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Rinoa144

Member Since 25 Aug 2012
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#2185716 T1 WvW: The Big Three Olympians

Posted Tyrantscreed on 30 March 2013 - 03:56 AM

March 29, 2013
JQ vs. BG vs. SoR

The big three!

Posted Image

Kneel!


#2159580 Legendary Weapon - I can't decide if I really want one. Do you?

Posted Hirsty on 06 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

Waste of time in my opinion


#1935559 Thief - A basic Guide

Posted The Shadow on 15 September 2012 - 10:07 PM

Table of contents:

ia. Introduction
iib. Weapon Sets
iiic. Shortbow
iiid. How to use the Shortbow effectively
iiie. Ok, Shortbow, now what?
ivf. Pistol/ Dagger
ivg. Sword/ Pistol
ivh. Dagger/ Dagger
ivi. Pistol/ Pistol
ivj. Sword/ Dagger
ivk. Dagger/ Pistol
vl. How to gear up
vm. Runes and Insignias
vn. Weapon Sigils
vio. Utility Skills
viip. Healing Skills
viiiq. Elite Skills
ixr. Trait trees
xs. Steal
xit. Example Build
xiiu. Leveling Up
xiiiv. Conclusion

For those of you that don't want to read the whole guide and would rather read a section or two press Ctrl + F and search "ii." for example, then hit enter, it should take you directly to that section. Not sure how convenient this is to use, but I tried!

ia. Introduction

Many people have private messaged me on Guru asking me things such as; "What build should I use?" "why is x weapon set so good?" I also see a lot and I mean a lot of rubbish in this Section. I'd like to offer you guys my interpretation of the Thief's role. I'd also like to share my view on various weapon sets, how to gear up and share an example build as well. Feel free to correct me if you see any errors. Hopefully this will help somewhat.

First things first. I view a Thief's main strength as being mobility. NOT "Spam Heartseeker GG". No other class can parallel our ability to both move around the map and evade the majority, if not all, incoming threats via a multitude of different ways. I.e. Withdraw, Shadow Refuge and more.

We've been given the tools to be evasive. Now we need to exploit this. "Our time is now!" Sorry, I really felt like it.

I wrote this thread a long time ago. In the past I dismissed certain trait-lines and weapon-sets. I was very wrong to do so. My opinions have changed quite a lot since I initially wrote this post. As such I'm slowly updating every section to better reflect my current beliefs.

Recently people have been using this thread as a "Hey! I'll post my current build on Shadow's thread such that he can critique it and give me pointers!" or a "I'm trying to achieve this certain thing, how can I build/ gear towards that goal?" and posts like that are absolutely fine by me and I will quote you and reply (though sometimes it might take some time for me to do so).

iib. Weapon Sets

We don't have access to very many weapons. It's a bit of a shame, but y'know what. It's fine. Quality over quantity anyway! We have some really great weapons to choose from, most of which are incredibly useful. My whole perspective about Thief weapons is shaped around the Shortbow, keep reading to find out why.

iiic. Shortbow = EPIC!

Shortbow is our best weapon! The sooner you accept that, the sooner you will notice just how amazing this class can be.

1 - Auto attack, ricochets and hits multiple foes. It is the 2nd most damaging AoE auto attack in the game after ele. It's very handy to have an AoE basic attack when dealing with a resource, just in case it gets depleted. It's also very handy because it heals you for the first arrow and all subsequent hits after that when paired with Signet of Malice.

2 - Cluster bomb, seriously, the AoE DPS you can get out of this one skill is absolutely phenomenal. Not to mention the fact that you can stack some bleeds! And most importantly... SPAMMABLE BLAST FINISHER.

3 - Woohoo! A built in evade! "No you stupid Ettin, you won't bash my face to the ground with you're ludicrously large club, I'll evade it!" Seriously though, incredibly useful for when you're out of Endurance/ Utility,

4 - Choking Gas - Yep. A Combo Field. What's not incredibly useful about this? I almost always, without exception, initiate a battle with this skill.

5 - Infiltrator's Arrow - This really is our shining grace in GW2. Not only does map travel (a lot of time in PvE) go a lot faster, it can also be used in combat to attain a strategic advantage via blind, general mobility and most importantly, turn around and run if the situation gets just a little too sticky and there is no shame in that!

In my opinion, the Shortbow is simply too strong a force to ignore. It should be a staple on every Thief's build both in PvE, PvP and especially WvW. It's extremely satisfying to use!

iiid. How to use the Shortbow effectively

Please note: It's very important to know when to detonate when using Cluster Bomb, not only will you hit more foes, you'll also deal significantly more damage and apply bleeds, additionally this is what triggers Signet of Malice to heal you for many more hits. HOWEVER. If you leave it un-combusted, it becomes a BLAST FINISHER. You can finish any combo field for a vast amount of party wide buffs and healing. Water/ Fire fields are particularly awesome.

It is also important to consider the range at which you use the Shortbow. You can use the Shortbow from quite a distance away. It's not always optimal to do so however as the arc of the shot becomes somewhat ridiculous. Also, you can detonate the cluster whenever you choose. Detonate it higher up and the spread is larger (has it's advantages), detonate it closer to the target and the harder you'll hit the foes directly in that area of effect. So in essence; use the arc/ detonate in a way that makes sense to you depending on mob positioning and environment. Almost every encounter will be different.

I honestly think it's one of the hardest weapons to master in the game because each shot in a fight will be different because you have to keep moving/ kiting and your foes will too! It does require a lot of control and game-sense. Of course like with everything though, practice makes perfect. Once you get to grips with the weapon you can actually do some pretty amazing things that you probably wouldn't have thought possible.

So really, the question we should be asking next is; Which other weapon set works best with the Shortbow? Or, which weapon set offers something that the Shortbow does not?

iiie. Ok, Shortbow, now what?

The answer, really, is; Single target DPS. That is probably the only thing that the Shortbow doesn't offer. So which weapon set offers this? Well, all of them pretty much. Obviously some are better than others at different things. I find myself using all of them for different situations. Weapon switching is fairly easy, swapping out utilities is also fairly easy, it's not impossible to swap out certain traits in between battles either. So why not take advantage of this?

ivf. Pistol/ Dagger

This was my faveourite weapon set aside from Shortbow. There is a built in Evade on 3 just like there is with the Shortbow, again, this is incredibly handy. So too can you stack bleeds, when pressing 1 once you've popped into stealth (via Cloak and Dagger). This weapon set isn't the best for DPS. It's the best for SURVIVAL (a very important aspect since a dead Thief is a Thief that deals NO DPS). It also synergizes well with the Shortbow as a substantial amount of damage comes from bleeds.

This is the set I use for general PvE, fighting veterans, champions, world bosses and more. It's just so easy to stay alive!

ivg. Sword/ Pistol

This set, probably deals the highest Single Target/ PBAoE DPS in the game, for short periods of time. The auto attack is damaging, the dual skill hits exceptionally hard, you have access to a PBAoE blind, can teleport in AND out of combat while cleansing one condition, can stun, immobilize and of course, interrupt using Pistol Whip.

