Posted Tue, Mar 15, 2011 by Sardu
As most of you have likely seen in the Norn Guardian presentation given during GDC and again this past weekend at PAX East, one of the character creation options for norn characters deals with the Spirits of the Wild. The current in-game text asks you which of the four Spirits spoke to you in a vision to offer its guardianship as seen in the image above.
The important thing to note here is that, while the Spirit of the Wild you select here – Bear, Snow Leopard, Wolf, or Raven – will factor into your personal story, it will not be directly tied to the norn’s unique shape-shifting ability. Instead, those abilities will be earned later in the game and will be elite skills.
What that means is that you will never be forced to choose only one Spirit of the Wild that dictates what shape-shifting abilities you gain access to. You’ll be able to eventually learn all four elite skills, so the only limitation here will be deciding which of the four you want to place into the dedicated elite skill slot at any given time.
Bonus Tip: Speaking of skills... you can right click one of your weapon skills and set it to be your "auto-attack" skill. This isn't mandetory, but is a nice option for those players who want it.
When the Necromancer profession was first revealed last year at gamescom, we learned about their unique Death Shroud mechanic and how it could not only be triggered manually by the character, but that it also serves as the necro’s downed state abilities as well.
This aspect of the necro hasn’t changed, but it was recently mentioned in an update on the official ArenaNet blog that some of the skills have been altered. This came up during a discussion I was having with Jon Peters during the NCSoft community event and it turns out that, in the hands of a skilled enough player, they discovered that necromancers weren’t completely unkillable, but pretty darn close to it.
As you might expect, this would make for a very solo-friendly class in PvE, but would have very dramatic, negative repercussions in PvP. You’d either see a scenario where everyone and their dog wanted to play a necro in PvP, or else teams that didn’t play them would have to adapt their entire approach to combat around defeating necros as a primary target much like monks typically are in GW1 PvP. Or to put it another way, the design of one profession could largely influence how the entire PvP metagame is played which is something I'm sure we can all agree would be pretty lame.
So the class is currently being rebalanced, but don’t worry – the core mechanics and skills we’ve seen in the event demos are still there, they’ve simply been adjusted to keep the necro kicking ass but not to the point where they’re an unstoppable killing machine.
In his blog post about the new approach to Attributes on the official blog last week, Izzy explained that the entire system helps illustrate the iterative approach to design for GW2. While the slimmed down list of attributes - Power, Precision, Vitality, and Toughness - will certainly make them easier for players to understand regardless of their MMOG experience level, their descriptions raised many concerns among fans.
This weekend I also learned that the attribute system is going to be changing again in the very near future. The core list of 4 attributes will remain intact (in other words, they won’t be adding in any new attributes to the current list), but the differences between them will represent a much more meaningful choice for players than the recently described iteration.
Since this is currently being looked at I wasn’t able to get exact details on what the changes to attributes will be, but for those of you concerned that there aren’t enough meaningful choices involved, rest assured that ArenaNet intends to tweak the system until that’s the case.