I loved playing the Warrior during the beta weekend, and it was my favorite profession after I realized that the Guardian didn’t completely fit my play style. Warriors have always traditionally been my favorite fantasy archetype, from my dwarf Warrior in vanilla WoW to my Chosen in Warhammer. Nothing compares with playing a heavily armored engine of death and destruction. Even my Powertech Bounty Hunter in The Old Republic is essentially a warrior with a gun and a jetpack.
The one downside to playing one in a MMO setting is that melee classes often have a tough time eating AoE damage in boss encounters and being kited in PvP. Swinging the biggest stick on the battlefield doesn’t count for much if you’re hobbling around while more maneuverable classes dance and dodge around you.
What I love about the Warrior in Guild Wars 2 is that there are plenty of ways to counter this downside. Not only do several weapons allow you the chance to bleed and cripple your enemies, but you also have ranged weaponry at your disposal. Not semi-usless “stat sticks” like ranged warrior weapons are in World of Warcraft, but truly lethal weapons of warfare. This makes the Warrior a force to be reckoned with at any range and in any encounter. Nowhere is safe. By blade or bullet, bodies will pile up!
I’m getting a little misty just thinking about it.
Just like I did with the Guardian, I took the time to experiment with and unlock each of the Warrior’s weapon skills. And just like the Guardian, my initial thoughts of using the hammer changed once I got some time with it. It isn’t that it’s a bad weapon… far from it. I just enjoyed others a bit more for my play style. For most of the beta, I ended up rolling with a combination of the rifle along with the axe and sword.
We’ll start with a look at the controversial rifle:
|Rifle||Burst skill*||Kill Shot||10||Fire a powerful shot. Damage increases with adrenaline level.|
|Both hands||Bleeding Shot||Fire a shot that bleeds your target.|
|Aimed Shot||10||Fire a precise shot that cripples your foe.|
|Volley||10||Fire a volley of shots at your foe.|
|Brutal Shot||15||Shoot your foe and make them vulnerable.|
|Rifle Butt||20||Push your foe back with your rifle butt.|
The rifle is brutally effective at what it does. While Jon Peters from ArenaNet is on record as stating that ranged weapons always do less damage than melee weapons, for crowded dynamic events or for zerg vs zerg in WvW combat I quickly came to appreciate the versatility and downrange capabilities of the rifle.
1. Bleeding Shot – A fantastic primary attack, especially since Bleeds stack and so many Warrior traits center on them.
2. Aimed Shot – Cripples enemies, and is a great way to close the distance. At times I felt like The Last of the Mohicans, firing off a couple opening salvos and then swapping to melee weapons once I was up close and personal.
3. Volley – Hammers your opponent with multiple shots, and ended up being a pretty good burst skill.
4. Brutal Shot – Makes your enemy vulnerable and was a great set up ability for making everything else hit harder.
5. Rifle Butt – Was an ability I rarely used in all honesty since my goal was usually to bring people closer, but it certainly has its uses. Sadly I was unable to push enemies in PvE off any cliffs with it.
Last but not least, the burst ability Kill Shot is one that earned its name several times over during the weekend. It scales with adrenaline, and I’d often fill the bar against an enemy that was under half health in order to drop him. If the opponent was vulnerable, and if I had popped my For Great Justice! utility skill, Kill Shot was extremely effective. It does root you in place during its cast time, but I think this is a pretty solid balancing mechanic. If I could fire it on the run, I think it would be a little too good.
There were many players who complained about the rifle. Some don’t believe it belongs in the Warrior’s arsenal in the first place. Others believe too many people came to rely on it to avoid the melee killing field in PvP or to play it safe against PvE champion mobs. I didn’t suffer from any of these problems. To me, a Warrior’s job is to kill the enemy with whatever is at his disposal. The main reason I love my Powertech in SW:TOR is that he’s deadly at any range, and it was an unexpected and welcome surprise to find the same concept alive and well in Guild Wars 2.
But… as good as the rifle is, it wasn’t my main weapon set of choice.
