Scarlet Briar is dead, and ArenaNet is wasting no time teasing more upcoming game changes hitting Guild Wars 2 in April. How about 40 new traits? Yes, the traits system is getting an overhaul, and Anet game designers Roy Cronacher and Karl McLain have a lot to say on the subject. Introducing the April 2014 Feature Pack!
This new traits thing can be a little confusing, but the bottom line is that traits should be more approachable after the big April update. At least, that's what ArenaNet is going for. Here's a breakdown of what's happening with Guild Wars 2 traits:
- Trait Tiers: Players will no longer need to visit profession trainers and buy training manuals just to access new trait tiers. Now, whenever you hit the appropriate level, the new trait tier will automatically unlock for free. Additionally, traits will be available at at different levels, so that character progression will feel more "meaningful." At level 30, players unlock the adept tier, at 60 the master tier, and at 89 the grandmaster tier.
- Trait Points: The way things are now, a maxed out level 80 player can spend 70 trait points across all trait lines, and invest five points into a given trait line just to unlock the next trait. Apparently, with the new system, each point "will be the equivalent of five of the old points." At level 80, then, a player will have 14 points instead of 70 for use across traits. Traits can be earned starting at level 30, with one being awarded every six levels until 66; from that point on, you'll earn two points at a time. By increasing the value of trait points, you can receive 50 of each associated stat and unlock a minor or major trait slot. New players should find this system easier, at least according to Anet. Cronacher notes that new players will be less likely to wind up with a
crappyless effective build.
- Refunding Traits: Refunding traits will now be free across PVE and PVP! Hooray! A new button will now let you refund all traits. For PVP fans, this was already a thing in the Heart of the Mists, but with the overhaul, this feature will become game-wide. A new minus button will also be added, for players to remove one trait point at a time -- hallelujah!
- Unlocking Traits: All major traits should be locked on characters created after the feature pack hits. For toons that already existed before then, all previously existing major traits will be unlocked. The reason? With the new system, major traits will be unlocked with trait guides, a new in-game item. Activating a guide will unlock the associated trait, and these new items can be earned in a variety of ways. You can run dungeons, partake in WvW, tackle specific bosses, and so forth. If you'd rather not go through the trouble, these guides will be available via profession trainers for a fee. The cost will vary based on the tier of the trait, and newly added traits will cost more. If this system founds familiar to you, then you're likely thikning about the Guild Wars skills system.
- New Grandmaster Traits: Now this should be more straightforward. The April Feature Pack will introduce forty new grandmaster traits to Guild Wars 2, as each profession will have a new grandmaster trait per trait line to unlock. The idea here is to give existing builds a "more defined role." Here is a preview of some of the traits we'll be seeing:
Elementalist: Aquatic Benevolence
The elementalist is getting a variety of traits, ranging from damage and utility to survivability and support. The one we’ll introduce today is Aquatic Benevolence. This trait contains a new mechanic that will increase all healing to allies by a percentage without affecting the character doing the healing. Aquatic Benevolence has the highest of all outgoing healing effects currently in the game, sitting at a solid 25% healing power bonus when supporting allies.
Engineer: Fortified Turrets
Engineers will be getting additional support and survivability with their new turret trait, Fortified Turrets, which is part of the Inventions line. Each time an engineer with Fortified Turrets equipped spawns a new turret, that turret receives a defensive bubble that reflects projectiles for four seconds. This works with all turrets, including the Supply Crate.
Guardian: Force of Will
With the current traits available to the guardian, their Honor line has multiple support traits that heavily assist allies but have less individual benefit for the guardian. With this patch, guardians will have the option to unlock Force of Will, a trait that grants three hundred extra vitality when slotted (which amounts to three thousand health at level 80 from this trait alone). The result is a guardian that is much more durable when facing conditions and physical attacks.
Necromancer: Unholy Sanctuary
In addition to a bit of a trait line rework, the necromancer’s Death Magic will be gaining the ability to heal your health pool while Death Shroud is active. Unholy Sanctuary allows you to turtle in your Death Shroud and slowly heal yourself, granting you additional survivability in situations that might otherwise spell certain death. The healing rate of Unholy Sanctuary is the same as the regeneration boon and will be affected by healing power.
Mesmer: Power Block
Enemies of mesmers beware: they’ve learned how to mess with your skill recharge! The new trait for mesmers allows them to gain additional benefit when disrupting enemy skills. Power Block will be introduced to the Domination line and will change the recharge of an interrupted skill from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. This will not affect skills that have no recharge, but I’d imagine that stopping a necromancer from consuming conditions would surely put a nail in their coffin.
Ranger: Read the Wind
Ranger: Your arrows are swift and deadly, but in some scenarios they are not as fast as they need to be and your enemies can dodge them easily. With Marksmanship’s new Read the Wind, your longbow arrows will fire at twice their base velocity, allowing for supreme accuracy at long range.
Thief: Invigorating Precision
Thief will be gaining a new survivability trait in their Critical Strikes line with Invigorating Precision. Five percent of damage from your critical attacks will now be returned to you as healing. With this trait, you’ll be able to sustain yourself in scenarios where your base healing just isn’t enough.
Warrior: Dual-Wield Agility
Warriors who love to dual-wield will have a new option in their Arms line with Dual-Wield Agility. This trait will increase your attack speed by ten percent when wielding an off-hand axe, mace, or sword.
So there you have it. Of course, April will be bringing more than just trait changes, and ArenaNet plans to cover all that in the coming weeks. For now, bid your profession trainers farewell, since you'll be visiting them a lot less starting next month.