Originally posted on Reddit, reposting here to help more ppl out and maybe get some feedback.
I have been playing TW server for the past five days and I've done so much research on classes on CN and TW sites that I might be going blind.
Out of the six classes we are getting, I maxed 5 of them （spellsword will come later) and studied their skills and play styles. Here is WHAT I THINK about each class.
Hope this helps the people having trouble deciding which class to play.
First of all, for those who don't' know, each class has two specializations. You can only use one at a time but you are free to switch between them at no cost. You have different skills with each specialization but there are some shared skills. If you are tank, most of your skills are tank skills. You do have dps skills but you'll be doing roughly only 10% damage compared to your DPS specialization. Same for healer specializations.
In addition, each class also has two "core" paths or focus. This is defined by the 5 tomes you choose. This changes your entire playstyle to focus on one core path. I didn't go into all of them becausse holy crap it's way too much. The 5 tomes that modify your skills and define your path, BUT you can always mix and match them at any time to create hybrid builds between the two paths.
Oh and know that this game isn't button smash friendly, meaning you can't just spam 1 2 3 4 5 and expect good results. All skills are extremely intertwined. Having the right tomes and using skills in the right order and at the right timing greatly affect your ability to deal damage/heal/tank.
The mechanism behind this class is actually pretty straightforward. You have a main damage skill that does increased damage based on how high you fill up a class meter. You have a debuff skill that applies an effect on your target that stores the damage you deal which later explodes and deals even more damage. You can cloak and you have an ability that allows you to return to a state x amount of time ago, therefore resetting skill cd and buffs. If you played Guild Wars 2 before, this is like that Mesmer skill.
It all sounds easy but the class is actually hard to master and hard to execute to perfection.
Reaper‘s main healing skills are all single targets. However you can apply a buff to teammates that grant regen over time. Reaper is the only class that can instantly refill a target's hp to max, and the only class that can physically drag a player next to the reaper. You also have a skill that divides damages among multiple teammates to avoid having the tank getting 1 shotted.
First thing you should know is that Bards cannot, naturally, cast while moving. You will be anchored to the ground. There is a skill that allows you to move around for x amount of seconds while casting. You are utilizing fire, thunder and water spells to damage enemies. You need to constantly make sure to refill your class meter asap in order to deal high damage. I read that Bard DPS at early stages is not great, but can become one of the strongest DPS end game.
Most of your healing skills are single targets. Therefore you have to pay close attention to your team's HP bars. You do have more aoe heals than the Reaper. You have one self invincibility skill and one target invincibility skill. You can cast shields on single and multiple teammates. Bards are great supports. You are very well at adapting to different situations having a healthy amount of both single and aoe heals. Again you cannot move while casting but you have a skill that allows you to for a short time
You can summon these alien-looking floating rocks that deal ranged damage (3 max at a time). This is your core dps skill for one of the focuses. You are trying to maintain the 3 floating rocks while executing other damage/buff skills. Your other focus uses a fox that you summon that does AOE damage.
Unlike Bards, you can cast while moving. And unlike the other two healers, your main healing skills are heals-over-time. Therefore you don't necessarily need to stare at HP bars all the time. You have excellent single target / aoe heals. You can also define location of your heal (1 skill i think?). This works a lot better than the game forcing you to select a target. This is best suited for players who don't like to button smash all the time. The summoner plays more or less like a traditional healer.
SM has a mechanism that allows 3 skills to be transformed into another version of the skill, dealing a significant amount more damage. You are basically rotating between these 3 skills while buffing them and adding other dps skills between them. Maintaining CD of these 3 core skills is key. Your attacks are melee but you deal aoe damage quite well.
SM, compared to the Berserker, has higher HP. You also have more damage absorbing skills that further makes you great at soaking damage. They main goal is to apply these damage absorbing skills while buffing your own defense. You are good at removing boss armor (knocks the boss down when you strip its armor) However your mobility isn't all that great and you cannot heal yourself. You are also not great at gathering adds as you dont have very good aoe aggro skills like the Berserker.
SM tanks are easier to play and manage. You don't worry about dealing DPS because, quite frankly, you suck at it in this mode. You also don't have much of a skill ceiling.
Berserker in DPS mode resemble a tank in the classic holy trinity even though most of your skills are damage skills. You have a barge skill that will thrust you forward and stun the target, you also have a block skill. Bersker in DPS mode regardless of which focus you go with have more mobility skills than SM.
Your two foci are: 1. a press & hold damage skill 2. shadow clone. If you go with focus 1, your tomes are basically to decrease charge time and increase damage for that one skill with your shadow clones dealing damages on the side. You can summon 6 clones in this mode. If you go with focus 2, you rely more heavily on your clones and can summon more clones, as well as you decrease cd on the clone skill.
Berserker tanks are hard to play. You don't have as much HP as the SM, making you a bit squishier HP wise. But you have way more mobility skills. You make clones and you are able to heal your mana AND HP with them. You also have better/more aoe aggro skills (allows you to identify location to aoe aggro instead of auto lock on like SM)
Berserker are great tanks and even better tanks than SM if you truly master it, but it may present a challenge for newer players since you have to manage clones, aoe aggro (when adds spawn) and maintain damage absorbing skills. You are able to deal more DPS than the SM as well so if you want to contribute to your team dps, you have to factor that part in with your combo. This definitely requires a lot of practice.
Spellsword Melee DPS
Spellsword Ranged DPS
coming some other day after someday
END NOTE: I suggest players just pick a class they enjoy playing and not focus on and arguing about "the best", because really all classes have their use and each class/specialization/path is very unique.