Developer Diary: Elite Specializations

by Karl McLain on August 15, 2017

Hello and welcome, Tyrians, to a deeper look at the nine new elite specializations coming in Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire™! Watch the developer diary video above to learn more about the process of designing the new specializations, and read on for more details on each one.

Weaver (Elementalist)

The benefit of the weaver’s ability to dual-wield elements is primarily their access to dual-attack skills, which combine both of the currently wielded elements in the third skill slot. As an example, the staff’s Pile Driver skill combines both air and earth to produce a violent effect similar to a rail gun.

Elementalists have traditionally been able to change elements at will with a cooldown on the ones they’ve recently attuned to. The weaver’s elements are all tied to the same cooldown, so activating one prevents an immediate swap to another until the cooldown is up. There are a few ways to modify this limit: taking the Arcane specialization line lowers the global recharge—as does using the elite skill Weave Self—while the utility skill Unravel temporarily removes dual attacks and grants access to single-element attunements.

Holosmith (Engineer)

In Elona, Land of the Golden Sun, engineers work to harness solar power for their experiments and inventions. The innovation that’s made the most impact in recent history is the Photon Forge, which allows engineers to create solid constructs of light. It’s extremely powerful, but dangerous—when it overheats, it causes damage to the user. While the holosmith enjoys a large amount of damage dealing and utility, they need to monitor their resources carefully.

That said, holosmiths can take advantage of their heat output in a variety of ways. Their sword and utility skills gain a plethora of bonuses and damage increases while the Photon Forge cools. More daring holosmiths can take trait options that cause their forge to retain its heat, forcing a manual overheat that deals damage to nearby enemies as well as the engineer.

Firebrand (Guardian)

Firebrands are the remnants of a secret order of loremasters committed to staunching the corruption that’s spread through the desert since Palawa Joko’s rise. They cleave the battlefield with their axes, and their tomes and mantras have potent effects that deliver direct support, utility, and offense.

The firebrand has healthy access to quickness through traits and skills. The Stalwart Speed trait grants quickness to allies under the effect of the firebrand’s stability or aegis; this allows Mantra of Liberation, Mantra of Solace, and Tome of Courage to apply quickness to allies, in addition to the native quickness gained from Mantra of Potence.

To make your firebrand a supporting healer, consider taking the Loremaster and Archivist of Whispers traits. These will allow you to use Tome of Resolve—and its significant healing skills—more frequently.

Mirage (Mesmer)

Instead of physically dodging attacks, mirages use their Mirage Cloak to force attacks to pass harmlessly through them. The Mirage Cloak can be used both defensively and offensively, so a mirage must make conscious choices on how they spend endurance.

Activating Mirage Cloak offensively via the dodge button will enable ambush attacks. Ambushes are available on the first skill of every weapon set and are designed to complement each weapon’s playstyle. It’s also possible to force all of your clones to use ambush attacks via the Illusionary Ambush utility skill, or by taking the Infinite Horizon trait, which, when active, applies Mirage Cloak to all of your clones.

Scourge (Necromancer)

Scourges forsake their death shrouds for the ability to create areas of power by summoning sand shades. These shades restock regularly for frequent use. The scourge’s second through fifth skills cause both the necromancer and their shades to emanate the effects of those skills, providing everything from protective barriers for allies, to fear for all enemies in range.

The scourge gains access to punishment skills, which remove boons as a secondary effect and corrupt them into cripple and torment.

Soulbeast (Ranger)

The soulbeast gains benefits from merging with their pet based on the pet’s archetype. Each pet fits into one of the following archetypes: stout (defensive), ferocious (power), deadly (conditions), supportive (healing), or versatile (utility).

Each pet family can contain pets of multiple archetypes. If you want a supportive canine, merging with the sylvan hound will grant bonus healing power and access to the Spiritual Reprieve profession skill. If you want the power archetype and access to the Worldly Impact profession skill, merging with the drakehound canine will provide those in addition to the canine family skills.

Renegade (Revenant)

Renegades perform well with an offensive support playstyle, enhancing allies’ damage and disrupting enemies by summoning members of Kalla’s warband to the battlefield. They gain Kalla’s Fervor as they fight or perform critical hits, which greatly increases the renegade’s damage output and grants might to allies through the Heroic Command skill.

Renegades can also gain Kalla’s Fervor through their adept trait choices: Ashen Demeanor, Blood Fury, and Wrought-Iron Will. Each grant fervor under unique conditions, met respectively by crippling a foe, gaining fury, or successfully evading attacks.

Deadeye (Thief)

The deadeye is a rugged thief who uses rifles to take out their foes at long ranges. Their Deadeye’s Mark replaces the Steal skill and allows them to maintain their distance. This mark retains modifier choices made through traits, but instead of stealing items from enemies, the deadeye steals aspects of their target, such as movement, strength, and warmth. They gain boons while their enemies are afflicted with negative conditions.

Deadeye’s Mark brings with it a new aspect: marking a target and building malice over time. Deadeyes inflict extra damage and bonus effects against these marked targets, gaining numerous boons upon reaching maximum malice. Additionally, if a marked target dies, the mark itself is refreshed and can be cast on another target. As such, it may be more beneficial for some builds to kill targets quickly and use the mark again rather than waiting for maximum malice.

Spellbreaker (Warrior)

When Palawa Joko overthrew the Sunspears and took over Elona, he issued an execution order for any person in his kingdom who wielded or owned a spear. The remaining Sunspears went into hiding, breaking their traditional spears and forging the heads into daggers. Spellbreakers now wield those daggers, specializing in exploiting their enemies’ strengths and weaknesses.
Many spellbreaker traits nullify or punish magic. Loss Aversion grants adrenaline to the spellbreaker and deals damage to foes upon removing their boons. Enchantment Collapse synergizes with this by removing additional boons in the area around an enemy whose boons have been stripped. If your enemies don’t have many boons, it’s possible to change traits to focus on Full Counter, which enhances a spellbreaker’s defensive and offensive capabilities.

On August 18 through August 20, we’re launching a demo where you’ll be able to create and play new preview-exclusive characters in both Player vs. Player and World vs. World. These characters will come with each profession’s new elite specialization, so check them out!