Guild Wars Interview

Thanks to the fine folks at ArenaNet, I had a chance to ask Linsey Murdock and Isaiah “Izzy” Cartwright some questions on the Guild Wars series.  Linsey is the current lead designer for the Guild Wars 1 Live Team, and Izzy is hard at work on Guild Wars 2.  The interview gives some good insight for what both may have in store for the future.

In many past Guild Wars interviews, ArenaNet developers have said that the skill system incorporates a few ideas from collectible card games, such as Magic, which has a strong niche protection they lovingly call the color wheel.  How is the Guild Wars balancing approach for professions similar to the Magic color wheel?

Linsey: It’s a fair comparison.  One of the big similarities is that in Magic they take all the key mechanics of the game and divvy them out to different colors.  We do basically the same thing, dividing our game mechanics among the various classes.

Izzy: Yeah, players outfit themselves from a large collection of skills.  That kind of play feels very similar to Magic.  We have builds, they have decks.  And like in Magic, some mechanics are stronger than others.  It takes some player skill to create effective builds, just as it takes player skill to play the game well.    But while the mechanics are similar, Guild Wars is a different beast than Magic.  Both Magic and Guild Wars have strong metagame shifts, but we deal with that issue in different ways.  Magic adds new sets every 6 months or so, while we do updates every few months; we’re pretty similar in that regard.   I think the big difference is we added new professions into Guild Wars, which would be like if Magic added entirely new colors; I don’t know, like mauve or beige or something.  (laughs) It just makes balancing a lot harder.

Could you briefly describe what you would consider to be each profession’s niche?

Izzy: Warriors are front line damage dealers with variable utility.  They’re the most durable profession and are the best at dishing out Deep Wound and Knockdown.  Rangers have definitely changed a lot since they were introduced.  They’re our primary condition-spreading class.  Rangers are a little more solo-oriented, jack-of-all-trades kind of characters.  Ranged attacks, DPS, interrupts, conditions… a little bit of everything.

Linsey: Mesmers manipulate how you’re able to play.  They’re one of our primary hex classes and are good for interrupts and debuffs.  They also have one of the stronger energy gain lines in the game.  In PvP, they can have a psychological effect on other players, making them second-guess themselves.

Izzy: Necromancers are one of the strongest hexing classes, with multiple enchantment removal options.  They use corpses as resources and can create minions.  Necros also have an unavoidable damage type called Life Stealing.

Linsey: Monks are the primary solo farming classes for PvE, obviously.  They’ve got strong condition and hex removal, and of course, they’re our main healers.  Elementalists are both mid-line damage dealers and toolboxes.  They have access to Blind, slow, ranged damage spells, and explodey AoE spells.  Eles have high energy pools and can make strong use of secondary class skills, so they’re quite versatile.

Izzy: Assassins are lightweight DPS melee characters who have Shadow Step and really fast solo spike damage.  With access to Poison, Bleed, and Dazed, Assassins are very good at applying conditions to a single target.

Linsey: Ritualists are our secondary healing profession.  They’re sort of our engineers – they can do damage buffing, party heals, make turrets, buff other characters.  They also have access to condition removal.  Dervishes specialize in AoE melee damage, enchantment manipulation, and self healing.  They have easy access to Deep Wound, which makes them pretty formidable.

Izzy: Paragons are durable support characters with a decent ranged attack.  They have Chants, Shouts, Echoes, party heals and buffing, and easy access to Bleeding.

How important is each profession’s identity?  Does the second profession mechanic affect the identity of the professions?

Izzy: Obviously the secondary profession a player chooses is hugely important.  It’s crucial that we have a strong primary profession which defines the character, but that secondary profession opens up a new matrix of tools you can manipulate.  In effect, we don’t have ten professions in Guild Wars.  When you factor in the secondary professions, we have close to a hundred classes in the game.  We have two kinds of identities for all our professions – primary and secondary.  Take an elementalist, for example.  You play a primary elementalist a lot differently than you play a secondary elementalist.  When we find a class combination where the secondary is stronger than the primary class, we usually end up changing that.

Going further off of Magic: The Gathering’s color wheel, the collectible card game has never added another color (colorless and gold cards excepted).  With Factions and Nightfall, ArenaNet squeezed four more professions into place and these new professions went through many growing pains.  Do you feel that the added professions are as solid in identity and application as the core classes?

