GW2: The Constructive Criticism Postscript to Raids

Ok, I lied. In the spirit of being positive, let’s not end on a downer note.

What are some viable things that Anet can do in the future to improve the GW2 raiding experience?

Personal DPS meters (with serious enforcement of bad behaviour/harassment of others)

Since we seem to be past the point where masking the numbers make sense, let’s have them shown to ourselves only, possibly only in specific places like raids, Heart of the Mists and/or a separate PvE testing area (perhaps in our guild halls.)

If that’s too much work, then a copychat command to save the combat log in text form will let third-parties construct parsers for it.

If a certain amount of exclusion is unavoidable, then let’s at least have them be based on objective fact, especially the actual practical dps you’re outputting in a raid environment, which can be very different from theoretical dps.

Any resultant swings in player favor of one class over another is then impetus for better overall class balance.

To stave off the bludgeoning of weaker players with a DPS meter and waving of e-peen around, Anet should commit to seriously enforcing reported verbal harassment, in a similar way that FF14 comes down on DPS meter reports in-game (it’s don’t ask, don’t tell there, apparently.)

You shouldn’t get punished for saying “Hey, Player X, your dps is insufficient for our group to finish this boss. Could you swap in skill/trait Y?” “Or sorry, until you get Z stats, we have to remove you from our raid group for now.”

But “lolfuking n00b, he only got 1k dps, boot his sorry ass” consistently over time ought to build up to a couple days’ suspension / time out for toxicity.

Dial Back Enrage Timers or Remove Them Entirely

Enrage timers reduce the pool of viable choices, reducing variety and options for players who might like to play certain classes or stats. Why punish group creativity if that particular guild is willing to accommodate certain players with a more novel group composition?

As mentioned to Ravious, a group of ten people in Nomad’s would still have trouble on certain boss mechanics of the Vale Guardian (lacking condition damage, controlling tank aggro would be hilarious) and already be imposing a time penalty on themselves by taking way way longer to clear a boss than other groups.

Players will naturally try to speed up over time. Dungeons have no enrage timer and competitive speed clearing was still very much a thing, with PUGs still insisting on zerker gear to clear at a “normal” acceptable speed.

Failing which, keep the over-tuning enthusiasm for the final bosses of each raid wing, and dial back on the first / earlier bosses so that players can at least have their learning and progress scaffolded a little more, rather than get immediately shut down on entry.

Being a little more lax on timing gives some leeway for latency, so that players around the world aren’t as disadvantaged or immediately excluded, instead of only limiting the raiding subset with the fortune to live near wherever the servers are hosted.

Institute a Wider Spread of Stepped Partial Consolation Prizes

Getting a few magnetite shards for getting the first boss past 50%, and other health milestones is a good first step, but the concept could still use more iteration.

I’ve mentioned the bronze/silver/gold suggestion from Reddit user Mireles before, and this would be nice in conjunction with dialed down enrage timers. Gold would be the current enrage limit (or silver, and make gold even more insane) and bronze would at least help to encourage all those groups who are hitting the current 5-10% health before wiping.

More Flexible Ways to Swap Gear without Clogging Inventory/Bags and Taking Too Much Time

I think this goes without saying, build saving / loading has been a constant wishlist item.

Ideals would be something akin to the current PvP design – once you have a piece of Ascended armor of a certain weight, rarity tier and stat spread, it’s unlocked for your account and you can swap into it at will.

A stopgap measure that at least solves The Rune/Sigil Switching Problem is to have a way to make upgrade extractors in-game and/or lower the gem price so that they aren’t insanely costly. Perhaps say, 10 silver a rune/sigil extraction?

Hell, make the upgrade extractor a permanent tool like the salvage-o-matics and charge 10 silver a pop for it.

Improved LFR tools

Stopgap measures would be swapping the text on dungeon tabs like another Reddit user suggested (whose link I don’t seem able to currently locate) so that the categories more accurately reflect current player interest.

Later improvements could be things like:

  • Making it easier for raid leaders to see and invite to squad (rather than their current workarounds of leaving squad, joining party, chatting, asking the person to squadjoin or come to the same map instance for a squad invite, whatever…)
  • Tools that let someone post an advertisement for a certain class and leave it up while logged on, while being able to log onto a second character to get other things done like map exploration or leveling. (Currently, it looks very awkward if you advertise as one class and people see you on another class altogether.)

Yes, the intent was for people to do raids as a set, organized group, but as we can already see, there’s always going to be floaters / mercenaries and groups that need one or two people to fill spots from time to time. (Especially with a ten-man hard limit.)

One may as well help the two parties to meet up a little better.

An Alternate Option for Legendary Insights

The best way to avoid accusations of “feeling forced” to do content is to provide an alternative. At least then the player has a choice of the lesser of two evils, even if he does not like either.

Several alternatives would, of course, be preferable.

