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Elite Specialisation Iconography & Readability


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This one's bugged me since returning to the game in 2020 after a prolonged absence. Basically, once you break away from the core professions, it's incredibly difficult to discern what elite spec

I can name every spec by icon and I am pretty sure the vast majority of players can do that as well. that’s really not difficult. 

Bully for you 🙄

17 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

I would agree with you, but when those opposite opinions consist of nothing more detailed than "I disagree with this statement", I feel they deserve to be dismissed.

Those sorts of reply aren't contributing to the discussion, they're simply trying to shut it down.

And that happens all the time in this part of the forum, because certain people have designated themselves gatekeepers of what should be discussed.

There's nothing hard about recognizing especs by their respective icons. You've been asked in what way they're confusing/indistinguishable/whatever and you still failed to actually answer, instead pretending that it's "shutting down discussion", when apparently you don't want to participate in any in the first place, after you understood this thread didn't end up being an echo chamber blindly nodding in agreement to whatever you say. It sure is a comfortable position to try to put yourself into, but it's far from honest and doesn't support what you've said in this thread in any way.

For all I know, players generally don't have any issue with distinguishing especs/classes by their icons and no amount of sarcastic "bully for you" responses will make your unsubstantiated claims true. Not only that, but if someone fails to distinguish 27 icons of each class/espec, chances are that knowledge does nothing for them, since to actually use it in any meaningful way, they'd need to also know the skills/traits/openings/playstyles/builds of each of them. Can't remember the icons? Then how is this even a meaningful information for you in the first place?

Edited by Sobx.1758
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4 minutes ago, Sobx.1758 said:

You've been asked in what way they're confusing/indistinguishable/whatever

Uh, why should I repeat myself when I've described detailed examples of how they're difficult to differentiate in the first post?

 

I'm not looking for an "echo chamber", but it's hard to continue civilised discussion when the opposition rarely manages to elevate itself beyond "I don't have this problem, ergo you're wrong".

 

And as for it being useless knowledge, you do understand that when playing a multiplayer game, being able to quickly and easily recognise an opponent and their strengths and weaknesses  by appearance alone is vitally important to cultivating a healthy understanding of game mechanics and interesting competetive play, don't you?

 

Or did you not pay attention when Valve were teaching everyone how to do it in TF2?

 

By obscuring professions through hard-to-recognise models, skins and iconography, you are limiting how much information is immediately available to the player.

 

Opacity is rarely something game developers should be proud of, unless they're designing cryptic puzzle games.

 

Serously, if you were new to the game, would you be able to say by looking at it that the Firebrand's icon tells you it's a Firebrand?

Or even an elite specialisation of the base Guardian profession?

I keep looking at it, and I honestly have no clue at all what it's supposed to be.

 

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17 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

By obscuring professions through hard-to-recognise models, skins and iconography, you are limiting how much information is immediately available to the player.

 

Opacity is rarely something game developers should be proud of, unless they're designing cryptic puzzle games.

 

Serously, if you were new to the game, would you be able to say by looking at it that the Firebrand's icon tells you it's a Firebrand?

Or even an elite specialisation of the base Guardian profession?

I keep looking at it, and I honestly have no clue at all what it's supposed to be.

For all I know, players generally don't have any issue with distinguishing especs/classes by their icons(...). Not only that, but if someone fails to distinguish 27 icons of each class/espec, chances are that knowledge does nothing for them, since to actually use it in any meaningful way, they'd need to also know the skills/traits/openings/playstyles/builds of each of them. Can't remember the icons? Then how is this even a meaningful information for you in the first place?

If someone's new to the game to the point they can't tell the difference between the especs based on their unique and pretty easly distinguishable icons, what meaningful information are you pulling out of quickly recognizing the name of the espec itself? You don't, since if you fail to distinguish those icons, you surely have even bigger problems with remembering those classes/especs' traits/abilities/builds and so on, right? Either you're all for quickly recognized vital information available on the first glance in the game (at which point you actually need to learn it anyways) or you don't. Who knows the builds, classes, especs, how they play, what they do, how to fight with/against them but -somehow- didn't manage to match the espec name with its icon? I don't think I know anyone with that issue and I struggle to understand what would lead to it being a realistic issue at all.

Edited by Sobx.1758
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And here's some ideas for better icons that actually represent the name of elite spec they're tied to:

 

Weaver?

A needle and thread.

 

Mirage?

An oasis (pond and palm tree).

 

Dragonhunter?

Yeah, just give it Herald's icon.

 

Herald?

A fanfare trumpet (a trumpet with a flag underneath).

 

Soulbeast?

Left side, a humanoid face, right side, a wolf or other animal's face.

 

Anyone else think of some other good ones?

Ones that actually tell you what you're looking at?

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10 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

And here's some ideas for better icons that actually represent the name of elite spec they're tied to:

 

Weaver?

A needle and thread.

 

Mirage?

An oasis (pond and palm tree).

 

Dragonhunter?

Yeah, just give it Herald's icon.

 

Herald?

