With last weekend’s major media coverage of Guild Wars 2 there are many people just now starting to pay attention. There are a lot of questions out there of how the game works, how it’s played and what makes it different. Luckily for you, we here at Guild Wars Junkies are paying attention and are here to help you figure everything out. The one question we want to tackle is how abilities and class mechanics are available to you at any given point. In games like WOW, TOR and Rift, players are used to having multiple hotbars with a myriad of abilities readily available to you. How does it work in Guild Wars 2? All the videos you’ve seen showed you a single hotbar at the bottom of the screen and not much else. Are you concerned that there aren’t many options and things might get stale?
The Hotbar Basics:
- Each player has five abilities based on their weapon choices.
- Each player has two weapon sets available at any given time. This can be any combination of dual wielding or two-handed weapons.
- Each player can swap weapon sets on the fly at the press of a button. This ability has a short cooldown during combat.
- Each player has access to one healing skill.
- Each player has access to three utility skills.
- Each player has access to one elite skill.
Right off the bat, each player has up to 10 abilities at any given time depending on your level; Elite and Utility skills open up at different levels. Not only that, you can swap your weapon set giving a player access to a total of 15 different skills to use at any given point.
We’re not done. The F1-F4 keys are dedicated to specific class mechanics that open up even more gameplay options.
The biggest exception to the “Hotbar Basics” is the Elementalist. The Elementalist is attuned to each of the four elements: Earth, Fire, Air and Water. Each weapon set the Elementalist has access to has a corresponding elemental skill set. What this means is if the Elementalist is wielding a staff, he has 5 Water skills, 5 Air skills etc. An Elementalist can swap attunement with the F1-F4 keys. Because of this, an Elementalist can only equip one weapon set at a time and their attunement swaps have a similar cooldown to other classes’ weapon swap.
If you haven’t thought it through yet, this means the Elementalist has access to 20 abilities before counting healing, elites or utility skills. They can cast a fire spell, swap, cast an air spell, swap, cast an earth spell and so forth; giving this class a very unique ability to create synergy through all their elements.
Other classes have other mechanics. For example, the Mesmer’s F1-F4 abilties do different things to their clones or phantasms. The Ranger controls their pet.
The Necromancer has another unique ability where they have abilities that build of “life force” and at any time you can press F1 and turn into a form that uses that “life fource” as a health bar. This form gives the player access to four new abilities. Once that life force bar is depleted the player his put back into their normal body again. This gives the Necromancer access to 19 different abilities including everything else.
The Engineer is similar to the Elementalist as they gain access to “kits” which open up even more abilities outside their weapon sets.
So as you can see, Guild Wars 2 is not as static as you might think. Guild Wars 1 players might miss the “deck creation” aspect of their class system but Guild Wars 2 does offer a lot of class building. There are many different utility skills and healing skills that have synergy with weapon sets that players can use to customize their build. And after all this, we still not have discussed the trait system, but that’s for another time.