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Mechanic bloat in fractals, and how to prevent it for future development

TL;DR: fractal releases are seeing useless and poorly explained mechanics for the sake of keeping "story". To resolve this, plan future fractals around progressive mechanic design as well as make Dessa say more things about mechanics

Currently, there is a common pattern among the recent releases in fractals in which I would name "mechanic bloat". This bloat often reduces what would be a interesting and arguably fun fractal into a thing that the average player would avoid playing when it comes up as a daily. This is increasingly becoming more of a problem as more fractals are being released and should be drawn to attention to for future fractal releases.

What is mechanic bloat in my context? This refers to the addition of irrelevant and contextless mechanics within a fractal that does not develop for future fights or is poorly explained when it is introduced. Using Siren's Reef as an example, there are two main examples: Blasting Black Pete and Captain Crowe's Grim Lagoon (red AoE) and Teeth of the Deep (green AoE) attacks.

Blasting Black Pete, in all honesty, is a useless boss. If this boss was removed right now, a new palyer would not find anything harder to learn than now since this boss does not have any impact in how the fractal progresses. It does not provide a mechanic that one would take to a future fight and does not even help in explaining ANY mechanic in the fractal. There are so many useless mechanics that does not get carried to future fights. A player can destroy mines with cannon fire, but outside of that fight when do you use that knowledge? What other mechanics does he have? An example of an arguably good mechanic design is the minotaur boss in Deepstone. It teaches players to use the Special Action key to "reveal" it to make it vulnerable to damage, which translates to "revealing" tiles in the maze, and then to the final boss in which you reveal lost tiles in the battle.

Captain Crowe's two main pug killers are really not explained at all. People still do not know that the Grim Lagoon (the red AoE) does NOT damage trash mobs like a flux bomb does, but instead gives them quickness and protection. Similarly, some people do not know that the Teeth of the Deep attack (the green AoE) is shared between the players inside with 5 players being almost 0% damage. These mechanics are not explained due to the assumption that players are familar with "raid-like" mechanics of red being bad and green meaning share. This negates the idea of fractals being a "precursor" to raids as it would assume that you would know that fact beforehand.

In order to prevent this from repeating in future releases, a fractal needs to focus not only on story but on cohesive mechanic progression. Using Siren's Reef as an example again, I would have proposed these changes in order to reduce mechanic bloat as well as make it easier to explain mechanics: the introduction of a second path similar to Aquatic Ruins and Underground Facility, and more dialogue on Dessa's part in explaining the mechanics.

I would introduce a "First Mate Shane" NPC that would lead the original path of the fractal right now and introduce a new diverging path in which the fractal team follows Weyandt and Captain Strohm. First Mate Shane acts as a leader to follow in this fractal as well round off the narrative, Strohm telling Shane to take the rest of the crew and find a ship as well as makes Weyandt's story on Strohm giving him "leadership" act more believable as he has to convince the second in command. In the original path, I would introduce a red bomb AoE attack on Blasting Black Pete that acts similar to Sabetha bombs while giving the trash protection when it detonates. This can then be followed by Dessa saying something like "It seems the excess ectoplasmic discharge from this skeleton is empowering the other ghosts, don't let those explosions touch them!" to warn new players that red equals bad.

In the Weyandt path, the first boss would be a ghost that controls sharks, in which does a lesser version of the Teeth of the Deep attack and makes Dessa say something like "Those sharks may seem real, but its an illusion created to single out your allies to pick them off, try grouping together instead!" teaching players that green is good. Then you can do a segment after this in which Weyandt sends you off to collect something or to disable blowing winds while he feeds Strohm the poison and then when you come back Weyandt escorts you to the ship and the normal ship part starts. These changes all include progression of mechanics that you would eventually see as well as reinforce the idea of certain mechanics.

With this said, the future of fractal development should also focus on a cohesive mechanic progression to prevent players from avoiding potentially fun fractals in the future. Fractals should actively state what is good and what is bad from the get go instead of assuming that these players have knowledge. Futhermore, mechanics should be developed through the progression of the fractal as to make it more fun to learn mechanics leading to the final boss.

