Sluggers and thugs unite, your profession has arrived. The Warrior in Guild Wars 2 epitomizes brutal in every way. They may not be as sleek and cool as the Thief or Ranger, but it sure gets the job done, even if it is a bit messy. The Warrior follows the classic guidelines you would expect from the profession with a few solid twists in design to give it plenty of personality. While of all the professions have differences that make them unique this one seems the most traditional to your normal MMO style; it is the Guild Wars 2 skill system that brings flavor to the warrior you want to create. Let's start by listing out the special mechanics of the class from the official site.
- Stances—These are toggle skills that let you turn on an enhancement at the cost of energy regeneration. For example, a warrior could hit Berserker's Stance which drains his energy, but gives him adrenaline regeneration. You can easily toggle off Berserker's Stance and send the skill into recharge.
- Chains—A set of three skills that share a single skill slot, chains go off in sequence if you are hitting your target. For example, the sword chain skills Sever Artery, Gash, and Final Thrust are all on the same key, so rather than making a sword warrior spend three slots, they stack to fill only one slot. Chains effectively give a warrior two extra weapon skills on a weapon set.
- Banners—The warrior calls down banners to buff his allies with attack power. A banner can be picked up and carried around to move the buff, or it can be planted in an area to convey the buff, allowing the warrior to continue fighting. One example is Banner of Courage, which increases the melee damage of allies within its range.
- Shouts—Shouts are skills that affect a large area and give bonuses to allies or debuff enemies. A warrior could use the shout On My Mark to lower an enemy's armor and call a target out to allied party members.
- Charge Skills—Some skills can be held down to power them up for more impressive attacks. A warrior with a mace can wind up the powerful skill Obliterate and release it at four different power levels to do increasing amounts of damage.
I highly recommend a similar build to the Ranger I played as well in the demo. Spec out your hand to hand weapons but also take a ranged weapon. You can build your skills in all of the forms, but in this game the weapon swap key will allow you to switch from ranged to melee and this is critical for combat (especially if you are doing PvP). For my Warrior I went sword and shield with a bow for ranged. This gave me some options on the defensive stance that I could use and really allowed me to control the damage being done to my character. I also loved the two handed hammer which does some great stuns and snares on enemies. Another option for a spec is to forgo the ranged and simply take two swords which are very fast, then weapon swap to a two handed hammer.
With so many weapon options you can play a Warrior almost any way you like. Sword wielding speed with quick attacks, or Mace whomping stuns, which do great in PvP. I did like the shield but I guess that comes from my old tanking days. The good thing about the Warrior is those old style of tank days are over. You are not relying on a healer all the time to keep you alive. So the gloves are off when playing this class.
The trick is in balancing your stances to get the most out of a fight. The other ability which is just plain cool is Shouts which are more like debuffs than anything else. Banners are a nice touch as well, but honestly I didn’t use them much at low level. Of all the skills a Warrior has, the class really shines with its Chains. The Chains unlock as you use skills. They rotate in the icons' spot... think a forehand strike leads to a backhand strike, leads to a pummel, etc. Once these get going the Warrior can really finish off foes quickly. This combination of game mechanics is what makes the Warrior feel a little traditional but somehow different. I think the wide range of weapons is the real gem in the Warrior’s Bag of Holding.
The class is perfect for fans of the beat down, the players who see the giant coming and run up to face off with it. There are some great ranged options with the Warrior as well but for me those came in second place to the high level of melee skills the class can use. One thing I really wanted to mention was the Adrenaline and how it needs to be managed. You need to get that Adrenaline running through your system quickly in order to really stack up your attacks. In the end, if you are in the final blows of a fight using a Burst ability to finish off your foe is very dynamic. The only thing about the Bursts is you want to manage them carefully because you are often facing multiple opponents and don’t want to get caught without any Adrenaline. Unlike most Warriors in MMOs the class gives you plenty of options to explore when playing. On the surface the class may look traditional until you start unlocking all of its secrets: then the Warrior truly shines.