Putting "FUN" back into designs and balancing — Guild Wars 2 Forums

Putting "FUN" back into designs and balancing

Swagger.1459Swagger.1459 Member ✭✭✭✭
edited January 4, 2019 in WvW

“Guild Wars 2 is an online role-playing game with fast-paced action combat”

“Experience high-impact, fast-paced combat and choose from an arsenal of professions, weapons, and playstyles.”

“create the heroic character you want to play.”

“We’re putting the fun back in fantasy combat—come join us on the battlefield!”

...My favorite game to play was City of Heroes. It was released on Apr 27, 2004. A year later Guild Wars was released on April 26, 2005.

I’m going to provide some videos showing some pvp combat so players can understand my attraction to City of Heroes compared to traditional fantasy mmo games during the time…



GW2 E-Sports Tourney

GW2 combat is leaps and bounds more exciting than GW1. Despite some areas, I feel Anet has created some of the best “feeling” combat of any mmo out today. However, when I dig into the system, I don’t “feel” the “fun” while using any profession, I "feel" a numbers game. I don’t “feel” like I’m playing the “hero” I “want to play”, instead I “feel” the “rigid” design reigns that don’t offer a ton of true build flexibility, versatility and viability. I don’t “feel” the “fun” out of the profession system and role designs, I “feel” like I MUST use X profession at times, and X profession build to be competitive, get rewarded and “feel” a sense of “fun”.

I’m going to make some comparisons here, so I can share my points better…

This was the only 1 high level pvp zone in City of Heroes… (There was an arena too btw)

By comparison, GW2 offers 5 large zone maps… GW2 maps are way better areas to play on than in CoH.

GW2 WvW and Spvp reward systems blow away anything offered in CoH pvp. These were the only “special” pvp rewards…

So what made CoH pvp so great compared to GW2? Class designs, balance and build flexibility. You felt a “hero”. We could play almost any class set up AND role WE wanted... In City of Heroes we could truly “create the heroic character you want to play”.


By comparison, GW2 professions, weapons and skills designs tell me what I should play, and sometime what I HAVE to play… Why? Because I “feel” the devs were not thinking of player enjoyment FIRST when it come to designing. I see "needs to be different" held higher for design choices, as opposed to "this has to be fun first and foremost".

So Swagger, what does “fun” look like for you?... Well, I’m going to keep this as short and concise as possible. I’m not going to go into numbers, because I really don’t care about numbers... These would be my “balance for fun first” design thoughts and ideas…

  • 2 Weapon slots on professions are "fun" for combat!… The team just made Holosmith the best Engineer spec for combat because it now can be made viable at any distance through the use of 2 quality weapons… 1 good built-in melee weapon and some optional mid to long ranged weapons. Enjoyment levels in combat, and competitiveness, will go up for Engineer and Elementalist if you make 2 weapon slots standard.

  • Fast and quick casting attacks are “fun”!... Slow attacks and long cast times are not “fun” period. Pit your Necromance against every profession and it "feels" like playing in mud... The team can speed up slow and long casting attacks across all professions, and all that needs to be done to balance is adjust damage output down a little bit.

  • Freedom of movement while attacking is “fun”!... Skills that root a player are not fun in a game designed for high mobility and positioning in combat. There are more than enough movement impairing effects being tossed around by opponents in spvp and wvw as is, and skill root designs kill the "fun" flow of battle. Removing all roots from weapons and skills, while balancing out damage numbers, would be way more "fun".

  • “Joy of Movement” is “fun”… Just based off of a “fun feel”, it’s hella enjoyable to run around on Thief. Fast skills. Quick cast times. On demand positioning skills that are super smooth to use… Why not try to replicate that "fun" stuff for all professions somehow? https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/9804/idea-wvw-only-movement-skills

  • Having a “good fight” is “fun”!... Dying in seconds is not exciting. Killing a player in seconds is not healthy for the game because it just generates negativity and lack of interest to participate. The damage creep has gone through the roof while other areas have not been touched… https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/28024/increasing-ttk-would-be-a-healthy-change

  • Weapon variety is “fun”!... I’m going to make a weapon improvement wish list for wvw and spvp later, but I just want to say this… There are a bunch of undesirable – mediocre weapons for pvp gameplay. This kills build diversity to a large degree. Example… Know how boring it is to run a Soulbeast build knowing that the best weapons for the build are weapons from August 2012? Staple Soulbeast weapons are Longbow and Greatsword. Druid Staff is not great at all. New Soulbeast main hand dagger, and the old off hand dagger, are almost useless outside of pve.. BORING… It was really awesome of the team to make improvements to Revenant swords and Guardian staff… Think more efforts like those would hugely boost the “fun” factor for players and well worth the investment. Some examples of “fun designs” for weapons... https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/58958/eye-on-necro-ideas, https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/56624/a-few-weapon-suggestions, https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/36048/suggestions-to-make-working-condi-builds-for-every-mode-especially-wvw-and-spvp

  • Playing the game and focusing on combat is “fun!.. Getting blasted for thousands of damage while needing to focus on building up and micromanage resources isn’t fun. Thief Initiative mechanics are the most “fun”, and well made for “fast- paced action combat”, of them all… The rest, well, not so much... It’s also really “fun” to have a skill there when ya need it, and only deal with a cooldown too.

