Published on January 27th, 2013 | by The Gamer2
GW2: How To Choose a Profession for Your Playstyle
As with any MMO, first start-up is both an exciting and overwhelming experience, so much so that players often prefer to just jump into it picking up the game as they go along. Typically, in the MMO/RPG world, this can leave players having regrets later on. You generally only become aware that your character is underpowered or simply a bore to play in the late game after you’ve done the legwork and spent arduous hours grinding to try to strengthen your character enough to the point where its final playing mechanics become available. GW2 thankfully eschews the formula that players anticipate from MMO’s. In GW2, you have less to lose by just picking whichever character is appealing and rolling with it, as you can find out rather early on in your playing experience whether or not that profession’s playing style is intriguing and fun to play; within the first 3 hours of playing. This is because, unique to GW2, once you get your first abilities, your characters playing style does not change much. Your character merely perfects the playing style it begins with, so you don’t need to fret to much.
Also, unprecedentedly in MMO’s, you can actually thoroughly test a given build at level 80 by entering the mists, following a brief tutorial. You can join a populated PVP arena, or try the characters abilities in the lobby. You get all the professions skill and abilities, and access to all the gear the game has to offer. So feel free to test out all the professions if you wish before settling on one. Even if you skip the mists, at level 11 you’ll unlock everything you need to know that characters playing style. So if you don’t like your selected character by level 11, you’re not going to like it at level 80 in GW2, and you should select a different character. In any case, having an understanding of each of the character classes and professions can save you a few hours.
An introduction to the professions
Picking the right profession will take place in two separate parts. There are 3 general playing styles; Soldier, Adventurer and scholar, and two more meticulously defined sub-professions within these main professions. So, let’s have a look.
In addition, one might consider a gaming guide such as the GW2Domination guide after choosing a profession; The GW2Domination guide is a very comprehensive GW2 Guide, with LOTS of great info, check it out here: GuildWars2Domination
Playing Style: Melee
Sub-professions: Warrior or Guardian
This is your typical melee character. Often the character best suited to beginners, typically point and click characters. The character is the tank character; it’s well-suited to taking a ton of damage, as well as dishing it out with melee weapons which it is best suited towards. As is typicaly with MMO’s, this type of character is ideal for beginners who often don’t have the micro skills required to optimally play the more intricate character classes, such as casters, called “scholars” in GW2. If you’re someone who wants to have a fairly robust playing experience, and doesn’t want to get into too many technicalities, the soldier proffession is likely ideal for you. GW2 however has broken down a lot of the traditional mmo barriers, so even the Soldier profession will require a certain degree of skill. Typically melee type characters, although have more HP than their allies, can just sit their and take a being. This isn’t exactly the case in GW2, the profession focuses on block damage and controlling enemies, which you’ll have to learn. Also, neither profession is exclusively melee anymore either. The soldier class can also used ranged weapons such as rifles and bows if you are a warrior, and if you’re a guardian, cepters and staves.
Playing Style: Artillary; proficiency with bows and rifles
Sub-Professions: Ranger, Engineer, and Thief
Adventurers can be best described as a middle-ground between the proverbial caster and melee character. The adventurer professions specialize in the use of ranged weapons. Thes are unique professions that would more appeal to the innovative MMO player, who likes elements of strategy. Adventurers are similar to what are rogues, Assassins or hunters in other MMO’s. Their main weaponry focus is long ranged weapons, bows or firearms. Although like the melee character class, in GW2, adventurers aren’t resigned to using just their preferential weapons; they can weild both melee weapons and long-ranged weapons, but are most effective and geared towards long-ranged weapons.
Professions: Elementalist, Mesmer, and Necromancer
Playing style: You’re proverbial Spell-caster
This is your renowned caster class; Wizard, Mage, Sorceress, who like the adventurer focuses almost exclusively on long-ranged magical attacks. The only salient difference in their playing styles is that casters use magic to attack and adventurers use artillery. Scholars you’ll find are much more flexible in GW2; they can assume a support, control role, or tank roll, contrary to the trope that is commonly associated with them. If you want to primarily be a spell caster, regardless of whether or not you want to be on the front-lines or cast from a distance, then you’ll want to pick a profession within the Scholar class.
