Guild Wars 2: Berserker Exclusive Reveal

The first, exclusive look at the Warrior elite spec Berserker coming in Heart of Thorns.

ArenaNet continues to unveil the features for Guild Wars 2’s upcoming expansion, Heart of Thorns. This week we have the pleasure of giving the exclusive reveal for the Warrior Elite Specialization, the Berserker.

The Berserker is all about tapping into their primal bloodlust to unleash their rage and go Berserk. Berserk is the new profession specific mechanic that warriors get with the Berserker elite spec. Once enough adrenaline has been built up, the Warrior can enter berserk mode. The first thing that going berserk does is change the warrior’s adrenaline bar from its three-tiered, 30 adrenaline large bar into a single-tier 10 adrenaline bar. This smaller bar will let Berserkers get their adrenaline full even faster which is helpful for using the new “primal” burst skills.

Primal burst skills is the other major change when going berserk. The burst skills—default as F1—are dependent on the weapon the Warrior is using in their main-hand and every burst skill will have a new primal version available while going berserk. To complement the lower adrenaline bar, these primal burst skills will have lower recharge times compared to their non-berserk counterparts allowing them to be used much more often.

ArenaNet gave us two examples of the primal burst skills with the longbow’s Scorched Earth and Mace’s Skull Grinder. While longbow’s default Combustive Shot is an arcing shot that leaves a circle of fire, Scorched Earth will leave a trail of fire on the ground in a straight line. This line will end up covering more area than Combustive Shot, but will require it to be aimed properly for the full benefit.

Skull Grinder will replace the mace’s Skull Crack burst skill while going berserk. Skull Grinder will still disrupt the target, but will do so for a shorter duration. In return, Skull Grinder will additionally inflict multiple conditions on the target.

If you were worried about the shorter adrenaline bar having a negative impact on those traits that scale according to adrenaline level fear not, as the primal burst skills are all considered Tier 3 burst skills. While comparable, the damage of these primal burst skills will be slightly lower than a normal Tier 3 burst skills due to both the frequency at which a Berserker can activate these skills and the additional effects—such as the conditions on Skull Grinder—that these primal skills have.

For a weapon, the Berserker will gain access to the torch. While other classes might use this off-hand weapon as a utility, the Berserker is all about using it to command powerful flames of war. The first skill on the torch is Blaze Breaker and shows off this offensive power as the Berserker slams the torch into the ground to create a cascade of rock and flame that travels toward a target burning and crippling any foe in its way.

The second of the two torch skills is Flames of War. By using this skill, the Berserker lights themselves ablaze, burning off conditions while creating a fire field that follows the Berserker and burns any foes caught inside it. Not only will the Berserker be able to use combo finishers off of himself, the fire field will explode when it expires, dealing damage and applying more burning to foes around the Berserker.

Rounding out the list of new skills available to Berserkers is a new type of utility skill known as Rage skills. These skills are similar to warrior’s current physical skills in that they focus around feats of strength, but Rage skills will have the added bonus of granting bonus adrenaline when used. Using these rage skills in the Berserker’s rotation can help keep up a cadence of unleashing primal burst skills on foes while going berserk.

ArenaNet only gave us one example of the new rage skills, but this one was definitely enough to tide us over until the Points of Interest livestream on Friday.

“One of these skills is Wild Blow, a powerful attack that launches any foe it hits back a large distance with such force that your foe's own body becomes a projectile that can hit other enemies, knocking them back in turn.”

That’s right. So powerful that it turns the enemies' own body into a projectile.

Berserk will also function as a Rage skill, filling up the new smaller adrenaline bar so that players can immediately use one of the primal burst skills once going Berserk.

Like all other elite specializations, the Berserker will come complete with a full line of traits. While we were not told any of the specifics, the traits fall into three categories to buff different aspects of the berserker. The first is focused on brawling by providing benefits for going berserk and to help gather up enemies. The second category focuses on burning and condition damage. The final category focuses on the Berserker’s unstoppable nature by adding healing options and stun breaks.

In addition to the exclusive reveal for the Berserker, we were also able to ask ArenaNet Game Designer Robert Gee a few questions we had about the Berserker.

First we wanted to know more about the specialization’s Beserk mode and how it was going to work going Berserk.

It’s a skill with a duration and a cooldown that cannot be activated unless you have full adrenaline. Once activated it cannot be cancelled and the player will continue going berserk for its duration. For this skill we wanted to emphasize the rage and loss of control that comes with the idea of being a Berserker.

Torch seems like a bright idea to add to any class, but we were curious why this condition focused weapon was included on an elite specialization that sounds at its core very physical.

We wanted Warriors to have a torch, so adding condition damage to the elite specialization made a lot of sense. Even though elite specializations act as a focal point for a particular playstyle we didn’t think that “going berserk” really needed to exclude condition damage builds. An earlier version of this specialization was fully condition based, but being a berserker doesn’t mean players have to equip torches so we changed it to support physical builds as well.

Rage skills were mentioned as being similar to the physical skills that Warriors already have. With the rage skills giving the added benefit of providing adrenaline to fuel their beserk mode and primal burst skills, we asked if the old physical skills would still find a place in Berserker builds.

We tried to make sure that most rage skills have a different functionality and purpose than the physical skills. For example, Warriors that want a ranged, targeted crowd-control will still need to use Throw Bolas because you cannot get that functionality from any rage skill.

We wanted to know more about the rage skills including Wild Blow that was revealed to us. We asked if the skill’s description of turning an enemy’s body into a projectile meant that it could count as a physical projectile finisher and got a laugh out of Robert.

If that was the case then we’d need to reflect the player when they hit a Wall of Reflection! To answer the question, though, we don’t have the capability to make players count as projectile finishers, so this isn’t part of what the skill does.

Slightly deflated but undeterred we asked if the other rage skills would also include these high level feats of strength.

Many rage skills do, but not all of them. Rage skills don’t necessarily represent feats of strength so much as the ability to surpass one’s physical and mental limits to achieve something they could not accomplish otherwise.

Our final question about the Berserker was the theme the team wanted to fill with the elite spec. We mentioned to Robert how with the Reaper we were told that it had a slow, methodical movie monster theme to it and wanted to know if the Berserker had any theme it was fulfilling.

Berserker is actually the direct opposite of Reaper from a thematic perspective. The Reaper is a slow, methodical, character based around chill while the Berserker is a fast, wild character with a focus on burning.

For a more in depth look at all of the Berserker skills and traits make sure to tune in to Points of Interest—ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 livestream—this Friday at Noon Pacific as they give the first look at Berserker gameplay on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel.

For a look at all of the Berserker screenshots including full resolution versions of them, check out the Berserker reveal post on Mattsta.Ninja.

Matt Adams aka the Mattsta

Follow me on Twitter @MattstaNinja


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