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Vindicator vs Bladesworn - Why good Design is so important


Brunnsteinangel.2568

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You can take this is feedback or a comment regarding the last two beta events and the corresponding 6 e-specs we have seen so far.

I work in a very design heavy job and I want to highlight something, which I think is one of the "big problems" for some of the e-specs:
Design.

Design is very important and I want to showcase this by comparing the Bladesowrn, probably one of the best class-designs in the game, to the Vindicator, the worst one in my opinion, as it doesn't have a design.

 

Now, before you go and shout "but XYZ is bad!", I want to explain what I mean by "design" and what my comment is all about, as not everyone will have work-experience in a design releated field.

While "design" differs from person and work field, for the most part it is "a fleshed out idea, that ties different elements into on coherent object".

And that is what I will go with.
What I will NOT talk about, are "numbers", anything about CDs, damage, specific traits or in other words, anything that could be changed with a simple balance patch.

 

Another important point for those that do not work in design:
A design is not a "one step thing", usually you start with an idea, build onto it, flesh it out, iterate, change things to fit your visions, bring in new ideas, change or throw away older ones and so on.

Sometimes you have hundreds of iterations until you have the final, finished design.

 

That beeing said, let's get started.

 

Identitiy

 

The first thing adesign usually does, is establishing an identity or a theme.. What are you creating?
This can be anything, certain materials to be used, an emotion, certain elements and so on. A general "rule of thumb" is, that the stronger the identity, the better the design.

This identity does two things:

The first one is to allow "users" like us players to understand the design. What is it, how does it work, what does it revolve around?

Just one look at the bladesworn and you see it is about ammunition abilities and its gunsabre, getting the dragonslash to land.

 

The second and more important thing about this identity, is to provide "direction" for further work. In what direction do you want to iterate?

What elements do you add? Why? Do they fit? People need to know what they are working towards.

Again, the Bladesworn is a great example.

"Mondernized Warrior", using "Black Ops gear" in form of armaments, using and revolving around ammunition skills, as they fit the "bullet theme" and so on.

You have an identity, that provides the direction of what the other skills should look like, which ends in a coherent end result.

 

Now let us look at the Vindicator.

Just looking through the feedback forum, you notice that people don't know what this clas is supposed to be,. 

You have the new dodge, the flip-over legend, the greatsword... but nothing seems to tie the parts together.

Ift becomes worse, when you look at the "single parts" and it becomes even more obvious, that the class is missing an identity.

 

The greatsword is bland, "borrowring" so many used animations and skills, it hurts. It is not a bad weapon, but it is bland and doesn't fit in with the other revenant weapons.

And it is no wonder, because what should the greatsword be like? Nothing in the Vindicator suggest that the GS should work a certain way, so it becmes a bland cpoy paste.

 

The dodge is in a different spot. It is a "gimmick" and it shows. There are people that find the new dodge fun, but those people admit more often then not, that they rarly play revenant.

And gimicks are exactly fpr new "unexperienced" people to draw them in, but they loose their attraction very fast.

A lot of the skill tree is "wasted" in this gimmick, though it doesn't tie into anything else, not the legend, not the weapon, not other specs.

 

If we look at the daredevil or the mirage, we see that a new dodge CAN work, design wise (PvP is a numbers thing).

The daredevil is an acrobatic staff fighter, jumping around the enemy. The dogde is still a dodge, but changed to fit this theme.

Same with the mirgae: An illusionist, that you can not hit. you even have those "shards" that give the doge buff again. And it works. it fits the spec.

And with both classes, we have some focus around this dodge, that ties into other specs (dodge does X) of works within the spec it self (mirage stealth attack).

But for the Vindicator, it is just a gimmick, just there for the sake of itself.

 

Now to the biggest identity problem of the Vindicator, its legend.

IMO rev is the ewasiest class to creat an identity for. Pick a legend, build the spec around what ever makes this legend special.

But we have the Alliance Stance. One rather fitting comment about it named it "wet noodle-stance".

We have two guys, with nothing special to work around. No special abilities, only a very weak theme of "working together" which doesn't get represented.

If I had to guess, someone wanted to desperatly get the new dodge in, but it wouldn't work with "true" legends, so they picked those two.

A huge mistake.

 

Just to showcase it: Imagine Balthasar as Legend.
Already you think about the GS beeing used with telekinesis, maybe a midrange weapon, utlities around fire, maybe might for "destruction".

And the class mechanic? Maybe summon Balthasars dogs as an upkeep skill?

Strong Legend => Strong Identity => clear direction for the design.

 

 

Tie In

 

The second important thing a design does, is asking the question of "how to tie it in". How will X fit into Y.

At my workplace we usually have three variants of "tie ins", though we don't strictly use only one,, but a mix of all three, with one as the mainfocus.:

1. Harmonize

This is where the bladesworn sits. You creat your design to harmonize with the exsisting surroundings, use things thate are already there and work with those.

And that the Bladesworn makes use of amunition skills is creat, because the warrior already has quit a few of those.

Personally there could be more machanical use of ammunition skills (maybe a minor trait), but I'd be happy to see the "Rune of the Bladesowrn" augmenting ammunition skills, not armaments.
 

2. Imrpove

You use what is there and push it to the next level.

The Tempest is pretty much as direct as it could be for this tie in: You take attunments and push them further with overloads.

Another class that does this, would be the Berserker, again: "Straight upgrade".

