Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Elite Specialization preview weekend impressions

Over the weekend Guild Wars 2 players had the chance to get to grips with the new Path of Fire elite specializations in a PvP setting, so I, of course, jumped in with both feet and tried out some of the specializations for myself.

You’ll know already if you’re familiar with my ramblings that PvP isn’t a massive love of mine, but I simply couldn’t resist giving it a go for the sake of the elite specializations. I didn’t get to sample each one for myself because I had some key family events that fell over the weekend too, but I’ve been sure to provide a brief as-I-saw-it summary of the elite specializations I didn’t get to spend time actively playing.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I’ll share my thoughts on my preview time spent playing around with the Weaver, Holosmith, Mirage, Scourge, and Spellbreaker and watching the work of the other elite specializations. These are simply rapid-fire impressions — I had to be brief to fit them all into the span of one column — but they should nevertheless be helpful to those who didn’t get hands-on over the weekend.

Weaver (Elementalist)

Playtime: Around an hour or two

What it does: A Weaver, as the name implies, possesses the ability to knit together different elements to create new skills that possess the best characteristics of the two blended elements. Where Elementalists once would have changed their elemental attunements at will, with a cooldown on the recently used one, a Weaver’s elemental cooldown is one and the same for all elements to prevent an immediate swap to another blend before the cooldown ends. The Weaver favours close combat with a sword, getting up close and personal with foes to deftly channel combined elements to deadly effect.

Impressions: I relied quite heavily on Unravel during my time with the Weaver, which I wasn’t expecting. The ability to untangle my attunements briefly let me get a little bit of breathing space in familiar territory while I never figured out what I should be doing, but I deeply suspect that seasoned Weavers will not rely on this ability at all. The dual attack skills felt powerful with their clever effects and, although I’ve read many comments to the contrary, I didn’t find them lacklustre or boring at all. I also took a little while to get to grips with such a squishy character taking on the front line role because I never really use my Ele for PvP: I’m not fantastic at PvP by any stretch, but I certainly left behind many corpses while I attempted to get this one right. I feel as though I need much more help in the survivability department, perhaps even some improvements to the barrier base numbers? I get the impression that I will love this elite spec in PvE settings, but a PvP novice like me simply cannot cope with it in those do-or-die moments.

Holosmith (Engineer)

Playtime: About two or three hours

What it does: Holosmiths harness the power of the strong Elonan sun for their quirky experimental inventions, creating light constructs with the newly created and immensely powerful photon forge. Like all good inventions in GW2, the photon forge isn’t perfect: the device is rather prone to overheating when under heavy use and this heat output can cause a great amount of damage the user. While many Holosmiths will want to avoid the burn, some choose to roll with the device’s overheating and use it to cause damage to both nearby enemies and themselves.

Impressions: Oh my goodness, is the photon forge ever fun! Of all the elite specializations, I was most looking forward to testing out the Holosmith, and I’m certainly not disappointed. It looks cool, feels fluid, and it possesses that uniquely Engi quirk as well. I felt as though the Holosmith was a fairly popular choice all round and I saw quite a number during my playtesting, which perhaps backs up my love for this elite spec. Holosmiths are heavy hitters and I definitely felt that this was the most powerful elite specialization I tested: It’s simply too early for me to claim that there are balance issues after only a handful of hours spent trying the specs, but it is something to watch out for. The only disappointment for me was that the sword doesn’t flow as nicely as I expected it to. Lastly, of every elite spec I tried, this one seemed to stand on its own the most. We’ll see if this is just the spec’s initial flashy appeal dazzling me or whether I’ll agree after launch.

Firebrand (Guardian)

Playtime: None, though my husband played it while joining me

What it does: The Firebrand is a rather more academic Guardian who is a zealous lorekeeper that strives to undo the corruption that Palawa Joko brought to the desert. The Firebrand makes for an excellent field medic and is also skilled in conjuring magical fire. These axe-wielders, who have access to both quickness and supportive healing abilities, use tomes to both deal with enemies and protect friends.

