Exclusive: Guild Wars 2’s Revenant elite spec is the Herald

The Revenant is shaping up to be a unique profession on a Guild Wars 2 roster, with fresh ideas in regards to combat abilities and its place on the battlefield. I was given a sneak peek at the upcoming announcement of the Revenant’s elite specialization that has been teased for a few days now as part of the Heart of Thorns expansion hype.

As many of you have already guessed, Glint is the elite specialization legend. I have plenty of information about what to expect below, and I also conducted a quick Q&A session with Game Designer Roy Cronacher to discuss the profession’s elite specialization, called the Herald, in more detail. I’m also throwing in a whole raft of information on how the profession will fare underwater too!

Of course, sometimes word just aren’t enough and you need to see a build with your own eyes to appraise it fully. Never fear: You can watch the Revenant elite specialization in action this Friday, August 14 on Points of Interest, airing at 3 p.m. EDT (noon PDT) on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel. Game Designer Roy Cronacher will be the special guest with POI host Rubi Bayer as they give fans an in-depth look at the Herald’s skills, weapon, and traits.

The Herald: Glint in action

Let me begin with a little history lesson to refresh your memory: Glint was an ancient dragon prophet who compiled the Flameseeker Prophecies and was eerily accurate in her predictions in the original Guild Wars. She was a protective force that is hypothesised to have been the first creature in Tyria, gods-sent to guard the land and see the prophecies to fruition.

Utility-Burst-of-Strength

I was delighted to see that ArenaNet decided to use her as a legend, especially since I was hoping for a protective frontline option for the Revenant. As you can imagine by the brief description of Glint above, the profession’s elite specialization, the Legendary Dragon Stance, is full of abilities that bolster your allies in tough situations, encouraging you to remain close to them at all times to reap the benefits of the stance.

Like the other specializations, the Herald will give players access to a new weapon, a new trait specialization line, and new mechanics. In the case of Glint, we’ll gain access to the shield, and she’ll channel her supportive nature through the player character using a host of boons and defensive abilities. I’ll give you a good run-down of the shield and utility skills you can expect, but the short version is that you become much more effective when you stand with your comrades in battle and offer them the protection of your stance.

The Crystalline Bulwark skills

The shield’s main purpose is to keep you safe while you’re in the thick of the action using the Legendary Dragon Stance, so its associated skills enhance survivability by providing group healing and protective boons. Let’s look at each ability individually.

Envoy of Exuberance: I really like this skill because it has both a personal benefit and a group effect. Dragon energy cascades from the shield to protect and heal your allies, then comes back to you. As it’s a ground-targeted skill, you can position this one strategically to maximise its usefulness.

Weapon Skill 5 Crystal Hibernation

Crystal Hibernation: This one is all about personal defence and is a great save-me button for those sticky near-death situations. A crystal energy shield prevents damage after this skill has been channelled, and it also quickly tops up your health pool. Your character gains a defiance bar when this skill is used, and the risk of using it will need to be considered carefully.

The many facets of Glint

If you played Guild Wars, you’ll remember that you had to face the six facets of Glint in Guild Wars: Prophecies before you could reach her. This six-facet approach inspired the ANet team since they just happened to have six skills to fill for the Legendary Dragon Stance. Each of the six facets has been incorporated, and it seems that players will have quite a balancing act to keep their energy levels in check while using this skillset.

Utility-Elemental-Blast

Each skill is an upkeep skill, and you’ll find five of these on the right side of your bar (more on the sixth one later). The facets each emit a beneficial wave, but their use depletes your energy bar. You trade off potential energy regeneration, and in turn the ability to use other skills, for the group benefit of these auras. Whenever cast, each skill flips to a new skill that will consume that aura’s energy and set off a more impressive skill, but the catch is that both the aura skill and its more potent cousin will go on cooldown. To clarify, look at these examples:

Facet of Elements and Elemental Blast: This combination is great for quickening up your allies and then softly controlling the foes on the field. Facet of Elements grants swiftness to nearby allies while you upkeep it, and Elemental Blast breaks it in a ground-targeted burst of Glint’s breath that applies a handful of negative conditions to enemies such as weakness and burning.

