probably more since new ones will be introduced. What are we losing and what are we gaining? Speculation is a ton of fun, but since the only thing we know for sure at this point is "Elementalist", we'll have to sit tight and trust ArenaNet to wow us like they have in the past.

Now. What about the lack of secondary professions? While the knee jerk reaction may be negative, take a close look at what they are saying here. Secondary professions aren't exactly going away here -- the dynamic is changing completely. Your secondary profession will be found in your teammates through the concept of cross-profession combos. The example given was that of an Ele dropping Static Field, and a Warrior firing his rifle through it. The result is a souped-up electric bullet that inflicts additional damage thanks to the combination of two professions. In other words, rather than an 8-skill bar made up of a strong primary profession and a slightly weaker secondary profession, you're going to have twenty skill slots to work with and two professions at full strength. As with environmental weapons, it's got enormous potential.

Race specific skills

Finally, we got a peek at race-specific skills. We had guessed that different races would open different possibilities, and that was confirmed and clarified today. It looks like the choice of race will allow players to really shine in their preferred play style. Sylvari, for example, will use the power of nature against their enemies with skills such as Grasping Roots.

Bringing it all together

Much of the Guild Wars community had concerns after yesterday's combat information was revealed, particularly with things such as the skill bar setup. Today's information expanded on that in great detail and helped us gain a clearer understanding of what's going on here. Rather than being locked into a skill set that we had very little say in choosing, it appears that ArenaNet is opening the doors for an extremely wide array of choices through all sorts of avenues: race, profession, weapon choice, environment, even the others in your group.

They promise that this is only the tip of the iceberg, so we are eagerly awaiting more. For now, check out the latest information in full for yourself!

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