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First and foremost, an apology. Life came kicking down the door and responsibility was not far behind. I have been very  busy with work and school and I am nearing completion of both. My goal is to have everything finished before GW2 hits the shelves. I also plan to post more once I am able to play GW or GW2. As it turns out, I haven’t been in GW in several months either. My titles are just sitting there incomplete 😦

On to the news.

As you know, there have been lots and lots and lots of updates about GW2 lately. I’m talking all professions revealed. A limited press beta with gobs of video (click here for more on that). Hunter does a great job updating quickly and efficiently, so he’d be someone to keep an eye on for opinions about recent developments.

That being said, the big fuss at the moment is about traits.

Necromancer Traits

I’m actually a big fan of this system, though like everyone else, I have my criticisms, so I’ll start there.

1. Traits were originally set up to be acquired through in-game task completion. Now it is set up more like skills/attributes in GW. You must purchase a book from a trainer to unlock a tier and you gain points as you level that can be spent on each of the 5 lines. I’m sad to see a change in the acquisition method. I liked the idea of tracking down a master to learn something. Still, this has been iterated into the skill point acquisition system, so it’s not a total loss. I’m eager to learn about those tasks.

2. Seventy points just doesn’t feel sufficient. I know it is probably a good balance as it is, but I would love to have, say, 10 more points to play with. I’ve been playing around with the numbers a bit (like millions of other GW2 fans are doing right now) and I find that I can get just about what I want but I have to compromise more than I’m happy with. Take a look at these sites if you want to play around as well.

The rest is sheer nitpicking, which I’ll spare you.

I am excited about having access to all of the available traits up front and I hope that feature makes it into the game proper. I also appreciate the skill challenges to acquire skill points which unlock skills. ANet has done a great job of encouraging people to explore and play the game in new ways. Hit up Youtube and search for GW2 Jumping Puzzles if you haven’t heard about this yet.

As for the current fuss of the community: that we should be able to respec our traits wherever and whenever we want without paying a fee (oh, yeah, btw, you have to go to the aforementioned trainers in town and pay a small fee to reset your trait points), I say quit your whining.

Yup. I called it whining.

As the trait system stands, you are a bit more invested in your play style. You do this with nearly every role-playing game you play. You make decisions about specializations and attributes and you commit. You save your game and it is done. If you’ve played an RPG, this is nothing new to you. The confusion and the arguable “bait and switch” was the ability to swap your attribute points in GW1 anytime you were in town. You still had to set them before leaving town though. All the GW2 system does is encourage you to think about your play style and build a character around it, rather than spec your character before each fight for the purpose of that fight. I hated doing that in GW1, especially when people would whine about your build and kick you from the group if you weren’t running exactly what “was required” for the situations. I’m looking at you UW and FOW.

So what if you have to go back to town to respec your traits? You had to do that in GW1 also. So you have to pay a fee. Big deal. It will ultimately be negligible and it serves the purpose of encouraging you find a build you like and stick with it. It’s also a minor gold sink, which is fine by me. I’m sure it will take you all of 5 minutes to knock some mobs around and earn enough gold to pay to respec if it’s that important to you.

Me, I’ve already come up with 3-4 builds for each of my characters, as I’m sure lots of people have. My goal is to have one or two builds that I run regularly, while also having a couple more specialized for when I want to focus on a role. I’ll use ranger as an example.

In most situations my ranger will be specced with 30 Beastmastery and 10 in each of the other traits. This maximizes my pet and healing options, while giving a moderate boost everywhere else. It leaves nothing ignored and allows for flexibility. I also plan on speccing my ranger: Marksmanship 30, Wilderness Survival 30, Beastmastery 10. This is a more offensive build emphasizing conditions. My third build is: Skirmishing 30, Nature Magic 20, Wilderness Survival 20 to emphasize crowd control with traps and/or nature spirits.

I don’t plan on swapping my builds a lot, but I do know how I like to play my characters. I will be posting a bio for each of my GW2 characters soon and will add my builds to the bios. I am eager to play around with this for real and have my fingers crossed about being picked for beta.