Has anyone done a playthrough using only basic items and armor? — Guild Wars 2 Forums
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Has anyone done a playthrough using only basic items and armor?

I know other players will be assisting, but given that I'm curious what kind of experience this would be make for in GW2.

How did it change the combat experience for you?
Did you learn anything new about combat, gear, items, or abilities?

How long did it take you?
What did the difficulty curve look like?
Did it affect your overall enjoyment of the game?

Do you feel like it was worth it?
Do you feel like it was a better or worse experience than always running with best items and armor?

Would you recommend it? Why or why not?
What kind of players would you recommend it to?
What kind of advice would you give to someone interested in this kind of a playthrough?

Thanks all :smile:

Please feel free to share any other thoughts, observations, or comments.

Comments

  • I dunno about Basic but when I leveled up my character I just used items that I got as drops/rewards.....first because I didn't really want to stop leveling to venture into a place where they have a Trading Post vendor and then I just sort of continued with it because that was what people suggested.

    I can't imagine "Basic only" being a difficult way to play pre-80, as content is just so different in core Tyria, but if you were wanting to do story/content in the expansion areas post-80 it would be far too punishing for someone as novice as myself (I imagine so, anyway).

  • Linken.6345Linken.6345 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Well woodenpotatoes did a no skill 1-80 personal story.

  • Danikat.8537Danikat.8537 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Do you mean basic as in only white quality equipment?

    I've done that a few times, but never as the only restriction, it's always been one of several rules for a 'challenge run' character. None of them have gotten to level 80, either because I get bored and delete them to free up the space for something else or because one of the rules is perma-death, where if they die even once for any reason I have to delete them and sooner or later I mess it up.

    My current variation is:
    1. Permadeath.
    2. Only white quality equipment (unless there is none, like aquabreathers, in which case only the lowest tier available is allowed).
    3. No boosters, food or utility items.
    4. No help from other characters - no passing equipment to her or using gold she hasn't earned (I estimate this, I can't be bothered keeping track exactly).
    5. No mounts or waypoints.
    6. Gliding is allowed but shouldn't be relied on (at this point I use gliding without even thinking about it, so banning it completely is overly complicated for me).
    7. Anything which is purely cosmetic like wardrobe skins, mini pets, novelties etc. is allowed.
    8. No infinite gathering tools, because that makes it easier to earn gold.

    I'd say the only thing I've learned about gear is that basic gear can be surprisingly hard to come by, especially on an account with over 200% magic find. (I can't remember what it is exactly, but it's over 200 and not maxed out.) Normally I rely entirely on drops and level/story rewards when levelling up a character, but for this I have to resort to buying it from NPCs. Fortunately there's merchants everywhere who sell basic equipment so it's not hard to find or expensive. At first I don't notice any difference in stats but as the character gets to higher levels the difference becomes more and more noticeable and combat gets more dangerous as a result. The difference might be more noticeable for people who always buy/craft top tier level-appropriate gear for their characters as they level up.

    Permadeath is a much, much bigger factor in how I approach combat because that means I have to be far more careful than I usually am about drawing in too many enemies or getting overwhelmed. A lot of my characters are pretty much based around point-blank AoE damage, so for me having to stay back a bit and avoid letting too many enemies close is a very different approach. It also means I take more time to think about where I'm going and possible danger - not just enemies but cliffs and other environmental hazards. (Anyone who has played with me could tell you I usually notice cliffs a second or two after falling off them!)

    I'm not sure I'd say it's better or worse, but for me the fact that it's so different makes it interesting...for a while anyway. As I said many of these characters end up getting deleted because I'm just not playing them enough to justify taking up a character slot (although wanting to do longer term challenges like this is one reason I bought extra slots). But while I am playing them it gets me to think about the game in a different way and reconsider situations I'm familiar with, which can influence how I play my other characters.

    My advice, for anyone wanting to do any sort of themed or challenge character is to think about what you want to get out of it. What would make it interesting or difficult, or just different enough from your existing characters that it's not just levelling another alt? There are dozens of examples out there which could provide a starting point but it's important to tailor it to you. For example a lot of people doing similar challenges to me don't allow cosmetics, or only ones the character has earned, but that doesn't actually make it harder (or easier) and I find it boring so I ignore that rule. Others do allow mounts or waypoints because they'd find it annoying not to use them but I think it adds an extra challenge and I don't mind going slower.

    Also remember you can create a free account if that would help. It makes it easier to impose some restrictions, like no gliding or mounts and not sharing gold/materials, and adds some you can't do with a new character on the same account, like removing masteries and account bonuses (like magic find). But it also adds other restrictions which might be annoying, like not letting you use map chat and making it impossible to send items you do want to keep to your main account.

    Danielle Aurorel, Desolation EU. Mini Collector

    "Life's a journey, not a destination."

  • judeobscure.2537judeobscure.2537 Member ✭✭
    edited February 16, 2021

    @Danikat.8537 said:
    Do you mean basic as in only white quality equipment?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to respond, Danikat! This is exactly the kind of information and insight I was hoping to get.

    Yes, you're right, I meant basic/white items and equipment.

    Are there parts of the games that for all intents and purposes basically unavailable to you now because of the self-imposed limitations we're discussing?

    Is accessing and completing the more difficult areas/content a part of the challenge, or do you feel there is a hard limit on what can be achieved using basic/white tier items and armor?

    I was wondering where the limit is and meant to add that to my original post. I feel if I did hit a limit with what I could accomplish in game using basics/white, that I would then consider going to the next tier of item. I'm curious how unbalanced the relationship between player and content is. I've always heard mmo players complain about the games being too easy (overpowered items, zerging, monster/boss design, etc.) and felt this would be a good way to address that problem.