 

3. Contrast

You take something existing and trun it around by 180°.

Best example would be the Harbringer shroud. Again very direct contrast to your usual Necro shroud.

 

I already mentioned the Bladesworn and I can't say how much I love the focus for ammunition skills in this spec with the warrior.

The Vindicator on the other hand....

Revenant is already difficult for "tie ins" as every spec is "stand alone" with the legend and skill tree.

But even then, the Vindicator falls massivly short on any tie ins. It works only for it self, where other legends and traits still have some tie ins with others,

usually by covering the weakspots of each other. 

The main problem here is again the weak identity. If it would have been a pure heal and support spec, you would have great tie ins with Ventari and Salvation.

Damage? Shiro and Devastation. But the traits and legend doesn't support it, as the traits just focus on the dodge (which can be used for healing), while the legend doesn't work well with a dedicated role for either.

 

 

Reasons

 

The last part about design I want to talk about, would be "reason".

Why do you choose X? Why do it this or that way? is Y the right way to go?

You go back, recheck what you have created, take a look if you should change something, if things are still in line with the identity and if you desicions make sense.

 

Again taking a look at the bladesworn, we see ammunition skills boosted in the skill tree instead of armaments. Why? because it works better with the older skills.

We have a meele pistol. Why? Because there is no ranged main hand.

Why does the gunsabre have so many ammunition skils? To tie in with the other ammunition skills.

And so on and so forth.

 

Looking at the Vindicator, there isn't a reason check. Why a new dodge? Because a new dodge. That is the extent of an answer.

Why flip over skills? Because two legends? Again, the reason nothing more then "because we want it".

Skill tree? Full of solutions to self made problems, that work around the gimmicks.

The only thing that passes a reason check, is the greatsword. Why so bland and copied skills? 'Cause they work on other classes.

Not the best explanation, but it is ok.

 

 

 

Now, thanks for reading this huge post.

I just wanted to highlight, while a good desgin and design process is so important.
In my opinion, there are some worrying signs, that Anet doesn't spend as much time on their designs as they should.

They can obviously deliver great ones, looking at the Bladesworn, but the Vindicator shows that a lot of corners seem to be cut.

That's all I wanted to hgihlight.

 

And yes: No e-Spec is perfect right now, but in some cases it is only a numbers thing.
I wanted to showcase that some problems are a lot deeper.

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I do agree that Bladesworn have a strong design even if I'm not fond of it. That said, the name of the e-spec don't reflect this design in my opinion.

Vindicator is... a patchwork, like you said, nothing is coherent.

- Greatsword is a crowd pleasing weapon but if they were going to use these dual legend, GS doesn't make sense. Archemorus would have suggested a spear, and the thought of a land spear is really attractive. Saint Viktor would have suggested a focus which is less attractive but more in line with it's representative ash urn.

- The dodge... Revenant is all about creating rift between the mist and the main plane, why the heck does it's dodge make him take off into the air to land into a burst of heal/damage? The very design of the dodge, while interesting, don't fit the revenant. I would expect to see something like this on a guardian but not a revenant.

- The dual legend is an interesting concept that could have been spec defining but end up being given like an afterthought, something unfinished. I mean, I can get over the dodge and the GS not making much sense but the dual legend mechanic of the legendary alliance had the potential to be spec defining and it's wasted on the vindicator.

 

If they wanted a GS and a flashy dodge they could have just used the ministry of purity (or one of it funders, Xun Rao) as a legend (The achievements and impact of this ministry are way higher than the temporary alliance that barely managed to open a hole in shiro's defenses for an assassin to slay him). At the very least both the dodge and the GS would have been coherent with this legend.

 

NB.: I disagree with the idea of balthasar as a legend. Balthasar is a Human god, he is one of the villain in PoF (so we have to interact with it) and it's a foreigner that participated in bringing Humans to tyria. It would have broken the immersion for any non Human revenant and it would have been awkward to use it in PoF campaign.

Like I said, a more fitting legend could have been Xun Rao (which is depicted with a greatsword in GW: Beyond - wind of changes). But Cantha feature demons, flood dragon or even Naga that could have fit the theme of the GS thank to their tail (even a kraken with it's tentacles). There is also the envoy, Herald Demikrov that have the "GS look". There is so many choice that it's almost disgusting yet took not 1 but 2 legends that have nothing in common with GS.

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3 hours ago, Dadnir.5038 said:

 

NB.: I disagree with the idea of balthasar as a legend. Balthasar is a Human god, he is one of the villain in PoF (so we have to interact with it) and it's a foreigner that participated in bringing Humans to tyria. It would have broken the immersion for any non Human revenant and it would have been awkward to use it in PoF campaign.

 

 

I only brought up Balthasar, because everyone knows what he's about and how this provides a clear direction for further development.

 

I agree, that while kind of cool, would have some troubles, due to his identity as a human god.

 

But as you noticed: There are many possible options, while staying within Cantha.

 

And one thing I truly do not understand about the Vindicator is, how it feels so "non-cantha".

Nothing about it screams "Cantha". Sure the "legends" are from Cantha, but you could replace them with any other duo and no one would notice.

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21 minutes ago, Brunnsteinangel.2568 said:

Nothing about it screams "Cantha". Sure the "legends" are from Cantha, but you could replace them with any other duo and no one would notice.