Comments

  • ChronoPinoyX.7923ChronoPinoyX.7923 Member ✭✭✭

    They went backwards with the Fractal creations.

    The idea was meant to be short dungeons, but because they pretty much stated that Fractals are the new dungeons, they are going to shove mechanics on them like they did original dungeons because they won't do anything about original dungeons.

  • Sutepun.9450Sutepun.9450 Member ✭✭

    I do agree with the length of fractals being another problem with the newer ones, especially when they reduce skip potential like preventing portals from being taken when you're holding a treasure in Siren's Reef, but the fractal team is most likely not going to do a short fractal like we all want for a while since the development cycles of each fractal production is too long. The length of fractals seem to be a consequence of thinking that short fractal equals no effort being put into what is like at least 8 months of work. Future fractals should be shorter and focus on bosses and smart skip potential, but this post was just a solution for long fractals currently in development from being not too pug unfriendly.

  • Blue.1207Blue.1207 Member ✭✭✭

    They really need to start doing CM's again in order to ditch any story elements. Anytime I get 100 or 99 non CM I just groan because of the dialogue checks.

  • melandru.3876melandru.3876 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 10, 2019

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

  • nosleepdemon.1368nosleepdemon.1368 Member ✭✭✭

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    It got changed I believe

  • lare.5129lare.5129 Member ✭✭✭✭

    so short summary is "I don't like sirena reef" ? or what ?

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    It got changed I believe

    No, that is the current Molten Boss fractal.

  • Pirindolo.9427Pirindolo.9427 Member ✭✭✭

    The main problem for me it's not any of the above ones, but the spam of aoe kitten all over the floor: Mai Trin, Twilight Oasis, Siren's... + Flux Bomb + Last Laugh + Mist Convergence + Toxic Trail

    Basically not even a square mm free of an orange or red circle. Easy to implement, boring and annoying to play.

  • nosleepdemon.1368nosleepdemon.1368 Member ✭✭✭

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    It got changed I believe

    No, that is the current Molten Boss fractal.

    I did it last night, it has been lengthened / t3 is longer. It used to be a dash down a gantry and across the bridge to the two bosses but at least in t3, it's now a little bit longer with a couple of bosses beforehand. Perhaps it is different depending on the tier it is played at? If I recall level 40 was the one that got farmed endlessly.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 11, 2019

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    It got changed I believe

    No, that is the current Molten Boss fractal.

    I did it last night, it has been lengthened / t3 is longer. It used to be a dash down a gantry and across the bridge to the two bosses but at least in t3, it's now a little bit longer with a couple of bosses beforehand. Perhaps it is different depending on the tier it is played at? If I recall level 40 was the one that got farmed endlessly.

    The route he explained is exactly how to rush through the current fractal, not the old molten boss fractal.

    Step 1: rush to the shaman, kill shaman, bridge opens up.
    Step 2: kill the flame effigy, you unlock the path to the small group before the steam vents
    Step 3: kill the small group in front of the steam vents unlocks the path to the group before the gate to the ramp down to the boss.
    Step 4: kill the group in front of the gate, gate opens and you can run down to the last group before the boss
    Step 5: kill the last group, way to the boss unlocks, kill boss

    He literally said:

    you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    Step 1 is the shaman, step 2 is the effigy, step 3-5 are the 3 groups mentioned. You did not read carefully enough. This is about the new fractal the whole time.

  • Shiyo.3578Shiyo.3578 Member ✭✭✭

    Molten boss fractal was 100% changed to be a LOT longer. It used to be 1 trash pull and a boss, now it's trash -> trash - > boss - > trash - > trash - > boss. Not sure what's being argued when it's factually longer.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 11, 2019

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    Molten boss fractal was 100% changed to be a LOT longer. It used to be 1 trash pull and a boss, now it's trash -> trash - > boss - > trash - > trash - > boss. Not sure what's being argued when it's factually longer.

    and Cliffside was factually longer and made shorter. Swamp was shorter and made longer. Dredge was longer and made shorter. Funny how that works out?

