After yesterday’s post, I spent a session last night on my necromancer playing in the charr starter zone (which is awesome by the way).
So far, unlike my mesmer and elementalist, I’m having some doubts about which weaponset/spec to play on necromancer. He’s lower level and hasn’t unlocked everything yet, but the combos I have tried aren’t really haven’t gelled. The melee-dps handaxe/warhorn combo is fun but it’s melee and he’s in cloth armour so that leads to sudden death or over-aggro’ing. Staff has a good basic ranged attack and then four ‘marks’ which are all AoE damage + debuff style attacks. It’s probably a great dungeon spec or group support spec but not much use solo or when duo’ing (he’s a duo character at the moment). I have a crafted dagger waiting for level 10 so soon I’ll be able to unlock that as a main and an offhand weapon which maybe the special ingredient I need to find the right spec for me.
I’m not expecting to love all the classes of course, so maybe necro isn’t for me. I am still loving the weaponsets and skillbar system though. It reminds me of DDO in one fundamental way – GW2 is a game where weapon choice matters and is interesting. It breaks away from the inertia of WoW-esque “best in slot” nonsense. That horrible situation where every character of your class and spec has either the best heroic dungeon weapon or the equivalent weapon from a raid. An endless army of clones marching around in the same armour and wielding the same weapons.
DDO actually takes such individual choices to an extreme. My paladin has nine different weapons: a holy sword, an icy sword (against fire elementals), a flame axe (to burn trolls), a volcanic glass club (for oozes): you get the idea. You can, and in fact have to, swap weapons during combat to react to opponents tactics or appearance. Weapon selection in DDO has always been interesting and an expression of character development choices. There isn’t just one weapon that burns with magical flames, there are literally dozens of such weapons so you get to choose one that is right for your character; whether for the simple aesthetic look, an imagined roleplay reason or whichever has the best stats.
Guild Wars 2 has taken weapon choice and tied it to abilities. I really, really like this as I’ve said before. It gives me a real choice of how I want to play my character, yet unlike pure talent trees I can also swap weapons during combat to mix things up. This tactical layer to the game isn’t mandatory I suspect, but I’ve noticed a real difference in my survivability if I pay attention to what’s going on and have a “oh crud!#@#@” secondary spec loaded with more escape/CC/AoE abilities to swap to if things start going bad. This is the trinity-less gameplay in action I guess.
Last night we also started paying more attention to the tooltips on some of our abilities and have remembered the published feature of combos. Since we have now identified abilities designated as ‘combo fields’ and ‘combo finishers’ it seems an appropriate time to start experimenting with executing some combos when we run events together.