Much Ado About Traits

March 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 10 Comments
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Let me preface this post by saying I don’t think this is a big deal. That the amount of attention it’s getting is ridiculous. That I would be perfectly comfortable using the system as it stands if it isn’t changed. This post in my own opinion is not very important.


I’m actually going to have to side with the Chicken Little types for once. I just can’t get on board with the impracticality of forcing people to show up to trainers and pay a fee to respec their traits.

Don’t get me wrong, gold sinks are fine, but they shouldn’t get in the way of me actually playing. If one of the main reasons for this is a gold sink, they should take it out. Gold sinks should never inhibit play.

There is also the problem of wealth. They haven’t said how much this fee is or how much the manuals cost, but people with lots of money wouldn’t feel the slightest hesitation in paying the gold sink. But what if you barely scrape by? Those people are punished for not making as much money. Caudecus is the 1%!

And what if those people make fewer decisions? Isn’t the decision supposed to be the fun part? So they lose out on making fun decisions because they’re saving money for something or they’re broke? Or if they make bad decisions they’re punished because they can’t fix it.

What also inhibits play is having to warp away from whatever you’re doing to go to an NPC. Whether that be preparing for a dungeon, an open world boss, or just plain needing to change roles so that you can be a team player. Or heck how about if you’re playing and your traits are just all wrong for you. Why should I warp away from what I’m doing?

I’d argue that it gives people the wrong motivations. Let’s say I’ve got my traits focused on power and axe. But my PUG is going into a dungeon where control traits and a hammer would be great. It inhibits teamwork if I’m less likely to volunteer to switch over to that build due to the hassle and money.

Isn’t that the kind of game Guild Wars 2 is supposed to be? Where you are rewarded for working together?

Both Under The Pale Tree and Kill Ten Rats would argue that it adds importance to your decision making. That it gives a sense of worth to your build.

I have all kinds of problems with that argument, not the least of which is the suggestion that if we were able to respec at will it would somehow mean respecing in between mobs, every 30 seconds or so. Obviously it is an exaggeration to make a point but it’s not a point I’m willing to concede.

I shouldn’t be punished for wanting to change my traits at my own convenience and I don’t think that automatically means that I’m somehow obsessing over changing my traits or that I’ll do it compulsively.

Also maybe not everybody gives a hoot about their build. I just want what is most effective for me. The argument that I somehow should have feelings for my build or that it should matter somehow, it doesn’t reflect how I play games or what I care about in games.

Saying my traits should matter more is like telling me what to care about. Different people enjoy different parts of MMOs.

One argument that makes sense at first glance is that if you want a build that uses different stats you’ll need different gear and that gear will likely cost way more than the fee to respec.

Well that depends on a number of different issues, but each trait line seems to give you a maximum of 300 in a particular attribute. I don’t know the amount of attributes your gear will have but I’d be willing to bet that trait lines make up a significant portion of your attributes. Dismissing respecing by saying you’ll need new gear is a little too hasty.

In my opinion we should be trying new things and experimenting at our own pace. Not the pace set by an arbitrary hurdle.

Fundamentally for me, it’s a convenience factor. I just don’t need to be warping somewhere every time I want to try something different with my traits.

But then again, like I said, this is not as big a problem as some would make it out to be. I personally don’t believe we’ll even feel motivated to change our traits all that often. Major and Minor Traits seem specific, meaning they are unnecessary for every single battle. The attribute boosts seem like they’d be hard to screw up. Which makes my whole post kind of a pointless exercise. But I did warn you in the first paragraph so don’t worry, I don’t feel guilty.



  1. […] Hunter’s Insight: Auction House, Trait Theory and Much ado about traits. […]

  2. I guess we’ll have to see how much gear makes a difference on attributes, but I really don’t think traits will be THAT big of a deal or difference, what with how the encourage weapon-swapping to change up your playstyle more than anything else.

