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What's going on with the number three?


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We see that various forms of ley line break down into three colours. We see three orders, three interactions between individuals, three new strike bosses, a triple headed wurm in Bloodtide etc. The number of times three is used is impossible to ignore. I want your thoughts on this. No lazy dismissals, mind you. A little cranium cranking is always appreciated.

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@"Randulf.7614" said:You are looking for patterns and an explanation to fit where nothing exists.

At best, three is just an optimal number for balancing and variety without going into "too many".

Sure, in case of number 3 is an "addicted sampling", matematically theres lot of reasons for this number be overrepresented in reality. followed by 6(multiple of 2 and 3). so inst really a suprise see 3, 6, 12, 24 as over-represented numbers.

In fantasy stories, when they want to imply that a number has special meaning, they prefer to choose a prime number > 5 like 7, 11, 13 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_number

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I don't think its imaginary, GW2 really does have a focus on the numbers 3, 6, and 9. I think its just how the developers base their design, for example alot of people don't know this but StarCraft, for its incredible balance, was based upon the number 8.

It's just a thing that game developers, and story writers in general, do to make things easier.

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@Hannelore.8153 said:I don't think its imaginary, GW2 really does have a focus on the numbers 3, 6, and 9. I think its just how the developers base their design, for example alot of people don't know this but StarCraft, for its incredible balance, was based upon the number 8.

It's just a thing that game developers, and story writers in general, do to make things easier.

Now there's a thought. I wonder if the new essence masteries tie into this somehow?

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The masteries are confirmed based off of paper scissors rock, which is a game of three. A lot of small-variant balance systems base themselves off of this same setup (such as Fire Emblem Heroes' axe/lance/sword system). I don't think there's much meaning behind it.

Same with the other sets of threes and sixes we see. To tackle your examples:

  • Ley lines are referenced to light, which break down into the primary colors of red green blue. Same setup is used for WvW and a lot of typical PvP - the go-to for two sided PvP is red and blue, and if you add a third group the go to is green - why? Primary colors.
  • The three orders seems to be more a coincidence or just a simple favored number by ArenaNet. There is evidence that there were plans to make Zaishen a fourth order just as the tengu were confirmed to have been slated as a sixth race. Like the tengu, the Zaishen was likely taken out from an option for design and production reasons.
  • "Three interactions between individuals" -> I'm honestly not sure what you mean here. Do you mean the core personality system? If so, it follows a traditional triangular faction/allegiance system.
  • The new strike bosses is based off of the mastery, which as mentioned is based off of an archetypal "simple balance" rock-paper-scissors balance system.
  • Triple Trouble was just a means to split the playerbase and have a complicated boss fight. Same with the Prime Hologram (which doubled as the primary color system) from S1. One boss alone was simply too many, and at the same release they had the five-lane Twisted Marionette. Triple Trouble and Twisted Marionette was no doubt a test using arbitrarily chosen numbers to determine how best to split zergs in the future.

Overall, I'd adhere to what @""ugrakarma.9416" said - 3 is an "addicted sampling", a nice round primary number to use for various reasons, and low primary numbers tend to be useful in storytelling and mechanical balance for various reasons.

Sometimes it's coincidence, sometimes it's mere mathematics.

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I also suspect that the essence masteries may be the remnants or twisted energy of the wild gods who were left behind. Valor is Wolverine, Resilience is Dolyak, and Vigilance is Eagle. I'm basing this off the screenshot of the casting circle for Night Terrors, the Valor ability, which appears to use a Wolverine head.

Owl has no essence, because Owl was consumed whole.

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three is just a very convienient number. Dragonstand for example. If you had two, and one group failed, 50% of players would be at fault. With three groups, one failing, the other two have enough players to send some over. Same for TT. Tarir has four gates btw - and one is always in trouble. In wvw three server means all three have to deal with each other. 4 servers? would quickly devolve in 2 1v1.

5 is too big already. 5 objectives have to be done at the same time? you wont get that. 5 problems? Overwhelming.

Btw 7 is a magical number - whenever you see 7 in fairy tales 'behind the 7 hills' or 'for 7 years' in means infinity/eternity. So behind the seven hills: infinite far away. She worked there for 7 years: she worked there to the end of time.

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@Loesh.4697 said:I also suspect that the essence masteries may be the remnants or twisted energy of the wild gods who were left behind. Valor is Wolverine, Resilience is Dolyak, and Vigilance is Eagle. I'm basing this off the screenshot of the casting circle for Night Terrors, the Valor ability, which appears to use a Wolverine head.

Owl has no essence, because Owl was consumed whole.

No that is a good theory. Thank you for sharing.

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@"Konig Des Todes.2086" said:The masteries are confirmed based off of paper scissors rock, which is a game of three. A lot of small-variant balance systems base themselves off of this same setup (such as Fire Emblem Heroes' axe/lance/sword system). I don't think there's much meaning behind it.

Same with the other sets of threes and sixes we see. To tackle your examples:

  • Ley lines are referenced to light, which break down into the primary colors of red green blue. Same setup is used for WvW and a lot of typical PvP - the go-to for two sided PvP is red and blue, and if you add a third group the go to is green - why? Primary colors.
  • The three orders seems to be more a coincidence or just a simple favored number by ArenaNet. There is evidence that there were plans to make Zaishen a fourth order just as the tengu were confirmed to have been slated as a sixth race. Like the tengu, the Zaishen was likely taken out from an option for design and production reasons.
  • "Three interactions between individuals" -> I'm honestly not sure what you mean here. Do you mean the core personality system? If so, it follows a traditional triangular faction/allegiance system.
  • The new strike bosses is based off of the mastery, which as mentioned is based off of an archetypal "simple balance" rock-paper-scissors balance system.
  • Triple Trouble was just a means to split the playerbase and have a complicated boss fight. Same with the Prime Hologram (which doubled as the primary color system) from S1. One boss alone was simply too many, and at the same release they had the five-lane Twisted Marionette. Triple Trouble and Twisted Marionette was no doubt a test using arbitrarily chosen numbers to determine how best to split zergs in the future.

