Guild Wars 2: A closer look at the weapon bar

Weapon bar for the Guardian

Weapon bar for the Guardian

I’ve been looking at the Guardian skills… And I’ve been seeing some patterns in the weapon skills. A quick look at the Elementalist supports these patterns, and I suspect the same patterns are also present in the other professions.

These patterns help understand not only how the gameplay will be like, but also what kind of design decisions went behind these decisions and why.

Skills 1-3

The first skill is as far as I know always a damage skill with instant recharge… it’s your main attack, and it generally has no other use than damage.

The next two skills have relatively short recharge times, sometimes work as damage, and usually also have some neat effect. They may let you leap, blind, chill, etc. The short recharge means that you can use it often, but not spam it. The third skill in particular tends to be utilitary in purpose, and so gives the weapon a more-or-less spammable utilitary use.

Skills 4-5

The last two skills usually have longer recharge, and are more utilitary in purpose… often they don’t even do damage directly. Even if they do, these skills are meant to be used strategically.

There is a near absence of DoT skills (there are some, but not nearly as much as you’d think). Rather, the skills differentiate themselves in the effects that they give: buffs, ground-targeted buffs, movement, knock-downs, jumps… So weapon usage isn’t about doing a “rotation” (a common term in games for using attack skills in a predetermined optimal sequence), but rather about using the right skills in response to the situation. If enemies clump, use your AoE. If enemies charge you, use a defensive skill. And so on.

Am I right to be excited about this?!? It sounds like combat is viceral not only because of the larger emphasis on movement, but also because it matters how you use your skills.

Exciting times…

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