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Rethinking Elite Specializations

Tempest.8479Tempest.8479 Member ✭✭
edited August 11, 2020 in Professions

As this game has introduced elite specs, I’ve found that their implementation in relation to their core counterparts has been inconsistent. While some offer completely different mechanics and tradeoffs to create a different playstyle, some can serve as an outright upgrade to core mechanics without giving up much. With a new expansion on the horizon, I feel like GW2 needs to rethink the role of elite specializations, and create a standard that can be applied to any new ones that are added that can serve as a check to any further power creep. I know that plenty of ideas have been floated by others on the forum, but I figured I might throw my hat into the ring.

As it stands, the role of an elite specialization is to expand the arsenal of a core profession without creating balancing problems that might arise if all skills were available to all iterations of the profession. Unfortunately, this has led to the situation where every elite “specialization” is actually a better generalist than core because they have access to all the same skills and then some. This has created a meta where core builds are often overshadowed by their respective elites because they can flat out do more. I believe that the opposite should be true. In order for core professions to remain relevant and elite specializations to serve a role befitting of the word specialization, elites need to be able to do less more effectively. By the same token, core professions should sacrifice the dedicated roles that an elite can provide in the name of the most versatility and having the widest range of skills to choose from.

Addition by Subtraction

In order to create a standard mechanical tradeoff across all elite specs, I would propose that equipping one removes access to a weapon and full line of slot skills. This would help to reinforce the idea of a specialization rather than simply an expansion of a profession’s arsenal. By creating this standard tradeoff, it frees devs to create more unique and powerful distinctions between specs, while also buffing elite spec mechanics/traits to compensate. This could rage from a few tune-ups to keep high-performing specs competitive, reducing the potency of established tradeoffs like the toughness penalty on berserker, to full-on mechanical overhauls like they’ve done to chrono.

Addition by…Addition

Even with the removal of weapons and skills, I still feel like core professions can end up feeling like a lackluster version of each elite spec. In order to really drive home the generalist/specialist nature of how I feel elite specs should work, core professions should have access to a core-exclusive weapon and set of slot skills. These could be added via the training panel, unlocked instantly, or even be tied to newly created profession mastery lines. None of these would have traits associated with them, so they could be balanced to be pretty powerful by default. Additionally, all missing skills from the established skill archetypes in a profession should be added. This would give both core and elite specs a few new tools to play with, while maintaining a wider array of skills reserved for core.

Putting it all Together

As an example, I’ll be using the class I’ve mained since launch: the elementalist. I feel that it should gain access to a mid-to-long-range weapon that would give it reliable access to all or some of the boons it lacks like quickness, aegis, retaliation, etc. For slot skills, I feel like wells would help to give core eles the additional tools they need to feel more like a traditional caster that damages foes or supports allies from afar. I feel that this would help to carve out a role for core ele in modes like WvW, while giving pve players a more complete arsenal to take into the open world or instanced content.

Weaver

As for elite specs and their tradeoffs, I’ll be focusing on weaver since I’ve played it almost exclusively since PoF launched. As an elite spec, I feel like weaver is in a good spot mechanically. The addition of dual attunements and a global cooldown on attunement swap means that the flow, rotations, and pace of the spec play completely differently from tempest or core ele. Its biggest problems, however, lie in the defensive uility and damage avoidance it possesses holding back its potential to do damage imo. In order to help push it into a better spot as a damage dealer and differentiate it from what should be a much more defensive tempest, I would be looking to reduce access to its most defensive weapon skills. I’d also remove some staple dps skills that keep weaver as king of ele dps to make core ele more viable.

Weapon/Skills removed: Focus and Conjured Weapons

Lore Explanation: Eschewing the need to summon conjured weapons, Weavers instead cycle the power of multiple attunements from hand to hand and combine them to powerful effect. Trading their use of a focus for a sword, they prefer to channel the elements through martial weapons to carve a path through their enemies.

Mechanical Justification: By removing focus, weavers would lose out on quite a bit of defensive utility that has been deemed such a powerful tool in their arsenal that obsidian flesh now has a 60 sec cooldown in pvp. This would force weavers into a more aggressive, high-risk/high-reward melee playstyle, while creating a more defensive niche for core ele. From an established design perspective, focus is a weapon that creates a significant tradeoff without eliminating any of the dual skills the devs added. Focus skills could now be balanced around the needs of only two elite specs, giving them room to revert some of the nerfs to focus in pvp over the last few patches.

As for conjured weapons, I feel like they run counter to the flow of a weaver’s playstyle. As a class built around juggling and cycling through multiple attunements at once, conjured weapons do the opposite by locking weavers out of dual skill mechanics. They’ve been in an awkward state since the game’s release, and hopefully removing their use from the dps-oriented elite spec frees the devs to streamline their functionality and improve their usefulness. This change would also make core ele more viable in endgame pve, as it would lock weaver out of a staple dps skill in fgs.

In order to compensate for the removal of potential dps and sustain from weaver, I propose the following changes to help keep them competitive. These could be combined with an overhaul to underperforming weapons and trait lines to bolster and refine a weaver's role as an aggressive melee duelist. (Note that this list is by no means comprehensive and only includes changes that would affect weaver. Not everything would need to be applied if devs deem it too op, and more could be added if it’s not enough. There would obviously have to be plenty of numbers and cooldown changes across the board that I’m not taking into consideration, and no numbers or changes I suggest are fixed):

• All minor adept/master traits will now be able to trigger on dual attunement
• Pyro/Aero/Geo/Hydromancer’s training: now grant a 10% cooldown reduction to dual skills that include each respective element in addition to their previous effects.
• Superior Elements: this trait now shares the 15% critical chance in all game modes
• Elemental Refreshment: increase base barrier by 20-30%
• Bolstered elements: increase base barrier by 30-50%
• Aquatic Stance: This skill now cleanses 2 conditions on initial heal
• Primordial Stance: the first pulse of this skill is now a blast finisher
• Unravel: this skill now creates a moving combo field based on primary attunement in addition to its previous effects
• Woven Fire: now applies 15% damage instead of 20% condition damage
• Woven Water: now applies 15% boon duration, 15% outgoing heal effectiveness
• Woven Air: now applies 5% critical damage in addition to its previous effects
• Woven Earth: now applies 15% damage reduction
• Perfect weave: now applies 25% damage, 25% boon duration, 25% outgoing heal effectiveness, 10% critical damage, 50% movement speed, and 25% damage reduction

The Exception to the Rule

As a whole, I feel that all but one profession can follow the general template I’ve laid out. The only one that breaks this mold is the engineer, and specifically my idea for holosmith. This idea could prove to be more controversial, so I’d want to see feedback from engineer players.

