The Scrying Pool begins its glorious return with general Specialization Speculation for Heart of Thorns.
The Scrying Pool is a Guild Wars 2 column where I simply ask what if? Nothing is off the table as I dive into possible features and future content, looking at what currently exists in Guild Wars 2 before I answer my own what if question with how I think the feature and content could be implemented.
Heart of Thorns is coming to Guild Wars 2 as the game’s first expansion, so it only makes sense that the return of The Scrying Pool dives right into speculation about what this expansion is going to deliver.
Over the coming weeks I will be looking at each of the professions, creating mock-ups for how I see a specialization playing out. Specializations are going to be like alternate versions of the current professions in Guild Wars 2. While not completely changing the class, specializations will give a new weapon, new utility skills and traits to the profession by replacing some of the current options. As such, it is expected that the number of available weapons, skills and traits at any one time will remain the same for a profession, but the list of those availabilities will be different depending on whether you are repping the professions base set or a specialization set.
It is currently unknown how specializations will work exactly as little information has been revealed on the subject. What we do know is that HoT will include one specialization for each of the professions and that each character will have to unlock the specialization individually. This means that if you have two warriors, each warrior will have to unlock it. Also, we know that this unlocking has nothing to do with masteries, since masteries are an account-wide progression and specializations are character-based. Instead, unlocking will require buying HoT and most likely have the player going out in the Heart of the Maguuma to unlock them.
I imagine that the unlocking will work similar to an episode of the Living World, having players go and meet NPCs out in the world and potentially have a handful of instances to complete before the specialization is unlocked. This story wouldn’t be tied to the personal story of the expansion, but I like the idea that some progress in the personal story is required before the process for unlocking specializations is opened up to the character. For example, maybe in one of the earlier story steps you are introduced to a native that knows of some secret master training in the jungle. Now you could go out into the jungle, looking for this master who will lead you on the path to learning your specialization.
I also think that this story will be different for each of the different professions. For example, we know that the Ranger specialization is called the Druid. To unlock the druid you would venture out to find the druid master, while warriors would have a different master that they would learn from. The story and instances following this would then be unique for each profession.
This uniqueness was something that the community was looking for with different systems, such as trait unlocking as a call back to the elite skill unlocking in Guild Wars. In GW1, you would hunt down bosses that used your class’s skills and be able to learn their elite skill after defeating them. Things like skills and traits are too numerous to really allow this profession unique unlocking, but with only one specialization per profession the opportunity to make each unlock unique becomes a real possibility. That said, I don’t imagine that these unlocks will be too long since there will need to be nine of these unique stories created. As mentioned before, a single Living World episode in length would be a pretty good goal to look at in terms of length.