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Post-June balance patch thoughts: The Quickness & Alacrity problem


Darklord Roy.2514

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As described above, we've all had plenty of time to mull about the notorious June balance patch and I thought I'd get the community opinion on something.

The big topic - have alacrity and quickness become such an issue for the balancing team that they should be removed from the game?

This'll sound like heresy to a lot of people I'm sure, but hear me out. It truly feels like with the egregious changes in this most recent patch that quickness and alacrity have gotten so far out of hand that Anet themselves don't honestly know how to adequately balance around them. There is a constant juggling act of "we want to make this class feel individualistic to play, but we also have to make sure that we somehow shoehorn both of these boons into one of the classes specs so that it can keep up with the other classes." To make matters worse, Anet feels like they always have to force these applications to happen in a completely unique way for each class, and they're running out of ideas for it.

I think it's pretty clear to everyone that it isn't optimal whatsoever to have these two completely 100% required boons be tied to important or situational class mechanics. Alacrity on Druid CA or Scourge barriers and quickness on Herald energy upkeep or Scrapper leap and blast finishers *specifically* (to name just a few examples, shoutout to Mesmer specs for having a foot in both camps) among many others, have overcomplicated things to the point that applying these two boons has now come before making the classes feel fun and rewarding to play.

I've seen people argue that removing quickness and alacrity will homogenize the game and "make all the classes feel like they just do the same thing," without seeming to realize that this is... kind of already how the game is. Anet has taken a direction that every class has access to group quickness and alacrity in one shape or form.

Generally speaking, I'm of a firm mind that they are an utter balancing nightmare for Anet, and if removing them entirely means the team doesn't feel the need to unexpectedly gut traits and skills across the board then I would rather do without them. They can still make group content fun and engaging to play without the crutch of these two boons holding their design space back.

But these are just my thoughts. What are everyone else's opinions on quickness and alacrity right now?

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2 hours ago, Darklord Roy.2514 said:

I've seen people argue that removing quickness and alacrity will homogenize the game and "make all the classes feel like they just do the same thing," without seeming to realize that this is... kind of already how the game is. Anet has taken a direction that every class has access to group quickness and alacrity in one shape or form.

Removing anything from the game, is a homogenization process, as removals make the total number of possible diverse states the game could to get smaller. 

Why is it bad to see removals, as a way to fix temporary diversity problems? Because when you take this operation to it's logical conclusion...i.e.: If it's causing an issue just remove it...then systemically over time you are just removing all the elements from your game...and at the very end all you will have left is...nothing. Therefor as a solution it doesn't apply for all n cases, and as a philosophy it critically fails. 

Additionally, distributing boon application, is also a homogenization process...again taking philosophies to their logical conclusions: as you distribute what skills do, to all other skills, all skills will converge to doing the same thing, for all n cases. A game where all skills do the same thing, is a superficial game, with only a single choice.  If you were to count the number of possible diverse states as you do this dilution of what skills do, those states also get smaller. Arguably, this is mainly what Guild Wars 2 suffers from (as you stated)... Lots of skills do similiar things. These similarities also allow them to be more easily compared, and therefor optimized.

To put the above to things into context : There are a lot of homogenization procedures...in fact I would argue...strongly that, every single procedure that exists, except for one of them, actually leads to less diverse states...and it is that single procedure that nature uses to create the diversity you would see in the natural world. It will not even help to explain what the procedure is, because for the most part, people simply will not get why, and the level of how deep the conceptual framework goes is just...it's way to deep for the average person to take in.

But just to at least give an example of how you can fix stuff like the boon problem constructively (in the manner I just alluded to): Giving classes traits, that effect what their boon applications do...and just making sure those effects are non-trivial (like +10% damage type of effects = stupid).

Some examples I have in my notepad on my phones:

Spoiler

Putrid Defense (Necromancer)

Barrier you grant no longer grants health to allies, but grants Stability instead. Stability you grant does additional effects: Pendulum--Every time you would have been targeted by a Crowd Control effect, the caster is targeted instead.  

You could have effects that are specific to a single boon...or to just generically effect any boon you apply...so long as effects don't "stack," so that multiple effects are not on a single boon at any given time. Another example:

Arcane Affinity (Elementalist)

Aura's grant vigor. Vigor gains an additional effect : For every point of endurance missing,  damage the attacker receives, is reflected for a proportional amount.

The point is that, boon effects, rather than the boons themselves, are A) non-trivial meaning they are not computationally decidable and therefor "optimal" calculations can't be made for all given situations...and B) Have a level of openness about them that allows new playstyles to arise... in other words not restricting them to just a single spec or single thing so that multiple builds, can take advantage or have the freedom to take it...this flexibility allows players to adapt if they need to for situations...and C) Make the application of boons unique, without restricting the application of the boon itself to a particular class.