Holosmith

Weapons/Skills Removed: Kits

Lore Explanation: As Holosmiths learn to harness the sun and master their volatile Photon Forge, they transcend the need for traditional mechanical weapons. Instead, they project and wield hard-light constructs to provide them with the edge they need in battle.

Mechanical Justification: Some kits for holos have become very problematic at times, with grenade kit serving as the most recent example. Others have been stuck in a lackluster state for too long. Unfortunately, buffing or nerfing engi kits ends up either hurting core too much or allowing holo to overperform. Therefore, I suggest removing them from holos altogether. This would allow the devs to balance kits independently, giving them room to revert some or all the recent nerfs while buffing or reworking other kits into a better state. It would also create an opportunity to differentiate holo further from how core engi or scrapper play. Because kits effectively function as both slot skills and weapon swaps for engi, however, this would mean that holo would not lose access to a weapon.

Instead, I’d propose the following changes to compensate:

• Holosmiths can now swap weapons in combat
• All weapon skills and slot skills available to holosmith now have an additional effect(s) that trigger at specific heat thresholds

Conclusion

Congrats! You’ve made it to the end of my first post on the forums. Hopefully that wasn’t too painful to read. I’ve played the game since launch and frequent this place to see how everyone feels about the game, but I haven’t really been compelled to post before. I have a few other ideas about the game, so I might share them at some point. Any feedback would be welcome. Have an idea for a different profession’s tradeoffs? Liked my idea? Didn’t like it? Feel like you can salvage parts of it into something that works? Let me know!

TL;DR: In order to create an environment where core professions serve a generalist approach while elite specs are more truly specialized, elite specs should lose access to a core weapon and set of slot skills. Additionally, core professions should gain access to a set of core-exclusive weapons and utility skills. In order to compensate, devs should focus on strengthening and differentiating elite spec mechanics.

Comments

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 1, 2020

    This just in:

    MMORPG which already has cheapest expandions in the market removes another reason for players to even remotely consider getting expansions by making "elite specializations" worse than the free to play core builds.

    Meanwhile revenue hits an all time high due to massive amounts of over saturtion of the games gem store, because actual game content does not sell.
    /s

    I don't get the obsession people have with core classes. For all I care, core traits, skills and abilities should be made even weaker so that elite specilizations can fully define a build, while curbing the insane power creep over the last few years. Core stats strength, which as mentioned are available to each and every elite specialization, are one of the main reasons such insane mental gymnstics are needed for elite specialization "trade-offs". I say: nerf core, so the trade-off design for elites, which recently has been rather unfun, can be minimized and elites define themselves only over the benefits.

    We are 8 years into the game with potentially a 3rd set of elite specializations coming in 1 year. There is no reason to keep core abilities relevant, even less with the massive balance issues present. While at it, let's put a handle on the insane power creep.

  • I don't get the obsession people have with core classes. For all I care, core traits, skills and abilities should be made even weaker so that elite specilizations can fully define a build, while curbing the insane power creep over the last few years. Core stats strength, which as mentioned are available to each and every elite specialization, are one of the main reasons such insane mental gymnstics are needed for elite specialization "trade-offs". I say: nerf core, so the trade-off design for elites, which recently has been rather unfun, can be minimized and elites define themselves only over the benefits.

    We are 8 years into the game with potentially a 3rd set of elite specializations coming in 1 year. There is no reason to keep core abilities relevant, even less with the massive balance issues present. While at it, let's put a handle on the insane power creep.

    I wouldn't say that I'm obsessed with core classes so much as wanting players to play how they want. The more build diversity and playstyles, the better imo. Like I said, I've mained ele since launch but I've exclusively played weaver since it was added. Even if they add a new elite spec with the new expansion, I feel that it would take a lot for me to switch off of weaver because of how much I enjoy playing it. I like it so much largely because I feel it plays so differently from core or tempest. So I actually agree with you that elite specs should define a build. I actually want to see elite specs become more interesting and powerful, just not able to do everything better than core in all circumstances. I feel that many of the core skills each profession has access to have the potential to become a lot more powerful if the devs didn't have to worry about balancing them around a spec that could enhance them to the point of being op.

    As for "trade-offs", I think they're pretty integral into the system actually working. Because elite specs weren't designed to be a direct upgrade over core, it's largely what's supposed to keep power creep in check. I just think that because there's no standard for what a trade-off is supposed to look like, they've been applied inconsistently across all the elite specs. If devs knew they could remove a potentially problematic set of skills and a weapon from the berzerker for example, then maybe the penalties for accessing berserk mode wouldn't need to be as severe. Likewise, if Holos didn't have kits, then they could actually buff and enhance all the skills left to take advantage of the heat mechanic. What I'm suggesting is just to create a baseline trade-off across all professions to make things easier to balance without the need for drastic measures like removing self-shatter from chronos or a second dodge for mirage.

    The way I see it, elite specs should work kind of like how becoming a doctor works. If a student goes to medical school, they could choose to go the extra mile and specialize in cardiology or podiatry, but it's not a requirement. When a patient gets sick, a doctor without any specialization might be able to diagnose the most people, but if they require special attention to a specific area of the body they might not be the best equipped. That's where I think elite specs come in. As a core ele, ranger, warrior, etc, I should be able to do the most things, but not necessarily be the best at anything in particular. If I choose to take an elite specialization, however, I would be choosing to be really good at a few things at the cost of my versatility. And just like how the base training between a general MD and a cardiologist is very similar but differs in some of the tools of the trade and what knowledge is most applicable, elite specs should trade in a weapon for a new one while not needing to apply a particular set of utilities in their new role.

