GUILD WARS 2: HEART OF THORNS SPECIALISATIONS ARE A GAME-CHANGER

In a lengthy blog post, designer Jon Peters has revealed how Traits, Skills and more have now been streamlined into a single panel, while Elite Specialisations serve as the basis through which even more diverse professions may be introduced.

“Each profession will have five core specializations corresponding to the old trait lines,” he writes. “The first step in customization will be to select three of the five core specs. These determine the basis for your other build choices: For example, an Elementalist may choose to specialize in Fire, Earth and Water magic. The ability to select one, two and finally three core specializations will unlock as you level your character from 1-80.

“Each core specialization will have three minor traits associated with the specialization. These are automatically equipped along with the specialization itself and help define the playstyle of that particular specialization.

“In addition, there will be nine major traits tied to each specialization. There are three different tiers of traits: Adept, Master, and Grandmaster. Once a specialization has been equipped, a character will be able to select a single trait for each tier to help customize that specialization. By locking traits to tiers and reducing the overall number of traits, we have been able to make each choice much more compelling.”

Alongside this change, packages of skills, traits, specialisations and items are available through the new Profession Reward Tracks, unlocked by spending Hero Points earned through what are currently known as Hero Points.

“Making a character previously was fairly complicated,” Peters told IGN. “The trait system was overly complicated and filled with uninspired choices. This system puts all of making a build, your skills and traits, you specialisation, into a single panel. So now when you want to make a character you go to this one page and you pick your skills, your line and your traits. The choices are clearer and more defined. It lets you understand the connections between these systems as they’re next to each other, and I feel that’s what was missing before.”

Most exciting, however, are the new Elite Specialisations: level 80 Specialisations that allow characters to access new weapons, mechanics, skills and traits not usually usable by a specific Profession. The only example given thus far is the ability for Rangers to become Druids, wielding staffs and utilising nature magic, though it’s been revealed Necromancers will be able to use greatswords.