Jump to content
  • Sign Up

Introduce Hexes as a new combat mechanic


Recommended Posts

With a look at another round of new weapon skills coming into the game, some of which adding new debilitating effects that don't count as conditions, I think it could be an interesting idea to introduce Hexes from GW1. For those unfamiliar, Hexes were a type of spell that applied a negative effect onto a foe for a period of time. Some effects coming with the new spears like Fulgor and Extirpation already meet the criteria for a Hex, and others like Binding Blade on Guardian greatsword already exist with similar or identical behavior.

I think now would be a great time to lump these, and all other effects with a similar function, under a single mechanical category that borrows from the original game. This way, new UI elements could be created to more easily track them, new functionality for gear, traits, skills, and relics could be unlocked across all professions, and any new effects added in future expansions could be more easily understood and communicated to players.

The introduction of Hexes could also come with their own form of universal counterplay, either through condition cleanses or a new disenchantment effect that could be added across various skills and traits to serve as an analogue for condi cleanse exclusive to Hexes.

Creating an umbrella mechanic and introducing a form of counterplay for these current and future debilitating effects could open up a new layer of mechanical depth to the game as a whole.

Edited by Tempest.8479
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

tl;dr a complete rework of the current combat mechanics. No thx.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the combat system of old GW1 with its duality of conditions + hexes and their respective counterplay and it might have been possible to carry it over to GW2, but Devs initial decided not to and the work this would create now is certainly not worth it for a 12 year old game. Also such fundamental changes after such a long period certainly won't make things easier to understand, it usually adds way more confusion. As you said yourself, a major UI upgrade would also be mandatory, but that's something that would have been more than beneficial since... forever, so I wouldn't hold my breath for it.

  • Like 1
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’m all for reintroducing Hexes and even lumping most of the debilitating non-condition effects of various skills in as hexes…  but I don’t agree with adding new relics or explicit hard counterplay to them. The lack of counterplay to these unique debuffs is what makes them useful and effective.

 

Honestly ANet went overboard with the hard counterplay for conditions as is… we should have entirely separate counters for damaging and non-damaging conditions. Condi cleanse needs to be split up to damaging, movement impairing, and non-damaging… Damaging condition cleanse should also apply Resolution to lessen the impact of having conditions immediately reapplied… Resistance needs to be split into two separate effects… a new one (i propose Freedom) that affects movement impairing conditions (Chill, Cripple, Fear, Immobilize), and then all non-damaging non-movement impairing conditions are left to Resistance. (Blind, Slow, Taunt, Vulnerability, Weakness)

Edited by Panda.1967
  • Like 2
  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The current system was an active decision by the developers at the time to combine hexes and conditions. They were fully aware of the differences, and chose to roll both into a single category.

Now you want to undo that thoroughly baked-in original decision, 12 years later? Not happening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Panda.1967 said:

I’m all for reintroducing Hexes and even lumping most of the debilitating non-condition effects of various skills in as hexes…  but I don’t agree with adding new relics or explicit hard counterplay to them. The lack of counterplay to these unique debuffs is what makes them useful and effective.

I can see where you're coming from when it comes to counterplay and keeping the strength that comes with being unable to be removed. I just figured introducing a form of counterplay would help future-proof the system in the event that more hexes would be added. Right now it might not seem as bad because it's only 1 or 2 effects, but if somewhere down the line players are getting loaded up with 5 or more hexes at a time, it would feel pretty bad if there was nothing that could be done about it. Maybe just introducing a way to temporarily nullify them, a la Resistance?

I do think adding new traits and relics would be a good thing, though. If the system becomes formalized, hexes could be enhanced through traits/relics, as well as introducing new ways to manipulate hexed targets. Not to mention that the effects themselves could be granted through traits.

2 hours ago, Teknomancer.4895 said:

The current system was an active decision by the developers at the time to combine hexes and conditions. They were fully aware of the differences, and chose to roll both into a single category.

Now you want to undo that thoroughly baked-in original decision, 12 years later? Not happening.

The current system of boons and conditions was originally envisioned to be a more streamlined, universal system that combined effects like enchantments, hexes, and conditions from the original game. And yet, that system has been informally circumvented countless times over the game's lifespan.

You can go onto the wiki right now and find a list of separate or uncategorized effects that don't directly hook into the boon/condition system when they otherwise could have. Effects like superspeed, barrier, and revealed could all exist as boons or conditions, but they don't. And justifiably so, as the developers recognized the strength in adding unique effects, even as universal as the aforementioned ones, that aren't constrained by the standardized design of boons and conditions. Most of the unique effects granted by profession skills and traits are enchantments in everything but name (and a separate case could be made to formally unify them as such), but there haven't been many unique, debilitating effects in the game until now. 

