I Put An Iteration Inside Your Iteration So You Can Iterate While You Iterate

March 9, 2011 at 4:07 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 10 Comments
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Anyone seen this art before? I'd like to see the larger piece.

Arenanet has put up another post on their blog, this time concerning both their iterative process and how they came to their current attribute system. It’s an interesting look at the goings on at their studio, but we’ve seen them talk a lot about it previously so it’s not surprising.

I mean come on Arenanet, we get it. Nothing is ever good enough for you!!! *cries*

I guess it is surprising, a little, that since September they’ve changed their attribute system once again. On a slightly negative note, it is disconcerting to see that itemization doesn’t appear to be fully worked out yet.

On a positive note the new attribute system seems both simple, and complex enough that it will make itemization interesting.

    * Power—increased attack damage.
    * Precision—increased critical strike chance.
    * Vitality—increased health.
    * Toughness—increased defense/armor.

The complexity comes in when you take into account a lot of the strategic thinking Guild Wars has been known for. Debates still rage today as to whether more health or more armour are the proper runes to put on your gear.

The debate in Guild Wars 2 seems to become, Vitality versus Toughness.

Toughness helps a character deal with pressure, reducing the damage from numerous small hits and giving him more time to heal or use a defensive skill. While toughness does reduce the damage from large hits, it’s overall less effective than vitality in doing so. Vitality increases your health, allowing you to absorb a large blow and still slink away to recover. It also protects you from effects that ignore armor, such as conditions.

It’s very much akin to the age old GW argument of survivor runes vs various armour runes.

On a personal level I’m not sure how I feel about the attribute system. It’s one of those things I guess. I won’t be able to gauge just how well it works until I actually play the game. The only thing I’d like to see is a system complex enough to require at least some finicky meddling and adjusting to get just right.

I don’t think I’ve changed most of my runes in Guild Wars in literally years. There’s got to be something wrong with that right?

It’s a big split from the seemingly more traditional take they presented us with not so long ago. It’s intuitive, even though it diverges from standard MMO mechanics like dexterity, strength, wisdom and endurance. Well, slightly anyway. Dexterity and precision? Strength and power?

They also altered a bunch of other stuff we’ll see in the demo.

We changed the necromancer skill Grasping Dead to be a ground-targeted AoE spell because it was hard to hit in its original line-of-attack form. We moved took necromancer’s Shadow Fiend off the Death Shroud skill bar, making it a utility skill and creating a new skill in its place. The elementalist skill bar has been reorganized and the skill effects themselves have been tweaked. We also went through a major revision of the warrior’s rifle skills, making Rifle Butt daze your target but removing the backward roll, removing Penetrating Shot entirely, and changing the effect of the primary adrenaline skill.

Lots to look forward to at PAX. Almost too many videos and interviews to take in now. Especially since I’m playing 2 or 3 or 4 games right now.

I couldn't not use this screen shot. Everybody will be using it but it's too good to pass up. Kudos to whoever took the video/screenshot.



  1. What I want to see is an actual tactical difference in stats; not a WOW system where you need some nerd to go into his lab and calculate the million permutations and combine that with the available armour to come up with a viable build. All else is to be laughed at.
    DPS is all well and good, but I want to see skill usage as the main determination in combat outcomes. Thats why you havent changed your armour around, its the skill that counts the rest is just icing and its hardly worth it unless it makes/break the build (55 monks etc). And in GW where the armour makes the difference its due to some dam smart skill combos so do go telling me I putting a foot in both camps.

    • I guess that seems to be what they’re going for but without playing the game its hard to see if it will work out okay.

  2. The WoW raiding nerd in me just looks at this and sees Power & Precision for max dps. I’m pretty much doing that with my ranger atm with using two Sup runes for my build. Unless (I didn’t see any mention of it) you can only pick one or the other then there’s more thought going into it.

    • it says you can put into both, one, or the other. probably plenty of room to adjust and play with it.

  3. I don’t think you can reasonably expect the iteration on an attribute or itemization system to be finalized until shortly before beta. It is the core system in place for character development and it needs to be *just* right or people will hate it. Also, Anet hasn’t really worked on the idea of universal attributes in guild wars. GW1 professions all had their own attributes that affected their own skills. They really are starting from scratch on this one.

    • that’s a good point but things must be moving towards a place where they’re trying to finalize things at this point. otherwise they’ll be unable to balance everything that interacts with attributes sufficiently.

  4. It is so hard to judge a system on little information. Especially as the itemization is not yet finished if even begun.

    It should be hard to hit the “cap” in any stat, so we have to make tradeoffs. But it seems indeed easy to judge that power&precision are the damage stats.

    This said, there won’t be a dedicated healer class, so going for a pure “Ima DD!” build might simply not work out.

    I hope to hear more about this at PAX.

    • A good point, i think that people putting emphasis on dealing damage and yet putting no points into attributes to keep yourself alive when there isn’t another person constantly babysitting your health could be quite a mistake.

      this alone could diversify what people do with their stats a lot.

  5. Arg, why do people like that screenshot? Maybe it’s the empty eyes, but I every time I see that thief it reminds me of a junkie on some drug-induced high doing the wave at a concert.

    • I like the tattoo and the fiery gun blasts. it reminds me of the teaser video which had that incredible moment at the end. so maybe the screen shot is just good because of the video.

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