Well, it's difficult to say that "nothing scram cantha" granted that cantha have changed a lot since GW.

Now, are the legends "vindicators"? As in defenders/champions, I'd say, yes maybe

Is being "vindicators" a result of their alliance? Personally I'd say no because kurzicks and luxons are famous for their contant fight against each other.

Does being a "vindicator" relate to a flashy dodge? No, absolutely not. Daredevil focusing on acrobatic dodge? Yes. Mirage dodging? Of course. Vindicator? Why the hell would they chose dodge as a mechanic for a spec named like that?

 

There is no reason for the legend to be a duo as well. Sure it's a cool idea, but, as I said, this "duo" thing is worth more than just being the after thought it is. I mean we could have played an alliance shiro/jalis with the same mechanism that they use on archemorus/saint viktor. Even if it mean changing a few skills on some core legends when equiping this e-spec, the potential change in gameplay would have been amazing (Even the idea of some core legend skills being changed to adapt to this mechanism is alluring and it's not like ANet can't create 25+ new skills for a single e-spec, that's what they do to elementalist with each e-spec).

 

No, this batch of e-spec feel disappointing so far:

- Virtuoso, have a strong identity but the traitlines that are supposed to make it work are laughable and the blades, which are fondamentally illusions, don't work with the core traits that requier illusion. Worse they litterally copied some of the traits working with illusion to make "brand new" blade traits. That's revulsing.

- Harbinger, is a great idea yet you can't help feeling that it's unfinished, unpolished. The negative point being that it betray close to 9 years of necromancer design were giving boon is contrary to the necromancer's ethic. In performance, it's close to be on point but it's sorely lacking in the interaction with the interesting mechanism that blight is. Disappointing.

- Willbender is probably the one that is the closest to be in a satisfying state. It just lack "numbers" to be "whole". Only it's adept traits are arguable, it's really not where GW2 devs should put the "drawbacks" (especially when they are so disproportionate compared to the benefits).

- Vindicator, like I said, it's an incoherent patchwork. The only way to make it coherent would be to either ditch the dual legend for another legend or to ditch the GS for a weapon coherent with the dual legend. The dodge could probably be forgivable if they did that...

- Bladesworn... Outside of the fact that I can't stand the idea of a "gunsaber" and the "sword draw" gameplay, the spec have a strong identity and don't lack much in the way to be viable. It's at the level of Willbender, "almost there".

- Catalyst... The Joke! Objectively out of all the spec it's the one that bother me the most. It doesn't have any identity. It's an just elementalist with reused mechanism (scrapper's gyro, weaver/SlB stances as well as Tempest's overload and focus on aura). Numerically it "work", even in gameplay it somehow "work" but it's just an elementalist. You don't look at it and say: "Yes! That's a Catalyst!".

If vindicator is a patchwork nonsense, catalyst is a plain and boring elementalist with no identity. Both specs deserve to be looked at seriously.

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I agree and I said it before, most of these specs feel bad because they don't have a good thematic hook/class fantasy, which then translates into not having cohesive design and names that fail to describe and capture them and prospective players. 

 

You hear Reaper, you think hooded movie monster with a giant Scythe, you can imagine it cleaving through enemies. That's what they designed and that's how it plays.

You expect a Berserker to fall into a rage, giving up defense to recklessly strike with powerful abilities, and that's what they did.

For a Chronomancer you expect a time mage, speeding up allies, manipulating CD's and slowing down enemies - and that's what it is.

Etc.

 

What's a Harbinger? What does it herald? The only thing that maybe comes to mind is that it could be a Minion Master spec, or play around some sort of possession mechanic. Nope, a extremely squishy, somewhat mobile, medium to close range Pistol wielding projectile DPS spec with Boonshare option.. okay? 

 

What is a Vindicator? Doesn't really put anything into the minds eye for me, and that shows with the randomness of the GS, the dodge mechanic and not really interactive/contradicting double legend mechanic.

Rather than the Legends working together as form of vindication, they are in each other's way for whatever you want to accomplish. It by no means feels like a "Legendary Alliance" than it does a weakly themed "Clunky Inconvenience". 

 

And that just goes on with Willbender and Catalyst especially, what is the class fantasy? 

Willbender being first introduced with terms such as "Loyal Guard to the Emperor, Protector, Assassin and Brawler" already made me sigh in what a mess that sounds like as a class fantasy/theme and aspects to design around.

 

Virtuoso would already be better with just a name change to something like Psyblade or the like, clearly communicating to players looking at it and wanting to get inspired to play it what class fantasy it is about. 

Virtuoso can be just about anything - but aside from the name it at least has a clear theme of being about Psionics and Blades. 

 

Dragonhunter was disliked with HoT for much of the same reasons. What is a Dragonhunter? Aren't we all hunting dragons? What's the theme? How does it play like? etc. 

While mechanically mostly competent, having a proper and clear class fantasy manifested in design cohesive to that is important. 

 

Bladesworn is generally liked because it's the one that does what it says on the tin. You are sworn to this uber blade and focus on executing these massively powerful cuts with it. Subsystems such as the ammunition focus work throughout the spec, interact with the core of the profession, etc. - it works. With the exception of maybe the Utilities, everything is very cohesive in design and adheres to the fantasy it's promising to give it's players.

 

 

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Personally, I think the Vindicator, while it works as a spec (IMO at least), is lacking design. Not sure those kinds of issues are noticeable to the average person who are just after flavour and I suspect that even at Anet, there might be a gap between the 'concept people' and the 'implementation' people. 

