ArenaNet Community Manager Martin Kerstein recently broke the silence on new Guild Wars 2 information over at Guild Wars 2 fansite GuildWars2Guru, teasing that ArenaNet plans to unveil the fifth profession for Guild Wars 2 in January.
So, what will that fifth profession be? That's what we'll be talking about this week. I strongly believe the fifth profession to join the Guild Wars 2 roster will be the return of the Mesmer for a number of reasons.
First, let's take a look at the current roster; we've got the Warrior, the Ranger, the Elementalist and the Necromancer so far. Guild Wars 2 will feature eight professions: three scholar professions (light armor), three adventurer professions (medium armor), and two soldier professions (heavy armor). The current tally puts us at two scholars (Elementalist, Necromancer), one adventurer (Ranger), and one soldier (Warrior).
My search-fu is coming up a bit weak, so I may have heard this offhand from one of the developers, but I recall someone at ArenaNet saying that the reason we've seen the reveals we've seen so far (professions from the original Guild Wars) has to do with the fact they were easier to get ready into the game (due the obvious fact they share similarities with their counterparts in the original Guild Wars). There has also been word that Guild Wars 2's profession roster will consist of several returning professions from the original game, two professions that are "inspired by" professions from the original game but different enough to warrant a new name, and one entirely new profession.
All the professions revealed so far share a few major things in common: One, they are all from the original game, and two, they are all from Prophecies. The latter fact makes sense given the initial release of Guild Wars 2 focuses entirely on Tyria, the continent from Prophecies. Popular speculation suggests that the Assassin and the Mesmer will both return in Guild Wars 2, but due to the fact the Assassin is only available in the Factions campaign of the original Guild Wars I strongly feel that we'll be seeing the Mesmer next, rounding out the list of professions from the original game (and more specifically, Prophecies) as well as the full roster of scholars. There is evidence suggesting some form of the Assassin will make a return, however, I feel that it will be one of the "inspired by" professions mentioned earlier and so it will show up once the original professions have been revealed.
The Mesmer being in Guild Wars 2 is considered a foregone conclusion at this point by most fans closely following the game's development. This is mainly due to the fact there have been some pretty strong hints to reinforce the speculation: Mesmers were mentioned in the first Guild Wars 2 novel, Ghosts of Ascalon; a very "Mesmer-like" image appeared in the concept art slide at GDC this year; and the Hall of Monuments calculator for Guild Wars 2 clearly shows gear that bears strong resemblance to the Mesmer gear from the original Guild Wars as unlockable in Guild Wars 2 . It also helps the Mesmer was an incredibly popular and unique profession of the original Guild Wars, so most fans would be unsurprised to see its return.
Other potential professions that have been speculated on so far include the aforementioned Assassin, the "Blue Mace Lady", and some sort of Gunner profession. The dual-dagger wielding silhouette and "Blue Mace Lady" serve as pretty solid candidates for "inspired by" professions. Perhaps we'll see a revamped Assassin and Monk (Blue Mace Lady) that are both different enough to warrant new names. This would especially apply to the Monk, as a straight port of that profession was ruled out due to the profession's strong focus on healing, something that will not be present in Guild Wars 2 (all professions are self-sufficient in this regard). A "Gunner" profession was not at all seen in the original Guild Wars, and so it would make for a great candidate as the lone completely new profession to be featured in Guild Wars 2.
What do you think ArenaNet will reveal as the fifth profession in January? And what professions do you think will round out the rest of the roster? Share your thoughts and speculation in the comments below!