Guild Wars 2 Elite Specializations As Secondary Profession Throwback
Originally, I thought Elite specializations were a way to offer more trait options, a new weapon and new forms such as Druid. It was only later that I found out that Druid is the name for the Ranger Specialization but I didn’t put much thought into it. After reading the Dragonhunter article that was released recently and the Chronomancer last week, I think it’s clear now what elite specializations are all about. Elite specializations, in my opinion, are a spin on GW1’s secondary professions. Here’s why I think this is so.
What’s A Secondary Profession In Guild Wars 1?
First I should explain what the original Guild Wars offered with secondary professions. A secondary profession in GW1 would allow a player gain access to the skills of another profession except for the primary attribute of the profession. For example, a Ranger can get Monk skills from the attributes of Healing Prayers, Smiting Prayers, Protection Prayers but not from Divine Favor which is the Monk primary attribute.
Skill Types Are Profession Complimenting
Right now, Professions are associated with certain skill types such as Necromancers with wells and Rangers with traps. With elite specializations, professions are gaining one skill type they didn’t have access to but with the profession’s touch on it. Mesmer will get Time Magic which compliments the Mesmer profession but have well skills which is a skill type from Necromancers. Guardians will get light based skills and projectiles which, again, compliments the profession but have trap skills which is a skill type mainly from Rangers. Thieves have traps too but you rarely see them.
Some people may not like having their skill types shared with other professions which is perfectly understandable. The skill types per profession makes the profession unique in some way. I still feel that professions will still be unique in some fashion much like how GW1 Secondary professions don’t allow a player to gain the primary attribute. In the case of Guild Wars 2, the Function skills (F1 to F4/F5) are a clear example of profession uniqueness.
Offers Profession-Lacking Options
Players in the original Guild Wars would pick a secondary profession in order to gain something they couldn’t with their core profession or to get skills to compliment your primary profession. For example Monk’s Rebirth skill in GW1 was a great resurrect skill that also brought the person to your location. This skill was useful for picking up players that died in bad spots.
It’s no secret for Guardian players that Staff and Scepter are short to mid range options and that they don’t provide a good long range option. Also, Mesmers don’t really have great AoE without some Phantasms, traiting for it, or shattering illusions. Usually Memsers don’t shatter illusions (unless necessary) to keep up damage.
Elite specializations offer some of these lacking qualities. With wells, Mesmers have better, more reliable and bigger (radius-wise) AoE options. Guardians now have a better range option with the longbow. I think that the other specializations we haven’t seen yet will offer a new option that the profession wouldn’t have otherwise. Some might be less effective as others but would most likely provide something the profession lacks.
A Better Way To Expand Skill Progression
In the original Guild Wars, The Eye of the North expansion offered players more skills to obtain in each profession attribute. In other words, EotN gave players, more or less, the standard way to offer more skills in an expansion.
I’m pretty sure ArenaNet has thought of ways to expand on traits for Heart of Thorns and Guild Wars 2 as a whole. I also think that ArenaNet realized that they couldn’t expand well with the current trait system and needed to change it into specializations. They’ve done so and it works but they’ve also given themselves a way to expand in the future. Elite Specializations will help immensely when making expansions and offering new ways to progress. They have the Mastery System for progression as well but players also like to have new skills to work with. With Elite Specializations as Secondary Professions, they can offer a skill type to a profession (where it makes sense) and provide a new way to play a profession while keeping the core and the feel of the profession.
Overall, I like Elite Specializations as a way to expand and play a profession in new ways. Elite specializations, much like GW1 secondary professions, offers a new way to play the profession but retaining the feel of the profession. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the elite specializations have to offer!