Revenant: The Master of the Mists

by Roy Cronacher on February 18, 2015

Hello, Tyrians! I’m Roy Cronacher, and alongside my team, I’ve been working on bringing the revenant—the new profession introduced in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™—to life. We know you’re excited to learn about the revenant, and it’s my privilege to finally start sharing some of the juicy details.

Revenant

So, It All Begins

The revenant is the ninth profession, added into Guild Wars 2 as a unique archetype not seen in other games. Revenants are heavily armored masters of the Mists with abilities that allow them to harness and manipulate energy in order to perform immense attacks. They invoke powers from legends of the past to dominate foes and unleash chaos on the field of battle. Those familiar with lore from the original Guild Wars will see many familiar faces reappearing as legends, which you can invoke through this profession.

Here are some quick overview specifics:

  • Unique profession mechanic
  • Unique resource system
  • Heavy armor
  • Medium health pool
  • Color scheme: red, black, and misty white

Between now and the launch of the expansion, you’ll learn a lot about the revenant’s skills and abilities. We’ll start that process today by talking about the following:

  • Hammer
  • Mace
  • Axe
  • Legendary Demon Stance: Mallyx the Unyielding
  • Legendary Dwarf Stance: Jalis Ironhammer

Connection to the Mists

As mentioned, this profession’s unique theme is its constant tie to the Mists, but how does that affect its gameplay?

Revenant UI 2

Let’s start with the basics. A revenant can select from a pool of legends—epic characters from the past that you can invoke power from—and slot two different legends at a time. With this constant connection to the Mists, you’ll always have one active legend and one inactive legend. The current active legend will determine the skills on the right half of your skill bar. It’s similar to weapon swapping, but instead it affects your healing, utility, and elite skills. Not only will the legend you select determine your skills, but you’ll have an energy bar tied to your currently invoked legend.

This energy bar is a new resource that the revenant relies on in order to use skills. Some skills will have a low energy cost, allowing you to use them more often, while others have a large cost with a very large payoff. When you invoke a new legend, you’ll begin at half energy and generate more energy over time. This creates a push-and-pull feel with the energy that you manage as you use your skills.

Revenants also have upkeep skills, which you may remember from the original Guild Wars. Certain legends have skills available that will cause you to lose the ability to regenerate energy or even put you into a degeneration state while they remain active. These skills will last until you run out of energy or toggle them off. As you can see in the screenshot, there are pips that represent your current state of upkeep. This allows us to have another skill type in Guild Wars 2 with unique functionality and reinforce the revenant’s focus on energy management.

A New Twist

A revenant’s weapons are not tied to their legend choice; instead, we incorporate the core feel of using the Mists, and your connection to them, into the skills. This is a key part of the class that enhances the look and feel of gameplay as a revenant; you won’t feel like a guardian with its flames or a warrior with its physical attacks. We want to push the feel of imbuing attacks with energy from the Mists to wreak havoc on the battlefield. This profession doesn’t have access to weapon swap, but its legends more than make up for that, which you’ll read about below.

I know by now you must be thinking, “Come on, tell me what some of the skills are!” I’ll indulge you with a few. Of course, in the expansion, we’ve picked up some new skills and acquired awesome new tech from our programmers. Here goes…

Hammer

We’ve given new and interesting purposes to current weapons. One of these weapons is the hammer, which you may think of as slow and physical. That’s not how the revenant uses it! Revenants use their powers to enhance the hammer in order to use it as a ranged weapon. That’s right—you’ll use these unique powers from the Mists to throw a magical hammer at foes, create massive zones of destruction, and preemptively control your foe.

Coalescence of Ruin

“Slam the ground with your hammer, creating a cascading eruption of energy.”

  • This skill uses new tech that you’ll start seeing in many areas of our new specializations as well. It creates a cascading attack that starts at your character and extends forward over time. This specific skill’s damage increases with distance. This allows us to create very impactful attacks that have a lot more play to them for both yourself and the foes you use it against.

Coalescence of Ruin

Field of the Mists

“Create a field from the Mists that blocks incoming projectiles in front of you.”

  • Again, this is brand-new, shiny tech. This skill creates a directional wall in front of your character, blocking incoming projectiles. Even better, it follows your character! While it’s active, the wall will always be in front of your character, moving around with you to protect you from those pesky rangers (unless they flank you).

Field of the Mists

Mace

While we don’t throw any maces at foes, this weapon does offer a unique play style that is themed to work with the axe. Both the mace and axe use a style that requires you to pay attention to your position in relation to your foes, as the attacks are all directional.

Manifest Toxin

“Deliver a crushing blow that sends toxic energy chaining to enemies behind each target.”

  • This skill is the third part of the autoattack chain. We’re making autoattacks more interesting, with more play involved in using them. In this case, the attack is a melee blow that hits an initial foe but then looks for additional foes behind that one. If there are additional foes, it will chain the attack to them as well. You’ll want to make sure to line up enemies in order to maximize your efficiency.

