I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2 since head start began and while I am having a blast (review coming at some point), I’m not that far into it. My highest leveled character is at 15 and sitting at the end of Queensdale. My other character slots are filled with toon less than that but all approaching. I can’t seem to pick a class to play. It isn’t because they are bad classes, it is because most of them take quite a bit before they start to flesh out and become fun.
Each class has that initial “this is cool!” phase when you start out but around levels 8 to 10 you begin to see how your class fares in the tail end of your origin story and the lower sections of your starter zone. At least, this has been the constant experience for me in Queensdale.
Below is my breakdown thoughts on the classes from 1 to 15.
Warrior: Probably the best DPS I’ve seen in a class at these levels. The Warrior just tears through things. At level 15 I find myself weapon swapping between the Greatsword and Rifle and having zero issues. If anything, this is the class I am very close to just sticking with. Warriors are strong with just about any weapon combo they are allowed to make and the banners they can pop down help immensely. With each level after 11 my traits have been keeping me scaled with the ending content in Queensdale nicely. You don’t get that sense of a slow start-up here with the Warrior but that has also made this perhaps the most played class in the game according to a poll done on reddit.
Guardian: I never thought I’d have some fun with the stereotypical “tank” class. Keep a note, though: the Guardian isn’t just a viable tank. Aggro is a very weird mechanic in Guild Wars 2 and not something you just walk into saying, “I’m a tank!” Instead, the Guardian is a support class that can heal others and apply some crazy bleeds. The Guardian is a beast sitting there with in heavy armor and his self-heals do a great job. The class is fun to play but I haven’t seen much in an uptick in pure damage. The Guardian runs great on bleeds but as someone who wasn’t a huge Warlock fan in World of Warcraft, DoT’ing up foes is not a fun way to level to me.
Necromancer: A very cool class no matter what. The Necromancer combines death skills, a second health bar, and minions to make a powerful presence on the battlefield with high survivability. My Necro is using all minions right now with the Staff and Scepter/Focus for the swaps. It seems to be doing the trick as I use my Marks with the Staff on groups or Champions then switch to Scepter/Focus for nuking a singular target. My minions keep things off of me but they don’t last all that long. It is through traits that this is fixed but again, that is time needed for the Necromancer class to become a viable solo leveler. After some points in the traits, having minions out will increase the Necro’s toughness by a crap ton which should help immensely.
Elementalist: Swaps! Swaps everywhere! Not so much weapon swapping but element swapping. The Elementalist is a situational king/queen. Each weapon that an Ele can use comes with four different skill sets for Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. Being a good Ele means knowing when to switch elements to continue your wrath and maximize your DPS. It’s tough to learn, even tougher to manage and master, but when you do it right you are nigh unstoppable with damage. I can’t say that I’ve master this element swapping mechanic yet but I’ve seen my friends do it and by George… wow. I will be spending a bit more time on this class before either completely switching off of it or making the decision to run with the class as my first main.
Engineer: I feel like this class cannot be fully entertaining without playing an Asura. For anyone who has played the Asura starting zone, it is quirky, entertaining, fun, and surprising. I, for one, did not expect the Asura to be so conceited and sure of themselves. This was the biggest surprise for me back during Beta. It creates a great atmosphere to play around and an awesome attitude and personality for your character. That being said, the starting zone for the Asura is very tech-based and so is the Engineer. I feel they go hand-in-hand very nicely. As such, my male Asura Engineer tenderly marches around setting things ablaze with his Flamethrower Kit and it is good fun. I hear so much from other players saying the Flamethrower is overpowered and I should be having zero issues. Well, don’t listen to them. The Flamethrower is very powerful, sure. But only with traits! Then you go down some trait trees you’ll find certain passives that increase the Flamethrower Kit’s damage by a crap ton and the bleeds they attach with the fire becomes a death note. You’ll most likely reach the Flamethrower Kit at level 8 if you rush and get the roaming Skill Points on the map but don’t expect a godsend. It will take some time to flesh out.
Thief: Burst damage!!!! The Thief is pretty fun to play. I was flipping through the strategy guide at a local Best Buy yesterday and I completely agree with what they said about this class: “If you aren’t having fun playing the Thief, you’re doing it wrong.” It’s very true because there are so many viable builds for PvE and PvP that you could constantly switch it up to keep things fresh or find that one that you just connect with. For me, that would be the Dagger/Dagger Death Blossom build that focuses on AoE damage and evasion. When done properly I’ll normally only take 1-2 hits during the fight with a group before they are dead. I can’t see this lasting long after level 15, though. However, after the Warrior this is the one class I’ve thought about making my first main.
Mesmer: My favorite class in the game. It is also the one with the most uphill learning mechanics. The Mesmer is by no means easy to play and to be honest, I would actually tell you to train playing an Elementalist before making the switch to Mesmer. The swapping and situational experience with the Ele will help you out immensely when it comes to this psionic and illusionary class. The Mesmer is built on creating illusions of either Clones or Phantasms on the battlefield to confuse and bombard foes. Those are very different, however. Clones are meant to confuse your enemy into hitting them and not you. They don’t do much damage, if any at all so they are not to be used as DPS tools. They are, however, fodder for your special mechanic called Shattering. When you Shatter your clones you will receive boons (buffs) depending on which Shatter ability you used. Phantasms are not meant to be Shattered. These illusions can be used for DPS. As you can see, this class is complex and it will take some time for it to become powerful through traits. I hear that once you hit levels 20-25 it begins to make itself extremely useful. That’s a very long wait period and it makes the Mesmer hard to stick with before that point. I do love this class, though. Very awesome mechanics and builds.
Ranger: This is the one class I have spent zero time with since launch. I played it in Beta and it is the one class that does not feel unique to Guild Wars 2. Each class I talked about above has an aspect about them that doesn’t feel like a cookie cutter class from another MMO. The Ranger, however, does completely. It feels like it took the rapid arrow shooting abilities from TERA and mixed it with a WoW Hunter. I see plenty of them around but their abilities do nothing to make me go, “I need to roll a Ranger right now!” This will not be a character I find myself leveling as it stand right now.
This dilemma has made me significantly lower in level than some of my friends, two of which who have hit level 70+ already. Most people I talk to about this issue are telling me to pick one class and stick with it for experience. While great advice, I tend to do this in most MMO’s until I find that one class that I will enjoy from beginning to end and want to improve through end game. In WoW, that the Warrior. In Warhammer Online, that was the Witch Elf. In Star Wars, it was the Bounty Hunter. In TERA, it was the Priest. In DCUO, it was Sorcery. I could go on but those examples are classes I began with an enjoyed until the end or when I stopped playing that specific game. I’m trying to do the same here with Guild Wars 2 but it is proving extra difficult.
Is anyone else having the same issue or have you rolled with a class far enough to not worry about preference any longer? Also, if anyone has any experience from a high level point of view for the classes, share below as you may help others like me out.
As it stand, though, I cannot recommend Guild Wars 2 enough. I hope to finally pick a class soon as to begin further writing of my review. Stay tuned!