This set however, mostly involves being stationary and spamming 3, repeatedly, a lot. That is what you'll find yourself doing. Honest. So naturally I don't find it much fun. On the other and, it's great for those massive boss fights in Dungeons. You can pretty much stun lock a boss (or as close as you can get to stun lock with the help of Haste) while dealing, quite frankly, ridiculous damage. 2 Thieves using S/P in a dungeon is extremely devastating.

There are issues with this set however. Mainly the lack of mobility, defensive utility and sustain. As such.. there are many scenarios in which you probably wouldn't want to opt for this particular weapon set.

ivh. Dagger/ Dagger

I use this weapon set a lot. Mostly because it's quite fun and extremely effective. The auto attack is really quite amazing, especially when you trait specifically to improve it. It's really quite a fast animation and can also do some serious damage. More importantly you can get some crazy back stab crits via Cloak and Dagger. As if that wasn't enough,,, LDB is a built-in evade as well and honestly, I use LDB as a defensive tool as opposed to a dps dealer. Yes it will stack lots of bleeds, but I don't believe it's superior, in terms of DPS, to simple 100% back stab crits with some flanking auto attacks inbetween. Heartseeker was nerfed, but honestly, that's fine. I didn't and still don't touch it much, I treat it as a gap closer as opposed to a finisher. Most of your damage with D/D will come from backstabs, but more about that later!

The greatest thing about Dagger/ Dagger, and indeed Dagger as an offhand is that 100% access to stealth and almost more importantly that AoE cripple. Dancing Dagger is an AMAZING skill that has saved my hind, my team's hind and everyone else's hind, A LOT. It ricochets, deals damage, and cripples. It's amazing and hugely under-rated. USE IT!

/D offhand was severely nerfed relatively recently. As such, I've stopped using /D so much. It's still effective, but Dancing Dagger was just so good.. and now it's not as good. I use D/P mostly now.

It also works extremely well with the Shortbow as the cripple offers you enough time to dodge, regroup and launch a counter of clusters back and with any luck, finish them off.

All that being said... This is probably the safest set to use. You can't go wrong really. Not a single skill wont be useful.

ivi. Pistol/ Pistol

I use this set mainly for World Boss events since being a few feet away from the boss is very advantageous. The DPS on unload is amazing and you can practically kite eternally (depending on how you build).

The only problem with this set is, for me anyway, just like Sword/ Pistol, it's rather boring and involves for the most part, pressing 3. The other issue is the fact that's it never really that good. The auto attack stacks bleeds and does little physical damage. The dual skill doesn't stack bleeds and does relatively good physical damage. It doesn't really synergize well with itself.

However this set can work extremely well in certain situations.. Mainly the Asura fractal where almost every single foe is ranged. So... Don't let me put you off it.

ivi. Sword/ Dagger

To my surprise this set actually became one of my favorite sets. I fell in love with the built-in mobility you could access simply by pressing 2. The stealth skill is pretty useful too, daze + blind. It shares all the great things of having dagger as an off-hand as well.

I use this set a lot in Fractals. Particularly the Ice and Dredge maps as the immobilize/ interrupt becomes invaluable. But also because it allows you to return to the fire once you've been teleported away.

ivj. Dagger/ Pistol

Honestly this is my favorite weapon set currently. I used to hate D/P. I used to think it was made redundant by other mechanics we had access to naturally. I also thought it was too expensive to manage. I was partly wrong.

I decided to give this weapon-set another go as a result of the dagger-offhand nerfs. It became a debate of; what can I do with D/P that I can't do with D/D and vice versa. I came to the conclusion that D/P is more versatile. Said versatility comes at the cost of needing more initiative. Thanks to Trickery and Shadow Arts this becomes possible.

What this means is, D/P isn't too good. Until you build around it. That means investing fairly heavily into trait trees that you might not necessarily want to invest in. The outcome is extreme survivability while still dealing amazing DPS.

Main tip while using this set, don't just spam 5, time it properly, heartseeker through it to get into stealth and then backstab only when appropriate, please note, this doesn't work if another combo field is on top of the black powder field. The interrupt and daze we have access to is simply amazing, you can effectively kill a mob by pressing nothing other than 4. This however requires good timing and latency, you also need to be able to read enemy animations. The problem with this is that most of the time it simply wont work on bosses/ legendaries/ champions.

Either way, I'm greaty enjoying this set in both PvE, PvP and Dub Vee Dub.

vl. How to gear up

So, a constantly asked question is; "How should I build? What gear should I save up for?"

The answer is simple. What needs to be considered is *how* a thief deals damage.

A thief deals damage through 2 main ways;

1) Critical Hits

2) Conditions

So decide which route you want to go down. Or be like me and do them all. Mind you this will probably make you bankrupt and force you to run many dungeons many times :)

vm. Runes and insignias

It will always whittle down to "how much survival do I need in this particular situation?" There's no point sacrificing DPS for survival if you have no issues surviving.

That being said, it is possible to gain a lot of survivability without sacrificing too much DPS. So this is why I use:

Weapons - Zerker - Accuracy/ Force/ Fire

Head - Zerker - Divinity
Shoulders - Zerker - Divinity
Chest - Zerker - Divinity
Gloves - Zerker - Divinity
Legs - Zerker - Divinity
Feet - Zerker - Divinity

As for runes there is much debate between Scholar Vs Divinity Vs Eagle. Check them out, make an informed decision for yourself. I prefer Divinity.

Amulet - Distinguished Circle of Logic
Ring 1 - Red Ring of Death
Ring 2 - Bagh Nakh
Earring 1 - Warmaster's Family Heirloom
Earring 2 - Appleseller's Lucky Cog
Backpiece - Quiver of Swift Flight

The reason for this, what my come across as being sporadic, ascended gear choice is:

I used a build calculator and used it to come up with what suits me and my needs. I suggest you do the same,  it's easy to use!

http://gw2buildcraft...lculator/thief/

For condition builds I usualy use Runes of the Undead for the added toughness, but mainly the 5% extra condition damage which is pretty damn nice. The x3 trinity for bleed duration is quite nice too. Decide for yourself based on weapon set + how much toughness you have and whether or not it's enough to make Undead runes worth it.

vn. Weapon Sigils

As for weapon Sigils, there are plenty of good ones. Fire, Critical Chance 5%, Damage 5%, 60% on crit to bleed, bleeds last 10% longer are just a few that should be considered.

The sigil I use on my Shortbow. Well I honestly have like 5 Shortbows with different sigils. My favorites would be the one with Bloodlust/ Perception/ Energy/ Air.

By the way Fire > Air because AoE > single-target.

I generally use Fire + Force on one weapon set and Bloodlust on Shortbow. If my build has less relatively low crit chance I'd use Fire + Accuracy. For Surv/ cond builds I'd use Geomancy + Corruption and Energy on Shortbow or if going Crit/ cond I'd go for Earth.

vo. Utility Skills

We, as Thieves, have access to many absolutely great Utility skills. In this section, instead of giving you a rundown and long explanation including various situations and uses I will simply highlight some of the ones that I find to be most deserving of a place on my bar, in no particular order.

