My first RPG (in which you could pick among the genders) was Diablo 2. I first played a sorceress and then an amazon. I then played Guild Wars and started with a ranger and then found my true calling as a monk. Later I played World of Warcraft and fell in love with melee. I played as a feral druid: tank and damage-dealer.
Since I discovered that I love melee fighting so much, when I came back to Guild Wars I started giving its melee professions another go.
First I jumped into Prophecies (my favorite campaign) and remembered that, for some reason, melee fighters are woefully underrepresented. If you want to be up in somebody’s face, you have to be a warrior. So I made a warrior and promptly decided she wouldn’t leave pre-searing. Asma Billings is currently showing those evil black bears what for.
The warrior was nice, but couldn’t keep my attention for very long. So I rolled over to Factions and dusted off my terribly cliche’d named assassin, Silver Kris. (Silver Veil, after a character by Mercedes Lackey was already taken) It didn’t take me long to find out why she had gotten dusty in the first place. I headed out into the areas around The Marketplace for something-or-other and found myself squished. I was repeatedly, and frequently reduced to little more than a red stain on the ground. I like to be fast and I like to be deadly. Far too often I leave my henchmen behind and also end up dead. The frustration was more than I cared to deal with.
Then, a few weeks ago an old college buddy of mine succumbed to peer pressure and purchased the trilogy pack. We decided to roll characters together in Nightfall. I had already decided that I hated the paragon something fierce and I didn’t want to roll a class that I could make in Prophecies (where I preferred to level anyway), so dervish it was.
I’d like to note that I find the concept of a dervish completely ridiculous. Scythes are for mowing grass, not lopping off heads. (I’ve actually used one before, the neighbors think I’m crazy.) I have no objection to borrowing the dervish name from the Islamic Dervishes (an ascetic order similar to Christian Friars or Buddhist Monks). I think if more people became curious and studied the practices and beliefs of other cultures this world would be a much better place, but that’s neither here nor there.
The people around me instantly saw a class that wields a scythe and thought “awesome I get to be the grim reaper!”. Thus I was immediately turned off of the dervish.
I should not have been. I created a dervish (named her Cozin Tigerfeet, after my future charr character in GW2) and went to town.
I’m still trying to decide exactly what the dervish is all about. I haven’t gotten very far (I try to play with this friend I mentioned before). All I can say for sure is this class is a pleasure to play. I find the skills engaging yet not so complicated that I get frustrated. Managing multiple curses and hexes on my Me/N leaves me almost frantic but tossing up buffs and them ripping them off in the next breath with powerful attacks somehow feels natural and fun.
I’m having fun. I’m having a lot of fun, actually.
I enjoy melee, I truly do. But I don’t enjoy dying a lot, and I don’t like my avatar wearing large slabs of metal. My dearest, sincerest hope for Guild Wars 2 is in the existence of a melee-based adventurer class. Something more lithe and elegant than the warrior.
I almost panicked when I read:
no profession uses [skill chains] more than the warrior … The more melee oriented the profession is the more heavily they rely on chain skills
One could easily infer that because a)The most melee-centered profession uses the most chain skills, and b)The warrior uses the most chain skills out of anyone, therefore c)There will be no profession that is more melee-oriented than the warrior.
Combine it with the assumption that assassins are a heavily melee-based profession and you can make one of two conclusions: 1)The assassin will not exist, or 2)The assassin will not be as melee-heavy as the warrior.
I have to admit that I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the possibility of number 2. (If I can’t validate number 2 to my own satisfaction that leaves only number one, at which point I start to hyperventilate.)
Here is where I step back and analyze my own desires and motivations because I’m catching myself attempting to shoehorn existing facts into my own pet theories (a dangerous practice, best avoided).
- I like to play melee.
- I do not like to wear heavy armor.
- I want there to be a melee-heavy profession that is not a soldier class.
- I assume this non-soldier melee fighter must be an assassin.
The last bit is where I make an ass of myself.
When I think about the tiny, whirling core that is ‘assassin’ I am forced to think of daggers in the back, skulking along rooftops, poison slipped into someone’s aperitif, arrows in the dark, and rifles on hilltops. I do not think about a fast and deadly close-range fighter.
I am slowly coming to realize that if a fast and deadly close-range fighter is what I want then perhaps it will not be the assassin.
In the absence of any hard evidence I think it is likely (logically) that we will have at least one more melee profession. One out out of eight is really a poor balance between melee and ranged.
Perhaps it will be something new, like a mess-with-your-head, pistol/dagger wielding mesmer pirate. Something unique and never (or rarely) seen before could be a melee-based spell-caster.
Food for thought.