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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Thoughts on GW2's Beta Changes

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday February 21 2012 at 10:24AM
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After a long weekend of playing, I just sat down and read the ArenaNet team's latest blog about changes that will be showing up in later stages of Guild Wars 2's beta process.  What I gathered, is that these changes are coming, or are mostly in already.  In either case, let's talk about each a little bit in a quick blog-like fashion, shall we?


Eric Flannum starts off by talking a bit on changes to the down and defeated state.  Namely, the most important thing is that the fourth skill you have when "downed" and near death is changing to a self-heal that's interrupted by damage.  There was one time during the game this past weekend where I killed an enemy right as it killed me.  There was no one around, no one to heal me, and no way to rally myself via the downed system.  With the change Eric mentions, this situation won't happen again, as I'll be able to rally myself via this fourth healing skill.  A very nice and convenient change indeed.  

I also like that they're tweaking the death penalty to reflect how many times you've been down and how it affects your time to rally when downed.  Not only that but the armor penalty won't start affecting you until one piece breaks.  When your armor is damaged, it'll serve as a warning that you should get it fixed before you start feeling the lack of mitigation granted by that piece of armor. Now, ANet, just make it so that the dungeons each have one repair point, or allow players to buy repair kits and we'll be set.  


This is such a little change, but a helpful one.  Basically, they've made it so you can drag around the map on the compass display, draw lines on it for group coordination, and zoom in and out with the mousewheel.  I don't know if this was in during the weekend, but I'm excited to use it next time without always having to bring up my map.


I was under the impression these were already in!  But maybe this is just a notice that more are coming.  There was one series of Norn events that started with protecting some people from crazed Grawl, then moved into a scholar searching the frozen lake for reasons why the Grawl are attacking, and culminated in one of the most epic battles I've seen in an open world.  As I started the event, it was just a few of us. As it ended, there were dozens, all working together, reviving each other, and trying to down this insanely powerful Svanir Shaman who'd been negatively affecting the area.  If this is just a sign of the events we're in for with the rest of the game, the content in GW2 is going to be nuts.


I mentioned one of this in my preview about the Shaman Rookery in the Norn starting zone.  In short, they're little areas that are off the beaten path, may not have an event tied to them, but provide you with potentially awesome rewards and bragging rights... if you've got the patience and will to make it through.  Shaman Rookery... remember that.  And be ready to hunt for more in future beta events and launch.


This is also good news, that Boons and Conditions (buffs and debuffs) will be getting increased visibility and more straightforward math applied to them.  Basically, you see in your skill descriptions that buffs are applied, but it takes some time for the average player to realize what they do. With these changes, those effects will be more apparent from the start and it should make players realize what they can do to help themselves and others more quickly.  Namely: regeneration and defense boons, and stacking poisons and bleeds to down enemies quicker.  In all, these are the things that replace straight up support and healing classes in the game, as every profession has access to the boons and conditions of their own and needs to use them wisely.  

GW2 has a learning curve, even for seasoned MMO veterans.  And these changes will make that curve less steep for sure.



Kaynos1972 writes:

I dont have problems with steep learning curve, i want a game that is fun, refreshing and different from all the wow clone out there.  So far it seems that way and i'm happy with that.

Tue Feb 21 2012 10:45AM Report
orbitxo writes:

i like their fresh NEW approach to an mmo they have their old mmo GW to learn from they dotn need any clones to follow foots in.


i think they have done so in the past and now they hwant to lead and looks so.


cant wait!

Tue Feb 21 2012 10:52AM Report
freston writes:

These guys are not afraid to be innovative. When one hears so many times the wow clone argument applied to games, its refreshing to see that some devs are willing to apply new ideas and the fans are ready to try them.

No healers, all pve centered about public events, personal stories,... Yes , yes i know "my ole mmorpg from 12 years back already did that , you noob"  It still seems new to me.


Tue Feb 21 2012 11:08AM Report
TheDarkrayne writes:

"Now, ANet, just make it so that the dungeons each have one repair point, or allow players to buy repair kits and we'll be set."

I do not agree with this. If someone has been doing badly throughout the dungeon they should not have a get out of jail free card every time. If you did badly.. you messed up and it should be reflected for the remainder of the dungeon, then you might have actually learned something for next time.

It really isn't right that you could get battered on the first boss then be able to go back to full strength, whats the point of having bosses leading on from one another if this is the case? They might as well just make some smaller dungeons with only one boss each.

Its a series of trials that you need to survive all in one, not one at a time.

Tue Feb 21 2012 11:25AM Report
zhivik writes:

I completely agree with Vannor. After all, the announced system already leaves quite a lot of room for mistake. If I am not mistaken, you will have at least 4 armour pieces in the game, which means that you will feel the impact from broken armour pieces only if you are defeated at least five times.

I don't know about other people, but if I get defeated five times and I am nowhere close to completing a dungeon, I would ask myself seriously what I am doing wrong. I think this is a very good system which would discourage pointless rushing of dungeons, and would encourage forethought and strategy. I think this in itself makes a game good.

Tue Feb 21 2012 11:45AM Report
gaeanprayer writes:

I wondered! I noticed that people were saying that armor didn't start breaking until ALL of your gear was damaged. It didn't used to be this way, and I was curious about the change. I think I'm okay with it, though. One piece of armor breaking each time you die reminded me a little too much of that -15% DP everytime you die in GW1, which I hated with a passion. Downed state healing I like a bit less. I'd rather people have a reason not to die in the first place, but it's not that big a deal I suppose. I DON'T think they should give dungeons repair points though. I think, instead, they should make repair kits craftable to make them part of the economy.