  • Damage roles are super "fun"!... If heal and non-heal support builds, skills and designs were nearly as fluid, impactful, rewarding and “fun” as offensive specs.. THAT would be “fun”!... This is what I mean, and something I brought up to our awesome Ben P. before, and I want every reader to think about it... NOTE- Sorry, I can’t direct quote the below anymore…

From this thread… https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/52283/more-healers-in-pvp
@Ben Phongluangtham.1065 said:
More detailed answer, we've resisting just buffing other heal specs as we don't want to get into a meta where healing has way too much influence. We're more likely to address this issue by continuing to carefully shave Firebrand until we feel it's on par with the other specs.”

“I, personally, don't feel the main issues lies with buffs or nerfs... It is not nearly as enjoyable and rewarding to play heal or non-heal support roles compared to other roles. It is infinitely more fun and fluid to play damage roles, and extremely clunky to play support roles because of skill designs, mechanics and resource management on a couple.

Druid is clunky to heal with and some ideas would go a long way... https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/39412/eye-on-druid-ideas-yay

Ventari Tablet would be leaps more enjoyable if it were a "back pack", not a tablet that needed to be moved around trying to heal the cat herd.

Ele healer is most "fluid" of them all, but still feels uninspiring. Frustrating to heal teammates outside of tight blobs.

I gave up trying to play support so I didn't even bother to look at how Firebrand functions...

By comparison, I played mostly support roles in City of Heroes, and those were some of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I've ever had. The below was a taste of playing a support role in CoH… Fun. Fast paced. Not clunky. Builds had a ton of flexibility. Desired, but not needed in teams. No funky resource gating mechanics. Great skill designs for movement oriented combat in pvp and their version of "wvw"...”

“Edit- There were also a ton of “balanced”, viable and fun heal and non-heal support roles and power sets to choose from... among others roles and power sets as well...

“Part 2…”

“2 v 2 gameplay with 3 support archetypes and 1 ranged damage archetype…
https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Defender and https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Corruptor
https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Defender and https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Blaster

“A Blaster's primary power sets are designed specifically for ranged attacks.
A Blaster's secondary power sets are designed for support via melee attacks, minor crowd control powers, or temporary self-buffs.
A Corruptor's primary power sets are designed for ranged attacks.
A Corruptor's secondary power sets are designed for buffing or debuffing.
A Defender's primary power sets are designed specifically for buffing or debuffing.
A Defender's secondary power sets are designed for ranged attacks.”

As a support oriented player, I can say that the specs and mechanics to play any support role I have been given to use in gw2 is let’s say… not fun at all. I have a feeling that if we polled players here on what builds are more fun, fluid and rewarding to play, I doubt we would have many hands up for any support roles or builds.

Edit- And let’s say we theorize by putting the shoe on the other foot... Let’s exchange some Druid designs with Deadeye mechanics... Take the deadeye rifle and create it to be a low damage weapon normally, with some utility, and create a Deadeye stance where players need to build malice to unlock heavy hitting rifle attacks. Now make some of these rifle attacks ground target skills and throw in a long channel root skill. The new Deadeye stance is also placed on a timer, so any skills need to be used within the allotted time...

Let’s switch up Ventari and Scourge mechanics... The new Manifest Sand Shade is now a permanent entity that must be manually moved within the game world once summoned. All shade and slot skills are now centered around the shade...

...This game was designed with movement based combat in mind. We have dodges, positioning skills, ports and very few skills that root the caster... I can guarantee that players would be miffed if a lot more elite specs and builds functioned like Druid or Ventari. Just saying.”

I’m gonna end it here… I care more about having “fun”, as opposed to “winning” or rewards. “Fun” is what keeps most players playing and sticking to the game, or game mode... I “feel’ both the players and devs would benefit from more “fun first” designs for the game, as opposed to designs that “feel” too regulated or inflexible… This game, and professions and combat, would become 10x more enjoyable if the team measured more things using the “fun stick”, as opposed to by the “numbers” or "different". And I don't think it would hurt to get the Systems Team together to talk about what makes certain profession designs, roles, mechanics, weapons, slot skills, core and elite specs... "fun" to play, and how to replicate that "fun" across every aspect of professions.

And I’m gonna leave this for my final thoughts… https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/8080/forbes-interview-and-my-thoughts-on-competitive-gameplay-development

"It's that sorta mentality that prevents progress from actually being made and the game from being fun for everyone and not the minority." -TexZero



  • subversiontwo.7501subversiontwo.7501 Member ✭✭✭
    edited December 7, 2018

    I get what you are trying to do with this thread my man, the videos might be a little hit-or-miss though, because they have a certain value to you that they may not have for others and could detract more from your point than they add to it (we all have old open-world PvP moments we're nostalgic about, they may just mean little to others).

    However, yes - to the points that you are trying to raise:

    Yes, GW2 has one of the best (if not the best, bar none) combat systems, for larger scale PvP in a fantasy game, ever built.

