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Recently, Jonathan Sharp commented on class roles and balance philosophies. Here's what he had to say:

Jonathan Sharp, Game Designer said:

Class balance philosophies
We normally try to employ metered and controlled balance changes with each pass, rather than huge reductions or improvements to classes. We want to get all classes on the same playing field, and we want to avoid “whack-a-mole” style balance. HUGH increases and HUGE decreases lead to meta instability, and thusly, we try to make multiple small tweaks rather than putting in massive changes that we have to later correct.
When designing and balancing the classes, we try to make sure that class roles and identities stay intact. So, in doing so, we make sure that there are rules and boundaries outlining the capabilities and weaknesses of each class.
  • Warrior
    • We want the Warrior to be capable of good melee damage in a sturdy body. They can still do some decent damage at range, but they aren’t as good at it as the Ranger (with their pet). They have a hard time taking enemy boons down, and instead, have to just go through them with raw force. They may have a hard time with enemy conditions, and may need to ask for ally help in order to keep themselves free of hampering conditions.
  • Guardian
    • The Guardian is a heavy armor class who relies on boons to make up for their low levels of innate health. They focus on area control and punishing enemies for the position on the battlefield. We want them to feel very powerful when their boons are active, but if those boons are removed, they will start to feel pressure. They can remove conditions more easily than the Warrior, but share the Warrior’s need to be in melee range to dole out maximum damage.
  • Ranger
    • The ranger class combines its own innate abilities with the skills of their pets. We’ve balanced the class around the idea that you always have a pet with you to aid in any fight. The fact that the ranger can have multiple pets allows them to combine their pets in ways that most impact the current fight. We want the Ranger to have some of the evasion enjoyed by the Thief, as well as the mobility other classes employ. The class is able to deal physical or condition damage, and it can do this in melee or at range.
  • Engineer
    • The Engineer is a highly versatile class. While it doesn’t have the long range capabilities of the Ranger, or the melee capabilities of the Warrior or Guardian, they are comfortable at medium ranges in most fights. They have a lot of control, and use their boons to keep themselves (and allies) alive in a fight. They can use different kits based on the situation, but this extreme versatility comes at a cost in damage on their main hand weapons.
  • Thief
    • Thieves are the masters of mobility, stealth and high single target damage. They can be very fragile if you counter their stealth with area of effects or large stacks of conditions, but they trade this fragility in order to have some of the highest burst damage in the game. They are able to help allies through traps, venoms and the mobility to flank most encounters.
  • Mesmer
    • Mesmers rely on illusions in order to accomplish their goals. They need illusions to accomplish some of their highest damage and control, and without the illusions, they become fairly fragile. They can deal with enemy boons better than most classes, but enemy conditions can often be a problem. They share some of the stealth and mobility that the Thief enjoys, but suffer from a low health pool if you get past all their tricks.
  • Ele
    • We see the elementalist as the king of versatility. The skill ceiling for the Ele is exceptional, as the ability to leverage all four attunements at the right time is crucial for understanding the elementalist. The Ele boasts some of the best team support and control abilities in the game, as well as some great area of effect damage.
  • Necro
    • The necro boasts the highest natural health of all the caster classes, and also has death shroud to extend that life total even higher. While they don’t have some of the escape or damage reduction capabilities that other classes boast, they do have a lot of ways to win attrition fights. They have access to poison on multiple weapons, they are able to combine condition damage with raw damage, and they have multiple disables to interrupt enemy skills. Necomancers also have multiple movement disabling abilities, while allows them to chase down enemies who are low on health.
Going forward
  • Tank vs spike vs physical DPS vs condie DPS. We want to keep making balance changes that allow all classes to have various builds they can use. We don’t want tanks dominating the game, and we don’t want spike builds dominating. It’s healthy to have multiple types of builds in the meta, so we’ll be improving the balance to facilitate a healthy meta.
  • AOE balance. We feel that in PvP some AOE builds are too strong for the opportunity cost, and we’ll be bringing those in line in the next few patches.
Posted in: News

Comments

#1 Expherious

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:19 AM

I personally like the meta right now. No class feels too overpowered when you are playing them. I also don't feel to under-powered when playing a class to the specialty it was designed for. In other words, I'm very happy with this game :) Thank you ANet.