With the new spears, the developers are introducing 2 unique, stackable, debilitating effects that exist outside the boon and condition system. One of these effects, Fulgor, literally can't exist as a condition because it's a damaging effect that scales with power rather than condition damage. The other, Extirpation, is clearly intended to be an effect that can't be removed by conventional means. That makes them so mechanically similar to hexes that I think the game would benefit from formalizing then as such. That way, any new effects added down the line could be rolled in with the old ones to create a robust new layer of combat depth that adds to and complements, rather than undoes, the system of boons and conditions.

I think it's a very good idea to add new debilitating effects that aren't constrained by the standardization of boons and conditions, and it appears like the developers are showing more of a willingness to do so now. There's so much design space to explore that doesn't conform to the expected behaviors of the established system, and I think the game is better off when these new mechanics can exist without thinking about how they can be applied universally.

All I'm suggesting is to formally unify these effects under one banner before the list of uncategorized debilitating effects becomes as long as the empowering ones are. That way they are easier to understand, track, and can even open up new playstyles that have been partially or completely absent from the game.

8 hours ago, Nash.2681 said:

tl;dr a complete rework of the current combat mechanics. No thx.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the combat system of old GW1 with its duality of conditions + hexes and their respective counterplay and it might have been possible to carry it over to GW2, but Devs initial decided not to and the work this would create now is certainly not worth it for a 12 year old game. Also such fundamental changes after such a long period certainly won't make things easier to understand, it usually adds way more confusion. As you said yourself, a major UI upgrade would also be mandatory, but that's something that would have been more than beneficial since... forever, so I wouldn't hold my breath for it.

It wouldn't be a complete rework of current combat mechanics. Rather, it would be a formalization and unification of mechanics that already exist as it is, and that are being introduced with a new expansion. I don't think it's unprecedented, either, as previous expansions have added new boons, conditions, and entire new mechanics like barrier.

The Engineer has the explosion skill property, and most recently EoD introduced explosions for Warriors while adding the blade skill property for Mesmers. Each of these properties allows different weapons, skills, and traits to interact to create specific playstyles and interactions that aren't shared by other professions. Introducing hexes would be no different in my mind. They would just be another skill property/effect that ties skills and traits together to create new and interesting gameplay, just on a broader scale.

I also think fundamental changes like this do make things easier to understand, because unified language is both more efficient and easier to understand once the terminology becomes commonplace. It's much more awkward and cumbersome to explain that new unique, debilitating effects that aren't conditions are being added to Elementalist and Necromancer for this expansion cycle than it would be to say that Mesmer is getting a new hex in the following expansion that does x, y, or z, for example. Once the player base understands what a hex is, you only need to explain it to them once.

Also, introducing new systems that add new layers to combat are the exact kinds of features and overhauls that can help sell new expansions and keep a 12 year old game relevant. 

Edited by Tempest.8479
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Tempest.8479 said:

I also think fundamental changes like this do make things easier to understand, because unified language is both more efficient and easier to understand once the terminology becomes commonplace. It's much more awkward and cumbersome to explain that new unique, debilitating effects that aren't conditions are being added to Elementalist and Necromancer for this expansion cycle than it would be to say that Mesmer is getting a new hex in the following expansion that does x, y, or z, for example. Once the player base understands what a hex is, you only need to explain it to them once.

Absolutely… in my view, Hexes should be defined as harmful or debilitating status effects that can’t be removed… effectively stronger versions of conditions… and beneficial effects like Superspeed & Barrier could be similarly be classified as Enchantments to provide the same clarity of purpose… as it is currently, these buffs and debuffs are just classified as miscellaneous Effects…

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think we need a new hex category, but I do think a lot of the condi builds could stand to set aside the same rote condi combinations and be given unique condis like fulgor.

Like I would rather Engi spear or mace inflict actual electric-related condis instead of cobbling together bleeding and burning like we see in condi zerker and ele. The flavor could be spread out across more than five damaging conditions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Batalix.2873 said:

I don't think we need a new hex category, but I do think a lot of the condi builds could stand to set aside the same rote condi combinations and be given unique condis like fulgor.

Like I would rather Engi spear or mace inflict actual electric-related condis instead of cobbling together bleeding and burning like we see in condi zerker and ele. The flavor could be spread out across more than five damaging conditions.

Fulgor isn't a condition as it currently exists, nor do I think it would really add anything to the game by making it one. On the contrary, changing Fulgor to work as a condition strips it of its unique mechanical identity and deletes it's designed role.

Fulgor is a duration stacking, flat damage effect that scales with power. On its face, that makes it nothing more than a lightning-themed copy of most other damaging conditions. But because it isn't a condition, it can scale with power instead of condition damage, thereby adding a new kind of DoT pressure to power builds that can't be cleansed. All conditions scale off condition damage, so changing Fulgor to a condition negates its intended use while also making it a bland copy of what already exists.

