So far, we know what four of the eight professions in the game will be (elementalist, warrior, ranger and necromancer), and we know that there won't be any dedicated healer classes (so monks are out). Each profession can use many different weapons, and no matter what weapon you want to use, if your profession can use it, they can be effective with it.
So if you want a warrior with a longbow, a necromancer that dualwields daggers or something else, these are perfectly viable choices. Finally, when you choose your class in the character creation, it's permanent and there are no longer any secondary professions.
The elementalist is a caster that use the four elements (fire, air, earth and water) to damage their foes and protect their allies.
Where other professions might switch weapons to adapt to new situations, the elementalist will attune to a different element. When an elementalist attune to an element, they will be actively wielding that element instead of their weapon.
A fire attuned elementalist can deal out high damage with attacks that hit over a large area, like raining down meteors from the sky or setting the ground on fire. An elementalist will also automatically deal fire damage to any foe that touch her.
An elementalist attuned to air will excel at dealing high damage to single targets by harnessing the lightning and wind, like sending lightning bolts after a foe. All foes in close vicinity to the elementalist will also be struck continuesly by lightning.
The water attuned elementalist focuses more on controlling the battle and ensuring their party has the upper hand, like by freezing foes where they stand or creating slippery ice beneath them. Any allies close to the water attuned elementalist will also recieve continues healing.
An earth attuned elementalist will focus on defense rather than offense, like turning their body into to stone for protection or knocking foes off their feet with earthquakes. Earth attunement also provides the elementalist with a higher defense.
The elementalist have several types of skills they can use.
- Glyphs boost the power of the elementalist, providing things like longer duration on spells, longer range, etc. For example, Glyph of Elemental Storage allows players to store a skill of their choice in their skillbar, so it can be accessed at any time, instead of disappearing when they change attunement.
- Signets provide enhancements for the elementalist while equipped, but they can also be activated to provide a one time effect, like the Signet of Earth, which provide the elementalist with higher defence, but can be activated to send a wave of stone towards your foes. But the passive effect will not work while the signet is recharging.
- Conjure spells allow the elementalist to conjure weapons to be used by both her and her allies. Conjure Frost will bring forward a bow any ally of the elementalist can pick and shoot arrows at their foes which will freeze them.
- Area spells are spells that work over a large area, like sending out a cone of fire, or freezing an area so everyone who enters it are frozen to the ground.
The elementalist has five different weapons to choose from.
One-Handed: Scepter and dagger.
Offhand: Dagger and focus.
ArenaNet have given us a few videos of some of the spells, check them out here:
You can see that both the trolls (or whatever they are) are taking damage when without being hit by meteors, but they aren't actually knocked down until they are hit directly by a meteor!
The Phoenix is sent out to the target and then returns to the caster, which allows for some strategy as the Phoenix will move with you (as seen in the video).
It seems Water Trident both knocks down enemies as well as knocks them back.
The warrior is a fighter who stays at the frontlines to dish out damage and absorb damage to protect their allies.
The warrior has seven kinds of main weapons, that are useful for specific kinds of play.
The swordwielding warrior is fast, and changes targets often, letting enemies bleed.
The axewielding warrior quickly builds up adrenaline and is great for delivering big damage spikes.
The hammerwielding warrior will pound foes to the ground, as well as stagger groups of enemies at a time.
The macewielding warrior is great at stunning their foes, and leaving them open and vulnerable to further attacks.
The greatswordwielding warrior use their large sword to deal with multiple enemies at a time, delivering attacks with a big area of effect.
The longbowwielding warrior lights their arrows on fire to create attacks with a greater area of effect.
The riflewielding warrior can easily pick off targets from afar, luring enemies in or finishing fleeing foes.
The warrior has several special skills they can use.
- Stances are skills which give you a continues enhancement at the cost of energy regeneration. Berserker's Stance will cut energy regeneration but give adrenaline regeneration for instance.
- Chains are really three skills in one, that occupy a single skill slot. If you continue to hit your target, these three skills will be used automatically one by one as you hit your target. For example, the skills Sever Artery, Gash and Final Thrust are one chain, so you gain three attack skills at the slot cost of one.
- Banners are buffs the warrior can call down to aid his party. This can be picked up and moved around or planted if you would rather have your hands free to fight. One example is the Banner of Courage, which increases the melee damage done by your allies.
- Shouts can be used to give bonuses to allies or debuff enemies. The shout On My Mark will lower an enemy's armor and call it out to your party.
- Charge skills are skills which can be powered up. The longer you prepare them, the more powerful they get, like the mace attack Obliterate, which has four different levels of damage.
Furthermore, the warrior has nine different weapons to choose from.
One-Handed: Axe, mace and sword.
Two-Handed: Greatsword, hammer, longbow and rifle.
Offhand: Axe, mace, shield, warhorn and sword.
All in all, there are 19 different weapon combinations the warrior can use.
The warrior uses adrenaline to fuel their fighting skills. Every attack they make builds up one strike of adrenaline, which goes towards the three levels of adrenaline the warrior can have. Every level of adrenaline gives an increasing bonus to the warrior's damage output, but the adrenaline can also be used to trigger burst skills.
