So I'd like to talk with you on the PvP of Guild Wars 2. But also on the gameplay in general, the design on general of Guild Wars 2, sPvP and Esports.
(It will get more specific to GvGs and to the comparison to Gw1)
Also I'm putting this topic here because honestly, how many of you guys check the PvP section ?
I'll divide this post into different sections, because I feel like it's going to get long, some stuff are well understood for some of you guys, and so people can cut the interesting part.
Warning : Skip to "What game mode could make it change ?
Is GvG still an option ?" if you are lazy reading all the post
The design of Guild Wars 2,
Where has it messed up ? Does it still have potential ?
First thing, I'd like to point out that we will never come back to somethings close to Guild Wars 1 (except if we have an exceptional idea). Why ?
- Because it's different
- A major redesign in gameplay has never been seen (I guess...) in any videogame. Just changing all the skills would take a while, would be impossible to admit and do.
- Ncsoft wouldn't allow it. I believe in the conspiracy theory about Ncsoft imposing boring rules because ''it sells this way'' where in fact it just disgust 90% of the community.
Six years ago, I believe something close to this, Guild Wars 2 was announced. The expectations were huge, I was excited, because I felt like I would do Ha, GvGs and Pve in HD ! Now we're in 2013 and I don't play Guild Wars 2 anymore, and if I did, I would only do some Pve then get bored because the only thing that I could do once I'd reach full exotic (Wich I do on 3 characters) is farm my dailys, the fractals and my legendary. Where has it messed up ? Well I think the problem comes from other tiny problems, many of them.
1. Between 2007 and 2013, the world of gaming has changed.
6 years ago, Gw1's eye of the north time, the industry of gaming wasn't the same, and even in 2007 was it different from before (this sounds logic). Achievements weren't that big, videogames weren't that casual friendly, the world was loosing the war with the chinese gold sellers and was fine like that, league of legends wasn't a gigantic succes, call of duty wasn't so big (and uh, poopy), etc.
Nowadays game designers (well not game designers, those who hold the money) want to make as much money, as fast they can.
A revolutionary video game ? ILLUSION ! It's just a ♥♥♥♥tail of other video games concepts and it has always been. Those who fund the gaming industry want to follow the trends, make money like the others did, the same way they did, because it's safe and it gives money, money and money.
Have you guys been happy with the mmorpg genre these days ? I haven't. And can I tell you why I personnaly am not ? Because I feel like the industry thinks that they know what I want. But they don't, they really don't, they want to force me into liking their games.
2. Cash for gold
I'll talk about some parts of the system real quick. Buying gold for irl money ? Great idea for PvP'ers I like that, but not so great for Pve players. I keep remembering my guild mates complaining about the fact that some players get their legendary, prestige, etc thanks to their real life money. Some players, and I think they're a lot of them, want to encourage merits, and not real life inequality. I personnaly am not agains't gold for real life money, because I don't care, but boy do you realize : People often play videogames because they like to be epic ! It's like football, it's the beauty of the skills. The epicness that people like in video game is a concept that needs : Good looking stuff, a sign of power, and merits (wich means hard to get). Where's the epicness when you can heat up your credit card ?
It's great to have the concept of making it easy to get gold, but it's too easy
3. The gameplay
Now this is the big topic. We went from gw1's gameplay to gw2's gameplay, and it is nothing alike ! Just some skill names. Now let's look at the strenghts of guild wars 1's gameplay on the PvP side of thing.
3.a. Skills effects.
Everything was flashy in guild wars 1, I remember back in the day, reading articles on guild wars 1. Everytimes they spoke about it they praised the fact that the skills were beautiful (''It's like we are in a firework'') and it felt a bit like that when you used some skills it's true. It was beautiful indeed. BUT THE THERE ARE TO MANY EFFECTS ON GW2. They didn't keep it clean, because it was still clean on gw1 and it would allow you to understand wich skills was used without clicking on the player, but now I can't read what's going on. There are so many area of effects, the skills are too flashy. In a PvP fight, when you get more than 2 players the screen gets too messy and effects are everywhere. And I'm not a low skilled player, I don't think. But seeing an engineer spam his nades, an elementalist rush into me with his dagger build and a thief popping poison zones everywhere irritates me so much. I can't enjoy that. And it's only 3 players ! You get more players in the fray and it's the apocalyps ! It's like watching my little pony, inception and matrix on the same screen, at the same time !They went full retard on this one !
