Each profession needs to feel as unique and different as possible.
Profession determines skills, traits and equipment available to player characters for engaging in combat and is roughly equivalent to a character class in other games. There are eight professions, each with a unique style and theme to their combat approach which is emphasised by the use of an important profession specific mechanic and access to different skill types and effects. Professions are not restricted by race or gender and each is able to contribute damage, control and support during combat. Once a profession is selected for a character, it cannot be changed.
The abilities granted for crafting are known as disciplines and are separate from the profession system.
Guardians are the masters of protection. Their special ability is the use of three virtues; Courage, Justice and Resolve, which enhance their attacks and defenses until they are used to aid allies. The guardian's play-style has a defensive feel and are adept at supporting their allies. Their unique attribute is Willpower which affects virtues' recharge rate.
Masters of martial combat, warriors host a wider selection of weapons than any other profession. Warriors use adrenaline as their special ability, building it and unleashing it as a powerful burst skill during combat. Warriors are excellent damage dealers, and have an aggressive play-style. Their unique attribute is Brawn which increases burst skill damage.
Masters of mechanical mayhem, engineers use device kits, weapon kits and turrets to mix up the battlefield. The engineer's profession mechanic is the tool belt - each healing or utility skill adds a skill to this belt, providing them with added utility when it is needed most. Their unique attribute is Ingenuity which affects tool belt skill recharge rate.
Rangers are masters of their natural surroundings, and use a multitude of skills designed to track down and hunt their enemies. The rangers are also accompanied by their trusted pets, fighting in unison with their own set of skills to pick off their enemies one by one. Their unique attribute is Empathy which increases their pet's attributes.
Thieves use their initiative to fuel their weapon skills, dishing out quick chains of damage before slipping away into the shadows. The other part of their speciality is stealing - each enemy has a number of environmental weapons that the nimble fingers of the thief can take and use to turn the fight. Their unique attribute is Cunning which affects recharge rate of stealing.
Elementalists change their elemental attunement in battle to adapt to any situation by attuning to one of the four elements: Fire, Water, Air or Earth. Each attunement changes the five weapon skills on the skill bar, depending on the elementalist's equipped weapon set. Their unique attribute is Intelligence which affects recharge rate of all attunements.
Mesmers can create illusions to fight by their side. They have mastered the harassing of enemies with phantasms or misleading them with clones. Illusions can also be shattered, destroying them and causing secondary effects, such as confusion, a powerful condition which damages foes as they continue their assault in vain. Their unique attribute is Guile which affects recharge rate of their shattering skills.
Necromancers use a special resource called life force which is gathered each time a creature near them dies, or additionally by using certain skills. Its main function is to fuel necromancer's Death Shroud. While in Death Shroud, the character's health is temporarily replaced by accumulated life force, is immune to knockdown and has access to new skills and traits. Their unique attribute is Hunger which increases their life force pool.
- 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.
- See the professions reveal page for an overview of how each of the professions were announced to the public during game development.
- ^ Intervju: Guild Wars 2, GameReactor (Google translation)
- ^ Exclusive Interview: ArenaNet's Jon Peters and Jonathan Sharp, Tap Repeatedly