Mirage is another high skill ceiling class, with a great deal of new unique mechanics that players will have to learn in order to get full use of the new spec. Mirage focuses on a new way of dodging, where the player stays still and gains a buff that evades incoming attacks for a short duration. This buff can also be obtained through new ‘mirage mirrors’, which a player needs to walk into in order to gain the evade frames. This, combined with clone management, stealth usage and an emphasis on positioning, make Mirage one of the most complex classes coming to PoF. Whilst the class seems to have a heavy focus on its ability to confuse and dance around other players, there is potential for a place in the PvE meta as condi damage dealers, thanks to both the new Ambush skills and trait lines that favour condition damage. Where the Mirage shines however is in any situation that allows it to kite, stealth, ambush and confuse enemies, most specifically in a PvP scenario as a duellist. Many of the traits and Deception skills give great ways of escaping and engaging, letting the Mirage dictate the fight, and so long as they are making good use of their evades and mirage mirrors, staying alive through many hairy situations. If a class all about deception and mobility is for you, then you will adore playing the Mirage, and may also have a chance to play the class in high end PvE.
Deadeye focuses on the ability to take down their enemies at range and from stealth, making them extremely deadly if left unchecked. The new rifle abilities have up to 1500 range if Kneeling, making the spec the first to truly focus on ranged combat. You mark an opponent for death, dealing increased damage the longer they are marked for, before unleashing potent bursts that can 1shot even the tankiest of enemies before they spot you. As well raw damage, this the spec gives Thief a huge increase to the number of boons it can generate, with the new stolen skills and trait lines giving access to more boons than Thief has previously been able to access. The playstyle for Deadeye focuses around singling out a target and taking them down, with their damage ramping up the longer they focus down the same opponent. The huge damage boost makes it extremely likely that Deadeye will be a powerhouse in PvE as well, especially in a raid scenario where they are taking down single bosses. There’s not much else to it really, if you like being a covert sniper with huge burst, Deadeye is absolutely your class of choice, but be careful not to get 1shot yourself in the process.
The Renegade, an elite spec with a heavy focus around the Charr warband lore, is a class that adds another layer to condition play for Revenant. The Shortbow is a purely condition focused weapon, and the new Kalla’s Fervor give a massive boost to condition damage and critical damage. Most of the trait lines also focus on giving out conditions or making them more potent. Condition Revenant is already a great class, even with only 1 stance and 1 weapon that truly focus on the ability to give and amplify conditions. This spec changes that, giving the 2nd weapon and stance than Revenants have needed to push a good class into a brilliant one when it comes to dishing out the condis. When it comes to the open world, and World versus World, the new stance is lacklustre as it creates a physical member of the warband to buff your allies. Whilst thematically cool, this warband Charr can be destroyed easily, and is fixed in place for its lifespan, making it extremely difficult to use it on the move or inside a zerg. For PvP, the spec offers some nice unique utility and point control, but suffers a great deal from a lack of consistent condition cleanse and sustain, especially giving up Herald. If you want a class that focuses on dishing out the conditions and is likely to become a powerful PvE condi class, then Renegade will be your first stop, but expect to suffer in both PvP environments.
Holosmith brings to the table some absolutely ridiculous damage in the form of its Photon Forge and Exceed abilities. The forge is heavily focused on dishing out as much damage as possible without blowing yourself up (or doing it intentionally if you’re into that kind of thing), complimenting a melee berserker playstyle immensely. Although the spec itself suffers from a lack of condition cleanse and sustain, other Engineer trait lines can help fill the gap here. For PvE, the Holosmith does have the highest power scaling skills of any class in the game, but a lack of damage modifiers throughout both Engineer and Holosmith trait lines may keep it down from the top tier of competitive content. When it comes to PvP and WvW, the new spec is both fun to play and gets instant results from its skills, able to burst and pressure players extremely effectively as a bruiser and duellist. If you like playing a class with a giant LAZER BEAM elite skill, dishing out a load of damage and generally being a formidable glass cannon and bruiser, the Holosmith is absolutely for you, and has a great deal more diversity if you want to play around with combinations between old and new skills.
Soulbeast brings with it a request that has been made of the Ranger since the beginning of the game- give us a way to fight without the pet. Many players adore their pets, and play the class for them, but many others have stayed away simply because of pets and pet management. Soulbeast gives the new ability to enter ‘beastmode’, where you absorb your pet and gain boosted stats along with new abilities based on the pet you absorbed. This class has a great deal of variety, with the new stances bringing excellent utility, as well as the spec giving some new potential to a bruiser and condition game style. The Dagger weapon is heavily condition focused, and the spec compliments existing condi Ranger builds a lot with both extra traits and skills for it to use to boost the damage. Unique interactions between different pets, and ways to play around moving in and out of beastmode, create distinct playstyles that rely on a solid understanding of the class. With high damage, high personal sustain, great condition clear and great group utility, Soulbeast is a ‘jack of all trades’ spec that, whilst it may not become the master of any one thing, is still strong at doing a bit of everything. Capable of high damage and great utility support, Soulbeast shapes up to be one of the most fun and unique classes coming with PoF.
So, what do you think of all the new specs, and what changes would you like to see before PoF comes out? Let us know in the comments, along with what you will be maining come September 22nd!