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Guild Wars 2 System Focus: Traits Overview

By Michael Bitton on June 09, 2010

While the good folks at ArenaNet won’t be at E3 next week, that doesn’t mean the floodgate of Guild Wars 2 information is going to show any signs of stopping! Today, ArenaNet has revealed the Warrior class as well as the Traits system. Below we’ll break down Guild Wars 2 Game Designer Ben Miller’s overview of the Traits system.

Traits were previously mentioned in the inaugural ArenaNet blog entry by ArenaNet studio head Mike O’Brien as granting players an additional layer of customization, such as being able to select the Stone Boots trait as an Elementalist to make your character immune to knockback effects.

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We’ve learned a good deal more about traits today. So, what exactly are they?   “Traits make you better at what you choose to do.” explained Ben.  Traits can be acquired by completing certain profession challenges strewn throughout the game world, such as defeating a swordsman you meet at Divinity’s Reach in a duel, or discovering a tome filled with arcane knowledge, and each class masters their traits differently. For example, the highly physical Warrior fights, drinks, and eats to develop his traits, while the Elementalist seeks to fill herself with ancient knowledge.

Builds, something Guild Wars players should be quite familiar with, are returning in Guild Wars 2, however, this time players will have to take traits into account with their builds in addition to skills and attributes.  You won’t be able to equip all the traits your class has access to, either, you’ll have to choose traits that complement the rest of your build, and with around 100 traits per class there should be a ton of diversity. Traits are structured in “Trait lines”, which are similar in nature to the attribute lines each class had in the original Guild Wars, and consist of both Major and Minor slots. Ben uses the Warrior class to illustrate an example; the Warrior (right now) has two General trait lines dubbed “Power” and “Tactics”, as well as a line for each weapon type he can wield, and you basically slot the appropriate Traits into these lines as you acquire them over time. Traits are flexible as well, as players can change our their traits free of charge anywhere in the game world as long as they are out of combat The original Guild Wars allowed players to switch their builds out in town for free as well, however, the additional freedoms allowed by being able to change builds anywhere in the game world are sure to be appreciated by fans.

Rounding things out, Ben uses the Warrior example again to show us what an example build would look like. Giving the build a bit of context, it is being designed to defeat a giant boar that is rampaging through the forest as part of one of Guild Wars 2’s dynamic events. To that end, Ben’s Warrior build consists of dual wielding swords and a Longbow in his second weapon set for kiting, the healing skill Healing Surge (restores both health and Adrenaline), the On My Mark elite shout skill (calls out a target and debuffs enemy armor), the amusingly named For Great Justice (ally Fury/Might Boon), Frenzy (boost to Adrenaline gain), and Battle Standard, which boosts allies with a number of powerful buffs.

Now this is where the traits come in. Ben opted for dual wielding swords as opposed to a warhorn or shield to optimize his damage output, and so he places a number of Traits into the Power trait line that boost the Strength attribute, passively boosting the damage of his Warrior’s melee attacks. He then slots the Weapon Master trait into the Tactics line, which lowers the cooldown on switching between weapon sets, which is key when having to kite the boar. In the Sword line, Ben slots in Swordmastery to increase his sword damage, and in the Longbow line he slots in a damage trait as well.

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