On the latest episode of Points of Interest, Rubi Bayer was joined by Game Designers Robert Gee and Hugh Norfolk to talk about the warrior’s newly announced elite specialization, the berserker. Berserkers gain access to the off-hand torch as a weapon and burn up the battlefield with fire-themed abilities and attacks.
Berserker was designed to be the conceptual opposite of the necromancer’s elite specialization, the reaper. Reapers use ice-based attacks to inflict deathly chill on their enemies, while berserkers channel their fiery rage. Where the reaper’s fighting style is slow and methodical, berserkers move and attack quickly. Reapers build up to massive attacks, but berserkers provide sustained damage.
Robert and Hugh showed off the berserker’s torch skills. Professions like guardian and mesmer have their own methods of turning torches into magical weapons, but in the hands of a berserker, it’s much more direct—they just hit their foes with fire. Berserkers are even able to set themselves on fire, but fortunately for them, doing so doesn’t actually apply a burning condition to the berserker—in fact, it can cleanse a condition.
A warrior who goes berserk gains access to a new skill type called rage. Rage skills generate a profession’s primary resource, which in this case is adrenaline. Although replenishment of a profession resource sounds like a great deal, rage skills do have their own unique drawbacks. The berserker’s heal skill, for example, requires them to deal damage in order to gain the healing effect. Most rage skills require melee combat, since that’s where the berserker truly shines.
After reaching a certain adrenaline threshold, a berserker can use a new F2-button skill to enter berserk mode, which will replace the F1 burst abilities with primal bursts that behave in different ways. It’s important to use your rage wisely, however, since berserk mode can’t end early unless your character dies.
The berserker’s traits provide fairly straightforward enhancements to the profession rather than complex effects. Hugh and Robert explained that this is because the warrior is powerful but not as mechanically complex as many of the other professions, and so going wild with trait effects would potentially impact its playstyle.