Yesterday, ArenaNet spoke in depth about a feature of the upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion: specialisations.
Details came out in two posts written by designer Jon Peters about how traits and skills are going to be changed, for both players with and without HoT (Heart of Thorns). The developers will also be answering player questions about the specialisation changes on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel today at noon PDT/7 p.m. UTC.
The main goal behind the changes seems to be streamlining; both traits and skills are being moved into a single panel, which has been designed to alleviate complexity. As well as this change, elite specialisations are being added into the game. This will be a HoT-only feature, and they promise to make high level gameplay more engaging, exciting and, most importantly, diverse.
“We told people we were adding one new Profession to the game – right now, doing the work, it feels like we’re adding nine at least”, Jon Peters explained to IGN how many fans were slightly disappointed by the addition of only one new profession, but he’s described each of the elite specialisations as adding a new profession into the game. The specialisations allow existing professions to wield weapons that they would otherwise not be able to and, in turn, unlock new skills and traits. In my opinion, this will add exciting new ways to play. The only example that’s been given so far is the ability for a ranger to become a druid upon wielding a staff, something that should improve the endgame massively and increase diversity tenfold. An elite specialisation is something each profession will be able to unlock at level 80 (as long as the player owns the HoT expansion), which will fundamentally change the way you play. There is talk of new elite specialisations being added further into the game’s life, with Peters’ suggesting that the revenant could potentially be the only new profession introduced to the game. For information on what I think these new specialisations will add to the game please click here and have a quick read of my thoughts when the specialisations were first announced.
The new trait and general specialisation system is just as exciting, merging the current traits into specialisations and having them unlock as you play the game. By level 80, three different specialisations will be available to you, for example, as an elementalist you could chose to specialise in fire, earth and water magic, with each having its own progression wheel and specific skills and traits. The whole idea of the new traits system is to make it more compelling, which, in my opinion, is something the trait system greatly needed. In my time playing Guild Wars 2, I have never personally been engaged in the current trait system and this reinvention seems like it is designed to help people like me get more deeply involved. The new system moves everything onto the same panel and helps to clearly show how the traits are connected to one another, which helps give a better understanding of what each different trait will do.
This new specialisation system in tandem with the new mastery system is going to add a lot of content, and most importantly, quality to the end game. It’s an exciting time to be an MMO player and specifically a Guild Wars 2 player. I’d love to know what you think about the new system and how it will shift the balance of GW2, so if you’ve got any thoughts, please comment below!