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Profession vs. Role in Structured PvP

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May 29, 2012 - 6:08pm -- Sardu
The Last Whiskey Bar

Welcome to the first edition of The Last Whiskey Bar. In it, Sardu and Xerin square off in a bar brawl to the death in GuildWars2Hub’s unique spin on the traditional point / counterpoint format. We present our sides of a topic each week, and let our readers determine the victor.

For our first week we decided to tackle a pretty major topic that should resonate with fans of structured PvP in Guild Wars 2. Which is more important when it comes to 5v5 team composition: fulfilling a specific role or individual professions?

Xerin argues for professions, while Sardu sides with roles as most important. Who will emerge victorious from the first round? Read on and then be sure to cast your vote in the comments!

Xerin – Professionally Speaking

"I would without doubt ensure that I have the right professions by my side, rather than an individual seeking to fulfill a role their profession doesn’t necessarily align to."

I don’t really buy into the possibility that all professions can realistically fulfill multiple roles equally.

It’s something I’ve heard argued many times, but I consider the fundamental make-up of each profession is the most important factor. All professions do have flexibility to fulfill a role, true, but some professions just do it better by default.   I’m not sure anyone could realistically argue against the Guardian being the single best profession for group support.  But I also don’t believe the Guardian could adequately fill the role of an attacker or damage dealer, as well as other professions (as much as some people like to think it can). Professions are still absolutely pigeon holed and are the very basis of what allows someone to fulfill a role.

I would without doubt ensure that I have the right professions by my side, rather than an individual seeking to fulfill a role their profession doesn’t necessarily align to.  I’m not suggesting, for example, a ranger couldn’t offer a defensive role, I’d just know in the back of my mind that a guardian could do it so much better.

Professions in Guild Wars 2 are still so heavily defined by their skill makeup (irrespective of role) that some just naturally align to certain methods of play. People have regularly complained about the thief and its lack of support skills (though it has been improved somewhat), however, I’d likely raise an eyebrow at an individual claiming all they were, was a supportive or defensive thief.  I expect a thief to deal damage and support me through dealing damage.  If a thief wanted to take such a role, I’d likely just ask for a Guardian.

I’ve thought for some time about what my ideal team composition would be in a party of 5 and thought only of profession skill sets. I’d likely lean towards an Engineer, Guardian, two Elementalists and a Warrior. These professions are uniquely capable of surpassing any role people want to fill.

I’m not suggesting that professions don’t have the flexibility to fulfill multiple roles based on different builds, but without the profession and the skill set it brings, certain roles by certain professions are weak or impossible.

- Xerin

Sardu – Role with it Baby

"You will always need someone strong in point defense, but that might not always be the same profession over time."

The balance of power between individual professions is always going to shift over time. That’s just how the competitive metagame works. Flavor-of-the-month builds and team comps will come and go rapidly, but the roles players will need to fulfill in structured PvP will remain a constant no matter how professions are balanced, or what wacky builds people dream up to play.

At any given point in time it’s entirely possible that a specific profession may be best suited for point defense, another for mobility, one for support, and yet another for raw DPS. But the way GW2 works is that multiple professions can fulfill those roles. The difference being that each simply offers a different style of play, or unique approach to serving a specific function.

But even a specific role like raw DPS / offensive support is going to be subjective. What produces the best results for Profession X against Profession Y doesn’t necessary mean you’ll get the same results when squared off against Profession Z. In that sense there’s a very definite rock-paper-scissors thing going on amongst the individual professions. Smart teams will be far more concerned with fulfilling distinct roles over time, because the individual profession counters will constantly shift based on metagame trends.

Or let me put it another way.

This week a guardian might be the absolute best choice for point defense. Knowing that is a trending factor in the metagame, team composition will necessarily need to adjust to be able to counter the guardian in that role. Eventually, those counters will form, and the guardian will no longer be the absolute best choice for point defense, at least temporarily.

So the profession in question changes based on the meta, but the role they’re fulfilling remains a constant. You will always need someone strong in point defense, but that might not always be the same profession over time.

In that sense, role is infinitely more important than individual professions.

- Sardu

We’ve had our say, now we’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you think the argument for Profession presented by Xerin is most valid, or do you feel that Sardu’s argument for Role is the clear victor for this round?

Let us know who you feel should be declared the winner in the first round of The Last Whiskey Bar in the comments!


Galen's picture
Submitted by Galen on

I have to vote with Sardu....ROLE, Baby, ROLE!

I believe his argument kind of interconnects with personally.  Some professions are better at certain roles, and that is true, I believe, but you choose the members of your team based on the roles you want them to be playing.

As Sardu mentions, the metagame will end up swinging the decision of which is best at the moment back and forth but the role that needs to be filled is still there.

I do see some elements of the profession importance at work in how well different proffesions/builds work with others, but that again more reduces the profession down to its role, rather than the full profession.

