April 23, 2015
'Guild Wars 2' Developers Detail Upcoming Trait Changes, New Elite Specializations Coming With 'Heart Of Thorns' Release

Guild Wars 2 players are expecting the first expansion to the buy-to-play MMORPG this year. After several free updates, changes, and additions to the game, heroes of Tyria will finally have a new profession to master. Moreover, each profession is getting access to a new weapon, which will drastically change gameplay for each of the existing professions, as well. Players will have a whole new trait interface with which to work. Additionally, a new specialization feature is also coming when Heart of Thorns releases. ArenaNet touched on these new systems and features in the latest blog post on the official Guild Wars 2 website.

Heart of Thorns, the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, is also adding a new area for players to explore, gliding, a new PvP mode, and much more. Notably, though, a trait redesign will usher in the new specialization system. With the new system, players will have access to more traits, from seven to nine, giving heroes a few more options to build their character. Additionally, the new trait system lets players unlock traits a little easier, especially for players with multiple characters.

Guild Wars 2
A water magic elementalist in Guild Wars 2

In the first post, Guild Wars 2 specializations are explained. As a character levels to 80, they gain access to three specializations out of a pool of five core specializations. Minor traits are automatically learned by spending points in a specialization, while major traits are chosen within each tier of a specialization.

"Once a specialization has been equipped, a character will be able to select a single trait for each tier to help customize that specialization. By locking traits to tiers and reducing the overall number of traits, we've made each choice much more compelling."
The new system in Guild Wars 2 also does away with raw statistics on traits. Instead of choosing a trait for stat boost, players will now be able to choose a trait based on its function. To compensate, some base stats will increase while gear will also make up the deficit.
"These changes should keep the total stat numbers roughly the same as they were before, even though you'll get them from different places. In addition to these changes, the need to unlock skills and traits will be removed from Player vs. Player entirely, and you'll automatically have all the specializations available to you whenever you're in PvP."
In the second post, trait and skill unlocks are discussed, and unlocking an elite specialization is touched upon. Currently, Guild Wars 2 players must complete certain objectives within the world to earn specific traits. With the new system in Heart of Thorns, hero points can be spent to unlock new profession reward tracks. Hero points are earned while leveling up and through completing skill challenges, now known as hero challenges.
"A level 80 character that's done none of the hero challenges should be able to unlock more than enough skills, specializations, and traits to make several unique full builds. A single character who's done a fair amount of the hero challenges should be able to unlock all of the core specializations, skills, and traits."
As for elite specializations in Guild Wars 2, players can start to utilize a new weapon for their profession once they have reached level 80. An elite specialization gives the player access a new weapon, of course, new skills, new mechanics, and new traits. The ranger, for example, will now have access to a staff weapon letting it become a druid. It will also receive a new healing skill, four new utility skills, and a new elite skill for becoming a druid. Choosing an elite specialization means the player sacrifices one of the three specialization lines mentioned earlier, but a specific set of traits will accompany the new elite specialization.

How does the new trait and specialization system sound to you?

[Images via Guild Wars 2]