As I think I’ve mentioned once or twice, I’m a bit of an altaholic. I can’t really think of an MMO where I haven’t played every class for at least a little bit. Not only is it fun to try out new class mechanics, but I also feel a basic knowledge of each class makes me better in group settings. Guild Wars 2 has been a little different for me, though. Yes, I’ve bought two character slots (bringing my total to 7, an 8th may happen when they go on sale again) so I could play more characters, but Guild Wars 2 has been unique in that, once my engineer clicked with me, I didn’t really feel the pull to leave her until I hit the level cap. I would try out a character from time to time, but I always felt like they were a diversion, not a temptation as alts usually are. Of course, the life-sucking wasteland that is the three Orr zones stopped me just short of finishing my personal story (for now), but the point is I hit 80 without much wandering off to play other characters.
Now that I’ve decided to go with an alt for a while, I’m having a little trouble choosing which one to go with. Here are the main contenders:
Anyone who has played Johnny Nero: Action Hero wins three Internets. Suffice it to say that it was a wonderfully corny comic book-themed arcade lightgun shooter that my friends and I played to death at our local Cici’s Pizza back in the day. I started this character because I was decimated by some really good thieves in PvP. I say really good thieves because, from what I’ve seen, there are a lot of technical aspects and mechanics to master before you can be really good. Once you do, though, there’s no stopping you. The thief has a lot of fun mechanics–lots of blinking around, disappearing for a second, and popping out with big burst DPS–but the combat is already starting to get a little stale when soloing at 27, so I don’t know how long I could stick with him. With revamped PvP coming soon, though, it would be nice.
At 37, he’s my highest level alt to date, which alone makes him the most logical candidate for my next alt. I really like the ranger with a greatsword. It gives you a gap closer with a huge range, and the block and stun moves are both nice. I love how the block gives me the option to hit the button again to throw my sword if nothing hits me (which does happen fairly often with pets) or if I just need a ranged attack without switching weapons. Switching to my longbow gives me a giant AoE ground target skill and a channeled single-target attack that gives 10 stacks of vulnerability surprisingly fast, which synergizes nicely with the greatsword’s instant 5 stacks of vulnerability. In the end, I can do a respectable amount of single-target DPS. Not as much as my thief, but the ranger is very mobile. Unfortunately, I’ve heard the ranger’s usefulness falls off in the endgame, and is just average at both dungeons and PvP, which is a little discouraging.
I’ve only just started this one, but who can resist playing as Richard Stallman? The one real-world friend I have who plays Guild Wars 2 with any regularity has been running a guardian pretty much exclusively since I’ve been playing, so I figured there must be something to it. I liked the Captain in LotRO, and both classes are basically their respective game’s version of a WoW Paladin–buffs, tanking, and throwing in a little group healing now and again–so I thought maybe I would like it. Just the other day in zone chat (while I was playing Gnu Dawn, in fact) I heard guardians referred to as the “laziest class,” by which they meant that they have so much survivability and no resources to manage that you can basically just sit back and autoattack, maybe tossing in a few skills situationally, and win by default. I already get bored with Guild Wars 2’s combat sometimes, so I’m not sure this would be for me.
Of course the obvious fourth option is to pull out one of my old characters from before my engineer. Sadly, though, this rarely works for me. I think some of it is because I have trouble remembering where I left off, and re-learning everything about a class after the difficulty has ramped up can sometimes prove frustrating. Also there’s that nagging feeling of knowing I already decided I was bored with or otherwise didn’t like this character, which makes it hard to want to come back. But at the same time, I feel lame for re-rolling a class I already have progress in just because I didn’t like the way they looked.
So how do you choose a second character? Should I just rotate all of them until I find myself drawn to one in particular? Or choose one based on utility? Or try juggling more than one?
I suspect the class-clicking thing to be pretty definitive, they differentiated them pretty well based on theme/color and folks tend to gravitate towards one that “feels right.”
However, it is possible to select some “neighbor” classes that have certain similar overlaps and broaden the comfort zone a little more that way, and even play ’em all for the true jacks of all trades.
For example, I gravitated straight to a guardian for the fieryness, the buffs and support aspects, while being able to do respectable melee damage and be tanky with control options. Branching to warrior turned me from a focus on defensive buffs to offensive buffs and very good melee damage, while still being tanky, having control options and being supportive. Branching to necromancer kept the tankiness, but now buffs have turned into debuffs with conditions and going more mid-range rather than melee (though dagger is still an option if I wanted.)
Learning to play a thief was initially very tricky for me and took significant practice to even get to mediocre level, between my latency, not being used to the spammable mechanic and the utter squishiness and how they practically were stuck with mobility-or stealth based defence only (and blinds, I later figured out.) I think I’m probably still not a very good thief at all, but I can just about get it to perform the only function I needed it for – hit and run dolyaks, escape any fight I don’t like (which is practically all of ’em except the ones where I have a clear advantage.)
A guildie on the other hand was just an excellent thief. The class fit him like a glove, he’d dance in and out of combat, stay alive in a hostile keep for forever while single-handedly destroying all the siege inside and getting chased down by an increasingly annoyed and numerous horde, scout and contest keeps like he was born to do it. He branched out to a d/d elementalist, and while he was decent, you could tell he just wasn’t as comfortable with it as when playing his thief.
For engineer, which strike me as a very jack of all trades buff/utility mid-range class which can bunker well if they want or do aoe damage if they want (but feel free to correct me if you play it differently, I have no real experience with it), I’d try branching to guardian (for the buff/support/utility aspect and tankiness, but in melee), elementalist (for the multiple skills toolkit, aoe damage and support/utility) and perhaps necromancer or mesmer (if you like to play condi engineer.)
Thanks for a thorough reply!