For example, you say Guardian is the best at support, but what about a Guardian build focusing on maximum damage?  He probably won't be as well built for support, and an Elementalist built for conditions and boons would be much better for suport.  As a result, the build and the profession alter the role and the relative ability to fill that role.  You may say that a Suport Guardian would be better than a support Elementalist, but then again, it depends on the type of support you are talking about.  Eles are easy to build for speed enhancement and that could offer some great support elements that the Guardian, I do not think, can do as well.

As a result, I reittereate, the Profesion, while important, is only important in so much as how it rounds out the other professions and interacts with their needs to fill certain roles.




Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Galen echoes my own thoughts on this topic...

I vote for Sardu.

Many different professions (and more importantly "builds") are capable of filling various roles within a group, but it is the ROLE that remains the salient, distinguishing factor used for selecting prospective partners, and perhaps even more importantly, how well a specific, individual player fills that role, regardless of the profession or build he/she uses to do so.

Support oriented necro (capable of "rip your heart out of your chest" damage) LFG


ArcherAvatar's picture
Submitted by ArcherAvatar on

Erm... for some reason this post didn't correctly identify me, but that is in fact my reply to Galen above...

Perhaps operator error on my part during a late night post?  I may not have been logged in at the time or something equally as foolish.  /shrug 

Robert's picture
Submitted by Robert (not verified) on

But Guardians built for damage right now are really really bad at damage. Let's hope that this changes. Right now Guardians feel like they are pigeonholed into a tank/supportive role.

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

Even if the best profession for a certain role changes every now and then, that doesn't change the fact that there is one. The argument that professions aren't as important as roles because of that doesn't really make sense. 

For example, you talked about guardians and people coming up with counters against guardians. After that the optimal defender might be a necromancer, and having one is just as important as having a guardian before that. You still need a specific profession for the job.

However, I would argue that there won't ever be only one, optimal way to do something. I can see a defensive guardian, an mm necromancer and even a high mobility spike thief doing about as good job defending a point, just the way they do is is different. The guardian would just sit there like a mentally challenged duck and refuse to move, the necromancer would overpower anything consisting of 2 or less players and the thief would appear out of nowhere, kill one, vanish, appear again.. (I actually tried this and it worked fine during the BWE. Did you know that Infiltrator's Arrow can teleport you to the roof from inside the watchtower if you break it first with a trebuchet shot?)

To sum it up, you can defend a point by standing on it and not dying, by fighting the enemy head on with a strong enough build and killing them or spiking them down one by one and then getting away. Even if one of these ways is slightly stronger than others, it's also going to be the one people are prepared for.

Actually, now that I think about it, will the roles needed necessarily always be the same either? Say.. having only high mobility characters with the ability to spike down enemies quickly might work as well. They could run around the map capping and due to their superior mobility they could quickly all strike at one capture point before the enemy has time to react.

Not even needing specific roles would make specific professions even less important: you could simply change the strategy based on what you have. 

Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

Yski's picture
Submitted by Yski on

I admit it, my post was sort of confusing since I typed it as I thought.  After I read it again even I was confused for a moment.

I don't really agree with either of you, but I agree more with Sardu. The important part is what you do, not what profession you use to do it. 

Every single forum I've used to spread anti guardian propaganda has subsequently died out on me. Coincidence? I think not!

GW2 TUTS's picture
Submitted by GW2 TUTS (not verified) on

This is tough. Initially and naturally I agreed with Lewis, but Sardu makes good points. Meta does change team make up and I'm sure many professions will be capable of doing the same job. But in the end it still comes down to profession. If a buddy wants to do damage then he should be rolling one of the damage dealing profession meta builds. I'd give him the choice o warrior Ele or ranger (bc right now that I meta). If he tries to roll something off beat I'd probably drop him. 


LEWIS has my vote. 

Cassius81's picture
Submitted by Cassius81 (not verified) on

Funnily enough you are both right & wrong as the same time. Think shades of grey vs black & white. I  honestly believe that to have a solid group you will need to recruit players for the role, not the profession. To use the point defense example, the best might be a Guardian and then it might change to a Warrior but if you are willing to opt for a runner/roamer to support that role then the Guardian support might still make it the best option. It really only works on a case by case scenario but if you play with players happy to play the role then changing traits or changing class shouldn't be an issue.

Rahzael's picture
Submitted by Rahzael (not verified) on

It doesn't really seem like you two are arguing opposite sides of a spectrum.  If I had to agree with the sentiment of one argument or another, I'd side with Lewis, but I don't think Sardu is disagreeing with him: He's just pointing out that game balance changes are bound to occur.

Angel's picture
Submitted by Angel (not verified) on

Methinks yall are pigeonholing a bit too much. In GW2 I feel they've done a great job at the tradeoff between the three trees. You guardian that's roled for DPS won't be as great as a DPS thief, but he'll still have more basic support tools than a DPS thief.

