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New Weapon Proficiencies

Find out how new weapon proficiencies affect your favorite builds and just might enable some new ones!
Veröffentlicht Feb 23, 2024
Game News

Each profession gains access to at least one new weapon proficiency in the latest Secrets of the Obscure (SotO) update.

SotO launched with the Weaponmaster Training feature, which allows each profession to use its elite specialization weapons without having that specialization currently equipped, or even trained! With this month's update, we'll have more weapon options than ever before.

The new weapon selection goes live on February 27th!

New Weapon Proficiencies
New Weapon Proficiencies
  • Elementalist takes aim with mainhand Pistol to inflict heavy Condition Damage. Each attunement can create elemental bullets to augment follow-up shots.
  • Guardian brandishes dual Pistols, piercing through crowds with a focus on Condition Damage.
  • Mesmer gives covering fire with Rifle, granting the team Boons, Healing, and a one-passenger portal.
  • Revenant flourishes a Scepter to support allies by granting Might and Barrier, using direct ally-targeting.
  • Warrior wields a Staff to provide front-line Healing and Boon support.
  • Ranger slams down two Maces, disabling enemies, supporting allies, and supersizing the player with a unique buff.
  • Thief has "procured" a mainhand Axe with an emphasis on Condition Damage. Throw spinning axes through enemies then recall them to your target.
  • Necromancer draws dual Swords for ranged Strike Damage. New skills cleave through crowds, draining life from the necromancer and their enemies.
  • Engineer equips a Short Bow with specialty arrows to disrupt enemies and buff allies via chain ractions.

These new weapons were first tested during the Expanded Weapon Proficiencies Beta event from November 28th to December 3rd 2023.

Adjustments were announced on a blog post and further detailed on a livestream with the design team. The designers gave additional commentary on a community podcast after the livestream.

Guardian and Elementalist Pistols
Guardian and Elementalist Pistols

Make a downstate joke one more time, I dare you.

Elementalist's new Pistol is set to headline as the latest and greatest Condition Damage dealer in this profession's roster.

Attuning to new weapons is not unusual to Elementalist players—meta builds have transitioned between Dagger, Scepter, Warhorn and Hammer in the last year.

According to designer statements, elementalist weapons are "fighting with each other" for a carved-out niche. The new Pistol is strong and overlaps with Scepter as a ranged mainhand weapon. The designer mentioned the possibility of tuning Scepter to emphasize its role as a Power Damage.

Our team provided the following insights:

  • Both Condition Weaver and Condition Tempest got their feet wet by regularly (though only briefly) dipping their toes into the Water attunement for their core rotation (both builds have historically leaned heavily on Earth + Fire, with Tempest taking brief gasps for Air)
  • Most of the weapon's damage was concentrated in its Cooldown skills. This makes it stronger in Tempest's hands, as the Auto Attack downtime can be replaced with the lengthy and .
  • To improve Scepter as a Power weapon, emphasis could be put on the Cooldown skills, especially Weaver's dual skills. Dagger could be tuned as a stronger melee Condition weapon, especially if its dashes can pass through enemy targets again for sleek, evasive play. Players could embrace the movement, or stick to the new Pistol.

Can't spell Guardian without Gun.

Guardian's dual Pistol skills pierce multiple targets, synergizing with the innate Virtue of Justice effect—inflicting Burning on every 5th strike.

Torch has had the market cornered for years thanks to the old behavior of —pulsing Burn to nearby enemies and gaining —a fireball they can throw at enemies only if they have Torch equipped before the 3-second fire fades. Now, is a simple Ammo skill.

Pistols were very strong on Condition Willbender, but had inconclusive benchmark results on Condition Firebrand. Both builds were nerfed by the rework to , but will be uplifted by their right to swap to firearms.

According to our team, the sheer amount of burning produced by Symbol of Ignition () might supplant the monopoly of Axe and on Condition Firebrand builds. Our Quickness build has sacrificed for that trait; the build retains solid boon uptime, but provides it almost entirely from the clunky area of effect of , once every 20 seconds.

Mesmer's Rifle
Mesmer's Rifle

Chronano Boost is ready!

Rifle is a heal weapon, Greatsword fires laser beams, Torch makes it harder for people to see you... Where will it end?

Heal Boon Chronomancer has made a fine addition to our pink-laser collection, role compressing a group healer with Mesmer's famous utility. Heal Chrono is already a flexible build, with customizable weapons and utility slots. Rifle will provide stronger burst healing and Might generation, freeing up more space for even more utility.

