[GW2] Trait-orous Fiddle

With the expansion, ArenaNet is redoing all the trait lines, and more. The Twitter pitch is that each trait line is being collapsed to 3 minor traits and 3 tiers of 3 selectable traits, where players pick one from each tier. Stats are being divorced from the trait lines, and instead of putting points in to trait lines, players just choose three trait lines getting all trait levels from that trait line. Specializations are essentially a trait line that opens up the ability to use specialization aspects.

This update will come before the expansion. After the expansion, the elite specializations will be available, and it must be slotted into one of the three specialization slots to use the elite specialization’s skills, weapons, and of course traits.

Bhagpuss puts the changes into the fiddling that seems to occur with many MMOs. In his mind it won’t be a substantial improvement. 

Here’s how I view it. ArenaNet designed the master class, prestige class, etc. as a mechanic that could be added on forever. In every future expansion, it is conceivable that each profession could get a new elite specialization. I feel this might be more true since probably there won’t be new professions after the Revenant balances everything.

With the old point-buy trait system, how would you do elite specializations complete with traits? I mean, you could.

Anyway, I view this as less of fiddling and more of a design change to incorporate elite specializations. The stimuli is not just from “let’s change traits, again”.

To be honest, I dislike making builds. The more variables there are for builds, the more likely I will dislike it. Currently, I run off metas and then fiddle with small changes I like. The same went for, tangentially, me making 100 card Commander decks in Magic: the Gathering. My first deck was from the pre-con Ghave, and my second deck built from the ground up was a failure.

I’ve made three more decks, and they’ve all worked really well. I built it off a template called “7 by 9” deckbuilding. There I would have 9 slots each with 7 cards. In my Nin deck I have a slot for indestructible creatures, and in my Thrun-tron deck I have a slot for equipment. This made deck building so much simpler, and I excelled.

I think that I will benefit from this “slotting” in Guild Wars 2. I really dislike the builds that don’t focus on getting 6 points in each line. There’s one necromancer build that uses 5 points in spite, just 1 point shy of the grandmaster. Why? Because it is more efficient to put that 1 point elsewhere instead of going to the pinnacle. Gah! That enrages me from both ends of efficiency and the fact that it is better not to get to the peak.

I like this pick 3. I like the division of traits from stats so that I am not adding a stat I want when I really don’t want that trait line. Or, if I really don’t like that stat combination, like having Precision and Condition Damage in the same line when I want to make a power (berserker) necromancer.

The other thing that changes is each tier of traits only gets to choose traits from that tier. This is another pretty big deal since players can’t have a line and choose two “adept” traits. Coming from Guild Wars 1 with “infinite” combinations, this is so much better. The more time that can be spent balancing fewer combinations, the better each combination can be.

I am sold, and even more-so since we get this change before the expansion. I think this is a much better system for future specialization creation and balancing. When this “feature” will be shipped is anybody’s guess, but right now is the time for constructive feedback. I’m looking at you, necromancers.


3 thoughts on “[GW2] Trait-orous Fiddle”

  1. BAM!!! I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with you. The simplicity and clarity that this new system looks like it will bring just completely sells me. It’s so accessible that I actually think it will radically change the game and allow for even greater balancing.

    I LOVE IT. Thanks for sharing Ravious. :-)

  2. My feeling is that the current system works and the proposed system will also work. That’s the thing about all these systems. It’s not to say that the new ones are worse than the old ones but that, as a rule, players weren’t bitterly unhappy with with what they had and would not have been picketing the game company’s office if they didn’t get a new version.

    The point I was making is that systems in MMOs are frequently promoted at launch as the best version ever seen anywhere and then a few months or years down the line they become millstones around the neck of progress and have to be ditched for a newer, shinier version.

    Personally I don’t care all that much. One version is much the same as another as far as I can see. Various interest groups will praise one and condemn another; different personalities will find Version A more intuitive or comfortable than Version B. In the end, though, unless the developer makes a complete hash of things, most players will very quickly get used top whatever the new system is and within a few weeks (or days) will barely be able to tell you how the previous one worked.

    It gives developers something to do and players something to talk about while the new system is being developed but in the end the game will play just about identically to how it played before, because it has to. If it *doesn’t* then you are looking at the CU or, even worse, the NGE.

    Of course, I’m speaking as a player who would, if given the choice just click one button and let the game allocate all the points then never look at them again.

  3. My thoughts kinda go along the same line as Bhagpuss. Players will adapt to whatever system is staring them in the face at the time. The min-maxers and theorycrafters will find -something- to number crunch, the casual intuiters will still attempt to fly by the seat of their pants looking for “fun” or “themed” builds, while those who can’t be bothered with it all will copy paste a build made by someone else. (Kinda like the types of folks who play Magic or what not.)

    The new system appears to offer a bit more simplicity in that it removes the option and need to consider a spread of 14 points across 5 trait lines, with no real necessity to max out any trait line.

    However, what I’m a little grumpy about is the very fact that most of my character’s builds are, in fact, spread across more than three trait lines and/or doubling up on adept traits because more of the adept traits are more appealing than the grandmaster ones.

    The new system is going to eliminate the almost-optimal damage hybrids, those that gave up 5-20% of damage for a little more utility, survivability or group support.

    Instead, it looks like what we’re going to have is more specialized roles/themes in a cookie cutter sort of way. If you want to be a condi burning guardian or a symbol using one, there are going to be obvious take-this-trait-over-that choices when it’s just “pick one out of three” instead of pick “three from fourteen” options.

    No doubt, someone else will run the numbers and point out which one is the most damage efficient for whatever situation, and we’ll end up with a new meta again, with the other stuff being second class, while those who don’t care about it continuing to do their own thing.

    I feel more or less resigned to learning new playstyles under the new trait system, while almost fatalistic about trying to recreate my main’s playstyle as close as possible and seeing how the numbers turn out. If I can still cut through open world stuff as smoothly as I can under the old system, I’ll play it, if not, probably will mothball it and learn to play a new main (like the revenant, mebbe.)

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