Here's a great example: a greatsword anything is typically seen as heavy melee DPS. Yet rangers also have a block, a ranged cripple if they end the block early, a bleed that is more suited for pressure than spike damage, and a daze with proper positioning. This is way different than a warrior's greatsword, which has nothing but damage and a line-attack cripple. The ranger doesn't do quite as much damage as the warrior with a greatsword, but I found that stun to be absolutely fantastic in PvE and PvP.

Another example, this time from your article: with a proper build a support thief is completely viable, you just have to remember that you're not doing *nothing* besides support, like you would in EQ or WoW. In fact a support thief will still crank out a lot of damage. This kind of thief could, say, support via distracting/hindering enemies, using lots of cripples and forcing them to stop and heal rather than support via buffing allies. Although they can do that too, with Venomous Aura being one of the best support skills I've seen in a game.

In fact I'd argue that these more balanced builds could become very valuable in PvP, since they would be able to deal with more situations in skilled hands. Glass cannons are great in their own way, but playing a few I was countered more than once by DPS guardians because they had enough defense to get them through my initial spikes so they could burn me down.

Angel's picture
Submitted by Angel (not verified) on

Guess I agree with Sardu then - roles are going to be dominant,; we just have to realize that roles are no longer pure. And further that the "more pure" class/role combos aren't always optimal for the task or team you're going up against. Success in a battle will largely be up to player skill, choice of weapons and utility skills, and how these choices play with your traits rather than just dominated purely by a static trait/weapon/skill "build" like we've seen in the past.

Innuendo's picture
Submitted by Innuendo (not verified) on

I think a strong leading indicator that profession selection is mitigated is that most of the guilds recruiting for GW2 aren't as worried about having balanced numbers of each profession. The highest level teams aren't going to be overly concerned with getting the right professions so much as filling roles in their team.

Take a look at something like what Paradox wrote up about theirs 3-1-1 split. The 1's in that aren't "Guardian" and "Thieve" they are "Defender" and "Raider" and that's on purpose. The theorycrafting meta is already proving to be about filling roles, what does the team need you to accomplish in the match. You could make a case that nearly any profession could fill that raider role above. Even if you admit that some classes might be better at it, you have to ask what better represents? Or how you measure better? Or how a strictly better "thieve raider" build might not mesh as well with the rest of the team. There are simply vastly many more variables than simply profession.

And trying to box each player into one role even proves difficult when you consider some classes can "dual role" by being a raider/collapse which in which they will want high damage and a dash of support skills. So the question is "The raider player in our team will primarily be solo, but we also want them to be able to colapse and aid, so they need some team oriented skills, how do we do that?" Nuances like that can make one team's "Duh run a thieve in the raider role, dps ftw" to "Obviously run a dagger/dagger ele for spikes and mobility."

Teams are making choices about how to fill their roster based off of what skills a player can bring to the table, and while the surface level discussion will revolve around " what profession does a given task best," the root of that debate will always be "how do I maximize my effectiveness in my given role." For that reason, you have to concede that point to Sardu.

WildStride's picture
Submitted by WildStride (not verified) on

Id have to agree with sardu. like role is important yea a guardian can tank a lot but if you have ever seen a tank ele a tank ele takes much longer to kill! as a full dps ranger ive taken out most classes even full tank guardians within a matter of 20 seconds less and other classes under 10 or under 5 seconds depending on their build. You will be surprised on how a tank elementalist has skills to which he receives invulnerability take less damage and a bunch of other resistance that a guardian does not have but a guardian can also tank almost just as well.

 Every class does have a role and one might be better than the other but it also depends on the player as well. Ive seen a thief take on a team of 4 and survive for a good amount of time.There really isnt such a thing as an ideal team honestly playing as a ranger ive outdamaged full dps warriors and outdamaged other full dps rangers. every class has an oppurtunity to be great i have a mesmer on my team that can take out most classes sometimes faster than i can.

     It isnt about having this class and that class it's about having the right players who know how to play and use teamwork you can have a team of full squishies and win a game. When your a skilled player it WILL NOT matter one bit especially with a team of who's playing what class and what role. as long as you know how to work together channel your skills and do your job you win its really simple. My team is Ranger,Mesmer,Thief,Necromancer, and another Ranger and i can honestly say everytime when we were all together as a team we would never have a loss and always win by a mile. and everysingle build from that team was dps and conditions. yea you can have a guardian with the capabilities of tanking a whole team but what would be his chances when he fights a team who know what to do and take out the more important people that keep him protected? it will be pretty low for his survival due to his damage being lowered due to a complete tank build.

     I honestly think that these articles need to do a bit of more research before they actually state that one class can out dps or out tank the other

Alarox's picture
Submitted by Alarox (not verified) on

I agree with Sardu. I understand where Lewis is coming from of course, but I think Sardu is closer to the truth.

In my eyes, there's multiple ways to do the same thing. Support, Control, and especially Damage.

A Warrior can crit for massive burst, a Thief can crit not as large, but for a more sustained burst due to initiative. They both can go for condition builds, they both can use multiple strategies. Which one will you pick? The range focused Warrior/Thief? The melee focused Warrior/Thief? The condition focused Warrior/Thief? It depends on the rest of your team's composition.

