Well well. It seems this week’s Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns news is on Specializations! Game Designer Jon Peters drops the news in two posts (Part 1 and Part 2 here). So in a nutshell I’ll explain how specializations work and how will it be incorporated with the skill system we have now. I’ll also cover how we’ll be earning utilities and traits in the future!
Core & Elite Specializations
Specializations will be separated into two variations. The first is the Core Specialization which is basically a newer version of the trait system we have in place now. With Core Specializations there are no more trait points but instead players will be able to choose 3 out of 5 profession trait, now specialization, lines. For example, for elementalist I can choose Water Magic, Fire Magic and Arcana as my 3 core specialization lines. This will in turn unlock everything in the line. That’s right: the adept, master and grandmaster tier traits along with the 3 minor traits will be unlocked for each line chosen. The trade off to this is that there will be less trait options to choose from. As you can see in the picture above, Each core specialization line will have 9 major traits in total, 3 for each tier (adept, master and grandmaster). Some traits are being added to a professions kit such as ground targeting for necromancer wells which was a trait.
Elite Specialization is the other variation of Specializations. These specializations will be coming with Heart of Thorns such as the Ranger “Druid” specialization.
Profession Reward Track
This the new system for unlocking specializations and utility skills. Progression in these tracks will be done via Hero Points. These points are earned through leveling a character and Hero Challenges in the world (aka new name for Skill Challenges). So what happens to the skill points you have now? They’ll all be converted into a “new crafting material“. If you have a level 80 that has 13% map completion should be able to unlock enough utility skills, specialization lines and traits for some decent builds.
In this system there will be a reward track for each core specialization as well as utility types. For example, the Water Magic track is a specialization in which you first have to unlock the minor trait, then all the adept traits, then the next minor trait, then all the master traits… you get the idea. For utilities, elementalists have a set of utility skills called Cantrips which they would have to unlock one at a time. For the Utility tracks, it seems the healing skill will be the first to be unlocked (if any), the elite skill last (again, if any). All the other utilities that fit in the track will fall in between those two.
Reward tracks for Elite specializations will feature a bit more. An Elite Specialization track will unlock a new weapon, mechanics, skills and traits. These tracks also offer rewards such as new runes, sigils, the weapon skin linked to the elite specialization and an armor piece that is themed after the weapon skin.
Specializations For PvP
PvP players don’t fret. All core specializations will be unlocked and the Elite Specialization will be unlocked if you own Heart of Thorns.
I really like this new Profession Reward system. Buying traits felt really unrewarding and going out to get traits could prove to be annoying depending on the content needed to be done. Earning my skills and traits by means I can control is a much better and more rewarding solution. The trait-to-specialization changes also help with balancing professions. Needless to say, some professions are better than others in PvP so maybe this will help even things out.
This does bring up a ton of questions. What happens to items that can be bought with skill points; will we need to use gold now? Will racial skills be part of the Profession Reward system? Well there will be a Q&A on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel Friday, April 24th 2015 at noon Pacific. Be sure to tune in or check out the video later to find out more!