QFT: Random My Butt

June 11, 2011 at 8:05 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 21 Comments
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Quoted For Truth. Where I quote the things I find interesting in Guild Wars 2 interviews and then blabber on about them. This time it is Tap Repeatedly and a bit from last weeks TenTonHammer.

Tap Repeatedly

Dead professions.

The marksman and warden eventually became the ranger. We had a profession that was called the juggernaut, for lack of a better name! It was basically a none-magical knight profession. At some stage we also talked about the engineer being a heavy armored profession and then he became medium. Things move around a lot, but why things don’t make it is because people who may have played the juggernaut would have really chosen warrior instead, and it’s just taking away from the flavour of the warrior to have things too similar to it.

I do so love hearing about the professions that didn’t make it. Marksman, warden, and juggernaut make 10 (since there was no ranger before they combined) so what was the 11th and 12th I wonder? I remember hearing rumours of a summoner. They’re decision to remove these classes makes logical sense at least. There is no need for clutter. It does make one wonder if new professions will come in expansions however. It seems less likely than new races at this point, given their reluctance to dabble in the exponential combinations of the thousands of skills in the original Guild Wars.

Things change.

We will have a new demo at the summer conventions, and when you play the elementalist in that demo you will see some changes. Skills have been radically moved and changed around. While we felt the elementalist was good, it was only 8 out of 10. We want everything to be as good as it can possibly be and there wasn’t enough synergy and decision making on the elementalist.

It’s funny that they say the elementalist didn’t have enough synergy. This is the one class we’ve seen that has the most cross profession combos. Though I admit the decision making didn’t seem nearly as interesting as some other more complicated professions. Wasn’t that a good thing though? Shouldn’t there be a simplicity to some of the more traditional classes for new players to learn the ins and outs of Guild Wars 2?

Adrenaline gets mentioned.

I know someone was asking about the removal of the extra damage on the warrior and that might come back as a trait as things are constantly changing.

I was sort of disappointed to hear it had been removed. Adrenaline as it built up allowed you to do more base damage until you unleashed your adrenaline skill. Bringing it back as a trait is an intriguing compromise, but I trust their judgment either way.

Necromancer changes.

Death Shroud does not work at all like it used to. It no longer auto-triggers when you go down, as you have a regular downed state as a necromancer just like everyone else. Death Shroud is something you activate when you’re alive only and it no longer brings you back to where you cast it. It’s now just a skill you use and when it ends you are just where you are. Both of those things were not only too hardcore and confusing but they also made the profession work poorly with others. We’ve also probably changed 30% of the necromancers skills from the last time they’ve been seen.

I have to say that while I acknowledge the problems with Death Shroud, it was pretty effing cool. That said I think I had some doubts about the skill myself. Attacking something at distance while in the shroud, only to revert back to where you were standing seemed kind of unfair. You’d have time to regen, plan ahead. Or you’d be leaving your party in the lurch as you rush to catch up. I feel really sorry for the people who compile information on the skills in various places.

A PvP build.

We saw one particular build that arose which was a defensive guardian, that had been used to hold locations because it was so good at helping its allies, supporting friends and putting down symbols on the ground to protect an area. Players were having a really hard time with it at first, and then what happened was that we saw the meta-game shift. People started to develop thief characters that were great at evading on the way in, to get to this guardian, taking him out and then evading on the way back out.

A class then came out to hunt the thief, and push the thief off the guardian!

Good to hear about the builds developing, changing, shifting. I’m pretty sure that’s the exact sort of dynamic most PvP players want to see.

That seems to continue into PvE.

As far as group dynamics, and this applies to everywhere in the game, there isn’t an “OK, we run with 2 guardians, 2 warriors and an elementalist”. In PVP you could run with five warriors. A warrior with a mace and a warhorn using charge to sprint around the battlefield giving people regen. Two longbow warriors doing AOE damage, a warrior with a sword and a warrior with an axe, which would be your melee orientated pairing. Whilst we haven’t run that setup completely, it is close to being run. We’ve fought against very difficult creatures with setups like that.

They keep saying they strive to put any class into any role, but this seems like one of the best examples yet.

On the placement of skills in main-hand or off-hand.

There are 200 skill animations in the game and it’s about managing those and the complexity and the value of the skill and where we want it to be on the bar.

200 skill animations is decent. Wish there were more, but I suppose the actual number of skills isn’t that high anyway.