One thing that I almost forgot and has a titanic impact on the game view are those circles, rectangles ! These are everywhere ! I don't need them in PvP, I know that someone is throwing this huge flashy thing at my face, I can dodge easely out of it, I'm not mentaly disabled !
3.b. Where the damages is dealt.
Back in Guild Wars 1 area of effects hadn't so much impact as in gw2. Well the comparison isn't even needed, guild wars 2 has too many areas of effects and is gives too much importance to those. On Guild Wars 1 when there was an area of effect, it wouldn't force the entire team to get out of it the next second or you die. Those Aoe would give simple buffs or simples debuffs, or simple damages to the teams. These effects were not over important, and if it was it was
1. Easely avoidable
2. Easely interruptable
3. Not game climax changing but would have an impact on the long term.
4. And it wouldn't even hurt that much
There wasn't that much effects too, I remember playing ele with wards on GvG. The wards were the only circles I'd see the whole game. The other effects weren't flashy and weren't lasting for long.
3.c. The dodge system
Okay so the dodge system, in my opinion, was added just because the industry wanted it. Because it breaks alot of aspects of guild wars 1 ! You can say bye to all the spikes I so loved in guild wars 1 ! Because yes you can focus someone and root him to place, the dude wouldn't care and cure all his conditions (yeah I hate that too) and would dodge the equivalent of an hydrogen bomb without a scratch ! I'm not really against dodges, because it adds an aspect of the game, but it deleted an important one from guild wars 1's pvp too ! It's great for pve and it requires to be aware on boss fights (note that I didn't use the word skill because I don't think personnaly that it requires some).
Where as in guild wars 1 all the skill was based on how you played your class, in guild wars 2, all the skill is at how you dodge/block the attacks of the oppenent while smashing all your buttons (in the best case in order) and hope you kill him first.
In order to get something closer to guild wars 1's pvp you would have to either get rid of dodge, or nerf them. And please I'm not talking about alliance battles. I'm a PvP elitist and I never considered alliances battles like the ''true'' pvp of guild wars 1, tough it was fun and still had more skill potential than gw2's pvp. Yes I said it, gw1's alliance battles had a better skill potential than guild wars 2's sPvP, I'm not saying that those you like gw2's sPvP are newbies, I'm saying that they would have had 10x more fun in Ab and 10000 times more in GvG and Ha.
3.d. The healing
I loved healing, I loved monks. And they got rid of it. At first I was excited because it meant no more monk favoritism but in the end, I think we all realised that, monks were good, fun, and made the game fun.
Now we don't need to go back to the holy trinity (By holy trinity I'm just talking about healers) and I'd be glad to find a sweet spot where healing still is something important but not required.
When I was pvp'ing in gw1 I was playing the lead warrior, needles to say, I had no healing at all. I was relying on my monks and it gave the game a constant momentum, now when I need to get healed I just stop all the dps and spam my healing button or use a super-healing combo so I can get into the fight. This kills the momentum. You either heal and keep fighting or you run.
Back in guild wars 1's GvG (I'm gonna talk about GvG now but it applies to Ha too) I would keep fighting and when my health would be low I'd either get healed or died. Why ? Because I could have been over-extended, my monks would not have mana, my monks would not have payed attention or would have prioritised someone else, or either the team in front would have a thrown a pro spike on my face wich no human on earth would have seen going. AND THAT WAS FUN, EPIC AND REQUIRED SKILL ! And I can't emphasize enough how much it required skill, coordination, knowledge, attention and cooperation to play GvG in guild wars 1. Something that eSports would love to cast. Now it just feels like a tunnel vision game.
And finaly, monks were awesome because it required so much skill, so much attention, global vision.
