Each profession needs to feel as unique and different as possible.
Professions define the skills, traits, and equipment available to player characters. It can be described as an "occupation", although it should not be confused with the crafting disciplines. A profession in Guild Wars 2 is akin to what is typically termed a "class" in other games. Each profession also comes with a unique mechanic and skill types, further differentiating the play-styles of the different professions.
Eight playable professions will be available for the initial release of Guild Wars 2. During the later stages of development, but before the beginning of beta events, the professions were revealed one by one as part of a marketing strategy.
Professions are neither restricted by race nor gender. Each is designed to be viable for both solo play and group play.
List of professions
The professions are divided into three categories based on their armor type — two heavy armored soldiers, three medium armored adventurers and three light armored scholars. Below is the list of professions.
- Guardian (skills, traits) — master of protection; guardians use virtues that enhance their attacks and defenses until sacrificed to aid allies.
- Warrior (skills, traits) — master of weapons; warriors use adrenaline to fuel a powerful burst skill and can wield many kinds of weapons.
- Engineer (skills, traits) — master of mechanics; engineers use device kits, weapon kits and turrets to cause mayhem.
- Ranger (skills, traits) — master of nature; rangers call upon their animal companions to assist in the field of battle.
- Thief (skills, traits) — master of the covert arts; thieves use initiative to deal quick damage and then slip away into the shadows.
- Elementalist (skills, traits) — master of the elements; elementalists change their elemental attunement in battle to adapt to any situation.
- Mesmer (skills, traits) — master of illusions; mesmers can create illusions to fight by their side and shatter them for powerful effects.
- Necromancer (skills, traits) — master of the dark arts; necromancers draw on life force and use it to strengthen or heal themselves and others.
Profession mechanics refer to various abilities and game mechanics unique to each profession. They are displayed on the mechanic bar.
The three virtues provide beneficial passive effects for the guardian. Virtues can be sacrificed to provide similar effects that benefit all nearby allies. The virtues are: Courage, Justice and Resolve, which provide the guardian with Aegis, burning attacks and Rejuvenation, respectively.
Warriors gain adrenaline by attacking in combat. Adrenaline builds up to fuel a burst skill, which has three power-levels depending on the how much adrenaline has been accumulated. The burst skill available is determined by the main-hand weapon currently in use. For example, Skull Crack will stun the opponent for a longer time on higher levels of adrenaline. They are able to wield swords, greatswords, hammers, longbows, and rifles. Underwater they are able to wield a spear and harpoon gun.
The engineer's profession mechanic is the tool belt. It provides the engineer with four different abilities which augment any healing and utility skills equipped in their skill bar. For example, equipping the Med kit skill to the tool belt also provides the engineer with the Bandage Self skill. Tool belt skills can be used regardless of whether the associated heal/utility skill is currently active or not.
The unique mechanic of the ranger is the animal companion. A ranger can have up to four companions, but only one can be deployed at a time. Each companion has three skills that the animal uses automatically, and one species skill that is activated by the ranger. The mechanic bar contains the interaction commands that allow the ranger to activate the species skill, as well as to control the animal's target and to change the active companion.
The thief's weapon skills do not use normal recharge times, but instead require initiative. Initiative constantly recharges, and allows the thief to quickly use custom chains of attack skills at the cost of being unable to attack again until initiative has recharged. The thief can also steal, which generates a random environmental weapon depending on the enemy. For example, stealing from an Oakheart will obtain a branch which can be used to attack enemies.
Necromancers use special resource called life force which is gathered each time a creature near them dies, or additionally by using certain skills. Life force can be used to improve some skills, but its main function is to fuel necromancer's Death Shroud. While in Death Shroud, the character is immune to knockdown and has access to new skills. The amount of life force determines the duration of Death Shroud.
- Professions have a fixed selection of weapons available to them. No profession can wield all weapons.
- Players will not be able to change their character's profession once created.
- On April Fool's Day 2011, ArenaNet falsely revealed the commando as the seventh profession, complete with skill videos and wallpapers on the official site and a special quest in Guild Wars.
- During development, the developers discussed many different iterations of the profession system and the final set of professions they included. The number of professions varied between six and twelve during development and included ideas such as warden, marksman and juggernaut which were discarded. A developer interview with Tap-Repeatedly discusses profession development in more detail.
- The early development stages of Guild Wars 2 included secondary professions, a game mechanic available in the original Guild Wars. This feature was removed to allow for more unique customization of each profession and eliminate the associated balancing issues with multiple professions using the same skills.
- ^ Combat Developer Notes Part Two, Official Guild Wars 2 website
- ^ Guild Wars 2 Developer Interview, IncGamers
- ^ Nine GW2 Follow Up Questions with Eric Flannum, ArenaNet Blog
- ^ Intervju: Guild Wars 2, GameReactor (Google translation)
- ^ Exclusive Interview: ArenaNet's Jon Peters and Jonathan Sharp, Tap Repeatedly