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Why do all the character races move at the same speed?


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I understand that having all races run at the same speed makes it easier to keep a moving party together and simplifies balancing enormously. However this comes with unfortunate consequences: The tallest Norns jog up and down, like rope skipping - they could instead walk long giant strides - and the Charrs leap in slow motion. This is the main reason I have stopped picking Norns and Charrs when deleting/creating characters to try all the professions. The Asuras and their cartoon motion break the immersion but I still find them funny enough to keep one - also, I don't want to lose my crafting level with it.

So I keep wondering what the game would look like if the races were endowed with speeds consistent with their size and anatomy. Obviously, a higher speed being a huge advantage, it would come at a cost, such as longer cooldowns on the skills and maybe the need to make stops. Inversely, the tiny slower Asuras would have shorter cooldowns and maybe longer ranges. I know this is a hell of balancing but it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse. Thoughts welcome :)

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@Leo.3428 said:I know this is a hell of balancing

This is why they don't.

@Leo.3428 said:it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse.

No, it wouldn't. People who min-max and copy them would just all default to the best combination. Tera had this issue when people found out races had different animations, so even people who didn't like Elin defaulted to them, Sorcs in PvP defaulted to Popori, and some Lancers defaulted to High Elf. Picking your race is either for RP purposes (for those into it) or for cosmetic purposes.

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I usually have a build concept in mind before I make a character so the race and appearance of the character is often times defined by that.

My slim female Charr Necro for example was designed to run with a Dagger and the movement speed buff it used to get with a trait which now applies the speed regardless of weapon and removes it based on health loss.My larger bulky male Charr tend to have builds that don't have movement boosts so they run slower, although mounts get around this limitation.

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Anet wanted race to be purely a cosmetic/story choice, rather than anyone feeling they had to pick a certain race for balance purposes. Which is probably for the best since apparently it's not possible for them to make race change available without introducing loads of - literally game breaking - bugs. How frustrating would it be if you were the type of person who always wanted an optimal build and after years playing a character, adjusting their build along the way, you then find that a new patch has come out and because of their race you can never have the best build and your only option is to start over with another character.

The animations don't bother me, but I think that might be because I spend a lot of time planning each character, even before I get into the character creator and whist I don't consciously consider the animations they might have influenced my choices. My female norn is an engineer so she tends to be fairly considered and deliberate in her actions and the jogging run animation fits with that. My male charr is an Ash Legion thief so he will go slowly and carefully setting things up and when he's ready to strike he'll shadowstep rather than running so you won't even see him move until it's too late. And my asura tend to be quite high strung.

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@Leo.3428 said:Obviously, a higher speed being a huge advantage, it would come at a cost, such as longer cooldowns on the skills and maybe the need to make stops. Inversely, the tiny slower Asuras would have shorter cooldowns and maybe longer ranges. I know this is a hell of balancing but it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse. Thoughts welcome :)

by the divine, that's horrible

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@derd.6413 said:

@Leo.3428 said:Obviously, a higher speed being a huge advantage, it would come at a cost, such as longer cooldowns on the skills and maybe the need to make stops. Inversely, the tiny slower Asuras would have shorter cooldowns and maybe longer ranges. I know this is a hell of balancing but it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse. Thoughts welcome :)

by the divine, that's horrible

Seriously, what on earth goes through peoples minds

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@ProverbsofHell.2307 said:

@Leo.3428 said:Obviously, a higher speed being a huge advantage, it would come at a cost, such as longer cooldowns on the skills and maybe the need to make stops. Inversely, the tiny slower Asuras would have shorter cooldowns and maybe longer ranges. I know this is a hell of balancing but it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse. Thoughts welcome :)

by the divine, that's horrible

Seriously, what on earth goes through peoples minds

Well it could be the opposite ;)

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@"Leo.3428" said:So I keep wondering what the game would look like if the races were endowed with speeds consistent with their size and anatomy.You already explained the reason this won't happen...

I understand that having all races run at the same speed ...simplifies balancing enormously.

As difficult as balancing is now, imagine needing to try out even 3 different levels of cooldowns for each and every skill, each and every party composition. Imagine learning a solid build on charr and then relearning on asura. We can be 100% positive that someone like the SnowCrows crowd would figure out whether asura or norn or human could generate better DPS, and suddenly, the meta would include which race you choose.

It might be more "realistic;" it wouldn't make for a better game.

(This is also why most MMOs have dropped "encumbrance" as a mechanic, and why MMO characters don't need to eat or find an outhouse. Those are also more realistic and less fun to play.)

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As someone already said. Racial traits are terrible because they cause issues balance wise. I remember playing a game where a race could equip any items 5 levels higher than their current level and almost everyone was that specific race only.

It's a nice thought but in terms of design, it's terrible when you think of the overall applications it has to the game which will cause certain races to be redundant while others become superior.

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@Khisanth.2948 said:

@HazyDaisy.4107 said:Why do centaur call all races including Charr 2 legs? Aren't Charr technically 4 legs? And speaking of Charr (and Norn too) why do they have more trouble with jumping puzzles than an Asura does?

All races are quadrepedal while centaurs are hexapodal.

By that standard, Sylvari are quadrupetal.

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@Leo.3428 said:I understand that having all races run at the same speed makes it easier to keep a moving party together and simplifies balancing enormously. However this comes with unfortunate consequences: The tallest Norns jog up and down, like rope skipping - they could instead walk long giant strides - and the Charrs leap in slow motion. This is the main reason I have stopped picking Norns and Charrs when deleting/creating characters to try all the professions. The Asuras and their cartoon motion break the immersion but I still find them funny enough to keep one - also, I don't want to lose my crafting level with it.

