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[Looking Ahead Discussion] New Skills & Traits


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#1 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:15 PM

In an effort to keep the noise down over discussing the various points hit upon by Colin's most recent post, I've taken the time to create different threads in the General Discussion forums to cover the different aspects.  The overall point is that there's just so many points he hit upon, it's very easy for the original news post to have several conversations going on about the different points.  This is for organizational purposes, as people will want to comment on each point and having an in-depth discussion and analysis will create Wall o' Texts.  The Magic Find changes were already posted and can be found here.

This covers the follow content in the post...

New Skill and Traits

We’ll begin regularly adding new skills and traits to the game for each profession to expand your characters and builds! You will be able to earn these new traits and skills by unlocking them. To go along with this, we’ll expand the content and options to earn skill points to help encourage players to experience different challenges and content throughout the world. These skills and traits will be designed to be balanced with the existing skills/traits we currently have in the game, and will simply compliment and expand the range of abilities and tactics available to each profession. Both WvW and PvE players can acquire skills and traits, and additional means of earning skill points will be addressed for both core content areas.

The regular addition of skills and traits that you can earn as you play provides us an extremely stable, easily expandable reward system that fits neatly into the pillars of progression and advancement that Guild Wars 2 are all about. Your character will be able to grow and change for years to come without invalidating everything you’ve earned so far.

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#2 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:20 PM

Based on the wording, I initially said this would have issues in PvP... but it looks like any new skills and traits will not affect PvP.  Probably for the best.  If they want to foster a PvP community, they can't just be throwing stuff in there that would upset the balance.

My main concern with this is that it'll just be a series of new shinies for people that will both further homogenize the classes or add very little depth to the game play.  The overall game play is already lacking in serious depth, so adding more toys (the Assassin's Creed model of character development!) will not have a major impact on things.  Yes, freedom, kind of like what GW1 had, but IIRC, the addition of news skills was a hallmark of the PvP in GW1, because of the depth of builds you could create, not necessarily the PvE.

Edited by MazingerZ, 18 July 2013 - 04:20 PM.

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#3 SZSSZS

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:34 PM

View PostMazingerZ, on 18 July 2013 - 04:20 PM, said:

Based on the wording, I initially said this would have issues in PvP... but it looks like any new skills and traits will not affect PvP.  Probably for the best.  If they want to foster a PvP community, they can't just be throwing stuff in there that would upset the balance.

The addition of new skills and traits on a regular basis will of course mean expanded variety of abilities, builds, and tactics in PvP as well. As these additional skills and traits are added, they’ll be automatically unlocked and available for competitive PvP just like all existing skills/traits work today.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you, but it seems the skills/traits will carry over to PvP.

#4 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:37 PM

Quote

Both WvW and PvE players can acquire skills and traits, and additional means of earning skill points will be addressed for both core content areas.

I was interpreting it from this blurb.

So back onto my point in the originating post then:

There are fundamental issues with doing this, the least of which is that the current system still is not balanced (it actually just WORKS now, it's not BALANCED, a lot of bugs are finally squashed) and you're going to add more spinning plates to the mix.  Nevermind the impact on PvP and your attempts to court the e-Sport community.  Do the custom arenas allow for the banning of specific skills and traits?  No?  Then you're setting yourself up for failure, as when things are released that are deemed improperly balanced by the PvP community (who tend to not necessarily know HOW to fix something, but tends to know WHAT is a broken mechanic), they like to have the option to remove it from game play to make it a more balanced game.

Edited by MazingerZ, 18 July 2013 - 04:37 PM.

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#5 SZSSZS

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:49 PM

Indeed it's likely this'll amount to power creep, over time. The pace at which they release these skills though, may make it a lot more manageable than the campaigns of the original game. I do hope they prioritize bringing underused skills up to par.

The idea of a sort of "banned/forbidden list" option within custom arenas is an intriguing idea. Very reminiscent of TCG's.

At the very least, they seem intent on releasing these skills/traits for free. It's possible, much like Eye of the North, these new skills will quickly penetrate the meta, and possibly become staples. So if they basically become required, at least you aren't forced to buy an expansion to keep up.

Edited by SZSSZS, 18 July 2013 - 04:50 PM.