Shadow Refuge
Haste
Shadow Trap
Ambush Trap
Blinding Powder
Caltrops (very very scarcely)
All of the signets
Smoke Screen

None of the venoms make it onto my list. I think they are all very gimmicky and more importantly just... pretty useless unless speccing into Shadow Arts for leeching venoms (which I don't find particularly rewarding in any case). I reserve these views on venoms for PvE. Obviously in PvP they have a place, but beings as this is a guide for PvE, I won't be touching on that.

viip. Healing Skills

This is a tricky subject. All of the heals have their uses, all of them are pretty obvious. I don't feel that I need to elaborate here as I really think it is largely down to preference and circumstance. What I will say though is this;

Signet of Malice very rarely leaves my bar simply because the vast majority of fights will involve AoE. That and it works extremely well with my weapon selection and choice in Elite (look below for more info).

viiiq. Elite Skills

Basilisk Venom

See views on venoms above.

Thieves Guild

Honestly more of a PvP skill. The 180 cooldown isn't so great in PvE. It can be nice at times because the Pistol thief will blind foes and the Dagger thief will deal significant damage.. but still. Not to mention both of them will draw aggro away from you. But still, I maintain that this is more of a PvP skill.

Dagger Storm

I find this to be the most useful elite skill purely because.. It's more useful in more situations than the other two. The cool down is fairly short in comparison too,  but most importantly, when paired with Signet of Malice, providing enough foes are around, it will heal you practically to full health while maintaining Stability and dealing relatively good damage. It's my "Oh Shi-" button. It is fairly epic when paired with Haste (must be said).

It kinda bums me out that we have so few elite skills, but that is a qualm I have with elites in GW2 in general across all the classes. I guess I'm just blinded by the amount that we had access to in GW1.

ixr. Trait Trees

In this section I'm going to list the traits that I find particularly useful in each individual line and I will also briefly explain the main reasons I either do or don't spec into a line.

It is very important to remember which trait tree offers which stats when putting a build together. There is not much point in building for a 100% Crit build and then investing 30 points in Trickery, that is simply counter-productive.

Deadly Arts - (+ Power, + Condition duration)

Sundering Strikes, Mug, Back Fighting, Dagger Training.

I generally don't ever put 30 points into it, only ever 25 for Exposed Weaknesses. This line for me, isn't a staple, however, when I want to deal the most possible damage with a Power build, it's a must as there is no other way to compensate fully, sometimes however, survival trumps DPS. This trait line has a lot of synergy within itself.

Critical Strikes - (+ Precision, + Critical damage)

Furious Retaliation, Side Strikes, Pistol Mastery, Practiced Tolerance, Hidden Killer, Executioner.

This is our most important trait-line for Power or Cond/ Crit builds. It drastically increases your damage output and arguably survival via stat points as well as by trait-choice.

Shadow Arts - (+ Toughness, + Healing power)

Master of Deception, Infusion of Shadow, Shadow's Rejuvination.

This line offers a lot of survivability via stats as well as minor traits. It also allows you to manage initiative far better. I generally don't like putting more than 20-25 points into this trait-line, unless I'm going for a full out survival/ condition build.

Acrobatics - (+ Vitality, + Boon duration)

Descent of Shadows, Power of Inertia, Vigorous Recovery, Fleet Shadow, Quick Recovery, Quick Pockets.

As a general rule 15-20 points in Acrobatics are a staple for all my builds. This is due to quite frankly; awesomeness from both minor and major traits. Initiative recovery, passive might building, extra vigor, extra dodge as well as extra Vitality. This line is probably my favorite. That being said, I never find myself investing 30 points into this line.

Trickery - (+ Condition damage, + Steal recharge rate)

Flanking Strikes, Thrill of the Crime, Long Reach, Bountiful Theft, Hastened Replenishment.

Honestly, I pretty much hate this line. I do see the merits of using this line and understand why some people like it, for me though (for any kind of build) I simply find it to be severely sub-par in comparison to all of our other options.

xs. Steal

During the Beta Events I was highly disappointed by our class-mechanic. I honestly thought; "It's only useful when you trait for it and why would anyone want to do that?" Upon playing the game I've actually found Steal to be exceptionally useful.. It can serve many purposes even if we don't sink any trait points into the mechanic.

A lot of people keep posting "I try to use Steal as often as possible" as though it's some kind of good habit all Thieves need to get into - That is absolutely NOT how it should be used. It's not a spammy spammy skill at all.

Firstly, Steal is a stun-break. There are a lot of mobs in PvE that enjoy knocking you down (see above, Ettin w/ club) and keeping you down in stun-lock (Spiders in CoF). Steal enables us to break-stun absolutely freely. No wasted utility slots, no wasted initiative. Get out of Jail free card. Wonderful.

Another great thing about Steal is the fact that the cooldown initiates the second you activate Steal. So you press F1, you acquire an item, you can keep this item for the whole duration of the cooldown, use said item and then use Steal again straight after. Obviously this has it's advantages, specifically when dealing with a tricky set of mobs.

Whenever I acquire an item from Steal I don't use it directly. If it's a good one like Feathers or Cyclone Axe, I'll treat like a cookie and save it for later as opposed to wasting it. It's happened before, I'd click F1 twice and bam, I lose my feathers.. And they don't do jack all because of the internal cool down on stealth.. So be patient with it. Cause I can assure you, one day, you'll find yourself in a situation and you'll be saying; "If only I kept that stolen item... It would have been handy now!"

So don't spam it. Try to learn all the effects and pictures to make the whole process easier and more efficient.

xit. Example Build

The Build I'd like to share with you all is just an example.

http://gw2.luna-atra...0f0858c8n8p8ujp

Let me just explain my reasoning here.

Signet of Malice + Clusterbomb = Godly.

Haste + Dagger storm + Signet of Malice = Godly.

Shadow refuge = Simply a really great support skill.

Signet = Improves our critical chance, it's active use is also quite nice. Especially with 15 in acrobatics.

Other utilities that should be considered;

Roll for initiative - Stun break, re-flll resources, brilliant skill.
Signet of Shadows - 25% move speed, great for map travel. Blinding nearby foes is nice too.
Ambush Trap - great for solo PvE. Slightly less lonely :D
Blinding Powder - it's just a great skill!

Use them where and when you think they will be most useful!

As for traits, let me exlplain why I chose what.

25 Deadly Arts:

- Chance to cause vulnerability on critical hit.

This works really well with our Grandmaster trait which enables us to deal more damage when there is a condition on our target. There should be conditions on said target already, but this only helps.

- 5% dagger damage, pretty essential for dealing mahoosive backstabs.

30 Critical Strikes:

Firstly, precision, this boosts our critical chance. Staple on all my bulds.

- 5% crit chance above 90%. More crit chance, useful no?

- Returns initiative on critical hit, you'l be critting often, resource management is always important.

- +7% flanking, most of your day as a D/D thief, you'll be behind an opponent/ at their flank.

- 100% crit from stealth - Incredibly useful. if you scroll down below you'll see some discussion about Hidden killer versus executioner's. Both are good traits. I personally prefer the certainty hidden killer offers. That's not to say its statistically superior though. I reckon the difference in all actuality is pretty negligible. But I highly suggest trying out both and deciding which you prefer.

