Choosing a Winning Profession
All you ever need to know to pick the right profession for you
Picking the right profession for you is a choice you are immediately faced with once you create a new character. You're going to want to pick a character that fits with your own playing style, and you may not even yet know how you're going to play.
When you play, there are a few basic playstyles to consider:
1) The Tank
A Tank is a member of the group who rushes into battle and fights close in hand to hand combat. Most, if not all, enemies are attracted to this member as their primary target. As such, this member will need to be particularly strong at hand to hand combat, and be able to stay alive when faced with multiple physical, elemental, and spell/hex attacks. Mostly, a Tank is a character that will want to have strong healing support as well as party members with ranged attacks.
An important thing to remember is that every time you die, you will experience a 15% death penalty, once you have played through the Academy in the Kingdom of Ascalon. This is especially important for Tanks to remember because every death penalty cuts down on your Health and Energy, which makes you a less effective Tank. When travelling to dangerous areas, make sure you have strong and competent healing support when you play a Tank.
A popular profession choice for the Tank is Warrior, but these types often get killed far too quickly if they cannot take care of hexes and general damage. The Warrior does have an advantage, however, over Energy draining skills cast on him/her, because the Warrior has skills which use Adrenaline. Adrenaline is not affected by Energy draining skills.
2) The Nuker
This style of play focuses on "splash damage," or damage that you do to multiple enemies. A popular profession to choose for this is the Elementalist, but this is not the only choice. You can Nuke from a distance or up close, depending on your profession and what skills you use. Nukers are less likely to die without support if the attacking is done up close, as long as the nuker can truly cause serious damage with their skills.
A popular distance skill that does splash damage is Fire Storm, but other Elementalist skills such as Phoenix, Meteor, Chain Lightning, Earthquake, or skills from other professions like Chaos Storm, Death Nova, Deathly Swarm, and Barrage also pack a punch.
3) The Anti-Caster
The name answers for itself; your job as an anti-caster is to stop foes from successfully using skills. Having Mesmer as a primary or secondary profession helps here, as Mesmers are skilled at draining energy. Examples are Energy Drain, Energy Burn, Energy Surge>, Energy Tap, and Spirit Shackles. Energy draining is not the only way to stop skills. You can also "knock down" your foes or use a skill that applies a condition which prevents the foe or foes from using skills.
4) The Healer
Another name that answers for itself, the healer basically sits back and heals. Guild Wars allows healers to get XP from the party even if the healer never attacks, so if you are a healer, be a smart one and only heal. You should bring along skills from your secondary profession designed to increase defense if you are a healer, in case monsters decide to swamp you instead of your teammates. As a healer, you want the enemies to be drawn to your teammates so that you can use your healing skills without being attacked yourself. Groups often ask for a healer or Monk to come along with them on missions because they can stay alive longer.
As a healer, your job is to keep people alive, not wait for them to die so you can resurrect them. This is because each death incurs a death penalty. Sometimes people will die despite your best efforts, especially if you are the only healer and have low Energy or low Energy recharge. You can avoid these problems by having skills that increase your Energy recharge rate and also equip items that increase your overall Energy, as well as by not using Energy for attacking or other non-healing skills as much as possible. However, healers also often get blamed for not healing someone who has run off on his own and gets mobbed, so don't take it personally if you get yelled at for not doing so.There are other playstyles, but those are the basics.
Knowing what advantages and disadvantages a profession has can help as well. An important thing to know about a profession is what its unique attribute is. This attribute is only available to your primary profession.
When you create your character, you will be faced with a choice for your primary profession. You get a secondary profession while playing in the game. You can potentially try every secondary profession, so it is most important to choose a good primary profession for both early and late game play.
Attributes are what helps your character and your skills have more effectiveness and power. Some attributes affect you positively simply by putting points into them. The others affect skills positively which are affected by that attribute. Some do both. This is an important aspect of how you will play as well, because if the attributes a character has don't work for you, you will be poor at that profession set.
Here are the primary attributes and brief descriptions of those attributes to further help you decide on your primary profession:
Primary Attribute - Energy Storage
Energy Storage basically defines how much extra Energy you have beyond your base Energy. For each point in this attribute, you get 3 extra Energy points. This will allow you to use more skills at once than usual, but will not make skills regenerate faster or reduce how much they cost to cast. This attribute can help you get an extremely high amount of Energy. There are 3 skills which this attribute applies to. They are Aura of Restoration, Ether Prodigy, and Ether Renewal. These skills help you use or gain Energy even more effectively than usual.
Primary Attribute - Fast Casting
This attribute helps you cast your skills faster than other professions. A lot of skills have a cast time (in seconds) which determines how long it takes to cast a skill. Depending on how high this number is, this can be extremely dangerous for your character, as you may get killed in the meantime, or you may be interrupted from using it. Fast Casting takes a little of the pain out of casting skills like that. Though the effects may seem minimal at first, when you try out another profession or take all of the points out of Fast Casting, you will quickly notice the difference in large scale or "horde" battles. You can also increase your recharge rate on Spells by using Mantra of Recovery, the only skill with the Fast Casting attribute.
Primary Attribute - Divine Favor
This particular attribute is very helpful to healing. For each point in Divine Favor, any skill you cast heals for an additional 4 points. So having 2 points in Divine Favor will cause every healing skill to heal for its healing value plus 8, and so on. Remember that this applies to any Monk skill. Whenever you cast a skill like Mending on an ally, they are immediately healed for your Divine Favor value multiplied by 4. Divine Favor also has a whopping 13 skills linked to it, so it is of great benefit to healing you and your party members, as well as allowing extra Energy regeneration, longer lasting Enchantments, and so on. The complete list of skills can be found here.
Primary Attribute - Soul Reaping
This skill is very impressive. Basically, every time any creature or player dies near you, even allies, you gain 1 Energy per point in Soul Reaping. That means if you have 3 points in Soul Reaping, anything that dies near you will give you 3 Energy. There are no skills that this attribute applies to, so if you feel you can do without this attribute, and still want to be a secondary Necromancer for the skills, you can use every one of them, potentially, to its fullest advantage.
Primary Attribute - Expertise
This attribute makes certain skills cost less to cast. You get a 5% casting cost reduction for each point you have in Expertise. Unfortunately, this only applies to Attack, Axe Attack, Bow Attack, Hammer Attack, Melee Attack, Pet Attack, Preparation, Sword Attack, and Trap skills. The skills that benefit most from this are Ranger Skills, because there is only one Monk Attack skill, and Warriors are the only other profession that has a wealth of Attack type skills, but most of those are based on Adrenaline, or cost very little to begin with. If you are incredibly fond of the Ranger and his/her Preparation and Trap skills, then this is a good attribute to have on your side. Otherwise you may be batter off choosing this profession as a secondary profession, or not at all. Expertise has 10 skills which use it to increase their power, and those skills can be found here.
Primary Attribute - Strength
This is a very powerful attribute. This attribute has the most linked skills of any primary attribute, a grand total of 19! Those skills are listed here. In addition to its linked skills, Strength allows your Attack type skills to have an extra 2% of armor penetration for each point in the attribute. Armor penetration allows you to basically reduce the amount of armor your attack has to get through to do damage to a foe. So if a foe has 40 armor, and you have 5 points in Strength, your Attack type skills will take 10% off of that 40, or 4 points of armor, making the armor left over be 36 instead of 40. This makes you a very effective Tank with high levels of Strength (as long as you're also well protected and healed!). Basically, Strength is the attribute that provides the most benefit to the most skills. To maximize this attribute, (sometimes ignoring others) a Warrior primary with a secondary Ranger profession is a good choice.
Armor is a more minor aspect to worry about with regard to professions, but it should be noted that the armor you can wear is determined by your primary profession.
Some armor provides extra benefits, like more Energy regeneration or a boost in a particular attribute. But this only applies to specific professions. An Armor list, much like our Skill database, is in the works. Until then, know that new armor requires crafting materials and gold, and that the required materials differ depending on the primary profession you pick. Mostly you'll be deciding between a profession that requires hides or cloth for armor, or glittering dust and other crafting materials.
Warriors get the highest defensive rating, and Elementalists get an extra point in Energy regeneration for a piece of armor they wear.
You can also give a boost to your armor using runes. Runes are items that can be applied to armor which either increase Health, Energy, or an attribute. These give away what they do by their names, and are unlockable (which means in the game, once you get one, you can use that same rune on your PvP only character's armor). For example, the Elementalist Rune of Minor Energy Storage will increase your Energy Storage a little bit. An Elementalist Rune of Major Energy Storage will it increase it even more.
One last thing to mention is this: Do not pick a profession just because it sounds cool. If you do, you are not likely to be effective with it unless you happen to have a playstyle that applies to it. Lots of people pick Monks because they want to have a lot of healing, but fail to recognize that they can't be tanks at the same time, or pick Necromancer because they want to have lots of minions, but forget to use the other useful aspects of the profession. Be smart! Pick a profession that fits your style and one that you can use to the greatest advantage.
*** This article was written by TomT64 and because it's wonderful guide for all of you who want to know some basic informations about professions I decided to post it here. ;)