    Fractals were overall redesigned to take around 10-15 minutes per fractal. The ones which were far beyond that were made shorter, the ones which were way shorter were made longer. It's called balance.

  • nosleepdemon.1368nosleepdemon.1368 Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 11, 2019

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    It got changed I believe

    No, that is the current Molten Boss fractal.

    I did it last night, it has been lengthened / t3 is longer. It used to be a dash down a gantry and across the bridge to the two bosses but at least in t3, it's now a little bit longer with a couple of bosses beforehand. Perhaps it is different depending on the tier it is played at? If I recall level 40 was the one that got farmed endlessly.

    The route he explained is exactly how to rush through the current fractal, not the old molten boss fractal.

    Step 1: rush to the shaman, kill shaman, bridge opens up.
    Step 2: kill the flame effigy, you unlock the path to the small group before the steam vents
    Step 3: kill the small group in front of the steam vents unlocks the path to the group before the gate to the ramp down to the boss.
    Step 4: kill the group in front of the gate, gate opens and you can run down to the last group before the boss
    Step 5: kill the last group, way to the boss unlocks, kill boss

    He literally said:

    you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    Step 1 is the shaman, step 2 is the effigy, step 3-5 are the 3 groups mentioned. You did not read carefully enough. This is about the new fractal the whole time.

    Yes, I wasn't disputing that - but it used to be shorter. It used to just be a boss fight and a half. What I am saying is, maybe the poster before him was recollecting that previous state, and comparing that to the current state with the shaman etc.

    "and Cliffside was factually longer and made shorter. Swamp was shorter and made longer. Dredge was longer and made shorter. Funny how that works out?

    Fractals were overall redesigned to take around 10-15 minutes per fractal. The ones which were far beyond that were made shorter, the ones which were way shorter were made longer. It's called balance."

    I think you are responding to arguments where there are none - the poster who you are replying to isn't complaining about fractal length, they're merely pointing out what I said - Molten was short, now it is longer. I don't mind the change in length, but it did happen.

  • Cyninja.2954Cyninja.2954 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 11, 2019

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @Cyninja.2954 said:

    @nosleepdemon.1368 said:

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    It got changed I believe

    No, that is the current Molten Boss fractal.

    I did it last night, it has been lengthened / t3 is longer. It used to be a dash down a gantry and across the bridge to the two bosses but at least in t3, it's now a little bit longer with a couple of bosses beforehand. Perhaps it is different depending on the tier it is played at? If I recall level 40 was the one that got farmed endlessly.

    The route he explained is exactly how to rush through the current fractal, not the old molten boss fractal.

    Step 1: rush to the shaman, kill shaman, bridge opens up.
    Step 2: kill the flame effigy, you unlock the path to the small group before the steam vents
    Step 3: kill the small group in front of the steam vents unlocks the path to the group before the gate to the ramp down to the boss.
    Step 4: kill the group in front of the gate, gate opens and you can run down to the last group before the boss
    Step 5: kill the last group, way to the boss unlocks, kill boss

    He literally said:

    you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    Step 1 is the shaman, step 2 is the effigy, step 3-5 are the 3 groups mentioned. You did not read carefully enough. This is about the new fractal the whole time.

    Yes, I wasn't disputing that - but it used to be shorter. It used to just be a boss fight and a half. What I am saying is, maybe the poster before him was recollecting that previous state, and comparing that to the current state with the shaman etc.

    "and Cliffside was factually longer and made shorter. Swamp was shorter and made longer. Dredge was longer and made shorter. Funny how that works out?

    Fractals were overall redesigned to take around 10-15 minutes per fractal. The ones which were far beyond that were made shorter, the ones which were way shorter were made longer. It's called balance."

    I think you are responding to arguments where there are none - the poster who you are replying to isn't complaining about fractal length, they're merely pointing out what I said - Molten was short, now it is longer. I don't mind the change in length, but it did happen.