You can min/max and say that "This profession is best at point defense, this one at damage, this one at support, this one is most moblle" and build a team that way. But synergy between Professions is more important, and shifts drastically based on your composition.

In one group, the best support might be a Guardian. For another, an Engineer. For another, an Elementalist. You can argue and min/max which is the best, but that doesn't mean that your group synergy is the best.

When the argument that profession is more important than role, it is assumed that you're only comparing 1 profession to another profession, with the same variables. The variables of course being group composition. Yes, a Guardian is better at preventing enemies from entering an area Via barrier. But for a different group, maybe you want an Engineer with Turrets rather than simple barriers. For another, maybe you want a Necromancer.

(with these as the only variables) If we could bet on a group with the objectively "best" at a role, versus a group with the best synergy of roles and professions, I would put all of my money on the group with the ideal synergy.

kralle's picture
Submitted by kralle on

Without going  in-depth what may come out after GW 2 goes public ( everything is subject of change, yes?), ignoring the flavor of the week estimation...

...I finaly believe that we will be rid of overworked special purpose build / solutions.

In my opinion we will see a influx of  pvp, where as the successfull players (no matter what classes ) are able to adapt quickly and keep a more well rounded skill setup.

Also, hopefully you forgive the marketingbabble, the sum is greater than the amount of players in a team.

Single this or that setups wont raise much wrinkles in my left buttcheek, but I will be more concerned about enemy teams that will adapt fast and according to the situation they face and react with a swift change in tactics.

So, in regards to the mentioned barfight from the article, while you two duke it out...

...whatch out for the sneaky guy grabing your loot and drinking all your beer, hence leting YOU pay his bill while we are at it :)

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

I think Lewis's point is based on what currently is and Sardu's point is based on what might/probably will be.  So for now I vote in favor of Lewis's point - although I know that what Sardu says is true (especially if you've played GW1 you know this to be true).

The question is:  in the future will abilities and traits be added to make certain professions better at multiple roles (Sardu's point).  All you have to do is play around with the skill calculator for a bit to see that, while all professions can fill all roles, some are much more geared towards certain roles due to their major traits and weapon abilities (Lewis's point).

I see 5v5 group make-ups changing quite a bit, and I can also see certain group make-ups favoring certain maps as well.  I wouldn't be surprised to see groups running with all or a majority of one profession type if they have a few certain builds that end up overpowered of themselves or in combination.

DrunknGod's picture
Submitted by DrunknGod on

Wow this is like asking is the glass half empty or half full.  Both make good points but I kind of think you're saying the same thing in a different way.  I do get the some Professions are more likely to fill distinct roles.  I also get that specific roles will always be needed for purposes of strategy.

I don't think we're likely to see holistic changes to Professions anytime soon.  The Thief will probably continue to outshine the burst DPS of say a Guardian.  Inversely, the Guardian will likely provide more group support mechanics than a Thief.  While they each can do both, they are more likely to excel in their respective niche.

I think for the most part any Profession could serve say 2 of 3 roles at any given time.  These 3 roles would be Assault, Defense, and Support.  That's my new Holy Trinity or for purposes of this discussion my Holy Pyramid (copyrite!) with 2 roles making up the foundation and the 3rd sitting atop the other two as a lofty level to achieve.  Sticking with my original Professions a Guardian definitely could fill Defense and Support natively, but would maybe struggle as a pure Assault.  The Thief could do Assault and Defense, but would struggle with Support.

My Holy Pyramid being what it is allows for Professions to fill roles.  I also don't see GW2 going the way of WoW's Rock-Paper-Scissor approach which seemed to also pigeonhole classes/professions.  So for me, if I were to look at the arguments presented and mix that with my own theories and thoughts I'd have to say...

Winner: ​Sardu


GhostBoy's picture
Submitted by GhostBoy on

To get the conclusion out of the way, I'm inclined to think Sardu's point of view will ultimately be the most influential factor, though not for the rock-paper-scissors reason he states. I won't dismiss Lewis' claim at all though: If you look at the skills, some professions simply has more of certain tools baked into their overall lineup that they will trend towards roles that those tools suit better.


When we say support, we are typically speaking healing and boons in the GW2 context, and there a guardian have a lot more options, or perhaps ease of access would be a better term, than f.inst. a ranger. A ranger has a powerful boon skill in warhorn 5, but beyond that they mostly deal in conditions, whereas many guardian weapons offer boons as a secondary effect. Similarly arguments could probably be made for other tools and roles.

The reason I still come down on the side of Sardu, is that looking just at the tools, and less at the application of them, is I think misleading. An elementalist might not have the same boon options of the guardian for doing support (a bit of healing and regen in water, sure, but they lack powerful boons like Protection and Retaliation for allies), but that's where the application come in. An elementalist could support allies against incoming damage by Blinding them, or in a more "offesive support manner", laying Vulnerability on them as a deterrent for the enemy to engage. On the control side of things the ele may lack the outright impossible-to-pass walls of a guardian, but they are a master of the red rings and lines that any enemy will want to avoid being in or crossing.