Every weapon has one burst skill, which will use all the warrior's stored adrenaline, and becomes better with each level of adrenaline filled at the time it is triggered. The improvement isn't necessarily related to damage, but can be about extending the life of inflicted conditions and the like as well.
Finally, ArenaNet have released five videos demonstrating various skills of the warrior (complete with cheesy oneliners by Nolan North):
Sever Artery - Gash - Final Thrust:
You can clearly see the range of the explosions from the markings on the ground.
The ranger is a master ranged fighter and an acrobatic melee fighter who utilizes nature to help defeat his foes.
The ranger always has a pet by his side as a trusty companion. Pets can be gained by charming juvenile animals in the wild, and the ranger can have three pets at any time, though only one of them can be out and active. There are many different animals that can be charmed, with 12 types in total. These types are for example terrestrial (spiders), amphibious (lizards) and aquatic (sharks), and then there are subtypes that can influence the pet's abilities. A polar bear might have an icy roar while a brown bear will have a fearsome roar.
Pet's base level is determined by their owner, and with it, the pet's armor, health and damage. Pets have evolution levels on top of that. These are 20 levels where the pet will gain different bonuses as they level up, like health increases for example. They will also end up unlocking a total of four skill slots that they can have special skills slotted into. They will have eight skills available right from the start as they are charmed, but they can't equip more than they have room for.
The pet can then be controlled in much the same way as in the first game. The ranger can then control the pet's behavior with three different options:
Aggressive: Attack targets around us.
Defensive: Attack targets who attack us first.
Passive: Don't do anything.
and can give it order it around with the commands:
Attack: Attack the target.
Heel: Come back.
Stay: Stay in this position.
Rangers also have some special skills they can use, these are:
- Traps: A trap is something the ranger can place where they stand. It will be activated once an enemy enters it, but only one trap of each kind can be used at a time, and the trap will remain active so long as the ranger stays nearby. An example could be 'Spike Trap' which bleeds and cripples enemies who pass through it.
- Spirits: Rangers can summon nature spirits which influence the area surrounding it. A spirit only stays out for a little while and goes away if the ranger wanders too far from it. Spirits can be attacked and removed by enemies, and a ranger can only one of each type of spirit out at a time. An example of a spirit is the 'Sun Spirit' which adds additional fire damage to allied attacks dealt within its reach.
These are the weapons the ranger can use:
One-Handed: Axe and sword.
Two-Handed: Greatsword, longbow and shortbow.
Offhand: Axe, dagger, torch and warhorn.
It should be noted that the ranger wields an axe as a ranged weapon.
Finally, we have some pretty awesome skill videos:
This is the first skill we see for the warhorn.
Notice how she uses what seems like a torch skill to light her arrows on fire.
Here we also see what might be the first ranged dagger attack we've seen.
The necromancer is a magic user that feeds on the life force of his enemies and commands the dead. By attacking and killing enemies, the necromancer gains life force, which he can use to go into his Death Shroud form. And where other classes will go into a downed state when they face defeat, the necromancer goes into Death Shroud instead.
Like the other professions, necromancers have their own unique abilities:
- Wells are used to create an effect in the area around the necromancer. Well of Blood gives nearby allies some health regeneration for example. Only one well can be active at a time.
- Minions are creatures the necromancer can summon. Minions no longer require corpses to be summoned from, and every minion summoning spell has a secondary spell associated with it. When a summoning spell is used, it is replaced with the secondary spell for as long as the minion is alive. For example, when Summon Blood Fiend is used, a blood fiend is summoned, and Summon Blood Fiend is replaced with Taste of Death. Taste of Death allows the necromancer to destroy the minion and heal himself by doing so.
- Marks are ground targetted spells the necromancer can cast. Mark of Blood will give nearby allies added health regeneration and damages enemies for example. All marks trigger after a set time, but they can be triggered manually by the necromancer as well. There can only be one mark cast by the same skill at one time, so the maximum amount of marks you can use is dictated by how many marks you have in your skill bar.
- Fear is a condition only the necromancer can put on his enemies. Fear makes an enemy flee from the necromancer for a short period of time, for instance, casting Doom on an enemy will give it fear.
The necromancer have these weapons to choose from.
One-Handed: Axe, dagger and scepter.
Offhand: Dagger, focus and warhorn.
Life force is unique to the necromancer, and is something they can gain in various ways, like whenever a kill happens nearby or through certain skills. For example, Ghost Armor increases the necromancer's armor and gives him life force whenever he takes damage. Life force is used to power up Death Shroud, which is the only thing that actively uses life force.
Death Shroud is a special form that is available to necromancers. When they enter Death Shroud, their life force becomes their health bar, and when it reaches zero, they go back into their human form. However, necromancers also enter Death Shroud instead of going into a downed state, as other professions would. The necromancer will here return to their human form when he makes a kill, or go down completely when his life force reaches zero.
The special abilities available in Death Shroud can't be changed, although they can be altered by using traits.
Once again, ArenaNet have given us a few videos so we can see a few necromancer skills in action.
Bone Minions (with Putrid Explosion):
Here we see that cripple and knockdown are also returning from the first games.