Izzy: We brought in the new professions to add more diversity to the game and increase the number of options available to players.  The new professions definitely increase the size and complexity of the skill matrix and make it more difficult to balance, but we think it’s important to bring new things to the table with each new campaign.  In hindsight, the new professions definitely created more difficulties than we had anticipated, but it added more diversity and more builds to the game.  We really felt it was important to expand the possibilities and keep things fun for players, so it was worth it.

What were some lessons that were learned regarding adding new professions after the initial release of Prophecies?

Izzy: For Factions, we started off the new professions – Assassin and Ritualist – weaker, then adjusted them and made them stronger.  For Nightfall, the Dervish and Paragon started off strong, and then we had to tone them down.  Both approaches had drawbacks.  The big lesson we learned about adding new classes is that it increases the amount of time required to get things right.  Neither of the approaches we took are acceptable long term strategies, though. We learned that adding more classes greatly increases the complexity of the game, and we just need to give ourselves more time to roll out the new professions in a balanced way.

The tournament scene for Magic: The Gathering constantly evolves as cards are phased out due to new sets, cards are banned, and new cards are added to the list of playable cards.  Similarly, ArenaNet evolves skills by balancing them, splitting them into PvE and PvP, and sometimes even changing the entire functionality of the skill.  Yet ArenaNet has never dropped a live skill from play.  Why is it better to “effectively remove [a skill] as a viable option” than to get rid of it altogether?

Izzy: Our goal is game balance, first and foremost.  There are different ways to achieve game balance other than dropping a skill entirely.  From a player’s perspective, it’s easier to understand that a skill has been changed than dropped altogether – particularly for more casual players.   When we balanced Smiter’s Boon, for example, that was about as close to getting rid of a skill as we could go.

ArenaNet has showed some interest in sealed deck tournaments at a few gaming conventions.  Current Guild Wars players can do this informally with some community tools, but it’s not an official part of the game.  Will we ever see some “limited” play type in Guild Wars, and what are some of the design hurdles and problems that spring to mind concerning this format?

Linsey: Yes, there will be a Sealed Deck format – we just announced it. It’s a strong format, and we can balance our Sealed Deck similar to a Magic format by restricting skill use rather than changing skill functionality. We’ll be able to balance specifically for Sealed Deck without causing problems in other areas of game.  One of the hurdles we encountered with this format was group formation.  Making this work as a format supported in the game meant adjusting the original rule set so that players who aren’t all in the same room can more easily form groups.

Linsey, you mentioned in your journal that for the Guild Wars Live Team you’re starting to drive the skill and profession balance changes.  What kind of data do you guys rely on when driving changes?  What are some of the things you’re still learning from the balancing process?

Linsey:   Honestly, pulling stats on skills doesn’t give us a lot of useful information re: skill usage. The community does a great job of telling us what their problems are.  Often player input can be more useful than pulling stats or looking at metrics.   In terms of lessons learned, we’ve found that the solution for balance issues is to look for the root problem.  The answer to a problem with Skill A may not be to nerf that skill, but to nerf Skill B or adjust a game mechanic like Soul Reaping or buff stacking.  So the real key is washing away the symptoms to find what the real illness is.  We want to treat the core disease, not just the symptoms.

What are some of the strongest lessons you have learned from Guild Wars 1 that you are going to bring to Guild Wars 2 regarding protecting the niche or identity of professions and skills?

Izzy: For Guild Wars, we had two big demographics of players — PvP and PvE — and we tried to make all of our skills work for both player sets.  There are some skills that work well in both PvE and PvP, but not all of them.  Going into Guild Wars 2, we now recognize that we have two different game types.  We need to address the different needs of each game type without negatively affecting either one.  If we don’t properly handle skills in both formats, we end up hurting both games.  Every profession needs a niche in both game types.  Right now in GW1 we have classes in PvE and PvP that are used very infrequently.  As we enter GW2, we’re going to do a better job identifying these issues up front.

