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This was the big bone of contention for both of us.

1. Level-gated weapon skills is frustrating.

Having three buttons to press after the tutorial boss made it more flavorful and interesting back when it was acquired that way. Now it’s Auto-attacking for a while, then having a 2 key for a while, then finally a three key, you know. Honestly it was the 4th and 5th weapon skills that felt like a real drag to get to.

It’s also not equal across the board for weapons. Some weapons are great in keys 1-3 and some only reach their full potential with 4-5. Look at it this way: A Staff Mesmer would have to suffer having nothing but “Winds of Chaos”, the teleport clone that also casts Winds of Chaos, and the long cooldown Illusion that casts a single attack. That sounds dreadfully boring, does it not? Staff Mesmer is hilariously weak, so I honestly feel like that player would die. A lot. Which brings us to point 2…

2. Level-Gated Downed Skills

I was absolutely shocked to find that the only thing I could do was just…use the 1 key and attempt to bandage. Why? I don’t understand how that helps a new player, who no doubt already finds learning the mechanics challenging. This just makes it easier to die. It’s much easier to die now because of Point #3…

3. Level-Gated Utility Skills

This one kind of stings. I know it was done because players level faster. But it weakens the player in that 1-15 timeframe when you’re already at your most squishy. But it also has one other drawback.

Combat feels less interesting at the beginning. When you’re new you’re getting used to your 1-5 abilities and trying out new weapons, but not all classes get that luxury of LOADS-E-WEPPONS. Engineer for instance has Pistol, Shield, and Rifle. So as you might imagine, not having any utility skills to play around with made it get repetitive very quickly. A compounding factor to that is that the enemies largely have no real abilities to speak of. So it’s your default attacks vs basic attack enemies for quite some time. It felt a bit stale.

I remember when we were new, part of the fun was mixing around the utility skills and experimenting. They always were gated, because unless you already knew how to get lots of skill points you had to wait to unlock more of them. Especially those 6-point skills that felt like a risk not knowing if they were really good or not. This really stings for Rangers I might add, who have quite a lot of utility skills that I personally feel are dull.