#2 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

Quote

Thieves are the masters of mobility, stealth and high single target damage. They can be very fragile if you counter their stealth with area of effects or large stacks of conditions, but they trade this fragility in order to have some of the highest burst damage in the game. They are able to help allies through traps, venoms and the mobility to flank most encounters.
Really?
Are we still sticking to our dumb-ass guns?


EDIT:

Quote

AOE balance. We feel that in PvP some AOE builds are too strong for the opportunity cost, and we’ll be bringing those in line in the next few patches.
Hopefully they are talking about the thief's shortbow here.

#3 shiggidyshwa

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 10:50 PM

It'd be awesome to have actual developers putting up videos of class primers for those of us not familiar with specific classes.

Also open forums where we get some dev time to voice our opinion on current class balances would be awesome.

#4 NuclearDonut

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:54 PM

Didn't they say all this stuff a while ago?

#5 kidawk

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 12:20 AM

Hey uh, I know that the game is more balanced toward SPvP than other formats but please don't nerf ALL AoE 'builds' or 'dmg'.

The 'pros' can say what they like about AoE being powerful when trying to revive a downed ally but, it is what it is. There are multiple ways to deal with this.

As it is, AoE is too carebear in this game. AoE should affect more than 5. WvWvW battles would be more interesting and not super long, drawn out snooze fests.

Not interested in responding to comments about QQ AoE stacking, how fair, wah wah.

#6 Atticus

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:06 AM

Quote

Thieves are the masters of mobility, stealth and high single target damage. They can be very fragile if you counter their stealth with area of effects or large stacks of conditions, but they trade this fragility in order to have some of the highest burst damage in the game.

So this has convinced me that the Developers don't really play this game... at all. They also apparently don't listen to those of us who do, The fact that they think it's completely okay that thieves have the best resource system in the game, the best class ability (stealth), the highest burst, the most mobility and the most "oh shit" buttons and are still somehow "balanced" because they can be caught in aoe or are subject to condition damage is beyond inane. Honestly I have no idea why the Developers refuse to listen to the massive amount of negative feedback on how the class operates in spvp and wvw and go around patting each other on the back thinking they've achieved anything resembling balance in this class.

#7 Ziddy

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:09 AM

uhh this is very old

#8 Ncyphe

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:34 AM

View PostAtticus, on 25 December 2012 - 02:06 AM, said:

So this has convinced me that the Developers don't really play this game... at all. They also apparently don't listen to those of us who do, The fact that they think it's completely okay that thieves have the best resource system in the game, the best class ability (stealth), the highest burst, the most mobility and the most "oh shit" buttons and are still somehow "balanced" because they can be caught in aoe or are subject to condition damage is beyond inane. Honestly I have no idea why the Developers refuse to listen to the massive amount of negative feedback on how the class operates in spvp and wvw and go around patting each other on the back thinking they've achieved anything resembling balance in this class.

Reading this makes me wonder if you've even played a thief past level 30.

initiative is not the best resource in the game.  It requires you to think about attacks and timing.  Failure to properly use your initiative can leave you in a really bad situation.  It's a class that lets you choose to either dump all your dmg at one point and start dodging attacks, or put out avg dmg over long periods of time.  Just because you don't comprehend the cons of the class does not mean it's over powered.

There is nothing wrong with the class.  All these complaints sound exactly like the complainers from WoW who constantly called OP on rogues.