Elite-Skill-Chaotic-Release

Facet of Chaos and Chaotic Release: This is an interesting duo includes the elite skill for the Revenant, and as such it requires a higher energy cost to upkeep but has a much stronger effect than other skills that is best saved for critical moments in combat. Facet of Chaos grants a strong protection boon to you and your close allies, while Chaotic Release uses the immense power of Glint’s wings to control enemies while granting speed buffs to friends. Remember the really cool scene in the HoT trailer where a dragon’s wings flap majestically? Yep, that’s Chaotic Release!

F2 One with Nature

The sixth facet: Facet of Nature

I held the sixth facet back because it’s very special indeed: It can be used no matter which stance you are currently using. This profession mechanic skill is another upkeep skill that enhances the other five facets and ties in well with other skills. The Facet of Nature increases outgoing boon duration by 50%, thereby extending the effects of the other skills even if you switch legends straight after casting it. It doesn’t just pair well with the boons applied by the casting Revenant, though, and will marry up very well with other boon-heavy ally professions. The Facet of Nature is paired with One with Nature, and this cancels the former in order to synchronise all the other facets, applying all of their boons in one burst.

The Revenant’s underwater combat abilities

The Revenant uses a spear in water combat, and ANet has been working hard to make it appeal to both the physical damage and condi crowds. Distance matters, and the spear features two different auto-attacks that work well in different situations depending on the range you have between you and your target. The first of these autoattacks, Spear of Anguish, is a condition damage ranged attack that works well whenever an enemy is approaching from the edge of its range. The second autoattack is called Rapid Assault and is a short-range melee attack that hits quickly and builds stacks of vulnerability.

Glamour-2

Underwater combat gets even more exciting with the addition of skills that utilise the same cast-then-cancel format we’ve seen throughout the Revenant’s design. In this case, underwater abilities usually present the player with condition damage first, and then can be cancelled with a burst of physical damage. For instance, Venomous Sphere is an orb of condensed Mists energy that poisons foes as it passes, and as soon as you have it in the right area, you can opt to pop it with the flip-skill Frigid Discharge to deal some physical damage.

Underwater combat usually feels more challenging to me because of the 3-D space in which the action happens, so I’m glad to see a clever little control skill make the Revenant’s underwater line-up. Rift Containment seeks to trap an enemy between two rifts from the Mists, which should com in handy when players are setting up skills such as Venomous Sphere.

Glamour

Q&A session with Roy Cronacher

Massively Overpowered: We haven’t had our hands on Glint for testing just yet. What kind of playstyles have came up in your internal testing? I’m imagining front line combat support is the most obvious use, but what other applications have you came up with?

Roy Cronacher, Guild Wars 2 game designer: You imagine correctly! Glint can be very good as a front line support and as a utility legend. While it’s good front line, it can also be equally good for back line support by using hammer and buffing up the damage of your ranged damage dealers while having the utility to control the area if enemies happen to come near. For example, you can be providing allies with protection from the skill Facet of Chaos, dampening ranged attacks made against your allies, then when foes get close you can activate the skill Chaotic Release to knock back enemies, creating more distance for your team. It’s designed to mix very well with many of the other available legends for the Revenant. It has some options to support both a condition playstyle as well as physical on top of the support aspects.

The Crystal Hibernation ability seems exceptionally powerful, and you mentioned that there’d be a high risk involved. Can you elaborate on that and perhaps give us an idea of the proposed usage, duration, and cooldown of the ability?

Cronacher: The Crystal Hibernation ability does indeed have trade-offs. It is a defiance bar skill for the player, similar to what you’ve seen monsters have (such as the Wyvern). Once the break bar is depleted with control skills, the protective shell will burst, which will stun the player for two seconds and leave him or her with 25 stacks of vulnerability for those two seconds, so you risk being left in this super vulnerable state. The ability doesn’t remove conditions, so if you wait too long to use it, it’s possible to be downed while it is active for ticking conditions. While it can be used to immune key attacks, recover some health, or give yourself enough time for some skills to recharge it definitely can be punishing if used incorrectly. You cannot move while the skill is active, either, so you are kind of a sitting duck for when it ends.

I’m delighted to see you refer back to the facets of Glint from the original Guild Wars. Do these abilities synergize well in specific pairings or combinations if so can you give us an example of that?

Cronacher: Yes, we have brought all six facets into this elite specialization. It just happened to line up to the number of skills we needed, and we thought it was an interesting tie in to Glint from Guild Wars for the Dragon’s Lair mission. On the right half of your bar we have all facets, except nature. These all pulse out boons to nearby allies at the cost of upkeep, then they have an active skill which can be used to consume the facet for a burst effect setting it on recharge. Facet of Nature ties in all the other facets as its pulsing effect provides players with increased boon duration which helps bolster the boons provided from the other facets. The active part of Facet of Nature is One with Nature, which grants a burst of all the boons from every other facet to nearby allies.