Finally, I think that while the control/support/damage trifecta can be broken down into which professions are better suited for what at face value, PvP involves a more complex approach to roles (as befits a setting where the opponents are not limited by AI). You want someone with support on your PvP team, sure, but what your stategy actually calls for is someone who can hold the trebuchet and fold down to the nearest capture point to help the ones protecting that, when it comes under attack. Who has the most boons is secondary to finding someone who can do that somehow.

DrakeWurrum's picture
Submitted by DrakeWurrum (not verified) on

Actually, support Elementalists can arguably be even stronger at boon-supporting than Guardians when built properly.


GhostBoy's picture
Submitted by GhostBoy on

They have to work at it though, if they want some of the more directly defensive boons, and also to gain the ability to spread them to allies. A Guardian will gain quite a few just by picking up a weapon, and can then start looking at traits to further boost it. I still think the guardian has a leg up in terms of tools there.

When we speak of support, the lines between that and control quickly becomes blurred however, so I don't think it's entirely instructive just to look at one type of tool, and probably too limiting just to build for it as well (but theorycraft will tell in time). Consider a Firewall: When used on a cornered enemy, it can serve as a damage attack. If one of your allies is the one cornered, a firewall under the feet of the attacker may cause them to back off, turning a damage weapon into a support weapon (since you use it to mitigate damage to allies). And place that same firewall at the top of some stairs, and suddenly it can be used to get enemies to take the long way around, or at least hesitate a bit while they decide if it is worth taking the hit of crossing, making it useful for battlefield control.

Same tool, different application.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

I'm with Sardu. You can't measure professions by who has the most of X, because the raw amount of boons and damage skills you have ultimately don't matter, when you're limited to a tiny slice of those skills in actual play. A greatsword guardian might do a bit less raw DPS and be a bit less mobile than a greatsword warrior, but in exchange they'll be getting offensive, AoE boons and better AoE control to make up the difference. They're going to be different flavors of doing the same thing.

That's very similar to how GW1's system shook out in PvP, where you had a number of roles in standard compositions and a number of different classes that could effectively fill those roles at the most competitive levels, especially when you took overall team synergy into account. Not to mention the fact that shrinking the team size from 8 to 5 in GW2 means that there's going to be a lot more incentive for people to generalize a little - you don't have as much room for a highly specialized DPSer or totally pure supporter on teams when you're constantly splitting off into groups of 1-3 people, especially when the other team has three generalized threats and you can't just have your DPSer chase the healer in the dress.

Miku Lawrence's picture
Submitted by Miku Lawrence (not verified) on

Looks like Lewis is right but I doubt my mesmer will be remplaced with an Elementalist or a Necromancer if i can fulfill the role better because of my skills.

It certainly comes with the role (as Sardu said), then you choose the profession that would suit it the most (Lewis' speech) but keep in mind the abilities of the player. Even tho that won't happen in PUGs :)

You're both right for me; but you're missing the 'player's Skills' aspect of sPvP. 

SaintMiguel's picture
Submitted by SaintMiguel (not verified) on

Well acctually i agree with both of them because they are right in some point, but personally for me instead of having Engineer, Guardian, two Elementalists and a Warrior. ill change 1 of the elementalist for a necromancer..

diemon's picture
Submitted by diemon (not verified) on

well that is an understandable quarrel. it is without question one of the greatest dilemma's in the world of GW2, by default (well there's no holy trinity about. innit?).

on the other hand it is an argument that is also invalid. how so? you're forgetting the skill of players (there's no medium imho). you're also ignoring the enemy's setup and each given group's level of cooperation and coordination. what is more, the game is still in beta and we have no idea how the release-version is gonna balance out, let alone patches and future expansion etc etc.

said that, you might encounter a group of 5 thieves who'll rock you 99% of the matches you play against them. or you may find yourselves hopelessly trying  to take back a point protected by 2 guardians (you just let them occupy it and move on, that is). maybe there's an engineer and a mesmer cooperating so great that they can take on any incoming. there's the possibility that a necromancer is gonna be the best dps or  support in game at some point.

i cannot claim that Lewis got it wrong, on the contrary, Guardian proves to be (this far) the best support profession and thief the top dps. but i cannot ignore Sardu either. i've seen a warlock back in vanilla WoW geared with armour and healing gear and he was impossible to down and would wear one down till they were dead or begging for mercy. i've also seen enhancement shamans beating the hell outta rogues and hunters in dps.

briefly, it all is a combination of aspects and random situations. were we talking about PvE, there would be a possibility to reach to more valid points and actually name a winner. but this is PvP we're talking about and there's the tactics, the element of surprise and the option for one to think out of the box. noone, however, can ignore the numbers (be it condition/boon duration, damage output etc).

and it goes on and on and it's a vicious circle where everyone and noone is right.

sorry lads, but i'll have to give this one a tie.



