Guild Wars 2 devoted its Friday stream today to the balance team’s introduction of overall balance change philosophy and goals. As promised, the team has also shared their “living document” philosophy policies with the community.
The stream and the release of the philosophy document for Community review is in line with promised transparency after this Summer's first major professions balance update was met with serious negative feedback. That update happened just says after some of the changes were posted in the forums, without goals or any explanation for the changes and how they fit in the overall balance and meta. The team promised to do better, and subsequent updates and efforts have shown that in effect.
This document covers overall balance goals, which are generally to make Guild Wars 2 enjoyable for as many players as possible through “a fluid and fast-paced combat experience that allows players to express their mastery of mechanics”. Lots of changes over time, and meta shifts, combat strategies might need to be adopted for viable builds.
The document also emphasizes the role of the deep combat system, the the fact the game has been running for a decade, and the player rolls and builds and how they overlap and complement each other. One of the reasons behind some of the changes made in the past couple of months stated that they wanted to make the builds feel unique, while still making sure none were so far overpowered and composition options felt like they were viable.
The most recent profession balance update was PVP-focused, but they declared that future updates would be a mix of competitive and PVE, as well as taking into consideration WvW changes.
There are a number of notes in the full document taking into account how players play, how they determine power, and how they balance roles to have strengths and weaknesses. With the number of classes, advanced paths, and the elite specializations introduced in End of Dragons, there are many numbers to be crunched, but how players play is important too.
It's worth taking a look at the full document, which also covers the role of player feedback. Given that this new process and its transparency took root from the community feedback, the team will develop their changes according to the goals they set, and share full details for community feedback with enough time before the planned update date.