So, a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the ascended weapons you can get via the specialization collection achievements. I graded them as worth it or not considering that you can only select from three sets of stats per weapon.
However, a guildie did some further research and found that you can change those stats via the Mystic Forge the way you can change a regular (unnamed) piece. Thus, there's nothing preventing you from getting the weapon you want (thanks, Jaberse!).
However, as a reminder, the specialization weapons are:
shield x2 (mesmer, revenant)
staff x2 (thief, ranger)
These aren't the most universally-applicable weapons, and because of the overlap (assuming you only want one of each weapon), you can only get seven unique weapons.
The specialization achievements require you to level the character class to 80, fully unlock the advanced specialization, and then complete a bunch of expansion achievements/buy parts with expansion-area currency. However, once you have leveled the mastery in question to get the expansion achievements, you can easily unlock them for each level 80 alt you have.
My biggest problem right now is that I don't have all my alts at 80, and I don't have all the masteries unlocked that I need (currency will come just from getting the experience to unlock the masteries).
Therefore, knowing that you can change stats has not really changed my priorities. I already have an ascended greatsword and staff. I'd like to get the longbow and warhorn. I've decided that because my engineer is low on the list of alts, I'm going to just craft my guardian a hammer anyway, so after Ydalir/the North Wind, my main focus will be on getting a shield for my mesmer. Anything in addition will be for cosmetics/achievement hunting/character enjoyment more than minmaxing purposes.
This is a reference sheet for pve raiders with a stable of alts that are wondering whether it's worth going for any of the specialization ascended weapons that you unlock via achievements rather than crafting. Feel free to ignore if you: a) have a use for these, b) really like the skin/name, or c) only have 1-2 planned raiding alts [in which case, crafting specialized pve weapons is fine for you].
Since I main a guardian/dragonhunter and plan on getting my ele, mesmer, necro, ranger, and engineer into raiding shape, I have a need for a lot of ascended weapons and armor sets. Thus, going for specialization weapons lessens and diversifies the grind.
However, the nine ascended weapons in the specialization collection are not all created equal. For one thing, although you can pick their stats, you do so from a list of three choices, and those choices differ per weapon. That means that some weapons are not worth going for. Also, some weapons just aren't as useful to have as others, so unless you are dedicated to a class, it's just not worth it.
The chart below shows the name, class that you'll have to have at 80 and do HoT events, etc on for achievements, and my notes.
Have you ever wondered whether fantasy worlds obey the same laws of physics and biology as the real world? (Hint: in Final Fantasy, the answer is always no). Guild Wars 2, seems built along sturdier principles, despite giving us the wonders of a gate that takes several hundred powder kegs to blow up and the fact that I can swim underwater in plate armor without drowning.
Rather, it's the wonders of biology that fail us. Here is a picture of my character completing one of the many 'hearts' scattered around Tyria. You might recognize this one, as it's the heart that gives you rugged leather/linen for karma after you complete it.
My character is completing this heart by carrying an aquatic animal. This is Guild Wars 2's rendering of the scariest crab motherfucker that you will ever see. Why have I turned myself into a human fishing boat? Well, this heart is about teaching quaggans to farm crabs. I'll wait while you click that link and verify that I haven't lost my mind. Quaggans, a sentient aquatic species, cannot feed themselves.
Now, the quaggan look like manatees, so maybe the devs were thinking, "Here's an 'endangered species' with a Tyrian twist. And there are other races that you have to rescue from hapless slavers, relocate to new homes, and teach survival skills. However, this heart and a similar one where you have to find the quaggans' scattered eggs--that's right, they have lost track of their means of procreation--paints a dark picture of the intellect of these seemingly-intelligent creatures.
If you claim racial sympathy with the quaggan in your level 50 story, you get to confront the quaggans' racial aversion to fighting. (Also, that link dialogue is priceless).
Mostly by fighting for them while groaning loudly and making quaggan noises (whooOOOoo) at the screen. Then, you get three chapters of the quaggan showing up to 'help' you fight, the way that marshmellows are essential to any successful marathon.
However, I will warn you: imitating the quaggan speech style is contagious and addictive. HellooOOoo! FooOOoo on quaggan! Hoo, foo, and boo!