Impressions: Colour me impressed, ArenaNet! I didn’t initially click with the Firebrand on paper, but I have to say that this elite specialization pleasantly surprised me. This spec is all about offensive support: Bringing the bleeds and burns to foes seems to be very entertaining indeed if my husband is anything to go by. He managed to save my bacon a few times while also keeping up that condi damage, so I’d say that the spec does exactly what it says it will. I’ll certainly try out the Firebrand at the next available opportunity after watching him play.

Mirage (Mesmer)

Playtime: Less than an hour

What it does: The mirage cloak allows attacks to pass through this mesmer type without harm while also working offensively. The axe is useful for both close and mid range attacks, and the ambush mechanics allow for some impressive tactical plays that are appreciated by Mesmer fans. There’s not a whole lot more to mention here, which I’ll get into in my impressions below.

Impressions: While I found no huge bugbears while tinkering around with Mirage, nothing about how it works felt all that exciting for me. While I undoubtedly enjoy playing my Mesmer, but this elite spec simply felt like more of the same thing to me and I’m quite upset by that. To me, Mirage is visually more striking and has much more flavour than its base class, but mechanically speaking, I don’t find it much of a stretch from the base build at all. Am I alone in thinking this? I didn’t even put an hour into Mirage because it was such a shallow step from what I already understand about Mesmers. I’m particularly interested in hearing what you think about this one.

Scourge (Necromancer)

Playtime: Around two to three hours

What it does: The Scourge summon sand shades from areas of power that both shield allies and torment foes. Punishment skills remove boons and convert them into cripple and torment, while protective barriers for allies and the swift application of fear to enemies allows for excellent levels of field control. Scourges trade access to Death Shroud for those Shade skills to create this support build for Necromancers.

Impressions: This elite specialization adds a bit of complexity to the user-friendly Necromancer repertoire that I appreciated, though it was a bit of a task coordinating well in the PvP setting. I really missed my “oh crap, pop Shroud!” fallback, but this I’m sure is more of a Tina thing than an actual issue with the spec. Setting those sand shades effectively takes practice, and I feel as though getting that right in such a fast-paced setting is something that’ll need more than just a couple hours to master. I need to engage my brain far more than I have done before while playing my Necro and my skill use is far more situation-dependent than usual. When I got the balance, however, I did feel a little overpowered. Again, I won’t cry about balance issues after such a short playtest, but it’s something to keep my eye on.

Soulbeast (Ranger)

Playtime: None, though my husband played it while joining me

What it does: Soulbeasts merge with their pets to assume their archetype and gain specific abilities. The archetypes are far-reaching and offer the full host of flavours you’d expect: A Soulbeast can be a stout defender, ferocious attacker, deadly condi-based battler, supportive healer, or even a versatile utility user. Each pet family offers pets of multiple archetypes, of course, so a Soulbast really is spoiled for choice.

Impressions: The Soulbeast was the highlight of Steven’s weekend, but that’s not to say it was without problems. Survivability was a problem that he experienced throughout his testing and his damage output wasn’t stellar and the dagger main hand was rather lacklustre. Where the Soulbeast shines is most definitely in beast mode though: Steven thought that this was really cleverly employed and he enjoyed the variety offered in this department.

Renegade (Revenant)

Playtime: None

What it does: Renegades are made for the offensive support playstyle, pairing a significant damage increase with Kalla’s Fervour and granting might to allies with Heroic Command. Enhancing allies’ damage output while disrupting enemies is the order of the day here.

Impressions: Honestly, I didn’t play the Renegade because not one thing in the description made it sound at all unique or interesting. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s like ArenaNet just combined all the buzzwords from each other new elite spec and just spat them all out for this one in an attempt to make something interesting here. I admit though that my Revenant is probably my most neglected character after my Ranger, so perhaps it’s just me? The warband is apparently costly to use for not much payoff and I see that it polled poorly in the non-scientific but nevertheless still interesting poll that hit the GW2 Reddit.

Deadeye (Thief)

Playtime: None

What it does: The Deadeye used the rifle to deadly effect, taking out whatever foes happen to fall within that long sightline with ease. Deadeye’s Mark trades the Steal skill’s ability to steal items for the ability to steal aspects of their targets, and the kneel mechanics are a fantastic addition to the Deadeye repertoire.