- 10% more damage over 6 initiative. Great, more free damage. I felt as though I was lacking! Seriously though, don't use Cloak and Dagger until you have 10 initiative, and don't backstab till at 6!

15 Acrobatics:

- You can dodge 3 times and gain might + swiftness on Dodge. Paired with built-in evasion with SB, you just have loads of mobility!

xiiu. Leveling up

This is just a step by step approach of how I'd build from 10-80 taking the example build into consideration.

I'd start with putting trait points into the following trait trees:

10 in Critical Strikes
10 in Acrobatics
5 in Deadly Arts

Save up the points from 35-40 such then when you hit 40 you can put those 5 points into Acrobatics. So at 40 you should have;

10 in Critical Strikes
15 in Acrobatics
5 in Deadly Arts

From 40-60 I'd put an additional 10 in Critical Strikes (being the priority since it enhances your crit chance) and then the other 10 in Deadly Arts. Bringing you to:

20 Critical Strikes
15 Acrobatics
15 Deadly Arts

I would then proceed from 60-80 to max Critical Strikes and then put the rest of the points into Deadly Arts.

xiiiv. Conclusion

Now guys, we have an amazing multi-faceted class here with a lot of potential. Pre-release I was very skeptical. I didn't think we had much to offer. Boy was I wrong!

It can be challenging at times but I do guarantee a lot of fun. It takes a lot more consideration than; "spam this skill, ???, profit" I hope this thread has to an extent at least, proved that.

Please remember that everything in this post is just my view, my interpretation, my preferences. Use this however you please. If it helps you, then I'm glad I posted. If it challenges you and makes you think; "Well, maybe I should give X weapon another go" or "I need to try trait Y the next time I login" then this thread has for me at least, proved worthwhile.

I hope to update this thread in the future with more builds, more information, more tips and tricks and specifically post some in-depth findings about our role in high-end dungeons.

I've been The Shadow, Happy Thieving!

Also, feel free to add me in-game if you have any questions. I'd be happy to answer providing I'm online. My IGN is Shadow.2069

Oh and feel free to post this anywhere you like so long as you don't neglect to give credit.

Terms and conditions apply.


#2116600 Magic Find on gear - a problem

Posted jirayasan on 13 December 2012 - 08:49 AM

Magic Find on runes are really bad, people could go with damage runes, tank runes or support runes but instead they go magic find runes. There changes ArenaNet can make to stop it.

- Jewelry Runes - Can be put on necklaces, rings, backs, accessory. 2 ring slots, 1 necklace,1 back and 2 accessory. That's 6 jewelry slots = 1 full rune.

- Food and drinks - Can be made by Chefs. This is already ingame.

Please make Magic Find for jewelry and food only.


#2128830 Ascended-tier Stat Projections (theorycrafting)

Posted Runkleford on 27 December 2012 - 12:49 AM

You've wasted your time. The main complaints about Ascended gear wasn't because people thought that it would be a huge advantage but that it would be a start of a gear treadmill and power creep. Your post here does nothing to contradict what a power creep is by definition. Anyway, tired old dead horse, blah blah blah.


#2021389 Supportive Warrior Builds Part II [Numerical Analysis]

Posted Sithicus Dias on 15 October 2012 - 08:33 PM

I recently wrote a post detailing three main Support Build ideas for Warriors, one of which detailed the use of Banners as a source of the Regeneration Boon, the other was the other uses Burst Healing from Shouts, and the final build idea was a Control build. Anyhow, the details of each of those builds, and the theory behind them can be found in the post “Supportive Warrior Builds [Think tank]” found here: http://www.guildwars...lds-think-tank/

I’ve been commenting on several threads that have been asking about support builds, and whether to choose banners or shouts as a source of Healing. However I’ve been challenged on one particular statement lately. I believe Shouts are a better source of healing than Banners. I’ve detailed a number of reasons why in the other thread. Shouts, I believe, give you more healing for your Healing Power, than Banners do, but I am being challenged on that (and rightly so might I add), so in this thread I am going to detail some Numerical Proof for my theory. This thread is purely to compare the Healing Support builds, so the Control build is not discussed here.


The Scenario:

Firstly, here are some opening statements to set the scene.

Banners:

Banners provide you a large heal over the duration you are under their effects and the talent that makes this so is called Inspiring Battle Standard (or IBS). The other talent usually coupled with this is Inspiring Banners (IB) which reduces Banner cooldown by 20%, and increases their radius. Note however that there is no talent that improves the healing you receive from Banners.

Shouts:

Shouts provide Burst Healing from the Grandmaster Talent, Vigorous Shouts (VS), however in the Master slot there are two “shout augmenting” talents to choose from. Firstly there is “Shrug it Off”, which automatically activates “Shake it Off!” (SIO) if you have more than 2 conditions, it has a 30 second cooldown. Shrug it Off does NOT activate your SIO cooldown, but it does Heal you like other shouts. Secondly, there is “Lung Capacity” which reduces the cooldown of your shouts by 20%.

So those are the two over-arching methods of healing, but what about the numbers? There are equations defining both methods of healing, let’s begin with Banners (NOTE: All numerical proof is done for Level 80):


Empirical Regeneration Formula:

5+(1.563*Level) + (0.125*HealingPower) = Health per Second

OR

t*(5+(1.563*Level) + (0.125*HealingPower)) = Total Healing Done

The symbol "t" represents Time. This equation details how Banner regeneration is dependent upon your Level, and then a factor equal to 12.5% of your Healing Power stat is added, and a constant to provide the amount of health the regeneration ticks for. The left hand side of the equation is rounded up to 130 Health per Second at level 80.

For Shouts, the equation is somewhat simpler:


Empirical Shout Formula: 1192+0.8*HealingPower = Burst Heal

The number 1192 is the amount you are healed for from a Shout at 0 Healing Power. It is important to factor however that I am assuming that you are using For Great Justice, On My Mark, and SIO as your Shouts, which equates to two 25 second cooldowns and a 30 second cooldown.

So which is better?


This is one of those occasions where it’s really hard to crunch the numbers in your head, so I used a Google Spreadsheet to crunch the numbers. Since the banner equation calculates healing done per second, and the Shout equation calculates total heal, the best way to compare these builds on raw healing is to consider a steady state period of 100 seconds (which covers the duration of a banner).

I chose an arbitrary period of 100 seconds because it gives a fair representation of what might be a short boss fight for example. It is necessary to monitor the healing over a non-insignificant period because there are plenty of subjective criteria that undermine either of these builds.

This method of calculation also allows the comparison of Cumulative Healing Done over time.

In order to compare the numbers, the healing is "normalized", i.e. the Banner Healing per second is multiplied by 100 (for each second), and in the google spreadsheet (link below), the data series shows that over 100 seconds, each cell is the cumulative value of itself and the previous cell.