#6 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:54 PM

View PostSZSSZS, on 18 July 2013 - 04:49 PM, said:

The idea of a sort of "banned/forbidden list" option within custom arenas is an intriguing idea. Very reminiscent of TCG's.

It's pretty much a staple of both the MOBA scene and the FPS scene.  Certain champions and weapons are just banned for being 'broken' at the time of whatever competitive tournament or whatever is taking place.
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#7 Zhaitan

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:55 PM

Are we again setting ourselves to see the repeat of Nightfall in GW2?

Adding New Skills and Traits over time is pretty much opening up to imbalance, power creep and also, alienating a section of the playerbase that enjoy playing the game few months at a time and then take a break to come back to play some more. With these changes, you will have to gather skillpoints to gain these. If I am not mistaken it will be done the way they did masteries in WvW. Talk about adding grind in gameplay.

Dear ANET, please make the game fun and challenging first. Some of us do not need new skills to WTFSTOMP all trash that you manage to throw at us. <lol>

#8 Baron von Scrufflebutt

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:57 PM

If experience has taught us anything, is that this is going to be bad for the game: traits are barely working, we already have tons of them that are utterly useless and the skills are poorly balanced.
Having said that, ♥♥♥♥ YEAH NEW SKILLS!

#9 madmaxII

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:00 PM

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't GW2 already have a system to separate PvE and PvP skills? In that case they could go crazy for PvE and be more careful as far as PvP is concerned. :D

#10 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:07 PM

View PostmadmaxII, on 18 July 2013 - 05:00 PM, said:

Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't GW2 already have a system to separate PvE and PvP skills? In that case they could go crazy for PvE and be more careful as far as PvP is concerned. :D

That's not the issue.  The issue becomes when it becomes a quagmire to balance an every increasing number of combinations.  Either you end of making each skill completely crap and therefore aren't adding to the depth of gameplay, or you make it worthwhile and expend a lot of development effort to closely monitor the PvP scene and strive to maintain a balance.

For MOBAs and FPSes that is their bread and butter.  For GW2, it's a percentage of their community that will receive attention appropriate to the level of revenue it brings into the game.  It has huge potential to be one of the loveliest train wrecks in history.
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#11 Arewn

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:08 PM

Kinda uncomfortable with the idea of constant new skills do to balance concerns, I really wish the GW1 crowd didn't complain for it so much.

#12 MazingerZ

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:11 PM

View PostArewn, on 18 July 2013 - 05:08 PM, said:

Kinda uncomfortable with the idea of constant new skills do to balance concerns, I really wish the GW1 crowd didn't complain for it so much.

I honestly don't think that's a result of the GW1 crowd.  A lot of that group has already left the game.  I think this is their attempt to add depth to the game play, but considering everything else, I don't think they really have any idea how to make a game.  A cash cow, yes, but not a game.
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Every patch is like ArenaNet walking out onto the stage of the International Don't Kitten Up Championship, and then proceeding to shiv itself in the stomach 30 times while screaming "IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD! IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!"

#13 Mhenlo

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:11 PM

View PostArewn, on 18 July 2013 - 05:08 PM, said:

Kinda uncomfortable with the idea of constant new skills do to balance concerns, I really wish the GW1 crowd didn't complain for it so much.

I actually agree with this. The GW1 crowd should have learned the first time. Although, the PvE crowd loved it, it drove away the PvP crowd. That being said, I don't think balance can get much worse, so no harm no foul?

#14 Zhaitan

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:23 PM

I am one of the so called GW1 crowd. I don't think I ever complained about the present number of skills. What I felt weak in this game is the one answer to every problem - dodge. In GW1, there were multiple counters. In GW2, they removed many of those to simplify this game and to make it more appealing to general masses - For example, you don't need to be that perfect mesmer to PD a 1/2 second cast or interrupt a rez or coordinate your effort to spike down a target or manage your adrenaline for the right opportunity.

Many GW1 folks who complained about skills really meant the lack of variations in builds in GW2. Guild Wars really was Build Wars. Good or bad. It was what it was and it was pretty damn good for many of us. This game has absolutely no resemblance with it. Most classes go with 1 or 2 variations in their rotations and that's it. So, please don't pin this on GW1 crowd.

