Fox takes a critical look

woensdag 29 februari 2012

Attributes and traits in GW2, my thoughts and suggestions

Arenanet has just released a new blog post called "Play your way" wich covers how the new Attribute and Trait system will work in their upcoming title Guildwars 2. The entire blogpost can be found at:

Attributes have been changed in a very significant way, and i must say, i'm a big fan of the new system. Attributes that are proffesion-specific are really awsome. The effects that those attributes have however aren't that wonderfull with every class.
The warrior and guardian specific attributes deliver exactly what i need, more power for the warrior and more significant use of virtues for the guardian.The thief has it's steal mechanic boosted. While this is definitly possitive i still have my doubts about steal itself, so i will have to wait and see to know if i like this. For the ranger we see the specific attribute let's you boost your pet's attributes. A logical choice since the basic ranger needs are covered in offense and defense, and pets are, and should be considered quite important for rangers. Engineers have been blessed with recharge on all toolbelt skills. While this is awesome, i will express a bit of concern here, i'm hoping these effects aren't to great, since i can imagine some of these skills leaning towards overpowered when they become near-spammable.
Death shroud. OP?
Talking about OP, watch out with the necromancer Arenanet, the life-force increase scares the crap out of me, as a non-necromancer i can see Death Shroud becoming the most irritating thing to deal with in pvp. The elementalist has been given a class attribute that let's attunements recharge faster. While this may sound awesome i have some doubts. If you can make it so attunements switch instantly or almost instantly on the fly then this will be something an ele can't do without. I'm not sure if thats a bad thing, but for the moment i'm doubtfull. My biggest concern however, is the mesmer. Al shatter cooldowns are decreased. While this mechanic on itself does not have such a dramatic effect it confirms concerns that i had for the mesmer. I think it's leaning to much towards a minion momber class, and i really don't like that evolution. I would suggest that mesmer attributes instead make clones a bit more durable, since they are super-squishy, and to make phantasms damage increase a bit.
Overall the attributes system has been designed very well and is a huge improvement to what we had seen before.

Now we've come to the second part of the Arenanet blog, Traits.
I must say i'm delighted with how the general system works, but i do have some concerns.

You will first experience triats around lvl 11, recieving 1 point per lvl up to lvl 80. This means you will have 70 trait points at max lvl. Every proffesion has 5 trait lines. I'm guessing most people will be speccing into 2/3 of these lines. The A-net blog contains a list with wich traits are supported by wich attributes, it's very clear to see. I would encourage Arenanet to not only list these combinations in their blogs however, it would be very nice to see when you've specced into Strenght for example, that it would suggest Power and Expertise as a matching attribute ingame. People should not be breaking their experience and going online to look up how to things match up with eachother.

The GW2 trait system, showcasing the 5 lines for Elementalists
Minor traits are exactly what i expect them to be, a bonus for going into a certain line.

Major traits are rewards that can be slotted into a major trait slot wich unlocks as soon as you get 10, 20 and 30 points into a certain line. The awsome thing about this system, wich has really never been done in an mmo before, is that there are no skills locked away only to be used by people who fully spec into a certain line. The only thing that is affected is how many major traits are available in that line. I can't do anything else then state that this system is really awesome and exactly the system i've been looking for in an mmorpg.
The training manual system is a good way to introduce people into the trait system without allowing them, for their own good, to fully choose one way. It encourages to experiment with their proffesion and it shows you how to play, something other mmo's have lacked for ages.

Rounding up traits, Jon Peters mentioned Re-Specializing, and the following statement has made a mess on various sites and forums.
After a character has spent their trait points, they can visit a trainer to reset their traits and refund their previously spent points for a small fee.
We realized that an important part of building a character is some sense of permanence. With this new system, you are flexible enough to change if you really want to, but you should still feel like the choices you made matter while you are out adventuring or slogging your way through a dungeon. In competitive PvP, you have a separately saved trait build and can respec free of charge.

Who else is still hoping for a
 "Blinded by the light" trait for
guardians? I love my bling bling.
While i do understand the reason behind this, like many people i simply can't agree on everything in that statement. I understand that it is by no means gamebreaking and that this is just a small thing, but it's an important one in my honest opinion.
Let's make one thing clear, swapping traits on the fly is not an option. It indeed harms that sense of permanence that people are building around their character, and not only that. It would create an insane elitist community that would require you to switch traits before each boss. For this reason i understand that switching is needed in town.

I do not agree that a fee is needed for switching tough, even if it is just small. Collecting money of a player, no matter how little it is, will trigger a reaction. This may be looking up good traits on google or to copy stuff from guildies or friends. And yes, i really believe this is a bad thing. Players should be able to experiment whenever and wherever they like, for no fee at all. I know the pvp loby will be a place where you can freely experiment with skills and traits, no cost, but i think this is way to sepperate from the pve-world, especially for pve-only players, and it can never offer you real combat situation.

Altough i understand the need for trait-switching to be based in towns, it brings another concern to mind: underwater combat.
Will underwater play be influenced by the traits you choose
on land? 
Underwater combat is a completely different experience, and while you may love certain traits above water, for example a necromancer choosing traits that focus on his minions, it might not be your favorite setup underwater, for several reasons. Being under the surface changes combat drasticly. Since Arenanet has stated multiple times that the underwater content is a really big part of the game, i'm hoping they won't force people to play underwater with their land traits. The experience is so different. I would suggest that people get different traits for underwater, but only if they want it. (a tab that can be activated/deactivated?)

My last minor concern is weapons, will this system support and boost different weapons.
Since the warrior is the main weapon user i'm gonna take his example.
Does a warrior wielding a bow and hammer get boosted in these 2 sets? Or will weapons like a bow have damage increased depending on other attributes and traits then the hammer? (i'm talking mostly about minor traits here, since you can choose major) I wouldn't want this warrior to have to choose between bow and hammer to spec into.

Overall i think the system is pretty well designed, and while i have some concerns i really believe in Arenanet to take the feedback from the Beta's and design the best game they can make.
The major traits have blown me away, that system is just brilliant.

My name is Fox, i'm a Norn Guildwars player (i'm 2 meters tall) hoping to work at a company like A-Net one day.
This is my opinion on your build.