A fanfare trumpet (a trumpet with a flag underneath).

 

Soulbeast?

Left side, a humanoid face, right side, a wolf or other animal's face.

 

Anyone else think of some other good ones?

Ones that actually tell you what you're looking at?

Completely changing icons and even straight up swapping them between classes/specs after x years of players getting used to it really sounds like a terrible idea that actively works against people that information is actually meaningful for.

So I can't agree.

Edited by Sobx.1758
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8 minutes ago, Sobx.1758 said:

For all I know, players generally don't have any issue with distinguishing especs/classes by their icons

Apart from, y'know, those people who said they recognise this as a problem in this very thread.

 

10 minutes ago, Sobx.1758 said:

If you're new to the game to the point you can't tell the difference between the especs based on their unique icons, what meaningful information are you pulling out of quickly recognizing the name of the espec itself?

At the very least, if you're able to recognise something as a Weaver (instead of a Scourge, one pairing that has been noted in this thread as causing problems), you may know that the core profession is elementalist, and so to expect elemental magic attacks.

 

But as you rightly point out, why would someone new to the game who hasn't played Elementalist know that one of it's Elite specs is Weaver?

 

And that's where adding colour to nameplate profession icons comes in. If all elite spec icons have the same colour as the core profession's icon, you'll at least be able to tell you're facing (in this instance) some kind of Elementalist.

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4 minutes ago, Sobx.1758 said:

Completely changing icons and even straight up swapping them between classes/specs after x years of players getting used to it really sounds like a terrible idea that actively works against people that information is actually meaningful for.

So I can't agree.

I try to never suggest any interface changes that couldn't be optional. Ideally, you'd still have the old set of icons available to those who know them, and the new ones as more "readable" ones for those who want them.

Just make it a tickbox in options.

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5 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

At the very least, if you're able to recognise something as a Weaver (instead of a Scourge, one pairing that has been noted in this thread as causing problems), you may know that the core profession is elementalist, and so to expect elemental magic attacks.

 

But as you rightly point out, why would someone new to the game who hasn't played Elementalist know that one of it's Elite specs is Weaver?

 

And that's where adding colour to nameplate profession icons comes in. If all elite spec icons have the same colour as the core profession's icon, you'll at least be able to tell you're facing (in this instance) some kind of Elementalist.

And "expecting elemental magic attacks" is supposed to reliably help you in pvp/wvw? It's not like you'll use some "anti-elementalist elemental defense" to pull the positive outcome of the fight on your side. So you understanad that if people struggle to even match the icons to their especs, they have no use for that information in the first place or maybe there's some actual reasoning here you're holding off from sharing with me for some reason? Because what you've just wrote about is just... not it. (at least as far as I understand, maybe I just need it explained more in-depth)

Edited by Sobx.1758
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6 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

I try to never suggest any interface changes that couldn't be optional. Ideally, you'd still have the old set of icons available to those who know them, and the new ones as more "readable" ones for those who want them.

Just make it a tickbox in options.

This is so unnecessary. It may take you five minutes to look at and memorize the different icons. That’s not too much to ask, is it? 
I mean if you play competitive modes like PvP and WvW you automatically get familiar with the classes you fight against. 

Edited by yoni.7015
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3 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

Here's another example of how bad the current system is:

You don't even get a tooltip with the profession's name when you hover over the nameplate icon.

There is no need for a tooltip, the spec icon gives you that information. 

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4 minutes ago, Sobx.1758 said:

So you understanad that if people struggle to even match the icons to their especs, they have no use for that information in the first place or maybe there's some actual reasoning here you're holding off from sharing with me for some reason?

Here, you're actually warping the core argument to better fit your narrative.

I'm actually not that new, and I regularly play Weaver and other e-specs where I struggle to remember their icon, but I know the spec's strengths and weaknesses.

Heck, my second main is Mirage, and it took me a long time to realise the Mirage's icon is that weird diamond (I think it's supposed to be a pyramid and its shimmering mirage mirror image).

And there are other experienced players in this thread who admit to not being able to tell what spec someone is running by its icon.

 

And here's another thing; while you're playing, your own spec's icon is nowhere in the main interface.

The quickest way to see it is to open the Hero panel, where it's a tiny icon under your name and spec-name.

It could at least be next to your mastery level in the bottom-left corner.

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15 minutes ago, yoni.7015 said:

This is so unnecessary. It may take you five minutes to look at and memorize the different icons. That’s not too much to ask, is it? 

It's about making it easier for people to remember. Just because you don't have a problem with this, doesn't mean to say that others don't struggle.

 

Mind you, congrats for memorising each and every icon so quickly. Have a cookie for being so cool.

That random blob really embodies what it means to be a Firebrand, huh?

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23 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

Heck, my second main is Mirage, and it took me a long time to realise the Mirage's icon is that weird diamond (I think it's supposed to be a pyramid and its shimmering mirage mirror image).