    Given the topic at hand. Given the complaints about overall fractal length from both topic creator and Shiyo.3578, melandru.3876 was disagreeing that Molten Boss fractal is long. He never disputed that it got changed. He explained how it is even now a short fractal making no reference to how it was before.

    I responded to Shiyo.3578 the way I did both in reference to his latest post, as well as taking into account his initial post in this thread complaining about fractal length. Overall fractal length has not changed over the years if one omits the time where people ran 3 times swamp (which was a gross oversight balance and design wise).

  • melandru.3876melandru.3876 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 11, 2019

    the only "long" (by design) fractals are siren's reef and twilight oasis. everything else can be done in 10 minutes or less with pugs.

    siren reef is delayed by the maze, where bad people can double your time in there if they throw bad (if they throw at all)
    twilight oasis you allways have that 1 guy who does not gg after first amala. and that 1 guy who does not know the shortcuts to the sandbinders

    the fastest fractals without a doubt are aetherblade and aquatic ruins, those can be done under 3 minutes hence why they are farmed.

    i'd say fractal duration-wise are at a good spot

    regarding mechanic overload (or aoe-fest)

    siren reef is less of an issue if you have strong cleave. the bosses(are champions) hit like noodles, the real "danger" there is the adds and people not managing both (green and red) circles
    do that, and it's a walk in the park

    black pete (bomb boss) is of zero issue if you have a good guy on cannon. skill 2 for dps, skill 3 for add management (frozen adds don't dps ALLWAYS FREEZE QUARTERMASTER) and skill 1 to clear bombs for your dps

    this boss teaches you to move as a party, which is of massive importance. if everyone wants ro run around being absolute clueless in every direction possible then we have a boss for that allready => thaumanova anomaly lol

    this boss prepares you for the wind attacks that will have small movement windows at crowe. a party should allways stack, you only learn this if you get 1-shot if you don't

  • Agree with a lot of things in this thread. ANet seem to want to create "impressive" fractals, rather than fun fractals.

    Too long, too much dialogue (remember Anet, fractals are meant to be repeated; it gets very annoying hearing these uber-long dialogues all the time), anti-pug mechanics, and mechanics that almost force groups to bring healers. All very bad things.

  • Henry.5713Henry.5713 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 21, 2019

    Just wait till we have to listen to ten minutes of unskippable dialogues on the level of W7.

    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. ~ Robert Heinlein

  • Astralporing.1957Astralporing.1957 Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 21, 2019

    @melandru.3876 said:

    @Shiyo.3578 said:
    The issue isn't mechanics it's the sheer length. Fractals were meant to be bite sized dungeons that you do 3 a day but now the new fractal team thinks they're normal sized dungeons you have to do 3 of a day..it's draining. The reason fractals were set up in 3's was because all 3 combined were meant to be equal to one full dungeon, not THREE DUNGEONS COMBINED like the new ones. All the new fractals are far too long and they keep revamping old ones to be longer ;/ Why was molten bosses made so long...?

    wait what molten boss long?

    you skip the entire start, you kill that one shaman and his folks to open the bridge. you kill the efigy, you kill the next 3 following groups and you are at boss.

    if this takes you aslong as a full dungeon path then i don't even want to know what party comp/builds you play

    So, basically, it's short of you skip most of it?
    How is that different from full dungeon paths when you also skip all you can skip (and some things you really shouldn't)?

    Hint: Molten Boss Fractal may be only a half of a full dungeon path, but that dungeon wasn't one of the shorter ones.

    The whole point of a social game is to play with the people you want to play with, not be forced to play with the people you don't.

  • Draco.9480Draco.9480 Member ✭✭✭

    just remove siren's reef and deepstone, they're both boring and long.
    rework solid ocean and molten facility. fighting a bunch of mobs all the time isn't fun at all and not satisfying a bit.
    make solid ocean just 2-3 bosses: big wind rider boss with adds who laser you, big boss of jade colossus, big tentacle boss with good mechanics.
    molten facility i dunno what to do about it, honestly should be removed as well. it's not fun at all.