The spreadsheet detailing all of the numbers and charts is found here, it is assumed from here on that you refer to this spreadsheet alongside the rest of this post:


https://docs.google....Q1JRZy1xOVlBa3c

Assumptions:

Given that this is a theoretical comparison of two builds, it is necessary to put forward some assumptions (although I prefer Initial Conditions, as i'm sure do the rest of you Mathematicians/Engineers) Just to explain the spreadsheet a little bit, the general assumptions of this model can be found as:
  • At Time, t=0 you use all of your shouts, and re-use them as soon as they are cooled down (i.e. with Lung Capacity, by 20 seconds you will have used 3 shouts at t=0, and your two 20 second cooldowns are now reused, hence 5 shouts have been performed by 20 seconds).
  • For the “Shrug it Off” data series, this is highly theoretical, unrealistically so in fact. It is assumed that at t=0 you use all 3 shouts, and that at every possible opportunity, your automatic SIO procs as well. This is generally unrealistic, since i'm fairly certain there is no such overwhelming condition application anywhere.
  • It is assumed you remain under the effects of your Banner(s) for the entire 100 seconds.
  • There are two data series relating to Shouts, one for each Master talent that invariably affects the Healing you output.
  • The Banner healing is always a Linear relationship with time, and the only way to improve Banner Healing is via improving Healing Power.
  • Shouts have no activation time, hence it is necessary to ignore that same activation time of Banners too.
Discussion:

At this point I hope you are looking at the spreadsheet. Don't worry too much about what is on the first sheet, that is just the series of numbers relating to each method of healing. The shouts column is manually input for the most part as a number (of shouts) multiplied by the Healing from a shout. At 20 seconds for example, this multiple increases by 2 (up to 5), since you have in theory re-used your shouts again. This is also assumed due to Shouts having no activation time, so it can be accurately expected that the time to activate a shout, have it cool down and use it again, is wholly equal to just the cooldown.

The cases considered are the Healing received with Healing Power = 0, 900, and a Theoretical Maximum. In order to explain the "Theoretical Maximum" I have tried to list all possible sources of Healing Power, and add them up, this includes:

  • Exotic Cleric's Armour: Helm = 45, Shoulders = 34, Chest = 101, Leggings = 67, Boots = 34. Total = 281
  • Weapons: MH = 90, OH = 90, Total = 180
  • Jewellery: 2x Rings = 134, 2x Earrings = 112, Pendant = 90, Total = 336
  • Miscellaneous: Tactics Banner = 90, Defense (30) = 300, Sigil of Life (25 stacks) = 250, Food = 70, Rune (of Water for example) = 165.
  • Grand Total = 1672?
I tried to consider all possible sources of Healing Power, there is Armour, Weapons, Jewellery, then Tactics Banner, Defense Line, Sigil of Life and Food. I can't think of anymore sources of HP right now.

Now to explain the Charts. These are plots of the data series' you can see in the first sheet, this is a much easier representation of healing done. First of all, the Legend:


Blue represents 3x Shout Healing, with Lung Capacity.

This series uses 3 shouts whenever possible, traited with Lung Capacity.

Orange represents 3x Shout Healing, with "Shrug it Off".

This series uses 3 shouts whenever possible, traited with "Shrug it Off", which is assumed to proc every 30 seconds.

Red represents Banner Healing.

This series represents the Healing Done from a Banner over the duration as long as you are consistently under the effects of it's regeneration.

Green represents Banner + 3x Shout Healing COMBINED.

This series looks at the combination of the 3x Lung Capacity Shouts and Banner Healing.

Purple represents 2x Shouts Healing.

This series uses FGJ and SIO only, and compares the healing to Banner regen, doesn't really require much discussion, but there are scenarios where FM is good, so here are the numbers...

Light Blue represents a World vs World idea.

This series is an idea from a commenter, who suggested using FGJ, SIO and then Fear Me! for a WvW oriented build.

It is necessary to state at this point that Shrug it Off is generally discounted as a viable comparitive tool for Healing, since to actually achieve the numbers it suggests it relies on highly theoretical assumptions (i.e. that as soon as the auto SIO cools down you will immediately have it proc again, which is largely untrue). As such, Lung Capacity Shouts will be used as the legitimate comparison.

By constructing this spreadsheet, it is clear now more than ever that Shouts are the more dominant source of Healing. At the bottom of each data column are cells with %age values, showing how much MORE Shouts heal by compared to banners over that 100 second duration.


An interesting point I followed up was to run a data set of wholly unrealistic levels of healing power for 100 seconds, and compare healing done then (see "Convergence" in the spreadsheet). The Banner healing DOES begin to converge to Shout healing, but will never overtake it, even at 20000 Healing Power (yes, Twenty Thousand!). I performed this short analysis by using the equations for Shouts and Banners, and just substituting different values of HP, and multiplied the Banner equation by 100 (seconds) and the Shout equation by 17 (that's how many shouts in 100 seconds).

The chart in the sheet named "Convergence" shows the way in which Banners converge to Shouts. As you will see, the blue line on the graph is the ratio of Shout Healing to Banner Healing (for 3 shouts), and it shows that as HP approaches infinity 3x Shouts will always be ~9% more effective, they will never meet. However for the red line, this shows the ratio of 2x Shouts vs Banner healing, and it shows that at HP approaching Infinity, Banners will be ~23% more effective.

2x Shouts, or 3x Shouts?

This is a section i said I would add in for comparing 2 shouts to Banners. Refer again to the google spreadsheet and look at all the charts again. The new purple line represents Healing from using 2 shouts (FGJ and SIO). By referring to the "Convergence" sheet, you'll see the exponential curves again, this time I added a red line to represent a comparison of 2x shout healing to Banners. Note how the line is always below 100%, and converges at ~77%, this shows the theoretical convergence between using 2 shouts compared to Banners.

The main difference between using 3 shouts and 2 shouts (with Lung Capacity) is that with 2x Shouts, you ultimately use 5 less shouts across the 100 second period.

However, for achievable levels of HP, 3x shouts are roughly ~27% more effective than Banners, and Banners are roughly ~10.5% more effective than 2x Shouts. It is important to note that adding in that extra shout (OMM) every 24 seconds (totalling 5 extra shouts over 100 seconds), goes from a -11.33% to a 25.61% margin over the test period. You can draw whatever conclusions you like from this difference, but this highlights just how pivotal it is for a VS build to hinge upon 3 shouts as opposed to 2 for maximum effectiveness.

I'm sure some of you have probably seen exponential curves like this before, as such you know that it will continue until Infinity, and they will never be equal. However, this post has relied on one great generalization, the idea that this is level 80. Theoretically speaking, what if the level cap increases? I haven't done the maths on this just yet, but the Shout Healing constant of 1192 is woefully ambiguous, and needs to be properly broken down in to a factor of Level, and possibly a constant. Once I do that, i'll be able to discern if in light of a level cap increase in an expansion, if Banner and Shout Healing might be different.

The Effect of Healing Power on each method:

I originally theorized that Shouts benefited more from Healing Power than Banners do, I was challenged on this, however by comparing the numbers for HP=900 (Lung Capacity) at 100 seconds, Shouts have healed for 32504 Health, Banners have healed for 24488, the following formula allows bonus healing done as a result of healing power to be found:

(Total Healing – Base Healing)/Healing Power = Health Healed per point of Healing Power

Hence for Shouts: (32504-20264)/900= 13.6 Health per point of HP over 100 seconds.