    Based on all your play, what tier weapon and armor would be the minimum required to clear all content?

    Will you play EoD this way?

    Do you still play without these rule variants on other characters so you can experience the parts of the game that are inaccessible when playing basic+permadeath?

    How would you characterize your motivations for playing GW2 (lore, combat, exploration, social, etc.)? Have you experienced everything in GW2 that you're interested in?

  • An interesting topic. I wonder if your study might be better done at level 80 and across all classes rather than through the leveling process.

    I suggest this as player characters get different upgrades while leveling such as unlocking traits and skills that are not equal across all professions. Some professions just flat out struggle at levels where others are speeding along even in similar gear.

    It should be a fairly easy study to get a full set of each tier of gear (white, blue, green), exclude runes and sigils, and go bash a few events or mobs at level 80.

  • judeobscure.2537judeobscure.2537 Member ✭✭
    edited February 16, 2021

    mungo zen.9364, thank you so much for your comment.

    that's helpful insight. i like your suggestion about also evaluating at lvl 80 across classes.

    do you play with any self-imposed limitations or other rules variants similar to what danikat.8537 and i were discussing?

    as danikat had asked, i think my main motivations here are:

    a. making combat challenging throughout

    b. experiencing combat in way that allows me to experience and learn the enemy movesets and abilities as well as those of my own character/class.

    c. add quality and value back into the combat so as to make it more enjoyable, thereby making the overall experience of the game more enjoyable. i'm finally starting to understand and appreciate the lore aspect of the game, but the enemies not offering much challenge contradicts the importance they have in the lore/story/world-building. that disconnect between what enemies represent from within the story and the challenge they represent in combat leaves me unsatisfied.

    i consume games and stories at an excruciatingly slow pace and know i won't have the time and stamina to blast through lvls 1-80 and the story repeatedly which is why i'm considering this type of playthrough. i'm hoping to increase the quality of the experience as per my preferences. but i'm very ignorant of the combat mechanics and game systems so i'm trying to educate myself a bit more first, although i'm sure i'm gonna run into some things i don't count on.

    permadeath sounds appealing too, but i'm afraid like pacificterror.7805 was remarking, i'm just not skilled enough, nor do i imagine i would have enough time and stamina to play through again if i died near the end of my story.

    mungo zen, how would you describe your motivations when you play?

    i think that's another aspect i'm interested in exploring during this playthrough - to better understand the structure, ambitions, and limitations of the rpg experience in mmos. i've really only started to learn about the different ways rpgs work across different mediums (tabletop, boardgames, solo crpgs, mmos), and i think i'm trying to determine the rpg experience that works best for me going forward.

    please feel free to also share other thoughts on the broader topic of different strategies/approaches you use and recommend to best enjoy gw2.

    thanks all :smile:

  • Danikat.8537Danikat.8537 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @judeobscure.2537 said:
    i consume games and stories at an excruciatingly slow pace and know i won't have the time and stamina to blast through lvls 1-80 and the story repeatedly which is why i'm considering this type of playthrough. i'm hoping to increase the quality of the experience as per my preferences. but i'm very ignorant of the combat mechanics and game systems so i'm trying to educate myself a bit more first, although i'm sure i'm gonna run into some things i don't count on.

    permadeath sounds appealing too, but i'm afraid like pacificterror.7805 was remarking, i'm just not skilled enough, nor do i imagine i would have enough time and stamina to play through again if i died near the end of my story.

    I don't think this would be an effective way to learn the games systems, because it means missing out on at least some of them. For example one of the things which makes a big difference to your build is the stat combination on your equipment; whether you use defensive stats or focus on pure offense, and whether you choose direct damage or condition damage. But many of those options are not available on basic equipment, most of it just has beserker's stats (power, precision, ferocity) which is one of the more popular ones but it's not right for everyone and restricting yourself to just that means you don't get a chance to see how different your character could be with other stat combinations.

    Also GW2 isn't the kind of game where the rarity of your equipment makes a massive difference. Having better equipment helps of course, but you can't ever reach a point where you can 'out gear' content and it becomes easy just because you're using the best equipment so I don't think there's any need to avoid using higher tiers because you're concerned you won't get to learn the mechanics. You still need to dodge, kite, use crowd control and make effective use of your attacks no matter what equipment you have.

    I definitely wouldn't recommend attempting a permadeath run as a way of learning the game. I know I said it helps me think about the game differently, but that's coming from the perspective of someone who has been playing for years and developed certain habits which I tend to stick to. If you're trying to learn the game that kind of restriction would be an unnecessary barrier - it means you're likely to end up repeating the lower level stuff over and over and never get to the point of experiencing many of the more complicated parts.

    If you want to learn the game my advice would be to take it slow, don't try to rush to level 80 or worry about getting into 'end game' activities or learning farming routines or whatever, but play it as it's designed. Try out different weapons and stat combination as you're levelling up, use runes and other upgrades when you get them to see what kind of difference they make, pay attention to what your skills do and try swapping in different ones as you unlock them, even if you don't think they'll be useful (you might be surprised). This game relies on player skill - knowing the options available to you and how best to make use of them - so experimenting with different options and seeing how they work in different situations will be very useful.

    @judeobscure.2537 said:

    @Danikat.8537 said:
    Do you mean basic as in only white quality equipment?

    Thank you very much for taking the time to respond, Danikat! This is exactly the kind of information and insight I was hoping to get.

    Yes, you're right, I meant basic/white items and equipment.

    Are there parts of the games that for all intents and purposes basically unavailable to you now because of the self-imposed limitations we're discussing?

    Is accessing and completing the more difficult areas/content a part of the challenge, or do you feel there is a hard limit on what can be achieved using basic/white tier items and armor?