I don't think we should be too hung up on the names of these specs. In the end, they aren't relevant to gameplay, or even too much of a feel for what it is. The name doesn't determine what the class does or how it does it. 

If you strip away the flashy bits and focus on the actual mechanical elements, I believe that what we are seeing is many especs is Anet hitting  a wall of a game that simply doesn't have very many mechanics to exploit into mechanically different specs. Vindicator is an enhanced dodge, with GS that too closely resembles swords and a seemingly forced mechanic on the skillbar with seemingly little reason to actually exist except to fit the 'alliance' theme. 

There is some silver lining here ... while the design is lacking, it still offers a difference in gameplay and a range of skills that will still make it attractive to play for people. 

Really, the question here is how important the design actually is if it offers people these things? Thought experiment: what if Anet just reworked an existing espec with existing content to give people a well rounded build for whatever game mode they wanted? Still not good design ... but it's hard to deny that people wouldn't want that. 

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While names are just that, names, and we should be hang upon them, I do agree that sometimes a different name could do wonderss.

 

Just wanna take a short look at the Harbringer, a spec I actually do have some high hopes for, because it is so different form the other necros.

 

Rename is "Apothecary" and then bring the elixers in line with that. Maybe always an AOE effect or at least some throwable, because you "apothecary" your allies?

And then rework some of the shroud animations to fall more in line with this "witchdoctor".

 

But if I had to name the worst designs atm, that would be:
1. Vindicator

cobbles mess, no design at all

 

2. Catalyst

clear idea with a very interessting weapon, but failed to commit to a concrete design.

 

The third spot would be empty, as I don't see any glaring design issues in the other specs.

It is mostly numbers or comminting to an identiy, especially with the Willbender.

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2 hours ago, Obtena.7952 said:

Personally, I think the Vindicator, while it works as a spec (IMO at least), is lacking design. Not sure those kinds of issues are noticeable to the average person who are just after flavour and I suspect that even at Anet, there might be a gap between the 'concept people' and the 'implementation' people. 

I don't think we should be too hung up on the names of these specs. In the end, they aren't relevant to gameplay, or even too much of a feel for what it is. The name doesn't determine what the class does or how it does it. 

If you strip away the flashy bits and focus on the actual mechanical elements, I believe that what we are seeing is many especs is Anet hitting  a wall of a game that simply doesn't have very many mechanics to exploit into mechanically different specs. Vindicator is an enhanced dodge, with GS that too closely resembles swords and a seemingly forced mechanic on the skillbar with seemingly little reason to actually exist except to fit the 'alliance' theme. 

There is some silver lining here ... while the design is lacking, it still offers a difference in gameplay and a range of skills that will still make it attractive to play for people. 

Really, the question here is how important the design actually is if it offers people these things? Thought experiment: what if Anet just reworked an existing espec with existing content to give people a well rounded build for whatever game mode they wanted? Still not good design ... but it's hard to deny that people wouldn't want that. 

Can't say I agree on these things not mattering. 

It's kind of similar to the flawed argument I've heard for cosmetic MTX and how they don't matter since they don't affect gameplay. 

 

It may be hard to quantify, but these seemingly superficial things, like Names, colour schemes, visuals, sound design etc. do affect people and their enjoyment of a game/weapon/class etc. greatly, even when they don't have mechanical implications. 

 

I've heard Dev stories like players shunning a weapon in their game for being bad and "reworking" it, while in reality just changing the sound effect it made without any rebalancing or other mechanical changes, and due to being more satisfying to use suddenly becoming one of the most well liked and most used weapon in their game. 

 

Those details matter greatly. 

 

I also disagree with that Anet has hit a wall for making mechanically interesting and different Especs. 

It's kind of ironic how they announced this set of Elite Specs as "rulebreakers" when they feel the most like Anet colouring in a circle, despite there being a whole page outside of it to draw on. 

Even for already existing mechanics, I'm not quite sure why they aren't using them more, from expanding AoE's akin to Nightfall or not doing more aimed Skillshots and such for weapon skills rather than the usual Tab-Target.

 

All these new mechanics from Blight to the Dual Legend to the Jade Sphere are all so self contained and played safe without unique or intricate interactions or class integration - all that may make the game system feel mechanically exhausted, but I think that's just because they chose to or couldn't go outside of mostly already established systems this time around, with the biggest inventions so far often seeming how much they are taking away from some of those specs, rather than adding new tools. 

 

It's not all doom and gloom ofc, while these things do matter, they aren't everything. Just like DH got plenty of hate with HoT, everything will find play if it's just mechanically strong in the end. But it terms of long term player retention, it certainly matters that players are enjoying themselves, not just on the basis of (potential) efficacy with those especs.

Edited by Asum.4960
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22 hours ago, Dadnir.5038 said:

- Virtuoso, have a strong identity but the traitlines that are supposed to make it work are laughable and the blades, which are fondamentally illusions, don't work with the core traits that requier illusion. Worse they litterally copied some of the traits working with illusion to make "brand new" blade traits. That's revulsing.

 

Just commenting on this bit. What identity virt does have? Blades, psionics, music?
As far as identity goes virt has none, it tries to mash a bunch of stuff together to please 3 different crowds. And it fails because there's no continuity between them. Again: A knife shitting psiconic musician.

