I never thought I would be saying this, but last night I totally brought the heals in Guild Wars 2! That’s right, you’re eyes aren’t tricking you... thanks to the power of Ventari, healing is now more of a thing in Guild Wars 2. We got some hands on time with the new Legend for the Revenant profession in Heart of Thorns.
I’ve always felt that the way Guild Wars 2 handled healing was great, it just needed to expand a bit more to all professions. However, a large portion of the player base isn’t happy with the lack of professions fully committed to healing. ArenaNet has always been a developer that listens to the concerns of their players, and they answered with the Ventari, the new healing-focused option for the Revenant.
Let’s run through the Ventari skills real quick. First you have Ventari’s Will that summons a tablet. The tablet then let’s you use ground-targeting to move it around, which is what makes healing so difficult, but fun at the same time. When the tablet moves, it heals any ally it passes by, but does nothing when left stationary unless you’re pouring a skill into it. This mechanic is very important when playing with Ventari slotted.
Next we’ve got the Protective Solace skill that creates a barrier at the tablet's location. Any enemy projectiles are destroyed when they hit it. This skill is great as it lets you play not just a healing role, but also a protective one.
Natural Harmony comes next, collecting energy into the tablet, then releasing a healing burst to nearby allies. The healing from this skill felt more significant than just moving the tablet, but once again requires you to pay close attention to the position of your allies so that the tablet actually hits them.
Are your buddies plagued with conditions? Hit them with Purifying Essence! This skill removes conditions from allies close to the tablet, and then heals them for each condition that’s removed. This type of skill is actually pretty close to some that other professions already have, but Purifying Essence feels a bit easier to control in practice.
Last we have Energy Expulsion. This elite skill overloads the tablet with energy, causing it to explode, knocking back any enemies that are unfortunate enough to be close by. The fragments of the tablet lay on the ground, healing nearby allies. This skill lets you still take an offensive role, without fully abandoning your role as healer.
How well do they play? Honestly, this is the most difficult thing I’ve ever tried to do in Guild Wars 2. This isn’t a bad thing though. Having to move the tablet around constantly is a much more engaging way to heal other players than just clicking on their name and button smashing. You have to pay close attention to what’s happening in battle, making sure the tablet is near your allies in order to heal them. In WvW, this was beyond my capabilities, as massive zergs are constantly moving. Playing in SPvP, or smaller WvW havoc groups were much easier to manage.
Healing is fun, but is it the heals players have been asking for? I put the healing ability of the Revenant to the test, and I have to say it’s pretty impressive. I found that it’s possible to help keep players alive against large mobs, but don’t expect to heal a player back to full health from the brink of death in an instant. If you’re looking for something as efficient as the Monk from the good old days, you'll be left wanting. The healing abilities to me felt more like I was just barely keeping people alive, but sometimes a boss just hits too hard. Even still, if you can help a player take an extra hit or two, you’re giving them that second chance they didn’t have before. I doubt you'll see groups require Ventari-spec'd Revenants, but they'll be welcome additions to any group as they provide excellent support in a lot of ways while still dealing good damage with their weapons.