    I was wondering where the limit is and meant to add that to my original post. I feel if I did hit a limit with what I could accomplish in game using basics/white, that I would then consider going to the next tier of item. I'm curious how unbalanced the relationship between player and content is. I've always heard mmo players complain about the games being too easy (overpowered items, zerging, monster/boss design, etc.) and felt this would be a good way to address that problem.

    Based on all your play, what tier weapon and armor would be the minimum required to clear all content?

    Will you play EoD this way?

    Do you still play without these rule variants on other characters so you can experience the parts of the game that are inaccessible when playing basic+permadeath?

    How would you characterize your motivations for playing GW2 (lore, combat, exploration, social, etc.)? Have you experienced everything in GW2 that you're interested in?

    I'm not sure if anything is impossible when playing like this, I know other people have done things like naked dungeon runs, and a friend of mine did Dragon's Stand where everyone started out naked and was only allowed to use armour dropped during the event. So I assume doing it in basic equipment would work, but it's not something I've tried myself. For me the social side would be more of an issue - I'd never join a group on a character like this without letting them know what I was doing, but I'd also want them to understand I'm doing it for the challenge and not expecting them to 'carry' me or go out of their way to protect my character. So I think I'd only do it with guild members and only after discussing the situation first.

    To be clear this is something I decided to do because I've been playing this game for almost 6,800 hours over more than 8 years, on 11 permanent characters and dozens of temporary ones and I like to find ways to make it different. It's like playing an RPG with a party system using just 1 character, or the Nuzlocke challenge in Pokemon, a way of making a familiar game different (and harder) for a repeat playthrough, not a normal way of playing.

    If I get to level 80 and finish the personal story on one of these characters I'll keep going and see what else I can do, but it's not my main way of playing or my first priority for new content.

    @judeobscure.2537 said:
    I'm curious how unbalanced the relationship between player and content is. I've always heard mmo players complain about the games being too easy (overpowered items, zerging, monster/boss design, etc.) and felt this would be a good way to address that problem.

    I think thats common to all games, especially ones without difficulty settings. It's almost impossible for developers to make a game which is equally difficult for everyone because what Player A finds easy Player B might find incredibly hard. It's not always linear either, there might be other things Player A really struggles to do and Player B does without really thinking about it. In other kinds of games it's rare to get major balance updates so if the difficulty isn't right for you then you just have to put up with it, but MMOs are constantly being updated and skills and stats can change dramatically over time so players are more inclined to ask for the changes they want, and I think the ones who find it too easy are more likely to be vocal about it.

    But I wouldn't worry about that in GW2 unless you find it's actually a problem for you. If you're finding the game too easy then it might be worth using lower tier equipment to reduce the effect, but I wouldn't restrict yourself to only basic equipment unless you really thought that was necessary.

    @judeobscure.2537 said:
    Based on all your play, what tier weapon and armor would be the minimum required to clear all content?

    I don't think it's the minimum possible, but if I was looking to make a character who could do everything but with a bit of extra challenge due to not using the best equipment I'd go for rares (yellow) or maybe masterwork (green).

    Danielle Aurorel, Desolation EU. Mini Collector

    "Life's a journey, not a destination."

  • Thank you for your write-up, Danikat! This is invaluable information for me. It sounds like I would have wasted a lot of time unnecessarily. This is definitely helping me understand the game better, and plan better how I want to approach my playthrough. :smile:

    Your last 2 recommendations of just using yellows or greens for additional challenge if necessary is very helpful. It sounds like that's a good way learn the enemies and my class while being retaining the challenge. Afterall, I don't want to make it impossible because that won't be any fun, but I also want the combat to be challenging, rewarding, and fun. It feels awful to kill things in 1 second, and then to kill dozens or hundreds of them that way. It feels like a waste of time. I was making an assumption that I needed to use only whites or that I would run into power balance problems from other games. This is another thing I'm not well versed in about MMOs or GW2 in particular.

    Your information about stat combinations and equipment, damage type, defense or offensive focus is very helpful. I didn't realize that white/basic items/gear is limited in this way, and who knows how long I would have played without realizing that.

    Thanks, again, Danikat. I think instead of blindly, arbitrarily limiting myself without understanding even the rudiments of the combat design this approach is much better; knowing more about how the game works beforehand. I always thought that would ruin the game, but I'd hate to play for a long time and not know about or understand some of these fundamental aspects of the game. There's so much to learn.

    I'd like to hear more about your connection to GW2, Danikat. I see your hours and years played. I'd like to hear more about your decision to reside here. Was it it luck that GW2 happened to provide what you needed? Did you know early on that it had what you were looking for? Did you play GW1? Why not other games as well? Do you play other games? Do you play other types of RPGs?

  • @judeobscure.2537 said:
    mungo zen.9364, thank you so much for your comment.

    that's helpful insight. i like your suggestion about also evaluating at lvl 80 across classes.

    do you play with any self-imposed limitations or other rules variants similar to what danikat.8537 and i were discussing?

    as danikat had asked, i think my main motivations here are:

    a. making combat challenging throughout

    b. experiencing combat in way that allows me to experience and learn the enemy movesets and abilities as well as those of my own character/class.

    c. add quality and value back into the combat so as to make it more enjoyable, thereby making the overall experience of the game more enjoyable. i'm finally starting to understand and appreciate the lore aspect of the game, but the enemies not offering much challenge contradicts the importance they have in the lore/story/world-building. that disconnect between what enemies represent from within the story and the challenge they represent in combat leaves me unsatisfied.

