No doubt by now, you’ve heard of the five races of Guild Wars 2. The noble Humans, fierce Charr, mysterious Sylvari, brilliant Asura, and boisterous Norn are the eyes through which we see the world of Tyria. Undoubtably, you’ve also heard that Race selection makes little to no difference, only really determining your aesthetic experience and which personal story you will experience.
This is only half true. There is one thing that each race has all to itself, that does have an effect on how you play the game. Each race has access to a series of Utility and Elite Skills. These are meant to be fun and add some flavor to your character. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be useful.
After the break, each race’s Racial Skills explained!
Prayer of Dwayna: (3 Skill Points) – Heals you for 40 to 50% of your health.
Prayer to Kormir: (1 Skill Points) – Remove 3 conditions from you.
Prayer to Lyssa: (3 Skill Points)- Grants a random boon to you and a random condition to target enemy.
Avatar of Melandru: (10 Skill Points)- Transform into an Avatar of Melandru
Hounds of Balthazar: (30 Skill Points)- Summon two Hounds of Balthazar
Reaper of Grenth: (10 Skill Points)-Becomes a Reaper, Chilling and Poisoning nearby foes.
The Human Racial Skills very clearly have a religious theme, with each skill relating to one of the six Human gods. From a Role-playing standpoint, this is great! However, as skills themselves, I find the human skills a little lack luster. The Prayer of Dwayna is alright, but you’ll already have three other healing spells to choose from, most likely with additional effects. The Prayer to Kormir is actually quite good, since condition removal is always a good thing to have in your back pocket, but Prayer to Lyssa just doesn’t seem worth the 3 Points.
The elite racial skills are all rather cool, but for me Hounds of Balthazar takes the prize. Reaper of Grenth could be very nice on a close combat character, but seems underpowered as an elite skill, and Avatar of Melandru seems a little clunky to me. Maybe I just don’t like trees though…
Battle Roar: (3 Skill Points)- Gains Fury and Might to nearby allies
Hidden Pistol: (6 Skill Points)-Shoot foe with a hidden pistol
Shrapnel Mine: (1 Skill Points)- Place a mine which Cripples and Bleeds
Artillery Barrage: (10 Skill Points)- Calls down an Artillery Barrage
Charrzooka: (30 Skill Points)- Summons a rocket Bazooka, which swaps out your skills.
Warband Support: (10 Skill Points)- Calls in two members of your warband to help.
Charr Racial skills are pretty great, but could end up being redundant depending on your class. Battle Roar is a great skill to have available in WvW, a dungeon, or simply when playing with a few friends. As a person who plays primarily the thief profession, Hidden Pistol seems silly (I proudly display my pistols!). Likewise, Shrapnel mine is nice for 1 point, and might be a nice way for a CHarr to fill up the first tier of Utility skills.
The Charr Elites are all phenomenal. Artillery Barrage brings a wonderful level of overkill, even if it isn’t very flexible. Any lack in damage or stats the Charrzooka might have is negated by the amount of pure win it is fashioned from, and Warband Support can be very helpful. Much like the skill Thieves Guild, Warband Support can be very useful if used correctly.
Healing Seed: (3 Skill Points)- Place a seed that gives Regeneration to nearby allies.
Grasping Vines: (1 Skill Point)- Traps target until vines are destroyed
Seed Turret: (3 Skill Point)- Makes a seed turret. Pew Pew Pew.
Summon Druid Spirit: (30 Skill Points)- Does what it says on the tin
Summon Fern Mastiff: (10 Skill Points)- Same as above…
Take Root: (10 Skill Points)- You become immovable , and summon a series of seed turrets .
Sylvari have some of the most interesting, and I’d argue most useful Racial Skills in the game. Healing seeds, like Prayer to Dwanya, suffers from the fact that everyone already has three healing skill. Grasping Roots is such a good skill that it has already been declared over-powered by the community. The seed turret is very fragile, but still quite powerful. Honestly though, Take Root is by far the best skill the Sylvari have at their disposal.
During the third beta weekend event, I had a friend who was running a sylvari Mesmer, who took Take Root. It was one of the best ways to push back an enemy, or push forward an advance. It is an incredibly skill for holding ground, and deserves your consideration.
Pain Inverter: (1 Skill Point)- Apply confusion to nearby enemies and gain Retaliation.
Radiation Field: (3 Skill Points)- Creates an AoE field of Poison and Weakness.
Technobabble: (6 skill Points)- Daze
Summon 7-Series Golem: ( 10 Skill Points)- Bam! It’s a golem!
Summon D-Series Golem: (30 Skill Points)- Bam! It’s a more defensive golem!
Summon Power Suit: (10 Skill Points)- Bam! Jump on in to your own personal Golem Suit!
Ok, I’m biased. I love the Asura. Those crazy little inventors are the best. Pain Inverter and Technobabble are amazing crowd control skills, and I can say from experience that Radiation Field is very powerful.
And how could you not love the golems? They are not the most effective elite skill. They are underpowered, and you could probably use one of your Professions own Elite’s to get more damage output or condition stacks. Screw that! We’re talking about Racial Skills! These are the skills that are meant to be fun and full of character, and if a Golem doesn’t represent that perfectly for an asura, than I don’t know what does!
Ok, moving on….
Call Owl: (1 Skill Point)- Commands an owl to bleed your target
Call Wurm: (3 Skill Points)- Summons a Wurm.
Become the Bear: (10 Skill Points)- Transform into a Bear-Man and wreak havoc!
Become the Raven: (10 Skill Points)- Transform into a Raven-Man (Really, a Skeksis).
Become the Wolf: (10 Skill Points)- Transform into a Wolf-Man.
Become the Snow Leopard: (30 Skill Points)- Transform into a Leopard-Man.
While I think the Norn Utility skills are the worst of the lot, the elite skills more than make up for the lack-luster Utility summons. A bleed and a Wurm Summon aren’t really worth much, though they could be a good way to progress to the next tier of skills, but the Norn Elites should rank very highly on your list.
On my Norn Thief I played in the first two Beta Weekend Events, I used Become the Raven to great Effect. It was an excellent way of dealing massive damage to a group or a single target, and had some hilarious side effects…
While the Racial skills might not be the most powerful skills for your character, they do add a certain amount of personality. This doesn’t mean they can’t be effective, or even be exactly the skill to round out a particular build. Simply because they can’t be used in sPvP doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in WvW and PvE.
And, come on. Who doesn’t want a golem to do their bidding?