I love those other changes though. I thought the new combat and class system was awesome, but the learning curve was something I saw pushing a lot of gamers away. I want the game to be as successful as possible, they need it to be in order to push out more content, so if they need to accomodate more people with more visual "notes" as to what is happening, I'm fine with that.


Tue Feb 21 2012 12:09PM Report
BillMurphy writes:

To be fair, maybe it's just the dungeon that needs tweaking.  If the devs and GW2Guru people cannot help but wipe 12 times (see GW2Guru's post on this), maybe the content's just in need of tweaking.  That doesn't seem "fun" to me.  That seems aggravating for a level 30 dungeon.  :)


Tue Feb 21 2012 12:11PM Report
Jynxx writes:

I've been reading about GW2 and the no healers needed as anyone can heal.  What about tanks?  Is it a matter of everyone does their job so one isn't needed?  Or do you need the Guardian?  I've seen land and water fighting, is there flying in GW2? 

Tue Feb 21 2012 12:16PM Report
BillMurphy writes:

@Jynxx: There are "tanks" in a sense.  But they're not the same as you might expect.  Warriors can do some tank-like functions, and Guardians can as well, but really it's all about the boons/conditions and using them as a team.  There's not one class that's just going to sit there and soak up damage while others heal him.  The key will be in using the boons and conditions and working together.

No flight... that we know of.  :)

Tue Feb 21 2012 12:26PM Report
Delvie writes:

As to dieing in the dungeon so many times - wasn't the dungeon run by a bunch of people who had just rolled level 30 characters?  I'm betting there was a learning curve associated that won't be there at live because normally a level 30 will have had time to learn before the dungeon.  We're talking not only new professions but also new interfaces on top of dungeon mechanics being learned all at once.

As to Jynxx's tanking question - it is my understanding that there is no taunt ability.  Aggro appears to be proximity/damage/special condition based.  In most cases it's based on who is doing most damage and is nearest.  In some cases it depends on the mob, as some really are attracted to certain conditions and others just hate certain attacks.

Tue Feb 21 2012 12:31PM Report
Unlight writes:

I believe that was during an Explorable Mode dungeon, Bill.  Those are supposed to be much harder than the initial run through you will see in Story Mode, roughly equating to the difficulty commonly associated with raids, but on a smaller scale.  Frankly, wiping twelve times seems pretty close to what I would expect from it.  Anything less would only turn off the challenge junkies that they were meant to appeal to.

Tue Feb 21 2012 12:32PM Report
Jynxx writes:

Thanks for the responses.  Sounds like they're taking feedback and applying it which is a good thing.  Also applying several successful features of previous games while applying their own innovations is nice.  If the biggest gripe we have is about dungeon repair in Beta stage, I'd think they're doing something right.   :)

Tue Feb 21 2012 1:02PM Report
Arachneus1 writes:

There are no tanks either.  Everyone will have to play their part in "control", "heal", and "dps".  The mobs will go for who is closest and who is doing the most damage.  But also like stated before, they also go for certain conditions, like perhaps some piercing arrows so they attack rangers that use them.  Everyone will have abilities to slow, snare, knockback etc but there is no taunting in the game.

Tue Feb 21 2012 2:22PM Report
Mephster writes:

I like the idea that many got face-rolled in that dungeon. Enough with the carebear mentality. It can't be easy all the time.

Tue Feb 21 2012 2:34PM Report
Chrisbox writes:

Can anyone tell me how i can get into the beta?

Tue Feb 21 2012 5:05PM Report
acidblood writes:

For a first run of a dungeon, in a new game, with new characters, I'd say 12 wipes is fine.

I do wonder if they aren't going to need a really good tutorial for this game though, as it seems to fly in the face of what a lot of people have come to expect from an MMO (a very good thing IMO), which is going to make a lot of people a bit daze and confused (and probably angry) when they first play it.

Tue Feb 21 2012 9:07PM Report
ComfyChair writes:

Considering you need every person pulling their weight, wiping 12 times is perfectly justified considering 2 of the players were brand new to the game and it's reasonable to expect the devs (who were community relations devs, not games design afaik) didn't know the dungeon inside out either.

Wed Feb 22 2012 4:14AM Report
haplo602 writes:

RE: COmpass changes - this was in GW1 already, it would be bad if they did not implement this feature. was one of the best things for small groups to communicate ...

Wed Feb 22 2012 6:59AM Report
Kizzatta writes:

Hard mode dungeons are hard? Yay! <3<3<3 I shall marry Anet someday.

Wed Feb 22 2012 9:51AM Report
Silverbranch writes:

Thanks Bill.

From a combat perspective, how does combat "feel"?  Smooth and responsive, or "stiff", for lack of a better way to put it?

What's the targetting model like?  Some specific questions here would be:

Does GW2 support taking a target's target?  (e.g. target someone and hit F, takes their target).

Does tab-targetting support a natural, intuitive dynamic, or simply does a 360 degree round robin of anything around you on radar?  A natural/intuitive model would IMO be defined as:

Tab targetting considers candidate targets in a frontal facing cone of some number of degrees, prioritized by distance.  Closer targets are considered first, cycling out to farther away, within that facing.  Targets outside the facing "cone" are excluded.

Any rate, thanks much for the feedback.

Fri Feb 24 2012 6:58AM Report writes:
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