Guild Wars 2 Skills and Recharge

I’ve been learning a lot about Guild Wars 2 skills from all the footage of the Guild Wars 2 demos coming in from gamescom.  The skills are fairly similar to the ones in Guild Wars with a few twists and differences.

We’ve known for awhile that the first 5 skills are based on the weapons in the character’s hands.  Two single-handed weapons gets 3+2 skills, and a double-handed weapon gets all 5 skills.  Then the remaining 5 other skills can be chosen from a pool, similar to Guild Wars, with the exception that out of those 5 there is one elite skill slot and one heal skill slot.  One thing we learned from gamescom is there seems to be no conventional auto-attack.  Instead a player right clicks a skill for the auto-attack “slot” so when an enemy is attacked that skill will be repeated.

Although click-to-move may come back since the time ArenaNet said Guild Wars 2 would not have click-to-move, using a skill no longer seem to automatically put the character in range of the enemy.  Instead, I saw in a video, the spell will cast as normal, fly towards the enemy as normal, and then fall short.  As it falls short it then tells the player “out of range.”  I think this feature is going to be amazing in PvP, but I hope it is not frustrating to the more PvE-oriented players.  Of course, this feature may be subject to change.

The one change I don’t like is mostly regarding the elite skill.  The ones that have been noticed in the video footage so far are very powerful: become a tornado, become a plague cloud, rampage with your pet doing 100% crits, +100% move speed, and ignoring damage.  Except the recharge time is 720 seconds.

I hate skills like this in any game.  Skills with long recharges (over a minute) have long recharges because they are too powerful to be constantly active.  Using a recharge variable to balance the power of a skill is a tried and true method.  Yet, creating a skill that is an “I Win” button, and then letting the player only use the skill 5 times in an hour is poor design, in my opinion.  The power vs. recharge time does not scale in a linear fashion.  I would much rather have a less powerful skill that can be used more.

But, I’m sure that developers (and of course players) want to break out the nuke sometimes.  It’s kind of rebellious to the system.  Regular skills might have a very tight formation on, say, the availability of critical hits per minute, but a skill that could only be used a few times an hour could “safely” ignore the conventions because becoming a tornado for 20 seconds every 720 seconds won’t really destroy the overall tempo.  It just creates a loud symphonic spike with the persistent question of use.  A player will be constantly be wondering if and when to use the skill because 12 minutes is a long punishment for improper use.

My suggestion is to tier the elite skills in Guild Wars 2 if there is absolutely a need for nuke power skills.  Give each one three tiers at, for example, 120 seconds of recharge, 360 seconds of recharge, and the full 720 seconds of recharge.  The skill would become usable after 2 minutes, but at significantly reduced power.   At 720 seconds, it could get its full nuke power.  The critical point is that it is still available to use after a relatively short period of time.  It takes the elite skill away from that button we ignore 90% of our playtime, and puts it back into something that could be used nearly every event.

I hope ArenaNet reconsiders their stance on these nuke-button skills.  I loved that Guild Wars had only active skills.  Each skill in a Guild Wars toolbar was a constantly available tool.  I feel that this was the Guild Wars way, and once every 10+ minute skills are the old, busted, conventional way I thought ArenaNet got away from last game.


34 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2 Skills and Recharge”

  1. oh I did not notice that, and i am not even sure which video you are talking about.

    But I totally agree, imba uber skills with ass long recharges are IMO just bad design.

    1. Most videos with the most information are like the IGN ones and fan-filmed ones of not-ANet people playing the demo.

  2. we must keep in mind there onley in alpha and there tweaking and experimenting with the skills but it would be a shame indeed if there was a push to win button but i think Anet will do the same as in gw1 and means allot of ballancing so mabey there are some skills like the tornado thad have high reload times but extreme dmg and some other elite skills thad are like gw1 and abe we get another diffrent kind like low dmg but short reload time.

  3. The problem here is if you absolutely have to slot an elite in the skill bar, potentially wasting valuable space for most of your game time.

    If it’s a question of choice, meh…

    Also, did anyone else notice… 5 races, uber-elite skills, cross-profession combos = captain tyria!

  4. I’d love to see (someday, la la laaa) a programmable attack button. Since I’m not personally a fan of switching weapons/sets ad infinitum, I’d like a button/skill/slot/whateveryouwannacallit that I can use to do a simple:

    If target is out of melee range, equip ranged weapon, attack.
    If target is in melee range, equip melee weapon, attack.