And for Banners: (24488-(130*100))/900 = 12.76 Health per point of HP over 100 seconds.


Note: 13.6 and 12.76 are constants, and remain the same for all values of HP (but not constant with respect to Time).

The above equations show that Shouts benefit more from Healing Power than Banners do over a non-insignificant period of time, albeit not by much. I’ll explain this further. The formula above eliminates the effect of “Base Healing”, i.e. the healing you would receive from Shouts/Banners at 0 Healing Power, and so the difference between Base and Total is the Healing you have received solely from your Healing Power stat. Dividing this by Healing Power shows how much Health is gained per point of Healing Power.


Considering that 1672 is the relative Max Healing (or if it isn't, it's certainly very very close), at this level of HP, Shouts heal 26.77% more than Banners do. Despite the convergence I showed between them, at least at realistic levels of Healing power, this is the crucial numerical proof that Shouts heal more than Banners. Note however that I said Shouts heal more, not that they are universally better...

As a short justification for the method I chose to do this analysis I'd like to explain the idea of using 100 seconds in more depth. I chose to analyze the healing done over 100 seconds, because it is trivial to consider this as a transient case (i.e. the Healing over a fleeting period of time), since the numbers would be wildly skewed in favour of shouts. Whereas 100 seconds is easily enough time to encompass an entire Banner (they seem to stay down for ~90 seconds). Like most things, you need a period of time to fully establish a pattern, for example when you switch a radiator on, the room does not instantly heat up to the desired temperature, but it probably has done after 1 hour. So if by chance, Thermodynamics is your thing and you were analyzing how fast your room would heat up, you'd need to compare the heating rate from the minimum temperature, to the maximum in order to correctly reach a conclusion.


Summary:

Finally, while I think i've satisfactorily proved that Shouts heal more than Banners (even in highly theoretical, stochastic and even wildly unrealistic conditions) I’ll end on a few subjective cases to compare and contrast the builds to one another, since there are characteristics outside of the Numerical side that can alter the effectiveness of each build:
  • I’ll begin with the obvious, Banners are a gradual regeneration over time, some encounters don't see you taking devastating damage, there are plenty of cases where you might tank multiple weak mobs. Regeneration can actually allow you to not even drop health here. However with Shouts you would actually have to invoke your cooldowns... Regeneration can be seen as another "layer of defense" if you will.
  • ...However on the flip side, when you get hit for 8k, there’s nothing like blowing your shouts and recovering most of that health right back.
  • Shout Healing does benefit from two Master talents (although you may only use one at a time), whereas Banners have no such Healing augment.
  • A lot of the counter-arguments I have encountered for Shouts not benefiting as much from HP as shouts do, is that people forget the “Triple Effect”, I’ve been over the fact that for VS to be viable you need to use FGJ, SIO, and OMM, so any Healing bonus you get on your shouts is effectively tripled.
  • The results of 2x Shouts vs Banners showed that for high HP, Banners are more dominant. However at low HP, the healing effectiveness is almost identical.
  • For VS to be viable you need all 3 Shouts, for Banners to be viable, you can basically get away with 1 Banner, with a few seconds of down-time before putting it back up.
  • If by some miracle you had two Vigorous Shouts warriors, the healing provided by each would of course stack. But if you came across two Banner regeneration warriors, then sadly you wouldn't get any exponential benefit to healing, just a longer regeneration.
  • Then again, 2 VS warriors are not great either, think of all the over-healing.
  • The previous two points demonstrate how Banners and Shouts synergize perfectly, since neither build impinges on the method of healing of the other.
  • Shouts can provide a lot of condition removal, in the sense that taking 6 Superior Soldier Runes cause your shouts to remove a condition from anyone under the effects (Shake it Off now removes 2!), which is ideal as a team-support mechanism.
  • Banners provide nice buffs, Strength and Disc banners are a great DPS boost, but likewise Tactics and Defense are great for giving some extra defensive stats.
In summary, the idea of committing to Clerics Gear and going VS, CANNOT be compared to running an offensive trait spec and using Regen Banners, because at the end of the day they are different builds.

This post was generally to clarify that if you have Clerics Gear, don’t waste your talents on Banners, there are Greener Pastures for you if you run 3x Shouts. Just think about that magical Green Line on the chart showing the healing you get from running a VS Warrior alongside an IBS Warrior!

So now I leave you with this: I challenge anyone closed-minded enough to say Warriors cannot play support, here is the evidence, support your teammates!


Points to Add Later:
  • Compare the effectiveness of just FGJ+SIO vs Banner Healing.
  • Consider the effect of a level cap increase.
  • Incorporate WvW elements (including FGJ+SIO+FM).



#2113613 Arah story mode & me - SPOILERS

Posted d_fens on 10 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

Ok so this weekend I finally got my personal story completed. Those were 2 long hours (my party was not exactly pro, myself included) and I'd like to share my feelings about this part of the game. This is not a QQ post, I liked some parts of it and disliked other. I think it might be tuned and polished to give players better experience with an essential part of the game.

1) This dungeon is way too long for story mode. I realize there are groups that could do this probably in 40 minutes or even less, but less experienced players shouldn't have to spend two hours in there to complete personal story.
2) Imbalance of certain fights. Most bosses were pretty easy (as it should be in story mode dungeon). We hit a brick wall at Bloated Creeper. It took us like 30 minutes to bring that %$#%$# down. At first, we did not know what to do and let some grubs to reach him. He got some empowered bonuses, killed all Destiny's Edge and it was very hard to bring down after that. We did not know if there is any way to reset the fight and had to use "respawn and run' tactics.
3) Trash fights onboard air ships are boring. Boring. Booooring. It's not really fun to mow through 10+ waves of the same mobs. And this happens more than once :(
4) Last encounter was pathetic. Shooting at immobile Zhaitan for like 5 minutes is complete rubbish. I was hoping for something like Deathwing fight from WoW, but no, you spend 5 minutes clicking that 'fire' skill.
5) Rewards are really weak for dungeon of this length. First, pact weapon should be Exotic, not rare (to be on par with GW1 end story rewards). Next, loot bags containing green/blue vendor trash. C'mon, a few ectos or T6 mats in them wouldn't hurt (not much to keep game economy in good state). Some cosmetic reward would also be nice. Rare helmet I got did not even have an unique look, just plain chainmail skin :(
6) Cinematics are great, I really enjoyed watching them, especially the one when Zhaitan damages our super duper advanced ship.
7) Overall difficulty was OK (except Bloated Creeper).
8) There should really be an option to do this dungeon solo (with help of NPCs). On low population servers, finding a group for it is time consuming (everyone running fractals now). Also it requires Pact having control over Arah gates, so not only I have to find others to help, me, we also have to complete long and often bugged meta-event.
9) Did I mention rewards were weak? Um, I did. Give us something really nice for completing personal story. It's a shame my home instance did not change at all after I completed it. Nothing :(

I'd really like to complete the story on my alts, but I just can't get myself to do this dungeon again. Another piece of content biting the dust...


#2107586 Gem prices, acceptable or unacceptable?