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13 minutes ago, Lincolnbeard.1735 said:

Just commenting on this bit. What identity virt does have? Blades, psionics, music?
As far as identity goes virt has none, it tries to mash a bunch of stuff together to please 3 different crowds. And it fails because there's no continuity between them. Again: A knife shitting psiconic musician.

First, keep in mind that I'm not fond of the blade idea.

That said, when you look at the virtuoso it's undenialy different from the mesmer, which mean that he got it's own identity. It's not yet another butterfly lover that hide within a crowd of copy of himself, it's the proud duellist that stand tall and throw illusionary blades after illusionary blades to it's foes.

- It's not about "blades", it's about "illusionary blades".

- Its not a psionic because a psionic would move physical blades with it's mind and it's not the case.

- It's not about music but artistic terms associated to a refined art.

The virtuoso is a virtuoso because he is an "illusion artist", expert at refining and controling illusory blades. He use "musical term" for it's shatter because some terms are often shared between the "mondane arts" and the "martial arts". Had the virtuoso been given stances, the devs could have called them "dances".

Contrary to what you believe, it's a pretty coherent design and a strong identity, as it does things in a very different way than core, chrono or mirage.

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1 hour ago, Dadnir.5038 said:

 Contrary to what you believe, it's a pretty coherent design and a strong identity, as it does things in a very different way than core, chrono or mirage.

By that you mean instead of gathering resources (clones) and shatter them for doing dps, confusion or daze, you now gather resources (blades) for throwing them and doing dps, confusion or daze?

 

Yes changing animation and skill names is a rly strong identity and best design we could get.

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2 hours ago, Lan Deathrider.5910 said:

Bladesworn as a great aesthetic theme it does not have a great gameplay design.

 

I don't agree with that.

Yes, not everyone will like the Bladesworn gameplay, but that is GOOD!
My profs always told me "You can't please everyone, so make sure some love your design and some hate it."
And they are right.

 

The biggest problem with the bladesworn on a gameplay perspective (IMO), is the over focus on the dragonslash and how it is use in conjunction with the flow mechanic. But those are "numbers".

Personaly I'd keep the adrenalin, while spend ammunition form ammunition skills loads "bullets".
And when you go dragonslash, those bullets determin your damage, instead of a channel.

 

But even as it is, I like the Bladesworn for example and while there is some number balancing necessary, I percieve it as fun.

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6 hours ago, Asum.4960 said:

Can't say I agree on these things not mattering. 

It really just depends on what's being discussed. As far as design is concerned, the flash aspect is irrelevant; design is about implementing the concept using features. For example, the concept is 'alliance' of two legend. The design that results is a flipping mechanic on skillbar and expansion/modification of the dodge mechanic. Another example, the weapon concept is GS. The design that results is 5 skills on a GS weapon template. 

Now, if topic was about how the Vindicator is implemented, the flash matters quite a bit (there is actually already a thread about that in the Revenant forum), but we aren't really talking about there here from what I can tell. 

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3 hours ago, Dadnir.5038 said:

- Its not a psionic because a psionic would move physical blades with it's mind and it's not the case.

Virtuoso gets "Psionics" as Utility type, as well as multiple Traits referencing Psionic Powers with Psychic Blades and Psychic Riposte.

It's quite literally Psyblade.

 

12 minutes ago, Obtena.7952 said:

 

It really just depends on what's being discussed. As far as design is concerned, the flash aspect is irrelevant; design is about implementing the concept using features. For example, the concept is 'alliance' of two legend. The design that results is a flipping mechanic on skillbar and expansion/modification of the dodge mechanic. Another example, the weapon concept is GS. The design that results is 5 skills on a GS weapon template. 

Now, if topic was about how the Vindicator is implemented, the flash matters quite a bit (there is actually already a thread about that in the Revenant forum), but we aren't really talking about there here from what I can tell. 

Beyond the initial concepting stage, all these things are interconnected and should inform each other though. 

Like you can design something well mechanically, but if you then can't represent and communicate that design well (via names, visuals, audio design etc.), it might very well be worth it to alter the mechanical design to fit a better hook and presentation to deliver an ultimately more well rounded and engaging product. 

It's not irrelevant, it's a back and forth - otherwise you can end up with things that while theoretically mechanically sound, just aren't engaging. 

Likewise the other way around, you can make something that hooks and presents well, but then falls flat mechanically and just doesn't work or isn't practical.

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2 minutes ago, Asum.4960 said:

Beyond the initial concepting stage, all these things are interconnected and should inform each other though. 

Like you can design something well mechanically, but if you then can't represent and communicate that design well (via names, visuals, audio design etc.), it might very well be worth it to alter the mechanical design to fit a better hook and presentation to deliver an ultimately more well rounded and engaging product. 

It's not irrelevant, it's a back and forth - otherwise you can end up with things that while theoretically mechanically sound, just aren't engaging. 

Likewise the other way around, you can make something that hooks and presents well, but then falls flat mechanically and just doesn't work or isn't practical.

There are lots of ways to think about this but there is a distinction between the design and the implementation. I'm not disagreeing they are related to result in a good final product but I don't think that's the intent of the OP. 

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40 minutes ago, Obtena.7952 said:

There are lots of ways to think about this but there is a distinction between the design and the implementation. I'm not disagreeing they are related to result in a good final product but I don't think that's the intent of the OP. 

