Now that we've had some time to absorb the news and talk it over, I wanted to take some time to look at it more closely, particularly the cross-profession combos. Follow along after the jump and let's get started!
The entire cross-profession combo mechanic holds such interest for me in large part because it fits so neatly with Guild Wars 2's "group up if you want, but no pressure" setup. You're not required to be in a formal group or party to get the advantage of this. If you're someone who just wants to go his own way, you're not going to be missing out on a crucial battle advantage. Want to pause to join an interesting-looking battle on your way to Divinity's Reach? No grouping required, and if you happen to notice one of your battle companions lay down an initiator, see what you can do with it.
The fact that initiatiors are out there in the world, visible to anyone nearby, is so much more than just a flashy visual effect. Making it a world effect rather than a party or individual effect opens it up to anyone around, not just those who choose to participate as part of a set group. I love it because it's further progress in a field that ArenaNet already excels in: acknowledging that a lot of people prefer to play solo and their gameplay shouldn't be penalized for that.
The new details that Jon gave us last week really cemented my appreciation of the entire mechanic. The floating notification, again, is more to me than just a nice visual addition. It adds the same fun element of discovery that I love about the crafting system -- you're just playing around and... hey, look at that, you just discovered something new! Think about how much fun it's going to be in the first weeks and months following launch as players everywhere stumble across new combinations. I can't wait.
There's a ton of potential there, and it's exciting to see the ArenaNet team revisit the class to explore that potential. The new version of the toolbelts, including all of the additional skills, tells me that this class is going to be a lot more interesting and a lot more complicated than it was before. This is good in my eyes because Guild Wars 2 needs classes that will require players to learn and think as they play. This isn't your basic hack-'n'-slash game, and some intricate classes fit really nicely in the setting.
I've said before that it's going to take a certain type of player to play the Engineer successfully, and I think that holds even truer now. You're probably not going to be a fabulous Engineer player right out of the gate; plenty of time, patience, and trial-and-error will be needed. In that way, it reminds me a lot of the current Assassin. I've known people in Guild Wars who will leave a group before they'll allow an Assassin to join because of the perception that Assassins are a bad class. In fact, the Assassin is pretty devastating if you play it right, and I really think that's going to hold true for the Engineer.
This is definitely one of the first two classes I'll be making in Guild Wars 2. (Very, very soon, hopefully!)
Finally, I want to wrap up by inviting all of you to join Massively Overpowered for some Guild Wars playtime this week. We've wrapped up all three campaigns plus Eye of the North, and we're taking the next step by jumping into the War in Kryta. We're going to get started this Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. EST in Lion's Arch Japanese district one. If you've never done WiK, or if you have an alt who needs to get through, join us! We'll start at the very beginning and see how far we can get.
See you Thursday night -- let's enjoy some playtime to distract us while we wait for beta!
Rubi is a longtime Guild Wars player and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column keeps a close eye on all the events in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. It's also the home of a weekly summary of the travels of [MVOP], Massively's Guild Wars guild. Email Rubi at firstname.lastname@example.org.