Last week, ArenaNet revealed gameplay of the revenant’s Legendary Centaur (or Ventari) Stance when wielding a staff. After mainly playing the healer role on other MMOs, hearing that this was going to be a healer-type role instantly caught my attention. I immediately thought that having this stance would introduce a new “role” into Guild Wars 2, and that is something that I feel is lacking in the game currently.
Compared to healing in other MMOs, the Ventari stance seems quite unique. Typically, when playing as a healer, I’m used to just focussing entirely on healing the group and not worrying about dealing damage since I always play MMOs that use the trinity of tanks, healers and DPS. With the Ventari stance, ArenaNet has tried to focus the playstyle on “healing through combat”, which is most apparent through the #1 staff skill, ending with Rejuvenating Assault. This is the third skill in the chain, used to cleave nearby enemies, creating healing orbs on the floor for your allies to pick up. By introducing this ability, ArenaNet has encouraged strafing into the mechanics for the revenant (and his/her allies). What I really like about this is that it allows the “healer” to be more engaged in the combat, rather than just standing back and healing your party when their health bars start getting low. I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of having dedicated healers, and I think this is a good way to keep those people happy with playing this stance.
One thing that really interested me about the Legendary Centaur Stance is the utility skills that come with it. The whole set of these skills revolve around using Ventari’s tablet, which is summoned by casting Project Tranquility. This tablet can then be controlled and moved around the world, though moving too far away from it causes it to disappear (and will have to be summoned again before use). It’s also worth noting that it will not persist through switching stances, and it can be destroyed and returned to the caster. The tablet has the capability to passively heal, heal allies that it passes through, create a protective barrier, an AoE heal can be cast from it, and conditions can be removed from allies close to the tablet. Every one of the utility skills are focussed on AoE healing, cleansing and protection, lacking any form of damage. I think that this will have great healing and support potential, but I’m not sure whether having a dedicated revenant healer in a party will replace having another zerker. I imagine for the Ventari healer to be effective, it’d have to stack healing power. Currently, healing power isn’t the strongest stat in my opinion, and, gearing healing power will greatly cripple the defensive or offensive capabilities when switching legends. Will the healing power make it worth having this in a group instead of taking the extra damage to burn down enemies quickly? I think the only way to find out is to see how beneficial the healing will be in proper party play, which hasn’t been revealed yet.
There is something that bugged me about the new staff playstyle coming to the revenant, , though. Game Developer, Roy Cronacher, stated that the revenant is to take after Ventari, leading a pacifistic playstyle. Conceptually, the word “pacifist” or “pacifistic” was used a lot during the skill descriptions on the Points of Interest livestream, but I’m not so sure that using the staff highlighted that. Considering healing through combat suggests that the revenant will be fighting, that’s not a good start. After looking more at the weapon skills, six out of eight of them deal damage (including the chains on both the first and second skill). Of course, I do understand that the revenant will need to deal damage to be able to pull its weight in a party, and switching stances will relinquish any pacifistic approaches that the player would have from the Ventari stance. Although this may seem very picky, it’s just different to the way that I interpret a pacifistic style (that being a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable), and the revenant’s staff skills don’t really seem to fit into that, in my opinion.
Individually, I think the abilities sound pretty cool and a lot of fun to play with. However, I do have a worry for this stance. After watching the gameplay from the livestream, I saw that when Roy Cronacher was using the entire kit against NPCs, it did look kind of boring to play. I was really excited to see how everything would play together, but it just didn’t win me over by watching it. Although I think this, I would really have to see the stance be played in a party on some form of challenging content to be able to see properly what the Ventari stance can achieve (it is designed for party play, after all). It will be interesting to see how much the Ventari stance will be used in PvP; personally, I think that it could be pretty useful in larger fights where a lot of allies are nearby to be supported. Controlling capture points could be made a lot easier if a revenant using this stance was there aiding you. WvW could be a grounds in which the Ventari stance could be used. When sieging a building or capturing a camp, it’s easy for players to take a lot of AoE damage from either NPCs or enemies. By utilising the tablet’s skills, revenants will be able to reduce the damage that nearby allies take, and heal any damage that they do take. Having a decent amount of revenants using this stance could be a great new way to siege gates, with heals being cast and conditions being removed constantly. It would make it a lot harder for smaller groups of players to defend their buildings and shove enemies away via consistent AoE damage.
All in all I think there’s a lot of potential for the revenant staff Legendary Centaur Stance. I really think it depends on how strong the healing will be without having to stack healing power, and how much of an impact the role will have in party play and the more challenging content. I think that ArenaNet is going in the right direction with the legends for the revenant, and I’m hoping that this can be the start of a new era of roles for Guild Wars 2.