    i consume games and stories at an excruciatingly slow pace and know i won't have the time and stamina to blast through lvls 1-80 and the story repeatedly which is why i'm considering this type of playthrough. i'm hoping to increase the quality of the experience as per my preferences. but i'm very ignorant of the combat mechanics and game systems so i'm trying to educate myself a bit more first, although i'm sure i'm gonna run into some things i don't count on.

    permadeath sounds appealing too, but i'm afraid like pacificterror.7805 was remarking, i'm just not skilled enough, nor do i imagine i would have enough time and stamina to play through again if i died near the end of my story.

    mungo zen, how would you describe your motivations when you play?

    i think that's another aspect i'm interested in exploring during this playthrough - to better understand the structure, ambitions, and limitations of the rpg experience in mmos. i've really only started to learn about the different ways rpgs work across different mediums (tabletop, boardgames, solo crpgs, mmos), and i think i'm trying to determine the rpg experience that works best for me going forward.

    please feel free to also share other thoughts on the broader topic of different strategies/approaches you use and recommend to best enjoy gw2.

    thanks all :smile:

    I found that at level 80 in Zergs I wanted to do less DPS to allow more players to get involved in events. Sometimes events end very quickly as players are maxing their DPS which has led to community Mentors and Commanders during these events to call out for "Auto Attack Only" to extend the time an event or champion is available for players to tag. By creating 'Zerg' builds focused around providing more utility and less DPS I found a nice balance between enjoying the combat mechanics for my profession and overpowering the mobs.

    Having observed how combat is developed for games, one consideration is Time To Kill (TTK). This can be measured in seconds, in button presses, in actions taken or others. I have found that in GW2 solo combat that feels 'good' for me lasts a 3-5 seconds or about 1-2 rotations through my main offensive skills (perhaps up to 10 actions/keystrokes). I don't really care about shorter combat, swatting flies is an annoyance more than an enjoyment.

    On the other end, soloing Champs for a couple minutes where I get to run through all my tools and rotations multiple times can be very enjoyable. Over time I learned that it is harder on yourself to avoid self-sustain abilities, traits, skills and gear if you want to take on greater challenges solo or in small groups.

    The relevance here is that at level 80, there is no gear grind or escalator, rather this game offers horizontal progression. You won't be looking for the next most powerful piece of gear every new Release to upgrade to, but rather, alternate stat combos to augment how you play your chosen profession.

    So I think, after that, I am answering some of your questions. I enjoy feeling the combat in this game, I expanded my understanding of Utility and Support skills to increase my sustain, which in turn reduces my DPS and allows me to experience the flow of combat in a manner I enjoy.

    And I apologize since I am looking at this primarily from a level 80 standpoint. After getting all 9 Professions to 80 I didn't see the need to invest into the 1-80 again.

    Now that said, what I have told friends or guildies that are new to the game is to try out all the weapons and utility skills your class offers. You can go to the PvP lobby and try out all the skills and utilities to get a feel for how they work in game on a target dummy (Caution, PvP and WvW have slightly different takes on about 800 skills in this game, some have different CD which will be the most notable effect when testing, most are damage or coefficient related however).

    Don't just look at what the skills do but feel them. Some skills you can be cast while moving, some force you to stop, some stop casting when you move. Some skills can be cast while another skill is being cast even. As well there is the pre-cast and after-cast animations, and travel time for ranged skills.

    My favorite MMO have been SWtoR and GW2 as I enjoy flowing combat, similar to a dance. The pacing of CD's on some professions and builds in GW2 creates a very dance like rotation. Referring to myself above, 3-5 seconds of dancing, or chain pulling mobs into the dance to keep the fun rolling is really enjoyable for me.

  • I haven't tried that, although I do have a video or two fighting HoT champions in lower level gear. Here's one in level 55 blues with level 39 runes/sigils. The fight drags on about 3 times as long as it would normally take me in level 80 gear. Meanwhile, the boss's standard bite and roll attacks hit for about 80% of my health and his frontal wave attack I believe would be a 1-shot death (obviously, I don't get hit by it here!).

    I think it's more fun to just play glass builds at level 80 and sharpen your play to the point where you barely get hit. The kills go faster, but you can still die at any moment if you make mistakes. Here's an example of the same build using level 80 full offensive stats on a somewhat more difficult champion:

    I should take about the same amount of damage either way and my health is about the same, but the fight goes more quickly. With lower damage stats I'd just have to keep doing the same thing for an extra couple of minutes!

  • @Mungo Zen.9364 said:

    I found that at level 80 in Zergs I wanted to do less DPS to allow more players to get involved in events. Sometimes events end very quickly as players are maxing their DPS which has led to community Mentors and Commanders during these events to call out for "Auto Attack Only" to extend the time an event or champion is available for players to tag. By creating 'Zerg' builds focused around providing more utility and less DPS I found a nice balance between enjoying the combat mechanics for my profession and overpowering the mobs.

    That is interesting, mz, not something i would have expected to be happening out there in the wild.

    Having observed how combat is developed for games, one consideration is Time To Kill (TTK). This can be measured in seconds, in button presses, in actions taken or others. I have found that in GW2 solo combat that feels 'good' for me lasts a 3-5 seconds or about 1-2 rotations through my main offensive skills (perhaps up to 10 actions/keystrokes). I don't really care about shorter combat, swatting flies is an annoyance more than an enjoyment.

    This is something I've been thinking about as well. I'm trying to marry the weight of the story/lore/world with the combat, and I'm having diffculty with this part. I feel like killing thousands of sentient beings and monsters, each within a few seconds or fractions of seconds leaves me feeling hollow. When I think what something like that might be like irl, and then to look at how it's represented in game, it's just not appealing. I'm trying to think how I can change my mindset about combat to make it more enjoyable within the fold of experiencing the story and world. I'd like the warring and fighting to have an emotional aspect or payoff to synchronize with the arc of the story. But I feel like there's a disconnect there. How could I frame the actual experience of the combat gameplay so that it integrates better into my experience of the story?