Also generally speaking, I think just to reign in Alacrity and Quickness...those boons should just come with tradeoffs like how their effects were designed  in guild wars 1

Example:

Quickness: "You attack 33% Faster, but take double damage" 

Alacrity: "Your skills recharge 25% faster, but their effects are 25% less effective" ...meaning damage, healing...maybe other values are dropped.

Why tradeoffs like this? Because not having dynamical non-linear tradeoffs, is what adds to the decidability of making an optimization calculation...You don't want skills to be decidable. Having tradeoffs... specifically nonlinear ones...that vary as a result of their usage, means that calculations for what is optimal, changes from situation to situation, and therefor such calculations become undecidable and therefor not optimizable.

Cheers.

 

 

Edited by JusticeRetroHunter.7684
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I genuinely miss when boons were scarce, they were often specific to certain professions (and thus part of their unique identity), and getting a little boost of quickness or a few seconds of aegis in a fight was game-changing, rather than mandatory.  Alacrity was powerful (and exceedingly rare, thanks to being tied to Chronomancer originally), but eventually became more and more widespread with time and demands to not have players leashed to a single elite specialization to be "optimal," a mindset which Heart of Thorns also introduced with the addition of raids.

The result, however, is that with its proliferation (like its introduction), it proved just how poorly conceived the boon was, due to the absolutely dramatic influence it had on skill use.  That alone and the increasing demand for it (and quickness in turn) should have been a red flag to Anet to reconsider those two boons and their availability.

Unfortunately, they didn't, and chose to embrace them instead.  The game as it has become -- for those who weren't around for pre-release through 2014, and the end of an era with the release of specializations -- is so much closer to World of Warcraft nowadays that it's almost unrecognizable, and that's honestly pretty sad.

Edited by itspomf.9523
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1 minute ago, itspomf.9523 said:

I genuinely miss when boons were scarce, they were often specific to certain professions (and thus part of their unique identity), and getting a little boost of quickness or a few seconds of aegis in a fight was game-changing, rather than mandatory.  Alacrity was powerful (and exceedingly rare, thanks to being tied to Chronomancer originally), but eventually became more and more widespread with time and demands to not have players leashed to a single elite specialization to be "optimal," a mindset which Heart of Thorns also introduced with the addition of raids.

The result, however, is that with its proliferation (like its introduction), it proved just how poorly conceived the boon was, due to the absolutely dramatic influence it had on skill use.  That alone and the increasing demand for it (and quickness in turn) should have been a red flag to Anet to reconsider those two boons and their availability.

Unfortunately, they didn't, and chose to embrace them instead.  The game as it has become -- for those who weren't around for pre-release through 2014, and the end of an era with the release of specializations -- is so much closer to World of Warcraft nowadays that it's almost unrecognizable, and that's honestly pretty sad.

Eeh imo chronomancer was the start of the problems people talk about, it became mandatory in the meta and pushed out all other supports except druid. 

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3 hours ago, Eekasqueak.7850 said:

Eeh imo chronomancer was the start of the problems people talk about, it became mandatory in the meta and pushed out all other supports except druid. 

It's either Chrono or FB, really, and it depends on whether you take the stance that the movement of PoF especs away from specialization and into generalism was in fact a good thing.

I can definitely imagine a world where ANet had stayed the course, released some comparables to the specialty classes (particularly Druid and Chrono, and to a lesser degree Herald, Tempest, and Scrapper), and we would have had a much more robust lineup of support options to pick from.

Instead, we got FB, which prior to Mechanist was just the most egregious "do everything too easily" spec that informed EoD design and brought forth all of these really sweeping, reckless balance patches.

Chrono was definitely a bunch of its own problems, but FB was really where we started to see the current paradigm set in and I think it deserves equal blame not being more focused on a specialized niche--i.e. the entire premise of especs. Scourge and Renegade can also take some of the blame, but they at least the especs themselves weren't super unfocused--it was just the synergy with core that made them unusually versatile job picks, on top of really easy ranged condi damage that hadn't really existed in the game prior (and ranged/condi damage overtuning is its own separate but imo equally problematic issue with this game).

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Removing Alac would not be a problem. Quickness on the other hand would be. 

Just look at Warrior. Ever played that class without quickness? 🤮

They would need to drastically reduce Adrenalin costs for bursts. Core would need to go from 30 to 10 Max Adrenalin to even function as a class. 