  • Kodama.6453Kodama.6453 Member ✭✭✭✭

    As an engineer main, I have to say that I don't like this.

    Engineer generally creates alot of problems with your proposed changes.
    First, removing a weapon from their pool hurts engineers more than other classes, since core engineer just has 3 weapons available. You would either have to increase the weapon pool for them or make every elite spec an exception that engineers just give up utility skills.

    Second, engineer utility skills have a different number count than other classes.
    Other classes have 5 different skill types with 4 skills each.
    Engineer has 4 different skill types with 5 skills each.
    Meaning that removing 1 skill category from them will always remove 1 more skill than for any other class. Which doesn't really seem fair.

    Your idea would require a really wide rework for the engineer class in general to really work out well and feel fair for that class.

  • @Kodama.6453 said:
    As an engineer main, I have to say that I don't like this.

    Engineer generally creates alot of problems with your proposed changes.
    First, removing a weapon from their pool hurts engineers more than other classes, since core engineer just has 3 weapons available. You would either have to increase the weapon pool for them or make every elite spec an exception that engineers just give up utility skills.

    Second, engineer utility skills have a different number count than other classes.
    Other classes have 5 different skill types with 4 skills each.
    Engineer has 4 different skill types with 5 skills each.
    Meaning that removing 1 skill category from them will always remove 1 more skill than for any other class. Which doesn't really seem fair.

    Your idea would require a really wide rework for the engineer class in general to really work out well and feel fair for that class.

    Yeah being that engineer is probably the profession I'm least familiar with, it's been the one to give me the most problems lol. I think that merging one of each of their uilities, deleting one and spreading its effects across the other four could work. Or even just taking one of each skill type, reworking the animations but largely keeping functionality the same, and just creating a new skill type out of the skills already there. It could work kind of like what happened to thief traps but just turning four skills that were previously seperarate types into one.

    I think the lack of weapon pool would only be a problem for holo though, because as it stands it would be the only elite spec I'd consider removing kits for. They could also consider adding an extra weapon for Engineer that could be used across the board if they felt it would be too restrictive. It was more of a thought experiment to see if engi players thought it could work.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 1, 2020

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    I don't get the obsession people have with core classes. For all I care, core traits, skills and abilities should be made even weaker so that elite specilizations can fully define a build, while curbing the insane power creep over the last few years. Core stats strength, which as mentioned are available to each and every elite specialization, are one of the main reasons such insane mental gymnstics are needed for elite specialization "trade-offs". I say: nerf core, so the trade-off design for elites, which recently has been rather unfun, can be minimized and elites define themselves only over the benefits.

    We are 8 years into the game with potentially a 3rd set of elite specializations coming in 1 year. There is no reason to keep core abilities relevant, even less with the massive balance issues present. While at it, let's put a handle on the insane power creep.

    I wouldn't say that I'm obsessed with core classes so much as wanting players to play how they want. The more build diversity and playstyles, the better imo.

    I wasn't aiming at you directly, but rather at the repeated argument made by players that core specs should remain viable.

    Yes, in an ideal world: build variety, a system where elite specializations which build on core abilities are actual specializations, players who can play all the available builds, etc. would be. Unfortunately, in this reality, we can already see the limits and issues this system has:

    • many players hate or strongly dislike when elite specializations underperform in an area where their core build was good at. Very evident when elite specializations release which were actually balanced. The forums went up in flames
    • strong core abilities mess with elite specializations in many different ways. It's nearly impossible to actually specialize a class without making it grossly overpowered when it has strong foundations. The trade-off of 1 traitline is just not enough, the mechanical changes are far to difficult to rebalance to get it just right. This will get even worse with a 3rd elite specialization
    • build variety is nice when it doesn't come at the cost of balance. Balance between elite specialization within a class and between different classes.

    Imo, we should treat core traitlines the same way one builds a house: a foundation to build off of, not be equivalent with the rooms on top. Make the different rooms different, but keep the foundation out of it. That might at least be semi manageable.

    TL;DR:
    I'd go as far as say NERF core abilities, traits and skills at this point in time. Shift some of the desired effects even more onto elite specializations. The main downside here: we get way more of a class system, which goes against the original concept. The upside: clearer defining roles, easier to balance, easier to expand upon.

    @Tempest.8479 said:
    Like I said, I've mained ele since launch but I've exclusively played weaver since it was added. Even if they add a new elite spec with the new expansion, I feel that it would take a lot for me to switch off of weaver because of how much I enjoy playing it. I like it so much largely because I feel it plays so differently from core or tempest. So I actually agree with you that elite specs should define a build. I actually want to see elite specs become more interesting and powerful, just not able to do everything better than core in all circumstances. I feel that many of the core skills each profession has access to have the potential to become a lot more powerful if the devs didn't have to worry about balancing them around a spec that could enhance them to the point of being op.

    Exactly, you and I just have a different approach here. You'd rather impose limitations on elite specs, so the trade-offs are even bigger. I'd rather just make core weaker so that the strong synergys are kept to a minimum. It's either or, strong core abilities which permeate through every single elite spec, thus requiring constant managing and adjusting with each elite spec while keeping the trade-offs high or weaker core functions with elite specs being strait upgrades into a certain role.

    @Tempest.8479 said:
    As for "trade-offs", I think they're pretty integral into the system actually working. Because elite specs weren't designed to be a direct upgrade over core, it's largely what's supposed to keep power creep in check.

    I still think this is marketing speak which by now should just be dropped. It hasn't worked so far, it definitely won't work with a 3rd specialization.

    @Tempest.8479 said:
    I just think that because there's no standard for what a trade-off is supposed to look like, they've been applied inconsistently across all the elite specs. If devs knew they could remove a potentially problematic set of skills and a weapon from the berzerker for example, then maybe the penalties for accessing berserk mode wouldn't need to be as severe. Likewise, if Holos didn't have kits, then they could actually buff and enhance all the skills left to take advantage of the heat mechanic. What I'm suggesting is just to create a baseline trade-off across all professions to make things easier to balance without the need for drastic measures like removing self-shatter from chronos or a second dodge for mirage.

