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Guild Wars 2 Combat

Eric Flannum, the Lead Designer for Guild Wars 2, has let loose some inside information on the Combat system in GW2.

One priority has been making the simple act of moving around and interacting with the world an enjoyable experience for players, who can now run, jump and swim freely. From a combat perspective, your character's position in Guild Wars 2 battles actually matters, with lots of attacks that encourage and reward tactical player positioning and movement.

Important in GW2 was for combat to be visually appealing with lots of distinct and impressive visual skill effects such as players shape-shifting into massive tornadoes, giant crushing stone hands, or flocks of vicious birds being summoned.
Systems Designers Isaiha Cartwright and Jon Peters explain combat in GW2.

The centerpiece of the Guild Wars 2 combat system is a TEN-SLOT SKILL BAR and a choice of TWO weapon sets, both noticeably different from the original GW configuration.
Depending on the player's profession and weapon choices, the first five skills on the skill bar are automatically chosen to ensure that each weapon is balanced with a useful combination of skills. The remaining five skills are free to be chosen by the player from a pool of skills determined by both profession and race. One of these slots is dedicated to elite skills that trigger visually spectacular and powerful effects. Another slot is dedicated to healing skills which will replenish the health of the player's character and that of his allies.

The offhand item you equip will again change the skill combinations available. For example, a Mesmer with a pistol will have a different set of combat skills to a Thief wielding the same pistol. A Mesmer equipping a pistol in one hand and a scepter in the other results in the Illusionary Duelist skill appearing in slot 4, which creates an illusion (clone) of the Mesmer character that unloads dual pistols on the enemies. Replacing the pistol with a one-handed sword automatically equips the Illusionary Swordsman skill in slot 4.

When you first equip a weapon, you'll start off with just one skill for that weapon, but as you use that weapon more often you unlock further skills. Your progression toward that next skill unlock is shown as you use that weapon more and more. In this way you can become proficient at using an axe, but when you find a sword with better stats and switch to that, you're starting with one skill for that sword until you gain experience using that weapon. This also applies to which hand you use, as you'll need to unlock main-hand and off-hand skills on each weapon where they are available, which then unlocks it on every weapon of that type for that particular character.

While this may sound a little complicated, it really isn't! Overall, Guild Wars 2 will have a less complex combat system, with fewer overall skills, leaving the screen as clean and unintimidating as possible. Guild Wars 2 Combat

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