So, the games been out a long time. I doubt what I say will have an impact as it would require radical changes, but who knows. There's a new game director and some big changes coming to world restructuring. I remain hopeful.
This idea may not be original. I think it may have been mentioned about 4 years ago.
While I do see solutions, they are flawed and, having played since launch, I see why we have the system that we have.
There have been lots of balancing of skills and classes over the years. While these balances have been much needed, and perhaps more may need to be done, it's really all in vain when it comes to WvW. That's because all game balancing is based on 2 things. Player vs, static monster is one. Since this doesn't effect us, we'll disregard it. The rest of game balancing is based on one person damaging another or up to 5 players. This is the core problem. Because in WvW, you are taking damage from not one, or a party of 5, but up to 120 players at once (the mythical cap of EB). OK, so you're probably not going to face a zerg of 120, but 20-60 is more reasonable. This is the core problem.
How on earth is balance supposed to be made? It can't. If the weakest, wet noodle skill hits for 500 damage, no big deal, right? Well, multiply that by 20 and now you have 10,000. Multiply that by 50 and you get 25,000. Make it a harder hitting skill and the damage is off the chart. WvW is an open game mode and there's no way to control how may players work together. How can this be balanced? It just can't. You can nerf and nerf and nerf skills as much as you want, but multiply that by large amounts of players and it still kills. What makes this worse is that while you can take damage from every player in an enemy zerg, you can only be healed, cleansed, or buffed by 5 players around you. That is always going to favor damage over defense. Balance with this design is geared only towards a 5 vs. 5 group. But that is not WvW. Again, that is the core game design of WvW and why balance is totally flawed.
So, how do we solve this? There are only 2 ways I see and it has always seemed obvious. First: if we can only have defense from 5 people then we should only take damage from 5 people at any given time. Fore example, if I'm by myself and stand in a 50 man bomb, I can only take damage from 5 of the enemies. Now, lets say I'm in a group fighting another group. There's lots of movement and damage being thrown around. I might be in a bomb one moment, then move out, but still taking damage from ranged, single target and a few aoes. Not matter what, at any given time, I can still only take damage from 5 people.
The second solution is to get rid of the 5 player cap on healing, cleanses, buffs. If I can take damage from 50 people, then I should be able to be healed by 50 people. This would be a lot easier than the first but it would severely favor zerg size. Basically, whoever has the largest zerg would surely win as they would be able to out heal. The game actually had this in origianlly
but it was removed about 6 months after launch as a small, well coordinated group could easily out sustain most damage. But perhaps at that time, healing was too strong and damage too low. It can be argued that damage has definately gone way up since launch. But even if a good balance was made towards damage and healing, this model would still highly favor the larger group. This is why I favor the first solution.
The first solution is a good compromise to having group number zerg dominance and lowering the damage healing to the least common denominator of party size, party composition, squad composition, and group coordination. It is one of the fundamentals to WvW, and the first solution would preserve that rather than throwing everyone in the same pot as the first solution. Besides the monumental task of programming this idea, there are some questions what would need to be determined. For example, what 5 players would take priority of doing damage? First in first out? Highest vs. Lowest? Distance. No matter what, there will be winners and looser. First in, first out seems best to me and would require a greater amount of teamwork to truly be efficient. It would also cause issues with pugs laying down damage and totally negating your damage if they lay theirs down just before you do. That would be unfair as well. Maybe taking a hybrid of the first solution and raising the damage cap to 10 enemies. This would also make sense as there are more skills now that effect 10 people.
No matter what, Everyone complains about balance. Balance never happen with our current system. In order to achieve this, one of these two systems would have to be adopted. However, in order to do this, some players would be hurt having 0 effect, so perhaps the system we have now is best. I don't know what is best for the game. I personally would like to see a 10 enemy cap on damage.