3.e. The mana
With guild wars 2 they got rid of the mana. Skills are no longer dependent on their recharge AND the mana, but now they're just dependent on recharges. And that just throws an aspect of economic thinking for the player, it makes the game too simple, too easy. And what did they do to balance this ? Give skill recharge more importance. Now you see skills take ages to recharges where as in guild wars 1 skills recharges were shorter. Yes you have to think when to use your skill, because in one fight, you'll just use it once like a trump card and then you'll be on your way. The intellectual effort behind this is close to 0 for me.
3.f. Everyclass required skill, every class.
With the points above I talked about the skill the classes required already.
Every class in guild wars 1 had it's own aspect, nothing was alike. I don't have this feeling on guild wars 2 really. Differences between somes classes are for me just illusions. The mobility aspect of every class in guild wars 2 is just the same everywere, exept it's a bit different, just a little bit. Yes thieves can teleport, but warrior can rush as fast, mesmers can teleport, gardian can jump forward and teleport, engineer can jump forward, elementalist can teleport and jump forward, it's all the same for me.
In guild wars 1 the assasin was the only class that had so much mobility. Yes you could be assassin as a second class and then teleport, but that's because you decided to play like this. I don't want to have to run miles and miles the way it is in gw2 all the time, but in pvp you're nearly forced to. Yes running after someone is fun, and the players are everywhere in a fight where as in guild wars 1 there was a front, a middle, and a back line.
3.g. Skills in movements.
Every class had it's own aspect, I'm saying it again, for each builds you'd use, you would have had a specific role to fullfil. In guild wars 2 you have to be everything (damages, control, movements, etc) and nothing at the same time.
3.g. The ball syndrome
Now i'll talk about the sickness of this game's pvp. I've seen videos of guilds doing Guild vs Guild in WvW, and it just felt like two balls of people rushing into each other, spamming area of effects for 10 seconds, then one side would come out alive from the incredible mess. That's the ball syndrome.
Why is it like that ? Because of everything I pointed out earlyer, and that's why guild wars 2's pvp is a mess, it's not specific enough. It's chaotic.
Conclusion : I think Guild Wars 2 shouldn't be axed so much around area of effects, it kills the game. It's not even needed. I would love Anet to focus on focused damages/heals . Just that would make the game great. Nerf the Aoe's. It's simple and it's one of the few aspects I see that can be possibly changed.
Oh and healing, make something about healing. I don't care If I can't heal as a warrior, I'll just make sure I have a teamate so we can cooperate. (See ? I used the word cooperation, has if there was none before, it's not there for nothing)
I don't know... Make some of them less big and less damaging ?
4. Does the game have still potential in PvP for eSports and real competition ?
By real competiton I mean enjoyable to watch matches. Because it isn't for me to watch teams clash on battle of khylo.
I still think guild wars 2, with it's gameplay (and with possible modifications) would fullfill the requirements of it being entertainable on eSports.
4.1. But what does a game need to be really competitive ?
Be Guild Wars 1. Or...
- It requires a high skill cap/potential. Those skills involve communicaiton, coordination, knowledge, attention, organisation.
- It requires to be untertaining both for the players but foremost, for the spectators.
- It requires a community around it (because if guild wars dies, well...)
- A good game mode
- Easy to understand system but still deep.
I think with the current aoe problem, guild wars 2 can't fullfil most of the points. But would they fix this, it would be much more easy to get to those critera.
What game mode could make it change ?
Is GvG still an option ?
As gw2's state is right now, the GvG would never be able to be like those of guild wars 1. Not because guild wars 2 suck no no (and I don't think it sucks), but because, again, it's different. You have to take in consideration all the parameters that were talked about earlyer and those who were left out.
Without healing you can't have long fight. Unless you break the game's momentum, wich you don't want it to happen.
With the dodges you can't have spikes like before. You could still do, but it'll be very difficult and discouraging to those you do them because they're so easy to avoid or break.
With all those aoes and their big impact, you can't have a structured fight.
With all this mobility neither.
Without all the classes roles, you can't have as much coordination between players as before with the old GvG scheme.
So to answer the second question, i'd say yes. GvG, Guild vs Guild is still possible, but in a another aspect.
Take the old map ''Warrior's isle'', you could not imaging it with guild wars 2's gameplay, it would be anarchic. You have to take the parameters of gw2 in count. The map is too small because of the aoes and the mobility.
