GW2 Developer Diary: Elite Specializations

Arenanet have published the developer diary on the elite specializations giving you some insight on their design.

Hello and welcome, Tyrians, to a deeper look at the nine new elite specializations coming in Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire™! Watch the developer diary video above to learn more about the process of designing the new specializations, and read on for more details on each one.

Weaver (Elementalist)

The benefit of the weaver’s ability to dual-wield elements is primarily their access to dual-attack skills, which combine both of the currently wielded elements in the third skill slot. As an example, the staff’s Pile Driver skill combines both air and earth to produce a violent effect similar to a rail gun.

Elementalists have traditionally been able to change elements at will with a cooldown on the ones they’ve recently attuned to. The weaver’s elements are all tied to the same cooldown, so activating one prevents an immediate swap to another until the cooldown is up. There are a few ways to modify this limit: taking the Arcane specialization line lowers the global recharge—as does using the elite skill Weave Self—while the utility skill Unravel temporarily removes dual attacks and grants access to single-element attunements.

Holosmith (Engineer)

In Elona, Land of the Golden Sun, engineers work to harness solar power for their experiments and inventions. The innovation that’s made the most impact in recent history is the Photon Forge, which allows engineers to create solid constructs of light. It’s extremely powerful, but dangerous—when it overheats, it causes damage to the user. While the holosmith enjoys a large amount of damage dealing and utility, they need to monitor their resources carefully.

That said, holosmiths can take advantage of their heat output in a variety of ways. Their sword and utility skills gain a plethora of bonuses and damage increases while the Photon Forge cools. More daring holosmiths can take trait options that cause their forge to retain its heat, forcing a manual overheat that deals damage to nearby enemies as well as the engineer.

Firebrand (Guardian)

Firebrands are the remnants of a secret order of loremasters committed to staunching the corruption that’s spread through the desert since Palawa Joko’s rise. They cleave the battlefield with their axes, and their tomes and mantras have potent effects that deliver direct support, utility, and offense.

The firebrand has healthy access to quickness through traits and skills. The Stalwart Speed trait grants quickness to allies under the effect of the firebrand’s stability or aegis; this allows Mantra of Liberation, Mantra of Solace, and Tome of Courage to apply quickness to allies, in addition to the native quickness gained from Mantra of Potence.

To make your firebrand a supporting healer, consider taking the Loremaster and Archivist of Whispers traits. These will allow you to use Tome of Resolve—and its significant healing skills—more frequently.

Mirage (Mesmer)

Instead of physically dodging attacks, mirages use their Mirage Cloak to force attacks to pass harmlessly through them. The Mirage Cloak can be used both defensively and offensively, so a mirage must make conscious choices on how they spend endurance.

Activating Mirage Cloak offensively via the dodge button will enable ambush attacks. Ambushes are available on the first skill of every weapon set and are designed to complement each weapon’s playstyle. It’s also possible to force all of your illusions to use ambush attacks via the Illusionary Ambush utility skill, or by taking the Infinite Horizon trait, which, when active, applies Mirage Cloak to all of your illusions.

Scourge (Necromancer)

Scourges forsake their death shrouds for the ability to create areas of power by summoning sand shades. These shades restock regularly for frequent use. The scourge’s second through fifth skills cause both the necromancer and their shades to emanate the effects of those skills, providing everything from protective barriers for allies, to fear for all enemies in range.

The scourge gains access to punishment skills, which remove boons as a secondary effect and corrupt them into cripple and torment.

Soulbeast (Ranger)

The soulbeast gains benefits from merging with their pet based on the pet’s archetype. Each pet fits into one of the following archetypes: stout (defensive), ferocious (power), deadly (conditions), supportive (healing), or versatile (utility).

Each pet family can contain pets of multiple archetypes. If you want a supportive canine, merging with the sylvan hound will grant bonus healing power and access to the Spiritual Reprieve profession skill. If you want the power archetype and access to the Worldly Impact profession skill, merging with the drakehound canine will provide those in addition to the canine family skills.

Renegade (Revenant)

Renegades perform well with an offensive support playstyle, enhancing allies’ damage and disrupting enemies by summoning members of Kalla’s warband to the battlefield. They gain Kalla’s Fervor as they fight or perform critical hits, which greatly increases the renegade’s damage output and grants might to allies through the Heroic Command skill.

Renegades can also gain Kalla’s Fervor through their adept trait choices: Ashen Demeanor, Blood Fury, and Wrought-Iron Will. Each grant fervor under unique conditions, met respectively by crippling a foe, gaining fury, or successfully evading attacks.

Deadeye (Thief)

The deadeye is a rugged thief who uses rifles to take out their foes at long ranges. Their Deadeye’s Mark replaces the Steal skill and allows them to maintain their distance. This mark retains modifier choices made through traits, but instead of stealing items from enemies, the deadeye steals aspects of their target, such as movement, strength, and warmth. They gain boons while their enemies are afflicted with negative conditions.

Deadeye’s Mark brings with it a new aspect: marking a target and building malice over time. Deadeyes inflict extra damage and bonus effects against these marked targets, gaining numerous boons upon reaching maximum malice. Additionally, if a marked target dies, the mark itself is refreshed and can be cast on another target. As such, it may be more beneficial for some builds to kill targets quickly and use the mark again rather than waiting for maximum malice.