One of the big things we’re going to do is focus more on a smaller number of game types for GW2 instead of the fifteen or so game types in GW1, where every balance we do has a ripple effect on other game types.  It becomes crazy difficult to keep everybody happy.  You can’t balance for just one format; you have to balance for all formats, which makes a pretty complex matrix.  By keeping the number of game types to a manageable level, we’ll be able to institute more effective skill balances and keep everybody happy.

Thanks, guys!

50 thoughts on “Guild Wars Interview

  1. Marcus Ferret

    Another great read, Ravious!:) My days of GW are over but it’s good to see that the ArenaNet team has learnt a few things from the past to bring forward to the future.

    Here’s hoping GW2 will be Flawless…;)

  2. Longasc

    I cannot help, but I read similar interviews from Isaiah Cartwright before. They definitely learned from their past experiences, but their usual solution to balance issues is still: NERF THE SKILL TO HELL.

    But well, they are not dumb and noticed what went wrong. So I hope we will not get so many underpowered, niche or totally useless skills littering the skill panel, which has grown to a very long list of skills over the years.

    It is also a bit disappointing how long it takes them to identify serious problems. I also think they have had a totally wrong stance on solo farming “elite” areas from the very beginning.

    Guild Wars PvP and PvE are also a problem. Two totally different game modes within the same game affecting each other while being totally separated almost sounds paradox, but it really is a root problem of Guild Wars. At the moment they are separating the two modes even more.

    I think they could take a clue from Aion, which has no separation of PvP and PvE like Guild Wars. There was or is more trash talk between PvE and PvP focused players when it comes to skillbalance in Guild Wars than there ever was between Horde and Alliance or between jerks in Barrens chat. :P

    1. Aaron Plunkett

      No separation of PvP and PvE would result in a non-competitive environment. This is the exact opposite of what Guild Wars was originally intended to do:have competitive PvP. The more they separate the two, the more GW can fill the market it was intended to in the first place: competitive PvP in an MMO environment.

      1. Longasc

        Yes, I know about their initial intentions. But PvP did not cut the mustard, apparently! Especially the name giving GvG. For those who loved it, it was great for sure. But for the masses? It became a farmer’s PvE game over time.

        I fear the strict separation of PvE and PvP skills might also cause crap like totally imbalanced skills, super easy PvE without any kind of challenge.

        Izzy still has this “PvP first” mentality, and this is right in general. But I often get the impression they do not take PvE balance serious. Statements like “people like overpowered skills” are true, but following this train of thought is going to turn GW PvE into crap.

        1. noob_nightmare

          i have to say i agree, not necessarily that there are too many useless skills littering the skill bar, but that there is too much emphasis on PvP. i personally would like to see much more challenging npcs than skills that are underpowered, and regarding the useless skills, i feel the same way about GW skills as i do about Magic cards; everyone has a use that it does better than any other. now finding the one you want is the tough part, but theres always an option, if you have a useless skill on your skill bar, it just means you havent found its right place and synergy.

        2. Eolirin

          The fact that they view solo farming as a valid playstyle seems to be what’s really bothering you about the way they handle PvE balance, because honestly, as many skills get buffed as get nerfed (in pve especially, but pvp too), and the last two updates centered almost solely around buffs to underused professions and skills, especially in pve.

          The game is balanced pretty damn well relative to other games, even for PvE; it’s just balanced toward goals that you don’t happen to agree with.

          Besides that though, the reason why the game ended up heavily centered on farming is a much deeper issue than skill balance. Some fundamental design decisions meant that the PvE content is far too finite for the amount of hours people put into it, so once you’ve completed all of the campaign content and maybe done some of the elite zones and missions, there’s nothing left to do *but* farm… or title grind, which amounts to the same thing. Making PvE content much more difficult to solo farm would not fix this, it’d just make the end game for pve painfully annoying for anyone not in a guild. The fix you’re looking for would break the game for a lot of people, to the point that there would not be a point in playing it anymore. If you can’t understand that this is a fundamentally BAD thing, Guild Wars really isn’t the game for you. What you want out of the game is just not aligned with it, at all. Farming *is* the end game.

          1. Dave

            Which for me means, whilst i love GW early on, and the feel of the PvE, i stop playing end game as a result of farming mentality. Wasn’t the entire original mission statement to remove the grind anyway? When did the peasents take over?

