Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:19 PM
Duderino, you get into my noggin sometimes and crawl around in there and it's kind of creepy.
To really answer the question, I have to say yes out of intellectual honesty, but I need to make a lot of commentary why that doesn't necessarily mean the game's design is inherently good or bad.
The best way I can try to comment on this, not necessarily answer the question but comment on this, is to show you two pictures of what is typical, and what I thought GW2 had the potential to be, and what GW2 actually is.
Situation A - Normal MMO gameplay. Your basic Holy Trinity Game. I need not elaborate, but I will say the trinity isn't in and of itself bad, if you can make the Trinity interesting or more complex, it can work out just fine.
The big thing to note here is that everyone's capabilties are defined and quantified according to set axes relative to everyone else. Big brawny sword guy can take the hits, but finger waggling pajama wearing skinny guy does all the cool stuff, and neither of them can ever do the other's "job" effectively.
The emphasis is on artificial mechanics like Armor values or damage values to separate people into rigid roles, definining everyone on these arbitrary axes. Note however that a really good Holy Trinity game will borrow some aspects of the next situation.
Situation B - To me this is the ideal game: each profession or class brings a noncomparable to the table. Okay what do I mean by a noncomparable?
A noncomparable is a capability unique to the class that's hard to quantify because you either can do that thing in the game, or you can't. It is at is heart a situational ability.
In this system with think of brand new mechanics to differentiate people. A noncomparable is something good, that maybe not everyone can see the use for, that you just can't directly stack up against another class's potential.
It's hard to give a good example so I'll give a speculative one.
As a speculative example, what if the thief, instead of being just a better melee DPS than the warrior, could sneak into an enemy keep using special entrances/cracks/climbing points other players don't see, and then sabotage their supply count, or go into the kitchen and poison the guards?
And then the warrior, instead of just having a ton of hitpoints, could use an ability to demoralize the keep lord. Which ability is better? You tell me I don't know.
And then what if the thief and the warrior together can combine and give everyone Guerilla Fighting bonus if the guards outnumber the players?
When you start defining classes or professions on such an axis of what kind of powers do they have in situations, rather than just numbers, that gets hard. As a result you typically get something that still borrows heavily from situation A with mechanics to express these ideas.
This is what I had hoped early on that GW2 would be, something where the control effects and combination attacks were the soul of the game and not finding the best number on a spreadsheet.
But GW2 is actually a derivative of situation A, it takes the Trinity away, but it does so by stuffing it within each individual character, so it still exists but the whole dynamic is dfifferent.
On the one hand this is interesting in its own right, and I actually like the system on its own merits here, because I as a player have to look at this profession and say I'm going to balance this out, or I'm going to really skew it this way or the other because I can be more productive overall that way, etc. etc. There's nothing wrong with being an interesting Situation A derivative.
However by relying on hard mechanics and concrete capabilties over sheer creativity and noncomparable abiltities, in embedding the concept that each character is its own trinity, you completely destroy the possibility of non comparables being what "roles" are mostly focused on. That doesn't mean it's "bad" it just means it doesn't have "roles" per se.
They do try to deliver some noncomparables but they're not good at it. This profession has Virtues, no one else does, for example. But this isn't where the emphasis of the design work is, and in fact if you look carefully, the most powerful professions that people complain are OP have some creative cleverness in the profession design that sets it apart.