And every other build that need rapid Hits to generate something would get a drastic nerf. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, JusticeRetroHunter.7684 said:

Removing anything from the game, is a homogenization process, as removals make the total number of possible diverse states the game could to get smaller.

So this is a good thing, as removing those buffs could promote group diversity since players could play what elite specs they WANT to play and not the elite specs they HAVE to play because god forbid we don't go 0.2 seconds without those precious quickness or alacrity buffs.

I'm still in favor of the original suggestion in one dev letter of removing alacrity while baking the cooldown reduction into all skills and then making quickness buffs only affect the caster.  However, if it came down to keeping the buffs as-is or removing them outright, then I'd definitely be for complete removal.

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13 hours ago, JusticeRetroHunter.7684 said:

Removing anything from the game, is a homogenization process, as removals make the total number of possible diverse states the game could to get smaller. 

Why is it bad to see removals, as a way to fix temporary diversity problems? Because when you take this operation to it's logical conclusion...i.e.: If it's causing an issue just remove it...then systemically over time you are just removing all the elements from your game...and at the very end all you will have left is...nothing. Therefor as a solution it doesn't apply for all n cases, and as a philosophy it critically fails. 

Additionally, distributing boon application, is also a homogenization process...again taking philosophies to their logical conclusions: as you distribute what skills do, to all other skills, all skills will converge to doing the same thing, for all n cases. A game where all skills do the same thing, is a superficial game, with only a single choice.  If you were to count the number of possible diverse states as you do this dilution of what skills do, those states also get smaller. Arguably, this is mainly what Guild Wars 2 suffers from (as you stated)... Lots of skills do similiar things. These similarities also allow them to be more easily compared, and therefor optimized.

To put the above to things into context : There are a lot of homogenization procedures...in fact I would argue...strongly that, every single procedure that exists, except for one of them, actually leads to less diverse states...and it is that single procedure that nature uses to create the diversity you would see in the natural world. It will not even help to explain what the procedure is, because for the most part, people simply will not get why, and the level of how deep the conceptual framework goes is just...it's way to deep for the average person to take in.

But just to at least give an example of how you can fix stuff like the boon problem constructively (in the manner I just alluded to): Giving classes traits, that effect what their boon applications do...and just making sure those effects are non-trivial (like +10% damage type of effects = stupid).

Some examples I have in my notepad on my phones:

  Reveal hidden contents

Putrid Defense (Necromancer)

Barrier you grant no longer grants health to allies, but grants Stability instead. Stability you grant does additional effects: Pendulum--Every time you would have been targeted by a Crowd Control effect, the caster is targeted instead.  

You could have effects that are specific to a single boon...or to just generically effect any boon you apply...so long as effects don't "stack," so that multiple effects are not on a single boon at any given time. Another example:

Arcane Affinity (Elementalist)

Aura's grant vigor. Vigor gains an additional effect : For every point of endurance missing,  damage the attacker receives, is reflected for a proportional amount.

The point is that, boon effects, rather than the boons themselves, are A) non-trivial meaning they are not computationally decidable and therefor "optimal" calculations can't be made for all given situations...and B) Have a level of openness about them that allows new playstyles to arise... in other words not restricting them to just a single spec or single thing so that multiple builds, can take advantage or have the freedom to take it...this flexibility allows players to adapt if they need to for situations...and C) Make the application of boons unique, without restricting the application of the boon itself to a particular class.

Also generally speaking, I think just to reign in Alacrity and Quickness...those boons should just come with tradeoffs like how their effects were designed  in guild wars 1

Example:

Quickness: "You attack 33% Faster, but take double damage" 

Alacrity: "Your skills recharge 25% faster, but their effects are 25% less effective" ...meaning damage, healing...maybe other values are dropped.

Why tradeoffs like this? Because not having dynamical non-linear tradeoffs, is what adds to the decidability of making an optimization calculation...You don't want skills to be decidable. Having tradeoffs... specifically nonlinear ones...that vary as a result of their usage, means that calculations for what is optimal, changes from situation to situation, and therefor such calculations become undecidable and therefor not optimizable.

Cheers.

 

 

Good insight and good read, thanks for that! I'd offer some quick counter points to some of what you've brought up.

For one, GW2 is in an interesting predicament right now where, specifically with boons and unique modifiers, we are experiencing both homogenization and bloat at the same time. To the point that, on top of each class being able to do basically everything, there are so many modifiers available that all of them equate to about TRIPLE the size of the current buff bar UI. While that is a bit of a separate issue, I believe it lends a bit to the thought that removing one or two of the biggest outliers for balance issues wouldn't affect the overall state of the buff bonanza too heavily. In contrast, to a degree it feels like either removing or heavily restricting quickness and alacrity will actually open up build diversity, since not only would we not be relying on those boons themselves for determining our rotations, we also wouldn't be dedicating so many builds directly to their application.

Currently, the state of the game for any content, whether it be group or solo for the most part, has just become "Guild Wars but faster" with how accessible quickness and alacrity are. Nearly every build in the game from open world to raids to WvW and PvP feel like they MUST have access to one or both boons in order to not completely fall behind their peers, which is inarguably an unhealthy game environment (especially for new players). Logically then, if these two boons have transformed from their original application to nothing but making it feel like the regular game but at 2x speed all the time, then removing them will do basically nothing except make the current game feels slower. That isn't inherently a good thing by itself, so what do we do next?

The objective at that point becomes tweaking the numbers to make the game feel like it has returned to it's normal state to compensate, not too slow and not too fast. Granted, this would be a VERY involved process, since they would have to do one huge balance pass across not only damage numbers but also resource generation, mob and player health, some cooldowns, etc. That being said, I still think it would be worth the time taken to adjust all of this math to put balance in a healthier state compared to what they are currently doing, which is attempting to balance every aspect of the game around these two boons and making drastic, heavy handed changes that seem to have little to no foresight on how they actually affect the overall game outside of studio testing.

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7 minutes ago, Raarsi.6798 said:

I'm still in favor of the original suggestion in one dev letter of removing alacrity while baking the cooldown reduction into all skills and then making quickness buffs only affect the caster.  However, if it came down to keeping the buffs as-is or removing them outright, then I'd definitely be for complete removal.

Basically this. This is mostly how the original game was implemented, before alacrity existed and before everyone and their mama had access to group quickness, and it feels like it would lead to significantly higher build diversity and player retention.

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5 hours ago, DanAlcedo.3281 said:

Removing Alac would not be a problem. Quickness on the other hand would be. 

Just look at Warrior. Ever played that class without quickness? 🤮

They would need to drastically reduce Adrenalin costs for bursts. Core would need to go from 30 to 10 Max Adrenalin to even function as a class. 

And every other build that need rapid Hits to generate something would get a drastic nerf. 

 

 

I think there's a happy median we can find with all builds even if both boons end up getting scrapped. If we see a world where they DO actually remove them, I would hope they would also take the time to heavily alter things like damage numbers and resource gains on a lot of skills across the board. For everything they take away from a build they're gonna have to give a little bit back, and with some time it could create a much happier and healthier game state without the need for the devs to devote so much time to these two specific boons.

Edited by Darklord Roy.2514
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24 minutes ago, Darklord Roy.2514 said:

I think there's a happy median we can find with all builds even if both boons end up getting scrapped. If we see a world where they DO actually remove them, I would hope they would also take the time to heavily alter things like damage numbers and resource gains on a lot of skills across the board. For everything they take away from a build they're gonna have to give a little bit back, and with some time it could create a much happier and healthier game state without the need for the devs to devote so much time to these two specific boons.

+25% Attackspeed and activation speed baseline to all classes.

Done.

Edited by DanAlcedo.3281
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47 minutes ago, DanAlcedo.3281 said:

+25% Attackspeed and activation speed baseline to all classes.

Done.

Equally viable option. If the devs want the game to be faster, just make it faster at it's core without having to rely on conditional boons that force a certain style of gameplay. Then they don't have to tweak numbers nearly as much.

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3 hours ago, Darklord Roy.2514 said:

Good insight and good read, thanks for that! I'd offer some quick counter points to some of what you've brought up.

For one, GW2 is in an interesting predicament right now where, specifically with boons and unique modifiers, we are experiencing both homogenization and bloat at the same time. To the point that, on top of each class being able to do basically everything, there are so many modifiers available that all of them equate to about TRIPLE the size of the current buff bar UI.

Yea. What you are talking about here...I wouldn't call it a counterpoint. It's exactly the stuff that I didn't want to talk about because people won't really get it...and it'll just start another pitchfork flame war because "science" and "math" are not allowed to be spoken about here on a game forum.

Let me stop beating around the bush and just spit it out cause maybe, it'll help you conceptualize what's really going on: There is this intuition, that in order to have "something complicated" requires putting something complicated into it. But this intuition is wrong. We are familiar with why it's wrong...we observe simple games with simple rules exhibit complex and diverse behavior all the time. Game of Life for instance, a game built on incredibly simple rules, was proven to be Turing Universal...meaning that it can be programmed to run any arbitrarily complex program...including Guild Wars 2 itself. 

Even further into the bush and ultimately what I'm getting at...is that these concepts : Homogeneity, Heterogeneity, Simplicity and Complexity...are all just the same thing...Which is why their relationships seem so paradoxical, dualistic and yet we see them all simultaneously in systems at once. They are what I would call different viewpoints or reference frames of a single unified mechanism or construct...that can only be described as "System Evolution" or "Systems undergoing the process of change over time, through the following of rules."

Point is that this is the exact reason why you can have all of the following:

A complex homogeneous game With thousands of options that are all the same like Guild Wars 2

A complex heterogenous game: With thousands options that are heavily diverse like Trading Card Games (or Nature)

A simple homogenous game: With just a few trivial options that are all the same like Checkers, Tic Tac Toe, Rock Paper Scissors.

A simple heterogenous game: With just a few non-trivial options that are heavily diverse. (Also Nature)

These games can be simple or complex, homogenous or heterogenous at different scales (scale invariance) and they are changing state dynamically...changing from homogenous to heterogenous or visa versa over time. To repeat that: states of diversity or homogeneity are not static or fixed they are always changing from one to the other across time, this is how they are unified and can be seen as just transformation procedures being done to the total state-space.  

These 4 things, they aren't related to each other symmetrically like on a circle...their relationship is like a spectrum or on a single one way axis...simple and homogenous at one end, and complex and heterogenous at the other...in the same way that you would see on a number line: zero -> Infinity...where zero is just homogenous and simple because there's nothing...and infinity is heterogenous and complex because it contains everything.

Guild Wars 2 is supposed to be a complex heterogenous game (but slowly turning into a complex homogenous game), that could also be simple heterogenous game. The Ladder is the most ideal...but you see the problem is that when people try to program for simplicity, they trivialize the behavior, which actually makes them more comparable, and therefor more homogenous...and that's how you get a simple homogenous game (where you just have a couple elements that don't really do jack kitten.) Therefor the "ideal" game, requires the same kind of design thinking as mentioned in the comment. Undecidability is the key to the doorway for having a simple heterogenous game...it can not be altered by trivial numeric changes either...it can only be done through the manipulation of it's rules and what they do and whether their relationships are undecidable (and therefor Turing universal).

If the game has large numbers of simple, non-trivial mechanics...then it will be more like a card game (which is what GW's design was originally based on: fun) and if the game has large numbers of trivial mechanics, then well, you'll just have a messy complex homogenous game (boring)

Anyway, sorry you had to sit through that...there's a reason I stopped talking about it last year, and wanted to avoid talking about it here now...it's far too deep...and frankly it's unrealistic to try to convince anyone that this is what is going on. This is the internet where you either are gonna believe what I say and follow through, or you are not, and that's up to you. I'm not gonna force it on you. At the very least I hope that the information at least helps you on your own, conceptualize how deep the problem (of balance and diversity) is. 

 

Edited by JusticeRetroHunter.7684
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42 minutes ago, JusticeRetroHunter.7684 said:

  

Yea. What you are talking about here...I wouldn't call it a counterpoint. It's exactly the stuff that I didn't want to talk about because people won't really get it...and it'll just start another pitchfork flame war because "science" and "math" are not allowed to be spoken about here on a game forum.

Let me stop beating around the bush and just spit it out cause maybe, it'll help you conceptualize what's really going on: There is this intuition, that in order to have "something complicated" requires putting something complicated into it. But this intuition is wrong. We are familiar with why it's wrong...we observe simple games with simple rules exhibit complex and diverse behavior all the time. Game of Life for instance, a game built on incredibly simple rules, was proven to be Turing Universal...meaning that it can be programmed to run any arbitrarily complex program...including Guild Wars 2 itself. 

Even further into the bush and ultimately what I'm getting at...is that these concepts : Homogeneity, Heterogeneity, Simplicity and Complexity...are all just the same thing...Which is why their relationships seem so paradoxical, dualistic and yet we see them all simultaneously in systems at once. They are what I would call different viewpoints or reference frames of a single unified mechanism or construct...that can only be described as "System Evolution" or "Systems undergoing the process of change over time, through the following of rules."

Point is that this is the exact reason why you can have all of the following:

A complex homogeneous game With thousands of options that are all the same like Guild Wars 2

A complex heterogenous game: With thousands options that are heavily diverse like Trading Card Games (or Nature)

A simple homogenous game: With just a few trivial options that are all the same like Checkers, Tic Tac Toe, Rock Paper Scissors.

A simple heterogenous game: With just a few non-trivial options that are heavily diverse. (Also Nature)

These games can be simple or complex, homogenous or heterogenous at different scales (scale invariance) and they are changing state dynamically...changing from homogenous to heterogenous or visa versa over time. To repeat that: states of diversity or homogeneity are not static or fixed they are always changing from one to the other across time, this is how they are unified and can be seen as just transformation procedures being done to the total state-space.  