          2. Eolirin

            Dave, (Since I can’t seem to reply directly)

            Part of the reason why the end game ended up like that is because the PvE game was intended to be more like a sideline, something that you did for a little while then kinda put on a shelf till the next expansion came out. They stopped doing expansions, so that kinda fell apart. But the reason why the end game is incredibly grind heavy is actually because of the fact that they have an anti-grind mentality; because they removed most of the filler nonsense for the initial experience, you run out of content way too fast, and there’s nothing to replace it except PvP or farming/title grinding.

            Grind is what you do when you have nothing left to do, and GW’s structure makes a more interesting pve experience after the initial content really hard to pull off. GW2 will probably rectify a great deal of that, which is part of the reason why they’re doing it.

    2. Dave

      I for one would hate them to re meld PvE and PvP, with EOTN they have shown just how epic fights in PvE can get when not held down by keeping the skills balanced for PvP. They have also shown how smooth PvP can become since. I expect they will take many of the good idea’s from Aion (how odd would the Merchant stands be?) O and regarding trash talk, if we wanted WoW, we’d be playing it.

  3. Ericsson

    nice read!
    i think, ironically the GW live Team sticks a bit too much to MTG concerning their skill balances. Right now, we have a distribution of skills that are very similar to those in MtG. Seems to be the usual result of small teams trying to make somthing balanced.
    It consists of a base of excellent skills that create new builds(corresponding to rare cards), skills that are not really defining but necessary for many builds, especially in terms of synergy (uncommon) and skills that most players throw right into the dustbin (except they are that hard Johnnies to somehow find a good combo with them) (common).
    The size of the skill categories decreases with their power level increasing. Somehow people seem to need imbalance, otherwise its no fun to discover new skills because you just think well, thats just as good as the one i use. Why bother buying it?
    Also, its very easy to balance the game when only 100 skills are used. Nerf the ~20 key skills to oblivion and buff an equal amount of random other skills.
    And thats what they do.

  4. Pingback: Kill Ten Rats Interview Posted | Newswrath

  5. Matty

    The irony is PVP(HA in particular) has become a almost a farming activity anyway. But even worse PvP is pretty much closed shop, very hard for new players to get involved in PvP now.

    1. Xamot

      PVP was always a closed shop, especially HA. I have played GW for almost 4 years now, and I remember from the first time I tried to get into HA it was like standing in a room of wine and cheese snobs looking down their noses at you. “(need upity snob voice here)What, you don’t have any points, you can’t join our team, we only take people with points. Go get some points.” And the irony was they were all like that so it was impossible to get points. I haven’t been back to HA since.

      1. Ariyen

        I agree with Xamot.
        Hence, I haven’t been back. I don’t think HA or TA was ever fair. They never give the new players a chance. You ‘had’ to have points to play. That’s bull**** if you ask me.

        1. mcnick

          i agree……..WHats with the Noob thing at HA.those plyrs just dont let me play…gimme a build to use n they refuse…..not friendly ppl..there…but for PVE wise its good.

    2. Eolirin

      They’re adding sealed deck for a reason. :)

      Hopefully that’ll help, and they’re aiming to make some UI additions to it so it’ll be more pug friendly, so we’ll see how that works out.

  6. Funk

    The biggest fault of Guild Wars and Izzy, is that they didn’t consider the PLAYERS.

    I WAS a player of Guild Wars until they came out with over powered classes and skills which forced you to buy the new expansion. Once everyone did, they nerfed it to hell. I did this 3 times, with factions, nightfall, and eotn. What a complete waste of time and money.

    Not only did they ruin my previous characters I used for yeasr.. such as 55 farming. They would take old skills, and make them over powered.

    No doubt in my mind they came out with more classes and over powered skills available in the new expansions only to increase sales. Once sales declined, come out with a new expansion.

    They have nerfed and ruined the game countless times. They changed the gladiator point system, they changed everything about the game countless times.

    Yet they wont do anything about the sales of guilds with gold trim for IRL money. Everyone knows, nothing is done. So many gold and silver trim guilds that are inactive but being sold for real money daily. Anet and Guild Wars was only about money, not customer satisfaction.

  7. GrimmRa101

    GW needs skill balancing. Theres no point in having a over powered class or everyone will just be that class. Same for a skill, if skill A does 25 dmg but skill B only does 10, then a balance is needed so players will consider using either skill.