ME's picture
Submitted by ME (not verified) on

For me I believe the right answer isn't one or the other..its both of them joined

The point is, whether in structured pvp or in pve instance the key to success is a balanced team, it is the smart option.

Wolfgang Hype's picture
Submitted by Wolfgang Hype (not verified) on

I think the key point is how you define the role. If by support you want movement bonuses or heals,  maybe and Elementalist would be best suited. If you want various other boons, a Guardian might work well. If you want anti-debuff a Necromancer might work best. Thieves and Mesmers both have aoe stealths that can let you out-maneuver your opponents. However, in each of those cases it comes down to the profession and it's skills. All those classes can provide some support, but based on what you want one profession will be better suited to your needs.

If instead of "support" you want "someone who can hold a point" however, you're going to run more into an issue where the role is more important. As someone else said: the Guardian might be able to just sit there and keep the focus on him while mitigating a lot of the damage through various abilities. A Necromancer might be able to hold a point by just being a big enough threat that no one wants to face him head on. Or a Thief might harass and them as long as they stay in the area, using stealth to keep himself from being caught and killed. That kind of role will change based on who you're fighting.

Prince's picture
Submitted by Prince (not verified) on

I think GW2 has made it clear they want Roles to be more important than Professions.  Presumably they will make changes so this is the case.

Atala's picture
Submitted by Atala (not verified) on

I think i kind of agree with both of you guys, i cant think of super defensive support build for warrior performing better than guardian and so on. However looking back to GW1, assassin ranger split to base was just as effective as split warrior teamed up with runner monk. I expect the same in GW2, some profession/build combos will be capable of roughly the same with some perks and weaknesses. 

What worries me the most is in fact:

How the hell would you know that a certain guy has the skills needed for a role? He would be there with a specific profession with a build  tailored up but sucking badly. Maybe if he had the chance to play different kind of profession/build combo, he would shine, bot how do you know? 

I think, this would lead to even worse elitism than in former GW. Strong teams would be super careful not to accept some guy with his wannabe build and stick to their hard proven players who are capable playing any possible profession/role combo.

gw2 combat's picture
Submitted by gw2 combat (not verified) on

Both analysis were correct .

To summarize, first we have to realize that competitive PVP has always been about finding two things: 1) the optimal strategy & 2) the optimal skills to correspond to that specific strategy. Lewis talks about the skills while Sardu talked about the strategy.

Lewis is saying that each character will always have their strongest trait based on their natural formality (ie. a Guadian was designed to have the strongest defensive traits, so no other class will be as good).

Sardu is saying that what makes a specific skill good in the first place is defined by its continuity of fitting with a specific strategy implemented by the PVP team itself.

To sum it up, they're both right, but in a sense of talking about two separate things( ie. its like asking who's the better defense on a team, the goalie or the defenseman?  - d-ehhhhh, well you have to go thru the defense then go thru the goalie. this is what i meant by 'continuity'....). The question of deciding which guy got it right, is simply a devils advocate.

And I'm having none of that, I'm _ 0ut~.

Marnick's picture
Submitted by Marnick (not verified) on

It's pretty simple. In GW1 every team needed a healer. No one will ever argue that rits and monks are the best healing classes in GW1 with monks having a definite edge. Watching observer mode you will find that some of the best healers are actually necromancers and elementalists in certain meta's. What went wrong?

The question isn't so much in profession or role rather than player skill. A trained GW2 team will kill a defensive player regardless of whether he's necro, guardian or earth ele. Someone who feels his class will play a defensive role just fine on a ranger, or a support role on a warrior. And even more important, it's players playing together who really make a difference. GW1 and GW2 were never  balanced around 1v1 and shouldn't. What good is a team of solo players with good classes when a TEAM comes along regardless of professions. Who cares about a defensive profession if they never get on the right spot. What good is a high damage profession if a skilled team outmanouvers you?

I bet you a support thief will function better in a thought out team than the best guardian in a team of wiki'ers. And if the team needs that one thief skill, they will take the thief over the guardian. That's what it's all about.

gw2 combat's picture
Submitted by gw2 combat (not verified) on

a follow up to my last comment -> this is for the guys reviewing the comment that i had posted.

I know I might have discourage people to post with the contents in my last comment, or I might have encourage ppl to argue with it (I wouldn't consider you guys think either one is good)

But I want yall to know. I was simply telling the truth. That was the pure intention of my last comment.

Except for the "i'm_out~" at the end.

I still stand  to the fact that  it's a nonsense question to use to get ppl to follow up. I mean, its smart to do so, but a "nonesense-question" to ask imo.

DrakeWurrum's picture
Submitted by DrakeWurrum (not verified) on

IMO, Sardu has the right of it. In fact, I'd dare to say that your choice of profession doesn't matter at all.