These 4 things, they aren't related to each other symmetrically like on a circle...their relationship is like a spectrum or on a single one way axis...simple and homogenous at one end, and complex and heterogenous at the other...in the same way that you would see on a number line: zero -> Infinity...where zero is just homogenous and simple because there's nothing...and infinity is heterogenous and complex because it contains everything.

Guild Wars 2 is supposed to be a complex heterogenous game (but slowly turning into a complex homogenous game), that could also be simple heterogenous game. The Ladder is the most ideal...but you see the problem is that when people try to program for simplicity, they trivialize the behavior, which actually makes them more comparable, and therefor more homogenous...and that's how you get a simple homogenous game (where you just have a couple elements that don't really do jack kitten.) Therefor the "ideal" game, requires the same kind of design thinking as mentioned in the comment. Undecidability is the key to the doorway for having a simple heterogenous game...it can not be altered by trivial numeric changes either...it can only be done through the manipulation of it's rules and what they do and whether their relationships are undecidable (and therefor Turing universal).

If the game has large numbers of simple, non-trivial mechanics...then it will be more like a card game (which is what GW's design was originally based on: fun) and if the game has large numbers of trivial mechanics, then well, you'll just have a messy complex homogenous game (boring)

Anyway, sorry you had to sit through that...there's a reason I stopped talking about it last year, and wanted to avoid talking about it here now...it's far too deep...and frankly it's unrealistic to try to convince anyone that this is what is going on. This is the internet where you either are gonna believe what I say and follow through, or you are not, and that's up to you. I'm not gonna force it on you. At the very least I hope that the information at least helps you on your own, conceptualize how deep the problem (of balance and diversity) is. 

 

Well, yes. I get where you're coming from, from a metaphysical standpoint at least. The concept of separating games by the categories you've listed certainly exists and plays a role in determining the level of complexity and "difficulty" that balancing a game can be.

The thing about it is, I'm not really been trying to dive into the scientific reasoning behind how games are balanced or why changing aspects of games can change their base nature. I've broached the topic of quickness and alacrity because they are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the biggest outliers when it comes to balancing this game by far. Whether or not the conversation needs to be as deep or difficult to understand for the general public as your comment suggests, it is still a noticeable issue with the game's current state.

All due respect, I know you put a lot of thought into this reply and you clearly have a strong opinion about it, but I don't think the conversation actually has to be that intrinsic unless we force it to be. As I've said, I know that adding or removing *any* integrated mechanics is inevitably going to be a complicated and transformative process for the team. However, regardless of what category the game transcends into after making changes, we are at a point where we have to start thinking about what is *best* for the game as a whole. It's apparent that the current way the game is being balanced (with a focus primarily around keeping quickness & alacrity in check, giving major alteration to class gameplay on a regular basis across the board to compensate for these boons) is making the playerbase generally unhappy and stressing the balance team out. The way they tend to haphazardly make wild changes to class-defining features is consistently causing the players to lose trust in them, and the June patch isn't the first time it's happened.

Quickness & alacrity are the heart of this issue. They are so prolific in this era of GW2 that every single balance decision must be made with them at the front of the dev's minds. Compare that with other boons, like might or fury, which are (generally) self-sustaining enough that they can almost be afterthoughts during patch times.

I feel that these issues deserve to be discussed, even if there IS some portion of the general playerbase that won't understand it as well as others.

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5 minutes ago, cat.8975 said:

I'd be bored out of my skull if we went back to the slower-paced pre-HoT gameplay. Why are people taking such issue with these boons now, anyway? Is it because other classes finally have access to them?

All classes having them is one hurdle to jump on it's own, and I've gone over my thoughts on that in some of my other replies. However, the MAIN issue that myself and a lot of people are having is the way that Anet elects to make changes centered around them.

The June patch is the most recent example of them making massive, drastic changes to mechanics that are central to some specializations in the name of them trying to bulldoze in quickness and alacrity changes, but it's certainly not the first time it's happened.

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36 minutes ago, cat.8975 said:

I'd be bored out of my skull if we went back to the slower-paced pre-HoT gameplay. Why are people taking such issue with these boons now, anyway? Is it because other classes finally have access to them?

No it's because they're rapidly implementing a bunch of changes centered around making sure every class has them, and its taking away some fun gameplay as a result. 