The Revenant will have some very interesting underwater attacks, and I’m excited for the physical and condition damage flipping and the inclusion of both a long and short range auto attack. Will we see further improvements to underwater combat across the board?

Cronacher: For the harpoon on the Revenant, we’re trying something a bit different, as you can see that there are two auto-attack skills with no recharge. This means that you can choose to fight at range or melee or mix them up depending on the situation. The aim was to appeal to both physical- and condition-damage playstyles and allow for interesting hybrid builds. As for other professions underwater, the elite specs profession mechanic changes will be made useable underwater. Just like we’ve done since launch, we’ll continue to release balance and bug fixing updates to the game to improve combat, including underwater.

With so many upkeep abilities that drain energy and cooldowns, Glint’s playstyle sounds as if it might have specific phases of higher damage and then energy conservation. Is this the case?

Cronacher: Somewhat; there definitely will be windows of downtime for different skills as this legend is setup differently from the others in the profession. The facets will cost upkeep to keep active; this will be the primary support from the legend. The active skills that consume the facets are much more offensive and control-based. The active portions of the skills do not cost energy currently, but they do set it and its corresponding facet on a longer recharge. Generally we have kept recharge low, but these skills are a bit longer, closer to what you’d see on a normal profession. This is because they create a tradeoff of getting this powerful effect but shutting out your ability to use that facet. It creates different decision points for a player such as whether to keep the support going or trade that support for a skill to help in the immediate moment. Another example would be how many facets the player wants to keep active at the cost of limiting other skill use and whether to use the active skill to gain back some of that upkeep or just reaching zero energy to reset all the facets.

Many thanks to ArenaNet, and especially to Roy Cronacher, for taking time for this interview.

Tina Lauro has been playing Guild Wars 2 since it launched and now pens the long-running Flameseeker Chronicles column, which runs every other Wednesday and covers everything from GW2 guides and news to opinion pieces and dev diary breakdowns. If there’s a GW2 topic you’d love to see covered, drop a comment Tina’s way or mail her at tina@massivelyop.com.
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38 Comments on "Exclusive: Guild Wars 2’s Revenant elite spec is the Herald"

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Aeribella
Guest
Aeribella

Peregrine_Falcon Well, at the moment the revenant is weaker than basically every class, so hopefully with Glint and the new buffs it’ll be “closer” to what is considered normal, then they can buff the hell out of it to attract players, and in a few months after release nerf it back to normal.

Peregrine_Falcon
Guest
Peregrine_Falcon

So far it looks like the Revenant is going to be typical of a new MMO class.
Stupidly overpowered at launch, to attract people to play it, and then nerfed down to the level of the other classes right after a lot of the power players have reached max level with it and left the game again.

imayb1
Guest
imayb1

Bannex19 As of beta, the relevant is a jack of all trades– and good at none. It’s my hope they’ll at least be good as a Herald, but we’ll see.

BeckiBeckmann
Guest
BeckiBeckmann

Nreff it’s going to be a thief staff

Xephyr
Guest
Xephyr

Looks awesome! I play a guardian so this legend is to my liking. I love buffing and protecting allies while at the same time wrecking face. :) Can’t wait to try this out.

dragonwhimsy
Guest
dragonwhimsy

Amantis_Asoko But no one knew that during GW1 which is what the writer was referencing.

kericstiq
Guest
kericstiq

BobDobalina kericstiq Ooh, time to buy that kit!

Makhiel
Guest
Makhiel

miguelarvelo01 Choc0mus Amantis_Asoko You might feel even uneasier reading the wiki then.

BobDobalina
Guest
BobDobalina

kericstiq Yeah, that is a Norn with new hair from the Hairstyle Kit or Total Makeover Kit.

Grimmtooth
Guest
Grimmtooth

Looks interesting. Great interview Tina.
Keep this up & ANet will be offering you a job as well.

kericstiq
Guest
kericstiq

The guy in the pictures, is he a Norn? I love the hair..

miguelarvelo01
Guest
miguelarvelo01

Choc0mus Amantis_Asoko well… Amantis is right… this is known GW lore… I also felt uneasy reading that line

Choc0mus
Guest
Choc0mus

Amantis_Asoko
hypothesis hʌɪˈpɒθɪsɪs/nouna supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

Bannex19 I dunno, the beta feedback so far as been exactly the opposite. Sounds like ANet are being very conservative with their initial number tuning for the Rev.

