Of all the classes we have tested so far, warrior feels the least affected by the loss of utility skills at lower levels. This could be because the weapon skills open so quickly or it could be because there is a plethora of weapons to choose from. Adrenaline skills are slightly diminished in importance now that NPE is in effect. However, when they do open, it gives the warrior an extra power attack right as the enemies are starting to ramp up in difficulty due to the stat slump effect. In addition, the warrior’s utility skills provide buffs and survivability and their late opening feels purposefully timed to higher levels where warriors may again notice the increasing difficulty of the enemies they encounter. These skills add a variety of tactics, such as Shake it Off! and specialized attacks like Kick, and stand in sharp contrast to those of the engineer, who needs them for basic functionality, and the thief’s that are necessary for survivability. Although they improve the warrior, kicking in when the stat slump seems to ramp up, if they do not exist, the effect of their absence is minor (at least at these early levels).
Leveling from 1 to 12 felt well paced to both of us but, moving beyond the first dozen levels or so, Star felt that a wall of stagnation formed and tedium set in. Star attempted to combat this by leaving personal story steps until later levels and doing them every other level, artificially returning the story to its former format. San contemplated using crafting to power beyond these levels and finally broke down to see how this would affect an early character. She did not use crafting boosters for this test and gained 1.5 levels by crafting to get usable gear at level 20. This doldrum phenomenon may not be an issue for new players but it may be for veterans who are used to having story steps every few levels as well as better gear through crafting. It may be worth noting that San’s gear drop RNG seems to favor power/’zerker stats making her test alts more glassy than she cares for, another reason why she opted to test the last few warrior levels with crafted gear. Conversely, Star’s RNG consistently rewarded her with weapons that fit well with her level, skills, and the enemies she fights against. However, armor for her proved more difficult and as Star did not craft any, she found herself having to kite more often through the teen levels.
Warrior starts with sword, a choice San felt left something to be desired. However, the warrior’s sword skills carry condition damage and Star discovered that the condition damage stacks do large amounts of damage to higher level enemies, even when the blows were listed as “glancing” and did little direct damage.
In this way, a veteran player might be able to test his or her limits, exploring higher level areas than they technically should enter, using more advanced tactics than a new player has mastered. This quest could then be used to improve the early leveling experience.
Star’s warrior build focused on greatsword with a rifle for ranged attacks. In order to accommodate the lack of weapon swapping, she ran through the map with her inventory window open, switching weapons manually as the field conditions changed. This may prove less viable with one weapon set containing an offhand weapon but for two one-handed weapons or two two-handed weapons, it overcame the early loss of functionality. Once utility skills became available, Star chose signets for their passive effects. This build may be limiting as warriors gain higher levels but for a young warrior Star found no flaws with it.
San’s warrior build used greatsword and axe/mace or dual axes as a swap. As utility slots opened, she used a combination of shouts and banners with the occasional Signet of Might since the all signets build does not complement her play style for some reason. Once her warrior had crafted gear, she was able to give him the stats she wanted, balancing him out and bringing his toughness, vitality, and healing power up through armor and helping him with precision and power through weapons. She then started playing with a combination of signets and banners, the latter being skills with which she’s only just starting to experiment. Since she was still in Plains of Ashford and fighting the same levels of enemies her warrior was struggling against before, she could tell that the crafted gear made a palpable difference considering the dropped gear she had been using ranged anywhere from levels 6-19 with most of it being level 10.
With this test, we both discovered and rediscovered the joy of the warrior class, which we grew to love anew, so much so that we kept our test warriors as permanent characters, rather than deleting them after the test was completed.
Having spent a great deal of time with warriors in the original Guild Wars and after maxing her first Guild Wars 2 warrior over a year ago, Star found herself drawn to the class again. She felt there was a certain reckless abandonment that overcame her while playing the test character. Although strategy is still important while playing warriors, the bold directness of the class is a welcome change from the intense tactical play she finds with other classes. San, who deleted her max level Guild Wars Prophecies warrior, and has never been a fan of the class, found warrior a lot more fun this time. Her highest warrior is still in his 50s, but she found that her time playing other classes like elementalist (running double dagger and the Fiery Greatsword elite) and guardian (running greatsword and sword melee combinations) has helped her melee strategy and positioning, making warrior more fun to play now. San also found herself approaching this class test more like her normal alt leveling experience, playing with skills and weapon combinations she’s ignored or left unexplored in the past.
~ Star & San
Next time, Elementalists, my dear Watson.