    Customizing each and every single elite spec is a ton of work. Even worse: thankless work because players in general do not like losing access to things they had. You are only suggesting a baseline in a sense that you are saying: something should be taken away. The huge difference between classes already means that removing something from one class will have a way different effect than from another. Say warrior loses access to 1 weapon, that is vastly different than losing access to a weapon as elementalist.

    Your suggested baselines already would require micromanaging.

    @Tempest.8479 said:
    The way I see it, elite specs should work kind of like how becoming a doctor works. If a student goes to medical school, they could choose to go the extra mile and specialize in cardiology or podiatry, but it's not a requirement. When a patient gets sick, a doctor without any specialization might be able to diagnose the most people, but if they require special attention to a specific area of the body they might not be the best equipped. That's where I think elite specs come in. As a core ele, ranger, warrior, etc, I should be able to do the most things, but not necessarily be the best at anything in particular. If I choose to take an elite specialization, however, I would be choosing to be really good at a few things at the cost of my versatility. And just like how the base training between a general MD and a cardiologist is very similar but differs in some of the tools of the trade and what knowledge is most applicable, elite specs should trade in a weapon for a new one while not needing to apply a particular set of utilities in their new role.

    Sure, so why does the medical student suddenly get the same pay as the specialist doctor? They don't. So why should core specs have the same output as elite specializations? Does that specialist doctor suddenly decide to forget 1/3 of what he learned in medical school? He doesn't (I'd hope).

  • Taril.8619Taril.8619 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Ehh...

    I'm not a fan of "Balancing" E-Specs by introducing more limitations to actual builds. Both by way of restricting what can be used from Core, or just nerfing Core into worthlessness.

    Notably, because in the former, unless you specifically target the actually good weapons/utilities from Core and thus acknowledge the real issue of Core builds being that they contain a lot of lackluster weapons/utilities it has 0 effect on E-Spec builds at all.

    While in the latter case, you may as well just delete Core and Specializations entirely and just have people pick an E-Spec upon rolling a character and giving them a pre-set loadout a la Revenant's Legends.

    I still stand by the idea that E-Specs should be more focused on changing the class mechanics so as to "Add a new class" to the game (Which is what they're replacing. Instead of adding any new classes after Revenant, we have E-Specs). Rather than what most of them do which is just Core Class Mechanics + some extra stuff.

    E-Spec vs Core should be a decision based around how they play rather than performing a particular role better. For example, I should pick to play Scourge because I want to have Shroud as F skills rather than a Transformation that Core Necro utilizes.

    But then again, I'm weird and also wish that Weapons/Utilities added by E-Specs weren't locked behind using said E-Specs too.

    Cat: Meow.

  • Tempest.8479Tempest.8479 Member ✭✭
    edited August 1, 2020

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:

    I wasn't aiming at you directly, but rather at the repeated argument made by players that core specs should remain viable.

    Yes, in an ideal world: build variety, a system where elite specializations which build on core abilities are actual specializations, players who can play all the available builds, etc. would be. Unfortunately, in this reality, we can already see the limits and issues this system has:

    • many players hate or strongly dislike when elite specializations underperform in an area where their core build was good at. Very evident when elite specializations release which were actually balanced. The forums went up in flames

    I agree 100% on this one, but I guess I just have a different philosophy than most. I feel like there's a perception that an elite spec should be as good or somewhat better than core in every aspect of the game in every playstyle, which is not a sustainable approach in my opinion. I feel like an elite spec should be significantly better than core in a few aspects and only as good or worse than core at everything else. That way, adding a new spec wouldn't invalidate previous ones or become redundant because there's already something in the game that plays as good or better.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:

    • strong core abilities mess with elite specializations in many different ways. It's nearly impossible to actually specialize a class without making it grossly overpowered when it has strong foundations. The trade-off of 1 traitline is just not enough, the mechanical changes are far to difficult to rebalance to get it just right. This will get even worse with a 3rd elite specialization

    I feel like your almost making the same point I'm making here. I think its difficult to specialize a profession without making it op when it has as strong of a foundation as core. That's why I'm suggesting that they remove some of the foundational skills and weapons to give room for increased specialization.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:

    • build variety is nice when it doesn't come at the cost of balance. Balance between elite specialization within a class and between different classes.

    I actually think things would be easier to balance because it would be applying the same philosophy they have of exclusive elite spec weapons and utility skills to core. In a world where they applied my suggestions core would almost become a third elite spec in it of itself, while keeping elite specs away from the parts of the base professions most likely to push them over the edge.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    Imo, we should treat core traitlines the same way one builds a house: a foundation to build off of, not be equivalent with the rooms on top. Make the different rooms different, but keep the foundation out of it. That might at least be semi manageable.

    I guess my approach would be to start treating core less like a foundation and more like a separate room.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    TL;DR:
    I'd go as far as say NERF core abilities, traits and skills at this point in time. Shift some of the desired effects even more onto elite specializations. The main downside here: we get way more of a class system, which goes against the original concept. The upside: clearer defining roles, easier to balance, easier to expand upon.

    I actually think our end goals aren't that far off, I just think that core classes should remain true to the original philosophy: play how you want and be pretty good at everything. I just don't think core should be the best at anything.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    Exactly, you and I just have a different approach here. You'd rather impose limitations on elite specs, so the trade-offs are even bigger. I'd rather just make core weaker so that the strong synergys are kept to a minimum. It's either or, strong core abilities which permeate through every single elite spec, thus requiring constant managing and adjusting with each elite spec while keeping the trade-offs high or weaker core functions with elite specs being strait upgrades into a certain role.

    I don't think that the trade-offs have to be bigger, just different. For example, I mentioned that taking away the right weapon and utility skills could actually give devs room to restore mirage's second dodge or reduce the toughness penalty for berserkers without making them too op. You present the options as a binary, when I believe there's a way to do both. You can still have strong core skills, they just can't be used by every elite spec. It's the same way that a sword or stances can be strong on weaver because no other iteration of ele can use it.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    I still think this is marketing speak which by now should just be dropped. It hasn't worked so far, it definitely won't work with a 3rd specialization.