Edited by Zhaitan, 18 July 2013 - 05:24 PM.


#15 FoxBat

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:34 PM

So far I see *utility* skills. Yes they matter, but outside of portal, they haven't been the thing that makes you bring X class over Y. As you'd expect for skills with big cooldowns and short effects.

Traits with their persistent effects, as well as new weapons, are a different story.

#16 Calypso589

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:54 PM

Nothing will every truly be balanced in totality. It's a constant teeter totter. I typically tend to ignore those types of conversations however for two reasons

1. I'm not the developer
2. everyone and their mother says THIS is op or THAT is broken or THAT is underused and THIS is overused. Everyone has a different story and it's really not worth paying attention to if you find the overall experience enjoyable, as I believe most of you do due to your passion towards improving the game.

That said, I strongly support the implementation of systems that would allow a user in charge of a tourney or match or what have you the ability to ban certain skills or traits from use.

I imagine it's tough for Anet to balance because as I said, everyone's got a different story and it's hard to get the facts straight

BUT

if they can clearly see that skill "A" or trait "B" is consistently being banned from tourneys and matches then that tells them immediately that there's a potential issue with that skill/trait that needs looked into. Useful data such as what skills and traits ARE being used in relation to the ones that constant AREN'T being used could help identify balance issues.

Actions are always louder than words and if the majority is consistently saying through action "this skill/trait sucks" then that would spark interest in Anet moreso than the nonsensical whining that can dominate the pvp forums.  Though there is of course valuable feedback to be gleaned from there as well. It's just a pain to sift through. lol

Edited by Calypso589, 18 July 2013 - 07:55 PM.


#17 ylistra

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:32 PM

I suspect that the new traits will be completely pointless.  Like a +MagicFind trait replacing the soon-to-be-removed armor stat, or +5% damage vs. Ambient.

#18 EphraimGlass

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:55 PM

As a predominantly PvE player, I'm pretty happy about the prospect of having more skills and traits to play around with.  If they add new weapon skills, I'd like to see an implementation that lets you pick and choose which 2 or 4 skills (always leaving the basic attack in place) you have assigned.  Get rid of the distinction between main-hand and off-hand skills.  (But keep the limitation of some professions being able to use some items in main, off, or both, for purposes of determining basic attacks.) If a profession can equip a weapon in either hand, let them pick from all of the skills associated with that weapon, regardless of which hand it's in.

#19 Omega X

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:07 PM

I don't think the GW1 picket squad crowd asked for that. A lot of those people were already fed up with the game and left.

#20 DeConstruct

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:06 AM

I'm a firm supporter of new Skills and Traits. Combat as it is right now doesn't have enough depth. It wont ever balanced perfectly but it shouldnt in my eyes. We need to take a page out of the playbook of MOBAs like dota2 and realize that even very few means can turn into a very competitive battle if you lay out the maps and victory conditions right.

Right now everything's so damn uniform that there's too little flavor and not enough dynamic. Let people just be a little more tanky, a little more nukey, a little more supporty, a little more controlly and so on. The holy trinity isnt magically going to be forced back in if you spread things enough. Especially if you build on the combo system enough. The combo system in my eyes really has the most potential. They could add a major strategic element to both PvP and PvE. Right now the combos are just sorta there. Make something like a fire patch combined with projectiles have enough lasting effect to force certain positioning etc.

Point being, as long as there is a metagame and not simply player versus player or player versus enemy, there can actually be a bit of an imbalance.

#21 Nightblaze1

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:18 AM

As a some what casual gamer (meaning I don't care much about meta game) I am very happy about these new skills! Even though many people on the forums will always share negative feedback about new systems in place that could effect balance and the meta game. Forum communities only represent a substantially skewed opinion of hardcore gamers, you will find that the majority of players will actually be very pleased with these new additions as I am. :D

I see GW2 as the most casual friendly MMO out there, and that is why I love it so. So bring on these new skills! I want there to be heaps of them so I can create an almost completely unique build to anyone else. :P

#22 sfbrh

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:12 AM

I really like the idea of this; its a very unique and extremely fun progression system when got right.

I do also have doubts about whether they will get it right however, especially regarding balance, and bugs. The amount of traits that go bugged for way too long is unforgivable.