Impressions: I feel as though I missed out here: That shockingly long range alongside the precision mechanics seem made for smallscale PvP settings to me. I do hope, though, that when I actually do test out Deadeye that it applies equally as well to PvE settings and isn’t just a clunky novelty in the open world. Perhaps this will be fun for taking out some world bosses from a new perspective? The cantrips and Malice generation seem interesting enough to have my attention though.

Spellbreaker (Warrior)

Playtime: Around an hour

What it does: The Spellbreaker is a throwback to the Sunspears, and their affinity with daggers comes from casting aside the outlawed spear while retaining its deadly tip to use at close range. Spellbreakers are experts at nullifying the advantages of magic use, with Loss Aversion dealing damage to enemies when stripping their boons. Full Counter is a powerful ability that both absorbs attacks and performs an interruptive counterattack to foes in your vicinity.

Impressions: I found the Spellbreaker to be a rather safe bet: Although it didn’t shock me, however, it was definitely more entertaining than the Mirage from my perspective. The reason for this lies mainly in how active I felt when playing and how much I had to actually engage with the skills to be successful. I found landing a full counter to be one of those “woo hoo!” moments you search for in PvP, and the maintenance mechanics found with adrenal health, for example, kept my attention. I don’t know if it’s amazingly different from what we already had, true, but daggers make up for this for me. The daggers, while not amazing when it comes to raw damage output, look like poetry in use and blend in some useful utilities too. I’ll certainly give the Spellbreaker another whirl.

Over to you!

Did you play around with the elite specializations this past weekend? How did your favoured classes shape up? Let me know your thoughts on the elite specs — especially those I didn’t have time to test out for myself — in the comments below.

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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48 Comments on "Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 Elite Specialization preview weekend impressions"

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TBPlayer2112

As a Ranger main I wasn’t too thrilled with the Druid specialization in HoT. Soulbeast on the other hand is a very welcome change. I played with it for a few hours and I’m hooked. Will be pre-purchasing PoF now asap. Can’t wait to try out all the new pets and builds!

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draugris

Apart from balancing seem to be worse than ever, at least in pvp i spent the most time with scourge and holosmith.

Scourge imho powerwise is absolutely ridiculous regarding dmg output in condi but for me as a necromancer since beta i missed the necro feeling on this spec. Also i feel that scourge may be only a gimmicky one trick pony and if people figure out how to deal with the shades the spec may be useless but only time will tell. Holosmith was fun to play, i liked the photon forge mechanic and that you constantly pop in and out to balance damage you put out and damage you get. Powerwise holosmith imho is the second broken spec after the scourge.

The other specs with the exception of spellbreaker and weaver felt kinda meh to me. I really do hope that Arenanet this time take player feedback especially from the remains of the competitive community serious and tone the damage across the board down and balance things better than they did with hot.

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Paragon Lost

Yeah I’m worried that my main class will no longer be one that I enjoy with what I’m reading about the play style. I love playing my ranger as ranged and/or with a pet. The elite spec sounds like nothing that will interest me.

Personal peeve but it seems far too often that an mmorpg that I play will change the class that actually is my main/favorite one in a way that I don’t like. :/ I say that as an altoholic player who tends to play all classes to the cap at least. Maybe I’ll swap to my thief and make him my main. We shall see.

kalamari_
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kalamari_

and thats the good thing about elite specs. they are just options to play your class in another way and not completely change your class forever. you want to play a LB ranger with a pet in PoF? then play it! ;)

Mitzruti
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Mitzruti

I feel like beastmode is more the sort of thing to hop in, blow all the skills and then cancel. losing the pet is too much of a sacrifice to linger in it.

but really, as cool as the potential burst combo for my GS ranger is, I’m actually more interested in the new pets coming alongside it. some of them are pretty bonkers, wish they’d go back and touch up some of the junkier vanilla ones.

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Nathan Aldana

as a ranger and revenant player, I’m hyped as hell for soulbeast and renegade

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Nathan Aldana

Granted I admit thats based more on lore than sheer power.

abyssalstar
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abyssalstar

I main Ranger, so obviously Soulbeast is of the most interest to me. I wasn’t disappointed. I love the new mechanic and the flexibility of build options (as opposed to the Druid’s hard focus on support). I didn’t play too much, as I didn’t want to spoil myself before PoF goes live, but the taste of what I’ll be getting has me hyped.

