Spearheading a New Weapon: Guardian, Ranger, and Necromancer

by The Guild Wars 2 Team on June 06, 2024

In case you missed the news, we’ve announced that our fifth expansion, Guild Wars 2®: Janthir Wilds™, arrives on August 20, and with it comes a brand-new way to fight with spears…on land. As promised in yesterday’s spear primer blog, we’re back and ready to dive into the details of how the guardian, ranger, and necromancer will utilize the terrestrial version of spears.

Game designers from the Guild Wars 2: Janthir Wilds combat feature team, Chun-Hong Fung, Taylor Brooks, and Cal Cohen, are here today to discuss the guardian, ranger, and necromancer respectively. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.

Guardian Spears Are Quite Illuminating

a guardian in golden armor holds a spear above his head preparing for battle

Unlike the kodan that settled in the Shiverpeaks, the kodan of Janthir have long separated from their reverence for Koda. Instead, they’ve turned to the nature they’re surrounded by to guide their relationship with the world—the sun and all the benefits life seizes from it included. Certain spear bears look to the sun to channel inspiration in battle, aiding their allies and illuminating a path forward. Guardians have learned from these kodan and wield their spears in a similar manner, focusing on supporting allies and debilitating enemies.

While some of these skills can be used to provide support at a safe distance, their true potential is realized on the front lines when the guardian is fighting alongside their allies. By fulfilling specific conditions, certain spear skills will cause the following spear attack to be illuminated, which makes them stronger or grants them additional effects.

While you can only empower one skill at any given time, those skills can in turn grant the illuminated status to your next skill, allowing the guardian to chain multiple illuminated skills together with precise positioning. Let’s look at how a few of these skills work.

The second skill, Helio Rush, causes the guardian to charge forward in the direction they’re aiming, dealing damage to enemies and healing allies that they pass through. Striking an enemy during the rush causes the next spear attack to be illuminated. The illuminated version of Helio Rush increases the healing and additionally grants them resolution. Thus, this skill is best used in the thick of the fray, when you’re able to go through both allies and enemies at once.

Guardian weapons aren’t complete without a symbol of some sort, and the spear is no exception. The fifth skill, Symbol of Luminance, knocks enemies back as you cast it. The symbol pulses resistance to allies who don’t have it already and weakness to enemies. Symbol of Luminance is unique in that, unlike other spear skills, it does not have a way to grant the illuminated effect—but for good reason! While standing within the symbol, any spear attacks you perform are automatically illuminated, regardless of whether you are currently in the correct state. With the illuminated version of this skill, this property applies even if you leave the symbol and lasts for as long as the symbol does, including the additional duration granted by Writ of Persistence, an existing guardian trait.

Go Stealth with Ranger Spears

a female sylvari ranger surrounded in green magic about to throw a spear

Spear-wielding rangers excel at hunting their prey. They whittle their quarry down at range and then they finish them off with a surprise attack at melee range. Ranger’s spear features a new type of autoattack that some of the other spears will utilize as well. When at range, you’ll throw a spear at your target, but when you move closer to your foe, you’ll transition into using a melee chain! This bimodal model will help you always keep up pressure.

Rangers learn from the animals of Janthir to deftly wield their spear. Using Mongoose’s Frenzy, they’ll slash their spear in front of them as if they were a wild animal using their claws. Falcon’s Stoop throws a spear with the velocity of a raptor. Panther’s Prowl will kick up nearby brush, stealthing the ranger and their pet—and that’s when the fun begins.

Ranger spear features a new type of stealth attack. Unlike a thief, stealthing upgrades ranger spear’s 2 through 5 skills into new versions that share a cooldown with their base skill. Mongoose’s Frenzy flips into Wolf’s Onslaught; you swipe your spear as before and then follow up with a jab with the same force as a bite from a wolf’s gnashing fangs. Falcon’s Stoop becomes Owl’s Flight, launching an owl spirit that is wider and unblockable to fly through enemies.

Weaving in and out of melee range, rangers will use their spear to chip away at their prey before they go into stealth to finish the kill. Their unique stealth attacks will allow them to decide how they want to tactically approach any scenario.

Get Up Close with the Necromancer Spear

an asura necromancer conjures green magical wisps while wielding a dark spear

Now let’s take a look at some aspects of the necromancer spear. This spear is a melee power damage weapon that also brings some disruptive elements, a bit of mobility, and some strong burst potential through cooldown resets.

Many of the spear skills create soul shards, life-stealing objects that behave similarly to thief’s venoms, but they will only be consumed by strikes from the spear’s second skill. This allows them to be consistently built up to a maximum of six to reach a singular moment of power, instead of being immediately consumed by the next strike. These shards deal increased damage against low-health enemies and grant increased healing while your health is low, giving more opportunities for powerful execution sequences or the ability to sustain when nearing death yourself.

As mentioned above, soul shards will be consumed by Perforate, skill 2 on the spear. Perforate is a multihit attack that strikes enemies seven times, enough to consume all active soul shards. Perforate also deals increased damage against low-health enemies, which, combined with the low-health bonus damage of soul shards, makes it a potent skill for finishing the job.

In order to get full value out of Perforate, you’ll need to generate some soul shards first, so let’s look at another skill that might come in handy.

Skill 4 is Isolate, the singular long-ranged skill on the spear that serves as a gap closer. This skill throws a spear at the enemy, inflicting chill and vulnerability, and on successfully striking a target it flips into the follow-up skill, Distress. Activating the follow-up skill will teleport the necromancer to the target struck by the initial spear and generate soul shards. Additional shards are generated if the enemy does not have any nearby allies of their own, so this skill is great at creating opportunities to pick off lone enemy targets. Teleporting to an enemy will also fully recharge Perforate, so you’ll always be ready to consume your newly generated soul shards. Isolate will also recharge itself when exiting Death Shroud, giving access to a lot of potentially powerful sequences. Skills 3 and 5 also generate soul shards (among other things), but we’ll talk about those a bit more at a later date.

an overhead view of a guardian spear ability's magical effect

What’s Next?

Speaking of later dates, we’ll be showing off all of the new spear skills during a Twitch livestream on June 21 at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7). In addition, there will be a beta event from June 27 at 9:00 a.m. until June 30 at 10:00 p.m. Pacific Time (UTC-7) so everyone can try out spears and give us feedback!

Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week with more information on three more professions and their spear skills.