Dragonhunter is the elite specialization for Guardians. Who would have thought it eh? While I’m sad that it’s not Paragon, seriously those wings are misleading, the Dragonhunter is a pretty cool specialization. I’ll go over the Dragonhunter’s Virtue active changes as well as the longbow abilities. First let’s take a look at the core specialization that Guardians have.
Guardian Core Specialization
Zeal‘s line focuses on Symbols and damage. Symbolic Power offers a chance for symbol to burn enemies. Zealous Blade offers the Greatsword bonuses. Kindled Zeal grants condition damage based on power which is great for increased burning damage. Expeditious Spirit is the spirit weapon trait that burns foes and reduces recharge. If a player doesn’t use spirit weapons, Shattered Aegis might be a better pick as it does damage to nearby foes when aegis is removed from you. There’s also the option of Symbolic Avenger that lets you do more damage to enemies standing in your symbol.
Radiance is the critical hit line. Radiant Power as a minor trait alone seem pretty useful as it grants increased crit chance when attacking foes on fire. Wrath of Justice I can see being useful as it immobilizes a target when you hit with Virtue of Justice active. Radiant Fire look so good as you gain Zealot’s Flame AoE fire around you when you crit, you gain more burning duration AND your torch skills recharge faster. So you can combo the trait with the actual Zealot’s Flame skill of constant AoE fire damage around you or your target. Combine this with the Grandmaster trait Amplifed Wrath for an increase in burning damage (and burn enemies who block you) and it’s scary to think about. Perfect Inscriptions is useful for Signet builds as it’s the signet traits rolled into one.
Valor is the defense line. Might of the Protector grant you might when you block attacks. This minor trait alone will be great for high skill cap players who know when to block in order to gain a lot of might stacks. Strength of the Fallen I can see a lot of players taking as you lose a condition at a set interval plus you degen less health while in down state. Altruistic Healing is a trait that heals you when you apply a boon to allies. This would work really well in shout builds. Monk’s Focus is really good for Meditation builds as it rolls all the meditation skills into one.
Honor seems like the boon line. Honorable Staff reduces staff skill recharge and increases boon duration. Pure of Voice is the trait to have when running a Shout build as it reduces recharge on shouts and converts conditions to boons. Pure of Voice can be contested with Writ of Persistence as it’s the symbol trait that makes symbols larger, last longer and heals.
Virtues mainly is for Virtue F1-F3 skills. The main thing that changed in this line is Master of Consecrations reduces recharge and increases the duration on Consecration skills. Consecrations are automatically ground targeted.
In summary, the Guardian core specializations feel like you know where you want to go if you want to go damage oriented or support/bunker oriented. Some lines combine really well with others. For example, Valor with Radiance alone makes for a great blocking burn build. For Support you don’t have to pour into all defense and have a bit of offense as well which is nice. I alos like that there are more “Support” options to have a balance of offense and defense rather than choosing one. DPS builds I feel will go into Zeal and Radiance for sure. Valor, Honor and Virtues are the go-to options for Support and Bunker builds.
Dragonhunter Elite Specialization
Game Designer Karl McLain who work on the Guardian, Elementalist and Thief specializations wrote the article about the Dragonhunter which is the elite specialization for Guardians. Note that this specialization will be available if you get Heart of Thorns. This specialization offers new active Combat Virtues with similar effects, access to the longbow, some trait features, and new trap skill along with their elite trap: Dragon’s Maw.
So, when Dragonhunter is chosen as a specialization, a Guardian’s virtues have more of a combat aspect when activate while retaining the same type of passive effects. Here’s how the active for Virtues will change:
- Spear of Justice – Virtue of Justice’s active changes into a spear, that sounds like a skill shot, as it pierces through enemies in it’s path tethering them. The tethered enemies then get hit with pulses that cause burning.
- Wings of Resolve – Virtue of Resolve’s active changes into a leap (hence the angel wings) where allies are healed wherever the Dragonhunter lands. This Virtue can be traited to additionally do damage to foes.
- Shield of Courage – Virtue of Courage’s active changes into a shield that is placed in front of you that blocks attacks. Since this says attacks and not just projectiles, I assume any not projectiles like a Thief’s Cluster Bomb can be blocked as well.
The longbow shoots fast, light based projectiles. The longbow offers Guardians a better, viable range option but allows for support as well. For example, the longbow for Dragonhunters has the longbow skill Symbol of Energy which grants vigor to allies. There’s also Deflecting Shot which is an arrow that can block enemy projectiles.
Finally, Dragonhunters will have the “hunter” part of their name have meaning (exclusing the longbow) with light based trap skills. Traps offer a small heal when placed and can be traited to cripple and bleed. One trap described in the article is the elite skill: Dragon’s Maw. This trap does damage and blinds enemies when triggered by an enemy. Allies in the area get healed by a large amount.
This elite specialization is great for Guardians. First off it grants them a really good long range option for Guardians (Scepter and Staff weren’t cutting it). It also combines well with a Damage oriented Guardian or a Support oriented Guardian. The longbow and Virtues also offers a low and high skill cap where a more well placed Spear of Justice or Deflecting Shot will offers better results.
The Dragonhunter can be seen in action on Ready Up tomorrow on May 8th at noon Pacific. As usual, it will be on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel!