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Why is there an AoE cap in PvE?


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I did several google searches on the topic, and every reddit or forum post I found only talked about AoE caps in WvW, never PvE. I just got done doing Siren's Reef, and every fight in that Fractal swarms you with tidal waves of trash mobs, and it felt really bad that even the massive radius on Arc Divider couldn't damage more than 5 mobs at a time. Before I played GW2, I played FFXIV, and in that game one of the most thrilling to do is "wall-to-wall pulls," where the tank aggroes as many trash mobs as possible before each dungeon boss and the whole groups spams their best AoE Damage, CC, healing, and mitigation skills to burn the whole group down. The amount of mobs in these pulls have gotten so big that my enemy list goes offscreen. This is possible because FFXIV doesn't have a cap on how many enemies and AoE attack can hit. It doesn't matter if it's 5 or 50 enemies, if they're in range they're getting hit. Being the tank in a successful wall-to-wall made you feel like an unstoppable kitten, and invincible juggernaut. It's a feeling I never get to experience in GW2, not just because of the AoE cap but also because enemies use a lot more CC and trying that often leads to getting stun-locked to death. You never get the power fantasy of feeling like a 1-man army.

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On 6/4/2023 at 7:07 PM, HeliosMagi.9867 said:

I did several google searches on the topic, and every reddit or forum post I found only talked about AoE caps in WvW, never PvE. I just got done doing Siren's Reef, and every fight in that Fractal swarms you with tidal waves of trash mobs, and it felt really bad that even the massive radius on Arc Divider couldn't damage more than 5 mobs at a time. Before I played GW2, I played FFXIV, and in that game one of the most thrilling to do is "wall-to-wall pulls," where the tank aggroes as many trash mobs as possible before each dungeon boss and the whole groups spams their best AoE Damage, CC, healing, and mitigation skills to burn the whole group down. The amount of mobs in these pulls have gotten so big that my enemy list goes offscreen. This is possible because FFXIV doesn't have a cap on how many enemies and AoE attack can hit. It doesn't matter if it's 5 or 50 enemies, if they're in range they're getting hit. Being the tank in a successful wall-to-wall made you feel like an unstoppable kitten, and invincible juggernaut. It's a feeling I never get to experience in GW2, not just because of the AoE cap but also because enemies use a lot more CC and trying that often leads to getting stun-locked to death. You never get the power fantasy of feeling like a 1-man army.

Yeah that also seems confusing to me, considering other MMORPG's tend to not have a target cap on AoE's, or if they do it's a large number. I guess limitations is one of the ways they want the game to stand out above the crowd!

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FFXIV balances those big pulls' hp versus the number of mobs that get grabbed. GW2 really doesn't much and has several places where mobs just keep spawning until the main objective is over. A lot of critters have had the same hp whether there was 5 of them or 50 of them, unless they rank up like in open world.

The discussions devs had about PvE aoe caps is iirc mostly all pre-HoT, from what I can remember the balance team (at the time) was concerned about un-capped targeting making some weapons too much stronger than single target weapons (especially ranged weapons). Also, uncapped weapons were better for tagging mobs during meta events like Teq (back when all mobs gave drops). There used to be a lot of strange amounts of targets allowed for each weapon, some of which still exist. Keep in mind in old discussions that skill splitting wasn't a thing, most skills hit the same amount of targets and did the same damage across all three gamemodes. Some PvE skills were Aoe capped because of the capacity to tag more in open world versus other weapons as a well. famously in a pre-HoT balance patch Thief lost pistol ricochet because it could hit too many things in PvP/WvW with Unload.(their fault for slowly buffing it every balance patch)

In Siren's Reef in particular, you're probably meant to kill the boss as fast as possible and mitigate the mobs not waste dps killing them. As in knockbacks, pulls/pushes, weakness, fear and immobilize. The best strategy for T4 Siren's Reef is still to skip that daily and come back tomorrow. I haven't healed for it in years, and my life is better for it.

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It's due to balance philosophy history. Balance splits based on gamemodes is something that's relatively new in itself. Also, the game being "fonctional" with the limitation on AoE probably make such limitation an important "feature" from their point of view.

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33 minutes ago, Gendalfs.7521 said:

If theres target cap, why theres area cap? What it has to do with balance?

What do you mean "what it has to do with balance"? Do you somehow think skill ranges aren't related to balance?
Might as well ask: but if there's height, why is there also width?! Well, it's because they describe different things. Similarly to "target cap" and "area cap". Just because one exists, it doesn't make the other one redundant, they simply describe -and subsequentially limit- different things.

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