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Improve Accessibility by Reconsidering Number of Button Presses in Class Power Budget


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Let me preface this by saying that I enjoy playing "meta" builds at the pace and under the conditions in which those builds are benchmarked. That said, several recent-ish design decisions have highlighted the high execution thresholds and "actions per minute" (really in this game, its now closer to "actions per second") involved in even just "playing well" (which is a step down from "playing optimally"). More specifically, I am referring to things such as flip skill mechanics (Necro swords), Firebrand mantras, and even upcoming spear designs that have combo chains (thief), or a skill-kit that relieves heavily on using and refreshing the #5 skill (revenant). Let me elaborate a little on each one, and then hopefully leave the reader with some food for thought.

1) Flip Skills
Flip skills are fun and cool. In practice they double your button presses and are generally used in "optimal rotations" as soon as they can be pushed (or tightly interwoven with other flip skills). This has been true for QDPS herald for a while (was even worse before they changed the way Herald gives quickness), but continues with Necro swords. Necro sword in the offhand is currently meta, and usually involves interweaving skills 4-5-4-5. 

2) Firebrand Mantras
Basically ditto as above. The auto-charging that landed in the recent balance patch is a welcome quality of life improvement. However, the fact remains that Firebrands typically use their mantras in sequence, consuming them as fast as possible. This, considered one-to-one against flip skills, is an even more button press heavy arrangement.

3) Combo chains (outside of the auto-attack) and skill-refreshes
Thief spear is probably tied with Ele spear as the kit I am looking forward to the most. But packing 6 skills in the space usually occupied by 2 leads to a very similar situation as flip skills and mantras --- pressing the same button repeatedly or rapidly interweaving them. Thief spear might not be as big of a button-pressing issue as it could be due to the fact that the combo chains get exhausted (skills 2 and 3 are a combo-chain of using 3 skills in sequence instead of using 6 in sequence). Switching over to Revenant spear, having a mechanic focused on enabling more pushes of skill 5 (which is a tad un-ergonomic even) is of course going to lead to additional button presses.

So, what am I trying to say?
I only see a growing gap between people who are interested in "playing well" and those who feel that it is simply not worth the effort (and therefore take the low-intensity route whenever possible). And anyone in the latter camp will only double down on these feelings if the design team continues to apply the above mechanics to skills without considering how the number of button presses available to a class/build translates into or underpins that build's performance. I do not wish to advocate that these mechanics be removed. Rather, I'd like the design team to find ways to alleviate button presses fatigue in the cases where skills get used without any real thought (i.e, always consuming flip skills or mantras as fast as possible). I feel that many of these additional button presses serve as barriers to accessibility (especially so long as skill macros are not allowed), and should directly factor into class power budget calculations and be "smoothed"/balanced/standardized within a reasonable range (ideally in ways that do not involve long cooldowns).

In the interest of being constructive, here are a few ideas:
- Have mantra cast effects scale in proportion to charges accumulated, with charges accumulating 1 at a time at a specific cadence, and casting consumes all charges
- Allow more flexibility in how long a flip skill provides its flipped state, have consumed skills scale in proportion to how long they were maintained (herald), have skills flip based on certain conditions (kind of like the hybrid ranged-melee behavior of some spears)
- Convert some button spam scenarios into combo sequences with lower exhaust thresholds. 

Edited by Kagaho.5378
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QFB already is actions per second! APM is generally between 80 and 100! 

Considering how they're used, trying to spam all charges as fast as possible, Mantras of Flame and Potence could really afford to just be one charge with the the durations adjusted to balance that out. That would really help with the class's high APM issues. 

All the other mantras are fine since they are situational and you don't spam charges, you use them as needed. Too bad they couldn't work it out where Flame and Potence share that playstyle. That would be ideal, but it's just not how the skills were designed for some reason.

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55 minutes ago, Gaiawolf.8261 said:

QFB already is actions per second! APM is generally between 80 and 100! 

Considering how they're used, trying to spam all charges as fast as possible, Mantras of Flame and Potence could really afford to just be one charge with the the durations adjusted to balance that out. That would really help with the class's high APM issues. 

