I, and many others, realize the current game design is simply not sufficient for a competitive scene to be had. There's too many passive forms of damage, cc, invuln, block, etc. While at the same time there's too much damage, cc, etc. present to allow for the removal of those passives creating a large fustercluck of a game. As far as balancing in the future goes (note this is in an ideal world where resources would not be an issue as far as redesigning many things goes) there are certain goals that we should strive to meet in order to foster a competitive game:
Removal of ALL passive invuln, counter cc, stunbreak, etc.
- If this game is going to be competitive then you have to remove the safety nets that allow bad players to be carried and good players to be near unkillable without any real skill demand on the player. (conditional passives such as "Increase damage by X when Y condition is fulfilled" are fine as that allows skill and knowledge to propell a player to greater success)
Reduction (And I mean MASSIVE REDUCTION) of all healing, damage, cc, stunbreak, condi removal, and condi output in this game
- This kind of speaks for itself but if you need an explanation as to why this would be better than what we have now: This allows for the removal of passives that are unhealthy for the game and instead focuses more on a player's skill to cycle through defenses, bait engagements, and win trades instead of a game of "who can 1 shot through everyone's invuln first". These changes would be especially important in aoe (no aoe should ever hit as hard as a single target skill, that's the tradeoff for affecting multiple opponents). As far as conditions go, they need to be put back into the DoT role (pre stacking change behavior) instead of an alternate, and often more powerful, burst that allows the user to be safe. But to compensate, condition removal needs to be looked at and heavily changed to still allow for condition builds to be influential
Increase cooldowns on more influential skills
- Things like heavy stuns, aoe's, and other game changing skills need longer cd's. Take a look at the revenant's glint heal as an example: It's an amazing and potentially fight winning skill when used right but it has a really long cd which means it can't be spammed and the ability of a player to utilize it effectively determines their effectiveness with the class in fights.
Visual clutter toned down
- Again, I feel like this is pretty straighforward but right now there's too much visual noise to allow people to really see what is going on. This makes the game unenjoyable both to play and watch. Skill telegraphs need to be apparent but some of the visual stuff (very pretty and cool, but often large and obnoxious in pvp, animations on aoes and such are the biggest culprits). What this allows in the future (assuming a competitive route is taken) is for shoutcasting to be a manageable thing to do. It allows people who don't know much about the game to watch and enjoy what they see, possibly raising their curiosity and eventually the playerbase numbers as more peeople try out this new and amazing looking game they see on twitch streams.
Build Creation needs more customization options:
- With limited trait selections (largely due to too many mandatory traits existing and only 3 lines able to be taken) you all too easily fall into the meta trap of "this is objectively the best possible combination for every circumstance and you have no wiggle room without sacrificing the integrity of your build". A way to fix this is to add stat selection for each gear piece kind of like how the amulet system works (basically no gear is actually needed but there'd be a slot for an amulet stat combo in every place where you'd normally have gear so stat selection becomes more customizeable creating more diversity in builds and playstyles. You could also go a step further and after shifting some traits around allow people to spec into traits like the old system where they didn't have to take the full line (this is also after stuff that ought to be baseline is made baseline for the respective class) but could choose small parts of each line to invest in giving, again, more customization to the player and making going over builds a more interesting process for casters and watchers.
Now that I've addressed the more straightforward stuff, there is a big thing to talk about (where most of the redesigning and such would be dedicated to):
- Defenses in this game are absurd atm, there's too much invulnerability and defense that requires very little thought or skill to utilize effectively (basically hard damage mitigation and reactive defenses like stunbreaks with stability or damage immunity attached). That's why the game needs to focus defenses into the following: Blocks, Evades, and Barrier. These are all forms of prediction based defense or active styles of play rather than reaction based like stunbreaks. As far as balancing defenses and damage mitigation go I'd argue that Power Herald is the best balanced/designed profession when it comes to demanding active gameplay from users. It is completely reliant on blocks and evades to survive and does not leave much room for error on the player's part. Really good revenants can feel untouchable at times but really bad ones will melt very quickly, this is a good thing (yes frustrating for awhile for newer players as they learn but in the long run more beneficial) as you force defenses to be more actively focused and dependent on the player's actions rather than some passive they put in a trait slot. Barrier would be an alternative form of defense to give some artificial tankiness to glassier builds like weaver or scourge which helps to cover their lack of evades and blocks. Barrier would be changed so that barriers will last 5 seconds before they decay in combat if you haven't added more on. (ofc numbers would need to be adjusted to not allow for immortality through the use of barrier stacking)
To summarize that little paragraph: Make defenses more active and prediction based rather than reactive or passive. Remove invulns and make classes utilize evade, barrier, or block as their defense instead of hard mitigation (like projectile reflection or damage reduction/immunity) or stunbreaks.
Obviously, I don't have all the answers so more things would need to be added/changed in this list but that's what you are all out there for.
Please note: this is not about matchmaking or any sort of system put in place, this is purely class balance and interaction with combat. Don't bring up things outside of pvp- specific balance.
I wrote this at 4 in the morning, please forgive grammatical errors or ranty lines. But if you have questions on what the intended meaning of something was feel free to ask.