    On the other end, soloing Champs for a couple minutes where I get to run through all my tools and rotations multiple times can be very enjoyable. Over time I learned that it is harder on yourself to avoid self-sustain abilities, traits, skills and gear if you want to take on greater challenges solo or in small groups.

    One question I have about combat skill rotations is, are you responding dynamically to what the enemies are doing, where you may choose different skills in different sequences, or are you always going through your skills in the same order?

    The relevance here is that at level 80, there is no gear grind or escalator, rather this game offers horizontal progression. You won't be looking for the next most powerful piece of gear every new Release to upgrade to, but rather, alternate stat combos to augment how you play your chosen profession.

    Do you change your build depending on the environments and enemies you're fighting? Does the game allow for that type of flexibility, control, and response? Is that an enjoyable way to play? I'm wondering if alternate stat combos are more for the sake of variety, or if they're necessary to respond to and defeat various enemies?

    So I think, after that, I am answering some of your questions. I enjoy feeling the combat in this game, I expanded my understanding of Utility and Support skills to increase my sustain, which in turn reduces my DPS and allows me to experience the flow of combat in a manner I enjoy.

    This is interesting, are you talking here again about intentionally underperforming in combat so as to lengthen the engagement with the enemy as well as your own abilities?

    And I apologize since I am looking at this primarily from a level 80 standpoint. After getting all 9 Professions to 80 I didn't see the need to invest into the 1-80 again.

    That's quite alright, this is invaluable insight for me. I'm learning a ton. You guys are saving me a ton of time and frustration I would have dealt with going in blindly.

    Now that said, what I have told friends or guildies that are new to the game is to try out all the weapons and utility skills your class offers. You can go to the PvP lobby and try out all the skills and utilities to get a feel for how they work in game on a target dummy (Caution, PvP and WvW have slightly different takes on about 800 skills in this game, some have different CD which will be the most notable effect when testing, most are damage or coefficient related however).

    Great, I hadn't even considered doing this. I am playing around with different weapons and skills to see what I enjoy. I'm torn between the elementalist, the ranger, and the warrior. I doubt I'll have time to play the game through more than once, but it's difficult choosing between melee and traditional combat and magic.

    Don't just look at what the skills do but feel them. Some skills you can be cast while moving, some force you to stop, some stop casting when you move. Some skills can be cast while another skill is being cast even. As well there is the pre-cast and after-cast animations, and travel time for ranged skills.

    I hadn't considered this either. There are so many options and combinations. Are we able to interrupt pre and post cast animations just be initiating another action/movement/skill?

    My favorite MMO have been SWtoR and GW2 as I enjoy flowing combat, similar to a dance. The pacing of CD's on some professions and builds in GW2 creates a very dance like rotation. Referring to myself above, 3-5 seconds of dancing, or chain pulling mobs into the dance to keep the fun rolling is really enjoyable for me.

    I've caught myself watching animations and trying to position mobs too since I read your post. I think combat is the biggest hurdle for me in choosing GW2 as an RPG to invest in. I've always been more interested in story, lore, characters, and details more than combat. I like what I've learned about the story and lore of GW1/2 so far, I'm just wondering if I can sustain through so much combat, even if it's fun but feels disconnected from the story I'm playing through.

    I think I misunderstood just how differently different games and studios approach RPG design. I didn't realize combat was the dominant focus of the game. I see there is a lot of exploration too, but slaughtering thousands of mobs and enemies, without ever the threat of really dying, equates in my mind to my character essentially being a god. A god that doesn't make many decisions and only has to kill enough to see the end. Any thoughts on how to approach that? What is it you look for in how you receive and experience the story? How does combat fit into and define the experience of the GW world and stories for you?

    Thanks so much for your responses, mz. :smile:

  • @judeobscure.2537 said:

    @Mungo Zen.9364 said:

    I found that at level 80 in Zergs I wanted to do less DPS to allow more players to get involved in events. Sometimes events end very quickly as players are maxing their DPS which has led to community Mentors and Commanders during these events to call out for "Auto Attack Only" to extend the time an event or champion is available for players to tag. By creating 'Zerg' builds focused around providing more utility and less DPS I found a nice balance between enjoying the combat mechanics for my profession and overpowering the mobs.

    That is interesting, mz, not something i would have expected to be happening out there in the wild.

    Having observed how combat is developed for games, one consideration is Time To Kill (TTK). This can be measured in seconds, in button presses, in actions taken or others. I have found that in GW2 solo combat that feels 'good' for me lasts a 3-5 seconds or about 1-2 rotations through my main offensive skills (perhaps up to 10 actions/keystrokes). I don't really care about shorter combat, swatting flies is an annoyance more than an enjoyment.

    This is something I've been thinking about as well. I'm trying to marry the weight of the story/lore/world with the combat, and I'm having diffculty with this part. I feel like killing thousands of sentient beings and monsters, each within a few seconds or fractions of seconds leaves me feeling hollow. When I think what something like that might be like irl, and then to look at how it's represented in game, it's just not appealing. I'm trying to think how I can change my mindset about combat to make it more enjoyable within the fold of experiencing the story and world. I'd like the warring and fighting to have an emotional aspect or payoff to synchronize with the arc of the story. But I feel like there's a disconnect there. How could I frame the actual experience of the combat gameplay so that it integrates better into my experience of the story?

    This is why I really don't like the Diablo or Path of Exile franchises. Running through mobs with the best 'lawn mower' build is only fun for a few minutes. I don't mind if it happens occasionally in games but like you, I don't want it to be the running theme.

