On the latest episode of Points of Interest, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Game Designer Robert Gee for a look at the reaper, a new elite specialisation for the necromancer profession. Equipping the reaper elite specialisation line gives necromancers access to greatswords and opens up a melee playstyle as relentless as death itself. As always, all the numbers shown in the livestream are subject to balance changes.
The reaper was one of the first elite specializations the development team created and the first in which they experimented with changing the core F1 skill. Equipping the reaper specialisation transforms Death Shroud into the melee-focused Reaper’s Shroud, which the team felt was so cool that it inspired them to also change other professions’ mechanic bar function-key skills through elite specialisations. Each of the Reaper’s Shroud skills corresponds to the Death Shroud skill in the same slot, and any traits that affect Death Shroud will also affect Reaper’s Shroud.
Robert explained that the reaper’s traits and abilities were built around strong character themes, and each line of the elite specialisation’s traits evokes a different style of character. The topmost line has a brawler theme, with traits that enhance the reaper’s natural effectiveness in handling large groups of enemies. The middle line creates a coldhearted character by supporting the specialisation’s strong chilling effect. The bottom line is based on nightmarish movie monsters, making the reaper even more difficult to stop and harder to kill. These traits can also be mixed and matched in any combination and were designed to synergize with core necromancer specialisations and skills.
The reaper gains a set of shouts, including a healing skill and an elite skill. These shouts are offensive in nature and were given a cast time to balance their power. A recurring theme of the reaper is trading speed for strength; many of their skills and abilities snare their foes or draw them in, where they can then be trapped and torn apart. Robert said that the development team usually avoids putting strong snares like chill onto weapon autoattacks as they did with the reaper’s greatsword, but they wanted reapers to be able to use the necromancer’s iconic fear skill without letting their enemies escape. If you’ve ever had a dream where something’s chasing you and you can’t seem to move your legs fast enough to get away, the reaper may be your worst nightmare.
Robert said that the greatest counter for the reaper is mobility and the best bet is to move out of their reach before getting hit with their core chilling attacks. They lack long-range options, although they have several pulls and gap closers, so be on your guard!
Robert also revealed that the necromancer’s blood magic is undergoing adjustments to make it a more supportive line; life siphons will now heal through Death Shroud, and the new Vampiric Aura will grant nearby allies the ability to siphon life from foes.
There will be no profession reveal this week. Catch the next livestream on Friday, May 22, at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7) on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel.
You can see the reaper for yourself in the livestream recording below, and be sure to stop by the official forums to talk shop with your fellow masters of death!