So why not make the map bigger ? It would encourage splits while making 8v8 still possible.
I think the model of the warrior's isle is a great model because you could tweek it and it would be awsome.
Full team vs full team
To solve the fact that in general the fact that 8v8 is really hard i'd propose to :
- Maybe get smaller groups. (not 8 but 6)
- Embrace the healing system, but make it possible for every profession. Without all the useless aoes. (please put the infuse on guardian that would be awsome !)
------> Nerf the personnal healing, buff the inter-personnal healing.
- Less aoes. If not less, make them weaker or more precise/require more skills.
- Make the battleground bigger, really bigger.
- Reduce the effects on the ground. It's too flashy.
This way we could have longer, better, funnier fights.
The split system
One of the key aspects of guild wars 2 I think would be the splits. Classes have so much mobility it would make the game really fluid. You'd see rapid chases, rapid movement towards the bases etc... The main group would be fighting the other main group while there would be small skirmishes elserwhere.
The flag and the objectives
The flag and morale system was great in guild wars 1. I watched not so long ago a video of the guild wars 1's faction championship and I remembered how much the flag and the moral boost was important. Sadly we can't bodyblock anymore... I don't think it would be awful to put the body physics back into guild wars 2. I think they got rid of it because some people used to farm and exploit the mobs's AI but I personnaly think it's worth putting back, guild wars 2's pve and pvp wouldn't be very exploitable anyway with the body physics. Ho now I get it, you could block someone and grief him... Well why not just put it back only for GvGs ? Anyway, it's ok without it. We have crowd control skills.
The gank system
Guild War's 2 gameplay allows for a lot of gank potential. Coming from the back door with a small group and put a SMALL aoe or so into the back line of the ennemy team or just trap a splitter alone would be awesome and entertaining to watch.
The mob system
I personnaly think that the game as it is right now, wouldn't encourage people to fight each other. There could be just simple rushes to the guild lord and that's not fun.
In the base : In the foefire map of gw2 there is a guild lord, thankfully the rushes are impossible or are not a very good decision because of the non-radical impact of killing the lord or the fact that there is a huuuge door. Tough I find that door discouraging since it cripples the split option. I'd like to go back to this old system with a npc that can unlock the door or something along those lines.
Once inside the base, there would be npcs that protect it. But if you add as much npcs as there was in guild wars 1 If fear that it would be too easy to break trough and rush the lord, and the mechanics of guild wars 2 have to be taken in consideration. A modification must be added.
-> Add more npcs in the base
-> Give those npcs more power (such as damage, vision on stealth ennemy, anti croud control)
This is a guild war, most of the time castle on castle, base on base, there isn't 10 soldiers in a war, there's more !
Another aspect that could be considered, but really is just there for the epicness... Add waves of mobs on every ''lanes'' of the map ? So it would look like a war a little bit, give maybe more depth to the positionning, etc. Added to this there would be siege, fort protection, mob wave clearing (so there would be more movements). But this is a bit fancy, tough it would maybe work.
Out of the base
The soldier on the outside of the base always had an impact on the positionning of both team. It would lay a hand to the allied side while pressuring the other. Picking off the soldiers one by one was recommanded and your team had to take care. 3-4 arrows in the butt and some sword swipes and you'd be hurt bad.
This aspect is important, and must be reinforced since guild wars 2's mechanics gives more power against ncps, you'll have to make them stronger, and add the number to their count.
That's one of the main purposes you'd split or pick up some npcs. The end game.
When all the npcs of the map start to move and join the fray in the center. It was nearly a huge mess, and it always was, that was fun. 20sec of mess in a game of 20 minutes, where you had 5 seconds to turn the tide if there was soldiers in front. I remember my team having a dervish and calling a spike on a huge amount of clumped up npcs, getting rid of most of them, this was game changing, but was coordinated. It's still possible in guild wars 2, and I believe it would be a good mechanic to keep.