    On the other end, soloing Champs for a couple minutes where I get to run through all my tools and rotations multiple times can be very enjoyable. Over time I learned that it is harder on yourself to avoid self-sustain abilities, traits, skills and gear if you want to take on greater challenges solo or in small groups.

    One question I have about combat skill rotations is, are you responding dynamically to what the enemies are doing, where you may choose different skills in different sequences, or are you always going through your skills in the same order?

    Dynamic all the way. I call them rotations but they are just combinations of actions that group well together. The core DPS rotation which will be the thing you typically open and work with. Some skills work better before/after another skill such as Combo Fields (if you haven't yet, go read about them here: https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Combo ). As well some classes have 'ramp up' effects like Warriors Adrenaline or Necromancer Life Force that allow you to build towards a bigger effect or ability.

    If you consider that most classes have 15-25 available actions during combat (weapon and utility skills as well as class special skills), you won't be using them all to just beat stuff up. There are heals, buffs, cleanses and mobility that focus on your character or group that are situational but, in my mind, important tools to be aware of how to use properly (or at least that you can use them and that they are good to use some times).

    The relevance here is that at level 80, there is no gear grind or escalator, rather this game offers horizontal progression. You won't be looking for the next most powerful piece of gear every new Release to upgrade to, but rather, alternate stat combos to augment how you play your chosen profession.

    Do you change your build depending on the environments and enemies you're fighting? Does the game allow for that type of flexibility, control, and response? Is that an enjoyable way to play? I'm wondering if alternate stat combos are more for the sake of variety, or if they're necessary to respond to and defeat various enemies?

    All the time......literally. I have 3 primary builds for my main character based upon different encounter and grouping types (Full Power, Full Support, Hybrid) and within those I am always tinkering with which utilities I want to use for a given moment. In any given play session I will swap my build several times and adjust my utilities many more. Whether it be pausing for a second to adjust them before entering combat, or even running out of a zerg to change the build and come back in, I do it all the time.

    Case in point, I was just fighting Tequatl (overworld squad boss) with 50+ players and between the first and second phases I went from a healing/support build to a power/buffing build as that is what helps the group the most in my opinion. Not everyone does this, and I could be 'overthinking and overplaying' the game but, there are a whole lot of "power" players who just focus on the DPS and allow others to pick up the support.

    So I think, after that, I am answering some of your questions. I enjoy feeling the combat in this game, I expanded my understanding of Utility and Support skills to increase my sustain, which in turn reduces my DPS and allows me to experience the flow of combat in a manner I enjoy.

    This is interesting, are you talking here again about intentionally underperforming in combat so as to lengthen the engagement with the enemy as well as your own abilities?

    I have a partner and friends who I brought into the game, as well as having played with many newer players from guilds I have been in or just randoms picked up along the way. I don't need to melt faces, but I do want my friends to be able to engage and learn about the game while I offer some support to their gaming experience.

    And I apologize since I am looking at this primarily from a level 80 standpoint. After getting all 9 Professions to 80 I didn't see the need to invest into the 1-80 again.

    That's quite alright, this is invaluable insight for me. I'm learning a ton. You guys are saving me a ton of time and frustration I would have dealt with going in blindly.

    Now that said, what I have told friends or guildies that are new to the game is to try out all the weapons and utility skills your class offers. You can go to the PvP lobby and try out all the skills and utilities to get a feel for how they work in game on a target dummy (Caution, PvP and WvW have slightly different takes on about 800 skills in this game, some have different CD which will be the most notable effect when testing, most are damage or coefficient related however).

    Great, I hadn't even considered doing this. I am playing around with different weapons and skills to see what I enjoy. I'm torn between the elementalist, the ranger, and the warrior. I doubt I'll have time to play the game through more than once, but it's difficult choosing between melee and traditional combat and magic.

    You might be able to find a comparison of the different classes and their pro's and con's somewhere. I will add that Elementalist was one of the harder classes to level for myself, while Ranger and Warrior were pretty much as expected to get into. The design of these three classes has Ranger and Warrior a lot closer to what you would expect from an MMO, while the Elementalist is unlike anything I have played in another game.

    That said, if you fall in love with how the Elementalist plays, who am I to suggest otherwise!

    Don't just look at what the skills do but feel them. Some skills you can be cast while moving, some force you to stop, some stop casting when you move. Some skills can be cast while another skill is being cast even. As well there is the pre-cast and after-cast animations, and travel time for ranged skills.

    I hadn't considered this either. There are so many options and combinations. Are we able to interrupt pre and post cast animations just be initiating another action/movement/skill?

    In some cases yes, some no.... I will add in that this game does have some skill queueing so if you have one skill activating you can hit the next skill and it will queue up for activation when the first has completed. However, given the variables I noted above, not all skills will work the same, and it is best to play around with them yourself to feel how it flows with your style of gameplay.

    My favorite MMO have been SWtoR and GW2 as I enjoy flowing combat, similar to a dance. The pacing of CD's on some professions and builds in GW2 creates a very dance like rotation. Referring to myself above, 3-5 seconds of dancing, or chain pulling mobs into the dance to keep the fun rolling is really enjoyable for me.

    I've caught myself watching animations and trying to position mobs too since I read your post. I think combat is the biggest hurdle for me in choosing GW2 as an RPG to invest in. I've always been more interested in story, lore, characters, and details more than combat. I like what I've learned about the story and lore of GW1/2 so far, I'm just wondering if I can sustain through so much combat, even if it's fun but feels disconnected from the story I'm playing through.

