GuildFans Skill Design Contest

December 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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Tyrian Gothic

I would never describe myself as someone obsessed with the minutia of skill design. I’ll look at the animations, examine what the skill actually does, but when it comes to the length of skill recharge, or percentage of dps, well I just can’t quite involve myself with that until I’ve actually got my hands on the game.

As such the GuildFans Design A Skill Contest didn’t instantly grab me. Sure, a big honor for those involved, but I’m more than willing to be passive in my Guild Wars 2 fandom except of course when it comes to writing a bit about it.

However, I think maybe I missed out.

Seeing the final results of the contest, recently announced, it seems like it might have been a bit of fun coming up with an imaginative and interesting skill. The only thing missing might have been the addition of the winning skill to the game.

Lord what an ego that person would have, but it would have been pretty awesome. Instead they got some concept art prints. Fair enough.

How did they pick winners?

So how do we instinctually pick ones? Here is some stuff I look at.

1) How simple is it? I like simple elegant skill.
2) How unique is it?
3) How versatile is it?
4) Is it flavorful and fitting for the chosen profession?
5) When I read it is my first impression,”I want to use that skill right now!”?
6) Does it feel like a GW2 skill?

This gives a pretty good insight into how they look at designing skills. Each criteria seems to bleed into the next.

A skill must be simple so that it is easily understood by the player. It should be straightforward to use. Perhaps not all skills are simple, but it should be kept in mind.

It should be unique so that skills can not only be identified by their use, but to give a sense of originality. Unique skills also help make Guild Wars 2 as a whole feel unique and different.

Skills in a PvP game should be able to do more than one simple thing. PvP should range from a simple fight between casual players to a complex battle of wits between pros, a feat which would be impossible with skills that have only one use. A breadth of uses also deepens replayability for everyone.

Flavour is simply continuity and immersion. It has to make sense within the context of the game and it would help if it were themed after the profession.

The coolness factor. I don’t know how else to describe it. There needs to be some sense of creativity, and inspiration.

It also should take advantage of the fact that Guild Wars 2 is a lot different than Guild Wars. Everything in Guild Wars 2 is much more visual, and we can jump and move around now. We have a different skillbar, and different mechanics.

Anyway, enough of me blabbering, on to the winner.

Elementalist Elite Skill

Stonewark – by N3verendr

Earth Element

Summon a floating “Stonewark” in front of the caster from the ground. The Stonewark consists of a floating earth attuned orb with 4 stone blades mirroring themselves on the top and bottom of the orb. The Stonewark is as tall as the caster.

Stonewark counts as a wielded item and changes the first five skills on the bar as so.

1) Action (Read 2 – 5 to decipher the usage)

2) Bulwark – Stonewark floats close in proximity to the caster, and they can use it as a powerful shield, blocking attacks and passively increasing magic resistances. Action performs a shield block.

3) Bladewark – Stonewark’s blades change into an “X” shape, allowing for a boomerang like attack with the action command. Triggers a 5 second cool down while it flies there and back. Damage is distributed assuming the attack can hit on the trip there and back.

4) Leviwark – Hop atop the Stonewark as it drops under you allowing you to move 25% faster for the duration of the action, also ignoring roots but increasing the length of snares by 2 seconds. Action allows you to “Jump” on your Leviwark. This also skids over water.

5) Warkwark – Propel the Stonewark to a designated area, eventually triggering a small earthquake. Using this ability slows all enemies in the area of impact for 4 seconds and damages all enemies 4 seconds later on detonation. This ability destroys the Stonewark and puts in on cool down for 5 minutes. Action brings up the interface to throw the Stonewark.

It’s a very imaginative skill and I can see why it won. I particularly like the part where you can jump on the leviwark. It’s definitely a skill that could apply to a multitude of occasions. Yet, to be honest I don’t think I would have chosen it as the winner. It’s ambitious but the bladewark and bulwark aspects underwhelm me, considering it’s an elite skill. Certainly one of the top suggestions of course.

I personally really liked Vulturion’s Infernal Damnation. Although I’ll agree with the criticisms of the judges (Isaiah Cartwright and Jon Peters) that fire doesn’t really hold true to the necromancer flavour, it could easily have been adjusted to work with ice or some form of dark energy.

Speaking of those criticisms, they are well worth a read. Seeing the reasoning behind their choices was a great addition to the contest, you don’t always know why some things are picked, and in the case of Guild Wars 2, it’s really interesting to see the reasoning.

The reason why we liked this one is because it all fit really well together visually, design, and gameplay wise. It’s also is really in line with the way GW2 skills are done; all the skills are fairly simple and there are not a lot of conditional statements. Everything is very visual and easy to understand just by seeing the skill in action.

This is Izzy’s commentary on Stonewark. I can understand the need for less conditional statements, you don’t want to hamper innovation when playing. I think there is some room for it however which is why I liked Infernal Damnation.

Congratulations to the winners. Good job on the contest GuildFans.



  1. I think the chain-down skill is really simple and clever.

    • as i think one of the judges said, it is the most elegant.

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