    I agree with you guys on the PvP, its becoming very hard for new PvP players to take part as everyone never wants to join you. Noob this, noob that. Its dissapointing.

  8. Draygo

    Sorry, guild wars does not need every skill to be balanced. Balance destroyed the competative pvp scene for many players. Back in prophecies you had a limited number of ‘top’ builds that all had a fair chance against each other. There was room to incorperate some off the wall skills, but when you went into a gvg match or a ha match you knew what to expect.

    You can’t say that anymore. With balanced skills means you can run into a team that just uses condition pressure, or hex pressure, or just all physical damage, or all elemental damage from ele’s. So if you brought a hex removal skill that skill became useless when you had to fight a team that uses zero hexes. The game became entirely about offense, the best defense was to kill your enemy quickly.

    A stong competative field is a field you can expect. In a match with two teams with similar builds the team with the better coordination and teamwork as well as individual skill will win the match. In a competative enviroment this is what should be happening.

    The boonprot meta in gvg was the best metagame that this game had. Simply because it could deal with every meta build out there defensively and was a relatively balanced build (yes a lot of the skills used by them were overpowered, but this is what happens and it was good for the competative field). You had a wide variety of classes being used in that meta, although rangers and necros were seldom seen, they were both used for great effect in the meta. Necros as hex pressure and rangers running cripshot for split and condition pressure. If you lost in this meta it wasnt because the other team’s build was completely superior and you couldnt make up for the differences with skill and teamwork. You knew what to expect roughly before you hit that search button for a gvg match or entered HA.

    Right now the gvg meta represents a complicated form of rock paper and scissors.

    If your asking for every skill to be ‘balanced’ you really dont know what you are asking for. Its a good thing if one skill shines above the rest to even the playing field in competative matches.

  9. Melf_Himself

    I found it really odd that they brushed the monks off as “our healing class”. Monks are all about mitigating damage in the first place with “protection” skills, not about making red bars go up. That is one of Guild Wars’ unique features, seems odd not to mention.

    It sounds like they’ve learned that adding extra classes to the game without thinking about where they fit in is a recipe for balance disaster. Whether they take that on board for GW2 or submit to pressure from the marketing department (i.e. “needs moar classes!!!!~1111) remains to be seen.

    Also, I wish they’d stop with their crazy GvG rebalancing. GvG was at its peak in terms of balance and quality of competition before the release of Factions. It’s been downhill since then.

  10. DeQuad

    I feel that this effot to “balance” the game is like running in place. It really seems to create no solutions. So you fix a few solutions but end with with more things that are unfair else where. Maybe instead of nerfing skills or buffing them, they should make them harder to get in the first place. I had to beat 3 expansions before the game started easing up for me. Before i could put builds together that worked well. Now, now i got to change those builds and things arnt as easy, but dont i deserve alittle bit of easy since im 75% of the way through the game. I feel i deserve some easy playing once i have completed the campains. It should be rewarding to play the game and be loyal to it. There are soooo many useless skills in this game its is pathetic. i really dont think a game company has kicked its players in the teeth more times than GW teams and Anet.

  11. DeQuad

    P.S. and if any game is unfair its MtG. Elves have more uses and better synergy then any other creature type in the game. that card game is so unfairly balanced its hardly worth taking serously. Unless your a rare card collector.

    1. Too Many Mind

      There are plenty of other creatures that synergize as well, if not better than, elves. Goblin Bidding for example.

      1. SimpleMindedCynic

        There are ways to deal with overpowered creatures or builds other than “balancing”. The problem is people complaining so much about how things are “too hard” or “unfair”. It’s all about doing a little extra to find things that work and the people who just want everything handed to them.

  12. Doomer1

    The skill balances I have seen over the last 3 years have been good and bad. I’ve seen very popular builds or competent builds get ruined due to skill changes. Case in point was a brilliant skill called Unyielding Aura. It was a resurrect skill with an enormous range so that you could rescue party members easily from difficult areas. The skill balance they applied to it made it no different than other similar resurrect skill. At that point there was no reason to use your only available elite skill spot for a skill that was no different than the others. To balance the skill they should have left the range but increased the cost or possibly the time to recharge the skill. We were already giving up the ability to carry an elite spell to use it. I would have preferred keeping the range and paying a penalty for casting. But that is an example I remember that was one of the most surprising changes I saw them do to a skill that essentially negated its use to me in the game.

