Because there is no balance sub-forum, I will post this here because I know a lot of people have questions about balance.
If you look at the number of balance changes from BWE2 to BWE3 its fairly significant, but that is really just one of us working for about a week hard on balance. In the upcoming weeks we have multiple designers and a chance to focus on balance full time for multiple weeks so you are going to see a much larger set of changes and focus on every profession.
This game has a lot of depth so when we change stuff we are doing it from a point of experience, and while not every change is going to be perfect and not everything will be perfectly balanced, we are working hard to get things to a good place by release. Our balance philosophy is a lot about patience and allowing a meta game to evolve before reacting so keep that in mind before assuming that things are broken and need balance work. Sometimes string builds will emerge as players are familiarizing themselves with the system.
So without waiting much longer, here are some things to think about when commenting on balance. This is mostly a re-post of some things I said on our internal forums, but I think it will give you guys a good idea of our plan moving forward.
Beta is Beta
This is not a released game. We are not nerfing any builds. We are not buffing any builds. We are balancing an unreleased game so that it might be closer to balanced when it does release. Try to not get too attached to anything because it skews your feedback on changes that are often going to be necessary.
PvE vs PvP vs WvW
We do not only balance for PvP. We do not only balance for WvW. We do not only balance for PvE. We balance for the game. When we make a special balance change for a specific part of the game, we will let you know by splitting the skills. Otherwise every balance change is there for the whole game. Balance in control, support, and damage are equally important to all aspects of the game and we are not ignoring that.
This is not the last balance change. We can’t change everything at once. Sometimes even when an entire profession is in a bad place we will balance specific strong builds or skills. Sometimes even when a profession is in a good place we will balance specific weak skill or builds. We aren’t ignoring things, there is just a limited amount of time and we are working on things when we can. Sometimes we go through things piecemeal so we might be making wholesale adjustments to a profession but only get to certain weapons in a single update note. This does not mean we think the other weapons are ok and not going to change.
A forest for the trees
We are not balancing in a vacuum. Your profession is not the only profession. We have to make sure that all 8 professions are working and viable in different scenarios. We are trying to bring everything to within acceptable boundaries. If some aspect of your profession is getting changed it is because we beleive it is outside of the boundaries of what we deem acceptable in the game. Every change is going to be bad for some people and good for others. We are not making the game for just a few people and we have to make decisions that make this a better game overall, not a better game for you specifically.
Balance > No balance
This change might not stick, but we aren’t going to know if we don’t do it. We have to do balance work, sometimes the changes aren’t enough, sometimes they are too much, sometimes things have just been done wrong and are going to get undone. That doesn’t mean we are going to stop making balance changes so if you think something didnt work post about it and we are happy to discuss it.
Do not clutter feedback threads with arguments, +1s, etc. Constructive feedback and data is getting lost. This process is going to end in a better place and get there a lot more quickly and smoothly if we all work together and provide constructive, actionable feedback that we can use to make specific changes.
Do take note of that last point for those posting feedback, if Arenanet are to take feedback on board then they need to be able to see the feedback without scrambling through threads with arguments, +1s, etc.