Thief as support.

The thief has probably the strongest support skill in the game. It’s called Blinding Powder; you ground target it, it hits all the enemies in that area and blinds them all and it cloaks all the allies in that area at the same time.

The thief’s traps can also be supportive as they knock down and immobilise. Thief’s have smokewall that he can throw up and block arrows; scorpion wire that allows him to pull enemies off others as well as cripples and dazes.

Blinding powder both blinds and cloaks all allies in the area? I can hear the chants of Guild Wars 2 fanboys everywhere crying out “OP!” Still, it’s another good example of the diversity of playstyle available on all the classes.

On random effects of elixers.

People really hate the random element! To me, random elements are what create strategy and good players, what makes them good and what makes their strategies good, is how they react to those random situations.

Yeah. maybe this is semantics, but a strategy is not random. Randomness does not create strategy but destroys it. I can see it now, a bunch of headstrong arrogant engineers ruining a perfectly good strategy because he, oh, I don’t know, drank elixer B and ran off.

When something random happens as the engineer, and you get the swiftness boon because you drank Elixir B, it becomes a case of “Ok, I was just shooting around but these guys are running away from me, here I go!” and you can use your flamethrower to chase enemies down. You have to make that decision to change and how you react to the random element is part of the strategy.

Don’t try to tell me that the majority of players are going to react to this situation with anything but stupidity. I’ve got some random ability, so I’m going to use it and get myself killed! Yay! Bad design. It promotes nothing but unpredictable behaviour by any engineer you’re in a party with. It is death to strategy, anathema to strategy, and an excuse for party members to go Leroy Jenkins.

Oh gee, thanks for this note about mines.

feel free to make up your own clock-work reason as to why we have a flashing spark in there.

On rangers and pets.

I think the ranger pets are terrible right now, no one would argue with that! If you wanted to talk about least played profession, the ranger would probably be it. We’ve been making A.I changes which are slowly propagating to the pets right now, while we’ve also been looking into more radical things with the pets.

Could it maybe have something to do with the pets essentially being the same as they are in Guild Wars? Something that seems clear to me is that you should be able to control the skills your pet uses. Many animals can respond to commands from a human, but you need look no further than a trained attack dog for the best example of this. A seperate bar for animal skills is all I’m suggesting. It just makes so much sense. Stop resisting it, you know you want it. I’m pretty sure I criticized this aspect of the ranger 11 months ago. Let’s get this thing done.


A hint at something?

e have seen more physical professions such as warriors and thieves embrace technology. We have seen rangers move more towards magic and away from technology. We have seen that engineers are adapting their tech to deal with magic (the magic-absorbing device on their shield) and we may see some of our users of magic dabble with technology as well.

Rangers have moved more towards magic. Doesn’t that make the engineer easier to swallow for those who don’t like it? The hint I spoke of is in the last line. Will the mesmer dabble with technology? I know a lot of people have put money down on mesmers using pistols. I think the notion of mesmers dabbling in magic, for me, comes from steampunk. What profession more resembles the aesthetic of steampunk than the mesmer?

The only other thing I wanted to mention from this interview.

In an emergency, the engineer can even smack someone with their wrench!

Eric Flannum further elaborated on the Guru2 thread.

When the engineer equips the tool kit they have a wrench in their hand. One of the things they can do with said wrench is hit someone with it.

Kind of an odd addition when you think about it. Very much a throwback to games where you pick up a tire iron or crowbar or something along those lines.

Eyes blurring over now. No copy editing FOR YOU!



  1. Unless the Random Elixir give some chance of super power, I wouldn’t touch it.

    Random Strategy…. lolz

    • Its improvisation am i right? which is not the same thing as a strategy.

  2. Yet isn’t the Thief’s steal ability giving it a random skill as well? They mentioned each mob will have a variety of things a thief can steal and use, so I look at this pretty much the same, anything random like that will be a short term, use right away or ignore type of deal.

    Besides, any engineer worth a darn is going to be too busy chucking grenades all over the place to be worrying about quaffing elixirs… oh wait, that is just how my crazy engineer will be doing things. 😉 Hm, grenades and elixirs…. I think I’ve got a fun build right there!

    • Yes true, i find it impressive that they have different random objects for virtually every mob in the game, but am not typically thrilled that it will be random. Or that the pets will use different random inherent skills based on AI.