  13. freal

    Doomer, do you recall what UA was before they made it crazy imba?
    A maintained elite vengence. The dartboard buff idea confused too many people. I guess it was better than Izzy point based spreadsheet though.

  14. DeQuad

    I beleave the way to be fair is to not make skills worse to the poin of they are not woth haveing in your skill bar or even unlocked they need to be more like MtG. MtG releases other cards that are powerd up enough to deal with the off balance to bring it back to fair play. GW needs to start doing this. Insted of making a skill worthless by balancing, power up other skills to counter the off balance skills. This way insted or haveing hundreds of completely useless skills we just keep getting better ones.

    One of my favorithe things in the game to do is to solo farm, raptors to be more specific. One of a very few things that put a smile on my face after work. It was a bitch to put the skill bar together in the first place, because like most builds the skills are burried across all the campains. now that the Mantra of Resolve has changed its vertually impossable to do. I cant count the times they would knock me out of the stance with Wild Strike or 15-20 raptors would hit me with disrupting stab and zap my evergy. Either way resulted in me dying. so where is the unbalance there. they should have made Wild Strike a lead attack instead of making MoR into ANOTHER wothless skill. Somethings else, they could have just made the energy loss for MoR greater.

  15. Eric The Dangerous

    I really think the more serious issue with GW1 was the failure of the economy as the game had inscriptions introduced. After inscriptions green items among others became worthless. I would like to see GW2 with a great stable economy and Game Masters to monitor the economy to try to keep it active and working fluently. Thank you for your time.

  16. Ranter

    the GW PvP is a very closed community, if you want to get into it you have to play w/ your pve buddies otherwise it just wont happen, i played pvp for 4 years, and we get tired of teaching kids the game so we dont allow the newer kids to play with us generally, there are guilds such as KiSu that mentor and teach new players about GvG and such but you have to get involved with that yourself, and after you “graduate” from there, generally guilds will pick you up to fill up their roster

  17. Voodoo

    I stopped playing PvP back 2 years ago because of the griefer / elitist attitude. I only play pve now. I have been playing for near on 4 years now and I am only out of content simply because Arenanet decided to make Guild Wars 2 instead.

    I love it when they do a skill balance. It forces adaption and breaks old cookie cutters builds (Can’t think of anything worse than using a perma tank or 600 smite runner. Why even play if you are just sitting back waiting for the chest?). It keeps the game fresh. I can’t wait for another build update so I can experiment on bringing in new and underused skills. Building new and devastating hero team builds. I look forward to consumables getting altered to change it up even more.

    Everyone complains when SF gets hit with the nerf bat. Personally I love it when the farming builds get hit.

    The end game is not farming. Not in the least in fact. Farming is something used to obtain items of value such as rare skin weapons, armor or consumables. The real end game is Guardian, Vanquisher, Sorrows Furnace, Underworld, Mallyx the Unyielding, Urgoz Warren, The Deep, Slavers Exile, Hard Mode EotN Dungeons. You also have your hall to complete for GW2.

    I find it disappointing when people flame the devs for nerfing a skill that ruins a build. Particularly a farming build. You all complain about the economy but whine when they do something to resolve it (Lets face it your farming build got nerfed and now you gotta wait to find another on PVXwiki). Guild Wars is a game about skill, timing and competitve team play.

    I am hoping that they implement some changes from other MMO’s but I really hope that GW retains its own distinct flavour. Its fresh, you can’t compare it to other MMO’s because it is totally different. Its game mechanic and team build dynamic make it unique in the MMO market. I love the fact that I can change my attributes and have 2 classes, but I also love the fact that I have to choose only 8 skills for the duration of my run and that I am locked in to that build for that run. What other game even comes close to even comparing to something like this…

    In short the game balance is fine in my opinion. Those that say its not simply are unable / unwilling to adapt or evolve.

