My first exposure to the Revenant profession was during a studio visit at ArenaNet earlier this year. What we had access to at the time represented a vertical slice of what the profession has to offer, but enough to give me a solid understanding of what makes the revenant a worthy addition to the already impressive lineup of playable options in Guild Wars 2.
It’s hard to believe that so much time has already passed since my first fumbling steps as a revenant, but that time has certainly been well spent by the development team behind GW2's first full expansion, Heart of Thorns. While my primary agenda in GW2 remains the same – in other words, basking in the warm glow of necromancy and promoting its grandeur to the masses – I’ll be chronicling that particular tale via my ongoing Lifetap column for the foreseeable future.
For now I’ll be offering up my updated impressions on the revenant based on the release build for the expansion, though would also take a moment to encourage you to check out resident GW2 expert Lewis Burnell’s take on the profession at the handy links provided below. Lewis tends to focus quite a bit more on competitive play, whereas my focus in the expansion so far has been on PvE up until this point.
Additional reading for Revenant enthusiasts:
- Guild Wars 2 Revenant Hands-On Preview and Detail Video (originally published March 3, 2015)
- Guild Wars 2 Revenant Hands-On Impressions (originally published March 13, 2015)
- Guild Wars 2 Revenant Hands-On Impressions #2 (originally published August 11, 2015)
As noted above, my focus so far with the revenant has been on PvE so I’ll be discussing that part of the expansion exclusively at this point. Once I’ve experienced more World versus World and sPvP with the revenant, I’ll follow up with my impressions on those aspects of the profession as well.
In my grand planning and preparation phase heading into Heart of Thorns, I somehow managed to miscalculate slightly, so fell just short of level 80 once my experience scrolls and Tomes of Knowledge had been used. This took my Revenant to level 74, so I set out to cut a path across Tyria to collect as many training points as possible. In no time I hit level 80, though am still a fair clip short of the 65 points needed to unlock the Herald elite specialization.
All other skills and specs have been unlocked at this point, however, and I also assembled a full suite of weapons to take my fledgling revenant out for a test drive in the dense jungle environments of Maguuma.
First Steps and Initial Thoughts
One thing worthy of note up front is that I’ve had a lifelong aversion to blunt weapons. Whether this stems from an unfortunate incident back in grade school involving a sharp crack to my head with a baseball bat or a simple preference for bladed weapons, the net result is the same.
I mention this here because, with the revenant profession, ArenaNet has achieved what I had previously considered to be the impossible: they’ve made me a fan of blunt melee weapons. Part of this can be chalked up to how the hammer skills have been implemented, though the mace also scores high marks for feeling far more vital in the hands of the revenant than other professions.
In many ways, the revenant is Guild Wars 2’s answer to more traditional hybrid melee / magic-users ala EverQuest’s Shadowknight or to a lesser degree, the Death Knight from World of Warcraft. True to form, ArenaNet has taken this archetype in some unexpected new directions, and have fashioned a profession that is highly kinetic and fits my particular playstyle in MMOs like a glove. While I’m still holding out hope that eventually the Ritualist will make its triumphant return to Tyria, the revenant is a very welcome addition to the game in the interim.
My only major sticking point with the revenant at this stage is based on the profession-specific Energy system. On the one hand, I genuinely appreciate the nod towards the original Energy system used in Guild Wars. On the other, I’ve found energy to be somewhat confusing since the game doesn’t really clue you into its purpose or function in any way. Perhaps this was intended to be introduced to players by degrees while leveling, but having skipped the bulk of that process via tomes you can easily find yourself at level 80 still scratching your head as to its deeper mechanics.
In one of the previous revenant preview articles linked above, Lewis noted the following in terms of Energy:
“At this point in time, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the revenant having energy. On one hand, I love the fact that my skill cooldowns are a lot lower as a result of it, on the other it’s at times confusing and difficult to manage. Combined with the fact that you have to remember the cooldown and energy costs for each skill, and that energy gain is set as opposed to allowing the revenant to manipulate it, makes for a juggling act that becomes exhausting when also legend swapping.”
I would largely agree with what Lewis expresses in the quoted excerpt from his article, and at times do feel that energy adds an unintended layer of confusion into the mix. Most profession mechanics are very obvious and direct, and the revenant already has the unique mechanic of swapping active Legends. Energy on top of that system has left me watching my hotbar far more than I’m used to during combat, for better or worse.
To Be Continued…
All things considered I’ve really only begun to scratch the surface on what the revenant profession has to offer in Guild Wars 2. Based on the first dozen or so hours played I would already consider it to be one of my top picks overall, and definitely my favorite of the three “soldier” professions. Of course it also doesn’t hurt that the revenant was crafted with the new expansion content in mind, and even in some of the more densely populated areas of the map the revenant excels in most combat situations.
This week I’ll be spending some more quality time with the revenant and will follow up with my thoughts on builds and how it stacks up in sPvP. In the meantime, I consider the revenant to be an excellent new addition to the existing lineup of professions in Guild Wars 2, and certainly worth the price of admission.
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