    Also, I would say “sense of worth”, to me, means coming up with something that’s effective and you enjoy it. This isn’t going to be like GW1 where 90% of attribute and skill combos are useless so you have to experiment around a ton. And you do have the ability to play around with stuff for free, after all, anyway.

    I don’t really see it as being that big of a deal. The fee will most likely be nominal (as most fee-like things like that have been), so at worst it’ll just be a minor inconvenience that stops people from abusing the system.

    • I can’t foresee gear being so much more important than your trait lines that your trait lines don’t matter at all.
      Experimenting with traits in the mists would take a long, long time with all the choices we have and if I’m spending more time experimenting in the pvp lobby than actually playing, something is wrong.
      A nominal small fee is probably fine, but if they’re ensuring that you make choices that matter, and that choices have consequences, I question just how big this fee is going to be.

      All that said, i agree that it isn’t a big deal. I just happen to disagree with it.

  3. I really don’t see the problem. Because this is for PvE. Think about it, besides dungeons , where is the situation where a challenge arise that can’t be solved with a temporary weaponswap without needing to change the traits? How often will it arise? In a dynamic events , who can wait for that ? But taking another weapon on the fly and even change to some none weapon specific majors that can be done without waiting to much.

    Yes it is not total optimal play to take another weapon without the matching trait lines. But it is not like you are totally gimped. And on the other hand its going to be even less optimal play if every group always have to wait for optimal trait custumisation. Waste of time, preparing to play instead of playing. I think that little fee and trip to town, just is so needed, to avoid that.
    I am totally fine with dungeons beeing challenging, and i find it a small problem if they are challenging enough that I and my group actual have to go to town to respec.

    I have the opinion that in terms of experimenting with build , having a fee and a trip to town , is a win. And i could for sure enjoy more severe cost to change alot, simply because i grow more attached to my decissions, and that dicerns my character from everyone else. Something i really think is worth having in a game (not based on grind).

    About gear . Look up vorsakens threads about heath and armour on guru to see how much gear and traits do. But as i recall it traits points are important, like being able to go from light to medium armor. But the numbers are chrunced there.

    • I agree for the most part, i just don’t see people needing to change their traits that often. I do see it as a small annoyance when I want to change my traits though, like if I happen to do dungeons a lot, or if i want to change roles a lot.

  4. I think the developers are simply trying to prevent what happened at the end of gw1. The templates were nice at first, but PUG eventually came down to use this build or I will find someone else to join. It was pretty awful and made me avoid most people altogether. Now that hero/henching the situation is no longer an option, I’m glad that they are taking some steps to make PUG less agonizing. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused for the rest of you 🙂

    • I expect that it may be one motivation but not their major reason for doing so.

  5. […] Hunter’s Insight — Much Ado About Traits. “Let me preface this post by saying I don’t think this is a big deal. That the amount of attention it’s getting is ridiculous. That I would be perfectly comfortable using the system as it stands if it isn’t changed. This post in my own opinion is not very important. But…” […]

  6. Your other points are valid, but if a certain weapon or build is mandatory for a dungeon, then that means they didn’t live up to the promise of allowing you to play how you want to play. Teamwork shouldn’t mean being forced to adopt a play style or use a weapon you don’t like in order to be effective. That’s part of why the holy trinity was such a nuisance. Plus it lends itself toward scripted game play where there’s one way of doing things and no room for personal preferences or spontaneity. What if your profession isn’t good for the dungeon, period? That would, for me, be a huge let down and departure from the personalized game play they’ve promised.

    I think the traits are meant to enhance our chosen play styles, but I can see how it can be an issue for people who need more fluidity or room for experimentation. Like I said, the other concerns are valid but if dungeons require certain builds and/or weapons, or perhaps even professions, we have bigger things to worry about.

    • I’m not saying by any means that some build or other should be mandatory, just that if someone wants to play more of a support role it shouldn’t be a pain to change your traits to fit that role. But again, I don’t even think traits will matter so much that we’d feel the pressure to change so often.

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