Posted Baldree on 05 December 2012 - 12:09 AM

I'm not trying to encourage buying of gold in anyway with this post, however the price of gems from the trading post directly from ANet is completely unfair and unbalanced. To prove my point on Gates of Madness you can buy 100g from pretty well any gold selling site thats spammed in Lion's Arch for $30 USD. Take 100g and convert it straight into gems at an extremely high price of 1g 80s 0c for 100gems, the resulting math ends up buying you 5500 gems for $30. To buy 5600 gems straight from ANet would cost you $70! that's more than double the price. I've purchased gems from ANet when I first started playing and I'm reluctant to do so now because of the huge difference in cost. I don't condone the buying or selling of gold so that's why I'm going to wait until ANet looks into the issue further.


#2109266 The grind

Posted Soki on 06 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

TO CONDENSE MY SENTIMENTS:
Good players are not rewarded for overcoming challenges – the majority of the game’s status symbols and cool items are gained from performing an easy task for an inordinate amount of time. This sums up my opinion, and why I think GW2 is not as good a game as it could be – but I implore you to read the rest of the post if you’re going to add to the discussion.



I believe that Guild Wars 2 was designed with the philosophy of urging players to spend money to buy Gems to convert to Gold – first and foremost; with every system in the game pushing players to spend money on the Gem store for gold.
Every single item that is even remotely neat or hard to get in this game is received from the Mystic Forge.
Not only does tossing a huge amount of trade materials into the forge remove flavor from the items you’re getting; but it empowers players who have a lot of RL capital to spend far more than it should.

The exotics for a fresh 80 are cheap enough – 12g maximum to deck yourself out, inclusive of exotic jewelry. This ignores runes and sigils.
After this, players go for cosmetic gear to transmute their stat-gear into. Here is where the tacky design starts up.
When you transmute gear’s appearence, you lose the actual item you’re transmuting. The two items fuse into one. That means that if you ever want to use that item’s skin again, you need to reacquire it.
After getting the item skins and transmuting your exotics to what you want, what do we, as players, have to strive for? Vanity items, like Mystic Weapons and other neat-looking gear from the Mystic Forge.

Mystic Weapons are Okay. They have a feasible grind attached to them. To make a Mystic weapon, it usually costs between 7 to 12 gold , which is entirely feasible. I wish it were more than a simple grind for gold, but hey, it's from the Mystic Forge. No big deal. ...Or it wouldn't be, if there were unique items to get that were ~not~ tied to the Mystic Forge (and thus, gold).

Check these recipes out:
http://wiki.guildwar...rge/Other_Items
Most of these unique equipments take an excessive, unfeasible amount of goldto get. No flavor. No quest. No challenge. No adventure. No journey. No ~fun~. Just grind. Plain, boring gold grind.
These equips don’t even have a unique sigil or rune.

With the way the market works, it’s nearly impossible for the average player to amass money at a decent rate without grinding, unless they convert bought gems to gold. Killing a champion in the world does not give you appropriate reward for the effort involved. Aside from this fact, Champions are generally pretty bland – just normal mobs with more health and damage. ~That’s it~.


As you can tell, I am very disappointed with how GW2 turned out – and have seen these sentiments mirrored by many other players. The game’s combat is fluid, and the gameplay is solid – but gameplay should be supported by strong systems that reward good players – and GW2’s economic and legendary/vanity item systems simply do not deliver on that. They reward spending real money on the gemstore and converting to gold; or grinding easy content until you drop.


As far as discussion goes, I’m interested to see what the broad community of GW2Guru forums think about the state of the game; and what they feel about my opinions on the underlying item-acquisition systems of GW2; independent of the gameplay.


#2106400 Where has everyone gone?

Posted chuckles79 on 03 December 2012 - 11:49 PM

The horizontal progression was a bit short-sighted.  I can level a human up with never leaving Kryta.  That means that I can get through the game with never seeing the Charr areas, the Norn zones, or so pitifully limited Asura and Sylvari zones that they actually catalogue Mt Maelstrom as part of the Maguuma....
There is a fine line between grind and having people fully explore a game.  They didn't hit it.

As for grind, the only grinding now is for legendaries and the godawful FotM.  The FotM has left so many fans of the game dissatisfied that it can only be called a huge mistake.  On top of it, they had everyone invite their friends so they could hear everyone complaining about the changes.  Way to go for full on PR catastrophe, ANet!

I'm still going to play and enjoy this game, but there needs to be a long, no comments barred "bull session" over at ANet where they take a long hard look at what worked in GW1 and GW2 to date, and figure out what people hated and what was enjoyed..

ie. Halloween was ran very well.  It featured unique cash shop goodies (did in GW1 too, no hate) it had content that took place over time and did not offset any major balances in the game.

Compare to Lost Shore, which had a one time finale event that lasted 3 hours, but no one knew that so many people were unable to finish it after starting, or at least are still in trouble with their loved ones.  They had a really buggy system of letting people know what was going to happen or why.  

Also their policy of starting everything on Friday at Noon is REALLY getting annoying to NA and probably Oceanic/Asian folks too.  Last time I checked this was a game for players worldwide, not primetime in the UK only(no offense EU folks, but it's systemic with ANET since Beta).  Either stagger start times by server zone or start early on Saturdays (late night Oceanic, Early morning NA, late afternoon EU).

Lastly, as for character balancing...know what, don't change a thing!  Because I've read the signs and know that just like they broke GW1 for years with the assassin, that the thief will be overpowered forever.  I only curse myself for waiting 2 months to start one because their pattern was obvious to see.  Keep nerfing support classes, keep buffing the high crit class that looks squishy on paper but due to over-abused skillsets might as well be Easy Mode.

If I'm still eager to get on the same Hamster Wheel in 7-9 years when GW3 comes out, I'll remember this moment and be sure to start my character as whatever stealthy-shadowy-steppy thing that gives Izzy a raging...yeah.   That's always the one to go with, just stay away from anything that looks heroic, has heavy armor, and/or provides any kind of indirect protection or support.


#2097383 AMA Post-Mortem Discussion, What You Got Out of It

Posted n00854180t on 26 November 2012 - 11:17 PM

What I got out of it is that they think everyone who bought the game on the stated premise is an idiot and that they've now abandoned those players in favor of the WoW game-hoppers, and are fully committed to obsoleting our gear (via increased stats on Ascended items over time) and catering to the no-life grinders.

Basically, a giant "* you" to fans of the game.

Edit: And yeah, I'm not spending any more money on gems after this, and thus far I've spend a fair amount (cost of the game at least). Nor will I be recommending the game to any of my friends or encouraging them to play.


#2097361 AMA Post-Mortem Discussion, What You Got Out of It

Posted MazingerZ on 26 November 2012 - 10:51 PM

I won't be posting anymore quoting AMA that is currently on-going, despite the fact that the Guru News link hasn't been updated in over an hour, instead let's talk about what was discussed.

Vertical progression is here to stay.

Ascended gear was imagined post-launch.  They claim it should have been in there at launch.  This is a fix to what they perceive to be a design error in the gear progression.  Never mind the fact that Legendary-Exotic-level max stats were supposed to be balanced around the end-game.

Looks like the game's going to introduce a shallow power curve.  They won't introduce any new item tiers.  They are just going to raise the stats on new items.  Like WoW epics.