    Yes, GW2 remains the market leader in open-world (ish) - or RvR - large-scale PvP despite all the neglect and outright counterproductivity.

    Yes, content (environment) and balance are two separate but important and all-impactful aspects of WvW.

    Yes, the gameplay is built around freedom of movement so that it peaked in vanilla for larger scale is a travesty (old stab still best).

    Yes, the different roles for different classes have always been a bit wonky as the game was not designed around trinity (is okay, needs work)

    Yes, fluid attacks are important but overall it is a strength of the game and its combat engine (is good, always be mindful, iterate)

    The two main issues remain: population balance (incl. timezone balance) and guild content (eg., working GvG, as active guilds = tags)
    I'm sure even Anet are aware of them now they are just feeling their way forward and reinventing the wheel over years to adress them.
    Things are slowly getting better now but the same issues that came with PoF a year ago still dominate the gameplay, they are just not as bad.
    The solutions to the ongoing issues are multipart:
    1. Reduce the spam of everything (we now have spam with counter spam with counter-counter spam), less is more
    2. Reduce the size of WoD and the reach of Shades, that will create more options in the meta and give birth to counters
    3. Take a look at the offensive-to-defensive modifiers and balance, finding balance can be hard, finding a better balance not

  • Swagger.1459Swagger.1459 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 4, 2019

    This is what I mean by duplicating that fast paced fun combat across professions... Imagine if Necro Reaper was like the below, instead of the "running through mud" combat feeling...

    "It's that sorta mentality that prevents progress from actually being made and the game from being fun for everyone and not the minority." -TexZero


  • Israel.7056Israel.7056 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Kinda hard to compare games like that. Every class in bdo is pretty fast compared to gw2. I guess you could compare gw2 stab to bdo super armor and dodges to iframes except almost every skill in bdo has some sort of iframe and/or super armor attached to it. They kinda designed every class in bdo to be able to solo farm whereas gw2 is team based. So yeah I dunno it's hard to compare.

  • Swagger.1459Swagger.1459 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Israel.7056 said:
    Kinda hard to compare games like that. Every class in bdo is pretty fast compared to gw2. I guess you could compare gw2 stab to bdo super armor and dodges to iframes except almost every skill in bdo has some sort of iframe and/or super armor attached to it. They kinda designed every class in bdo to be able to solo farm whereas gw2 is team based. So yeah I dunno it's hard to compare.

    I’m just trying to reinforce my points in the op using a reference. Those points being that GW2 was billed as “fast-paced action combat” with “Joy of movement”, and my posts are trying to improve on those areas.

    "It's that sorta mentality that prevents progress from actually being made and the game from being fun for everyone and not the minority." -TexZero


  • nerfing minstrel gear will certainly help.


  • oOStaticOo.9467oOStaticOo.9467 Member ✭✭✭

    MAN!!!! Why you gotta bring up CoH! No bueno my dude! I miss that game SOOOOOO FREAKING MUCH!!! That was my game. I played it since Issue 3 until shut down. I haz a sad now.

  • Tiny Doom.4380Tiny Doom.4380 Member ✭✭✭

    I think you make some solid points, especially in highlighting how far GW2 has drifted from its original conception. One problem is, the entire game has drifted, some parts much farther than WvW. What's worse is that much of the descriptive text on the game's official website hasn't been revised for years. It's full of things that aren't merely arguable, they're factually incorrect, as for example "on five massive maps in week-long matches and seasonal tournaments" and "While in WvW, your character is boosted to max level, and you will continue to gain experience and loot as you normally would while exploring Tyria", neither of which has been true almost in living memory!

    Another is that, even with the best of intentions, agreement on what constitutes "fun fantasy combat" is going to be hard to find. You say, for example, that "Skills that root a player are not fun in a game designed for high mobility and positioning in combat" whereas I would say that one of the best parts of playing a staff ele is the thrill of having to stand, motionless and vulnerable in the midst of battle, for long enough to get a Meteor Shower off . Being able to cast that on the run wouldn't be anywhere near as much fun, especially if the trade-off was lower damage.

    Stil, you're right that there's a heck of a lot more that could be done to improve the whole experience. Unfortunately, after six and a half years, I see very little sign that anything other than endless fiddling about with edge cases and fixing what that breaks is going to happen.

  • steki.1478steki.1478 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Gw2 is casual game. Living story is the only content that actually gets attention because it brings biggest amount of casual players and as such, the most (aka the only) money. Everything else is a side job for 1-to-3-man teams that keep getting smaller and smaller. Why do you think that LS5 is coming directly after LS4 instead of another expansion? Why do you think that raids/fracs/pvp maps come once per year? Because casuals dont care about balance, they care about looking pretty and doing shiny achievements. Game has to survive somehow and competitive players can just farm the gold instead of buying it, so anything that involves competitive part of the game is automatically a waste of dev time because it's the least profitable part of the game to design.

    The sooner people realize this, the easier it is to understand that gw2 is not a game designed to be played for more than 2 hours a day or played on a competitive level, despite having a huge potential. The "competitive" days of gw2 are long gone.

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