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Interviews: Jon Peters on the Reaper Elite Spec

By William Murphy on May 15, 2015

Jon Peters on the Reaper Elite Spec

Yesterday the Reaper was announced as the Necromancer's Elite Specialization in Guild Wars 2's upcoming Heart of Thorns expansion. We pestered ArenaNet's own Jon Peters for a little more detail on the spec, and this is what we managed to choke out of him.


MMORPG: The blog mentions that the Reaper’s attacks have build-ups, giving the spec a sort of lumbering but dangerous attack pattern. How has this played internally with PVP? We’d imagine that the build ups can be easy to dodge if the opposing player is paying attention.

Jon Peters, Game Design Lead: It’s all relative. We are trying to get a feel so I believe instead of taking a total of 1.5 seconds to complete the 3 part combo like the warrior and Guardian the Necro hits a bit harder but his combo is somewhere between 1.75 and 2 seconds long for all 3 attacks combined. In general, he has attacks that tend to be in the .75 to 1 second time frame instead of .5 to .75. In reality it’s a small difference and these attacks hit hard enough to make up for it. We feel like this is a really nice combination to go along with the Chill effects that reapers bring to the table.

The new Shroud animation. Don't blink!

MMO: The shouts part of the Reaper seems really interesting. Will any of the shout mechanics act as a taunt? Or are they all about doing PBAOE damage?

JP: Obviously we toyed with the idea of a shout called "Don't Fear the Reaper.”  Ultimately we decided that the flavor of the Necromancer was more Fear than taunt, which is why we settled on the trait that does Chill on Fear because it creates a nice connection to controlling your enemies but still keeping them somewhat close to your melee range. The shouts encompass a variety of mechanics, but mostly they are about making him feel like a Reaper. They play into his heavy hitting tanky nature doing things like Weakness, making his attacks unblockable and slowing his enemies with Chill.

MMO: How much does donning the spec of Reaper change the other abilities of the Necromancer? Can they still summon other demons and the like to assist them, or is there little leeway for using the original Necromancer skills?  This question really applies to all elite specializations, so feel free to be broad. Basically, can the original professions’ skills and abilities still be a part of the player’s build, or is it all or nothing?

JP: As with all Elite specs, the Reaper can use all of his new abilities with his old abilities and traits. The only exception is the new shroud skills which replace the old shroud skill. That being said, old traits that impact shroud skills will benefit Reaper's Shroud in their own unique way. I find the Reaper actually opens up some old skills for greater use. For example, the variety of synergy with the Chill condition makes Spectral grasp a great Reaper skill.

MMO: Players have long been wishing for the Greatsword on their Necros… but does this mean that Trahaerne is the original Reaper?

JP: The origin of the Reaper is tied to a variety of elements in the history of Tyria. Who is to say which came first the Chicken (Trahearne) or the Egg (Reapers).

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.
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