    1. Tara Queen of Death

      The game IS NOT balanced! There are no good players in GW anymore…NONE!! Players now DEPEND ON NERFS TO HELP THEIR BUILDS! They are simply unable / unwilling to adapt or evolve, because they’re not forced to. Certain skills and classes have been nerfed to the point of being ineffective. The game no longer forces the player to master his class. If he can’t win, then the game, skill, class, build, ect is “overpowered”. Once the offending Game, skill, class, build is “nerfed”, this player now feels “powered” against this seemingly unbeatable foe. The warrior class is a joke. Dervishes tank better than warriors do, other classes heal better than monks. Whenever you have a class that is BETTER at doing something than the primary class the skill set was designed for, then there is a problem! That is the case with this game. In certain PVP areas, warriors and dervishes have been nerfed to the point almost being useless against spell casters. Warriors and Dervishes have no business in JQ or Aspenwood. This is not just me saying this, this is the view of most players there. These are PVP areas!! People take what works, so whenever you see the same cookie cutter builds, characters, and tactics, in the same areas, doing the same things over and over and over again, then that means there is an imbalance there. To prove my point show up with a warrior in those PVP areas and I’ll smoke you. This is an open challenge. Now I’m fully aware that after doing this, my character will be nerfed to the point of ineffectiveness. But oh well, it is what it is. I hang out in JQ.

      1. Tara Queen of Death

        One more thing, PLEASE don’t bring a Warrior/Monk w/ROJ, Bane signet, Castigation Signet ect. If I see one more of those I’ll throw up!

        1. Justin

          dervs are quite good at JQ and Aspenwood actually, but i agree with the warrior/monk with roj bane and castigation

  18. Donn Buerger

    Digesting player comments, thought I would make a few observations of my own. One is you can’t please everyone. I don’t play PvP because I, at 57 years old am not interested in being criticized by some teenager or power player snobs or someone that finds cheats for games or about how bad my skill set is, or about my style of play. So I stick with my friends and enjoy myself once or twice a week (yes, I do have a life). As long as I can reasonably hold my own, I am happy. For those who complain about the greed of GW & Anet, find me another decent MMO that doesn’t have a monthly charge. The expansions and other products they sell do keep them in business. This is the one of the reasons I play this game, other than enjoying it. (no, I don’t have any GW stock) As long as they can keep it relatively balanced and shake up the pot once in awhile, I am happy. Don’t get me wrong, I have met and have been helped some experienced, patient players in the past, and I have tried to return that favor to lower level less experience players that I occasionally run across. Looking forward to what GW2 has to offer.

    1. DJ

      Since you mentioned age I would just also like to add that I really enjoy challenges in video games that sometimes gets lost trying to keep a broad player audience. I usually don’t feel like I’ve found any video games very challenging since the original super mario bros and pacman, its my hope that GW2 will be difficult and diverse. I don’t mind when 12 year olds play, but its nice to not have them spamming in Lion’s Arch 24/7 and I’ve met some creative teenagers and some that just should not be playing MMOs. I liked the original prophesies release, any relatively creative player could beat the game without an issue and explore and enjoy the game. I still remember a lot of people being trapped at the thunderhead keep mission because it was “too tough” where now overpowered heroes can beat the mission for you.

  19. BDilly

    I agree with Donn, GW is prolly the BEST MMO I’ve seen without a monthly charge and, in my opinion, they have done an awesome job with the many things GW & ANet have had to deal with (i.e. all the different classes) They know its hard for players sometimes but that’s why they have the Wiki page! I’ve been playing GW for quite some time now and have found that every time they have nerfed my skill bar to the point that its no good…there is always another skill bar on wiki that can accomplish the same thing but just a different way and the skills i had b4 are just used differently but still useful. As for the economy of GW, compared to other MMO’s economies, GW’s economy is stable and a breeze. I look forward to playing GW2 and cant wait for its release

    1. Arionel

      I had never played an MMO before I tried Guild Wars, oh, six days or so after it debuted four years ago, and I’ve been playing pretty much every day ever since. I love the game, especially the PvE aspect of it. I agree that some skill nerfs have indeed cost certain builds/players, but therein lies the old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Get out there, experiment, and put together something even better than before.

      I’ve never been a PvP player, really. I do some AB, some JQ and some Fort Aspenwood, but I’ve never done the Arenas or GvG. That really is not why I play the game. I would hate to think of GW2 turning out to be all PvP all the time, or *shudder* turning out to be like WoW. My hope is that they take all the best from GW and evolve it. And speed it up a bit….heh I can’t wait that long!