Take quick scrapper - absolutely loathe the quickness on leap finisher. Even if you need literally no boon duration to provide quickness now (what's up with that by the way? Great balance?), the old gyro-based playstyle was much more fun for many and left things like gap closers as a reactive move rather than a rotation. Heck, they moved alac from auto-attack to the gap closer on Mace for Mechanist and it drives me bonkers - now as part of my regular rotation I need to determine whether it's safe to gap close, and occasionally I have it down when I would have rather had it up. Etc etc etc.

 

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48 minutes ago, cat.8975 said:

I'd be bored out of my skull if we went back to the slower-paced pre-HoT gameplay. Why are people taking such issue with these boons now, anyway? Is it because other classes finally have access to them?

I generally play specs that don't have alacrity...but they're actively removing my builds to make room for alacrity (see Daring Dragon). I want Daring Dragon how it was. I don't care if it's a buff.  This has become a problem.

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42 minutes ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

No it's because they're rapidly implementing a bunch of changes centered around making sure every class has them, and its taking away some fun gameplay as a result. 

Take quick scrapper - absolutely loathe the quickness on leap finisher. Even if you need literally no boon duration to provide quickness now (what's up with that by the way? Great balance?), the old gyro-based playstyle was much more fun for many and left things like gap closers as a reactive move rather than a rotation. Heck, they moved alac from auto-attack to the gap closer on Mace for Mechanist and it drives me bonkers - now as part of my regular rotation I need to determine whether it's safe to gap close, and occasionally I have it down when I would have rather had it up. Etc etc etc.

 

Also because they make no sense. Some classes were changed because they provided the boons "too easily" or because it "forced people to bring certain utilities" while other classes were unchanged (or added!) where they push one or two buttons and it's permanent alac/quickness, to say nothing of how people are forced to bring different utilities now and traits are hit or miss depending on profession. Or how ranges vary drastically and some specs are required to burn their primary utility to keep the boon up.

Alac and quickness are a problem but people aren't upset because more classes can provide them, it's because Anet drastically altered how some classes play and the June 27th patch basically revolved around making classes provide one or the other at the expense of all other balance changes they could have done.

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25 minutes ago, Zephire.8049 said:

Alac and quickness are a problem but people aren't upset because more classes can provide them, it's because Anet drastically altered how some classes play and the June 27th patch basically revolved around making classes provide one or the other at the expense of all other balance changes they could have done.

So instead of spamming gyros on cd, you just do your rotation, which you were doing already, and it's drastically changed?

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14 minutes ago, rotten.9753 said:

So instead of spamming gyros on cd, you just do your rotation, which you were doing already, and it's drastically changed?

Except your rotation now may have multiple moves that lock you into a long-animation gap-closer that can happen at inopportune times. But this is just one example.

Scourge went from 20s duration shades to 8s duration shades because they didn't think through their approach to alac. No one likes this.  

Herald went from an interactive build to a passive build. 

Deadeye somehow got insane uptime for no cost quickness. Again, balance?

These changes were not beta-tested and feedback on the post was not listened to. They were launched half-baked (the mace mechanist change was not part of the notes, yet its live) and they already had follow-up patch notes ready ... because they were in a rush (the scourge talent Fell Beacon description already reflects the planned but not-live July 18 change). 

  

In short, they made a giant mess and ticked off a bunch of people (oof, don't talk to Warriors about Arc Divider). It would be one thing if the mess made sense, but there's no rhyme or reason to why some builds need boon duration and some don't, why some builds got taken off "spam your 2-3 buttons on cooldown" and some got put ON that approach. It's a mess. One overarching theme though is more of a push toward rotation rather than reaction ... but with many skills that are normally used reactively

Edited by Gaeb.2837
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1 minute ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

Except your rotation now may have multiple moves that lock you into a gap-closer that can happen at inopportune times. But this is just one example.

It's the same rotation it was before, you don't need to take any boon duration, and your utilities are not filled with useless gyros you take only to spam. If you have problem with hammer leap, just take flamethrower, it has blast on 6s cd.

3 minutes ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

Scourge went from 20s duration shades to 8s duration shades because they didn't think through their approach to alac. No one likes this.  

It's going to be improved in a couple of days, you won't need 3 shades any more just to get bonus stats.

3 minutes ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

Herald went from an interactive build to a passive build. 

Interactive build? The new quickness herald is very similar to the old one, except you don't use fury and prot facets actives. You can now swap to different legends and still give quickness.

5 minutes ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

Deadeye somehow got insane uptime for no cost quickness. Again, balance?

It's just a number change, I thought the problem was "drastically changing how we play"

6 minutes ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

These changes were not beta-tested and feedback on the post was not listened to. They were launched half-baked (the mace mechanist change was not part of the notes, yet its live) and they already had follow-up patch notes ready ... because they were in a rush (the scourge talent Fell Beacon description already reflects the planned but not-live July 18 change). 

