I'm very disappointed we aren't getting new weapon types with Path of Fire, specially because the two iconic Nightfall professions, dervish and paragon, used scythe and spear.
Since release, the number of available weapon types hasn’t changed: 16 for land, and 3 for underwater. Weapon availability across professions didn’t change either, until Heart of Thorns and the introduction of elite specializations.
One of the distinct attributes of elite specializations is the addition of one new weapon proficiency for each profession. The first generation did kinda fine. The second, though, starts to be worrying. The third, I’m scared at what we could get if no new weapons are introduced.
Why? Just check this wiki table yourself.
Some professions just have nowhere to go, specially the warrior, with the guardian following close. Yeah, we could make like, staff warrior, or pistol guardian. Anything is possible, but that doesn’t mean it won’t feel cheap, or even lame.
There’s a big “cool factor” and “new toy” aspects with the new weapon proficiencies elite specializations provide, which directly impact sales as well. The new combinations must be cool, and not feel like excuses to fill a quota.
So, do we need new weapon types? I do think so, and the earlier the better. The second generation should have included them already. If they are introduced too late, we’ll face situations where the same weapon is introduced multiple times in a single generation, which would lead to a loss of variety.
There’s many weapon types out there, and I’m sure I’m missing some. I included all that I know of here below, divided in three priority categories, by how hard they would be to implement correctly, and specially, letting each one feel unique enough.
There’s three underwater weapons, that can’t be used at land. They already have a long list of completed art assets, and adapting them for land would take less work than making new weapon types from scratch.
- Spear: Could be adapted for main-hand and off-hand usage.
- Harpoon gun: Doesn’t make a lot of sense at land, but some of the simplest existing skins, as well as future skins, could be adapted to depict crossbows instead.
- Trident: With the spear being one-handed, the trident would remain relevant as a two-handed longspear of sorts.
Adapting the underwater weapons is a quick solution, with most of the art already existing, but they lack the novelty factor. We need brand new weapon types too, ones with new models designed from scratch, requiring a higher amount of work. However, we can still focus on existing character animations to save even more development time.
My selection would be:
- Greataxe: A two-handed axe, a classic RPG weapon. We see enemies wielding them ingame, and we also have it available in toy form. Most greatsword and hammer animations would work well with it.
- Vial: An off-hand liquid container, anything form a mug to a potion, acting as a secondary focus for non-scholars, or the water version of the torch. The character would use it by drinking from it, spilling its contents, or throwing it away, animations that are all already ingame.
- Scythe: A two-handed elongated curved blade polearm. A classic weapon from Guild Wars 1, the only one that hasn’t made it into the sequel as its own weapon type, though it can be found as staff skins. The new staff animations for revenant and thief would work fine for it.
These weapons would require the most work, and have themes that could easily overlap with other existing weapons, and don’t let them stand on their own. They’re still worth mentioning, for they could make it into the game as kits, or alternate skins for existing weapon types.
A few ideas:
- Flail: One-handed mace variation, with the head connected to the pole with a chain. Wouldn’t necessarily require new animations, but would require a physics study so that the ball moves to the right speed according with the attack animations, feeling heavy, and hitting when it should.
- Musical instruments: Too specific and exclusive for minor profession roles. Would require new animations depending on the instrument. Logical choice would be a harp or a lute, both which already exist as musical toys. Could work very well if done right, but would still require a lot of work.
- Long shield: Off-hand larger version of the shield we have now. Could be interesting to provide additional shield skills, but skin-wise current shields already cover too many shapes and forms.
- Saber: One-handed curved blade alternate to the sword. Its only problem is that it could overlap with swords too much, leaving it with no room to shine on its own.
- Rapier: One-handed thrust blade alternate to the sword. Unique fighting style, but again, too similar to swords.
- Whip: Off-hand medium-range leather weapon, already seen ingame, used by enemies. Could provide interesting weapon skills. However, it would require new animations, specific to each weapon for its unfolding properties. Also, some weapon and slot skills already have whip-like abilities as well.
- Book / Orb: Off-hand or two-handed focus variation, which would use a new custom animation where the user carries the opened book on his hand when in combat. Cool for visuals, but kinda redundant with the focus already there.
- Throwing weapons: One-handed javelins, axes, or daggers, specifically designed to be thrown. Their only problem is redundancy with their non-throwable versions, which are used as throwable by some professions anyway, as well as multiple slot skills.
- Fist weapon: One-handed knuckles and other similar weaponry. Would require new animations, and role could overlap with daggers or utilities.
- Polearm: Two-handed bladed spear. Redundancy with spears (and scythes) could be too high. There’s some existing polearm skins too, right now under the spear family.
- Blowpipe / Sling: Ranged weapons, could prove interesting, but lack uniqueness beyond their animations, overlapping with most of the already existing ranged weapons.
- Bo: Combat staff. Redundant now that classic staff fills its role, including bo skins.
- Additional firearms: Shotguns, machine guns, and even heavy cannons. Lot of uniqueness potential, but lack of matching themes outside engineer and warrior.
- Martial weapons: Nunchakus, shurikens, etc. They require some high mobility, so they wouldn’t make too much sense outside of thief, and their roles and themes can be found in other weapon and slot skills.
Classic weapons with a new purpose
Already existing weapons, that could be given a new purpose through alternative wielding hand options.
- Scepter: Adapted for off-hand usage, can be dual-wielded.
- Shield: Adapted for main-hand usage, but with no dual-wield available.
- Staff: Adapted for main-hand usage. Works exactly like the two-handed staff, but you can equip an off-hand with it, replacing skills #4 and #5.
So this looks like it. What’s your opinion? Do we need new weapon types? If so, how many, and which? Or maybe you think it’s fine with the current numbers, if so why?
I think the game does need new weapon types, and the sooner the better. I'm already very disappointed they weren't introduced with the second generation of elite specializations, and I hope we see them with the third expansion the latest.
Note that introduction of new weapon types doesn't mean we suddenly need 100 new skins for each new weapon. Underwater weapons stopped getting new skins long ago, and even if it would be awesome to have ArenaNet go back and add the missing weapon types to all the classic weapon sets, I don't think it's something strictly necessary. So, this should clear the "it's too much work" argument many people use against new weapon types.