Meet the Guild Wars 2 version of Raye Lestrange:
Raye is about the only character of mine who is making it through the 250 year gap. That is mainly because I've personally adopted the Raye persona. If someone called out "RAYE!" on the street, I would probably look up. You can blame Vent for that. Anyway, she was a Dervish in Guild Wars 1, but that actually didn't have anything to do with the fact that she is going to make a return as a Guardian. I was very, very close to making her a Mesmer instead.
The first time I loaded up Guild Wars 2, during the first beta, I went straight for the Guardian. I have always been interested in the melee caster archetype, and I was also a big fan of the Monk in Guild Wars. The Guardian is to me, the Dervish and the Monk in a blender, with a cherry on top. It is just the kind of class I enjoy. You can even find the similarity of play with the Diablo 3 Monk, which was very much my cup of tea. However, much to my dismay, I hated the Guardian. I know what you're gonna say: "But Raye! you're making the guardian your main! are you crazy?"
Short answer: Yes. But I'm crazy regardless of anything really. I hated the melee combat at first. I didn't have a clue of what to do, how to move my character, or how to even attack. Guild Wars had made that very easy on everyone. C-space would just make your character auto-run into range and start attacking, without you doing much of anything. Guild Wars 2 requires that you pay attention to where you are going, and how you're moving. I was so bad at it at first, that I was simply sad and decided to try a ranged class instead. That was the end of the Guardian experience in the first beta weekend. I had rolled a Mesmer instead and was having tons of fun with that... but that's a different entry for a different day.
After the first beta, I felt like I generally understood the game better; I wasn't by any means a master of anything, but I could hold my own. So when the second beta rolled around, I decided to give the Guardian another fair try. This time around: I fucking loved it. So really, to anyone who hasn't had the privilege of playing yet but is likely going to purchase the game, or try it upon release: Don't get too discouraged if you suck at first! Guild Wars 2 is not easy to play. This is a good thing.
So the guardian, a melee caster and defender, I mean duh it's a Guardian! I think the easiest way to really explain what a Guardian is, is to just compare it directly to a Paladin. It's like a paladin. For Guild Wars 2's purposes, the Guardian can be both, a melee character and a ranged character depending on the role you need to play at the time. Instead of allowing you 80 different skills that you use once every 4 months and clutter your screen, GW2 allows for 10. 5 of which are directly tied to your weapon. The other 5 are utility skills.
While I don't know much about the mechanics just yet, I can pretty much say that the role of the Guardian is support. With heavy armor, and defensive spells that affect others around him/her, as well as damage. You can also be an asshole of a Guardian and not protect anyone. But what's the fun in that?
The weapons of a Guardian:
- Hammer (2-hand)
- Greatsword (2-hand)
- Staff (2-hand)
- Mace (main hand)
- Scepter (main hand)
- Sword (main hand)
- Focus (off-hand)
- Shield (off-hand)
- Torch (off-hand)
- Spear (water weapon)
- Trident (water weapon)
I don't want to make this entry too long, so I would just like to say that my favorite Guardian skill is leap of faith. It has twice the range of a dodge (I tested that) and what it does is self explanatory really, it makes your character leap. It is usually great for when you're trying to get into someone's face. I like to use it as my opening move. I choose the scepter for the range, and the shield for the Shield of Absorption skill, which basically pushes enemies far away from you and people surrounding you.
Then there's traits, which I'm actually not 100% on yet, because I've only ever unlocked the first tier I think. It basically allows you to give yourself more power, or more vitality, etc, depending on which trait you decide to spend your points on. You start acquiring those at level 11 iirc.
Then there is virtues. What makes a Guardian a Guardian, instead of a blue hued warrior. Each profession in Guild Wars 2 plays very differently. I know people say that often about games in general, but this is much more true in GW2 than I have ever seen before. Each profession has its own mechanic. For example, mesmers can make copies of themselves and then shatter them at will. Guardians, have virtues. These are 3 things (that I've seen so far) that are always passively running for you personally. Aegis (block for some x amount of time), health regen, and burning on every attack. Now these things are key-bound to the F-1, F-2, F-3 (and possibly keep going if there's more virtues later on in the game.) When you activate any of them, the boon you were receiving affects allies around you. The burning you were making, now allows allies to burn things. Not only that, but instead of burning for 1 second, they burn for 5. As a result, people attempt to be more team-player-like. The virtue that grants Aegis, well grants Aegis to everyone. The health-regen one, instead of regenerating allies, it just heals everyone for x-amount, possibly determined by your level.
Then there's the symbols, which are things guardians smash on the ground. These are area of effect things really. Sometimes they burn opponents, sometimes they cripple them, as well as, granting general and combo benefits to allies. So all in all, the Guardian is great for team playing AND for solo playing.
I know I have barely scratched the surface of what the Guardian is capable of doing. I purposedly kept myself in the dark up to the point we got to play the beta, because I wanted to experience it in game. If you want to read more on guardians, the Official Guild Wars 2 Wiki page on Guardians, will probably help. I wish to discover things as I go along.
This entry has gotten pretty long, way longer than I intended it to be, and it's not even comprehensive! Given, I rambled about my character for the first 4 paragraphs, but oh well. And with that said, I shall leave you with a nice guardian video with the first few skills that ArenaNet revealed to us when the Guardian profession was announced:
Next up: The elementalist! Until then...