    1. What if you are running to a mob with a sword? The program would change it to bow (because as soon as you targeted the mob, it is still a bit far, thus, it would change to bow), and then would change it again as soon as you get to melee range. It’s a waste of time, and that doesn’t allow players to choose the weapon they want to fight with. What if you wanted to rush the mob with a sword and just hit him in the face? You can’t do that with that idea. Bad idea.

      1. But I’m not making any attack action when I’m running to the mob. I’m just changing position. It’s not change equipment on target, I was thinking on action. Action = (Equipment change + attack). 1 push.

        And it does allow players to define which weapon/sets they want for what. I can’t see why it wouldn’t allow it. It’s something players set themselves.

        1. There is a scenario where you are chasing though, where you are just barely in/out of range. As a rogue in wow i ran into this, especially when you start adding in mods like combatweaponswap or whatever it was called. (there was another weapon swap one for healers for mana regen)

          Though the simple fix is, intead of “out of range”, it should be something like “10 yards away” then there’d be no problem as long as that’s in the api.

  5. I completely agree! I hate skills like that, and the worst part is I end up using it every half hour or longer, because I’m too worried to waste it, even though I could have used it three times in that space of time. I agree it’s poor design. Get rid, ArenaNet! Absolutely LOVE what I’ve seen of the demo so far though. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    1. It could be that they designed the skill to be more tactical as opposed to “random nukeable”. To be used when the situation requires and not when we feel like it? Yes, though, they could have made it less powerful with less of a recharge to possiblly get the same effect.

  6. It reminds me of the Smash Ball (Smash Bros Brawl) and the Superweapons in Red Alert (I don’t play many games). I usually have those things turned off, because they dumb the game down into “who can get X superpower first”.

    I think they should be more reasonable with the recharge, but keep it long enough that using it becomes something awesome… I know I’d love to be ripping through enemies, and at just the perfect moment, unleash hell and make people giggle/jawdrop.

    I like the tiered skill effect – I believe they’re calling those “charge” skills.

  7. Agree completely with Ravious. I’d argue that with this sort of long CD skill, what winds up happening is that you just use it every time it’s off CD – there’s no thought to it, because if you save it, you risk not using it enough to maximize efficiency.

    In every game I know of that uses this sort of skill, people eventually run a spreadsheet and figure out that the best thing is to use the skill on CD.

    More disappointing news from Gamescom, I guess. Not quite as bad as the new energy system, but close.

  8. Not all skills are designed for you. Most of the best skills in the original guild wars were flexible, short recharge skills. For the most part people didn’t play long recharge skills. The exception was some of the god avatars, but they had longer play times and short down time.

    I don’t think any serious pvp player is going to take a skill with 720 recharge, especially for 20 seconds of destruction. That said, I can see the tornado being excellent mob control for some situation. There are also players who will enjoy 20 seconds of being awesome. Not all skills are designed for you.

    Is it a design flaw? Only if it is unintentional. My understanding is that the skill balancers know how to create a weaker version of the same skill put chose against that direction. Intentionally designing skills for different types of players is a part of good design.

    1. If Guild Wars 1 is anything to go by, there’s a chance that some skills will act differently in PVP than they do in PVE.

      That being said, I still hate over powered/long recharge skills.

    2. If PvP is anything similar to GW1’s (no one knows yet), then 20 seconds of awesomeness is a game-changer. After all, knockdown for just 2 seconds can kill you in GW1 PvP. Perhaps there ought to be ways to neutralize some of these elites so as to make using them even more tactical in PvP rather than people just activating them the instant they reach the other players (which is what I’m sure PvPers would end up doing).

  9. I accidentally deleted a comment that was in the spam queue that was not spam (I realized it at the last second). If that was your post dear reader please repost and I’ll get it right next time. Sorry!

  10. This indeed is very poor design. What if there’s 2 difficult battles after each other in PvE? You will sit down and wait for 10 minutes for your tornado to recharge, because you have already failed a couple of times with it. Can’t kill this difficult group of mobs? Lets charge up our Tornadoes! Ah wait, we used them last fight. AFK 10 minutes. Getting some food.
    Will these long cooldown skills promote defensive behaviour in PvP when they are recharging, and going into heavy offence as soon as the entire party has their long-cooldown skills back up? I personally don’t see any reason for cooldowns as long as 12 minutes.