 

Yes and no.
While I wanted to highlight the importance of a good "on paper design", usually it works in tandem with "implementation".

Especially in game design, where you can rather easily creat a "prototype" with, you can and should include it in the design process:
"on paper design" => proto-implementation => tweak of implementation => tweak of "on paper design" => proto-implementation 1.X => ...

 

And as Asum said, you can design things simply around mechancis, BUT you still need something to tie it together => back to "on paper design" of theme and identity.

 

The reason I focused on identity and "on paper design" was that most people can better imagine it and understand it, where as full on design processes are veeery xetensive and a lot of back and forth, and I see the "on paper design" as the bigger weakness of the current e-specs, less the mechanics.

Tbh, the beta tests are still part of the design process, they are what I would call "reality check" => is the design possible/what was envisoined or orded/is it working.

 

 

And yes, a lot of the names arn't great, no arguing there, and personally I would have tweak all designs differntly, but most do at least "work", despite those things.

But they also have a few problems, simply because (IMO) corners were cut, when it came to the basic design work.

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Can't agree that the Bladesworn is well designed by comparison. There are elements of it that are good (such as the focus on ammunition skills that synergises with ammunition skills in the core profession), but that's ignoring the sucking chest wound that is Dragon Trigger. You might claim that it's just numbers balancing, but the numbers demonstrate the problem - Dragon Slash can only be made to justify the setup required if the numbers are dialed up to a level that would never be accepted in competitive modes.

 

Vindicator is... well, it's a collection of disparate elements, and I don't really see the connection between the vassal states duo and a 'shoot into the sky and slam back down again' dodge mechanic (admittedly, they are a bit of a blank slate apart from the spear and urn). Apart from the urn, though, it did seem to make for a functional whole, as opposed to bladesworn which relies so much on ridiculous numbers coming out of Dragon Slash that it was all but boonsmited before it even left the proverbial gate.

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18 minutes ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

Can't agree that the Bladesworn is well designed by comparison. There are elements of it that are good (such as the focus on ammunition skills that synergises with ammunition skills in the core profession), but that's ignoring the sucking chest wound that is Dragon Trigger. You might claim that it's just numbers balancing, but the numbers demonstrate the problem - Dragon Slash can only be made to justify the setup required if the numbers are dialed up to a level that would never be accepted in competitive modes.

 

Vindicator is... well, it's a collection of disparate elements, and I don't really see the connection between the vassal states duo and a 'shoot into the sky and slam back down again' dodge mechanic (admittedly, they are a bit of a blank slate apart from the spear and urn). Apart from the urn, though, it did seem to make for a functional whole, as opposed to bladesworn which relies so much on ridiculous numbers coming out of Dragon Slash that it was all but boonsmited before it even left the proverbial gate.

 

even without the dragonslash, the Bladesworn works rather fine IMO.

And the test showed, that the slash probably needs just number tweaking => less damage for less channel or something.

And probably more flow generation. But it works fine.
You might not like the dragon trigger, but I know a lot of ppl that do.

 

The Vindicator on the other hand is more then just numbers.

Biggest point for it is, that most ppl dropped the legend just to get the spec working, as well as choosing the "fastest" dodge to trait for, or in other words, the dodge most similar to the normal dodge.

So you effectivly make the spec as much "not the spec" as possible, just so it works.

That is not "functional".

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You can't say 'even without the dragonslash' when dragonslash IS the main theme of the profession. It's what everything else is building up to.

 

And it's basically DoA in competitive modes. It's strong in PvE, and some people like it there, but that's a demonstration of the 'anything can be viable if you overinflate the numbers enough' principle. The durability of PvE bladesworn comes primarily out of Dragon Slash doing so much damage that 8% of that damage is basically a full heal. While in competitive the damage is so low that you're better off not using it at all. Think about that for a moment.

 

The rest of Bladesworn could be perfectly designed, but the core is still a multi-second charge with a big tell which is entirely backloaded and will do nothing if interrupted, avoided, or otherwise prevented. The only way that could justify itself in GW2's fast-paced gameplay is by doing so much damage that it would oneshot people in competitive, which ArenaNet knows wouldn't be received well. So you've got an ability that is functional in PvE purely through massively inflated numbers but which will probably be a gimmick CC (using the middle GM) at best in competitive. I really can't see how this can seriously be held up as 'good design'. It's flashy, but the elite spec as a whole might well be better off if they scrapped Dragon Trigger and replaced it with... heck, just come up with a gunsaber burst skill, and let it have the basic warrior burst mechanic (the tradeoff is giving up a regular weaponswap). We both know that's not going to happen, though, particularly since PvEers who've tried that overinflated DS probably won't want to give it up for the sake of making the specialisation functional in other modes.

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On 10/6/2021 at 7:09 PM, Brunnsteinangel.2568 said:

Now to the biggest identity problem of the Vindicator, its legend.

IMO rev is the ewasiest class to creat an identity for. Pick a legend, build the spec around what ever makes this legend special.

But we have the Alliance Stance. One rather fitting comment about it named it "wet noodle-stance".

We have two guys, with nothing special to work around. No special abilities, only a very weak theme of "working together" which doesn't get represented.

If I had to guess, someone wanted to desperatly get the new dodge in, but it wouldn't work with "true" legends, so they picked those two.

A huge mistake.

