Guild Wars 2 has launched and new players and veterans alike are debating which of the eight playable professions to make their main character for the first run-through of the game. If you’re similarly perplexed by the profession choices, you can narrow down your decision based on any combination of these considerations.
Based on Appearance
Do you put the most premium on the looks of your character? If so, then your profession choice will be decided as early as the character creation screen. When cheating a new character, you will be asked to choose a profession. This is the time to experiment with profession-race-gender combinations.
Want to control a tough-looking male Norn with an obsession with explosive Engineer guns, or do you fancy a cloaked, combo-stabbing Thief more? The eight Guild Wars 2 professions can be divided into three subgroups based on their preferred armor: Heavy Armor (Paladin, Warrior), Medium Armor (Engineer, Ranger, Thief) and Light Armor (Elementalist, Mesmer, Necromancer) users. Several professions even offer distinctive apparel, such as the Necromancer and Mesmer’s masks.
The character creation process lets you do-over your decisions, so try to check out how all the professions look before deciding on the final one. It’s better for you to spend an hour or so fussing over the look of your character rather than discovering 30 levels in that you would like a different-looking avatar, and make the painful decision to re-roll. That would be a total waste of time.
Based on Playstyle
Each profession offers unique abilities and playstyles. It’s true what ArenaNet claims: Professions are multi-talented; there is no one specific role that they play. The Guardian, for example, can be built to serve as a frontline tank, a sturdy support buffer, or a pure area damage dealer.
The best way to go about learning about each of the profession’s combat synergies is to create fantasy builds using a skill builder. These web-based calculators – most often made by fans, but an official one might be coming along soon – will let you whip up a fantasy build based on choosing specific traits and weapons and abilities.
A more visual alternative is to hunt down some videos of more professional gamers for your profession, and see what advice they dole out. Remember that while all professions are tinkered constantly for balance, there are still several ones that are better at soloing (Ranger and Warrior come to mind) and are more effective in party play (Guardian).
Based on Difficulty
Not all professions have the same learning curve. Even ArenaNet themselves admitted that professions like the Thief and Mesmer are more difficult to master. As a player, you could make your choice based on which one offers an easier learning path or which one offers a hardcore challenge.
New players may want to stick to easy-to-learn professions such as the Warrior and Ranger, which have high survivability and deal out solid damage by spamming certain skills. But if you’re craving for more challenge, then professions such as the Thief and Mesmer require more precise button-mashing, relying on ability combos to really push out their performance.
Based on Popularity
Do you like to bandwagon the most popular professions, or do you prefer to stand out from the pack and pick the least popular professions? Fans who bandwagon find it easier to learn the best strategies and builds because plenty more are testing out the profession. It does give the disadvantage of having so many others doing the same thing as you do, which for some people is a deal breaker.
In a recent Reddit survey, the Elementalist was crowned the most popular profession with 18% of respondents saying they plan on playing the spell-shooting profession, while the admittedly combo-reliant Mesmer was the least popular with the Engineer and Necromancer not far behind.
Andy believes that one day all games will be just one big MMO, and spends most of his nights playing the newest Western AAAs and Eastern grinders, while contributing to MMO Play.