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Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 

General Discussion  » How is Arena Net's Class Balance Track Record?

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Novice Member

Joined: 6/10/07
Posts: 562

My rank is like a game of pong.

OP  2/24/12 3:35:53 AM#1

This is absolutely the #1 killer of a game for me. I'm curious if any long term GW1 players can talk about Arena Net's handling of the nerf and buff bats? Do they Buff more than Nerf? Do they ignore a single classes imbalance based on population (like frost mages, bright wizards and sorcerers)? Do they wait a really long time to adress things, so much so that everyone has time to reroll and abuse it? Do they even bother with balance patches or do they wait for expansions?

I'm mainly a PvPer and balance as driven me nuts ever since i quit DAOC back in 2004 and started MMO hopping. I always seem drawn into attempting to make the "weakest" class competitive and always fail because of some insurmountable mechanic in another classes favor or a fault in my classes design that is glaringly obvious and never gets adressed (until i've left the game or rerolled).

So please, any insight to Arena Nets track record would be great!


(google warriors welcome)


Novice Member

Joined: 2/24/12
Posts: 376

2/24/12 3:39:44 AM#2

A lot of nerfs and buffs as usual but over all good record. I am very dedicated GW player so i can tell you that Anet is very quick at nerfing over powered builds. They did that with Devrish and Ele and farming builds. Players hated it but then that is how it goes in MMOS. Some people always feel unhappy and left out, can't please everyone.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/16/07
Posts: 121

2/24/12 3:43:20 AM#3

Honestly this is kind of an apples to oranges comparison.


Guild Wars was not about class balance, it was about team balance. If GW2 is anything like GW1, individual classes will be pointless to focus on, it's the effects of combinations of different skills and how the interact with each other that will be looked at for pvp.




Novice Member

Joined: 3/11/09
Posts: 104

2/24/12 3:48:41 AM#4

I've been playing original Guild Wars since release.


In short, I wouldn't worry - they remade original GW skill system to make balancing easier.

They also removed secondary professions and simplified skills.

They also removed or reworked troublesome mechanics.

FInally, due to the fact that half of your skill bar is tied to your weapon choice, they are able to predict what builds/setups are going to be popular and how to balance them properly


They lost quite a few ''balance battles'' during original GW, but looks like they are a bit more clever this time.

Also, they kept Izzy, and he knows what this stuff is all about after all these years... probably


So as I said, don't worry ;)


Novice Member

Joined: 12/04/08
Posts: 489

2/24/12 3:54:28 AM#5
Originally posted by ImixZinz

This is absolutely the #1 killer of a game for me. I'm curious if any long term GW1 players can talk about Arena Net's handling of the nerf and buff bats? Do they Buff more than Nerf? Do they ignore an single classes imbalance based on population (like frost mages, bright wizards and sorcerers)? Do they wait a really long time to adress things, so much so that everyone has time to reroll and abuse it? Do they even bother with balance patches or do they wait for expansions?

I'm mainly a PvPer and balance as driven me nuts ever since i quit DAOC back in 2004 and started MMO hopping. I always seem drawn into attempting to make the "weakest" class competitive and always fail because of some insurmountable mechanic in another classes favor or a fault in my classes design that is glaringly obvious and never gets adressed (until i've left the game or rerolled).

So please, any insight to Arena Nets track record would be great!


(google warriors welcome)

     You seem to be referencing WAR in your post so ill give you my impression since i was playing GW1 until me friends convinced me to join them in WAR. In GW, i never felt that i never stood a chance vs anyone reguardless of what class i was vs what class they were. GW was the first game that i found myself really enjoying pvp with largely do to the fact that they didnt use some lame rock/paper/scissors class balance act (which most mmo's cant even get that right). They tended to buff or nerf individual skills, not entire game mechanics that would cause unintended consequences of nerfing or buffing other classes that were perfectly fine.

     Fast foward to WAR, i couldnt believe just how little they cared about balance between classes. My main was a magus and was clearly a gimped class on top of being burdened with having an unmistakable profile as an easy target (just aim for the guy floating on a disk for free points). My gf played a zealot who did more damage then my magus while also beiong able to heal and without being as big a target on the battlefield. They claimed to be balancing classes against there "mirror" class from the opposite faction, but the engineer class had access to much more longer ranged aoe attacks and also had the same profile as an ironbreaker tank class which usually meant that while a magus was a big free points sighn, engineers were often ignored on the battlefield as no one wanted to waste there attacks on a potential tank. I understand alot of other classes had issues as well.