All the other mantras are fine since they are situational and you don't spam charges, you use them as needed. Too bad they couldn't work it out where Flame and Potence share that playstyle. That would be ideal, but it's just not how the skills were designed for some reason.

Mantra of Solace used to give Aegis at every charge, but it was nerfed. It was working as intended due to Aegis being a situational boon. Now it usually being used similar to Mantra of Potence due to Liberator's Vow, unless Quickness is overcapped. I'd say, bring back Aegis to every charge of the mantra.

I think the design of all ammo skills should be each charge is used situationally. When the usage is to spend all ammo as fast you can, there is no difference between Mantra of Potence and Feel My Wrath! aside from number of clicks.

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23 minutes ago, phandaria.4891 said:

Mantra of Solace used to give Aegis at every charge, but it was nerfed. It was working as intended due to Aegis being a situational boon. Now it usually being used similar to Mantra of Potence due to Liberator's Vow, unless Quickness is overcapped. I'd say, bring back Aegis to every charge of the mantra.

I think the design of all ammo skills should be each charge is used situationally. When the usage is to spend all ammo as fast you can, there is no difference between Mantra of Potence and Feel My Wrath! aside from number of clicks.

Liberators Vow has an ICD of 7 seconds, so you're only using MoS then, not spamming it and spending the final charge, but I see your point. It's an extra four or five clicks per minute that probably don't need to be there.

Your comparison between Mantra of Potence and Feel My Wrath is on point, and I agree.

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19 hours ago, Kagaho.5378 said:

et me preface this by saying that I enjoy playing "meta" builds at the pace and under the conditions in which those builds are benchmarked. That said, several recent-ish design decisions have highlighted the high execution thresholds and "actions per minute" (really in this game, its now closer to "actions per second") involved in even just "playing well" (which is a step down from "playing optimally"). More specifically, I am referring to things such as flip skill mechanics (Necro swords), Firebrand mantras, and even upcoming spear designs that have combo chains (thief), or a skill-kit that relieves heavily on using and refreshing the #5 skill (revenant). Let me elaborate a little on each one, and then hopefully leave the reader with some food for thought

Why can’t both exist.

we have lots of low intensity builds and high intensity builds, so why is it suddenly important that they delete one side of things completely ruining the game for one audience? 

you say improve accessibility, they’ve made tons of rly easy low button count options which has never created this. it’s rly weird accessibility is always blamed on the game. Gw2 has extremely easy accessibility with very low requirements, there are auto attack builds that double the required DPS to clear a raid boss. 

 

Edited by Magmi.6723
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Posted (edited)

Not advocating for deleting one side of things at all. And I do quite like how there are options for people who want to press more or less buttons. But what I was trying to highlight is that things are on-average becoming more button-press heavy, and that the consequence of all this extra button pressing is ("earned") better performance. But, many of those extra button presses feel like button-press inflation. And removing some of these presses won't suddenly make a high APM build like QFB a low APM build --- there are still plenty of buttons to press. Accessibility is not just giving people an option, its ALSO helping those options function well without being unfair (to any side). So in my mind, it is not enough that, for example, a guardian main has access to QDPS by picking Herald for a low intensity option, but that this person can do "QDPS-on-Firebrand" without needing to re-gear to the point of demolishing their damage just so they can keep quickness up without murdering their fingers.

Edited by Kagaho.5378
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I think there is a point at which APM stops being an expression of skill and simply becomes an expression of your ability to press buttons. If you always know what the correct buttons to press are and it's just a matter of how quickly you can press them, it's the latter.

Potence and flame mantras kind of have the problem that you're using them for a specific purpose, and it will always be better to either fire the final charge or to not fire the final charge. During most of firebrand's prime, it was always better to conserve the final charge, so accidentally firing the final charge felt bad. Now, it's the other way around, so you want to fire that final charge as quickly as possible, but pressing a button three times when you know you're never not going to want to press it three times feels bad.

My thoughts to resolve this would be:

1) Calibrating the skills so your generally slightly better off by not firing the final charge. This means you're likely to settle into a routine of pressing the button once every seven seconds or so, rather than burning through it as quickly as possible. However, keep the difference small enough that it's not a massive feels bad when you accidentally use that final charge.

