GW2: Just a Teensy Bit Excited About the New Defiance

Just a wee bit.

Can’t overhype myself this soon, right?

Ten Ton Hammer has an exclusive on the Defiant Wyvern in Heart of Thorns, and a later interview with the devs where they clarify more about the new system.

The base concept of making a neglected part of the new trinity, control, important to players once more is super-exciting to me.

Crowd control’s something that’s really hard to get right and feel good.

I’ve heard oldtimers lament that crowd control past the Everquest days fell by the wayside in the face of the holy trinity.

My own experience with cc came mostly from City of Heroes, which managed to make it “effective” enough to be a viable “tank” alternative, pretty much by overdoing it and making it OP in a very binary fashion. Got a bunch of minions and lieutenants? Boom. Unleash your control crowd, ALL of them are now grabbing their heads and absolute punching bags for the next minute or two. Yeah, they’re dead. Next.

Boss? Arch-villain? Haha. So much for your CC. Try to stack them on top of each other long enough to have a mild effect. It was kind of a once in a blue moon occasion where the dominator class managed to pop domination, multiplying the magnitude of their mez effect to be strong enough that they could temporarily be held in place with one cast. Especially for AVs, who then turned up with the dreaded purple arrows, which made them -completely- immune to CC when they were pointing up (ie. most of the time.)

If there was one thing I did really like about Wildstar during my short trial of it, it was the interrupt armor concept, where mobs would come armed with a numerical stack of IA (similar to stacks of the old GW2 defiance) and players would have to fire off enough interrupts to strip it so that the next interrupt could actually interrupt a dreaded skill the mob was channeling.

The normal braindead DPS role now had to take on an additional responsibility, to bring interrupts and fire them at the right time to conquer this mechanic. Preferably via players coordinating with each other, but if coordination was lacking, then someone could overcompensate by bringing 3 interrupts to fire in sequence, instead of just 1.

From the sound of it, there’s going to be a few differences in GW2’s new Defiance or Breakbar system.

One, that overcompensation by someone with a clue may not be allowed to take place, if the Defiance bar regenerates too quickly.

This is the part that I’m a little iffy about. That’s kinda asking a LOT from the players of a random map, or even a random PUG in a dungeon. And we know that if you ask too much of the average player, what ends up happening is that certain mediocre to above average to excellent players will end up losing patience and getting snappy and toxic – and all you need is a few bad apples barfing vitriol over mapchat to ruin a whole map or community’s day.

Two, it’s more like, as someone in the Reddit discussion thread mentioned, a second health bar that comes up at certain times, that can be ‘attacked’ by skills that do control effects.

This is exciting, since that makes CC a little less binary (on or off, immune stacks up = cc worthless, immune stacks down = cc OP?), and gives CC durations a little more meaning. A long duration CC or something like a stun or daze will have more value then, over a short term blind, and so on.

It won’t be DPS of the red health bar uber alles, or the zerker damage specialist, but also “we need a DPSer of the control or break bar!” a control specialist who would have different weapons, skills, utilities and maybe even traits or masteries equipped to take down the purple bar (or whatever color they’re making it.)

Seriously, anything that encourages more build diversity or folks to reconsider their builds for different situations in GW2 is a good thing.

Certain people (usually not the ones that actually theorycraft up the builds) really need to realize that metas can and do change. Meta is not stagnant. Meta is simply what is optimal for a very specific purpose at a certain point in time.

Three, it appears to be built to encourage a coordinated spike of control effects from a whole crowd of different players.

While this may not be great news for the random masses, it makes me just a teensy bit excited for organized group encounters where it’ll probably feel quite thrilling to listen to someone yell ‘now!” over the mic, and for a whole bunch of people to turn and WHAM down the break bar with coordinated control, and to visually SEE it going down and feel that sense of connection and synergy, of working in beautifully synchronized unison to achieve a goal.

(Yes, this is also fodder for the voicechat versus text debate. If a commander typed “now!” over text, would it actually get the same response from a very trained populace? (maybe, say, a year after, like how Teq is run now, like clockwork?) I dunno. I predict some very bitter tears and a lot of mapchat blame before we ever get to that point though.

I dunno how I feel about this. I think as long as it still remains an easy, open, non-exclusive road for any random person to join an organized group attempt and get onto a Teamspeak equivalent (though you do have the issue of the hard-of-hearing being left out thusly, unless they find someone understanding to type heard commands to them), I won’t rant too hard about it.)

Because I have to admit that I like that feeling, and I like when designers take care to build in situations where players all look in the same direction and share a certain camaraderie of connection.

You get it in places like Natural Selection maps, where human marine players are purposefully crammed into a small elevator going up, so that they’re all looking in the same direction when the door opens… revealing an nasty alien player in the form of a Fade or Onos, and then there’s that shared sense of “AAAIIIEEEE” and madcap firing.

You get it in GW2 in places like an organized Triple Trouble Wurm, or a WvW zerg fight of the highest order, when the group is really together and listening and acting as a coordinated clump, a swarm that’s more than the sum of its parts.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get another source of it from the new Defiance Breakbar that will put Control’s star in ascendance.

Fingers crossed, anyway.