    I'm going to have to disagree here. With a 3rd elite spec coming, I think trade-offs are more important because they also help balance and distinguish elite specs with each other. If every elite spec is just flat upgrades all around, then they become too similar to the point of irrelevance. Trade-offs are what makes dd play different from deadeye, scourge from reaper, etc.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    Customizing each and every single elite spec is a ton of work. Even worse: thankless work because players in general do not like losing access to things they had. You are only suggesting a baseline in a sense that you are saying: something should be taken away. The huge difference between classes already means that removing something from one class will have a way different effect than from another. Say warrior loses access to 1 weapon, that is vastly different than losing access to a weapon as elementalist.

    Again I agree that players might not appreciate it at first, but if handled right they could learn to adapt and even enjoy professions more. Imagine if anet released a balance patch that told every player that they'd be losing a weapon and set of utilities, but that they're going to be buffing everything that makes their favorite elite spec good to compensate. I feel like at worst It'd be sees as a net neutral, but it would improve build diversity overall and make room for future elite specs to excel in the aspects that the current ones would be losing out on. And my idea wasn't set it stone, so there's plenty of room for iteration. If devs feel like a warrior elite spec would be losing out on too little, they could adjust accordingly by either not buffing the spec as much or removing an additional weapon as a very last resort.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    Your suggested baselines already would require micromanaging.

    Not really, or at least not any worse than what we have now. If a skill is removed from a spec, it's removed. There's less to worry about because there's less skills to balance per spec.

    @ Cyninja.2954 said:
    Sure, so why does the medical student suddenly get the same pay as the specialist doctor? They don't. So why should core specs have the same output as elite specializations? Does that specialist doctor suddenly decide to forget 1/3 of what he learned in medical school? He doesn't (I'd hope).

    I mean, the difference in median salary is noticeable but all doctors, including family medicine and pediatricians, all average six figures. Plus there's value in versatility that makes a generalist just as important as a specialist. That's kind of what I see things working as for core/elite. You can be viable in a bunch of different playstyles, or you can be the best in a few. And whether a specialist forgets what they learned or not is irrelevant if they don't need to apply it as often. Its not a direct translation, but the point would be that in lore, those who choose to master an elite spec find that they don't really have a need to apply their knowledge of a specific set of abilities anymore.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    I'm not a fan of "Balancing" E-Specs by introducing more limitations to actual builds. Both by way of restricting what can be used from Core, or just nerfing Core into worthlessness.

    I agree on the second part, but hear me out on the first part lol. Any build diversity removed from an elite spec would be gained by core improvements through an exclusive weapon and slot skills (along w/ the usual balance stuff that I'm not considering). And the additional limitations would be to make room for new, dedicated playstyles to be added through future specs, while also letting devs buff the mechanics/traits of the current ones. This would create a situation where playing to an elite spec's strengths would be significantly more rewarding, but you would have less to compensate for it's weaknesses. Or, take the safer route and get a little of everything with core.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    Notably, because in the former, unless you specifically target the actually good weapons/utilities from Core and thus acknowledge the real issue of Core builds being that they contain a lot of lackluster weapons/utilities it has 0 effect on E-Spec builds at all.

    Unfortunately, we do have several weapons that are underperforming. But we also have a case of weapons and/or skills that would be performing fine, if not for an elite spec making them op. I'd advocate for improving what isn't working, while just keeping what would otherwise be ok in the hands of a core class from power creeping elite specs.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    I still stand by the idea that E-Specs should be more focused on changing the class mechanics so as to "Add a new class" to the game (Which is what they're replacing. Instead of adding any new classes after Revenant, we have E-Specs). Rather than what most of them do which is just Core Class Mechanics + some extra stuff.

    That's what I was trying to do by adding these extra limitations. The same way that you trade access to most weapons for attunements going from warrior to ele, you would be trading access to certain abilities for new ones switching from core to elite. It would create a greater "class identity" for elite specs because players would now have a different set of abilities available to them, not just extra. Right now we have a situation where, in order for players to want to take new elite spec skills, they have to be better than what's available already. By using skills as a trade-off, they can introduce new playstyles without having to compete with everything that was already there.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    E-Spec vs Core should be a decision based around how they play rather than performing a particular role better. For example, I should pick to play Scourge because I want to have Shroud as F skills rather than a Transformation that Core Necro utilizes.

    While there's definitely truth to that, I think that subtracting a weapon/skills doesn't change that. It just means that now you'd have to decide whether gaining those shades would be worth losing out on a particular weapon the same way you'd be losing out on a trait line.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    But then again, I'm weird and also wish that Weapons/Utilities added by E-Specs weren't locked behind using said E-Specs too.

    I feel like this would create a balancing nightmare for the devs, and it gives them less room to create interesting skills that interact with elite spec mechanics because they would now have to be viable for all iterations of a profession.

    P.S. Sorry for the long post, I didn't want to double post and I wanted to respond to both of you lol

  • Taril.8619Taril.8619 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    @Taril.8619 said:
    I'm not a fan of "Balancing" E-Specs by introducing more limitations to actual builds. Both by way of restricting what can be used from Core, or just nerfing Core into worthlessness.

    I agree on the second part, but hear me out on the first part lol. Any build diversity removed from an elite spec would be gained by core improvements through an exclusive weapon and slot skills (along w/ the usual balance stuff that I'm not considering). And the additional limitations would be to make room for new, dedicated playstyles to be added through future specs, while also letting devs buff the mechanics/traits of the current ones. This would create a situation where playing to an elite spec's strengths would be significantly more rewarding, but you would have less to compensate for it's weaknesses. Or, take the safer route and get a little of everything with core.

    It's not really the same. All you're doing is making Core a new E-Spec. With the same annoying restrictions on weapons and skills.

    Only now you're abitrarily removing certain things that could be used to make builds within ALL specs.

    With from what it sounds like, making E-Specs hyper focused on being the best at a particular type of build, further reducing build diversity...

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    @Taril.8619 said:
    Notably, because in the former, unless you specifically target the actually good weapons/utilities from Core and thus acknowledge the real issue of Core builds being that they contain a lot of lackluster weapons/utilities it has 0 effect on E-Spec builds at all.

