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Shayne Hawke

Member Since 19 Aug 2009
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:28 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: BBC: Hacker given in-game death sentence

09 May 2015 - 08:25 PM

I've never heard of this player and can't find anything else about them on YouTube.  I don't see what the point is of trying to shame a person who probably doesn't feel any about what they've done, or how this is going to be much of a deterrent/setback to that person since they didn't seem to be too invested into their account anyways.

In Topic: Claim Your Spot in the Next Heart of Thorns Closed Beta

29 April 2015 - 07:10 PM

[quote name='Satenia' timestamp='1430324812' post='2355091']
So far, I've spent a few hours in the Silverwastes. The drop-rate is very very very low. I mean low to the degree where you can participate in a full event cicle (1h+) and never see one linked in map-chat even though you're playing in a full map. Granted, not everyone getting a drop is going to post it, but it should give you a rough idea.

I mean I understand that this is for a closed beta and that access has to be limited. However, that the luck element has to be paired with grind is what irks me. Personally, I don't see how you can ensure quality in a beta when you select the participants through luck and willingness to grind limited content. That has entirely nothing to do with being an active player and having a broad and open-minded view of the game.

It's easier for ANet to get positive feedback that doesn't challenge their ideas and makes them feel good about themselves by recruiting people that embrace the current model so much that they're willing to grind themselves against it.

In Topic: 2-Part Specialization Blog Posting

25 April 2015 - 03:33 PM

View PostEphraimGlass, on 25 April 2015 - 02:04 PM, said:

Shayne Hawke, I think that you make some good points. I find myself a little bit miffed by your diatribe against "stupid people" but that's because I agree with Datenshi's point that "you have to choose between efficiency and fun". I found that as true, if not more, of Guild Wars, as I do of GW2.

There's nothing wrong with playing efficiently or for fun.  The difference is between people who can drop playing for fun to play efficiently with others and people who just can't stop playing for fun.  The latter crowd just ends up wasting everyone else's time and so they don't get included with good players that don't want their time wasted.  Let them spend their time with teams that take four hours to clear the Underworld.  The real problem begins when these kinds of people go on to complain about how they're not being rewarded as much as the efficient players for playing for fun, and ANet, instead of turning around and telling them to git gud, locks over half of everyone's skill bars into specific sets of skills.  This forces bads to have a minimum set of decent tools to use in any encounter, but viciously denies efficient players a much greater spread of options that they could still comprehend.

And really, I don't like talking about playing efficiently and playing for fun like they're mutually exclusive, because there are many like me who find playing efficiently to be a way to have fun, so let me call playing for fun "being whimsical" instead.  The only places I can think of where a choice between doing something efficiently and being whimsical doesn't exist are situations where you are being forced to do one thing.  Being whimsical and being efficient are natural opposites and are that way for a reason.  People who can't (or refuse to) accept that being whimsical won't give them as good results as being efficient are stupid.


Between you and Datenshi, I think the core of the problem becomes clear. You emphasize that they're reducing the complexity of the game. She points out that there's no incentive to explore even the existing complexity. I think that both are true. I only play 'Zerker on 3/8 of my characters but even on the other five, I look at a lot of the options and they're just lackluster. They're "false" options, just filler to make it seem like I have more choices than I actually have. If the simplification of the skill system between GW and GW2 and the proposed change to traits slashes the complexity but focuses on retaining the viable options, it has the potential to be an improvement.

There were a lot of false options in GW as well, though it took more time to figure them out because there were so many to consider and because just how well they could synergize with all other options was also not immediately obvious.  The reduction in complexity from GW to GW2 to GW2:HoT contributes a lot to making the false options in this game much easier to spot.  The sheer efficiency of the most efficient builds over less efficient ones all being tied to one thing (doing damage vs. doing anything else) can be viewed as ANet having made another attempt at adding complexity back into the game with gear stats and failing spectacularly by universally designing the game to be best handled by one of those types of gear, as Datenshi points out.  I'm sure that if there were more skills and more traits to choose from and fewer imposed restrictions on the bar, there would still be a much greater desire for zerker stats over any other type of gear.  That's still no excuse to further simplify skills and traits down to where gear stats are at, and increasing complexity in gear stats won't change that the rest of the world has been made to fit an option that already exists.

In Topic: 2-Part Specialization Blog Posting

25 April 2015 - 02:49 AM

Alright, let's go a little deeper into this new system.


