The greatest failures of the WvW combat — Guild Wars 2 Forums

The greatest failures of the WvW combat

jul.7602jul.7602 Member ✭✭✭

I've been playing this game for several years since I was in high school, and I've had a long time to watch the combat mechanics of GW2 go from Esport potential, to the sad state they are in today. Only be recognizing our past failures do we have any chance of salvaging the future.

Failure #1. Infrequent and often trivial balance patches to a sophisticated and diverse game with limitless customization

Guild Wars 2 offers many ways to customize your play style through dozens of different stat prefixes, traits, runes, sigils and skills. A single class could easily produce dozens if not hundreds of functional builds. Among those array of builds it is inevitable that there will be a couple of builds with unusually high performance that soon become classified as meta. With so much customization, and potential to produce broken builds, Anet should have taken a more involved role in balancing the game, especially during the launches of new expansions. It was a grave mistake to let builds like immortal-mesmer make a mockery of a once plausible esport contender, or builds like chill-reaper/revs and scourgebrand to run rampant in WvW. I believe that if anet was **serious **about having a balanced, competitive and perhaps even esport recognition, they needed to release combat patches at least as often as any other esport game such as starcraft 2 or LoL. The expected time-cadence should be about every 3 months, not the 5-6 months that we have right now. To make matters worse, the patches we have now aren't necessarily even tailored to PvP; they are instead holistic patches for PvE+PvP that usually only scratch the very surface of grievances for each game mode. This leads us into the next failure

Failure #2. The reluctance to distinguish and balance the combat system according to different game modes

There are arguably four major game modes in GW2, and combat varies so extremely across them that the game would never be balanced unless we treated them as different combat environments entirely. The first game mode is PvE which encompasses raids, dungeons and open world. For the most part any meta raid build would work just fine in a dungeon or in open world. The second game mode is SPvP which is generally taken to be 5v5 domination style combat. In general, these modes were balanced separately but I still feel like a few "PvE" changes were casually seeped into PvP.

The third and fourth combat environments are unique to WvW. My classifications are a bit arbitrary but I'll explain why I chose to partition WvW into two systems. The first combat environment is basically small scale which encompasses the lone roamer, and up to maybe 6-7 man havoc groups. Build wise they are similar to Spvp but often have inflated stats due to more efficient stat combos and food, and more emphasis on sustained combat and cleave damage as compared to their SPvP counterparts focused a bit more on faster mobility and more single target damage so that you can rotate points more efficiently. The fourth combat mode which I would dub reverse quantum mechanics is large scale combat which generally encompasses organized groups or guild with 15 or more people led by some sort of driver. What prominently distinguishes large scale from small scale is that hybrid builds become almost entirely replaced by specialized builds focusing on either pure damage, or pure group sustain. I think the comparison between quantum mechanics and classical mechanics suitable because once you approach a certain size regime (player count>15) skills like group sustain, and glass aoe damage become exponentially stronger!

If you take a meta build from each other these game modes and attempt to use it in another you will notice a sharp drop in performance because the objective and interactions of those game modes are entirely different. You can **never ** balance any of the game modes by using a 1 size-fits-all approach because they are so vastly different.

Failure #3. Allowing combo fields to become obsolete and phased out in favor monopolistic profession based system.

Something that I think rarely gets discussed is how we basically made combo-fields obsolete by heart of thorns by taking all the advantages we got from combo-finishers and shifting them onto one or two professions. A quick history lesson, back in the Scarx days guilds used to rely on blasting fire fields to generate might (and empower), and blasting water fields to recover health. It used to be the hallmark of any competent and organized group to manage combo fields. However, ever since I believe HOT we suddenly had access to unprecedented group sustain capabilities through minstrel water tempests and for a time uber-boonshare. The problem with this transition is that when combo fields were the primary means of buffing a group, almost every profession and every build with a couple of blast finishers could contribute in the buffing process. Compared to now, there is no point in blasting fields because the return of investment pales in comparison to advantages of outsourcing all sustain and buffing responsibility to one person in the party. For example, there are only two widely accepted meta healers in existence; minstrelbrand and minstrelscrapper and every other build is leagues behind to the point where two classes have a duopoly on sustain. Mechanics like these hurt diversity in the game and often promote discriminatory behavior when including people in squads.