That said, if they plan on doing this regularly, they should have a team for it (cut 1 living story team, idc) so that issues can be addressed immediately.

Also, I think they should add a dps meter if this does go live so the community can be more informed on balance for feedback when they muck up an implementation (forgetting that warriors can get 2x the damage modifiers of other classes or somesuch).

Edited by sfbrh, 19 July 2013 - 02:14 AM.


#23 Ritter

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:25 AM

View PostDeConstruct, on 19 July 2013 - 01:06 AM, said:

I'm a firm supporter of new Skills and Traits. Combat as it is right now doesn't have enough depth. It wont ever balanced perfectly but it shouldnt in my eyes. We need to take a page out of the playbook of MOBAs like dota2 and realize that even very few means can turn into a very competitive battle if you lay out the maps and victory conditions right.

Except in Moba/ARTS every hero/champion has a set of skills that cannot be changed , there's also ban/pick phase so that the teams can have a much more clear view of what to expect to lay out their strategies.

Edited by Ritter, 19 July 2013 - 02:25 AM.


#24 Featherman

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:40 AM

I think you guys are stuck on the idea that balance is the evening of power. I have different criteria for balance.

For PvE the system will be balanced if new skills adds to the game's challenge rather than minimize it. The problem with GW2's PvE at the moment is that the combat isn't challenging in any sense. This is largely due to the homogeneous skills system and enemy design; there's no conveyance of right or wrong skill use as with other games (a weakness/resistance system, for example) but a difference in dps. I can see the introduction of new skills as a sort of fix for these issues. These new skills can possibly create meaningful niches within classes, each with both right and wrong skill use depending on the enemy, rather than the "every class does everything all the time" nonsense we have now. What worries me, however, is that there's no talk of redesigning enemies, so these skills could very well become a different way to dps in the end.

PvP is a different monster because the hurdles in achieving balance lie much deeper than skill balance. The entire structure of the game mode is broken when it comes to balance. People often say GW2 is balanced towards tvt, but the gameplay supports more a 1v1 mentality. Unlike in tvt games like MOBAs there's no counter-picking before matches. Players are more or less locked into one profession, and they're more or less going to feel attached to profession. This means that they'll be offended when that class doesn't function to their ideal play style. Point capture encourages random 1v1s and 1v2s with few timed objective pushes that involve the entire team. An sPvP player will want balance towards 1v1, because the game kind of encourages it. Because of this delicate nature buffs and tweaks are enough to cause uproars on the forums. Needless to say it's going to be a lot worse when one profession gets a skill that lets them beat the majority of other profession, but the skills is technically balanced in a theoretical tvt setting.

Edited by Featherman, 19 July 2013 - 02:41 AM.


#25 draxynnic

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 04:32 AM

I do find the assertion that more skills -> worse balancing to be... interesting. Certainly, releasing a big bucket of skills all at once as happened with GW1 campaigns and expansions produced major upsets to the preexisting balance, but if they're introduced at a more measured rate, I could see new skills and traits actually helping to establish balance - providing counters to existing powerful setups and shoring up weak professions, without potentially upsetting the balance somewhere else by overwriting an existing skill or trait that had its own purpose.

I can certainly understand the concern, but a handful of skills and traits introduced here and there is a far cry from releasing two new professions and nearly doubling the skills available to existing professions all at once.

View PostFeatherman, on 19 July 2013 - 02:40 AM, said:

I think you guys are stuck on the idea that balance is the evening of power. I have different criteria for balance.

For PvE the system will be balanced if new skills adds to the game's challenge rather than minimize it. The problem with GW2's PvE at the moment is that the combat isn't challenging in any sense. This is largely due to the homogeneous skills system and enemy design; there's no conveyance of right or wrong skill use as with other games (a weakness/resistance system, for example) but a difference in dps. I can see the introduction of new skills as a sort of fix for these issues. These new skills can possibly create meaningful niches within classes, each with both right and wrong skill use depending on the enemy, rather than the "every class does everything all the time" nonsense we have now. What worries me, however, is that there's no talk of redesigning enemies, so these skills could very well become a different way to dps in the end.
I think this is a big deal. The reason why everyone defaults to DPS in PvE isn't because of profession design - the professions actually have an interesting diversity in the way they support and control. The problem is that encounter design means that control is often pointless, and many forms of support are also pointless. A large part of the reason why PvE is dominated by the Warrior/Mesmer/Guardian trinity is because the support skills available to that trinity are actually useful, while professions like the elementalist, which is quite supportive on paper (and is balanced on the basis of being more of a support profession than DPS) finds that their attempts to support often go to waste.
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#26 Mastruq

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:00 AM

A step in the right direction, hopefully acquiring these new skills involves interesting gameplay and not just spending 20 skill points or beating a quick "skill challenge" veteran to unlock it.