    Unfortunately, we do have several weapons that are underperforming. But we also have a case of weapons and/or skills that would be performing fine, if not for an elite spec making them op. I'd advocate for improving what isn't working, while just keeping what would otherwise be ok in the hands of a core class from power creeping elite specs.

    It's not even that E-Specs make a particular weapon OP, it's that the weapon is actually useful for a particular build and is "OP" compared to the trash that is available in Core.

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    @Taril.8619 said:
    I still stand by the idea that E-Specs should be more focused on changing the class mechanics so as to "Add a new class" to the game (Which is what they're replacing. Instead of adding any new classes after Revenant, we have E-Specs). Rather than what most of them do which is just Core Class Mechanics + some extra stuff.

    That's what I was trying to do by adding these extra limitations. The same way that you trade access to most weapons for attunements going from warrior to ele, you would be trading access to certain abilities for new ones switching from core to elite. It would create a greater "class identity" for elite specs because players would now have a different set of abilities available to them, not just extra. By using skills as a trade-off, they can introduce new playstyles without having to compete with everything that was already there.

    Your changes don't affect the class mechanics.

    It's still going to be stuff like Reaper is Core Necro, but with a good power weapon and better Shroud.

    Changing between actual professions, isn't just trading weapons, it's changing weapon skills for similar weapon sets. A Weaver's Sword has vastly different skills to Warrior's Sword.

    The class identity doesn't change just because a of replacing an available weapon and line of utilities. If the spec is still just Core class mechanics + whatever the E-Spec adds on top. For example, Mirage is still just Mesmer with Mirage Cloak.

    @Tempest.8479 said:
    Right now we have a situation where, in order for players to want to take new elite spec skills, they have to be better than what's available already.

    Yes, because they're balanced around simply trading Weapons/Utilities with other E-Specs.

    Rather than being about changing the classes playstyle, which would allow people to pick a new E-Spec because they find it fun to play.

    As opposed to this "Trade off everything" and "Make E-Specs have 1 playstyle that they're best at" which ends up being no different to what we had before E-Specs when Core classes would simply make builds around different playstyles, only with less flexibility.

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    @Taril.8619 said:
    E-Spec vs Core should be a decision based around how they play rather than performing a particular role better. For example, I should pick to play Scourge because I want to have Shroud as F skills rather than a Transformation that Core Necro utilizes.

    While there's definitely truth to that, I think that subtracting a weapon/skills doesn't change that. It just means that now you'd have to decide whether gaining those shades would be worth losing out on a particular weapon the same way you'd be losing out on a trait line.

    Except when you start putting the balance onto what trade offs you get rather than making more E-Specs like Scourge which reimagine class mechanics.

    Especially if something happens like "Oh, Scourge no longer has access to Scepter or Corruption skills, that's now Core Necro's thing!" which would completely kill Condi Scourge gameplay.

    Alternatively, you say "Oh, Scourge no longer has access to Main Hand Dagger or Spectral skills, that's now Core Necro's thing!" which would do literally nothing to Scourge.

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    @Taril.8619 said:
    But then again, I'm weird and also wish that Weapons/Utilities added by E-Specs weren't locked behind using said E-Specs too.

    I feel like this would create a balancing nightmare for the devs, and it gives them less room to create interesting skills that interact with elite spec mechanics because they would now have to be viable for all iterations of a profession.

    If it creates a balance problem, it's because the weapon is poorly designed. Or a particular spec is poorly designed.

    Also, it doesn't necessarily need to effect their range of skill design. No-where is it necessary for weapons to be equally viable across all builds.

    For example, Holosmith's Sword is designed with the Heat gauge in mind but it's not horrible on its own and would have some use in other builds by the nature of being a power based MH weapon to allow use of Shield.

    If it ended up being underperforming... You could always move some of the power away from the Heat bonuses and into the base weapon. Thus, it still would keep its Holosmith synergy but would still be usable outside of it. There's no rule saying that the heat synergy HAS to be as strong as it is.

    Cat: Meow.

  • Tempest.8479Tempest.8479 Member ✭✭
    edited August 1, 2020

    @Taril.8619 said:

    It's not really the same. All you're doing is making Core a new E-Spec. With the same annoying restrictions on weapons and skills.

    Only now you're abitrarily removing certain things that could be used to make builds within ALL specs.

    With from what it sounds like, making E-Specs hyper focused on being the best at a particular type of build, further reducing build diversity...

    Actually yeah, I think core should be treated like more like it's own elite spec. I want elite specs to be even more distinguished by their central mechanics, while also acknowledging that core has it's own playstyle and should be able to exist separately for people to enjoy without it messing with other elite specs. I would just be flipping the design paradigm between elites and core so that core has about as many skills as elites do now, and elites have about the same amount of skills that core does now.

    Without treating it as such I think core is in an awkward state where buffing it serves as an indirect buff to every other elite spec because they have access to everything core has and more.

    It's not even that E-Specs make a particular weapon OP, it's that the weapon is actually useful for a particular build and is "OP" compared to the trash that is available in Core.

    While it's not always the case, there are definitely some weapons that become problematic in the hands of an elite spec. For example, beacuse weaver was designed to play largely in melee range, it's a spec with additional defensive utility built in to help mitigate damage. Unfortunately, because it can also access the defensive utility of focus, we're now in a place where focus cooldowns, as well as all defensive skills on sword, have been nerfed because there's too much quantity. By removing focus, weavers could get improved quality in the defensive skills/traits exclusive to weaver while gaining room to improve their damage output because they have less defense available to them at any given moment. You create higher risks, but give higher rewards.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    Your changes don't affect the class mechanics.

    It's still going to be stuff like Reaper is Core Necro, but with a good power weapon and better Shroud.

    Changing between actual professions, isn't just trading weapons, it's changing weapon skills for similar weapon sets. A Weaver's Sword has vastly different skills to Warrior's Sword.

    The class identity doesn't change just because a of replacing an available weapon and line of utilities. If the spec is still just Core class mechanics + whatever the E-Spec adds on top. For example, Mirage is still just Mesmer with Mirage Cloak.