Comments

  • Swagger.1459Swagger.1459 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 27, 2019

    The devs have been attempting to balance for multiple modes. You are going a bit overboard with the "4" areas to balance when wvw is 1 mode, not 2.

    Combo fields are silly. There are way more important things to worry about for this game, and the devs need to work on actual skills and mechanics.

  • God.2708God.2708 Member ✭✭✭

    Point 3 is very valid and important in multiple layers to WvW, from how combo fields allowed cross party support/sustain to allowing everyone with a finisher to contribute to the process. The issue at this juncture is that they would need to revamp the system because making the fields useful in their current form would require a power creep so disgusting it would cause more harm than good. I don't think the loss of fields themselves are so bad, but the loss of things the fields provided like cross party support is far more vital to good game health. It allowed dedicated frontline and backline groups that could properly interact with each other.

    I think people look to much into Point 2. Anet has a very diverse pool of skills to draw from, and there is little need to split skills into 3 different abilities that operate totally differently. Make certain things work for certain modes, and if they become overbearing in another mode simply nerf the numbers so they aren't so overbearing (ideally without smiters booning them, but in some cases it is necessary and fine). There is still an incredible amount of room for diversity and playing around. Anet has been increasing their attention to that, though their initial hesitation to do so was definitely an Achilles heel.

    Point 1 is... eh. They are a little hesitant to do profound changes, but I think people underestimate how damaging a wild swing can do. They could take slightly larger small steps, but they still need to be small. Frequency is the bigger issue.

  • jul.7602jul.7602 Member ✭✭✭

    @God.2708 said:
    Point 3 is very valid and important in multiple layers to WvW, from how combo fields allowed cross party support/sustain to allowing everyone with a finisher to contribute to the process. The issue at this juncture is that they would need to revamp the system because making the fields useful in their current form would require a power creep so disgusting it would cause more harm than good. I don't think the loss of fields themselves are so bad, but the loss of things the fields provided like cross party support is far more vital to good game health. It allowed dedicated frontline and backline groups that could properly interact with each other.

    I think people look to much into Point 2. Anet has a very diverse pool of skills to draw from, and there is little need to split skills into 3 different abilities that operate totally differently. Make certain things work for certain modes, and if they become overbearing in another mode** simply nerf the numbers so they aren't so overbearing (ideally without smiters booning them, but in some cases it is necessary and fine).** There is still an incredible amount of room for diversity and playing around. Anet has been increasing their attention to that, though their initial hesitation to do so was definitely an Achilles heel.

    Point 1 is... eh. They are a little hesitant to do profound changes, but I think people underestimate how damaging a wild swing can do. They could take slightly larger small steps, but they still need to be small. Frequency is the bigger issue.

    That's my concern with point 2. If you nerf a skill that was overpowered in one game mode, across all current game modes then the skill will be balanced in the targeted game mode but underpowered in the rest of the game modes. A good counter example is stability. Back in the day stability granted full CC immunity and stacked in duration, but due to complaints mainly in SPvP they heavily nerfed it across all game modes so that it stacked in magnitude. While the change was perhaps reasonable in Spvp, it completely broke large scale WvW because there were an abundance of stun skills like static field or lines of warding that overrided the target cap and could stun your entire group if they were not covered. Essentially it took the stability:amount of CC ratio and vastly skewed it in one direction, which generally favored larger groups at the expense of smaller organized groups.

  • @jul.7602 said:

    Failure #3. Allowing combo fields to become obsolete and phased out in favor monopolistic profession based system.

    Something that I think rarely gets discussed is how we basically made combo-fields obsolete by heart of thorns by taking all the advantages we got from combo-finishers and shifting them onto one or two professions. A quick history lesson, back in the Scarx days guilds used to rely on blasting fire fields to generate might (and empower), and blasting water fields to recover health. It used to be the hallmark of any competent and organized group to manage combo fields. However, ever since I believe HOT we suddenly had access to unprecedented group sustain capabilities through minstrel water tempests and for a time uber-boonshare. The problem with this transition is that when combo fields were the primary means of buffing a group, almost every profession and every build with a couple of blast finishers could contribute in the buffing process. Compared to now, there is no point in blasting fields because the return of investment pales in comparison to advantages of outsourcing all sustain and buffing responsibility to one person in the party. For example, there are only two widely accepted meta healers in existence; minstrelbrand and minstrelscrapper and every other build is leagues behind to the point where two classes have a duopoly on sustain. Mechanics like these hurt diversity in the game and often promote discriminatory behavior when including people in squads.