Instead, I found myself loving the deadly duo of axe and sword.
|Axe||Burst skill*||Eviscerate||10||Leap at your foe with a devastating attack. Effect increases with adrenaline level.|
|Main hand||Chop||Chop your foe.|
|Double Chop||Chop twice at your foe.|
|Triple Chop||Chop three times at your foe.|
|Cyclone Axe||6||Spin around and attack all nearby foes.|
|Throw Axe||10||Throw an axe that cripples enemies|
|Off hand||Dual Strike||12||Strike your foe with both axes. Gain fury with each hit.|
|Whirling Axe||20||Spin and attack nearby foes. You can move while spinning.|
|Sword||Burst skill*||Flurry||10||Immobilize your foes with a flurry of strikes. Effect increases with adrenaline level.|
|Main hand||Sever Artery||Bleed your foe with a slash.|
|Gash||Bleed your foe with a gash.|
|Final Thrust||Strike your foe with a powerful thrust.|
|Savage Leap||8||Lunge at your foe, striking them with your sword.|
|Hamstring||15||Cripple your foe with a precise slash. Cripple last 9 seconds|
|Off hand||Impale||20||Throw your sword at your foe and apply multiple stacks of bleeding over time.|
|Riposte||15||Block the next incoming attack. Riposte and bleed your foe if you block a melee attack. Gain adrenaline if you are not attacked.|
There are many possible configurations of one handed weapons that Warriors can employ to stab, bash or chop the opposition. I grew to love the axe in my main hand with the sword in my off hand, so that is how I’ll describe this combination.
1. The primary attack chain of the axe isn’t sexy, but it is effective. Like other melee weapons it will hit everything in its swing arc, and the animations make it a pleasure to wield.
2. Cyclone Axe – A 360 degree melee attack that cleaves everything in range. As I usually try to balance single target and AoE abilities along with melee and range, this complemented my setup nicely. The low cooldown meant it was readily available without being spammable. Perfect.
3. Throw Axe – This gives you a medium ranged Cripple that is useful for a gap closer or for those times when I needed to get a little range to swap to the rifle. There were times when I was low on health, my heal was on cooldown, and I needed very much not to die. Chucking my axe into someone’s sternum and slowing them down was the perfect solution.
4. Impale – This is the second half of my medium range combo. Netting a free Bleed out of the deal didn’t hurt either.
5. Riposte – Who needs a shield when you can deflect attacks with your blade? If your enemy hits you, you deflect the blow while damaging and Bleeding him. If he doesn’t attack you, then you get an adrenaline boost. There isn’t a downside here.
Finally, the burst ability of the axe gives you a powerful damaging leap attack. Good for closing, and functions like the melee version of the rifle’s Kill Shot when it comes to damage.
I enjoyed this combination of ranged and melee in both PvE and PvP, and it was a pleasure to deal devastation with it. It was adrenaline-fueled fun, and I loved every moment of it.
I actually caught myself ROARING at my screen as I laid waste to my enemies.
For my healing ability, I swapped out the default Healing Surge and chose the Healing Signet instead. The passive Regeneration was very useful, and I thought it was worth missing out on the condition removal and adrenaline building benefits of the other possible heals.
|Signet||Healing Signet||40||4||Passive: Gain regeneration.
Active: Heal yourself.
For my utility skills I went with:
|“For Great Justice!”||25||1||Grant fury and might to yourself and nearby allies.|
|“Shake It Off!”||25||2||Remove a condition from yourself and nearby allies. Breaks stuns.|
I built out my Warrior a little more for structured PvP since I was boosted to 80, but these were the two shouts I focused upon with my PvE Warrior. While yelling “FOR GREAT JUSTICE!” every 25 seconds got a little old, I couldn’t argue with the results. If you heard this, it probably meant a burst skill was coming right behind it.
Likewise, “Shake it off!” allowed me to provide a little group utility while giving me a stun breaker and condition removal.
As a whole, running the Warrior in this way was perfectly natural for my play style. I’m sure there are dozens of ways you can build a Warrior out to be effective, but I was impressed as to how natural and comfortable this felt after only a day of play. In solo play and in groups, I felt like an unchained beast on the prowl and looking for prey. The Warrior is easily my favored profession for launch, taking the top spot from the Guardian after the beta weekend.
I cannot recommend it highly enough, and I’m thankful to ArenaNet for giving me exactly what I wanted in a profession.