After five, long months, we have been blessed with a new profession for Guild Wars 2. The Guardian appeared on the Guild Wars 2 website earlier today, fleshed out with details on skills, unique abilities and available weapons. I’ll delve right on in.
With the reveal of the Guardian has come much excitement over how the class can be used. It appears that the profession can both comfortably hold its own, and work well in a group environment. This is equally great news for those looking for a support option, and for those who wish to be able to enter melee with self buffing capabilities. As mentioned in this Gamespot interview with Jon Peters and Izzy Cartwright, “Guardians are, like pretty much all of Guild Wars 2’s professions, balanced to be good when played solo and good to have in a group, but not needed in a group.” That’s reassuring.
The skills available to the Guardian look cool to use, especially in a group. Imagine the possibilities of using wards to back enemies into an Elementalist’s AoE spells, or a Ranger’s barrage attack. The weapon spells feel as if they’ve been greatly improved from those in Guild Wars 1; they’re now used as an active summon, instead of a passive bonus added to a weapon. The protection skills also seem to be a re-imagining of monk skills we have in Guild Wars 1, such as Aegis, adding to the feel that the Guardian has drawn much from old professions.
The virtues available to the Guardian don’t appear dissimilar to the abilities possessed by old professions, either. It appears to me that when Guardians keep virtues to themselves, they’ll be reminiscent of a Dervish, with buffs affecting only the individual. I’m thinking along the lines of a reworked Mystic Regeneration and Heart of Fury. When the Guardian shares the virtues with other party members, they’ll become more of a throwback to the Paragon or a Monk. Sounds like a good Guardian players will need a decent sense of timing to be able to best utilise the group focused abilities.
The weapons available to the Guardian seem like they could be split into a binary opposition of spellcasting and melee. Sceptres, staffs and warhorns, I’d like to imagine, would focus more on supportive spells and buffs, whereas swords, hammers and maces may be used to apply more offensive tactics. There could also be opportunities to create a middle-ground of offense and defense. We’ll have to wait and see what further gameplay footage/articles/staff interviews bring.
It seems like ArenaNet will indeed pull off not having a dedicated healing class in GW2, but I can’t help thinking we’ll see some pockets of players hanging around dungeon entrances “LF Guardians”.