Last night I reached level 10 and unlocked a swathe of features, most of which I missed as the screen alerts and pop-ups flew by.
The main one was that I am now officially a Gladiator tank. While I’d unlocked my first clear tanking ability at level 8 with Rampart (reduces incoming damage temporarily), at level 10 several new abilities appeared. The main one is something called Iron Will which increases the enmity enemy mobs feel toward me. This looks like it’s a permanent taunt, making me much more attractive to mobs when fighting in a group. It’s tied to an ‘Oath Gauge’ which is a on screen icon that’s either on of off as far as I can tell – so less of a gauge than a switch.
A passive Tank Mastery trait also unlocked, which has the standard reduce damage + increase HP buffs based on my vitality and strength attributes respectively. One thing the game hasn’t done a great job of explaining – unlike many things which are explained very well – is the stats I should be aiming for on gear. Many of the quest rewards make me choose between Strength (leather) and Intelligence (cloth) upgrades, so I’ve been gravitating to Strength. But I did seem to see somewhere, though I can’t find it now, that Intelligence is important for tanking, so I’m not sure what to choose here. Given I won’t be tanking – or at least not yet – I think Strength is still going to be preferable, especially with the Tank Mastery trait bonus.
I’m enjoying the Gladiator, feeling like you can take a few hits and being well armoured and armed is always satisfying to me in a game. I should probably start thinking about starting a new Class now that I can, but for the moment I will stay true to the Gladiator way. One of the rewards for reaching this milestone was a piece of unique untradable body armour (though I suspect every other Gladiator is also wearing it), which had the unfortunate effect of exposing my less than ideal pants.
I was a little surprised to find there wasn’t much song and dance about reaching level 10 back in Ul’dah at the Gladiator Guild – just another clean up mission – but I suppose that’s the Gladiator way: all business. Level 10 should also mean professions are available, and given you can do all of them at once I should probably be a bit cautious that crafting doesn’t take over the gameplay for me. Fishing is guaranteed though.
I had been assuming the Gladiator missions were the main quest line, but there is a ‘Main Scenario Quest’ which must be the core story – I’d just been chugging through all the quests as I moved around the map so wasn’t following closely which was associated with what. Thinking back the core story did seem to involve a lot of courier deliveries and kill five thing quests, so maybe that’s why it hadn’t grabbed my focus. Time to pay attention.
Out in the adventuring world I have started to get a better handle on my survivability too. Handling multiple mobs seems to be ok, as long as you’re careful, though having only one AoE ability so far is a bit limiting. The FATES have become easy but I think I’m outlevelling most of those in the first zone now. They are a bit repetitive after a while, with most being a variation of defeat the waves of mobs and collect all of the things. I’m not sure that I’ll continue with them unless they sound interesting or different – I think GW2’s public events might be better designed on the whole.
The GCD feels a bit slow still, but I’m starting to enjoy the pacing of the attack sequences. It feels almost like a rhythm game, albeit a slightly ponderous one. It’s fun working it out without referring to guides, though I suspect I’m being less than efficient. The ability options are starting to grow too, so getting some kind of optimum rotation going will take some study.
And I need to find some pants.