Overall, I'd adhere to what @""ugrakarma.9416" said - 3 is an "addicted sampling", a nice round primary number to use for various reasons, and low primary numbers tend to be useful in storytelling and mechanical balance for various reasons.

Sometimes it's coincidence, sometimes it's mere mathematics.

I thought that you might have more to offer on this subject, Konig. There has to be something to it. Yes, I understand that development may have chosen the number three as a foundation upon which to build their world. However, the three primary colors are everywhere and we have the arrival of Aurene, a prismatic dragon clearly referencing her ability to mix the three primary colors. Somehow this latter detail helps here to deal with things like the Dragonbrand.. So what's the deal there?

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The primary colors are everywhere in almost every visual medium. They're used so much because they're primary colors. There's no hidden lore meaning behind it - it's just an easy go-to choice for colors, just like how all PvP is red versus blue and never (or very, very, rarely), say, yellow versus black.

It's for the same reason when you see representations of good and evil, you see white and black, light and dark. Sometimes it'll also go to red and blue, for the same reason as PvP.

Aurene being called a Prismatic dragon has nothing to do with her ability to mix primary colors (because she doesn't). She's called prismatic because mixed magic (which is analogeous to light) does not conflict within her; so she can contain all forms of magic, thus taking in "white light"(aka all magic) and producing any "color" (aka form of magic). Or so the impression is - technically speaking, we don't know why some asura have decided to call her the Prismatic Elder Dragon. Her ability to handle mixed magic also has nothing to do with her cleansing the Dragonbrand - she's capable of doing that because she's replaced Kralkatorrik as an Elder Crystal Dragon (despite her new titles).

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in MS-DOS era, theres was a memory cap of 64KB, so most things has ceiling of number 8 or his multiples like 16,32,64,128. if GW2 was a MS-DOS based game, the raid group cap probably will be 8 or 16, squads 48 or 64 and so on.... some numbers is just for "mechanical" convenience. the number 3 is for mathematics like water or carbon is for life.

Anet also dont had a historic to let too indirect "easter eggs", when they want leave some "hint for a big secrecy", theyre much more explicit. Also basically the jumping puzzles are our easter eggs.

RGB colors is just a matter of teaching, since every child's toy has these colors, also because the base colors are most distinguishable from each other so they are the most useful to build some "childs play".

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@Dawdler.8521 said:

@Inculpatus cedo.9234 said:We see six Elder Dragons, six Gods, 9 Professions, 2 Elite Specializations, 8 Mounts...oops, that's not a multiple of 3!Dang it!9 mounts with the charr car and 12 mounts with siege golems.

Makes one wonder why they didn't make Junundu Wurms a mount.... They were technically the first mount in the franchise! Followed by Siege Devourers.

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  • 1 month later...

@Konig Des Todes.2086 said:

  • Ley lines are referenced to light, which break down into the primary colors of red green blue. Same setup is used for WvW and a lot of typical PvP - the go-to for two sided PvP is red and blue, and if you add a third group the go to is green - why? Primary colors.

Point of order: green is a secondary color, not primary.

Other than that, I agree with everything you've posted.

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@tinymurder.5791 said:

@"Konig Des Todes.2086" said:
  • Ley lines are referenced to light, which break down into the primary colors of red green blue. Same setup is used for WvW and a lot of typical PvP - the go-to for two sided PvP is red and blue, and if you add a third group the go to is green - why? Primary colors.

Point of order: green is a secondary color, not primary.

Other than that, I agree with everything you've posted.

Depends on whether you're talking pigments or light. Or additive versus subtractive.

Additive/Light: Red, Blue, Green.

Subtractive/Pigment: Magenta, Cyan, Yellow (often simplified as Red, Blue, Yellow).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primary_color

This is why the color alterations on your monitor settings are in RGB, while printer ink colors are CMYK (K being "Key" or Black).

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@Konig Des Todes.2086 said:

  • Ley lines are referenced to light, which break down into the primary colors of red green blue. Same setup is used for WvW and a lot of typical PvP - the go-to for two sided PvP is red and blue, and if you add a third group the go to is green - why? Primary colors.

Point of order: green is a secondary color, not primary.

Other than that, I agree with everything you've posted.

Depends on whether you're talking pigments or light. Or additive versus subtractive.

Additive/Light: Red, Blue, Green.

Subtractive/Pigment: Magenta, Cyan, Yellow (often simplified as Red, Blue, Yellow).

This is why the color alterations on your monitor settings are in RGB, while printer ink colors are CMYK (K being "Key" or Black).

Fair point. I wasn't familiar with additive primary colors. Objection withdrawn.

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@Arden.7480 said:in medieval ages 3 was the holy number. xD

and 7 was a code for 'eternity' or 'infinity'. Behind the 7 hills? Infinite far away. Worked for 7 years? Worked to the end of time and THEN was relievd.

Fairy tales become even more sinister if you keep that in mind (and fairy tales with their torture-to-death-while-everybody-is-amused settings are as dark as it gets).

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