    This is the biggest, hugest, most monumental failure. They caved into the pressure of people wanting more of a trinity system because teamwork is too hard.

  • Sovereign.1093Sovereign.1093 Member ✭✭✭✭

    its only failure is removing seasonal tournaments. !!!

    Not Even Coverage is the Only broken thing in WVW.

  • Knighthonor.4061Knighthonor.4061 Member ✭✭✭✭

    Esport is terrible in a MMO. never works

  • Sovereign.1093Sovereign.1093 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @Knighthonor.4061 said:
    Esport is terrible in a MMO. never works

    =) you may not have experienced the earlier days of wvw.

    also not an esport. wvw tournaments. check out youtube.

    i'm in my company's christmas thing cant browse

    Not Even Coverage is the Only broken thing in WVW.

  • @jul.7602 said:
    I've been playing this game for several years since I was in high school, and I've had a long time to watch the combat mechanics of GW2 go from Esport potential, to the sad state they are in today. Only be recognizing our past failures do we have any chance of salvaging the future.

    You forgot failure 4: Stealth

  • Burnfall.9573Burnfall.9573 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 27, 2019

    @miguelsil.6324 said:

    @jul.7602 said:
    I've been playing this game for several years since I was in high school, and I've had a long time to watch the combat mechanics of GW2 go from Esport potential, to the sad state they are in today. Only be recognizing our past failures do we have any chance of salvaging the future.

    You forgot failure 4: Stealth

    +1

  • One is really a part of a much larger concern of there not being enough attention given to WvW (or PvP) in general.

    Two is something that they have finally concluded of their own and have started doing now whether it is "better late than never" or "a day late and a dollar short" remains to be seen.

    Three I would agree with hands down but it is an unfortunate side effect of selling your company to a publisher which in turn is noted on the stockmarket. Much wants more in that regard and while GW2 was originally made to absorb the playerbases of GW1, DaoC, WHO and WoW vanilla (yes, GW2 was WoW classic before WoW classic) the success of the game made the powers that be keen on absorbing the playerbase of WoW retail as well (or related failed clones). The vision of the game was broken to achieve that and with it the principle to not design the classes around trinity. We got trinity for raids and the balance thereafter for raids. That is why they abandoned the combo system and the game has suffered from that ever since, alot.

    As far as ... goes:

    Knighthonor.4061
    Esport is terrible in a MMO. never works

    It really depends on how you define Esports. WoW has a ladder system and a rather beloved event at Blizzcon. It was worked perfectly fine there. There are plenty of players whose claim to fame stem from that mode and it is generally appreicated within the playerbase even if the mainstay of content in that game is raids. It is an odd position to take that it never works when the most famous MMO of all time is an example of where it works.

    Another game to draw inspiration from is EVE online which doesn't even have leaderboards (they do have fansites that compiles overall statistics from API though) but has a long-running tradition of a very beloved annual community event with a PvP tournament in TDM format. Then there are player-driven tournaments every now and then as well as the qualifier stages of the official tournament often being player-driven with support from the developers, while the developers takes over for the playoffs. That is not only beloved by the community in that game (with players who generally do not care about PvP following the tournament) but is also a good example of developer-community cooperation.

    I think the problem that Esports tend to uncover is that MMO's with their multiple modes is not the best place to create competetive ongoing seasonal content in. We have the same problem here with the GvG community making their tournaments too long and exhaustive or aspiring to make leaderboards or leagues when they would be much better served by keeping an ebb and flow of content through tournaments and shorter seasonal content. So professional (or amateur adaptation of) leagues may not be a form of Esport that fits MMO but occassional tournaments and player-run events tend to serve MMO's quite well.