Your argument actually works for the separation of hexes, as they would create the room you want for more unique effects that don't have to be shared across the whole game. If you're already going to add unique effects that don't follow the rules of conditions, I think it would be easier to unify them as a separate category than to carve out a bunch of exceptions to the condition system, overcomplicating a set of streamlined mechanics that already serve a purpose. Hexes would allow developers to explore and add new kinds of gameplay without breaking what already works.

Edited by Tempest.8479
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Tempest.8479 said:

Fulgor isn't a condition as it currently exists, nor do I think it would really add anything to the game by making it one. On the contrary, changing Fulgor to work as a condition strips it of its unique mechanical identity and deletes it's designed role.

Fulgor is a duration stacking, flat damage effect that scales with power. On its face, that makes it nothing more than a lightning-themed copy of most other damaging conditions. But because it isn't a condition, it can scale with power instead of condition damage, thereby adding a new kind of DoT pressure to power builds that can't be cleansed. All conditions scale off condition damage, so changing Fulgor to a condition negates its intended use while also making it a bland copy of what already exists.

Your argument actually works for the separation of hexes, as they would create the room you want for more unique effects that don't have to be shared across the whole game. If you're already going to add unique effects that don't follow the rules of conditions, I think it would be easier to unify them as a separate category than to carve out a bunch of exceptions to the condition system, overcomplicating a set of streamlined mechanics that already serve a purpose. Hexes would allow developers to explore and add new kinds of gameplay without breaking what already works.

I agree with this, however if we do treat it that way, I still think more skills should get unique fulgor-like statuses that scale with condition damage instead of power.

I'm not exactly married to either side of the line, either fulgor remaining a non-condition effect or being reworked into a different set of condis or pseudo-condis. Although I do very much like it as implemented. I'm just tired of condi builds always lazily slapping together the same five conditions. I want that design space expanded however they can manage it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As much as I loved GW1's hex, enchantment, condition system, I think GW2 is just too fast paced for that to work here. There's barely enough attention to be spared to keeping track of what conditions we have now, let alone being able to read and react to a bunch of different unique hexes during combat.

I will say that they could massively improve upon the current boon/condition system though. Having everything but Might be totally binary makes Conditions almost impossible to balance in pvp, and makes debuff/buff classes (outside of alac or quick) non-existent archetypes in pve. Like, we could have a system where all Boons/Conditions granually stack up to 100, are countered by their opposite Boon/Condition in a sort of tug of war (might vs weakness, cripple vs swiftness, blind vs fury, protection vs vulnerability, etc.), and cleanses/boonrips only remove a certain amount of stacks (scaled by a stat) from all boons/conditions instead of completely wiping out singular ones. For example:

Immobilize no longer exists, 1 Cripple is 1% move reduction, 100 Cripple stacks is 100% move reduction (and effectively the new Immobilize), and going over 100 stacks off Cripple would give that full Immobilize effect a buffer against cleanses.

Then on the opposite end: 1 Swiftness is 1% move increase, Swiftness counters Cripple and vice-versa, if I have 30 stacks of Cripple and apply 50 stacks of Swiftness I end up with 20 stacks of Swiftness and 0 stacks of Cripple. If I have 160 stacks of Cripple and apply that same 50 stacks of Swiftness, I end up with 110 stacks of Cripple and am still immobilized.

This way there's much healthier counterplay in pvp as it would be possible to target a specific boon/condition by using it's opposite, while for mass clearing there would be the current dedicated cleanses/boonrips that would pull a set amount of stacks from all boons/conditions on that target (e.g. -20 stacks from every condition); as opposed to the current situation that's just an endless arms race of who can endlessly spam cover conditions vs who can endlessly spam full condi cleanses faster and condi damage has to be tuned to burst damage levels because there's so much cleanse spam it'll never realistically get to deal it's damage over time. Then in PvE there could be entire playstyles opening up for debuffers to break through a boss's defenses and damage, while having more than one person in the group applying a non-damaging condition/boon would no longer be completely pointless. In turn that would make balance easier as the entire game would no longer be solely focused around keeping every single spec hovering around 42k golem dps, because having a lower dps spec with higher utility would actually be a viable tradeoff. 

Edited by Sweetbread.3678
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, Panda.1967 said:

 Superspeed & Barrier could be similarly be classified as Enchantments to provide the same clarity of purpose

Unfortunately you were too close to the point and thus didn't get Clarity.
(Yes, it's a joke. No, I'm not explaining. You either get it or you're not a mesmer)

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, ShadowKatt.6740 said:

Unfortunately you were too close to the point and thus didn't get Clarity.
(Yes, it's a joke. No, I'm not explaining. You either get it or you're not a mesmer)

Oh, I got it alright… can’t stop laughing now 🤣

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...