What WILL matter is looking at the group of 5 that you have, considering their strengths and weaknesses, and then coming up with a team build that could work, with the current meta-game in mind. If that build doesn't work, try something different.

When the meta-game changes, when class balance changes go out, there's no need to kick one guy off the team or make somebody reroll in order to keep the same team build. Look at your group as a whole and rebalance what EACH member of the team is doing - come up with an entirely new build that plays to your new strengths and (ideally) covers your new weaknesses.

DrakeWurrum's picture
Submitted by DrakeWurrum (not verified) on

I'd dare to say that your choice of profession doesn't matter at all, in regards to who is on your 5v5 team.

What WILL matter is looking at the group of 5 that you have, considering the strengths and weaknesses of each member and the team as a whole, and then coming up with a team build that could work with that, keeping the current meta-game in mind.

When the meta-game changes, namely when class balance changes go out but also when the community as a whole learns counters and counter-counters, there's no need to kick one guy off the team or make somebody reroll in order to keep the same team build. Look at your group as a whole and rebalance what EACH member of the team is doing - come up with an entirely new build that plays to your new strengths and (ideally) covers your new weaknesses. The teams that adapt in this fashion, imo, will be the best teams out there.

Carter's picture
Submitted by Carter (not verified) on

Have either of you considered that the way this game is set up it might be more who can fulfill the most roles at once? As far as I can tell the professions are supposed to be used together to fill parts of each role with none being utterly useless and no team being able to strengthen all roles to max usefulness.

I believe what it is going to come down to is figuring out which of the enemies roles is currently at the weakest based on the strengths of the teams professions and what to do about it with the strengths of your team.

To put this in perspective lets remember the different types of damage, support, control. Range damage will be harder to deal with for a support class then say aoe or melee therefor a ranger will be of more use against a defensively built guardian while at the same time a mesmer will likely give that ranger hell if built to control.

Anonemuss's picture
Submitted by Anonemuss (not verified) on

Personally, I think you're both right. However, you're arguing about 2 different things. Lewis is talking about PvE, and Sardu is talking about PvP. In a dungeon senario, profession is more important; a Guardian will always be one of the best supportive profs in the game. However, in PvP, you're fighting intelligent opponents who may have strategies to combat support, rendering the Guardian close to useless. So, role is more important in PvP.

TL;DR: Lewis is right when it comes to PvE, Sardu is right when it comes to PvP.

innuendo's picture
Submitted by innuendo (not verified) on

Having had time to mull this around in my head after my first post, I came up with a succinct way to rephrase this question.

If I am building a sPvP team and have 4 of 5 slots filled and was looking to fill the 5th from a list of 20 random players. What would I sort by? Profession or Role, assuming both were known about each player? I think the answer is obviously role.

If i pick a warrior thinking I'm going to get an aggressive melee dps and the warrior I picked ends up being "banner point defense" that could really upset what my teams needs. Or they could be a AoE shout heal warrior. or a mace/shield defensive warrior. The point is just that one class could fill 4-5 different niches on my team. And if i'm looking for that fifth player in my team I need to know "what" they are doing no "who" they are (what = role, who = profession, if that was clear).

Take the example given in the comments a few times, and by lewis. If I need a strong point defense character for my fifth team member, his argument would be "pick a guardian, they are the best point defenders." That's not correct. Profession does not determine what you do. For all I know, that gaurdian could be a aggressive sword guardian with low survivability, hardly what i want.

No one is saying some classes wont tend towards certain roles. What I am saying is that that tendency does not define each specific player who plays that class. If someone tells me they are a "warrior" I honestly know very little about what they are doing on the field. Compare that to a game like WoW, where if I told someone I was a hunter, 95% of the time or more I'm DPS. Same goes for the other classes in that game.

That's my (extra) thoughts.

Gen1tor's picture
Submitted by Gen1tor (not verified) on

You say a Guardian is best at supporting, which I don't deny, yet I bet my watch there will be a team who will discover that an engineer or a mesmer supports them better, because of their tactics, strategic gameplay etc. Who knows, maybe there will be a day when one of those teams will succeed using a thief as support.

I agree with Lewis B that a thief can't ofc support as well as a guardian, but in high lvls of competitive gaming we 've seen all sorts of weird, and sometimes successful, things. Theoretical build crafting is one thing but real action combined with human ingenuity is another.

So I 'd say Sardu for President :P

RedExergy's picture
Submitted by RedExergy on

Most definitely Lewis. Sardu's main point is can be summarized as "Flavor-of-the-month builds and team comps will come and go rapidly, but the roles players will need to fulfill in structured PvP will remain a constant no matter how professions are balanced".

If you argue that professions are subject to meta changes and FOTM, you will need to explain why this is, or is not the case forthe different roles in a team. As this argument is pivotal in Sardu's editorial, but has no further explanation, I cannot do anything else then disagree with Sardu.

