In Guild Wars 2, your class is referred to in-game as your profession. This is very confusing because most MMORPGs use the word “profession” to refer to any crafts you might pick up, whereas in Guild Wars 2 your class is called your profession and any learned crafts are just called your craft.
In order to eliminate this confusion, we will be using the term “class” to describe your class (i.e. your profession).
Guild Wars 2 Classes – Testing Them Out
There are 8 classes available for play in Guild Wars 2. Your class choices are permanent and you cannot switch them. However, I found a good tip in this Guild Wars 2 guide which lets you test out all the classes at end-game. What you can do is make a new character and then go into World versus World and play around there. In World vs World you are automatically level 80 and you can enter at any time no matter where you are in the world. Spending a day testing out all 8 classes is a lot better than spending a few months leveling a class to 80 only to discover you like another class better.
This way, you can test out all the classes at level 80 before you make a decision on which one you actually want to play.
List of Classes in GW2
Here is a list of classes with a brief description of what sort of gameplay you can expect with each class:
- Guardian – The Guardian is the tankiest class in Guild Wars 2. It uses heavy armor and its skills are more defensively oriented. My experience in PvP with them is that they are very hard to kill but also do not deal that much damage.
- Warrior – The Warrior is the other heavy armor-using class in Guild Wars 2. Unlike the Guardian, it can deal a ton of damage while being somewhat tanky. Definitely not as durable as the Guardian but their damage more than makes up for it in my opinion.
- Engineer – The Engineer is definitely the odd-ball class of GW2. It uses medium armor and has moderate survivability (which can be upped to high survivability with the use of certain self-healing skills). This class’s primary abilities are pretty weak from an offensive stand-point and instead relies mostly on the creation of turrets in order to deal damage. This class has a surprising amount of healing capabilities and might even be the best healer/buffer in the game.
- Thief – The Thief is an offensive medium-armor class that is capable of both melee and ranged combat. Compared to the popular Rogue class of other MMORPGs, the Thief is less-effective at in-your-face melee combat (this is the realm of the Warrior) and instead relies on subterfuge and dagger play to deal damage in melee range. The Thief is also fully-effective from range and is able to dish out big damage with a pistol, so it is not purely a melee class.
- Ranger – The Ranger is the final medium-armor class. It primarily relies on ranged attacks and pets in order to deal damage, though you can spec melee. Despite using pets the Ranger is effective at dealing damage from range, so if you want a ranged specialist for World vs World this is a good choice.
- Elementalist – The Elementalist is like the Mage from other MMORPGs. It uses light armor and relies on Fire, Air, Earth, and Water skills in order to deal damage. It has some decent healing capabilities but it is definitely not a healing class. It is primarily offensive in nature and compared to other damage-dealing classes, this one’s biggest strength is its ability to deal area-of-effect damage. The Elementalist cannot tank much damage but has a lot of escape and +movement speed skills and traits that let it avoid damage.
- Necromancer – The Necromancer is similar to the Warlock and Necromancer archetypes from other MMORPGs. It relies on shadowy attacks and life drains and is a bit beefier but less mobile than the Elementalist despite the fact they both wear light armor. Like the Warlock from WoW, it takes a little longer to get “rolling” as the Necromancer needs to build up life force before it can morph into its more powerful form.
- Mesmer – The Mesmer is a light armor using caster class that is unique to the Guild Wars 2 series. It relies on two types of illusions – phantasms and clones – in order to deal damage to its enemies. Phantasms are ghost-like pets with powerful offensive skills, whereas clones are less powerful but appear to other players as if they were your character, making them hard to identify. The existence of clones predisposes the Mesmer to PvP, particularly in 1v1 or small groups, where clones can trick enemies into attacking them.
Guild Wars 2 Classes Guide
No matter what class you pick in Guild Wars 2, pick your class based on gameplay rather than what you think is best. ArenaNet, the developer of Guild Wars 2, is very proactive and quick to make changes based on the game. If one class is lagging behind the others in PvP, they will be quick to buff it up so it is line with the others.
Any gamer knows that you get the most out of your class if you have the appropriate build. If you want a guide that outlines the top builds for each profession, then you should check out Tyria Guide: