For me this is really a general issue, but lately I struggled very badly with identifying the profession and race I want to play in Guildwars 2. I have tried out several Quizzes in order to evaluate which character might be the right one for me. Unfortunately I haven't really been satisfied with them as they narrowed down results too quickly. So instead I browsed through the GW2 wiki, going through the traits and skills of all professions, just to switch my opinion whenever I went through another professions ability descriptions. They are just all so awesome!
In this guide, I will try to explain a different approach to you, so that you will be able to make decision more easily. This method is applicable to nearly every situation, so it is not limited to economy and gaming. Please note: that all the figures I come up with in this thread are just examples to demonstrate the method I use. They are by no meanings reflecting the state of the game GW2(Guildwars2) nor my personal opinion.
The BCA( Benefit-Cost Analysis)
The BCA is a method that is mostly used in economical context. It supports your decision making with two simple steps. First, it helps you to find out your priority. Secondly it will compare your options according to this priorities. You expected more "Rocket Science"? Sorry to dissappoint you. This is basically precisely the same process our brain goes through a billion times a day. They key point here is focus.
Evalueating your Priorities
So for the first step, think of what are really the most important factors for you. As an example, we will apply this first step, to find out what makes a profession appealing for us. Now, please don't say; "a profession has to be fun!" Eventhough I agree with you that this is a top priority in a RPG, its not bringing us any further. The right Question to ask is "What makes a profession fun?".
Factors could be(In no specific order): Mobility, Damage Potential, Survivability, Number of Abilities, Theme, Supportivity
I will take these as examples. Please note that you can taky any factor that comes to your mind. Maybe it is importent for you how reliant a profession is on pets, or whether it is ranged or meele focused. It realy could be anything you can rate. I reccomend to use between 5 and 10 factors to weight. Less will make single factors too meaningful while more will just wash out the results, giving very low weighting to each and every factor.
To compare the chosen factors, we are going to setup a table. Every factor is compared to every other one. A factor can be either less, equal ore more important than the other one he is compared to. You can either use 0, 1, 2 or -, 0, + to note this down in your table. When you have done that, you can add up the points for each factor and set the weight as percentage. Now you know your priorities.
(Example Priority Evaluation)
Mobility Damage Potential Survivability Number of Abilities Uniqueness Supportivity Total Percentage Mobility 1 0 0 2 2 1 6 16.667 Damage Potential 2 1 2 2 2 2 11 30.556 Survivability 2 0 1 1 1 1 6 16.667 Number of Abilities 0 0 1 1 1 2 5 13.889 Uniqueness 0 0 1 1 1 2 5 13.889 Supportivity 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 8.333
So what does this tell us now? Let us make some assumptions here. I seem to like very offensive characters, with mobility and survivability being equal, but only half as important as damage throughput. I am not so focused on the theme of my class. Even though I might have some preferences, I am okay with both, playing a bulky juggernaut or a fragile mage as long as it provides me with the most damage. I like a broad set of abilities, but a limited set is not a show-stopper. Support hardly is of any importance for me.
Now we come to the most time consuming part, the actual comparison of options, in our example Professions. We are going to use our 6 chosen factors and their weights, to come up with a ranking for every profession. In order to make this ranking as accurate as possible, we have to base our assumptions on a ton of information. The better the information, the better the ranking. The ideal case was, to have played all the professions in all possible talent builds. But to be honest, if that was the case, you probably wouldn't want to go through this whole exercise. Instead, we will have to base our ranking on YouTube videos, articles on gaming sites, GW2 wiki and if you are lucky, some hours of beta testing. If you really want to make a well-founded decision at the end of this process that makes you happy on the long turn, invest time to do this. If you just want to try this out you can go with your assumptions.
To make this ranking, we need another table, containing our options and the factors on two different dimensions. We will create a ranking for every single factor, multiplying it with the weighting we created in a first step. This will give you a number of points for all the professions, allowing you to identify which wants suits your requirements best.
(Example Profession Comparison)
Elementalist Engineer Guardian Mesmer Necromancer Ranger Thief Warrior Mobility 4*16.667% 2*16.667% 3*16.667% 1*16.667% 5*16.667% 7*16.667% 8*16.667% 6*16.667% Damage Potential 7*30.556% 4*30.556% 1*30.556% 2*30.556% 3*30.556% 5*30.556% 8*30.556% 6*30.556% Survivability 3*16.667% 5*16.667% 6*16.667% 1*16.667% 8*16.667% 2*16.667% 4*16.667% 7*16.667% Number of Abilities 8*13.889% 7*13.889% 6*13.889% 5*13.889% 3*13.889% 2*13.889% 1*13.889% 4*13.889% Uniqueness 5*13.889% 7*13.889% 6*13.889% 8*13.889% 4*13.889% 2*13.889% 3*13.889% 1*13.889% Supportivity 5*8.333% 6*8.333% 7*8.333% 8*8.333% 4*8.333% 3*8.333% 1*8.333% 2*8.333% Total 5.52783 4.83337 4.05558 2.97219 4.38894 3.83338 5.08341 4.86118
This profession comparison leads us to the conclusion that a Elementalist would probably be the best way to go and that I should not start with a Mesmer. What is important to note is, that I didn't just get the Profession with the highest damage ranking . I got the one, which covers my personal priorities overall best. And that my friends, is precisely what puts this method ahead of class quizzes and so forth. It takes your personal interests into consideration.
Please note, this method is not perfect. It has its pros and cons. Also it is not saying you : "Elementalist is the only profession that will bring you fun!" it is meant to show you tendencies, which are more reliant if you go through the whole process as precisely as possible. Be honest with your rating. Even if it means you have to downgrade a profession you otherwise like. If you are absolutely unhappy with the result, you probably have not considered the factors that really matter to you.
Many thanks for reading. I hope this will help you to make decisions in the future. Comments and feedback are much appreciated. I apologise for grammar mistakes and my bad writing. I am still working on it.
Reccomended Factors and Rankings
This section contains factors and rankings that have been propsed by the members of MMO-Champion. I tryed to rank the professions based on information from GW2 wiki and polls in this forum. You may take them and apply your personal factor priority scales to it. I hope it helps you. Many thanks go to all the people who have contributet to this by adding a lot of value to a fruitful discussion.
Mobility: This ranking is determined by the amount of spells that grant a profession stealth, swiftness, evasion or let you teleport, rollback, charge, leap or pull you character to your targets location. Also % movementspeed increases are covered.
Number of Spells: This ranking is determined by the number of spells available to a profession. The information was taken from the GW2 wiki. Chains count as one spell per step. Abilities that grant you access to new spells are counted as one plus the amount of temporarly grantet spells. The Reason for the Ranger being ahead is the amount of spells that come with his pet choice.
Unpopularity: This ranking is determined by your votes, given to a poll that asked for your mains profession choice after the last beta weekend.
Supportivity: This factor is ranked by the number of skills available to a profession that have a positive direct influence to allies aka give a boon to them ore removing negative conditions from them. Traits are not added as too dificult to rate. Please note, that a Ranger is not worse a supporter than a Guardian. He is just more limited in spell choice to fill the role of a supporter.
(Prepared ranked factors that can be used)
Elementalist Engineer Guardian Mesmer Necromancer Ranger Thief Warrior Mobility 5 2.5 1 6 2.5 7 8 4 Number Of Spells 7 6 3 1 2 8 4 5 Unpopularity 2 3 4 8 5 6.5 6.5 1 Supportivity 5 6.5 8 6.5 3 2 1 4
2012.08.07 13:30 -> Exchanged the factor "Theme" with "Uniqueness" and adapted ranking accordingly
2012.08.08 -> Added a section with reccomended factors that have been ranked propperly, based on data from gw2 wiki or MMOC polls.