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Paragon Lost

Liked, because I’m hoping that I do end up liking the new spec, but I am worried.

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Rumm

I find myself having to make a difficult choice. I really enjoyed Holosmith, to the point where I used one of my 80 boosts on an engineer, but I really dislike the other current engineer builds and having to swap in and out of different kits. If I decide to main Holosmith, and it gets nerfed to oblivion down the road, I’ll have a wasted character slot. The elite spec plays like a completely different class from the base engineer, which is an issue when the base class isn’t very fun.

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Peregrine Falcon

I see what you’re saying, but I love playing my engineer. I don’t bother to switch kits all of the time though, I just use the flamethrower. So much fun setting everything on fire!

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Alex Willis

I hear you on the kit switching — it’s the only thing preventing me from committing to the class. (Kit/Weapon switching is such a huge mechanic in this game and I cannot for the life of me figure out why.) Have you fully committed to the boost? If not, I’d say hold off — even a really awesome Holosmith will still have to switch at some point.

miol
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miol

I feel quite the opposite, but more because imo my engi isn’t an Asura to match the whole Holosmith theme, and I love the challenge of constantly changing kits so far with my condition vanilla one, as it has next to Elementalist and Mesmer one of the less boring and very flexible skill rotations on the fly! ;P

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Rottenrotny

Isn’t it weird that I’ve been playing GW2 almost every day and have purchased PoF already… yet I didn’t bother with the PoF preview nor have I cared enough to read about the elite specializations and all the new stuff?

I guess I’ll start now with this article! :P

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Alex Willis

I was in the same boat. I meant to try the new specs but got distracted doing WvW raids. The important thing was I still went out and had fun. :D

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blah blazh

All I did was test out each spec on Saturday for about 2 total hours, and then I stopped. The first weekend I did something similar. While I did want to play more, I want to save my excitement for when the expansion gets released.

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Rottenrotny

Sounds like a good plan.
Typically I avoid reading about and watching videos for upcoming games and expansions. I want to feel that total lost noob feeling when I log in day 1. ^_^

I’m gonna read about these elite specializations though and see if anything catches my interest. I’ve been leveling a Guardian and already have high lvl Sorc and Warrior so I’ve got some options. First impression here is disappointment though as I don’t see any elite specializations that use giant 2h swords/axes as their primary weapon.

Mitzruti
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Mitzruti

greatsword works well with spellbreaker because it’s burst skill loses nothing significant from being restricted to a 1st level. given that you can reset the cooldown with full counter, it shouldn’t be to hard to maintain fury anyway.

soulbeast’s greatsword while in beastmode give the attack-of-opportunity bonus to your own maul, and can use sic’em to boost their damage up even higher for a pretty cool burst combo.

just a couple ideas that seem like you might have fun with.

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Rottenrotny

Cool! Thanks for the info. I’ll check ’em out.

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Sally Bowls

I still don’t have a feel for whether elite specializations are just some flavor for the bored or the new meta. I.e., at the end of this year when things have settled down, what % of players/playtime will be launch/HoT/PoF specializations? 80/10/10? 5/5/90?

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imayb1

I’m sure meta builds will still list core classes alongside HoT and PoF specs for meta in various types of gameplay.

Personally, I am looking forward to trying several PoF specs. However, I’m not giving up Chrono for Mirage and while I plan to play Weaver and Scourge, I will build new characters for those specs so I’m not giving up my Tempest or Reaper, either. Yet, I enjoy core ranger. I’d like to think I am not alone in that I use a smorgasboard of classes. :)

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Alex Willis

Probably more like 10/40/50.

miol
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miol

Heavily depends if we’re talking about PvE, raids, WvW or sPvP…
Like it is with HoT right now, with big differences between those play types for every profession!

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blah blazh

My favorite was Scourge, it really felt good.

Renegade was intriguing for me. It is not a pvp spec for sure though. I’ll be interested to see how it does in pve.

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Alex Willis

New Necro player here but who is looking to keep playing the class. What did you like about Scourge?

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blah blazh

The damage potential is really great. Plus it has some decent might support if you want to play it that way. It seems fairly viable for both pvp and pve (haven’t tested it in pve though obviously). You do lose a bit of survivability with the lost of shroud but you do gain quite a bit of barrier gain (new mechanic) that can help offset that.

