Guild Wars 2 reveals the Guardian’s new elite spec, Willbender, and new Virtuoso and Harbinger details

    
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We’ve been buzzing all week over the impending reveal of Guild Wars 2 first three elite specs from End of Dragons. Technically, we already have some glimpses of the first two; the Mesmer’s Virtuoso was revealed during the preview event, and the Necromancer’s Harbinger got a video yesterday. But the third one – and more details – have had the playerbase on the edge of its seat. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait longer, as this morning, ArenaNet has dropped a fresh preview of all three!

First up, the Guardian – yes, you were right; the teaser pic was a Guardian – elite spec is called the Willbender.

“Willbenders are protectors of the Canthan throne and fated guardians to the Weh no Su (or Ascendant Emperors). A new form of Guardian that uses of an off-hand sword and physical abilities to help them reach and execute their foes, the willbender makes the profession more mobile than it has ever been. The willbender’s off-hand sword and many physical utilities have been given multi-strike and bonus movement capabilities making it a highly aggressive damage dealer, bursting down foes while simultaneously maintaining their health and well-being through destruction on the battlefield.”

And here’s our first look at the Willbender!

The Necro spec, Harbinger, got a video yesterday.

“The harbinger borrows a dash of old west gunslinger, and mixes it with a splash of wandering apothecary, expressed by their elixir skills and related support traits. The result is a fast-paced, frenetic combat style that rewards skill, risk, and biting off exactly as much as you can chew (but no more) while subverting the traditional, more methodically-paced gameplay of Necromancer.”

And of course, the Virtuoso is set to shake up the Mesmer class… in song form.

“The Mesmer is normally known for deviousness, trickery, and complexity, creating illusions to distract enemies and then ‘shattering’ them to various effect. Weaving telekinesis and the Canthan martial traditions of the blade into a wholly new style of fast and active combat, the virtuoso changes this by disregarding trickery and embracing all-out offense, using their magic to summon enchanted blades, which they wield telekinetically for immensely powerful attacks, or inflicting debilitating conditions.”

Expect still more dishing tomorrow at 3 p.m. EDT during ArenaNet’s big reveal stream, and of course, everyone can test out all three characters next week during the first of the planned beta events.

 

Source: Press release
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Carlo Lacsina
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Carlo Lacsina

So lorewise I have 2 theories. Shiro was a willbender since the video said they protect the Canthan throne. Another theory is that their fighting style is an offshoot of the Assassin’s fighting style. I’m leaning more towards the first theory.

On a completely other note, even with the awesome lore, I don’t think I can play this, or any dual-wielding, class in GW2 just because of the animations. The sword autoattacks always has the player attack with only their right hand while they hold the off-hand sword awkwardly. It looks fine when it’s a sword mainhand and dagger offhand, but I just can’t stand dual swords or dual axes because it just doesn’t look that cool.

If wielding a sword in the off hand changes the autoattacks in a way that shows the character attacking with BOTH weapons, consider me sold. But as of right now, I’m sticking to my Tempest and Herald.

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SmiteDoctor

Pfft Dual Wield Sword Guardian please!

This is a mofo Guardian!

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styopa

That’s a GILF.

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SmiteDoctor

Looked that up G stands for Grandma?

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styopa

If your grandma looked like that, absolutely.

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Bruno Brito

If that outfit doesn’t look the SAME on a male, i’ll lose my shit.

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SmiteDoctor

Hold my beer, be back in a few hours.

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SmiteDoctor

Technically shows more skin

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Bruno Brito

Beautiful. Can it be the same as the female where it shows the same type of skin? Or do you have to have that color?

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SmiteDoctor

I have to look at the Guardian’s dyes, the problem is I think her dyes are more suitable for her skin tone, but considering GW2 has hundreds of dyes (I have dozens) I’m sure there’s something to select I just randomly did that on the fly.

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Bruno Brito

As long as it shows skin on the same level as the female, i’m gucci. I just don’t like males not having the same sexyness applied to them.

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SmiteDoctor

Here’s the problem though, hairless might work for Humans, but Norn should be more like Bears with the body hair to go with the thick body, there’s no way to duplicate body hair with dyes.

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Bruno Brito

I still don’t see the issue here. What’s wrong with wanting sexy bears?

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Natalyia

Sword/Sword Guardian? Yes, please. :) That’s two of the three so far that I’m interested in (although I’m an inveterate altoholic.)

The blight-based Necromancer is cool, and very Cantha-themed, but not my cup of tea, I don’t think.

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Michram142

You can still use other main hand weapon – Mace or Scepter, not only sword, it also applies to greatsword, staff, hammer, focus, shield, torch – so there are a lot of ways to play each new specialization, but the main weapon is of course off-hand sword :)

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mars omg

ArenaNet stole my GW1 account from NCSoft. I had all the xpacs too. I really hope they shutter in my life time. SOB.