First balance patch? 🙂 Mesmer Mirage Mantle also has new description

7 minutes ago, Gaeb.2837 said:

In short, they made a giant mess and ticked off a bunch of people. It would be one thing if the mess made sense, but there's no rhyme or reason to why some builds need boon concentration and some don't, why some builds got taken off "spam your 2-3 buttons on cooldown" and some got put ON that approach. It's a mess.

It's very simple, they want BoonDPS to have around 30k DPS benchmark and some builds would have very similar bemchmark to DPS builds, so they have to be punished with worse uptime while having +0% boon duration. Ideally, imho, traits that you take to give alac/quick would compete with traits that would increase DPS by 33%, but that hardly happens. Chrono is a good example of this - BoonDPS chrono has around 32k with +0% boon duration while DPS chrono has 39k benchmark, both are using exactly same gear and rotation, only one trait is different.

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28 minutes ago, rotten.9753 said:

It's the same rotation it was before, you don't need to take any boon duration, and your utilities are not filled with useless gyros you take only to spam. If you have problem with hammer leap, just take flamethrower, it has blast on 6s cd.

A- you don't need to take boon duration - HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE? B- Useless gyros? Pumping barrier/might/healing/shredder (and you didn't need all of them depending on your boon duration) off cooldown was perfectly fine. C- BTW Hammer leap (which truly sucks to use in rotation) is not the go-to, rocket boots and tools is better (but still has the chance to send you off the map like an dagger ele at the wrong time). D- From a fun / playstyle factor, you no longer have 'throw up 2-3 gyros and wade in' pre-emptively in open world or various boss fights, E- For some unknown reason they left off WHIRL finishers (which between Hammer 5/2 and Heal/Shredder Gyros you instantly have a pair of combos that come from the class - it makes perfect intuitive sense - WHY?) F- The quickness granted by the finishers is way too long (see A).
 

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It's going to be improved in a couple of days, you won't need 3 shades any more just to get bonus stats.

You are dramatically missing the point. No one wants to need to spam shades on an 8s cooldown, and yes now 15% boon/condition duration is attached to that it makes it a mandatory part of your rotation. The spamminess is the issue, go read the necro forums. 

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The new quickness herald is very similar to the old one, except you don't use fury and prot facets actives. You can now swap to different legends and still give quickness.

You set an upkeep and autoattack and don't have energy to use weapon skills. Go read the reactions. 

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It's just a number change, I thought the problem was "drastically changing how we play"

No, "why does alac specter / quick harb / quick deadeye / quick scrapper need ZERO boon duration" is also part of the WTF of this patch.

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First balance patch?

Lol. Please.

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It's very simple, they want BoonDPS to have around 30k DPS benchmark and some builds would have very similar bemchmark to DPS builds, so they have to be punished with worse uptime while having +0% boon duration

Did you really type that? Like, the goal makes sense, yet we have 35-40k benchmarks with 100% uptime and no boon duration so I'm confused as to how you got to the second part. There is also the "oh, btw, a bunch of these changes literally don't make sense and killed fun playstyles" bit.

Edited by Gaeb.2837
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15 minutes ago, rotten.9753 said:

It's going to be improved in a couple of days, you won't need 3 shades any more just to get bonus stats

You've kinda dodged the issue that Scourge players have with this change. Passive buffs aren't the issue, it's the fact that your shades, which are the core identity of Scourge, had their active time cut by over half to bake in a change that should have been put onto a different trait. Changing the passive buffs doesn't fix the issue, which is that now you actively *need* to spam shades to keep your AoE's active instead of being able to reposition them reactively. Same thing goes for their barrier application, you're forced to spam out barrier off CD to keep up alacrity instead of saving it in fights for when you actively need to protect your team from big damage.

21 minutes ago, rotten.9753 said:

Interactive build? The new quickness herald is very similar to the old one, except you don't use fury and prot facets actives. You can now swap to different legends and still give quickness.

Herald is admittedly in a similar position as before, but again, now you *have* to swap legends at sometimes inopportune moments in order to keep up your quickness.

22 minutes ago, rotten.9753 said:

Chrono is a good example of this - BoonDPS chrono has around 32k with +0% boon duration while DPS chrono has 39k benchmark, both are using exactly same gear and rotation, only one trait is different.

This brings up another thing a lot of people are bothered by, which is why some support classes rely on getting concentration to maintain boons and others don't. New druid has to jump through so many different hoops to provide its normal boons, yet classes like chrono and herald can just kinda do it automatically without having to worry about it. That's all baked into a similar issue.

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