...and isn't it because you've never bothered actually paying attention to the icon, but then you did and now you "realise the mirage's icon is that weird diamond"? So all you had to do is understand you need to consciously match the icon with an espec to help you be better at the game. And then you did it. And yet, you still pretend it's a problem. It really is an easly acquirable piece of information if it's meaningful to the player.

 

23 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

And there are other experienced players in this thread who admit to not being able to tell what spec someone is running by its icon.

Lets ask those experienced players what modes they're specifically playing and how important that information is for them in the first place. Since if they're just running open world content and complete events/achievements/do whatever (and no, there's nothing wrong with that) then they don't learn that information since they don't need it.

Like in your example, there's no need to know "that the core profession is elementalist, and so to expect elemental magic attacks.", since some kind of specific "elementalist attacks" isn't something you build against in this game.

 

23 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

And here's another thing; while you're playing, your own spec's icon is nowhere in the main interface.

Press H and it's right there. I fail to see why I'd need to have my own class icon slapped somewhere on the screen 24/7. Constant visibility of my own class/spec icon is by far not an information that helps with anything.

Edited by Sobx.1758
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55 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

Here's another example of how bad the current system is:

You don't even get a tooltip with the profession's name when you hover over the nameplate icon.

A tooltip that you can toggle on or off would be a nice addition, more so for newer players.  I recall seeing people and wondering what profession they were because they looked interesting when I first started playing.  Yes, I looked them up, but it would been nice to say hey that spell or animation looks amazing, hmm wonder what prof that is *looks at tooltip*.  Perhaps coming from a game that had that had me spoiled.  It's not as intuitive as long time veterans think 

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There has definitely been a problem in the past. In that period between HoT and Pof Engineer was so rare I distinctly remember when one joined the party a couple of people would ask "what class is that?" Also It's very easy to mix up these like icons together if you don't play the class. People don't go past the 6 or so characters the game gives you when you buy it. 

Some classes are so off meta or not recommended enough you can go a year playing instanced group content and never see them. Since the May patch I've only seen two chronomancers in T4 fractals and otherwise would never see the icon except on my character select screen.

With all the especs and the base classes there are going to be 36 different icons. Some will get lost for awhile. Some are similar enough I'm not going to pretend to people I can't understand how they get confused.

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44 minutes ago, yoni.7015 said:

There is no need for a tooltip, the spec icon gives you that information. 

Perhaps OP suffers from some sort of condition where they are incapable of distinguishing shapes. I don't know if that is something that exist but I am willing to admit it might exist.

Is it something that needs changing? Depends on how many people actually suffers from that but considering the lack of colorblind support despite that being relatively common I wouldn't get much hopes up for any change.

37 minutes ago, Sobx.1758 said:

Press H and it's right there. I fail to see why I'd need to have my own class icon slapped somewhere on the screen 24/7. Constant visibility of my own class/spec icon is by far not an information that helps with anything.

Some people seem to need constant visibility for their character's name, needing the class isn't that much different.

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I know I had a "hard" time firguring out what spec people were playing during EoD beta. Putting aside the meaning of the icon which can be pretty vague, I got jebaited several time when I saw the bladesworn icon into thinking it was a Mechanist since it had a bullet like icon. 

 

Yeah I know its dumb but I guess I gotta learn 9 new icons.

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1 hour ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

And here's some ideas for better icons that actually represent the name of elite spec they're tied to:

 

Weaver?

A needle and thread.

 

 

Needle and thread have nothing to do with the weaver elite spec.  Your icon choice would only add to the confusion.

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I believe changing the icons will cause a lot more confusion than help it, as others have mentionned, the majority of players -have- learned how each icon fits each class. 

An easy help to those who cant without confusing players who have learned the icons, might be to add the colors of the respective classes onto the icons, as it requires a very minimal tweak (it will barely take development time), yet bring a much bigger clarification : there cant be a problem distinguishing mirage and weaver icons if one is purple and the other red. 

I personally think that in a rushed situation, nobody will pay attention to small letters, whereas colors can quickly atleast inform the player on the General class of the player even from the corner of the eye.

Similar to what I opened my post with, many players have learned to associate the icon with the class, but more to the point, many More players have learned to associate the class color to their class, and I believe that will be a stronger help than abbreviated letters.

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20 minutes ago, Mungrul.9358 said:

What is Firebrand's icon?

Had to look it up since none of my friends have Firebrands and I almost never see this thing, but it appears to be a cropped side profile of a dude wearing a helmet done over with a blue background that blends in pretty seamlessly and obscures the figure at that small size. You can see the full graphic here. The in-game class icon appears to be a rendering of that helmet or the blade portion of an axe, but in truth I'm not really sure.

In response to those genuinely uncertain of how someone might not be able to distinguish between the icons, in my case it's usually because I don't see certain specs in the game very often or because, as others have said, the icons are similar or contain imagery that reminds me of another class. There's also outfits and other cosmetics erasing class identity as well as ArenaNet's melding of class skills, but these are lesser reasons.

I don't know that changing the icons is the way to go (since some people are already used to them), but adding a tooltip or some other (optional) method of IDing specs would be helpful for me.

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