#9 NuclearDonut

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:37 AM

View PostNcyphe, on 25 December 2012 - 02:34 AM, said:

Reading this makes me wonder if you've even played a thief past level 30.

initiative is not the best resource in the game.  It requires you to think about attacks and timing.  Failure to properly use your initiative can leave you in a really bad situation.  It's a class that lets you choose to either dump all your dmg at one point and start dodging attacks, or put out avg dmg over long periods of time.  Just because you don't comprehend the cons of the class does not mean it's over powered.

There is nothing wrong with the class.  All these complaints sound exactly like the complainers from WoW who constantly called OP on rogues.
I think he's strictly talking PvP, where Thieves are much stronger. I could be wrong though.

#10 jasott

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:44 AM

[quote name='MazingerZ' timestamp='1356235385' post='2126312'][b]Tank vs spike vs physical DPS vs condie DPS.[/b][background=rgb(205, 212, 214)][font="tahoma, verdana, arial, sans-serif"][color="#111111"][size=3] We want to keep making balance changes that allow all classes to have various builds they can use. We don’t want tanks dominating the game, and we don’t want spike builds dominating. It’s healthy to have multiple types of builds in the meta, so we’ll be improving the balance to facilitate a healthy meta.[/size][/color][/font][/quote][/background]

Hopefully this means they'll do something about the insane amount of damage a greatsword warrior can put out, because honestly, even with a 12 stack of might they take out mobs faster than I can on my engi using condition armor, and grenades that have bleed and vulnerability,

#11 Chronos12360

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:48 AM

I think people are missing the.point of.their class descriptions. This is simply their design philosophy and the parameters in which they will stay within while balancing classes. This isn't saying that all classes are balanced but rather that we as players shouldn't expect large changes that alter the base layout of what ArenaNet has decided for what each class should be. That said I do hope they give more specifics on some balance issues in the near future.

#12 Cruxisinhibitor

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:58 AM

The necro paragraph seems like they ran out of things to say and just pulled that out of their ***. Truth is, the class roles and flavors are not distinct enough. The whole system is homogenized. I laughed after reading this. They must be delusional.

#13 Knuckle Joe

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 03:51 AM

People need to understand that Thieves sacrifice lots and i mean LOTS of survivability in order to do the crazy burst damage they have.

Stop whining, it's the Thief's role. It's one of the "Killers" of the group, and the one you need to pay most attention to.

Guardians have their insane healing/tanking/survibability/boons
Ele has it's awesome versatiliy
Engie has insane crowd control
...
Thiefs have the ability to kill fast (and luckily hardly 14-15k HP and non-existing toughness), that's their role most of the time. Really is NOT that hard to kill a thief, even with their stealth mechanic. (Hint: bring immobilize/knockdowns)

#14 BnJ

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:08 AM

View PostAtticus, on 25 December 2012 - 02:06 AM, said:

So this has convinced me that the Developers don't really play this game... at all. They also apparently don't listen to those of us who do, The fact that they think it's completely okay that thieves have the best resource system in the game, the best class ability (stealth), the highest burst, the most mobility and the most "oh shit" buttons and are still somehow "balanced" because they can be caught in aoe or are subject to condition damage is beyond inane. Honestly I have no idea why the Developers refuse to listen to the massive amount of negative feedback on how the class operates in spvp and wvw and go around patting each other on the back thinking they've achieved anything resembling balance in this class.

I'm glad ANet don't listen to the QQ and are sticking to their own class balance philosophy.

#15 Atticus

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 05:26 AM

View PostNcyphe, on 25 December 2012 - 02:34 AM, said:

Reading this makes me wonder if you've even played a thief past level 30.

initiative is not the best resource in the game.  It requires you to think about attacks and timing.  Failure to properly use your initiative can leave you in a really bad situation.  It's a class that lets you choose to either dump all your dmg at one point and start dodging attacks, or put out avg dmg over long periods of time.  Just because you don't comprehend the cons of the class does not mean it's over powered.

There is nothing wrong with the class.  All these complaints sound exactly like the complainers from WoW who constantly called OP on rogues.