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Alex Willis

Given that I’m very new at the class and still haven’t unlocked Reaper, I’m finding I rely very heavily on Shroud for survival. In fact, I’m a fair bit more survivable than I thought I would be given how easy it can be to build life force and regen base health while in Shroud (meaning the only thing that threatens me with actual death is my Shroud cooldown). So I’m very curious about this spec, given that it’s not possible to Shroud at all — it seems like it would play as an entirely new class.

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imayb1

Actually, Scourge’s f5 is sand shroud, which grants barrier (life). As long as you plan ahead just a tad, barrier can make up for necro/Reaper shroud.

If you enjoy condi-necro, Scourge is going to be fun! Soooo many condis. Lots of boon corrupt, steal, and conversion too.

I recommend Wooden Potatoes’ overview of Scourge, as he runs down some of the powerful synergies available to the spec. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwTlsrnDs78

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Sally Bowls

As we know, MMO players just play what they enjoy.

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Utakata

I think that was a well aimed poke at the Outlaw Rogue spec in WoW. o.O

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Eliandal

When Ranger (my preferred class) just wasn’t keeping up, I just stopped playing. Since September 2015 I have about 10 hours total played – and 8 of that were trying out the new Soulbeast. I didn’t find anything to bring me back :/

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Arktouros

There’s a graph of Thematics vs Power and everyone has their breaking point on that graph where the raw power of the other class is more enjoyable than the theme of another.

Weakness is rarely enjoyable.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I went in thinking that the Weaver, Deadeye, and Firebrand would be my faves. I came out loving Deadeye, Spellbreaker, Soulbeast, and Scourge. I was having so much fun with those that I didn’t get to spend proper time with Holosmith, Mirage or Firebrand.

Thief is the one profession I never mastered. I spent most of my time with Deadeye, was awful with it, and still had the most fun with it. It’s fantastic. This is a return to form for ArenaNet as far as class design is concerned. Class design isn’t build design though.

There is a lack of build variety that will hurt my long term enjoyment for sure though. The traits that modify a single weapon are awful and purposefully limit the amount of choice a player has when making a build that fly in the face of the BS Mike O’Brien was trying to sell in the announcement video.

They pulled the plug on e-sports. Give us more variety. Variety lends itself to long term play where players are concerned. The more ways I have to play the more I am going to play in the long term.

Deadeye and Holosmith seem to be early front runners in the power dept. It’ll be interesting to see now that e-sports has perished how quickly Arenanet will address how powerful specs are.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend. Can’t wait for the expansion to be out!

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Alex Willis

What did you enjoy most about Scourge?

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

I enjoyed that it felt like something totally new. Some of the profs feel like tweaks. The Necro got a spec with some fundamentally different mechanics.

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Alex Willis

Logged into WvW on weekend. Scourge portals were crashing the instance left, right, and centre. So while I didn’t get a chance to play any of the new specs, I definitely was affected by them!

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Arktouros

Renegade was immensely disappointing. It’s essentially just a whole specialization there to prop up the Condition play style on the Revenant. It’s trait line is a minor damage increase over Invocation (the usual 3rd Condi DPS line currently) so it’ll be used. The wells will be a PvE damage add because 5 people procing bleeds for you on their attacks will add up to be a big damage boost. The shortbow will be handy in open world PvE for tagging mobs/events when you wanna be lazy and sit at range instead of doing more damage with Mace/Axe. So if you played a Mace/Axe Revenant in PvE then you got something for you.

In every other scenario the Renegade is just garbage. In WvW the wells die instantly because they’re “Spirits” who can be CC’d (stop effects) and die (super fast) as well as immobile (and WvW is constantly moving) so they have no practical use. The bow suffers constantly from annoying terrain issues where any sort of uneven terrain (read: everywhere) will block missiles or not let you use abilities continuing the tradition of bad Revenant weapons. The immense energy costs with massive cool downs and whatever developer’s obsession with a 3/4 cast time make the whole thing really go against the core of the Revenant. In SPvP it has no survivability and doesn’t do enough damage to be stand alone as a DPS spec nor does it have anywhere near the same offensive support that they claim. Just doesn’t really do anything but be the ranged PvE condi spec.