Picking a Sub-profession
After you’ve selected a general profession, more accurately described as a general style of play, you’ll need to more meticulously select a sub profession. Granted, most professions within the main preferential professions will be suited to your style of play. Sub-profession define that style of play in more detail.
Warrior or Guardian
The warrior can be best described as your default/beginner profession. This is your typical cliché main character that’s been the focal point of every RPG since the early 90′s. The warrior is the simple guy with the sword, armor, and shield; nothing fancy. The warrior has more HP than its bi-product; the Guardian, and definitely has the most base HP in the game. The warrior deals infrequent and less reliable blows to his enemies, but they do more damaged than the Guardians more frequent and more accurate hits. If you want to deal a ton of damage, and like to feel brutish when others might be sluggish, you may prefer the warrior to the guardian.
Guardians are more about controlling the battle. They have a lot of HP as well, but not as much as the Warrior. They make up for it by being harder to hit, and generally better at avoiding taking any damage at all. Although they don’t do an enormous amount of damage like the warrior, they land more frequent and more reliable hits, while being more effective at protecting themselves and their allies. The Guardian is also your typical support/buffing character and tend to be party leaders. If you’ve ever played D2, the guardian would be most similar to the Paladin.
Adventurer sub-professions: Engineers, rangers and thief’s
The adventure class is a lot more diverse than the soldier class. Engineers are an interesting class and can potentially be a lot of fun. They make use of turrets, grenades, med kits and a number of other technology based utilities. They are mostly a support character, almost like a medic type of character. Despite this, they can do some heavy damaged with explosives.
The ranger on the other hand is your typical Bow and Arrow, cloak and dagger type character; basically your Rogue in WOW. These are your masters of ranged combat; their preferred weapons are either Bow or Rifles. Rangers also get a pet, which is unique to this class. The pet obviously tanks in the front, while the Ranger fires arrows or rifle shots from a safe distance. The ranger can be built melee, but starting out it is best to play to your professions strengths, and arguably always so. If you want to be a master marksman and have a cool pet as support, Ranger is you character.
Last but not least for the adventurer class… the thief. The thief makes use of stealth and traps, which are the thief’s primary abilities. The thief is very similar to Assassins from Diablo 2. The thief is all about mobility, stealth, and traps.
Elementalist, Mesmer & Necromancer
The elementalist is your cliché caster character that everyone who’s ever played any MMO is well acquainted with. The elementalist was there from the start, way back when the inspiration for D&D (and every RPG/MMO game after) – Lord of the Rings, featured a little known character called Gandalf the Grey. Casters are typically support characters that dish out elemental damage from the flank. Often if they’re powerful enough or well-equipped enough they can assume any roll. Their special mechanics are what are known as attunements. Casters can heal allies, use buffs, conditions, and deal perhaps the most damage out of any character class. If you want to play the typical elemental caster, the elemenatlist is the profession for you. Be warned though, Elementalists have the lowest HP in GW2, and my feel a bit vulnerable when out in the open.
Mesmers are somewhat unique to GW2. It’s difficult to think of a suitable MMO analogy for them. Mesmors have mastered the art of illusion. The mesmer can make clone himself which confuses the enemy and causes them to attack the wrong character. The Mesmer is something different that’s capable of assuming a ranged or melee role. If you’re feeling adventurous try the Mesmer.
Last, but certainly not least is the Necromancer. The Necromancer is a dark, esoteric type of character who’s a master of summoning the undead to do his bidding. In GW2, Necromancers have high survivability due to their unique skill death shroud, which grants not only a secondary health bar, but more powerful skills. Necromancers are a more sturdy caster than the elementalist and the Mesmer. For those who love darker esoteric type characters, they may find they have an unusual attraction to the Necromancer. (This is my favorite character class )
So there’s your professions. This should be enough for you to at least get a general idea of where to start.
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