    This is exactly the kind of stuff where we need Arenanet to hear us. There’s a large dissatisfaction around these long cooldowns. I trust Kill Then Rats and GW2Guru (and other fan-sites) to make sure they are heard

  11. If they stick with this system, at least give us a cool “RARRAARRRAAAARRRRAAUGH!” sound effect, a la Bloodlust.

    Though I prefer your idea Ravious.

  12. Besides my temporal ban from GWGuru, I’ve to say something to this here, because I as German living in Cologne was NATURALLY on Gamescom and I have naturally also played the Demo.
    Today I have had alot fun with the very long demo (40 Minutes), what I then again personally find way too long. It are 45 PC’s, but only half of them is used with GW2, the other half is blocked with a shitty Aion Demo, so meh…22 PC for like thousands of people who want to play thev Demo, that lasts 40 Minutes… you can think of it, how fucking hard it is to get a free PC for you..I had to wait to nearly the end of the Day, before I finally got my chance.
    However, back to topic – the demo showed me tonay many things I like, but also a god damn lot stuff, where I have to say, its rather bad (not so extreme bad that i totally dislike it), but where I have to say – this stuff definetely needs a FIX, or where I have to say, that we will see 100% sure within the upcoming Beta and also naturally once the game is released alot of Skill Balancing Updates, where alot of the Skills of the Demo will get nerfed to hell or completely get changed or where we see even maybe minor changes in the whole gameplay concept of a class.

    However, further in the text, I really hope that click to move will come back. Playing with WASD I found to horrible!!! (not that it is impossible, but when you played 5 years GW1 with C2M and get now forced to use WASD, this feels like a pain in the ass!! So often I pressed the wrong buttons, because i’m simple not used to use WASD controls. It is fuckign alot more comfortable just to click to the point where you want to move to and FINISH. Besides that it is a nice thign that the Characters will be able to perform interactive moves, like side-rolling, front/backflips and the like just by quickly double tapping W/S or Q/E .>
    You can do that alot better ANet!!!

    Next part, the Necromancer.. besides from all the mesmer fanbois/girlz which jump daily in conclusions that there will be mesmers in GW2, it seems to be, that there won’t be mesmers in GW2, after I have seen the necromancers in their character creation… and espcially the german descriptions to al of it sound very much, as if Anet has merged the Necromancer with the ritualist AND the Mesmer together. Due to seeing the descriptions in my own native language i naturally understand everythign to 100% and among of the translations what few peple did in the forums there is ALOT of mistakes in those translations in the context (guess those people used google to translate)
    Also just seeing that Necromancers seem to wear now masks makes this triple class merge alot more obvious, as one mask stands in regard of the traditional Necromancer from GW, which is all about Death (represeted with a Skull), a spiritual mask (screams after Ritualist and it looks also with those bandages like a mummy from one of the ritu head gears) and last but not least a mask that stands wordly in regard to the “TRICKSTER-Demon”..err hello? Mesmers are Tricksters.. mesmer hexes could be easily merged together with the curses of the Necro and those mesmer hexes in GW1 felt already all like a curse and et voila there we have our trickster-demon.. comes to that lal together the look of the armor that the necros have in the demo, which llos all in all very mesmerish, regardless if the chara is now a street rat, commoner or noble. The armors of the necro have definitely not anymore that look like they had in GW1, it has become alot more mesmerish, so its a good indicator for a Necro/Rit/Mesmer mergign with Necro as final result that unifies the gameplay of all 3 into 1 class. the only question is – what hapenened with illusions..basically I would answer that question with:
    Anet gave them to the Rogue Class… but thats just speculation.
    Howeve,r that influences of the Ritualist are in the necromancer do we quickly see with the Blood minion of the necromancer, which works simple like a mobile version of the ritualists Bloodsong spirit… each attack of it stealths health and heals the Necro… same did the bloodsong spirit, it was just only immobile. However, about necros I dislike the name of their “Life Force” system.. it sounds so unfitting.. necros are NOT about Life.. they are about DEATH. necromancers collect souls.. this system should get renamed instantly into “Soul Force”, then it is fitting and suits also in regard of the old GW1’s necros soul reaping attribute. I’m also very disappointed, that we see no official necromancer article on the GW2 website today… the necro got officially confirmed, we played it even today, but where the damn f*** is the article about the necro????
    We got even officially announced, that we see a class reveal before gamescom and now is gamescom and the necro has even still not its article on the site, not we got the confirmation even only earlier, because gameplay material leaked before gamscom started which showed the necro in action.