However, don't worry, ArenaNet is looking into the idea that maybe their grind is too much and re-evaluating the costs.  I'm sure they'll patch a price fix around the same time that Cash->Gem->Gold sales taper off from people trying to purchase ectos and other stuff off the TP.

In short, I will no longer be paying money to support this game.


#2101474 After playing GW2, I decided I'd prefer a sub fee over any cash shop

Posted Alleji on 29 November 2012 - 07:16 PM

To preface this, I'm not trying to say "QQ I'm quitting". GW2 is still fun.

Now, on to the conspiracy theory. If you don't feel like reading a wall of text, there's a tl;dr at the bottom.

GW2 is centered around its cash shop, which is not unreasonable, because Anet wants to make money and the cash shop is going to be a significant (if not primary?) source of that. The other one being box sales. Compared to a traditional sell-the-box-and-done games, Anet is committing to keeping up the servers for an indefinite period of time and putting out monthly content updates for free (as opposed to paid DLCs in most other games). So naturally, they'd be interested in players using the cash shop.

Prior to GW2's release I wouldn't bat an eyelash at that. Yeah, sure, if they want to go with a cash shop instead of sub, that's cool. It's cosmetic-only stuff, right? No problem there.

But then I realized just how deeply the presence of the cash shop influences the game design. I'm going to use WoW as a counterpoint here, but people familiar with multiple sub MMOs will find them largely interchangeable.

The basic idea is: Anet wants everyone to stay poor. Because if you don't have enough gold, you can always go to the cash shop and get more. They want you to get more. How did they change the game design to facilitate this?

- Low-scaling rewards. A lvl 10 completing an event will earn about 0.5 silver. A lvl 80 gets 1.5 silver. Compare to a lvl 10 quest in WoW rewarding 3.5 silver and lvl 60 in vanilla about 50 silver (it varied and I can't remember exactly - been a long time). A maxed character in GW2 earns 3x more for doing basic activities than a low lvl character, whereas a maxed character in WoW made 15x more.

- High taxes everywhere. To continue the above example, a waypoint to a nearby place at lvl 10 costs 10 copper. A waypoint at lvl 80 costs 1.5 silver. In other words, a 15x increase, when rewards increase only 1.5x. WoW doesn't have waypoints, but flight paths don't scale with level at all, just with distance (and ones in expansion areas are more expensive, but we're talking no expansions here). Trading post tax is also quite high at 15%, compared to WoW's 5% tax off the profits + variable listing fee, which almost never came close to 10%.

-Lack of a trading function. This very heavily compounds the trading post tax by taking away an option of bypassing it. People would be trading bulk amounts of materials and expensive items such as precursor between themselves, which is less gold taken out of the economy, which is bad for the cash shop.

- Dye drops. There's a thread right now where people are talking about the recently reduced dye drops. Unidentified dyes are fun to open and I can see why people are upset. I'm also upset, but I'll say that it makes sense for dyes to be more rare that they even are currently. Why? Cash shop. Why would anyone buy dyes from cash shop if they're 3 silver on the TP? Anet saw that and patched it up. A sound decision all around, but unfortunately, the simple existence of dyes in the cash shop takes away a tiny bit of fun from the game here: finding and identifying dyes.

- RNG everywhere. I'm not going to go into a detailed explanation here, because I think everyone knows this one. Suffice to say that RNG instead of guaranteed whatever is good for anet because gambling in any form takes the gold out of the economy.

- Inflating prices on the already-expensive crafting components. I first saw this as a simply stupid design decision, but it's actually quite intelligent, if you only look at the bigger picture. Why use piles of t6 crafting materials and ectos to craft the new ascended gear? Well, because those materials are already in demand for creating legendaries! Kill two birds with one stone: create a new gold sink and make the old one bigger by inflating some of the crucial ingredients. Meanwhile, we get a rich orichalcum vein which significantly devalues a semi-rare material that's not really a limiting factor anywhere.

- This is a bit of an anecdotal evidence, but I think ecto salvages have been stealth-nerfed in November's update. Whereas I was not getting ectos from about 20% of the salvages before, now I'm failing to salvage them from over 30% of rares. (I've actually recorded some stats, but the sample size only around 100 rares and it's in no way conclusive because there may be other factors involved, such as the type of item).
EDIT: Apparently lots of people on official forums thought so too, but it's been statistically proved wrong since. I'm still getting terrible results from salvaging rares.

- Worldwide economy instead of server economies. This serves to largely eliminate a "middle class" : a casual trader or a crafter, who would spend some of his time at the trading post for a profit that's well above average, but not sky-high to the point where he can pay his rent by selling gold. In a worldwide economy, only the most dedicated market players can compete and there's no room for crafting because there's 5000 instead of 50 crafters online at any given time willing to undercut each other. As a result, 0.1% of players (Occupy Lion's Arch!) may become absurdly rich and never need to use the gem store in their life, but the 4.9% that would've been moderately rich are instead locked out of the trading game and kept at a controlled level of income that anyone can get from farming Orr or dungeons or whatever. The remaining 95% are unaffected.

- Lastly, the very existence of the cash-to-gold conversion is bugging me. 300g for a Dusk is a huge amount of gold to me. I have about 100g at the moment and I play quite a bit. Probably about 2 hours a weekday on average and much more on a weekend. So it would take me hundreds of hours to get a legendary, which is working as intended. But, I could put down roughly what I make it 2 days at work and buy that Dusk. (Slightly more if you make minimum wage, but for anyone with a job, with the only exception being that 0.1% professional in-game trader, RL-income is higher than game-income.)

I'm not about to do that, because it feels like cheating and I don't think I'd get much satisfaction out of buying my legendary with cash, but the idea that you can do that certainly diminishes the game as a whole for me. Moreover, there are people doing it and they're increasing the cost for everyone else by taking the gold out of the economy.



TL;DR: The cash shop in GW, although not directly selling power, influences the game in a lot of ways. The existence of the cash shop and gold-to-gem exchange makes it Anet's prerogative to keep players poor so they are tempted to buy stuff or gold with cash.

- Rewards don't scale well between low and max lvl characters
- There are high taxes built into the game in form of AH fees, WP fees, and lack of trading function.
- Drop rates get normalized to be in line with cash shop items, not with "fun". Dye nerf is an example of this. Requiring a ton of t6 mats and ectos to craft the new stuff and deter people from their legendaries is another.
- Global market as opposed to a per-server economy eliminates a "middle class", downgrading them to the baseline income/
- Ability to buy the most desired items in the game with cash via gold-to-gem, which just shouldn't be there.

I wish Anet just charged 15$/month for this game and never had this cash shop.


#2098126 Dye drop rate now way too low

Posted MandraxUK on 27 November 2012 - 01:57 PM

I'm a born skeptic and wouldn't be surprised if they have done this on purpose in an attempt to boost sales of dye in the cash shop...


#2098054 the mistakes Anet admitted

Posted Corvindi on 27 November 2012 - 01:08 PM

The words sounded pretty good.  Now I'm just waiting to see what actions they actually take to fix the current gear and also how they release future gear.