Karl McLain updated us today about the guardian’s new elite specialization: the dragonhunter—a ferocious big-game hunter that specializes in ranged combat and back-line support.
When we set out on the search for the guardian’s elite specialization, we looked for areas in which the guardian lacked a solid role. It turns out that wielding light and virtue as power sources is actually somewhat difficult to do, and a guardian’s abilities are fairly short-range or unconventional in their application. We thought about how the guardian might handle long-range combat and supporting allies while fighting on the back lines. To this end, we’ve decided to incorporate a more physical aspect into the guardian, and its powers in light-wielding have deepened to the point that they can better physically manifest objects into the world and send them flying as swift as an arrow.
With all of the changes to Tyria, dragonhunters have learned to better control their abilities in the fight against Mordremoth. Instead of fire-and-forget, we’ll be introducing more focused abilities that allow you to lend a better helping hand around the battlefield; virtues will become corporeal and will require you to aim them to some extent. Here’s the rundown on how your virtues will change.
Spear of Justice—The Virtue of Justice currently grants your allies the ability to burn enemies in addition to trait benefits. With the new specialization, you’ll find that your Virtue of Justice is now a thrown spear that pierces through all unworthy foes, tethering them as long as they remain in range. You’ll send out searing pulses to each enemy tethered, continuously burning them and ensuring an unpleasant experience for those affected
Wings of Resolve—Your resolve against the enemies of Tyria has grown by leaps and bounds. Dragonhunters will find that their Virtue of Resolve no longer instantly heals in an area, but that they can instead grow wings of light and leap into an area, healing allies. For those more offensively minded, you can also trait your Wings of Resolve to deliver an attack at your landing spot.
Shield of Courage—Instead of simply activating your Virtue of Courage and giving your allies aegis, you’ll now create a shield in front of you that blocks attacks for allies within its radius. With excellent control through positioning, you’ll find that you can block much more efficiently when facing the enemy, though you’ll be exposed from your flanks.
Also please note that we’d like each new virtue to retain properties of the traits that affect them, such as Renewed Justice and Justice is Blind. When not recharging, they’ll still have passive effects so that you can continue to provide Battle Presence and provide your allies with a full health pool as you currently do.
Another Arrow in the Quiver
Along with their newfound powers in light manipulation, dragonhunters will have access to longbows. Instead of shooting arrows, the guardian will focus on firing massive, single projectiles at a ferocious velocity. This weapon set will focus less on engaging enemies at close range but will have lots of potential in assisting allies around the battlefield. An example of this is that your Symbol of Energy can be launched to an area to grant allies vigor. If your enemy is using a projectile attack and is attacking your allies, you can fire your Deflecting Shot in its path and, with the right timing, destroy all of your enemy’s projectiles along the way.
Supremacy through Insight
Favor in battle can often be determined by foresight and preparation, and dragonhunters will be able to manifest light-based magical traps that will activate when an enemy runs over them. These big-game traps will have a variety of effects, but none will be pleasant for an enemy unfortunate enough to be caught within them. Approach carefully, enemies of Tyria…or fall prey to the guardian and their elite Dragon’s Maw.
Since you’re probably already asking, yes, the dragonhunter’s healing ability is also a trap. Guardians will preemptively imbue light into the ground for a smaller heal. When enemies trigger the trap, the guardian will pull the light from the ground, striking and blinding enemies while healing for a large amount.
Guardians will find that the new elite specialization gives them access to some conditions and functionality normally reserved for professions of a more physical nature. They’ll gain a bit of innate mobility, while the ability to cripple or bleed enemies will become an option through their elite specialization traits. One of their elite specialization traits is Rending Light, which will enable all varieties of traps to bleed enemies. Whether taking on the masses or a single enemy, the dragonhunter is a predator to be feared.
Sharpen your justice. Dust off your resolve. Brace your courage. Guardians—the dragonhunter approaches. See you on the battlefield.
Watch the Dragonhunter on This Week’s Ready Up!
With today’s announcement that the next elite specialization coming to Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ will be the dragonhunter for the guardian profession, tomorrow players can tune in to this week’s episode of Ready Up, where Karl McLain joins host Josh Davis to show off the skills, mechanics, and gameplay of the dragonhunter elite specialization.
Ready Up will air live on the Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel this Friday, May 8, at noon Pacific Time (UTC-7).