In our reveal of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™, we told you that specializations are our way of giving existing professions new skills and traits. Specializations are actually a much bigger addition that will have an impact on both new and existing skills and traits. Here are some of the big reasons why we’re excited about specializations:
  • They separate stats from traits, opening up builds by trait choice rather than stat choice.
  • More power! You now get to select nine major traits instead of seven, including three grandmaster traits.
  • Each trait is more impactful, so choices are more build defining and meaningful.
  • The new, more streamlined unlock system is friendlier to new players and much less of a burden on players with multiple characters.
  • This new system is one that we can continue to expand while maintaining a strong sense of balance.
The original goal of the Trait system was to create a way to customize your character beyond their skills. What we’re trying to do with specialization is take everything that was positive about the Trait system and boil it down while removing or modifying the parts we felt held it back. This new system provides a solid foundation for our plans to expand the number of available traits and skills in the future.

The first thing that came to mind when I read this was, "Why do we even need a trait system to begin with?"

Let's take a moment to think about the original GW.  Character customization in that game revolved around the bar of eight slots to be filled with skills either from your primary or secondary professions.  Secondary professions were not fixed, so any character could get access to any skill in the game and any skill bar could be populated by skills of any of up to two professions.  The only other limitations on the bar were to have no skill appear twice and no more than one elite skill.  All of these skills then varied in effectiveness based on how many attribute points you sank into them.  The large pool of available skills combined with little restriction on what could be used provided enormous freedom over one's build.

This system had two problems.  The first problem was that stupid people drowned in their options.  Just because there were a lot of possible builds and a lot of ideas on what you could do doesn't mean that very many of those ideas were any good.  Bad players picked bad skills and/or had poor build synergy and would either get themselves stomped in PvE or ruin their team in PvP.  The second problem was that ANet drowned in controlling those options.  Good players could create and share exceptionally effective builds so well that ANet couldn't keep up.  They had created a scope of creativity that they lacked either the knowledge or tools to harness.  Balancing skills inappropriately could lead to huge, unpredictable swings in the meta.

There were tough solutions to each of these problems that ANet decided weren't for them.  The first could have been solved by recognizing that stupid people can be left alone to be stupid, but those who were stupid on other people's time needed to be dealt with.  They already were being dealt with by the community who refused to let them into the good GvG teams or good HA teams or good speed clear teams or would kick them off teams trying to do missions and so on, leaving these people out of the better rewards the game had to offer.  The second problem could have been solved by just getting better at balancing the skills, which could mean hiring better balancers or having established benchmarks for what should be doable by each profession and how and being able to evaluate what players were doing against those benchmarks (how much pressure should a warrior be able to put on, how are these other frontline builds comparing to this benchmark, what skills are allowing these builds to deviate from our benchmark, etc).

Instead, ANet opted for an easier solution that solved both problems: tie down the complexity of the skill system by removing secondary professions, offer fewer skills, and put more restrictions on what skills you can use.  Thus, the GW2 skill bar and selection is born.  Bads become better because they can't make total garbage builds like Meteor Shower and Maelstrom on a warrior bar or have eight dagger attacks on a monk with no daggers.  A minimum badness is enforced through requiring half of the skills on the bar to be associated with a usable weapon and the other half be populated with utilities, including one skill that helps them not die and another that is supposedly better than any skill that couldn't go into that slot.  Good players can't outpace ANet because there are only so many "good", creative, and unusual builds that can be made from such a limited pool of options, and the number of available skills is small enough that even ANet can manage them!

The end result is that complexity tanks, hard.  As a rule, if you've set a standard of complexity for players of your game and you seek to make something in that game simpler, you should add some form of complexity back into it to maintain the game's depth.  The way ANet chose to do this was with traits.  Trait points are like the attribute points of GW.  For GW, you pumped attribute points into a line and all the skills of that line would get stronger.  For GW2, you pumped trait points into a line and then picked available traits that would make your skills stronger, but you could also take on traits that had other effects not related to skills, like faster endurance gain or buffs you get when stuff happens.  The result?  The skill + trait system is still stupid simple.  It turns out that traits don't offer the sheer complexity or creativity that fixing skills to specific slots on the bar and cutting the skill pool took away.  And really, what should have been the expectation?  For ANet to look at the pit of a thousand skills they'd put into GW and say, "We don't want to face such a balancing nightmare in GW2," it would have been ridiculous for them to put so many restrictions on the skill bar and then also come up with a brand new system that reintroduced enough build complexity just to cover the sets of core and Prophecies skills.  Instead, the trait system serves its greatest purpose as making it look like ANet is trying to preserve some semblance of build diversity while not actually enabling anything remotely close.  And now with specializations, they want to make their simple system even simpler.