That is NOT the biggest identity problem... in fact it isn't an identity problem at all... YOU (and various others on theses forums) have a fundamentally flawed understanding of what the Legendary Alliance is. The two legends that are channeled by the Vindicator were not simply two individuals who cooperated to take down a major threat... they were two diametrically opposed individuals who never could get along or agree on how things should be done who despite all their differences came together to help take down the greatest threat of their era to their homeland. The flip skins perfectly illustrate this theme as well. Each ability is in direct opposition of it's flip in form and function, and yet their is a certain synergy to them. They also weren't picked as a "last ditch effort of desperation", they were the leaders of the two major factions that control the land of Cantha, the Kurzicks and the Luxons. If you play through Factions, you'll learn that the players had to go to great lengths to even get these two individuals to merely consider working together, they were both dead set on ending the crisis on their own.

Your points on the other aspects of Vindicator, however, are valid design flaws that don't fit into the central identity of the Vindicator... The greatsword feels like it was selected simply because the community wanted greatsword Revenant, but the abilities and functionality of the greatsword have absolutely zero correlation to the legendary alliance at all. It doesn't even mesh into the overarching theme (identity) of opposites working in concert. The new dodge gimmick... you're absolutely right, it is just that... a gimmick... a developer thought it would be a cool idea, and threw it in their with no consideration for how or if it would actually even fit in with the theme of the spec. However... these two aspects of the spec DO actually fit well together from a design perspective... they just don't fit well with the theme for the vindicator. We have two completely separate identities vying for control of this spec and it's not the two legends. We have an identity of "opposites working in concert" and we have the identity of "a magical samurai".

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1 hour ago, draxynnic.3719 said:

You can't say 'even without the dragonslash' when dragonslash IS the main theme of the profession. It's what everything else is building up to.

 

And it's basically DoA in competitive modes. It's strong in PvE, and some people like it there, but that's a demonstration of the 'anything can be viable if you overinflate the numbers enough' principle. The durability of PvE bladesworn comes primarily out of Dragon Slash doing so much damage that 8% of that damage is basically a full heal. While in competitive the damage is so low that you're better off not using it at all. Think about that for a moment.

 

The rest of Bladesworn could be perfectly designed, but the core is still a multi-second charge with a big tell which is entirely backloaded and will do nothing if interrupted, avoided, or otherwise prevented. The only way that could justify itself in GW2's fast-paced gameplay is by doing so much damage that it would oneshot people in competitive, which ArenaNet knows wouldn't be received well. So you've got an ability that is functional in PvE purely through massively inflated numbers but which will probably be a gimmick CC (using the middle GM) at best in competitive. I really can't see how this can seriously be held up as 'good design'. It's flashy, but the elite spec as a whole might well be better off if they scrapped Dragon Trigger and replaced it with... heck, just come up with a gunsaber burst skill, and let it have the basic warrior burst mechanic (the tradeoff is giving up a regular weaponswap). We both know that's not going to happen, though, particularly since PvEers who've tried that overinflated DS probably won't want to give it up for the sake of making the specialisation functional in other modes.

 

I argue that the dragon slash in and on itself is not themain stay if the design.
It looks that way, due to 400k crits, but the main stay in my books are ammunition skills and the gun sabre.

 

While I can't say how viable the Bladsworn COULD be in sPvP as I don't play it a lot, I argue that it wouldn't be a big thing design wise to drop the channel there to 1.5 sec and double the damage (not a suggestion, but to make the point) and it might work rather well.

I will even argue that we will see a few changes to the dragon stance and maybe even flow, to make both work better, as yes they have been clunky.

But again: Number problem, not design problem.

Though I will also say, I would have done it differently, probably "X uses of ammunition skill grant 1 bullet" and thats the way you power the slash, while keeping "normal" adrenalin as well as the stance => less telegraph but more importance on the choice what to use when.

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14 minutes ago, Panda.1967 said:

That is NOT the biggest identity problem... in fact it isn't an identity problem at all... YOU (and various others on theses forums) have a fundamentally flawed understanding of what the Legendary Alliance is. The two legends that are channeled by the Vindicator were not simply two individuals who cooperated to take down a major threat... they were two diametrically opposed individuals who never could get along or agree on how things should be done who despite all their differences came together to help take down the greatest threat of their era to their homeland. The flip skins perfectly illustrate this theme as well. Each ability is in direct opposition of it's flip in form and function, and yet their is a certain synergy to them. They also weren't picked as a "last ditch effort of desperation", they were the leaders of the two major factions that control the land of Cantha, the Kurzicks and the Luxons. If you play through Factions, you'll learn that the players had to go to great lengths to even get these two individuals to merely consider working together, they were both dead set on ending the crisis on their own.

Your points on the other aspects of Vindicator, however, are valid design flaws that don't fit into the central identity of the Vindicator... The greatsword feels like it was selected simply because the community wanted greatsword Revenant, but the abilities and functionality of the greatsword have absolutely zero correlation to the legendary alliance at all. It doesn't even mesh into the overarching theme (identity) of opposites working in concert. The new dodge gimmick... you're absolutely right, it is just that... a gimmick... a developer thought it would be a cool idea, and threw it in their with no consideration for how or if it would actually even fit in with the theme of the spec. However... these two aspects of the spec DO actually fit well together from a design perspective... they just don't fit well with the theme for the vindicator. We have two completely separate identities vying for control of this spec and it's not the two legends. We have an identity of "opposites working in concert" and we have the identity of "a magical samurai".