  3. The only other thing from the Tap-Repeatedly interview I was also very interested in was when Chris Lye talked about doing some profession synergy posts after they’ve revealed the last profession. Which I think is a brilliant idea that’ll help show how varying each profession can be. It might help show how they designed the game to not depend on the “holy trinity.”

    • Yeah. i’ve been wondering what they’ll do when they’re done with race weeks and with only one profession left. Been hoping for more gameplay type tutorials, but he was pretty vague in the interview so I just skipped over it.

  4. FWIW, my husband is in love with the random elixir idea, since it hearkens back to the Rod of Wonder from D&D. He loves the idea of having something wacky happen that he has to react and respond to on the fly. So, the devs aren’t completely out in the middle of nowhere with the idea (though it might just be them and him ;).

    • Enh. I can see how it might be fun for those using it, but for groups it is going to be a nightmare. I also think the fun of it would wear off the first time you die because you got something you couldn’t use.

      Fixed your link 🙂

      • Heh, thanks for the link fix :).

        You may have a point on the group play, as my husband is rather a lone wolf after all.

  5. I remain disappointed with the general response of the community on the whole to the engineer class, however, I am prohibited by my physician from discussing the matter in detail any further. (Some nonsense about preserving life… not sure if he meant me, or others’… either way, extreme blood pressure readings were involved…)

    The number one “take away” from the interview that I got was how readily the design and production team is willing to continue working on facets of the game based on feedback from testing. I found this very reassuring personally, although it does have the potential to move the release date further away also. *sigh*

    • It’s become pretty clear that arenanet probably spends more time iterating than just about anything else. good i guess, it means polish.

  6. […] breaks parts of the interview down with his thoughts at Hunter’s Insight, but I wanted to mention one bit here as well. Peters talks a little about the importance of strong […]

  7. I’m very sad about the fact that they modified the death shroud mechanics. Rewinding back to your origin was pretty awesome, and even if it gave you that advantage in positioning, it would use up your life force, so you’d have a huge disadvantage if you got downed after using it compared to other professions downed states.

    Also: No more Death Shroud bungee ;( They killed a great sport before it could even be invented properly.

    • I think part of the change was because it also means you’re a big distance from you friends while using it, and when it ends they’re left in the lurch as you try to make your way back to them.

      • Couldn’t people also camp the tail of your black smoke you leave behind? They wait for you to snap back while your party is far ahead. Then comes the ganking. I don’t see anything good in the rubber banding.

        • an interesting point. I don’t doubt this would make for some interesting griefing. if other people can even see the black trail…. can’t remember if they can or not.

  8. Hunter, I think what they were trying to say regarding randomness and strategy is that a skilled player can factor randomness into their strategy, and in doing so create a greater depth of strategy than without.

    An analogy I like to use is tabletop wargames. They have randomness built in as a core mechanic, and so any decent player must revolve their strategies revolves around flexibility, redundancy, and calculated risks. Contrast this with a deterministic system (e.g. chess), which still has deep strategy, but none of the dynamic gameplay that they are trying to encourage in GW2.

    • Wow. Now i can see the points of randomness.

      This is quite Interesting.

    • I can “hear” the dice rolling… brilliant analogy Leigh Carey.

      However, I’m not sure how applicable it is to the points made in Hunter’s article. We’re not talking about ubiquitous dice rolls to determine hits and misses… this particular form of randomness is being applied to “elite” skills… skills that are suppose to be used rarely, and which are intended to be “game changers” when they are used.

      When you’re reaching for an “ace up your sleeve” you want to see a bloody ace appear… not a joker that could just as easily have the value of a jack or queen instead of the ace you need.

      The point being; whether this randomness is applied to elite skills or just utility skills, all of the skills on the right-hand side of the hotbar will tend to have longer cool downs, and more importantly, tend to be very situational… you don’t whip them out just for the hell of it, or at any old moment… you use them when a particular situation calls for their application – except a random result may not necessarily serve you very well in a given specific situation.

      • I agree, those are some good points.

    • Oh i fully understand what they’re trying to say, i just don’t agree with it. The random element they’re introducing provides nothing more than the opportunity to improvise, in the middle of a fight. Maybe that’s fun for some people, I don’t deny it. However, since this is a group game, where you’ll often be relying on strangers, having them improvise even the slightest change to strategy is quite annoying.

      ever been in a PUG?

      And I don’t agree with the comparison to table top games or chess. Those are very different games for what I should think are obvious reasons.

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