While I wouldn’t say that ANet has opened the floodgates of information, the post that Jon Peters put up on the Official ANet blog gives fans some answers to questions they have had for awhile. Sadly as usual this also leads to more questions, some more important than others.
Opening with a description of how they retooled the engineer’s tool belt functionality Jon once again demonstrated the patented ANet iteration machine hard at work. The main take away is that the primary healing skill and non-elite utility skills are all getting a secondary feature. This means the Engineer while still limited in weapon choice can bring potentially more skills to a fight than an Elementalist. It seems to me that the engineer will be less about preparing for a fight beforehand and more about bringing the kitchen sink and adapting on the fly. I was surprised by this revelation as it was not something I had heard much complaint about in the community. Ranger companions are a different story.
Perhaps the most lamented system from demo play in Guild Wars Two has been the Ranger pet system. ANet has even said they were not happy with the pets in internal play tests as well. Their rework is interesting and can be divided two main parts; the new stables system and the new control method. In the stables system the player receives two pet slots whose occupants can be switched out on the fly. Each slot contains two sub slots; one for terrestrial and one for aquatic pets with amphibious fitting in both allowing you ensure you have the right pet for the occasion, be it swimming or walking.
If you must play ranger, but are easily confused then the new more mico based controls may leave you unhappy. With the new system your pet can be aggressive or passive, attack or use their battle cry on command as well. All of these abilites are slotted to your f1-f4. Fortuantly you can simply slot two of the same amphibious animal and name them thing one and thing two then learn how to use one animal and never deviate. I am curious if the elite skill that would summon three pets now only summons two or if it summons all four pets. More importantly, now that WoW has introduced warrior pandas will we get panda pets for Guild Wars 2? Would ANet erroneously place them in the bear family? Ranger raccoon companions anyone? There was more in the post, but I think pandas with a shout that provides drunkenness or the urge to avoid mating is more pertinent.
Moving on we get to the potential skill combos. To me it sounds more and more like the combo system in Dragon Age, which is a good thing. It does make me wonder about Mesmer combos. Weapons passing through chaos storm deal a random condition. Cast an AoE shadow spell on circle of sleep summons weak nightmares to deal damage. I’m really happy to see that ANet is not simply going with combos being more ways to damage as the update talks about defensive and supportive ways to use combos as well.