    However, this here gets too big, I’ve even 2 days left to get more impressions from the demo when im again at the tradefare saturday and sunday. Today I’m only more than happy, that I got an Art of GW2 artbook (signed by Jeff grub and Daniel Dociu) as also a German version of Ghosts of ascalon, also signed by Jeff Gruff, persinally signed for me with my Name.
    Once my temporal ban is over on 23th of August, I’ll make a detailed report posting from al of my GW2 experiences from gamescom and list up again detailed on GW2guru all the pros and cons, what I think is already good and what I think needs definitively changes before the game releases finally. Even if its only a demon, the demo showed up many flaws also and alot of thigns which can be done better, or should be done better as shown up taken design choices are absolutely not the best desicions that Anet has made.

    Also the people of GW2 guru will then also see, how I look in real (lol) as I’ll upload also some photos then from me that I’ve made with the hot sexy tradefare babes hehe, however, can also maybe take soe time before the pics get uploade,d need eventually first a cable to put my photos from the digicam onto PC

    1. Bloodsong heals itself, not the caster, so Blood Minion is not like it at all. Maybe it is a little like Vampirism, except the mobility part. It *is* exactly like Vampiric Horror, a Necromancer skill from Factions.

    2. I am thinking the reason for the temp ban from Guru may have been well founded. Lots of questionable mat’l in your comment.

  13. God damn. Impressive wall of text.

    Anyhow, I’d have to agree with you Ravious. An auto-win button used only once every 10 minutes sounds kinda OP. But on the other hand, theres more than enough time to work out all the bugs before the game releases so lets just hope they come up with a better solution.

  14. I just posted a longer version of this on guildwars2guru, but I’m fine with long recharge elites if they base much of the power of elites in player teamwork, like with the other player combo skills.

    Let players have their fun in tornado form, but don’t let it do incredible damage. Instead, most of the power of elites comes from Having players interract with the elite tornado by shooting their bullets etc, through the tornado for massive damage that you couldnt get with a normal static field and bullet combo.

    This makes the elites more than I WIN buttons (if they are that), and it makes it makes player skill and teamwork even more important when you use one.

    Original post here:

  15. I’m fairly certain the nuke skills, along with all the other skills in the demo have been significantly tweaked for demo purposes. I wouldn’t worry much about the recharge time and power output. If there’s one thing we know about Arenanet is that they’ll always have a team on top of balancing skills constantly. Nods at Izzy.

  16. I actually like the idea of the new elites. They might introduce a new tactical element into PvE and unstructured PvP (WvW).
    I can see the merits of a tiered system as described in the posts, though. So why not?

  17. I like the powerful skills with a long cool down time. In pvp this will mean that you have to use your skills wisely and probably combo them with your team mates. As was announced the group size for Guild Wars 2 will be 5 players. This means that if every team member has a elite skill with a cool down of 12 minutes it would be a really bad idea to use all of them at the beginning. If the other team survives you now have to cope 12 minutes without using an elite. Whereas if you use one elite at a time, you may only have to bride 2-4 minutes or something like that. I don’t think it’s such a bad design considering that the rest of the skills you have already seem to be pretty powerful so that you won’t need (and won’t be using) your elite most of the time anyways.

  18. I seem to remember an interview, where one of the devs was talking about this very topic. Unfortunately it was a while ago, and I can’t find it right now, but he said very clearly that the elite skills were not a click to win button. They are powerful skills, that’s true, but then, sometimes you’re in difficult situations. The specific example he spoke about was how they ended up being used in PVP. It added an extra element of strategy because usually, the people who used it first were at a massive disadvantage. This doesn’t sound very much like a click to win button to me.

    It’s very easy to look at footage or look at a skill description and judge it. But until you’ve played/tried a skill, I don’t think you can say anything about how it works or doesn’t work.

    No game has ever had quite the combat system GW 2 is going to have, so no one can say how the pieces fit together. Clearly, people at Anet are playing and testing this. Until I play it and test it, I’m going to reserve judgement.

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