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[Idea] Henchmen/Playable Races Mashup

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I haven't been following "new playable race" conversations lately, so I apologize in advance if this idea has already been brought up or discussed. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share.

Henchmen and Playable Races, or how to have your cake and eat it too.

(1) Additional playable races have been requested.(2) Upcoming/new expansions are likely to have a fundamental (and polarizing) game play mechanic. Heart of Thorns had gliding, Path of Fire had mounts.(3) Henchman have been suggested as a possible expansion mechanic, and could be used as a mechanism to introduce playable races without the trouble of full story compatibility.

Henchman creation

After reaching an early part in the expansion story, a character unlocks a henchman slot.

(1) The henchman slot appears above the character on the character selection screen. This character is designated as "the employer".(2) Select the empty henchman slot to create a henchman.

Implementation Consideration: Are henchman fully customizable in appearance or are they pre-set from an available selection? Going on customizable for now.

(3) Henchman creation pulls up a character design interface similar to the Makeover Kit.(4) Henchman creation includes race and profession selection.

Playing with a Henchman

(1) Use the party interface to add your henchman to your party. Your henchman takes up a party slot.(2) Party slots filled by a henchman will not prevent other players from joining the party. Players that join the party will kick henchmen automatically. The party leader's henchman is kicked last.(3) Henchmen may not be added to a party in PvP, WvW, Raids, or Fractals.(4) The player who owns the henchman can right click the henchman's portrait and designate a mode: offense or defense.

Implementation Consideration: Henchmen gameplay should be designed to support players, allowing the player to be the hero. Henchman abilities should primarily support the player. Offense mode would be melee and enhance the damage output of the player with offensive boons and mechanics. Defense mode would be ranged and support the player with healing, defensive boons, and similar mechanics.

Implementation Consideration: Henchmen should be designed to be low impact on required processing. They would have approximately three skills they would cycle through based on triggers: an auto attack, a skill based on the thematics of the mode chosen, and a personal defense. Skills would be visually characteristic of the henchman's profession.

(5) Henchmen will appear to other players using a standard model for that race and profession.(6) Henchmen will appear to the player based on their gear setup as it appears on the character select screen. Weapons used will be standard models based on the profession and mode selected.(7) Henchmen will move to resuscitate the player when downed if they begin to Bandage.(8) The Henchman would enter their own down state.

Playing as a Henchman

(1) Select a henchman from the character select screen as you would a character.(2) The henchman plays exactly the same as a normal character of that profession.(3) The henchman may add their employer as though it were a henchman.(4) Bag/inventory space uses their employer's bag/inventory space.(5) The henchman and employer act as the same character for purposes of soulbound items.(6) The henchman uses the Achievements and Story Progression of their employer.(7) On login, the henchman appears at the same location as their employer.

Implementation Consideration: Progressing the story as a henchman(8) When playing as a henchman, the henchman's employer appears for all cut scenes.(9) When playing in the open world, and the henchman's employer has not been added to the party, then a number of options are available:(9A) The employer will appear in a general fashion.(9B) The employer will appear in a fashion characteristic of their profession.(9C) The employer will speak over the "intercom".

Implementation Consideration: Additional gamemodes(10) While playing AS the henchman, players are not limited by gamemode.

In this way, alternative races could be introduced without having to worry about previous or future story content. Henchmen as a mechanic would also provide a new way to play the game on a level similar to previous expansions. It would be an interesting take on GW1 mechanics.

By attaching alternate races to a henchman mechanic immersion could be maintained without full story support. It could also add amazing monetization opportunities.

Even within the suggestion there are multiple ways of approach. Ideally, henchmen and new races would have some appearance customization options available for the player. However, for implementation to be smooth, new races would need to use the same racial skeletons, general proportions, and animations of primary races to ensure integrity of armor appearance. Overall character size could be adjusted and gives creative room to work with.

Adding new races in this way would only require the basic voice acting triggered from combat and skill activation and would not require individual story support or starter locations.

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