Sunday, July 12, 2015

Here Comes The New Class... : GW2

We had no intention whatsoever of taking part in this weekend's Test Drive A Revenant event. After ANet caved in the face of people-power and bundled in a character slot we decided to pre-purchase Heart of Thorns on each of what I suppose we must now call our "main" accounts but as yet we'd done nothing about it.

I hadn't paid much, or indeed any, attention to this latest iteration of ArenaNet's singularly idiosyncratic take on how to run a beta but when Revenants began popping up like mushrooms on just about every Live map it became kind of hard to ignore.  (Hmm. Where did that image come from? Oh, wait, just look at the class icon).

 It did occur to me right away that we could just go to the web store, grab the digital download and join in, but I really don't like digital downloads all that much. They seem empty, somehow, and I'd been hoping to hold out until there was a box to go on my box shelf with all the other dust-collectors.

The prevalence of Revenants did at least spur me on to investigate the options. Naturally there is no genuine HoT-in-a-Box as yet. We'll probably at least need a release date before we'll see any of those. There is, however, a half-arsed compromise strangely appealing offer from Amazon - a mocked-up DVD case containing nothing but a leaflet with a pre-purchase registration code.

Well, it's a box. All I wanted was a box. We briefly discussed the idea of paying the extra delivery charge to have the codes before the test ended but again neither of us was that interested so we just went for free delivery even though it would take a week. I ordered two copies late on Friday night with an expected delivery window from next Thursday to Saturday and forgot about it.

They arrived an hour ago. Makes you wonder what, exactly, the point of paying the extra for fast delivery might be, doesn't it? Anyway, nice service. Would use again.

So, since the beta was still up I thought I'd at least take a look. Applying the codes was extremely quick and easy (/wave Squenix). Other than a confirmation window on the registration page the only evidence anything had happened was a tiny "Create(Beta)" button on the bottom right of the character select screen.

I clicked it and a Revenant appeared. Only one choice of race: human. Either gender. All the appearance options. Pick a blindfold. Choose a name. Done.

Other than the three blindfolds (none of which anyone other than roleplayers will ever wear again after they ding level three or, more realistically, finish clicking on their stack of Tomes) the beta neatly sidesteps all the story elements that I railed against so pointlessly and petulantly back at the start of the original beta more than three years ago.

I doubt it means ANet have had second thoughts. More likely no-one's written the Revenant Personal Story yet. Or they have and they want to keep it a secret for a while longer. Or forever. As Wooden Potatoes observes, it's going to be a pig to fit it into continuity.

Your new Revenant, sans past, sans future, appears, somewhat unhelpfully, in Lion's Arch. He or she comes with map completion on all waypoints, however, so it's a swift trip to wherever you care to go to test those skills. I went to Diessa Plateau because I like Diessa Plateau.

My exhaustive and extensive testing of the Revenant, her
Demon and Dwarf Legends, her Traits, Skills and all the rest took about five minutes. I killed several wurms, a couple of warthogs and a passing crow.

I used the hammer, which is what my Revenant woke up holding. It seemed satisfyingly bangy. There was a propensity for laying down massive markers on the ground that I was already very used to from the countless revenants at World Bosses and zerg jousts all weekend. I foresee the one that looks like twenty yards of good road being very popular at Claw of Jormag, Tequatl and everywhere else with too much fear.

From listening to map chat and scanning feedback on the forum, reaction ranges from unimpressed to hostile. I thought it seemed okay as a class, bearing in mind it's clearly only about half-finished and that half will be tweaked a lot before launch. Presenting a key element of the expansion in this unfinished state is offering up yet another hostage to fortune, of course, but by and large I'd say they got away with it.

My own main interest was playability. The official hype seems to want to paint the Revenant as some kind of complex, advanced class, which is not what I want out of GW2 at all. On the briefest of acquaintance I'm pleased to say the Revenant feels pretty much the same as the rest. It reminded me, structurally, of the Elementalist, with no weapon swapping and stances where the Ele has attunements. I can do that.

There's bound to be more to it than we've seen but it put my mind at rest. If I can muddle through 80 levels as an Engineer the Revenant should be well within my limited grasp. As for the traits and the rest of the fine print that can wait. Not much point trying to get to grips with it now when it might be a month before we get a second go. I'll have forgotten it all long before then.

So there we have it. The Revenant. It's a class. It's half-finished.  A lot of people aren't impressed. It'll do for me.



  1. I played the revenant for only a bit since I prefer characters I have played since "birth" and had time to know them,

    It seems to have potential.
    I found it interesting that the hammer is a ranged weapon while the staff is a melee weapon (135 range).
    The animations for all the weapons and skills seem quite good.

    Can't say much more until I have the chance of starting a level 1 Revenant.

    1. PS: It seems you missed the Centaur stance, which is kind of a "healing" stance.
      I suspect most of the dislike for the Revenant is due to the lack of its most DPS spec in a game (PvE wise) everything non damage centric is eschewed.

    2. We were talking about how we'll approach the Revenant when HoT arrives (whenever that is) and we both agreed we'd play the class up rather than use Tomes to go straight to 80. I think it will make more sense that way or at least I hope so. That said, I had no trouble leveling a Thief form 1 to 80 but I have not the slightest clue how to play the class still.

      I did see the Ventari Centaur stance when I equipped the staff but I didn't go as far as to test it out. I do find it interesting that the Revenant, as the only new class specific to the expansion, is so support/heal focused. Yes, there's the DPS stance to come, but it does make me wonder to what extent they are trying to move the playerbase away from all-DPS-all-the-time as the default PVE mode. I suspect, though, that if the Revenant doesn't have great DPS few will play it in PvE and if it does few will play it in any other stance.

    3. In the recent POI Colin did state they are indeed trying to make aspects of combat other than damage more relevant.

      It even led to a some reddit clarification, due to people confusing Trinity with Holy Trinity. POI link

      On the other hand that was their objective at release 3 years ago, so, who knows.

  2. Thanks for your impressions and write-up about this. Revenant was one of the few points of interest I had in HoT, but I'm also not hearing a lot of positive excitement towards it yet. I guess I remain content to wait-and-see with this expansion for now.


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