EDIT: Forgot to mention a second reason why I disagree with Sardu: His central statement is that meta/fotm changes, and interpretates that as that thus, profession roles changes. While that may be true, it does not have to be so. It may also be that meta changes less influential: from a dominant fotm necro condition dps build to a necro ds dps build. Or a warrior 2h dps build to warrior rifle dps build. Both a definite change in meta, without being a change in roles.


Brad's picture
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on

Both are equally as important.

I don't understand why you would want a healing warrior (choosing by role), when you could have the most defensive profession though (choosing by proffession).

In a sense that just doesn't even make any sense at all, therefore I'd choose by both, you need to be guardian (proffession), and you need to be support (role).

You cannot be warrior, and be my backline if that is what I was looking for if the game is to be taken any form of seriousness.

This is just an example for all I know I might not want a guardian as my backline either, the warrior could be better for healing in guildwars 2 I haven't got to play a beta yet because the beta is closed off to the people who prepurchased.

Brad's picture
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on

If you are making a gimmick composing of 5 of the same profession, that is one instance where you could choose profession to heal/multitask > role.

Brad's picture
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on

It doesn't really matter if every profession can do it or not, people are going to choose in serious situations, the one that does it best.

Matthew Snelling's picture
Submitted by Matthew Snelling (not verified) on

I'm with Sardu on this one.

This game is about how you use the options you predesign. An elementalist could achieve point defense just as well as a guardian or a thief by doing things in a particular way, as long as that way is adaptive and reflexive with regards to the opponents in play. An elementalist is very difficult to kill in earth attunement mode. So if the goal is to create obstacles, slow your enemy and ultimately destroy them, a plan can be made by an elementalist who knows what they are doing with the skills that they have. Similarly, a guardian would use it's various force walls and effects to keep back enemy's, before switching to a weapon that allows a timely counter attack. The amount of time these various defenses stay in effect is comparable between the aforementioned professions. The timing one uses will be the deciding factor. The guardian may have an "obvious" way to achieve defense, but a highly advanced player will wittle those abilities to nothing unless the guardian plays adaptively. That is down to the skill of the individual.

I would rather have a skilled thief who defends points by skillful mobility and skillful skirmishing, along with various traps and tricks, than a guardian who plays simply and is easily readable. The secret here is "there is a list of tools at my disposal, how do I use them to take down this particular enemy, or how do I use them to slow this group until backup can arrive". This will be a dialog that every Guild Wars 2 player will become familiar with at every instance where purpose, survival and priority intersect.

I recently watched a video where a group of players (warrior, guardian, ranger, elementalist) could not take down an elementalist and a mesmer because those two players were using very clever tactics to make themselves impossible to kill. It's not what you are, it's what you do with it. 

Brad's picture
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on

Well, generally speaking a balanced team will almost always take the strongest one made for the defensive role (possibly guardian), so will the other teams.

While you can build teams around certain things and strategies... Having teams using different ones, it'll probably be about like saying...

An elemantalist can bring woh/etc so he could be chosen as your backline in guild wars 1, however most teams will choose a normal monk instead.

There was a 4 paragon ta team that ran a paragon healer that worked. What we need is a structured random arenas in gw1... That puts you on random teams that are setup decently.

Brad's picture
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on

Could do what rift did for their dungeons...

Each player before entering the random arena selects thier role (healer/backline, midline, frontline).. And it will give them one backline and one or two midline with one or two frontlines.

Still random but structured.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

as far as i see it  only the player behind  the screen matters. if he is a good  player who has decent movement and knows his  skills and the skills used by his opponents then this person will win 1 v 1 against any lower skilled person.  Profession or role will not matter.  After some adjustments on BW1 i was able to win against every other class (except thief witch i didn t meet as opponent) in  1 v 1. no idea if my conditionmancer build is overpowerd or the other players just weren t good. But pvp  is not about 1 v 1 its about specific goals to achieve with other players. So guess there is now a new holy trinity in GW2. Player skill - tactic - Communication. i m looking forward to  good and balanced pvp


as resume i have to say both are wrong

Darak's picture
Submitted by Darak (not verified) on

I'll have to go with Sardu on this, if ANet manages to nail what they are aiming at a single profession will never be best at a specific role and in the end what matters is a team that covers the roles needed for it to work and not a combination of professions. I'm quite sure ANet's will  in breaking the holy trinity isn't to replace it with another mandatory profession combination and in the end that is what matters.

This said, I believe that Lewis has nailed the way quite a few players think and that at the end of the day we'll, as always, see two classes of players, the ones who link role to class and the ones who don't, I fully expect to see requests to bring a certain profession to the table.  I also believe that if ANet misses their target we'll get the kind of environment Lewis is predicting.

Brad's picture
Submitted by Brad (not verified) on

I don't agree with either, the way one heals will be different from one another.

Lets say the necro deals with conditions better, and a guardian deals with direct damage better.

I think it is quite obvious who would be chosen for a balanced team.

I highly doubt they would switch out that decision either unless they are just screwing around. When it comes to tournaments and stuff people want the best, not something random that can do it decently.