     So basically comparing how WAR does balancing vs. GW is like night and day. Come to think of it. i dont think anyone does balancing better than Arenanet.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/18/10
Posts: 3207

Veni, Vidi, Converti

2/24/12 5:23:31 AM#6

^A magus in WAR was an engi's "bread, butter & beer" usu.. *good times* 

It's been a while since looked into this. A few good indications:

  1. ArenaNet track-record: GW had well regarded system for pvp, even if crazy complex, lots of unbalances due to astronomical combinations of builds apparently
  2. Removal of Trinity: Allows combinations of players to be more viable (reduce # of bad builds & increase # of viable teams)
  3. Removal of 2nd professions: Makes devs lives easier to balance.
  4. Separation of PvP : PvE - big push for esport rigour for pvp -> requires strong balancing/play testing
Balancing will still be wip in various ways, but seems all 8 profession (with de-emphasis on race input) ALWAYS have something to bring to the table, can be played in versatile ways responsive to different contexts (ie not just a camper, tank, pocket-healer) etc.

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3520

2/24/12 5:29:47 AM#7

Roughy said, it started out very well balanced. But with releasing of campains that included additional crazy amount of skills to select from, players came up with overpowered combinations more often.

Still, in highsight, I think they did a good job trying to balance that. It is also one of the reasons why they went for a less amount of skills for each profession this time. No gear advantage in PVP also made that easier I guess.

What speaks in their favour is that they design balanced PVP from the ground up during game development. Unlike other companies that release a PVE game with pure PVE taunt mechanics and then hope for the best about PVP class balance.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/01/09
Posts: 628

2/24/12 5:36:53 AM#8

I think that is actually close to their top priority. They recently revamped the elementalist (from GW1) too keep it in check. It wasn't a total revamp, but it was pretty hefty.

The game was never balanced, but it was ahead of other MMOs. If you go to their Guild Wars site you can see that they pretty much had page long adjustments every month since launch.

The game literally has thousands of skills. They weren't tiered skills either. They never had skills like "does 20 damage" then another skill was "does 35 damage." They tried their absolute best to not have obsolete skills.

The real killer were the expansion packs. They brought on hundreds of skills that were incredibly difficult to balance. The best PvP happened in the early days of the games life. During this time, ArenaNet was hosting global tournaments with millions of dollars in total cash prize.

Personally, I think you'd have to have a pretty balanced game to run tournaments like that.


Advanced Member

Joined: 4/20/05
Posts: 872

2/24/12 5:54:19 AM#9
Originally posted by Daggerjaydo

Honestly this is kind of an apples to oranges comparison.


Guild Wars was not about class balance, it was about team balance. If GW2 is anything like GW1, individual classes will be pointless to focus on, it's the effects of combinations of different skills and how the interact with each other that will be looked at for pvp.




anyway as dagger said , gw uses group composition as balance, in GW2 more than ever , because u can use skills to affect other classes skills , a combination of X+Y+Z

In gw1 we are limited to 8 skills , to create builds , there are tons . Some are more powerfull vs X teams .

gw1 had a healer class (monk) , something gw2 wont have.

arenanet chanced classes yeah , nerfed some skills buffed others , but wanst sweeping changes .

gw2 wont have dedicated healers/tanks, evey1 will have somethin to heal (other than selfheal)

evey1 can tank , ele earth , necro blood , ect





Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/23/09
Posts: 591

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

2/24/12 6:13:56 AM#10

They have quite a decent track record when it comes to class balancing, especially with all the skills and combinations they were dealing with. From what I recall, they nerf and buff as they feel is neccessary without any regards to players whining. So yea... don't expect that vocal whining will get a class buffed or nerfed readily. If they honestly believe it needs a buff, they'll buff it, and vice versa. In GW2 they'll probably have a far easier time balancing things out as there are far less skills and team combinations to deal with.