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Dankey Kang

Nice that the guardian is getting a more authentic dual wield experience, but it’s gonna be a hard sell over the other elite specs which are already considered to be two of the best in the game.

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Arktouros

None of these interest or inspire a purchase out of me.

Two classes left out of the ones I actually play.

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styopa

Me neither, frankly but meh, I’m guessing some people will like them.
My trouble is that ANet doesn’t have a great track record so far of balancing specs so even if I’m not personally served by whatever elites they put out, it’s not a big deal. What concerns me is that I’m not looking forward to the rollercoaster of edits, fixes, balance patches to oscillate out to something more stable for at least a year after EoD releases.

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Arktouros

As a WvW player it’s especially frustrating because our game mode is virtually ignored. The sheer volume of Scourges and Spellbreakers after Path of Fire launch was incredibly depressing to the point I rolled off my Ele (after they nerfed all it’s staff damage because of raiding) then Revenant (changed too many mechanics and pirate ship meta became too dominant).

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styopa

I’ve actually just started enjoying WvW. Never touched it, aside from back when I had to for map completion.
Now trying to gear up a scrapper to be super heals.

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Arktouros

Yea the Minstrels set meta that’s developed is interesting that the defensiveness of the set and gear while sacrificing most of the offense (relying entirely on scourges now for damage and barriers) is an interesting concept to keeping balls alive for fighting. I folded into it quite well on my Mesmer. Still a bit sad my Boon stacking Frontline Herald is no longer relevant for WvW though as it was by far my favorite character for it post Elementalist nerfs.

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Bruno Brito

he sheer volume of Scourges and Spellbreakers

You didn’t even need to finish that sentence before i started feeling the urge to vomit. It’s amazing how Scourges completely screwed the game mode ( which wasn’t really on a great place before anyway ), and how they’re a problem EVERYWHERE.

Balancing is always iffy in MMOs but GW2 can achieve new lows. It’s amazing how bad Anet is at it.

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Arktouros

They really messed up the “boon economy” of the game in one fell swoop giving so much boon strip to new classes. Basically made playing impossible because if you got close to the enemy team all your boons would convert/dispel and well then you just died. Was the final nail in the coffin after the original stability changes for the small ball zerg busting meta.

But why did they have all that new boon stripping? Because new PvE game design in Elona had mobs (like Joko’s soldiers) who would spit out tons and tons of boons and you had to have a class to counter it.

This is why I say PvP game modes are always an afterthought in all these PvE games.

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Bruno Brito

To be fair, the boon-condi issue existed before elite specs, but i agree with the overall assessment.

Necros were getting the short end of the stick everywhere until Scourge, because they’re the only class withheld by design, since…well this is what happens when one class is the line of equilibrium between a game being a boon-spam fiesta or being relatively “healthy”. Necros were bad in PvE, great in WvW and absolute insanity in PvP until the later levels where focus-fire would keep them at bay ( and their builds couldn’t be tanky because the Necro ends up useless ).

Then came Scourge. Anet’s solution to the design that were both holding the Necromancer back AND the entire system back was to make the Necromancer way better at vomiting AoE. 2 Scourges were my bane last week when i played the 3v3 arenas for competitive.

I haven’t played WvW for a while now. Did it go back to pirate-ship meta? The way Scourges function i would assume it did. Specially with the ammount of projectile hate in the game and the fact that even with that, if you get away from the zerg, you’ll get Rapid Fire’d by Soulbeasts.

The only reason they’re giving mobility to the Harbinger is because of the Blight mechanic. Anet made clear several times that Necro will never get mobility and active defense as long as Shroud exists as a HP pool mechanic ( and the entire boon-corrupt potential of the class making them fearsome duelists ), even if in reality, life force generation is terrible for PvP and forces the Necro in awkward playstyles.

I’m yet to see a company mess up design and balance this badly, and i played WoW.

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Peregrine Falcon

My main has been a Guardian since launch.

It varies from patch to patch, but usually Guardians can either be tanky or be a glass cannon. And they’ve never had great battlefield mobility.

It looks like I might actually be able to play a high-mobility tough melee striker.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Thematically, I may have found my main. Or at least 2nd-3rd character Guardian alt.

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Utakata

So…dual wielding Paladin? o.O

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TomTurtle

The sword skins they chose to show the Willbender make it stand out more, though I’d like to have seen the skills in action without them as it’s hard to tell what effects are from the skins and which are inherent to the elite spec.

I’m initially feeling a bit underwhelmed on this one, its mechanics feel a bit more plain, but it looks like it could be fun to play a mobile version of Guardian regardless. The livestream tomorrow could help warm me up more on this one.