Make use of the axe Z and the jumps
I've seen great designs in the mapping of guild wars 2's sPvP for exemple in the kodan map, you could get a view to the center while you were on a roof or a little piece of wood going out of a roof. Wich I found awsome because it add a little jumping aspect in the game and falling would be punishing while staying on it would be rewarding. Imagin on the warrior's isle the same wood pieces going trough the center of the map just over the 2 teams, the stress it would give, the tension, etc ! Same for trees and stuff, tough it would be hard to fix because of bugs that could occur.
The game is balanced, but this balance is boring.
When you can do everything at the same time, you're not good, it's not good, it's not fun.
I think that every classes can say that there exists a relative balance between each of them. Tough I'm also sure that it's not really true...
Balance is good, but because you can't rely no more on your teamate as much as before, anet had to make it so everyone can escape from a warrior, everyone can heal up in a fight, everyone can do damages spikes, etc.
That's not good. I remember back in the day with my warrior in guild wars 1, would I have found an ele alone, I would have picked my bow, charge up my sprint, then rush into his face with a bullstrike then finish him. Unless it was an ele blind... But it was fine because the damage he did wasn't so subsequent so my team would have time to react to this.
It had always been a relation of strenght. One always had a slight advantage over the other, wich allowed the other to have enough time to get help from his team. It was roles vs roles. Anti-frontline won against frontline. Healers was medium against front line. Anti back line were horrible against frontline. Frontline were good against everything that was squishy, etc. It was your team's job to know where to put what force into the battlefield to keep the balance and turn it into your favor.
This leads me to my next point
Make the classes, or should I say, the builds, more specific.
I don't want to be able to win against everyone as long as I can use my ''skill''. I want to be able to win as a team and have fun with this. Gw1 did a great job a this. I know guild wars 2's classes have their own little spicy parts, but in the end it doesn't change a lot of things.
Anet has to give the traits more impact. Make the player have to choose a role.
In some games, picking a traits would give you a skills specific to this trait tree, this is a good idea, but not necessary. I don't think gw2's traits change a lot of things, they just give you small advantages over certains situations, but don't really change your role. I want the traits to determine my role !
For exemple giving the infuse from gw1 to the guardian or the ele, and make it so the 50% health sacrifice exist, but is really impactfull if you pick the trait that gets along with it, otherwise it would just be a little tiny boost. For exemple.
Another exemple : Give interrupts to the mesmer or the ranger at high end traits !
I'd like to see major traits changes. The trait system is good, but doesn't go along with what I think would be best for GvG.
Also, making the weapons more specific would be good, tough I think they are fine, maybe.
This would make 8V8 much more organized.
And in a perfect case, everyone could be anything, but as long as they pick up a role.
Get rid of the circles and rectangle on the ground
It's too much for PvP. To play GvG, you need to learn to know what skills are thrown at you. That's simple, I don't see why players would be complaining, it'll require a little bit more skill.
Bring back the skill incantation timer
So we can interrupt and read into the build. This would help understand what aoe are thrown into us, a harder way, but without all the effects on the ground.
The archetype of the balanced build, the pressure build, and the full damage build.
Make the classes, or should I say, the builds, more specific.
Now let's think about the players. What would they do ? What build would they make ?
I see 3 types of builds : The balanced (can respond to anything but does not hard counter, a bit tanky), the full damage build, and the pressure build.
Balancing all the skills to allow 2 teams of 8 players get a fair fight, while not crippling the pve is hard, I understand this. Tough it is possible, I have the firm conviction that it is.
Anet did it in guild wars 1, and they still can in guild wars 2.
Some points have to be clarified tough. With the aoes being so important I fear that a group of non skilled players running a full damage builds would be able to oblitarate a balanced build because of the ball syndrome. It depends on the players and the balance system to be able to conter that. And I find it sad that in guild wars 2 you can just pop all your skills and create a huge burst of damage, while clumped up. But it's ok, I think there are ways to counter it.
Conclusion : GvG is possible, eSports too. But the aoe critera and the healing critera are to be taking in count. You could apply the map designs of guild wars 1 and adapt it to guild wars 2, but it needs to be bigger. And lastly, classes need to pick a role, and not be versatyle with few differences.
Now i'll re-read all my post and edit it so I can upload it on gw2's official forum. It know most of you guys won't make it trough here, and I'm sorry about that, I can't make a powerpoint :/.