  20. DJ

    I too have been playing GW since it came out and have tried all of the aspects of the game. I’ve always loved playing GW, even after going through 30 titles its still fun to wander around presearing and other zones and just admire the world Anet put together. It was sad watching how some pvp zones turned out – such as HA. I was there for the IWAY farming years ago, and I’ll say that most of the people “with points” who refuse to let newcomers join in the modern HA experience are usually fairly poor players and haven’t gotten many new points since IWAY. Alot of people have been dissing WoW too I’ve noticed and just to be fair I think GW could be absolutely amazing and a single flawless world (with z-axis) and say using asuran teleporters to get from town to town and a bit more of a fluid pvp system (who liked lagback?) I sincerely look forward to GW2 and hope it turns out to be all we expect and more. As far as making skill layouts simpler I understand how crazy it must get working to balance everything from month to month but at the same time I worry if that will drag the game down at all. There are a lot of gamers who play GW for 1000s or hours a year who enjoy have hundreds of choices in skills to make them unique and not having every new player be pulling out the exact same build.

    All that being said pvxwiki definitely ruined GW in my perspective – the enjoyment of the game came from being the only wammo with healing hands or the only assassin with backbreaker, and now you can’t play GW unless you run wiki builds (people won’t allow you in groups and players who have played a week suddenly have heros with as good of skill sets as people who’ve been working and tinkering with their characters for years. More or less it became WoW, where your rogue could only specific assassination/combat specs or would never get in a raid. Hopefully GW2 will allow players to start out and remain diverse.

    1. DeQuad

      i too dont like pvx wiki, but not because of the cookie cutter builds. i have found that most of the builds on there are complete crap and always need modification. i use the site for build basics, something to get me started if im haveing builders block. i dont think they ruined the game though. pvx wiki’s small atempt at skill builds is for the most part pathetic.

  21. shibuya girl

    The balances are fun. I think they should be more substantial tho so that it just doesnt create 4 or 5 fashionable builds. If there are more balances the resulting confusion will mean that people will end up being more creative.

    The thing that destroyed PvE for me were heroes. It killed the social aspect of the game. People dont talk outside their guild anymore.

    The closest people get to communication is trolling in the RA waiting rooms

  22. salmon

    the balances are definitely interesting. but guild wars as many people have previously said has been going steadily down hill since factions was released, from a pvp point of view at least. No longer is the game fun, revolving around player skill to win a game, but instead who can push 1 2 3 the fastest, ANET should have stopped these kind of builds from ever becoming mainstream in pvp, i wouldnt mind so much if they were actually beatable with “balanced” builds revolving around player skill, but when you are forced to run the same boring stuff, just not to lose all the time, the game becomes rather tiresome.

    And another thing i noticed which i felt obliged to comment on, was earlier posts on here commented on how groups are near impossible to join in PvP, particularly in HA, unless you already have points and titles. I can see where people are coming from, but then the whole idea of achieving early titles is grinding them out in pvp, this may seem nonsense but it at least gives you a basic grounding, so when playing with a good team, you are not totally out of your depth. Players asking for ranked groups, ok they may seem snobbish and many pve players trying pvp for the first time take offence to this, but at the same time see it from their point of view, if they let inexperienced players participate, and they lose because of it, losing all the time is never fun! Many PvE players who try to take part in groups and get told no, dont seem to realise that its not simply the ability to use the skills on your bar, but other more important individual player skills that are only really relevant in pvp, such as map positioning, communication on Ventrilo/teamspeak, kiting damage, weapon swapping, the list goes on.

    Despite my long post though which seems mostly negative, i do feel guild wars has been largely a success though, compared to other online games, it has managed to cope with both PvE and PvP pretty well, all things considered, due to skill balance, at certain times the game has perhaps been more enjoyable than at others, but after 3 years im still playing, so it cant be too bad really :)

  23. Hyozanryu Sanada

    I’ve played all types of PvP and PvE, and what I would like to say is this game is a game of greed. People play just so they can rank their titles or stockpile materials. A lot of good people I know stopped playing because of this endless chase for power and recognition that they moved to other games.

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