The beta event provided simple usability improvements: faster and more noticeable skill effects, a 2nd Charge on to generate Boons and Stun enemies.
These new skills bring their own utility: another Ethereal Combo Field, Resistance, Barrier, and a single-passenger portal to help a distant player rejoin the group.

Now, Chronomancer isn't the only specialization that gets access to the weapon, but the likes of Mirage and Virtuoso simply won't take advantage of it as well for taking down bosses with your group. The Rifle's ambush does a good amount of healing, but clashes with Mirage's only ability to provide Alacrity.

According to our team, Rifle will become Heal Chronomancer's staple weapon—a solid foundation beneath whichever hallucinatory terrain an encounter calls for. There simply isn't much else to say—this weapon does everything one could ask for.
If you aren't playing Heal Chrono yet, you certainly should be.

Revenant's Scepter
Revenant's Scepter

I have a lightsaber.

Scepter is a defensive main hand weapon with Barrier in amounts we've never before seen. Additionally, the Revenant will be able to tether to allies or enemies for additional effects.

In the backdrop, Mace's Blast Finishers were reduced from three to one, severely limiting its potency for generating Might and synergizing with . It's obvious that Scepter is intended to be the primary choice for healing builds, and even before these changes it was looking to be the winner. And it only gets better from here. However, it is unfortunate that one has to be knocked down to raise the other up. With the adjustments coming to Scepter, it would not have been necessary to make changes to Mace in the first place.

Originally designed to amplify its ability effects with Auto Attacks, ArenaNet announced the weapon skills will instead always reach full potency over a duration. This allows casting a substantial amount of barrier and boons from 900 Range away from your allies. Herald is already known for its wide boon Radius, and Scepter will allow even more free movement on the Heal build.
Add in the ability to teleport to your tethered ally or a bit more Defiance Break to its repertoire, and there's likely nothing else you'd wish for in a main hand weapon.

And while Scepter improves Heal Herald's existing strengths, it does very little to make up for its weaknesses. However, it will certainly help a specialization like Renegade maintain its boons better than before.
On the side of damage, the weapon leaves much to be desired. The strike damage of the skills are rather low, and it only features debilitating conditions—which in other game modes will certainly be powerful—but don't expect to see Scepter outside your favorite heal build. Not every weapon needs to fit every style, but a bit more impact to the weapon would be welcome.

All in all, we have no concerns about the usability and strength of this new weapon. Plus, the innovative design of mid-range auto attacks with a saber-like mist slash truly makes it feel like home.

Warrior's Staff and Ranger's Dual Maces
Warrior's Staff and Ranger's Dual Maces

It's not quite a heal-slot banner, but it might just do the trick.

So-called Heal 'Warir' could be the very last profession featured on this website's healer roster—Heal Specter, Heal Scourge, and Heal Chronomancer have already crossed the finish line, earning Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals respectively.

How will the last arrival fare?

As it turns out, Heal Berserker and Heal Bladesworn already have access to many Boons, though they crucially lacked full uptime of Protection.

Staff will cover Protection and add more on-demand Healing, with Warrior flair: bash enemies to grant Regeneration, leap to your team to grant defensive buffs and break stuns, then block enemy attacks with finesse before roaring out that you're the finest fighters in Tyria.

Our team highlighted the following problems during the beta:

  • Heal Bladesworn will have to choose between either Warhorn or Staff, as it sacrifices a weapon set for . Further, it cannot use the Staff burst .
  • ally-targeting was less than fluid, and could send the player flying through their allies at break-neck speed—that's not what it says on the tin! The new ground-targeting will work more smoothly.
  • Staff's Adrenaline generation was subpar, preventing easy access to and related traits. ArenaNet has added Adrenaline generation to two Cooldown skills.

What's the big deal? ME!

Ranger's new Maces fill two gaps—a mainhand support weapon, and growing really big in a raid instance with tonics disabled.

Mace skills are supportive/defensive in nature, granting allies Boons and Healing with a few personal benefits like Barrier and condition cleanse. Disables can be found on both the main- and offhand.

Every skill grants stacks of Nature's Strength—at 5 stacks you trigger the Force of Nature mechanic, increasing your outgoing Damage and Healing.

Mainhand Mace is naturally strong in Heal Alacrity Druid's hands, making an already very strong build even stronger and more versatile.

After the beta, ArenaNet made adjustments to help build up Force of Nature faster with less downtime between the transformation. Our team has pointed out that Nature's Strength stacks might charge up a little too quickly—the four Cooldown skills would grant the effect in a single burst. These buffs may enable Power Soulbeast to push its damage to new heights by stacking the Force of Nature damage buff with all its other damage buffs. It'll also just be bigger, so it can simply eat all of the smaller DPS builds.