"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"
~Lord George Gordon Byron


Advanced Member

Joined: 8/25/10
Posts: 1192

2/24/12 6:21:19 AM#11

Monks, Mesmers, and Necros were really strong at the start of Prophecies.

Late 05 -> Early 06 lack of Monk Appreciation leads to Thunderhead Keep sit down protests from Monks

April 06 Factions is released, Ritualists original design was to increase the amount of healing professions available to players, While Assassins original design was to be completely broken.

In late 06 Nightfall is released, but the new classes are created with reserve as to not repeat what happened with Factions, so you have two incredibly weak damage professions with incredible support skills. Dwayna teams and /P teams were everywhere. Paragon was the greater threat with their healing support skills not tied to their primary attribute, this inherently called for a nerf . Paragons were extremely nerfed in terms of support and no longer functioned as a healer in any form, Dervishes were generally weak due to their reliance on enchants and long cooldowns, they were mostly favored for their weapon attribute.

Ritualists complain about Low damage and lack of party based healing, tweaks were made to the Ritualists around Jan 07 creating the current demigods that are known today as Ritualists.

Sins eventually picked up the Scythe because of an amazing elite called "Wounding Strike", this allowed for Sins to combine their high crit, with the scythes high damage sweeping aoe and condition application.

Paragons were left with only one decent build known as imbagon, this build only worked in PvE, however there were some PvPers who attempted Shock and Awe builds on their paragon. Ever since the first 3 months past release Paragons have been receiving nerf after nerf, even now their skills are still subject to nerfs. Essentially all they do now is replace what warriors with charge used to do, and that's providing run speed for the party.

In late 09 devs promises to fix Ele's, Dervishes, and Paragons. So far only Dervishes and Elementalists have been updated, with Guild Wars2's release drawing ever closer, I fear that this change may never come.


You can find more information here.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/23/06
Posts: 133

2/24/12 9:43:15 AM#12

arenanet is pretty good when it comes to balancing. i doubt very many would deny that. but arenanet clearly has their favorites classes with just how often someone of those classes receive adjustments, even when not necessary when compaired to other classes that don't receive no where near the same level of attention.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/20/05
Posts: 216

2/24/12 9:52:31 AM#13

I don't think there was ever a single game where all classes were considered equal, especially in both PvE and PvP. There willl always be unbalances. In a way it's unfortunate that most game desgners don't use a form of rock paper scissors so there's always FOTM builds.

As long as every class that can have viable builds for both high-end PvE and PvP and can make some counter-builds for a FoTM team I'm already ok with it.


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Joined: 5/14/07
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2/24/12 10:15:32 AM#14
Originally posted by Daggerjaydo

Honestly this is kind of an apples to oranges comparison.


Guild Wars was not about class balance, it was about team balance. If GW2 is anything like GW1, individual classes will be pointless to focus on, it's the effects of combinations of different skills and how the interact with each other that will be looked at for pvp.



And since they will want to promote structured PvP as an E-sport, ballancing these teams will be very high on their agenda.


Even better, the whole game is build around a system that lets them finetune the skills, they created an algorythm that weights all skills and then ballances them, and its up to the players to find the holes in that by combining skills in certain combinations that can be seen as overpowered.  I hope they also have a system in place that lets them ballance combinations of skills without unballancing the single skills.

Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)


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OP  2/24/12 6:06:48 PM#15

Thanks for all the replies, from the sound of things it seems like Arena Net handles balance similar to how DAOC devs used to pre-TOA, which is a relief in a way (although there were some imbalances, they werent gamebreaking or impossible to overcome) and as i recall there were a lot of things claimed to be OP (baseline stun for example) in one realm or another yet every realm found themselves capable of taking relics and stomping other realms. I can appreciate that GW1 and GW2 are going to be comeplete different games from the ground up as far as balance goes but i believe regardless of the medium or the type of balancing they practiced it still shows the type of developers they are that they would risk upsetting their "class majority" fans for the sake of balance.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/05/08
Posts: 22

2/24/12 6:20:33 PM#16

I PvP'd in th early days of GW (just after Factions release until just after Nightfall release).