Axe

As mentioned above, the axe is very directionally focused. It’s also a hybrid weapon, but it’s much more about utility than damage. Have you ever wanted to slice through the air, creating an epic rift in the world? The axe will allow you to do just that!

Temporal Rift

“Slice into the Mists, creating an unstable rift. After a short duration, this rift will collapse in on itself, pulling in enemies.”

  • Sounds intense, right? This skill is one of my personal favorites as there is a lot of play and counterplay around it. Again, it’s a directional line attack. It will always create a rift directly in front of your character, so be aware of where you’re facing. It also has a slight delay with a unique visual tell that allows enemies a chance to escape. Temporal Rift is a great complimentary skill for the other skills on your bar.

Temporal Rift

It’s Legendary

I suppose it’s time to dive a bit more into the legends themselves. Again, legends are a core part of the revenant, as they determine the skills in the right half of your skill bar. More than that, each legend includes a package of skills themed to that legend and a specific play style. In that sense, each legend will feel very distinct; you will choose each one with a set purpose in mind. Each legend’s skills are designed to be very visual. From a glance at the skills used, one should be able to tell which legend is being invoked. Each legend has its own color, style, and theme.

Legendary Demon Stance

“Invoke the power of the legendary demon Mallyx the Unyielding.”

Demon stance focuses on conditions, with a twist. Let’s call it condition manipulation. Instead of dealing with conditions in the traditional sense—mostly by removing them—your approach to conditions as a revenant is all about accumulating them in order to empower your attacks. The more conditions you have, the stronger and more impactful your demon legend skills will become. Let’s look at an example.

Embrace the darkness

Embrace the Darkness

“Summon the power of the legendary demon to transform into a powerful avatar. Increase all attributes, and copy conditions to nearby foes every few seconds.”

  • This is an example of an upkeep skill. You can activate (and deactivate) this mode at any time as long as you have the energy necessary to keep paying the upkeep cost of the skill. All Legendary Demon Stance skills apply a condition to the revenant, similar to a necromancer’s corruption utility skills. In this case, you’ll apply torment to yourself so that, at a minimum, you will be pulsing out torment to nearby foes while this skill is active.

Legendary Dwarf Stance

“Invoke the power of the legendary dwarf king, Jalis Ironhammer.”

I don’t know about you folks, but when I think of a dwarf, I think of a tanky, brawling play style. And that is exactly what you’ll get if you choose this legend. When you use the Legendary Dwarf Stance, it’s all about sustaining yourself while maintaining a frightening presence on the battlefield that your foes will not soon forget. Let’s check out another example of an upkeep skill with exciting new tech.

Vengeful Hammers

“Invoke hammers to circle around you, damaging foes.”

  • I said there’d be frightening battle presence, and what does that better than hammers flying around your character? This is another upkeep skill. While it’s active, you have dwarven hammers spinning around your character and following your movements. They’re great for when you need to impose that extra pressure on your enemies.

New and Shiny!

New boons, conditions, and status effects have been added to the revenant as well as spread across other professions’ specializations. These are cool ways we’ll allow players to interact with new types of skills in our combat system.

Resistance (Boon)

“Conditions currently on you have no effect; stacks duration.”

  • Currently, we have skills that provide a similar effect, such as the warrior’s Berserker Stance (condition immunity with no counterplay). When placed on a character, this boon will temporarily relieve them of all the negative effects that conditions have on the character. For example, if a character is running in fear with the fear condition, they’ll stop running in fear when resistance is placed on them. When resistance ends, they’ll resume running in fear. Having this type of effect on a boon makes it so the boon can be removed by other players, adding in more counterplay.
Slow (Condition)

“Skills and actions are slower.”

  • We have the positive version of this already as quickness, which increases the speed of skills and actions. This will slow down animations and casts, allowing more time to dodge or interrupt the incoming massive attack. We’ve also improved both quickness and slow. Currently, quickness will cause your cast bar to cut out early. With the improvement, your skill cast bar will smoothly update when you gain quickness or slow, even during the middle of using a skill.
Taunt (Status Effect)

“Involuntarily attack foes.”

  • We have many different status effects in Guild Wars 2 that accomplish a variety of goals, such as knockdown, knockback, and daze. In this expansion, we wanted to open up gameplay options using taunt. Taunt will be used to both reposition foes and change your foes’ targets. For example, when used on players, it will force the taunted player to run at their target with their skill bar locked—minus stun breakers—and only use their autoattack skill to attack. This gives us the opportunity to use taunt in multiple ways, not just as a player skill, but also as a tool to create interesting creature encounters that utilize this taunt effect against players.

Just the Beginning…

This was just the tip of the iceberg. There are more weapons and legends coming with the revenant, but you’ll have to wait to find out more. It’s no fun to spoil everything at once.

Just the Beginning

All of the features that I detailed today in this blog will be available in our first playable demo at PAX East in Boston, March 6–8, and at Rezzed in London, March 12–14. I’ll personally be at PAX East on the showroom floor, and I hope to see some of you there trying out the expansion for the first time.

See you all on the battlefield!
Roy Cronacher
@RoyCronacher