Last week I started writing a post about the newly revealed mesmer specialization, the Chronomancer. Note that I said tried – the post went nowhere; I spent an hour to only get down about eight sentences before I junked it. To be fair, I was also quite ill at the time. I’ve been meaning to go back to it and get something together again, but there’s been nothing. Which isn’t to say that I don’t find chronomancer interesting – the opposite is true. I think it looks pretty damn neat, in fact. I just have had no ideas as to what to write about other than rehashing the info we already have.
In the meantime, the guardian specialization, Dragonhunter, was revealed. Dragonhunter has gotten a much more mixed reception than chronomancer did (which was overwhelmingly positive) – while I’ve seen a lot of people pleased with the info we were given on it, I’ve also seen a lot of “meh”.
Personally, I actually think I’m more excited about the potential that dragonhunter has than I am about chronomancer.
Above we have my collection of mesmers and guardians. Liusaidh and Rosheen, the sylvari mesmer and guardian, are two of my most-played characters – Liusaidh is my main and was my first to level 80, and Rosheen was my second character I leveled. The humans are Haneul Nae (mesmer, descended from my GW1 ritualist) and Astrid Cheval (guardian, descended from my GW1 mesmer). They are more recent additions to my level 80 lineup, Astrid being the last character I leveled to complete my goal of having two of each profession at level 80. Liusaidh uses a phantasm build, whereas Haneul makes use of mantras. Rosheen makes use of shouts and boons to support, while Astrid whacks things with her greatsword.
Not just because I NEED to give her Kudzu along with her Bifrost, but the new stuff that dragonhunter is giving us just fits her perfectly. I have, since launch, played Rosheen as a support guardian. Despite having never liked support roles in any other game before, I love support guardian. It’s just so much fun to play. Since stats are being disconnected from traits, her current boon duration build is going to be destroyed anyway, so I need to find something new to do with her. Dragonhunter will allow me to continue to play a support guardian, just in a different manner.
And yes, I get it. Support’s not part of the current meta. I don’t care. I don’t care about what’s meta, what’s the most absolute efficient, whatever. I don’t find that fun, and that is what I find to be far more important when I’m playing. As such, what we’ve seen about dragonhunter actually appeals to my sense of enjoyment and fun, and changes up guardian, more than chronomancer does, for all that chronomancer looks flashier and more effective.
I really like the idea of being able to support from the backline. To be able to use a well-aimed shot to deflect projectiles instead of being a Wall of Reflection bot. To have more range to play with. I like the more active virtues – the new Virtue of Resolve just plain sounds fun. And you know what? I even like the sound of traps.
Two of the other common complaints about dragonhunter include the name and the fear that it’s a bit too close to ranger in how it works. The name…okay, I can understand that. It’s a silly, generic name. A lot of people were expecting paragon, which would have been neat, but realistically wasn’t going to happen. Paragon is already used synonymously with guardian in GW2 – it’s the name of the PvP achievement track for guardian wins. It also has a more angelic connotation to it, which the specialization, other than the wings in the concept art, does not have. In the long run, the name’s not going to be a huge deal.
As far as the second…again, I can see it. Guardian is getting both a weapon and skill type that, while not unique to rangers, are best-known on them. There are differences in how the weapons work, though – on ranger, longbow is a high-power weapon that hits hard. I get the impression that the main use of longbow on a guardian is going to be to give a number of different supportive effects – we likely won’t be spiking enemies with a Rapid Fire analog. Right now it looks like traps do have a fair amount of overlap, but I imagine that dragonhunter traps will have more supportive utility to them than ranger traps do. It’s similar to how mesmer is gaining wells through chronomancer – necromancer also has wells, but chronomancer wells will pulse three times with an end effect, as opposed to the five pulses that necromancer wells deal. The difference is slight, but it’s there.
The Ready Up livestream today will, of course, give us more information about how dragonhunter will work, so it’s possible that some of the quibbles about it will be answered in about a half hour from now. But from a personal standpoint, I feel like dragonhunter is going to be more to my style than chronomancer, as it doesn’t require me to give up a build or playstyle I already enjoy. It instead caters to a playstyle I like.
I wonder what we’ll get next?