Condition damage is a very strange thing in PvE. mainly because of the rest of the game taking a very open and friendly approach to multiplayer gameplay. Shared material nodes, shared mob XP, personalized loot, 'anything goes' party layouts - then there's condition damage, and the way it's implemented doesn't fit in at all. I'm really hoping to see more solutions in the near future.. I can't really think of anything that interferes with other players as much condition damage does.
I remember that thread, and I thought it was an incredibly baffling moment for Colin to poke his head in. Maybe it's because of how strongly I feel about having particle effect optimization and UI customization, but they're still some pretty solid issues to address in a nearly two year old game.
Regarding making it 'easier to learn': I feel that combo fields and the condition cap are two of the biggest things that need to be understood for PvE. Has the game done a better job at explaining them?
It feels smarter though and it makes fights little less repeatitive. It's better than nothing.
- give mobs healing skills and more defensive skills
- have the mobs go defensive when their health is low. Make them play time until their heals come out cool down.
- if the player has low health, make the mob become more agressive.
- have various tactic packages for mobs, e.g.
burster: tries to burst the player down. plays defensively when his burst skills are on cool down. sorta like thief.
exhauster: plays very defensively. perhaps uses condition damage. attempts to slowly harm the player.
supporter: plays defensively, attempts to heal and buff other mobs.
Then combine these different mobs into groups.
Simple things like this would already improve the overall fighting experience. You don't really even need an actual AI, just reasonable and various mob behavior.
Have you tried Neverwinter? I haven't played it in awhile but amongst everything I saw in that game there were two things that stood out:
-Enemies would seldom stand still. Simple and annoying, but effective, and made my CC skills on my Guardian Fighter relevant.
-When LoS'd, ranged enemies wouldn't get close, they'd just get in your view. They wouldn't just charge up to you and end up point-blank, they'd just get you back in their sights. Simple but brilliant.
Overall, I'd like to see just a little more common sense in the enemy AI. Even if implemented in tiny increments, it could go a long way. I can't think of too many times I'd actually saw a mob move away from a 100b. Nor have I seen too many mobs attacking while moving, something I'm doing 100% of the time unless I'm channeling.
Replayability? Hardly. Repeatability, yes...there's tons of that. Replayability implies a certain amount novelty each time you try it again, something GW2 has almost nothing of.
This was a strength GW1's PvE nearly pulled off. The skill progression combined with build customization lead to some incredibly interesting RPG party management with a wide array of content to tackle with it. If enemy composition and the AI was thoroughly thought out and implemented, the PvE alone could've had an insane amount of 'inherent' longevity.
The original campaigns are definitely still worth a run through, and there's some pretty darn interesting gameplay in them. But as stated, the opposition was static, making replaying them rather stale. Playing as other classes helped, largely due to how different they could play from each other. Hard mode was kind of...interesting. It certainly provided some level of difficulty increase, but it was done in one of the most artificial ways possible - and in such a way that it made certain skills better (hello, baby).
It's easily clear that GW:EN pretty much put all of it's emphasis on a PvE "endgame", but instead it showed how not replayable it is. Enemy composition does not change, their dumb as bricks, and GWEN's appeal primarily existed in your killing them a bunch. Having dungeons made from templates did not help.
From the way I understand it, much of how GW2 is designed was to maintain balance (through preset skill bars - and the end result of 'balance' can be questionable) and to eliminate the 'build wars' problem from GW1. However, it was primarily 'build wars' because of the completely static enemy builds and braindead AI - both things that fully exist still in GW2. But now there's also locked skill bars and class homogenization, dealing a huge blow to customization and role diversity, and - like GWEN - rewarding you for beating up brick walls.
Bear in mind, none of this is to demean people who enjoy completing something numerously and effeciently - it can be supremely satisfying and can end up being immensely entertainingHOLY CRAP THAT FZERO GX GUY ZOMG - but it's incredibly specific. And for someone attempting to make the most out of GW2's PvE, it's pretty much all you'll get.