So I keep wondering what the game would look like if the races were endowed with speeds consistent with their size and anatomy. Obviously, a higher speed being a huge advantage, it would come at a cost, such as longer cooldowns on the skills and maybe the need to make stops. Inversely, the tiny slower Asuras would have shorter cooldowns and maybe longer ranges. I know this is a hell of balancing but it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse. Thoughts welcome :)

I think it would make the game less diverse. People would figure out the best option and it would dominate competitive and high end instanced play.

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@Leo.3428 said:I understand that having all races run at the same speed makes it easier to keep a moving party together and simplifies balancing enormously. However this comes with unfortunate consequences: The tallest Norns jog up and down, like rope skipping - they could instead walk long giant strides - and the Charrs leap in slow motion. This is the main reason I have stopped picking Norns and Charrs when deleting/creating characters to try all the professions. The Asuras and their cartoon motion break the immersion but I still find them funny enough to keep one - also, I don't want to lose my crafting level with it.

So I keep wondering what the game would look like if the races were endowed with speeds consistent with their size and anatomy. Obviously, a higher speed being a huge advantage, it would come at a cost, such as longer cooldowns on the skills and maybe the need to make stops. Inversely, the tiny slower Asuras would have shorter cooldowns and maybe longer ranges. I know this is a hell of balancing but it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse. Thoughts welcome :)

Its an mmo not a sp rpg. Racials are one thing but flat out things like more movenent speed seems too much to me to try and balance.

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@Yamazuki.6073 said:

@Leo.3428 said:I know this is a hell of balancing

This is why they don't.

@Leo.3428 said:it would make picking a race more meaningful and the game more diverse.

No, it wouldn't. People who min-max and copy them would just all default to the best combination. Tera had this issue when people found out races had different animations, so even people who didn't like Elin defaulted to them, Sorcs in PvP defaulted to Popori, and some Lancers defaulted to High Elf. Picking your race is either for RP purposes (for those into it) or for cosmetic purposes.

I used to play Dark Age of Camelot for many years (for those older MMO gamers that remember that game), that had 30+ classes and numerous races. I myself played a lot of sorcerer type classes (as did your pvp guild)--I played RACES that had a SLIGHT dexterity bonus (thus SLIGHTLY faster), for spells--as did MOST people. I am a min-maxer, always have been..and I know many people are.

Anet does it for the same reason, that people of old complained about 15+ years ago (however SLIGHT of an advantage it may be)--Balance.

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Thank you so much everyone for the replies. I initially wanted to reply to each post but this has become overwhelming. I will try and synthesize instead:

  1. Balancing for speed variety is harder than balancing for health pool variety or armor strength variety.
  2. This would further widen the gap between top builds and the rest and/or reduce the number of top builds.
  3. This would swell the top build population, reducing variety.
  4. Breaking patches would be even more frustrating.

Since I'm playing devil's advocate here, I already have a few counter-arguments to these but I will let them brew for a while, because it's a deep topic and I'm going to drown.

And a mix of other things:

Regarding the animations, I find it smart to plan the character on them or around them. My initial tests were simple minded: "Charr strong, make strong warrior" which became "Charr sluggish, make steampunk engineer" and "Norn formidable, make dignified revenant... no, wait..."

Regarding jumping puzzles, if I'm already struggling with an Asura, I can't imagine what it would be with a Charr. Although... I recently discovered one can steer in mid-air, including full reverse gear.

Soulbeast ranger stole beast form from the Norns then?

Thank you all for putting up with the newbie that I am.

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@"Leo.3428" said:Regarding the animations, I find it smart to plan the character on them or around them. My initial tests were simple minded: "Charr strong, make strong warrior" which became "Charr sluggish, make steampunk engineer" and "Norn formidable, make dignified revenant... no, wait..."

As I'm sure you've noticed, ability animations often make up for the apparent lack of, let's say "physicality" in the normal movement. A Charr Warrior Leaps and Charges (and Whirls) into battle with all their strength, and are tough enough to not need to run or rush anywhere else. Same for the Norn, no need to sprint everywhere because the battle will be over as soon as you arrive, regardless (because you're just that darn good). Of course, this is purely roleplay, and subject to interpretation.

Regarding jumping puzzles, if I'm already struggling with an Asura, I can't imagine what it would be with a Charr. Although... I recently discovered one can steer in mid-air, including full reverse gear.

It's not all that bad, just different. It depends on the specific puzzle, and on your ability to "wrangle" the camera for better views of the terrain. First-person mode is wonderful for that, assuming you have time to stop and look around. Combine that with Camera at Head Height and a Norn or Charr may have the advantage in visibility!

Soulbeast ranger stole beast form from the Norns then?

Not exactly, though the ability could have been derived from the Norn Becoming techniques. Though it's represented here as a fusion or absorption of the Pet, the Beast Mode is actually just hyper-efficient synergy... like a psychic link. The Pet's moves and abilities become such a natural extension of the Soulbeast's body, that they might as well be his/her own, and vice versa. On the other hand, the Norn Becoming the Beast adopts the idealized characteristics of the relevant Spirit of the Wild; similar to the Humans calling upon their Gods. Norn Becoming is a far stronger form because they don't just become a bear, they become Bear, the Spirit of All Bears, the Ur-Bear. Technically, as an Elite Skill, it is the more powerful ability per se, though game balance will (and should) always favor Profession abilities over Racial ones.

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