 

The alliance stance as an idea could work, I agree with you.

Having opposed skills/people/etc.

But nothing in the whole e-spec makes it a thing.

 

IMO mainly because there is a problem with the legens of Saint Viktor and Archemorus, in that they don't have any clear cut impression/identity.

This leads to the problem that they don't give any direction on what they are about themself, which leads to rather boring utility skills, compared to some of the more iconic ones in the other legends. Not to mention any direction for the rest of the spec.

What is Archemorus about? What is Viktor about? And just "healing" or "damage" isn't realy a great answer.

 

That is what I menat, when I said "the leghend is the biggest problem IMO".

Not the idea of a diametricall oposed legend in and on it self, but that the individuals representing it are bland.

 

Though the flip over legend on its own is a problem (for the rev), as it is a legend swap within the legendswap,I believe there are better ways to work with oposing themes within a legend/e-spec.

 

Example: "Seafarer" with an Legandary Ocean Stance.

The oposing sides would be your F2 and F3 abilities, working like elementalist attunments, representing low tide and high tide, each affecting and agumenting your utility skills for EACH legend and maybe even beyond (weapon, movement speed, etc)

Such a solution would make this spec a lot more interessting, as it would reconnect with the core of the class, instead of beeing limited to only the new legend.

It would also allow for a better trait design, as one trait line could work around "low tide",one "high tide" and one around changing the tides.

 

The only way out for the alliance stance as it is IMO is to make the skills suplementing each other, offering a "weaving" of your utilities and gaining increased benefits for doing so. But this would probably requier the Vindicator to drasticly change its identity AND the energy management system, as you need to stay a lot longer within the alliance stance to get such a system to work.
But this in return while bring problems with core legends => do you still need them? Or do you only have one legend? What if you do not use the alliance? And so on.

 

While the alliance stance is an interessting idea, like the dodge it is nothign that should be on the Rev IMO.

Utility swap with in utility swap is not a good design.

Instead a new utility category for another class might pull this of with great effect.

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11 hours ago, Brunnsteinangel.2568 said:

 

I argue that the dragon slash in and on itself is not themain stay if the design.
It looks that way, due to 400k crits, but the main stay in my books are ammunition skills and the gun sabre.

 

While I can't say how viable the Bladsworn COULD be in sPvP as I don't play it a lot, I argue that it wouldn't be a big thing design wise to drop the channel there to 1.5 sec and double the damage (not a suggestion, but to make the point) and it might work rather well.

I will even argue that we will see a few changes to the dragon stance and maybe even flow, to make both work better, as yes they have been clunky.

But again: Number problem, not design problem.

Though I will also say, I would have done it differently, probably "X uses of ammunition skill grant 1 bullet" and thats the way you power the slash, while keeping "normal" adrenalin as well as the stance => less telegraph but more importance on the choice what to use when.

It's what the majority of the spec is based around. The grandmaster traits are all about modifying Dragon Slash, the adept major traits are primarily about increasing flow rate (the resource you need to Dragon Trigger), and the minor master procs while in Dragon Trigger. If you never Dragon Trigger, you've basically got half a traitline.

 

With that in mind... Dragon Trigger is more than a numbers problem. Spending that long to build up, both in building up flow and then having to charge while being immobile and vulnerable to CC... the only way that could be viable in a fluid PvP setting is if successfully landing it is something that basically decides the fight. There is no numbers tweak that doesn't affect gameplay that can address this. I don't like it when people claim that something can only ever be OP or UP, since the presence of those two states imply a middle ground that is balanced, but Dragon Trigger in competitive (not just sPvP here, it's been nerfed for WvW as well) is something where if you ever gave it a payoff to justify all that buildup and the difficulty of landing a skill that's so heavily telegraphed, battles involving it would be so binary it just wouldn't be fun to play as or against. Get hit by it, and the battle was basically decided right there, avoid getting hit by it, and you've probably gained enough of an advantage during the five seconds that they've been charging only to fluff it that you're going to win.

 

About the only approach I've seen that has a realistic chance of working in competitive as it currently stands is only charging a bullet or two before releasing. With Unyielding Dragon, this makes it act like a stun that still has a decent damage coefficient, and with Daring Dragon, you can potentially chain several slashes together. But at this point, it's playing completely differently to how it does in PvE, being essentially a glorified burst skill that requires extra button presses. While PvP-oriented builds are usually different to PvE-oriented builds, professions and elite specialisations in PvP are still generally supposed to play fairly similarly to their PvE equivalents, and that's just not something that can ever realistically happen for Dragon Trigger with simple numbers tweaks. Which makes it bad design.

 

When it comes to Vindicator... it comes across as an overdesigned collection of individual parts, but I was fighting Amala today and it suddenly struck me that that might have been the playstyle they were going for (particularly the Melandru, Dwayna, and Balthazar modes). Leaping around all over the place and usually doing damage on landing, lots of AoE, multiple distinct modes of operation - that's pretty much what Vindicator brings to the table. The oft-maligned Eternity's Requiem is essentially the equivalent of Amala's "I'm going to spread orange shapes across half the chamber", and Archemorous and Saint Viktor can be seen as analagous to Balthazar and Dwayna respectively. 

 

The urn definitely needs a rework, but I found Vindicator to be the most functional of the second group.

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