    I think I misunderstood just how differently different games and studios approach RPG design. I didn't realize combat was the dominant focus of the game. I see there is a lot of exploration too, but slaughtering thousands of mobs and enemies, without ever the threat of really dying, equates in my mind to my character essentially being a god. A god that doesn't make many decisions and only has to kill enough to see the end. Any thoughts on how to approach that? What is it you look for in how you receive and experience the story? How does combat fit into and define the experience of the GW world and stories for you?

    You aren't always in combat, you can choose to be as involved as you like. The open spaces in GW2 allow for a lot of free movement around the maps, but do expect more combat as you head into enemy areas of course. There are a lot of Way Points (the method of fast travel) dotted around the Core maps as well (way too many, but, that is to your advantage).

    As you get into HoT and PoF expansions you gain access to additional movement options in the form of Gliders (HoT) and Mounts (PoF) which some feel trivializes the content but, it does let you skip by, or escape from, a great many threats.

    As well, there are stealth options mostly via Thief and a little bit Mesmer, but they are not the common play patterns and I don't know how that would work out in all circumstances. You can use them to bypass a lot of junk or escape from gaining agro which might be a thing you like.

    Thanks so much for your responses, mz. :smile:

  • Aliam, this was awesome to see. You made some great points, and the videos make it easier to understand. Thank you for taking the time to put that post together with the videos - I appreciate it!

    Your post, along with Danikat and Mungo, have really helped me understand much better what to expect from the combat, weapon, and armor systems.

  • @Mungo Zen.9364 said:

    This is why I really don't like the Diablo or Path of Exile franchises. Running through mobs with the best 'lawn mower' build is only fun for a few minutes. I don't mind if it happens occasionally in games but like you, I don't want it to be the running theme.

    I've played Diablo and PoE as well, but in those games I never get good enough to where my whole screen is always full of mobs that are all exploding ever second or two. I usually just play through the campaign a couple of times, so I never get too powerful, which keeps combat in the fun/challenging zone. I think I'm just only so interested in combat. I can enjoy it plenty, but there has to be more going on to sustain my interest. I think I'm learning that as I learn about GW story/lore/world.

    Dynamic all the way. I call them rotations but they are just combinations of actions that group well together. The core DPS rotation which will be the thing you typically open and work with. Some skills work better before/after another skill such as Combo Fields (if you haven't yet, go read about them here: https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Combo ). As well some classes have 'ramp up' effects like Warriors Adrenaline or Necromancer Life Force that allow you to build towards a bigger effect or ability.

    If you consider that most classes have 15-25 available actions during combat (weapon and utility skills as well as class special skills), you won't be using them all to just beat stuff up. There are heals, buffs, cleanses and mobility that focus on your character or group that are situational but, in my mind, important tools to be aware of how to use properly (or at least that you can use them and that they are good to use some times).

    Thank you for the link about Combo Skills. I had read something about those before, but didn't really understand. Just reading the wiki is fun! Having so many different types of skills you're having to manage in real time at the pace of the fight/game does seem fun. How silly I was thinking I needed to use basic/white items to enjoy the game - my goodness.

    All the time......literally. I have 3 primary builds for my main character based upon different encounter and grouping types (Full Power, Full Support, Hybrid) and within those I am always tinkering with which utilities I want to use for a given moment. In any given play session I will swap my build several times and adjust my utilities many more. Whether it be pausing for a second to adjust them before entering combat, or even running out of a zerg to change the build and come back in, I do it all the time.

    Case in point, I was just fighting Tequatl (overworld squad boss) with 50+ players and between the first and second phases I went from a healing/support build to a power/buffing build as that is what helps the group the most in my opinion. Not everyone does this, and I could be 'overthinking and overplaying' the game but, there are a whole lot of "power" players who just focus on the DPS and allow others to pick up the support.

    This sounds awesome. Not only are you managing your skills, but also your build+skills+items, all in real time as the fight changes. I wonder how many players out there are playing the game this way. I find it fascinating to hear about what sustains players for so long, and then to hear about the differen things they're focusing on in-game. That sounds super. I doubt I'll ever get that good, but wow, now I'm seeing more what they meant when the said they were inspired by the Magic: The Gathering game. But in real-time, not turn-based! Thank you for breaking everything down, explaining it all, and making it easy to understand, MZ! =)

    You might be able to find a comparison of the different classes and their pro's and con's somewhere. I will add that Elementalist was one of the harder classes to level for myself, while Ranger and Warrior were pretty much as expected to get into. The design of these three classes has Ranger and Warrior a lot closer to what you would expect from an MMO, while the Elementalist is unlike anything I have played in another game.

    Speaking of, what other games have you enjoyed as much? Elementalist differ from similar classes in other games you've played?

    In some cases yes, some no.... I will add in that this game does have some skill queueing so if you have one skill activating you can hit the next skill and it will queue up for activation when the first has completed. However, given the variables I noted above, not all skills will work the same, and it is best to play around with them yourself to feel how it flows with your style of gameplay.

    My favorite MMO have been SWtoR and GW2 as I enjoy flowing combat, similar to a dance. The pacing of CD's on some professions and builds in GW2 creates a very dance like rotation. Referring to myself above, 3-5 seconds of dancing, or chain pulling mobs into the dance to keep the fun rolling is really enjoyable for me.

    Do you still play SWTOR? Did you play GW1?

    You aren't always in combat, you can choose to be as involved as you like. The open spaces in GW2 allow for a lot of free movement around the maps, but do expect more combat as you head into enemy areas of course. There are a lot of Way Points (the method of fast travel) dotted around the Core maps as well (way too many, but, that is to your advantage).