    My ideas weren't intended to affect class mechanics. Rather, they were intended to create a standard for trade-offs so that devs could overhaul certain e-specs without making trade-offs in mechanics feel too oppressive.

    For example, I think mirage should get its own set of shatters that revolve more around mirage cloak and they should get back their second dodge. By creating a standard template for trade-offs across professions, devs could make these new shatters feel powerful and distinct without introducing the limitations that initially de-powered chrono on its rework.

    Yes, because they're balanced around simply trading Weapons/Utilities with other E-Specs.

    Rather than being about changing the classes playstyle, which would allow people to pick a new E-Spec because they find it fun to play.

    As opposed to this "Trade off everything" and "Make E-Specs have 1 playstyle that they're best at" which ends up being no different to what we had before E-Specs when Core classes would simply make builds around different playstyles, only with less flexibility.

    I think you're taking what I've suggested to an extreme. I don't want it to be where there's only 1 playstyle an elite spec is effective in. I just don't want it to be more effective than core all the time. That way there's room for people who like core or any of the established elite specs to have room to be viable.

    People would still be picking what they like based on which mechanics they enjoy, it's just the mechanics that an elite spec provides would now be allowing someone to excel in a few aspects of a profession rather than being an upgrade in every situation.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    Except when you start putting the balance onto what trade offs you get rather than making more E-Specs like Scourge which reimagine class mechanics.
    Especially if something happens like "Oh, Scourge no longer has access to Scepter or Corruption skills, that's now Core Necro's thing!" which would completely kill Condi Scourge gameplay.

    Alternatively, you say "Oh, Scourge no longer has access to Main Hand Dagger or Spectral skills, that's now Core Necro's thing!" which would do literally nothing to Scourge.

    I actually think using weapons and skills as a trade-off shifts the balance onto the central mechanics more, because elite specs would have to rely on them more in order to be good. I'm really glad you brought up scourge because I think it's a perfect illustration of a lot of my points.

    While I'm not sure what weapon I would remove, it's pretty clear to me that I'd remove wells. To compensate, I'd revert all nerfs and buff all desert shroud skills and shades to be more powerful than ever before. This would:

    a) reduce the aoe spam that's made scourge a problem in WvW
    b) still keep them relevant in WvW because shades would be significantly stronger
    c) allow room to buff wells as the only real source of aoe pressure for core + reaper
    d) actually serve a a buff to scourge in pve because of mechanical improvements

    This would reward scourges for using their central mechanics well, while eliminating the additional cover they have if they don't at the moment by just painting the field with aoe. It actually shifts the balance more onto desert shroud itself, because it's now more of what defines the flow of combat for a scourge. The only problems I could see would be it overperforming in pvp, but with skill splits I'm sure they could tone it down without affecting other game modes.

    @Taril.8619 said:
    If it creates a balance problem, it's because the weapon is poorly designed. Or a particular spec is poorly designed.

    Also, it doesn't necessarily need to effect their range of skill design. No-where is it necessary for weapons to be equally viable across all builds.

    For example, Holosmith's Sword is designed with the Heat gauge in mind but it's not horrible on its own and would have some use in other builds by the nature of being a power based MH weapon to allow use of Shield.

    If it ended up being underperforming... You could always move some of the power away from the Heat bonuses and into the base weapon. Thus, it still would keep its Holosmith synergy but would still be usable outside of it. There's no rule saying that the heat synergy HAS to be as strong as it is.

    I actually think what you'd be advocating for could actually work counter to the way you want elite specs to be unique in mechanics. If the devs were to say that sword is available for ever engineer spec to use but it's only really going to be viable for holo, then there's almost no point in making that change in the first place. Conversely, if they said that sword was now viable for multiple specs but thy're tuning down the heat synergy so that the weapon can stand better on its own, then holo becomes more like core because there's less reward from properly using photon forge.

    Whereas I actually want to see holo gain access to heat synergies across all available weapons and utility skills. This would push holo even further away from core mechanically, helping to define holo as a class that can do significantly more as it gains heat, but lives on the edge of death because of it.

  • DeceiverX.8361DeceiverX.8361 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 1, 2020

    @Cyninja.2954 said:
    This just in:

    MMORPG which already has cheapest expandions in the market removes another reason for players to even remotely consider getting expansions by making "elite specializations" worse than the free to play core builds.

    Meanwhile revenue hits an all time high due to massive amounts of over saturtion of the games gem store, because actual game content does not sell.
    /s

    I don't get the obsession people have with core classes. For all I care, core traits, skills and abilities should be made even weaker so that elite specilizations can fully define a build, while curbing the insane power creep over the last few years. Core stats strength, which as mentioned are available to each and every elite specialization, are one of the main reasons such insane mental gymnstics are needed for elite specialization "trade-offs". I say: nerf core, so the trade-off design for elites, which recently has been rather unfun, can be minimized and elites define themselves only over the benefits.

    We are 8 years into the game with potentially a 3rd set of elite specializations coming in 1 year. There is no reason to keep core abilities relevant, even less with the massive balance issues present. While at it, let's put a handle on the insane power creep.

    A number of builds and weapons do not have compatibility at all with their respective elite specs.

    Go tell a reaper to play MH scepter or thief to play D/D Deadeye in competitive modes and get laughed out of the room.

    Elite specs should buff and change aspects of play at the cost of others, and those aspects of play should still be healthy to the game in their implementations.

    I'll continue to use Reaper as the prime example because even when it isn't totally dominant, it's an incredibly fun to play spec that fundamentally shifts necromancer in a totally different direction. I disagree with a lot of specifically how ANet addressed some traits and skills, but it's a good example behind what should be changed.

    The expansion content should buy options and new ways to play, not buy power to beat players better than you.

    You sure that Sniper idea is as good as you thought it was gonna be?
    Because I think my original idea is better.

  • JohnWater.5760JohnWater.5760 Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 6, 2020

    In my opinion, there are two ways to fix / improve it.
    1 - Non-exclusive weapons
    When you complete the specialization traitline, unlock the elite weapon for the core. Thus, a Elementalist can use a sword and a Warhorn. A Engineer could use a sword and a shield. Thus, losing the trait but gaining a greater build diversity. The elite spec would just be a different mechanic.