Thief's Axe
Thief's Axe

Axe Deadeye a question and it will answer with Malice

Thief's Axe had one of the strongest performances we've ever seen. Condition Deadeye output an exceptional amount of damage—66,000 DPS on a golem benchmark, with many nonfunctional traits that would've boosted its damage towards 80,000! Axe itself was overtuned, but Deadeye was also its perfect wielder.

Axe's core idea is to get players to throw projectiles with then recall them with skill 3.

Axes travel straight through enemies. They had many problems during beta—they struggled to hit moving targets, they flew up cliffs, and flew down cliffs never to return. The Condition recall skill brought Axes to the player, not the target, making positioning tricky. These behaviors are being addressed with changes for the live release.

The beta's culprit is Deadeye's . In essence, it allows Deadeye to convert Stealth into Initiative for more Damage. This trait has an ebb and flow: build up Malice then use Stealth attacks to spend Malice.

Recalled Axes cast their parent skill a second time: will inflict Poison again and behaves just like a Stealth attack. When a Deadeye recalls , they reset their Malice loop. This avoids paying resources for Stealth again, and could even be done before Revealed has even worn off!

Deadeye had more resources than Daredevil and Spectre, and it could spend them faster than ever. Our team has calculated that Axe will still be very powerful in Deadeye's malicious grip, but will perform poorly in PvE as a Power weapon and as a Condition weapon for other specializations. Condition Daredevil is already the best wielder of Dual Daggers, and Specter the best wielder of Scepter/Dagger; it might be time they let Deadeye have its own seat at the table.

Much like a Thief, history seems to repeat itself: Pistol/Dagger Condition Deadeye had a very strong performance for a very brief time in mid 2021, before receiving very harsh nerfs—both to its damage, and playability. That weapon was, much like Axe, most effective in Deadeye's hands, and still retains disruptive forced movement. Recent buffs in late 2023 have repaired some of the damage done, but it's still out of reach—Axe might just replace it entirely.

Necromancer's Dual Swords and Engineer's Short Bow
Necromancer's Dual Swords and Engineer's Short Bow

Give ArenaNet some time to sword out the good from the bad.

Necromancer's dual Swords were flashy, but lacked power. The weapon set provides range and mobility to the typically slow profession, and staked its claim as the next partner for Greatsword.

Power Reaper has historically had three sources of weapon damage beyond its signature Greatsword—mainhand Axe, Staff, and mainhand Dagger. These weapons are grab-and-go food carts providing tasty Life Force—it won't take much more than a stiff breeze to replace these weapons.

Swords double down on the mechanic seen on —draining the player's health. These skills are nothing unusual—damage, boonstrip, Chill, and Fear. They do, however, also drain health from your enemies, funding your dark designs.

According to our team, ArenaNet could tune swords to shine vs targets above 50% HP before leaning more on greatsword to profit off 's cooldown reset. We won't know how strong these weapons actually are until we see their new damage and speed.

Power Harbinger will see targeted improvements in the March 19 balance patch, but until then all our necromquestions will have the same necromancer: Power Reaper.

We're not all aquiver with excitement.

Engineer's new Short Bow came up short as a support weapon—it brought nothing new to Heal Scrapper and Heal Mechanist.

ArenaNet's new bow aimed to enable player creativity with chain-reactions between each arrow—order your impacts to grant allies Heal, Barrier, and Might. They also complete Engineer's access to Combo Fields, with a Dark field and more easily accessible Ethereal field.

Unfortunately, these chain reactions had a small effect radius and were slow to boot.

The release will update these skills, making them trigger faster in a wider area of effect, and adding Protection and Aegis.

Our team has voiced the following concerns:

  • Short Bow's Heal, Barrier, and Condition Cleanse are already matched by kits which are not mutually exclusive with weapons—Short Bow can never truly outcompete kits in the hands of a dedicated and prepared Engineer.
  • Heal Scrapper enjoys two finishers on Mace/Shield for , vs Short Bow's 1 finisher. While Aegis is new to this build, it will give up a lot of Defiance Break and Vigor to get it. That's a trade other healers just don't have to make.
  • Heal Mechanist already has everything Short Bow has on offer, although it's not the most comfortable nor overloaded support build in the current meta.

If you haven't already seen, Heal Quickness Scrapper and Heal Alacrity Mechanist recently received a substantial glow-up thanks to our dedicated team of contributors.

We've updated lots of our beginner builds recently. Take a look!
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