Throwing out the complexity side of things for the moment, there are other problems with the trait system that could be improved upon.  ANet already did one of those things by cutting trait points down from 70 to 14, forcing them to be spent in increments that would yield minor or major traits, though also demonstrating at the same time how pointless it is to have so many levels in the game.  They've also identified another fair problem in traits having anything to do with attribute points.  Maybe it's a good idea to boost your healing power at the same time as picking up traits that help you heal your allies, but why should you have to go up two different lines for condition damage and duration when one line offers much less helpful traits than another one you could go up?  ANet takes a middle road on their solution though, deciding only to take half of the attribute points from trait lines and put them towards base stats and gear, leaving the other half locked to specific lines.  The last big problem with the current trait system, the one which they introduced last time they chose to mess with it, is how trait unlocks work now.  It used to be that you would just get all the traits for the tier you had unlocked when you were a certain level, but that apparently was too cheap and involved too little work by players to satisfy ANet, so they tied unlocking traits to doing nonsensical things like clearing level 80 zones and level 50 dungeons for level 30 traits, or you could buy a book which is expensive both in gold and time (skill points).  Their solution to this is to introduce profession reward tracks which don't make enough sense to me in how they work to comment on yet.

And if those were all the problems and how ANet sought to fix them, things might be fine and I might not have spent hours writing this forum post.  However, just like last time they messed with the trait system, ANet wants to touch shit that isn't broken and introduce specializations.

"Hey, now, this doesn't have to be a bad thing, you know.  They could deal with that lost complexity issue they've had since the beginning of the game."

Right, except they don't do that at all and decide to double-down on dumbing down the system again.  The new specializations are just like trait lines with fixed minor traits and flexible major traits, except that instead of being able to select a trait of that or any lower tier for your major trait, you get to pick one of three for that specific tier.  Also, unlike how you can currently put trait points in as many different trait lines as you'd like to gobble up good adept traits from many different lines, you are limited to choosing three specializations and going completely through each one.  How does this impact diversity?  Choosing any three of the six specializations (core + one elite for now) gives you 20 options and each specialization can be set up 27 different ways, totaling just under 400k combinations.  In contrast, one full trait line can be set up 6 * 9 * 11 ways, which yields just over 350k combinations for any two of five trait lines, and there are still two trait points left over to pick any of six adept traits in any of the three remaining trait lines.  This is already enough complexity in traits to eclipse specializations, but what about the almost 19 million ways to pick three major master traits and one adept trait?  The 50 million ways of picking one full line and two lines to their major traits?  No, any claims being made that ANet can preserve this kind of build diversity under their new specializtions system or that it promotes creativity don't hold in the face of the numbers.

Ultimately, this is a further move towards a dumber game, a simpler game, a game with less opportunity for players to be inspired by new ways they can build their character.  ANet is following the rule of balancing complexity by adding it when you remove it, but not with the intention of maintaining the complexity from Guild Wars, and not even the level of complexity in the game now.  Traits got added in to make up for skill scaricty and bar limitations and didn't come close to compensating.  The expansion will open up a new weapon and trait line to all professions, but all trait lines get dumbed down to specializations at the same time, taking away more than what gets added.  Simplifying these systems and limiting players' freedom is the cost of ANet creating a streamlined system to add more "simple-izations", make more expansions, and sell tickets to a theme park with dumber and dumber rides and less work on their behalf.

Happy 10th anniversary, Guild Wars.  You can take your complexity and depth that made ANet successful and shove it.

In Topic: How you guys think the game ended up being?

13 March 2015 - 07:37 PM

View PostHaggus, on 13 March 2015 - 09:29 AM, said:

Many people who think Guild Wars, or other earlier MMOs, were superior to this game have VERY rose-colored glasses concerning those games.  It reminds me of a woman thinking of her first love, remembering all the great things she thinks she remembers about him.  They forget he was an ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, who drank a lot, chased other girls, and was a minute-man in the bedroom.  Still, at the 20 year high school reunion, they'll be chasing that same balding 'tard around the room, wanting to "catch the magic" of that first time.

Guild Wars was a great game, for its time.  They used a unique model of combat and set-up, and were the first good tournament-style PvP game.  That being said, I can make a laundry list of ways it was inferior to this game.  Same for UO, WoW, EQ, TSW, or any other games you throw out there.  Some of it is personal, as are all opinions; but a lot of it is based on sheer limitations of the games.  While I may bitch about certain aspects of this game, I will NEVER miss the Trinity; Build Wars; X-Y axis limitations; Non-persistent zones; the nerf-bat that, at one point, came out every month; IWAY; Sabway; every-other-way; Shadow Form and the hate for 'Sins; perishables making even Hard Mode a walk-through; lack of crafting or an auction house(Kamadan doesn't count), Sins running like Quasimodo; Rangers running like they were holding in a suppository; ... the list goes on.

So keep dreaming about how hot that first love was.  You are much better off with this girl.

You're justifying dating one crazy person by pointing out that their older sibling you'd been dating before was also crazy, like you've somehow made an improvement or justified anything.