  • Junkpile.7439Junkpile.7439 Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 27, 2019

    Main problems is that tryhards and casuals play same game mode.

    Low quality trolling since launch
    Seafarer's Rest EotM Hero

  • Mokk.2397Mokk.2397 Member ✭✭✭

    There are 2 basic game modes in Guilds Wars 2 . Person vs AI and Person vs Person. PvE is Person vs AI and does not need special balancing because the AI is predictable and the battle is repeatable .So the person can always retreat and make small changes to ones build to defeat the computer generated opponents.
    Balancing is only required for Person vs Person (PvP and WvW) .PvE is not hard ,even for core classes.
    Another problem with the way things get balanced. The compounding of problems is one . Take stealth for example . Core stealth had been fixed to tolerable levels prior to PoF .Then enter Deadeye with Shadow Meld . Now there has to be a fix because it negates reveal making it far to over powered . Stealth is broken again .Here comes the radar as a solution . Now we have no sneak attacks , roaming and havoc groups become nearly useless because the enemy can constantly track tactical movements. You see where this goes when a simple change to shadow meld is all that was needed .
    Breaking one profession to fix another . A lot of complaints about the damage the Soul Beast is doing ,specifically the Long Bow . So the fix is reducing the damage the Long bow does. Ok but what about core Ranger. Soul Beast was to partially address the lack of power the Core ranger had to bring it up to par with other classes .Break long Bow, now core Ranger suffers.When simply reducing the power adjustment the pet made when in Beast mode would have been adequate.
    To many Control Effects vs Stability . Since HoT and PoF we've seen an exponential increase with control effects yet how stability works for the individual remains the same .
    But we have more boon share people will say . Ok fine ,but boon delivery is not distributed proportionally with every class so now we have one or two classes that break all others.The ability to cast Boons needs to be equally distributed among-st all classes so all classes can have an equal integral part to play in contributing to the team. No single class should have the ability to carry all others.
    To many AOE's and AOE's that are far to large,do to many things and effect far to many people . No AOE that moves with the character should be any larger than the swing of a sword.No AOE should be any larger than a proportional value of it's range.No AOE should be able to be trait-ed do more than one effect unless the weapon is sigiled to do so. or the AOE is blasted.No AOE should be allowed to effect more than 5 people.
    Equal ability for all classes to retreat when in down state or remove the ability to move over ground while in down state completely. Complete removal of down state would make to many skills that revive useless in WvW.
    To many automated evades .Any evade should should only be possible when the evade or dodge key is pressed.
    These are only a few problems plaguing WvW now and theirs a lot more .

  • nthmetal.9652nthmetal.9652 Member ✭✭✭
    edited November 28, 2019

    @jul.7602 said:
    Failure #1. Infrequent and often trivial balance patches to a sophisticated and diverse game with limitless customization
    Failure #2. The reluctance to distinguish and balance the combat system according to different game modes
    Failure #3. Allowing combo fields to become obsolete and phased out in favor monopolistic profession based system.

    I would not call any of these the big failures of WvW. They are all problems, but they all pale in comparison to one simple fact: Numbers matter more than skill, and partially even to composition. If you're fighting an overstacked server, you will not see a lot of success regardless of your own player skills. Exceptions do exist, I have seen megablobs where it felt like none of the players had any skill, but typically players know at least somewhat what they are doing.

    There is one simple formula currently in WvW: Want to win the fight? Bring the bigger zerg.

    Until that problem is solved, we will see problems, and keep seeing problems in WvW. Problems in balance between singular professions (even problems with every singular profession and elite spec), in a game mode centered around mass battles, will always pale in comparison to the effects of numbers. If we want to see an improvement, we don't need to tackle the small stuff; balance patches will not help here.

    "and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy"
    -- H. P. Lovecraft - Celephais

  • Esport is terrible in a MMO. never works

    Even in WoW it failed massively. Their league thing died and the tournament system went worse with every season because they completely failed balancing. And in one year their "PvE tournament" was more popular than their Esports ever was.
    Besides the arena idea killed the whole pvp system due to the balancing and reward system. Success is something different imho

    Disciples of the monkey god [Apes]