Weaver I enjoyed a lot however. I feel like for PvE I could make a good Viper/Trailblazer Fire/Earth/Weaver build and be pretty tanky for PvE roaming mostly going back and forth between Fire/Earth. In WvW I really had to plan out what I was going to do before I did it, but with only 5s swap back timers I didn’t really find it as bad as people were making it out to be. I’m really used to “I swapped off Fire, well guess I gotta do something else for 10 seconds” which just doesn’t exist on Weaver with such low swap timers. Never had to use Unravel and had a lot of fun in WvW with staff. The added survivability of Barriers and Vitality finally made me feel “normal” in terms of survivability. I hated the Tempest Minstrel Scepter/Horn meta that developed post HOT so Weaver adding onto the Staff Backliner is going to be pretty awesome.

Over all looks like my Elementalist is out of Retirement, and my Revenants are on the backburner.

miol
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miol

Is the range far enough to summon those “Spirits” on top of walls and at least help disrupt any defensive attempts in immobile siege situations, especially at gates?

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Arktouros

The Spirit Wells have 600 range and was 360 AOE radius on most of them. So this is the same as Meteor. So if you stand right below the wall, you might should be able to hit the wall edge. However of the two offensive wells one does very low damage but dazes for 1/4th seconds every second for 6 seconds and the other does okay damage/condis. The last one can be used to pretty reliably clear siege from walls at peak radius since it only has a 12s cool down and a 6s duration but hits 20 times.

The issues here are two fold however. For one, it’s power based damage so being condition spec’d wouldn’t work with it despite the tree having a huge affinity for conditions. So you’d have to run Viper which you’d really only do in a roaming style setup. For two, Herald is pretty much mandatory to survive most WvW (PvP) engagements in most servers because of the additional defenses it adds in the trait line. So even if you swap in Renegade temporarily for Mallyx or Jalis, you’d also have to swap out Herald trait line temporarily then the legend, destroy items, then swap back all the while being very vulnerable.

The only way I could see Kalla becoming viable in the current WvW game is if they allowed you to be the Tablet on Ventari (such as a GM Trait to make you count as the Tablet) which would then let you spec into Salvation, Corruption, and Renegade giving you condi/cleanse/heal setup that supports your allies. However with having to micro the Tablet, something absurdly difficult given how mobile WvW is, it just can’t work.

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imayb1

Yeah, the Kalla stance heal is very weak. Many point to that as reason alone not to use the spec because it can’t compete with Glint heal.

I was sad they didn’t take the opportunity to fix some stuff for revnant– like the lack of underwater abilities or the way rev loses all their utilities when they pick up a bundle. I thought shortbow was fun to use, but I wouldn’t bother with any of the awkward summons. Compared to specs like Weaver and Soulbeast that gained tons of new skills (including underwater ones), Renegade got kitchen scraps– not even a cold shoulder.

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Greaterdivinity

They undersold Firebrand so hard. The spec is definitely more than just offensive support, it feels like a completely different class compared to what the guardian has ever been able to do.

Seriously, I went from hating everything about it to the specialization being what may get me to purchase HoT. I wish we could have played it in PvE out in the world to get a better feel, but the kit feels so fantastic both from a design perspective (coherent direction for the spec with a very clear set of purposes, fits with core guardian themes) and to play mechanically. Animations are great for the most part as well (a few of the spell effects could probably be toned down a bit).

Didn’t spend much time doing anything else, but I’m legit looking forward to playing Firebrand in a way that I never was for Dragonhunter. While I was hype for a ranged option with DH, the overall specification never seemed to fit thematically nor did its kit feel particularly well designed or fun. But Firebrand? Ho boy, zero interest in the whole axe nonsense (though hey, not bad for a heavy condition build. Thinking Apothecary set will be super fun to use for group play given the flexibility it will bring), but the way it changed up the rest of the class? Yeah, A+ to whoever worked on it at Anet.

This is all from a super, mega casual PvE players perspective. I’m bad at this game : |

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thalendor

My Guardian has the most playtime of any of my characters in GW2 but I didn’t have time this weekend to play the preview. Glad to hear such good feedback on the Firebrand.

