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 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.
Sardu – Role with it Baby
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.
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!