You're funny, and deluded if you think that initiative + no skill cooldowns isn't he best resource system in the game, In fact if you believe that then I wonder if you've played any other classes at all. But clearly I'm just bringing up non-issues... so lets go to the 28 page thread on the forums debating these "non issues".

https://forum-en.gui...eedback/page/28

Funny too, I looked around the other classes forums and I couldn't seem to find anything like that there, but yea lets go with I'm just making baseless claims and there is no reason that thread is exists in the thief section alone. Also stop trying to play the martyr when you say "failure to properly use your initiative can leave you in a really bad situation" what you really mean is you would have to use stealth and retreat until you regen some initiative and try again, must be nice to be able to have so much control of when and how you engage in combat, I wouldn't know of course since most classes don't get to enjoy anything as defining as stealth.

#16 Gerroh

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:01 AM

View PostKnuckle Joe, on 25 December 2012 - 03:51 AM, said:

People need to understand that Thieves sacrifice lots and i mean LOTS of survivability in order to do the crazy burst damage they have.

Stop whining, it's the Thief's role. It's one of the "Killers" of the group, and the one you need to pay most attention to.

Bingo↑

Playing as a decently durable, but mostly offensive nec, or with my overly defensive guardian, I find stupid thieves go down extremely quickly and rarely even get a chance to output dangerous damage. Skilled thieves can be an issue, but if they're glass cannon(and they usually are) they go down in seconds, even without me having a full investment into damage. Thieves are extremely fragile and them having higher damage isn't an issue.

That said, initiative, because of its design, is extremely difficult to balance, and it can make button-mash tard tactics more powerful than they should be. Heartseeker spam, even after its damage reduction, can still knock off a lot of health and kill quite easily for simply mashing 2 over and over. Couple this with the fact that thief traits offer a buzzillion ways to regenerate initiative and tard tactics with thief become significantly stronger than tard tactics with other professions(with the possible exception of mesmer).

I don't have an issue with the damage thieves output. I have just have an issue with how easy it is to button mash with thief and the whole perma-invis thing which still doesn't seem to be fixed.

#17 NuclearDonut

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:11 AM

View PostGerroh, on 25 December 2012 - 06:01 AM, said:

Bingo↑

Playing as a decently durable, but mostly offensive nec, or with my overly defensive guardian, I find stupid thieves go down extremely quickly and rarely even get a chance to output dangerous damage. Skilled thieves can be an issue, but if they're glass cannon(and they usually are) they go down in seconds, even without me having a full investment into damage. Thieves are extremely fragile and them having higher damage isn't an issue.

That said, initiative, because of its design, is extremely difficult to balance, and it can make button-mash tard tactics more powerful than they should be. Heartseeker spam, even after its damage reduction, can still knock off a lot of health and kill quite easily for simply mashing 2 over and over. Couple this with the fact that thief traits offer a buzzillion ways to regenerate initiative and tard tactics with thief become significantly stronger than tard tactics with other professions(with the possible exception of mesmer).

I don't have an issue with the damage thieves output. I have just have an issue with how easy it is to button mash with thief and the whole perma-invis thing which still doesn't seem to be fixed.

I agree wholeheartedly, it seems Thief will forever be the PUG-insta-gib class, but I don't mind. That just leaves more easy prey for me.

#18 Archduke

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:53 AM

Wow, this entry totally makes the Warrior sound like a weakling. >_<

#19 Snowulf

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:33 AM

  • Guardian
    • They can remove conditions more easily than the Warrior, but share the Warrior’s need to be in melee range to dole out maximum damage any reasonable damage.





      fixed.


#20 jirayasan

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:40 AM

View PostSnowulf, on 25 December 2012 - 09:33 AM, said:

  • Guardian
    • They can remove conditions more easily than the Warrior, but share the Warrior’s need to be in melee range to dole out maximum damage any reasonable damage.





      fixed.
Guardian is OP in melee.
Ranged guardian is meant to be more support..even if staff sucks at the moment.