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Terren Bruce

I spent most of my time on the Weaver. That’s the one that pulled me the most from the trailers, but I was afraid it would be overly complex for my tastes. So I spent an entire evening on just that one elite spec. It was complex at first, but by the end of my playtime I felt I was starting to get a handle on it and now I don’t want to go back to staff Tempest for anything other than support builds.

Even just using the staff (a weapon I’m already using) the Weaver STILL felt like almost an entirely new class. I’m using elements I never bothered with before and my rotation feels totally different with being in multiple attunements at once and the hybrid skills.

When using a sword it becomes an entirely new class for me.

I feel like I could play Weaver throughout the expansion and have the same variety that I would get with playing 2 other classes put together.

I’m super excited to get into PoF and get my Weaver abilities for real. My only concern is that I’m not sure how they could top this for me in expansion 3 but that’s a concern for another day. :)

I think I’ll be using Unravel though, if only to get quick access to the original #3 skills. Because you can use a hybrid #3 skill, then use Unravel to go pure attunement, and then use the original #3 skill immediately. It doesn’t go on cool down just because you used the hybrid #3. I found that rather useful.

While I didn’t find the new abilities lackluster I think the spec is really meant to be used with the new Grievious stat combo that is in PoF. I expect the Weaver will have more of a punch when it has access to the stat combo it was most likely designed to have.

I bought a Frostforged Sword and Dagger skins from the trading post to match the staff I already had in preparation. When the time comes, my future Weaver will be ready (an d stylish!).

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Tiresias

Mirage feels strictly worse than Chronomancer. It’s a “selfish” Mesmer, which is the exact opposite of the role the class has filled since GW1, but it doesn’t gain any significant advantages for losing its powerful support abilities.

Scourge felt well-designed, but it’s feast or famine: either people let you run free and stand in your fire (thereby melting), or they remember that Necromancer as a base class has poor access to mobility, Stability and Protection and no access to immunities or blocks and just crowd control you to death from range.

Firebrand felt clunky. The Mantras hitting in a tiny cone meant that I pretty much could only use them for myself. The cast times are ATROCIOUS in PvP, resulting in me getting interrupted A LOT. Anything that can remove or convert Bleeding and Burning reduced your damage output to nothing as Firebrand has no cover conditions to protect its damage.

Deadeye’s burst damage output is just insane. On more than one occasion I landed 21k crits — on account of high stacks of Might, Malice (the new Steal effect), and a 100% critical hit rate with increased critical damage. The build is meant for a 100% glass cannon setup and really shines when it’s defended by a Necromancer or Mesmer. The amount of Stealth that it has access to makes it incredibly frustrating to play against.

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Rumm

I see Mirage’s issue, at least in PVE, being that will be that nobody will want it over Chronomancer and the buffs that it brings.

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J W

As mainly a Mesmer player, I was very disappointed by Mirage. The only somewhat new way to play it is to run Infinite Horizon and do an Ambush attack. However, in about any game mode, clones die easily and clone production on the class is bad. The ambush window, auto attacks and ambush attack are all clunky in actual use.

I could go on about the various issues, but I think the actual concept of Mirage is the core problem. This spec screams “you should have let us beta test earlier”. It’s a return to the “hide the real Mesmer” game that doesn’t ever work out. It’s a cross up of thief and mesmer, which already have a ton of overlap as classes. It’s an elite spec that doesn’t change the class mechanic at all. Mirage is a lot of flash with little substance.

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imayb1

I main mesmer too and I agree completely. As weak as mesmer currently is, I cannot see giving up Chrono for this new spec.

gelfred
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gelfred

I dabbled with most and thought most had some interesting changes. All around they are certainly better designed and more exciting than HoT elite specialisations.

Engineer wont be my main character for launch after 5 years, did not like Holosmith, though it has some nice traits and decent complexity, its just not for me.

Came off impressed by Renegade, though I never played much revenant before this. Weaver is just more elementalist which I enjoyed. Mirage I didnt really manage to understand. Firebrand was good, not sure I like the mantras and axe but otherwise it provides alot of options. Spellbreaker and thief didnt leave any impression. Soul-beast will make me enjoy melee ranger again probably.

The expansion is looking to be good, nothing too exciting with it, but a good solid increase in content.

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