2) Add some additional effect to the final charges of Flame and Potence so that there is a situation where some tactical consideration might push you to use that final charge. For instance, Potence might grant a couple of seconds of superspeed, so perhaps a firebrand can contribute to getting out of dodge when needed. Flame should be something that isn't directly damage-oriented - condition removal might work (it would overlap with Lore, but a DPS firebrand probably isn't taking Lore anyway, and there might be times when a bit of extra condi cleanse could be worthwhile).

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20 hours ago, Gaiawolf.8261 said:

Liberators Vow has an ICD of 7 seconds, so you're only using MoS then, not spamming it and spending the final charge, but I see your point. It's an extra four or five clicks per minute that probably don't need to be there.

Your comparison between Mantra of Potence and Feel My Wrath is on point, and I agree.

I forgot about the ICD, but you get my point. The healing amount is trash. It was much more strategic play with giving Aegis on demand before the nerf.

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The whole mantra design had been more of a punishment than benefit. Instead of final charge to be a big plus, it punishes player that use final charge with CD and cast time. Now, removing the cast time and auto CD only alleviate the whole punishment. The idea should be that final charge of mantra gives big benefit to FB instead.

My proposal is to tweak Grandmaster trait of FB to add benefit when final charge of Mantra is used depending on the trait, similar to Firebrand relic.

Stoic Demeanor : Add create small bubble that block projectiles when final charge of mantra is used (3 sec).

Quickfire: Add refresh tome pages when final charge of mantra is used.

Loremaster: Add increase outgoing healing by 10% for 5 sec when final charge of mantra is used.

This would add a strategic play for FB to situationally use the final charge of mantra, instead of just spending them when CD is up. The additional effect is up to debate, but the idea is to make the final charge of mantra situationally beneficial for FB.

Edited by phandaria.4891
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3 hours ago, phandaria.4891 said:

I forgot about the ICD, but you get my point. The healing amount is trash. It was much more strategic play with giving Aegis on demand before the nerf.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

The whole mantra design had been more of a punishment than benefit. Instead of final charge to be a big plus, it punishes player that use final charge with CD and cast time. Now, removing the cast time and auto CD only alleviate the whole punishment. The idea should be that final charge of mantra gives big benefit to FB instead.

My proposal is to tweak Grandmaster trait of FB to add benefit when final charge of Mantra is used depending on the trait, similar to Firebrand relic.

Stoic Demeanor : Add create small bubble that block projectiles when final charge of mantra is used (3 sec).

Quickfire: Add refresh tome pages when final charge of mantra is used.

Loremaster: Add increase outgoing healing by 10% for 5 sec when final charge of mantra is used.

This would add a strategic play for FB to situationally use the final charge of mantra, instead of just spending them when CD is up. The additional effect is up to debate, but the idea is to make the final charge of mantra situationally beneficial for FB.

Interesting ideas. Healing from MoS is okay in PVE. I'm pretty sure its bad in WVW only because of Altruistic Healing. I agree the last charge should be a special effect so it doesn't feel like just the most optimal yet annoying use of the skill. Still, only a problem mostly for Flame and Potence, since you only use the other when you needs them.

The effects for the GM traits are neat, but we already have a mantra trait that refunds pages when the final charge is spent. Not all FBs use mantras, so giving a mantra mandatory effect feels like a waste. None of those effects beats extra pages anyway, so most everyone will still want that one. I think Weighty Terms fulfills the incentive to use the final charges. They just need to tone down the ones that drive up APM.

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Hrrrmn. Maybe just make it so that the optimum result considering just the mantra itself is to not use the final charge for Flame and Potence - that way, using the final charge becomes more of a "I'm doing this because I want more pages" if you have the trait rather than something that you do by default.

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Apm is the main reason I'll never be very good at the game, my hand starts cramping from just playing at a sedate pace and I'd rather not give myself carpal tunnel. Not that I'm complaining that speed of skill use is required mind you, but I feel like some people get used to hitting those buttons real fast and it sorta becomes the accepted norm of playing?

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