Guild Wars 2

Does anybody else feel like Soulbeast mechanically is more of a disconnect from its core specialisation than it should?

I haven't played many classes, but as a Soulbeast main, it feels very different from the core Ranger compared to Druid. Thematically it's a really cool idea, but in terms of the execution, it does feel like a much different class.

All of the buffs that are for your pet just go to you, because you're almost always merged with your pet outside of situations like needing it specifically to tank in open world, or for something like extra CC, then you merge right back once you can. Ranger's core mechanic is its pet. Elementalists all attune to elements, Engineers all use their tool belts, Guardians all use their virtues(or tomes), Necromancers use their shrouds, Warriors use adrenaline, Revenants use stances and energy, Mesmers use illusions/clones and Thieves use initiative.

Rangers use their pets, but Soulbeast changes that mechanic, using your pet, from being a core function of its class mechanic to an underwhelming option. While most elite specialisations buff the mechanic, add something, or at most change one aspect but keep its overall idea the same, Soulbeasts overhaul the class mechanic. You almost never willingly unmerge with your pet in combat, replacing the micromanagement of the pet which is a major part of its class mechanic to something completely different. Technically pet collection and access being a part of the mechanic is part of the class, but from a combat standpoint these are 2 completely different mechanics.

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A lot of specialisations feel like using the same core mechanic but in two different ways, but for Ranger it feels more like changing it completely. I almost always forget to use my pet when I switch to druid because I never actually use it as a soulbeast. As a soulbeast, any time I unmerge with my pet by misclicking, going down, or going underwater feels like a pain and is never intentional. It feels a lot of the time like a soulbeast doesn't exactly have a unique mechanic. Outside of unmerging with your pet, basically the only thing that makes it different from a vanilla class is 3 extra skills and extra stats, the latter isn't directly used as a mechanic. The closest I can think of to this is Guardian and Dragonhunter, but still maintains the idea of a damage virtue, healing virtue and utility virtue.

It feels like the greatest disconnect between a core class and its elite specialisation is Soulbeast. I do like the idea of merging with your pet, but honestly when I first heard of it without knowing what it was, I thought it was a temporary transformation where you gained new skills and then once you unmerged after a set time you would go back to having your pet again the same way. Gameplay-wise, from level 80 to post-80, you go from using your bow from behind your pet to fighting by yourself like any other class.

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Soulbeast combat-wise very much feels like: pick your archetype for the stats of your build, pick the 3 skills you want and you're done. You don't have a pet in the same way that a core ranger or druid does. In a way, if you changed the theme from a ranger-wildlife-animal theme to something else, Soulbeast could exist as a completely separate class other than when you unmerge, which is rarely used anyway. Change pets to some kind of drink, you pick a drink mixture that gives you activate in combat that gives different stats and gives you bonus physical abilities, and you have the same mechanic as a soulbeast with a different coat of paint. I think mechanic-wise, the inability to swap pets in combat kind of made it such that the core mechanic of pet management is neglected.

I don't think it's an actual problem, it's just an observation that I wanted to talk about.

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