Greetings everyone! PvP Leagues have started up again and I wanted to take a look at how things in this season differ from Season One.
Season One was the Bunker meta where players could last forever on points. For Season Two the meta is all about damage where going into down state probably means death in a team fight. I think it’s safe to say some of the most played professions in Season Two consist of the following:
- Condition Reaper
- Power Herald (with Glint/Shiro)
- Support Tempest
- (Power) Scrapper
Other common variants of the above professions are Minion Master Reaper, Condition Revenant (with Mallyx), & Rabid Scrapper. Notice that these professions all utilize the elite specialization or requires Heart of Thorns in some respect. I think most people assumed that you would not get far – if at all – without an elite specialization in sPvP.
Condition Reaper has being strong since the first season, but with the additional bonus of boon corrupting Reaper is even better now. Power Herald is seeing more play since the nerfs to condition Revenant’s resistance in addition to the removal of Rune of Durability from PvP. Despite the sword nerfs, Power Herald still brings a lot of block potential, boons, reveal and some extra sustain with staff which makes it a fairly good pick up for Revenant players. Support Tempest has become the norm with the ability to mitigate team damage and conditions while providing auras to boot. Of course some damage comes out of Tempest as well but generally they are supporting their teammates in fights or trying to survive for as long as possible on a point till help arrives. Power Scrapper is a specialization that screams tanky fighter. Very durable, a lot of blocks, & consistent damage make it another very good pick up.
So I’ve talked a lot about the popular picks but what about other professions? Well let’s start with Mesmer. Since Bunker Chronomancer has fallen out of favor, Shatter Chronomancer has come into play more. Warriors were slim to none existent in Season One but in Season Two most Warriors seen in ranked are running a Condition Berserker build. Thieves are pretty much still rocking the Dagger/Pistol or Staff build where both weapon sets received buffs. Despite some nerfs, the trapper build is still the standard pick for Dragonhunters. Rangers right now are mostly using a Power Druid setup however there are some Sustain Druids about.
Really quickly I want to slip into the topic of base specialization setups versus elite specialization setups. Both seasons makes it clearly apparent that a player not running a HoT elite specialization is not going to do well, or as well, in PvP. Why is that? Well, because all the good or better stuff for each profession is in Heart of Thorns. Some even fix problems the base profession has. Off the top of my head:
- Berserker provides a lot of burning and some condition clearing which works well with a condition based build where base Warrior struggles to make and combat condition based builds.
- Chronomancer provides alacrity and better/more clones & phantasms which is by itself a huge bonus over base Memser.
- Daredevils have more evades, specialized dodges and better condition cleanse than base Thief.
- Dragonhunters have better zone control & damage with traps, new virtues with useful actives and flat out better range damage with longbow.
- Druid has better sustain than Ranger that can keep you and your team healthy in fights while you—and your pet—do damage.
- Reapers are just flat out better than base Necromancer.
- Revenant is only available if you have Heart of Thorns and is a great mobility damage based profession whether you play it condition or power. Even then you use the Herald elite specialization.
- Scrapper is tankier and has more sustain than Engineer.
- Tempests have strong AoE overloads and higher sustain (with aura shouts) than base Elementalist.
Some professions are stronger than others while others still need some help in a few areas within their base specializations. For the most part however, you want to be running an elite specialization otherwise you cannot perform as well.
So the ultimate question I ask is: are things better? Well the answer is yes. Each profession is viable to some extent in higher levels of ranked PvP. The ranked system itself is much better with it’s matchmaking and handling the exploits from last season.
Are things where they should be? This is a bit hard to say. Some professions are clearly better than others which is to be expected, but given that Guild Wars 2 has nine professions you’d assume the power discrepancy wasn’t so far off. Some professions are still in need of help. For example Warrior did get some love but they can really only run one build in PvP and—to be honest—it’s not hard to deal with it.
Matchmaking still needs a bit of work despite the fixes to queue times and exploits. I understand it’s hard to make a fairly low queue time for some players with the Guild Wars 2 PvP population being sparse at higher divisions earlier in the season. There also the issues of solo and duo players versus grouped players in matchmaking where duo queues get matched up against a full or near full premade—which is never fun to deal with.
So in conclusion yes, this season is much better. There are some things that still need to be addressed, but thankfully this season’s issues are not horribly significant. ArenaNet has definitely improved from Season One and I assume that Season Three will be even better.