#27 Kurosov

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:46 AM

View Postylistra, on 18 July 2013 - 08:32 PM, said:

I suspect that the new traits will be completely pointless.  Like a +MagicFind trait replacing the soon-to-be-removed armor stat, or +5% damage vs. Ambient.

Why on earth would they remove MF taking up useful stats after player complaints only to have it take up a spot on the far more important trait system. That would be a totally nonsensical backwards move.

#28 Isolani

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:45 PM

This is a fairly interesting topic so far and I guess my input on matters would be to ask this

Do people actually want balance?

Are we really striving towards a game where everyone's auto attacks are identical? It is my opinion that the more varied a skill set people have would actually provide a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

A meta cannot exist without variety, and meta's excel when: [Profession A > profession B > Profession C > Profession A] this state of imbalance can be conducive to fantastic game design. The important thing to remember is that professions should not be judged on the biggest number - That leads to powercreep. Rather professions should have different mechanics to offer diversity. What is better: a teleport or a massive damage move? You cant compare them because one or the other might be depending on circumstance.

I also feel there are not enough moves that stress verticality, the developers spent an awful lot of money on developing a Z axis (something that was missing in GW1) why on earth are they not structuring more content around it? (the new jumping stuff in zeypher sanctum is a welcome addition but I have never used a jump in combat as of yet)**

**well I jumped over the stuff in flame and frost dungeon but that was a one off as I have never had to again.

Also I massively support the idea that combo fields need to be waaaaay more influential on the battlefield than they actually are.

All in all I welcome new skills, so long as old skills do not become obsolete.

#29 EphraimGlass

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:55 PM

View Postdraxynnic, on 19 July 2013 - 04:32 AM, said:

I think this is a big deal. The reason why everyone defaults to DPS in PvE isn't because of profession design - the professions actually have an interesting diversity in the way they support and control. The problem is that encounter design means that control is often pointless, and many forms of support are also pointless. A large part of the reason why PvE is dominated by the Warrior/Mesmer/Guardian trinity is because the support skills available to that trinity are actually useful, while professions like the elementalist, which is quite supportive on paper (and is balanced on the basis of being more of a support profession than DPS) finds that their attempts to support often go to waste.

I've been thinking a lot about this idea.  I've occasionally posted encouragement for people who wish to play alternative builds solely for their own enjoyment.  That's how I tend to play.  There seems to be a lot of momentum behind the notion that combat isn't very challenging or fun, so that playing DPS is the only reasonable choice.  When one argues that it's possible to play alternative builds, the advocates for all-DPS ridicule that notion as only making fights slower, not more challenging.

I've not been able to verbalize my objection to that argument before but I think it's as simple as this:  Yes, all-DPS acts as a win button for PvE.  If, however, your team includes a blend of DPS, control, and support, the gameplay that emerges is actually more engaging.  When fights take a little longer, dodging no longer obviates support.  When you can't spike down every enemy, then healing, positioning, and combos become more relevant.  When there's actual ebb-and-flow to combat, then control and support help players get into and out of aggro gracefully.  Playing this way isn't just deliberately crippling the team to make it slower.  It actually allows the subtle, team-oriented, role-shifting gameplay that they've always touted show itself.

I'll make a cooking analogy:  GW2 combat is a delicate sauce.  The seasonings will be lost if you use add a heavily salted stock to the sauce but if, instead, you use a low-sodium stock, then you'll be able to taste all of the flavours.

#30 Bryant Again

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:38 PM

I suppose that in a way yes, I do I want 'more skills'. Specifically I want more skills that I can change, i.e. not having half my skillbar locked. Weapon skill options, to me, sounds loads more interesting than new traits and utility skills.




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