This post is going to be my second attempt at discussing the massive AoE spam ("The Sea of Red") problem. I believe I firstly, though others (in the past) also, were focused too much on fixing AoEs themselves outright and not enough in their relation to the player's character. Therefore, I will be looking to bring more focus towards the player's character in relation to AoEs here. Also important, is finding a way to reduce "lag" from "The Sea of Red" where many AoEs are present (doing their calculations) causing too much lag, generally speaking, overall. However, the goal is ONLY to make AoEs less effective in situations where their can be too many and NOT "nerf" them in situations where there is an okay amount. Say maybe about 20 generally non-specific AoEs in a general area; if we are just gonna guess here. Thus, I will now highlight the following question in respect to this...
After considering past discussions especially. I think the answer may lie more so from the player/characters perspective (character being affected). As opposed to more so from the AoE's perspective or the player's creating those AoEs. Therefore, if we could have a method that allows the player's character to only be affected by so many AoEs at a time. Well, I would like to think we should get more favorable results from that. While also theoretically creating an environment for more compelling gameplay; as opposed to this "Oh look a sea of red... Welp, time to play The Floor is Lava" messy & often laggy style of gameplay, in my opinion.
"So how do we fix this?"
Well firstly, consideration to the likely and various asynchronous AoEs is still important here. Player characters can be struck by AoEs at unrelated times based on when they were laid. I could be struck by 1 or how every many AoEs initially. Then another separate AoE(s) perhaps 1/4 a second or say 1/2 a second later from that. This in itself is very chaotic in my opinion. Thus, making "The Sea of Red" scenarios even more chaotic to deal with by default also.
A potential fix (partly) to this would be limiting how often the player's character (each player individually) can receive AoE tick's in general. If a player can only receive "AoE ticks" once say every 1/2 - 1 seconds in total. Well, then we have now just eliminated potential AoE tick's happening in between those times. Being from other AoE sources outside the point of initially receiving an AoE's tick within that time frame. So for instance here (following this pattern)... If you just got struck initially. Then you should not be struck by "x" AoEs triggering 1/4 a second later; until you surpassed the cutoff time to which you become susceptible to them again.
Having even a tiny bit more "breathing room" if you will, for both player and system could be nice to have; generally speaking.
The next potential fix to consider is to only allow the player's character to only be hit by a default/maximum set amount of AoEs at a time. Similar to how AoE's act, in that they can only hit up to 5 players initially based on the players position relative to the center of the AoE. I believe what could help here is having the player's character also "act" like an AoE; in the similar sense as to how many AoEs are allowed to hit them. In order to help balance this process out. I don't have an exact number to give here, but what might be considered "too many AoEs", as @Ben Phongluangtham.1065 put's it via https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/34498/bring-pvp-passive-nerfs-to-wvw/p1, might be considered anything above 10 AoEs per player. That's more greatly to be decided.
"So how do we determine what AoEs can hit the player's character?"
I think that the player's character should be the one to primarily determine the amount of AoEs they can accept at a time. Based on the area the character is standing/active in. Not sure what the diameter is on this "area", but I'd imagine it to be pretty small. Regardless, using the characters "active area" we can try to establish a boundary as to how many AoEs they can accept at a time. If the player is standing in let's say 15, more or less, overlapping AoEs... Having a method to determine what AoEs are accepted and which are not, could be great; if that maximum allowed value is < "15". Though this still doesn't quite answer the question fully... So I will try to elaborate more to this.
Ideally, I think the player's character should function slightly similar to AoEs via https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Area_of_effect which states the following: "An area of effect skill may only affect a maximum of 5 targets, determined by proximity: Only the 5 closest enemies to the centerpoint of the area of effect will be affected. Similarly, when affecting allies, closest party members are affected first, followed by closest non-party member allies". However, instead now from the character's perspective it would go something like this...
"An area of effect skill A player's character may only affect be affected by a maximum of 5 (5?) targets AoEs, determined by proximity of the player's character: Only the 5 (5?) closest enemies AoEs to the centerpoint of the area of effect ** player's character** will be affected accepted."
Clean version: "A player's character may only be affected by a maximum of 5 (5?) AoEs, determined by proximity of the player's character: Only the 5 (5?) closest AoEs to the centerpoint of the player's character will be accepted."
One thing to do determine here firstly, would be if the maximum value should in fact be "5". Though perhaps say the "maximum value" instead should be 10 of any (ally or foe's) AoEs. Or perhaps it's split (5 allies AoEs max & 5 enemy AoEs max) with still a maximum total of 10. A bit hard for me to say the correct # without the ability to test like a dev. However, I think the basis of this idea is enough of a means to build off of for further possible testing for a more well rounded conclusion. Having the player's character decide what is "too many AoEs" by default I think is an important step in deciding what to do about "The Sea of Red".
"Alright, but how EXACTLY does an AoE determine it's "accepted" by the player?"
I am thinking somewhere in the beginning stage's of when the AoE is determining... The player's distance, whether ally or foe, and whether or not they're an ally in a squad, initially. We would add to that initial process of establishing "True or False"... If the player is also eligible to be hit based on the player's character firstly establishing themselves as an acceptable target for certain AoEs as "acceptable" for their effects. To then allow the AoE/system to read that player value in respect to that. Ideally saving the (assuming) longer processes of performing more actual calculations; by limiting the amount of AoEs characters can be affected by.
In conclusion, reducing AoE effectiveness from the character's perspective firstly. Should help address potential problematic situations (like "The Sea of Red") within that particularly unique perspective. Rather than trying to completely adjust/rely on AoEs by themselves as is, to better handle this overall unique per player character "perspective". A potential method, partly, is to allow for more "breathing room" by adjusting how often players can receive AoE ticks over fairly short intervals. However, ideally allowing players to briefly "act like AoEs" such as... "A player's character may only be affected by a maximum of 5 (5?) AoEs, determined by proximity of the player's character: Only the 5 (5?) closest AoEs to the centerpoint of the player's character will be accepted." Should help establish what are "too many AoEs" on a per character basis by default. Hopefully by in large draining out the bad effects of "The Sea of Red" once and for good ✌️😄.
Thanks for reading.