They handled balance back then EXTREMELY well.  Would they overnerf some stuff?  Yes, but they were pretty quick to correct the mistake.  Back then they were doing monthly skill updates, so they stayed on top of things.  If the meta was getting extremely screwed, they'd immediately go in and tweak it, not wait until the next scheduled update.

There were some builds that were nerfed to the ground, but frankly they had to be unless they wanted to completely redo the skill.  The functionality just didn't leave much room for them to tweak.  IWAY comes to mind. 

The funny thing is that highly rated GvG teams still run pretty much the exact same builds that my guild ran when we PvP'd.  So while balance became more and more complex, the skills (and professions) that were actually worth using remained more or less the same despite tweaks and the like.  Seems like a lot of teams still run balanced builds, which were the norm for most US/EU groups back in the Prophecies days.

They're really good with balance.  Really good.  And they've said that, if they NEED to do it, they'll split skills to have a PvE and a PvP effect.  They want to avoid it, but if balance becomes too much of an issue, they'll do it.  It's the method they used in GW, and frankly is the best system I've ever seen.


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Joined: 8/06/06
Posts: 881

2/24/12 8:46:32 PM#17

This is my least worry about GW2 simply because it's Anet. They have prooven with GW1 that they want a clearly skill based game and not a game where it's build VS build or okay he plays a squishy Thief so I'll just one shot him with my Godly Fire ball of Doom(And in most MMO's you have no chance to counter certain classes vs other classes simply because you'r skill set does not allow you to choose how you want to play. Pretty much every MMO out on the market has stupidly and game breaking classes that just makes PvP unbalanced and sets a clear stop to any level of high level play, such as an actual E-sport game like LoL/Dota. The way they balanced GW1 was really good, but in some cases it was way too late. But that was due to the very complex skill system they had, it was unlimited options for a team to set up. Although not all were good, players will allways find flaws and exploit/use them to their advantage. I'm not saying using a OP build is exploiting, but it shoudn't even be OP in the first place. This is were Anet knows what to do, no matter what build you used in PvP, you could allways be countered by any proffesion. 


Novice Member

Joined: 8/25/11
Posts: 477

2/25/12 1:28:03 AM#18
Originally posted by Daggerjaydo

Honestly this is kind of an apples to oranges comparison.


Guild Wars was not about class balance, it was about team balance. If GW2 is anything like GW1, individual classes will be pointless to focus on, it's the effects of combinations of different skills and how the interact with each other that will be looked at for pvp.



No its not, GW1 was an instanced game with very small group size PVP, GW2 is an persistant and open worlded PVP enviorment with multiple PVE elements.

Class Ballance for WvWvW and other large scale PVP enviorments will be crucial, many current large scale PVP battles inlcuding WAR and Tor(Ilum) were broken due to class issues and metagme.

Take Ilum for example forget the lag and technical issues i as melee char cant do squat in Ilum, the best i can do is litterly pull some random bastard with my force pull(KC Shadow) once every 45 seconds and run down couple players once their main group has been broken up. Ilum is 100% currently a ranged and AOE matchup with the only death comming from people who either came too close or were pulled into the enemy group.

Class ballance inst just about if 1 class can take any other in the game if they outskill them or get lucky, its about having a proper roll for each class in every scenario. I realy hope that the GW2 metagame wont turn out to be Ilum 2 where melee chars only stand there and spam buffs to get credit. And now the fact that every melee char can equip a range weapon or have a ranged ability doesnt count, if i want to play melee they should ballance the game around melee being able to strom and still be effective.



Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/09
Posts: 412

2/25/12 2:00:48 AM#19

OP there have already been a lot of replies telling you how responsive they are, and how their track record is.  But there is one major thing you need to remember, ArenaNet has and still does play the crap out of their games.  There are quite a bit of players who were on a first name basis with the devs because of their activity.  Some of them tried to compete the best they could, so they were always aware of the meta.  


Novice Member

Joined: 8/18/10
Posts: 91

2/25/12 5:37:49 AM#20

In PvE it takes them 6 months to take notice of imbalance, then 6 months to fix it in a crappy way (rather than nerfing the OP skill they try to buff the other skills, wtf way of balancing is that), making people dodge around the fix and enjoy the same OP stuff with other skills buffed at the same time.

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