The Guardian both did, and did not surprise me. I’m a little disappointed that my speculation about auras turned out to be false (artistic license for the win), but the functionality of the Guardian was pretty much what I (and most others) expected.
He’s a magical melee who’s fantastically good at pulling his buddies’ bacon out of the fire and making things difficult for the unsavories. He is also frighteningly similar to Paladins in other games. My knee-jerk reaction would be to not even have a character like this, for fear of appearing to steal ideas and lack imagination to come up with something more unique. But after careful thought it’s obvious that the Guardian paradigm is a strong one that not only has stood the test of time, but fits in quite well with the Guild Wars universe.
Together, the Guardian and the Warrior make up two sides of the same coin. Both wear plate, both have melee and ranged attacks, both can deal damage and protect allies. The warrior specializes in martial weapons and rallying war cries. The Guardian instead is drawn to mysticism, is master of spiritual weapons, and tosses around magic like he’s the sugar plum fairy. The Guardian is the magic to the Warrior’s martial.
I’ve noticed a lot of comparisons being made between the Ritualist’s weapon spells and the Guardian’s ghostly weapons. While I can see the connection, I don’t think it’s the strongest similarity between the Guardian and the Extinct Classes. Nor do I agree that the Guardian acts like a Paragon. That role seems to me to fit solidly in the Warrior’s bailiwick with his shouts and banners.
No, I think the Guardian draws most heavily from the Dervish. Both are melee fighters and both have a marked affinity for the mystical and holy. To play a Dervish is to load yourself up with enchantments and then strip them away for single, devastating attacks.
The Guardian has Virtues which confer a passive effect, but can be stripped (for a time) to provide a large benefit for nearby allies. It’s a streamlined version of the Dervish. Instead of trying to juggle energy between loading up enchantments and stripping them away, the Guardian is able to activate his Auras with a simple click of the mouse.
The ability to choose between three virtues reminds me of the Elementalist’s attunements. I don’t believe it’s been answered weather the Guardian can switch between virtues on the fly, but my best guess is no. That’s as much as I’d like to say about the profession itself. There are plenty of other bloggers giving recaps of the raw information.
I’ve said in the past that it’s my intention to play as the sneaky assassinish character in Guild Wars 2. I also planned to play as a Ranger in Guild Wars 1 and we know how well that worked out. There’s something about the Guardian that pulls at something deep within me. I suspect it has to do with an abiding drive to help other people. It was for this reason that I offered to raid lead for my WoW guild, Unemployed. That decision eventually (and alarmingly quickly) led me to desert WoW forever. It was a good experience, but I’m absolutely certain that my temperament is not suited to leadership. I wasn’t a bad leader, I just hated almost every second of it.
But still, that deep and abiding need to care for my friends remains. Last night I helped my husband finish Nightfall. We killed Abbadon with a full group, but when sending out the call for others to join us I insisted someone be a healer (we already had another healer), because sure as summer follows spring, I wasn’t going to do it. I had a lot of fun with my layzorz (I always do), but constantly in the back of my mind was a kernel of guilt that I was foisting the healing/protection job onto someone else who would probably rather be performing a different job. Ryan ended up being this someone, and though he assured me that healing the Abbadon fight is one of his favorite things to do, that nagging little voice of mine couldn’t be quieted.
I desperately hope that ArenaNet is right when they say that the Guardian’s skill in protection will not lead it to be a required profession like the Monk is now. Because if that happens, I’m fairly certain that I’ll end up in that role when all I really wanted was to try something drastically new.