    I think I fall into a trap of thinking I need to kill everything I see. Even though I don't like the idea on paper, I still have the 'clear' mentality I used in games like Diablo and PoE where I wanted to clear the whole map, almost as if I had to to move to the next area. I think I end up 'focusing' on combat in GW2 in part because enemies area always respawning. Which is silly because you can never get rid of them all. I guess that would need to be another change in mindset I would need in order to avoid getting burned out - not killing too much.

    thank you, mz. :smile:

  • @judeobscure.2537 said:

    Aliam, this was awesome to see. You made some great points, and the videos make it easier to understand. Thank you for taking the time to put that post together with the videos - I appreciate it!

    Your post, along with Danikat and Mungo, have really helped me understand much better what to expect from the combat, weapon, and armor systems.

    Glad you found it helpful. Here's another that shows the potential for GW2's action combat system. I happen to be wearing tanky gear in this clip, and this boss hits like a truck, but it doesn't even matter because I'm able to use positioning, dodging and defensive cooldowns to avoid almost every attack!

  • @AliamRationem.5172 said:

    Glad you found it helpful. Here's another that shows the potential for GW2's action combat system. I happen to be wearing tanky gear in this clip, and this boss hits like a truck, but it doesn't even matter because I'm able to use positioning, dodging and defensive cooldowns to avoid almost every attack!

    Awesome stuff, Aliam. And here I was asking if the game was too easy and if I needed to use white/basic items - I'm so far from this level of play. I didn't even really understand the rudiments of the combat systems in the game. SMH.

    I learned a ton in this thread. Thank you all! :smile:

  • Khisanth.2948Khisanth.2948 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 20, 2021

    @judeobscure.2537 said:
    Is accessing and completing the more difficult areas/content a part of the challenge, or do you feel there is a hard limit on what can be achieved using basic/white tier items and armor?

    You are either going to end up playing the game as a single player game or end up being the jerk who expects other people to carry them through content unless you are organizing a group of people doing the same thing..

    I was wondering where the limit is and meant to add that to my original post. I feel if I did hit a limit with what I could accomplish in game using basics/white, that I would then consider going to the next tier of item. I'm curious how unbalanced the relationship between player and content is. I've always heard mmo players complain about the games being too easy (overpowered items, zerging, monster/boss design, etc.) and felt this would be a good way to address that problem.

    Your character's gear isn't going to have much impact on zerging or creature/encounter design.

    Weaker gear would not make poorly designed creatures and encounters better. You might no longer be able to brute force your way through but that means you get stuck so I don't think that is an improvement.

    The other problem is that the majority of more challenging content are group oriented and unless you get the whole group to do this it goes back to the problem of being carried by the rest of the team.

    Based on all your play, what tier weapon and armor would be the minimum required to clear all content?

    People have cleared raid bosses which represents some of the hardest content in the game with naked characters(they still need their weapons of course) so the minimum requirement is pretty low.

    There are some situations where your damage can be too low. For example you kill slower than the respawn rate.

    @judeobscure.2537 said:
    b. experiencing combat in way that allows me to experience and learn the enemy movesets and abilities as well as those of my own character/class.

    That is done by observation, analysis and testing. Your gear has very little role in that.

    Lets take a mordrem leeching thrasher as an example. They can either suck you to death with their PBAoE or grope you to death with tentacles. The attack it uses depends on the distance to its current target. How would having weaker gear improve your observation and analysis of this creature?

    c. add quality and value back into the combat so as to make it more enjoyable, thereby making the overall experience of the game more enjoyable. i'm finally starting to understand and appreciate the lore aspect of the game, but the enemies not offering much challenge contradicts the importance they have in the lore/story/world-building. that disconnect between what enemies represent from within the story and the challenge they represent in combat leaves me unsatisfied.

    Most open world stuff is relatively easy by necessity. It becomes tedious very quickly if you have to wade through a bunch of enemies that take a long time to deal with every time you want to go anywhere

    @AliamRationem.5172 said:
    I haven't tried that, although I do have a video or two fighting HoT champions in lower level gear. Here's one in level 55 blues with level 39 runes/sigils. The fight drags on about 3 times as long as it would normally take me in level 80 gear. Meanwhile, the boss's standard bite and roll attacks hit for about 80% of my health and his frontal wave attack I believe would be a 1-shot death (obviously, I don't get hit by it here!).

    Pretty sure the front and back attacks are capable of one shotting lv80s in full ascended gear anyway so nothing is really lost versus that attack when using lower gear

  • aspirine.6852aspirine.6852 Member ✭✭✭✭

    In the original game yeah, me and a friend of mine had no gold, we only could equip what we found. But right now with the powercreep even that would be easier to do unless I stayed to the core professions. but sure it was doable.. Was a bit of a hassle on some classes though, I remember mesmer being such a drag to play through the story mode and leveling, bored me to tears..

  • I just did a run through of the beginning instance of PoF (where you actually get the raptor) last night on my Revenant Herald in his underwear. Someone had made the comment that it had taken them over an hour to do that story instance, so I did it with no armor and no trinkets, just a pair of exotic berserker swords I bought on the TP and the exotic berserker hammer I have on that character. No food, no utilities, no mount skills that you wouldn't have if you were running it the day it came out, and no mount skills until you get them. Started the timer when I stepped off the gang-plank from the airship and stopped it when Kasmeer came through the gates at Amnoon. 20 minutes 18.23 seconds. Admittedly, I did die 4 times and was downed one additional time, but I was in my underwear. Well, my toon was in his underwear, I was still clothed IRL ( B) ).

    I played it like I would have played it with full armor and trinkets, but the lack of those meant that I had to kite a little more and dodge a lot more, but, other than EXPECTING to die more (even more than I did), it didn't feel that much different to me. It was an interesting experiment. And really makes me wonder how/what people are running for armor, weapons, trinkets, and builds when they are having problems with fights in this game, especially story instance fights.