Spellbreaker (Warrior)

When Palawa Joko overthrew the Sunspears and took over Elona, he issued an execution order for any person in his kingdom who wielded or owned a spear. The remaining Sunspears went into hiding, breaking their traditional spears and forging the heads into daggers. Spellbreakers now wield those daggers, specializing in exploiting their enemies’ strengths and weaknesses.
Many spellbreaker traits nullify or punish magic. Loss Aversion grants adrenaline to the spellbreaker and deals damage to foes upon removing their boons. Enchantment Collapse synergizes with this by removing additional boons in the area around an enemy whose boons have been stripped. If your enemies don’t have many boons, it’s possible to change traits to focus on Full Counter, which enhances a spellbreaker’s defensive and offensive capabilities.


On August 18 through August 20, we’re launching a demo where you’ll be able to create and play new preview-exclusive characters in both Player vs. Player and World vs. World. These characters will come with each profession’s new elite specialization, so check them out!

  • Asda

    Anyone else surprised they didn’t talk about the Warrior spec in the video at all? Anet: Shitting on Warriors since 2012

    • Mihai Pop

      They didn’t exactly talk that much about any of them. Not to mention that they barely gave any extra information with this post. They mostly repeated what they said in the initial reveal. The only new info I got was for the soulbeast.

      • Alot

        They used to promise the moon and arrive with chunks of graphite. Its a fairly boring (and a bit silly) but the new style of summarizing is still better then the HoT launch style of infomercial.

        • Braghez

          Plus I guess that going too much into detail with a developer blog is pretty “meh”. They just gave the idea of what they were made and can do. Probably we will have more infos on the livestream…which is little before the demo anyway…

      • Ardenwolfe

        Must’ve missed it. I didn’t hear them mention soulbeast at all. What new info?

      • Scutilla

        To me, Soulbeast was the least informative of the blurbs, since people have already put together a list of the five pet “classes” and their skills from the PvE beta weekend. At least the others got a vague description of a couple skills or traits.

        That said I get that specifics are kinda unnecessary since they’ll be in-game in two days, and this was more of a flavor / development trivia post.

  • Trillium

    Call me an oldfag, but I still believe spellbreakers are the dudes who throw spinning two-bladed swords, not some armoured rogues.

    • Phynn

      OLDFAG!!!

    • Steven Kucher

      I’m still pretty sure it’s a shield built by the dwarves to block magic

  • Trillium

    So wait, Palawa Joko was afraid of underwater combatants? Why?

    • Shaggy

      palawa, like us, was traumatized by water levels at an early age.

  • Talindra

    So its a lightsaber… Cool. I’ll make a holojedi and then get back to farming leather.

    • Alot

      But not just leather. Wookie leather.

      • Emil33

        This made me gigglesnort

        • Alot

          I have a personal harem of posters who keep telling me how miserable my posts are. As an aside, its nice to know I induce snorting as well ^^

          • Emil33

            I see a lot of your posts and I dont think you they are miserable just kinda tell it like ya see it …. and im a big Wookie fan #starwarsislife

            • Alot

              Yea, dont really care, I just find I notable. Such as giggle snorting. Last time someone said I made them giggle snort was about 12 years ago. Said I hadn’t realized a character was a dwarf, just thought he was short. Apparently that comment got someone’s nose cleared out by tea.

    • Trillium

      You could already make a jedi with Plasma sword.

  • Nitrobacter

    What’s with playing the new specs in pve? Beta just for PvP modes is a bit pointless for ppl who don’t care about it much and the modes require completely different builds

    • Trillium

      Demo will be PvP and WvW, and there are some monsters on WvW.
      So you’ll be able to test your PvE build on them =D

    • Emil33

      Im all PVE and rarely go into WVW or PVP … but you can bet that Im still logging into the PVP lobby and playing around on the new elites specializations with the golems and training classes.

  • Tomixus Cowan

    no matter what, warrior is still gonna wield gs and stacking that might…

    • Razyiel

      raidwise he replaced his GS ages ago my friend 😉

  • They just added all the skills to the Elite Specializations on the wiki page. I cannot wait to play the mirage.

    • Dude the Weaver is not a Specialization. Thats whole new elementalist class; Im reading these skills and they are a complete replacement of all their original skills. Like the balance that its going to require to align the Weaver to the other classes is going to be insane.

  • Robert D Milne

    engineer now has suicide skill overheat you weapon while fighting. oh yaaay

    • Фролов Денис

      Welcome to suicide club! Necro will finally have company 😛

  • Victor Kola

    After reading up on the Speccs on wiki: Condi condi condi and a bit of power classes..
    Now let’s hope there comes some good stats so that power based traitlines come on par with condi dps wise.

    • Alot

      Seeing as there are multiple elite specs for each for class now, we probably going to see a shift towards specs specializing in a single playstyle instead of multiple. Most of the old elite specs were not condi oriented to my knowledge, so expect classes without old condi elite specs to receive condi elite specs while the out of place condi skills in non-condi elites will probably be phased out for more themed choices.

    • Jakeresides

      It is hard to believe, with all the complaints on condi, anet refuses to make power king. I have seen full guilds quit over new changes. It’s like anet wants to mix it up but refuses to listen to its community.

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