Amantis_Asoko
Guest
Amantis_Asoko

“She was a protective force that is hypothesised to have been the first creature in Tyria, gods-sent to guard the land and see the prophecies to fruition.”

This is wrong. She was a champion of Kralkatorrik, not an envoy from the gods, she was there before the gods.  The gods came from a DIFFERENT dimension, and brought the humans with them.

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Because nobody knows how to play them yet.

Bannex19
Guest
Bannex19

Yikes, maybe they should bring all the old abilities from other classes up to par with the Rev. I have a feeling just by looking at how the class plays and all the stuff attached to each ability the Rev is going to be significantly op.

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

Serrenity 
Wouldn’t work.   The Glint spec is channeling the spirit of the Legend through the Mists.  Essentially it is ghost channeling.
What they would need is a “Ghostbuster” spec.

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

Nice read up, Tina. Glad you really dug into the details of this Elite Spec and its breakdown. 

So the Revi can be a healer, a melee DPSer, a ranged condi applicator, or a Tank.  Hmmm,seems an all-in-one class.  Still, I nuked some Revies pretty easily last weekend during the Beta with my Tempest.

alexjwillis
Guest
alexjwillis

This is a nice, thorough article. Thanks!

VaelVictus
Guest
VaelVictus

This looks like it will be my go-to for Daily Revenant. Just throw some auras on and focus on the weapon skills.

Telos_
Guest
Telos_

Good class.  Bad PvE though.
Such a terrible waste of a combat system too.

Kalamari
Guest
Kalamari

AnastashsKontostergios what prevents you? JUST DO IT!

Kalamari
Guest
Kalamari

Kurogane335 Kalamari nah. every armor class has now its “activ to play class”. ele, engi and rev. and let’s wait for the rest of the elite specs, before we jump to conlusions. ;)

TheZebes
Guest
TheZebes

Tinabeanses As far as I’ve seen, Rev’s frontline issue in the betas has been condi cleanse and energy upkeep. 

I am interested to see the Crystal Hibernation skill in action and see if the payoff is worth the punishment.

Kurogane335
Guest
Kurogane335

Serrenity A break dance battle. The loser has to do what the other says for one day. He must obey every order. EVERY. ORDER.

tobascodagama
Guest
tobascodagama

Loving the idea of the Facet skills. This Elite legend sounds really cool.

Kurogane335
Guest
Kurogane335

Kalamari The others classes looks almost stale, now, thought. :(

Tinabeanses
Guest
Tinabeanses

It seems to me that this is the stance for when the front does need to be filled though. Wherever there are allies, the Stance of the Dragon seems like it’ll be useful.

AnastashsKontostergios
Guest
AnastashsKontostergios

i wish i could change mymain to Revenant T_T

Kalamari
Guest
Kalamari

now that the rev is complete it really looks like an awesome, fun and activ class to play!

great job on the article, tina!

Serrenity
Guest
Serrenity

Sooo what happens when you put The Herald and the Dragon Hunter head to head?

anatheod
Guest
anatheod

Awesome read, GJ with the Q&A. I like the active approach to buffing Anet is taking with the revenant specialization. I ve been thinking lately of going back to WvW with my Tempest but after reading this, i am not so sure now.
Shield as a weapon…meh but i wont complain, skill 5 intrigues me A LOT.

GamerToons
Guest
GamerToons

Awesome Story. This is why I come here and backed you guys.

Great job.

PersistentWorld
Guest
PersistentWorld

Great job guys. Awesome scoop and I can’t wait to play it!

woolydub
Guest
woolydub

Great read, Tina! All of the skills look great. Glad to see the tie-ins too. The Rev isn’t a frontline defender though as evidenced by Roy pushing that conversation to it being a more ranged defender type. Sure, you can jump in the mix from time to time but he has hinted on multiple occasions that it shines from a ranged position.

arktourosx
Guest
arktourosx

Super cool.  Can’t wait to see the hard details on how these things work and the unmentioned stuff on Friday.

BobDobalina
Guest
BobDobalina

Guess I have a reason to go for Flameseeker Prophecies now. Nice elite.

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