    2 - Elite Spec is an upgrade
    Assume that the Elite Spec is an upgrade, remove all trade-offs and make an Elite Spec for the Game Core. Free players still remain without Elites btw.

  • otto.5684otto.5684 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @JohnWater.5760 said:
    In my opinion, there are two ways to fix / improve it.
    1 - Non-exclusive weapons
    When you complete the specialization traitline, unlock the elite weapon for the core. Thus, a Elementalist can use a sword and a Warhorn. A Engineer could use a sword and a shield. Thus, losing the trait but gaining a greater build diversity. The elite spec would just be a different mechanic.

    2 - Elite Spec is an upgrade
    Assume that the Elite Spec is an upgrade, remove all trade-offs and make an Elite Spec for the Game Core. Free players still remain without Elites btw.

    That would be fine in OW PvE (though this will result in some truly immortal builds). In group PvE, sPvP and WvW that will be impossible to balance.

  • @otto.5684 said:

    @JohnWater.5760 said:
    In my opinion, there are two ways to fix / improve it.
    1 - Non-exclusive weapons
    When you complete the specialization traitline, unlock the elite weapon for the core. Thus, a Elementalist can use a sword and a Warhorn. A Engineer could use a sword and a shield. Thus, losing the trait but gaining a greater build diversity. The elite spec would just be a different mechanic.

    2 - Elite Spec is an upgrade
    Assume that the Elite Spec is an upgrade, remove all trade-offs and make an Elite Spec for the Game Core. Free players still remain without Elites btw.

    That would be fine in OW PvE (though this will result in some truly immortal builds). In group PvE, sPvP and WvW that will be impossible to balance.

    An immortal Build?
    Why would a core build be immortal with just adding a new weapon without trait?
    (Except for the Elementalist, which traits elements instead)
    Impossible to balance??
    They will just remove the link with the traitline, the weapon still the same.

  • Kodama.6453Kodama.6453 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @JohnWater.5760 said:
    In my opinion, there are two ways to fix / improve it.
    1 - Non-exclusive weapons
    When you complete the specialization traitline, unlock the elite weapon for the core. Thus, a Elementalist can use a sword and a Warhorn. A Engineer could use a sword and a shield. Thus, losing the trait but gaining a greater build diversity. The elite spec would just be a different mechanic.

    2 - Elite Spec is an upgrade
    Assume that the Elite Spec is an upgrade, remove all trade-offs and make an Elite Spec for the Game Core. Free players still remain without Elites btw.

    To clarify: scrapper's elite spec weapon is not the shield, but the hammer.

    And this treatment would be unfair towards some classes.
    For example, thief's elite spec weapons (staff and rifle) can work pretty well even without the associated elite spec. The traits hold some boni for the weapons, but nothing that is absolutely necessary for the weapon to function at all and the weapons are also not dependant on the elite spec mechanic.

    Holosmith's sword on the other hand is directly built around the heat mechanic. All skills from sword have additional effects based on your heat level and the damage of the weapon is reduced alot if you don't have heat.

  • Make espec a mastery

  • Kodama.6453Kodama.6453 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Laila Lightness.8742 said:
    Make espec a mastery

    How is that even supposed to work? ô.o

  • JohnWater.5760JohnWater.5760 Member ✭✭✭
    edited September 8, 2020

    @Kodama.6453 said:

    @JohnWater.5760 said:
    In my opinion, there are two ways to fix / improve it.
    1 - Non-exclusive weapons
    When you complete the specialization traitline, unlock the elite weapon for the core. Thus, a Elementalist can use a sword and a Warhorn. A Engineer could use a sword and a shield. Thus, losing the trait but gaining a greater build diversity. The elite spec would just be a different mechanic.

    2 - Elite Spec is an upgrade
    Assume that the Elite Spec is an upgrade, remove all trade-offs and make an Elite Spec for the Game Core. Free players still remain without Elites btw.

    To clarify: scrapper's elite spec weapon is not the shield, but the hammer.

    Who said it is?
    I know the professions and Scrapper's icon is a Hammer, and there's no way to misunderstand that.
    I just wanted to mention one profession using only one weapon from elite.

    And this treatment would be unfair towards some classes.
    For example, thief's elite spec weapons (staff and rifle) can work pretty well even without the associated elite spec. The traits hold some boni for the weapons, but nothing that is absolutely necessary for the weapon to function at all and the weapons are also not dependant on the elite spec mechanic.

    Not just thief, a lot of them.

    Holosmith's sword on the other hand is directly built around the heat mechanic. All skills from sword have additional effects based on your heat level and the damage of the weapon is reduced alot if you don't have heat.

    I'm going to use the conversation above to answer you.

    @Tempest.8479 said:

    @Taril.8619 said:
    If it creates a balance problem, it's because the weapon is poorly designed. Or a particular spec is poorly designed.

    Also, it doesn't necessarily need to effect their range of skill design. No-where is it necessary for weapons to be equally viable across all builds.

    For example, Holosmith's Sword is designed with the Heat gauge in mind but it's not horrible on its own and would have some use in other builds by the nature of being a power based MH weapon to allow use of Shield.

    If it ended up being underperforming... You could always move some of the power away from the Heat bonuses and into the base weapon. Thus, it still would keep its Holosmith synergy but would still be usable outside of it. There's no rule saying that the heat synergy HAS to be as strong as it is.

    I actually think what you'd be advocating for could actually work counter to the way you want elite specs to be unique in mechanics. If the devs were to say that sword is available for ever engineer spec to use but it's only really going to be viable for holo, then there's almost no point in making that change in the first place. Conversely, if they said that sword was now viable for multiple specs but thy're tuning down the heat synergy so that the weapon can stand better on its own, then holo becomes more like core because there's less reward from properly using photon forge.

    Whereas I actually want to see holo gain access to heat synergies across all available weapons and utility skills. This would push holo even further away from core mechanically, helping to define holo as a class that can do significantly more as it gains heat, but lives on the edge of death because of it.

  • ASP.8093ASP.8093 Member ✭✭✭

    @Laila Lightness.8742 said:
    Make espec a mastery

    How does this change anything, for good or ill?