Thoughts along this line would be things like:

  • Solo challenges on a Liadri and higher (8 orb Liadri, and even worse than Liadri) scale
  • Guild group WvW challenges on a similar scale (perhaps Yakslapper-like WvW league achievements that can be contributed to by guild members over time playing WvW, or hold X territory for however many hours, or whatever – and each player would have to meet a certain level of participation to qualify for the seasonal reward)
  • and/or making the Legendary Insights sellable/tradeable (depending on if it’s desirable to have Legendary armor be like old weapon legendaries or the new ones)

I think instituting some or all of the above would go quite a long ways to making the GW2 raid experience more palatable to more player types in the population.

Ok, now I’m done.

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7 thoughts on “GW2: The Constructive Criticism Postscript to Raids

  1. bhagpuss says:

    Chances are they will institute some of the above changes over time. The thing is, though, this is ANet we’re talking about. “Over time” could be six months to year at the short end. As we all know there are glaring, game-breaking design flaws elsewhere in the game that have gone unaddressed for years.

    Add to that the grasshopper minds of MMO devs everywhere. Yes, Colin says they are now where they want to be in terms of iterating on a stable platform for the future but when was that ever true for any MMO? Raids are the big ticket focus in late 2015 but by Summer 2016 who knows what the focus might be?

    They’re a big player but they only have so many resources and it’s clear to anyone whose been playing for a while that they are always stretched. Tuning raids properly and adding in whole systems that would affect the entire game just to fix issues with raiding is at best going to pull resources from other parts of the game. Any way you cut it, adding Raids will have a big impact on the game as a whole and I feel it’s very optimistic indeed to imagine that will turn out to be a net positive.

  2. Sylow says:

    “Personal DPS meters (with serious enforcement of bad behaviour/harassment of others)”

    I disbelieve.

    Once you bring in elitism and the requirement to be “on top” (the usually quoted “best 10%” of all players), you automatically install toxicity. After all, the “join raid” is the hardest and strictest of all forms of PvP: you have to beat everybody else who would like to go raiding for one of 10 available spots. The only two games where i haven’t experienced hostilities due to “he is taking a slot where a useful teammember could be” are TSW and Warhammer Online. In the first i blame it on the unusual community, which not only is quite lais­sez faire but also very social. (In which other game do you regularily find pick up groups where tank and healer are covered and they only need a few more damage dealers to start? ) In the second, it was just the nature of open world PvP, without numeric limitations. Even a weak player along was better than him not being along, so everybody was welcome to join. (It very much showed to be a matter of game design, things changed drastically when the game moved to the fight for contested cities, where there was a limit on people and suddenly the “only top players” elitists crawled out of their holes. )

    So based on my experience, i would say that providing a DPS meter will boost toxicity and no kind of “harassment policy” will ever fix that. Players have a long history of dedication and creativity to avoid and circumvent any such policy, it almost seems like creating toxicity and reducing the playerbase is a higher goal they have to strive for.

    We already have the golems in the PvP training area and in my eyes they are already a good way to practice and improve your setup and rotation, without providing a tool which can too easily be used for epeen comparison and discriminating other players. Currently on the average the community of GW is “acceptable” to “allright”, better than the average but still far from “good”. Thus i hope that no instruments (like the DPS meter) are installed, which seem to have the primary function of boosting toxicity and decreasing the quality of a community.

    That being said, the rest of your suggestions at the moment sounds fine for me, but for most i doubt that they will ever happen. Just let’s see:

    – “Dial Back Enrage Timers or Remove Them Entirely”

    Maybe. This change would definitely allow higher build diversity, but it would be quite unwelcome within the highly elitist part of the community. Due to their nature, i’d see a lot of screaming, shouting and badmouthing if this change was implemented. I don’t see ANet going that way.

    – “Institute a Wider Spread of Stepped Partial Consolation Prizes”

    Maybe. But i doubt they’d see enough merit in this to warrant the additional effort.

    -“More Flexible Ways to Swap Gear without Clogging Inventory/Bags and Taking Too Much Time”

    Never. After all, bag slots are still sold in the item story. Only the highest tier of equipment, legendary gear, gets this flexibility. After all, the player who makes it that far already has to have the bags and thus bought the slots, so it doesn’t matter any more. Yea, i know that’s a bit sarcastic, but there’s also truth in it. (And hey, GW2 -is- business, they have to make their money somehow. )

    -“Improved LFR tools”

    Possibly. I find that GW2 is far behind to many other games here and don’t really understand why it was improved to get on par to other games with the recent updates. It’s not an incredibly complex mechanic, either, so upgrading it shouldn’t be such an epic task but would go a long way.

    -“An Alternate Option for Legendary Insights”

    Only in a very distant future, if ever. Mind you, i would welcome the alternate options, but they would contradict all my observations of GW2.

  3. Ursan says:

    We’ll have to wait and see. Teq was impossible at first, but eventually people figured out how to maximize their DPS and now it’s pretty straight-forward.

    I just beat it last night, and I wouldn’t say we were super optimized. I was using exotic weaps, for example, and didn’t run any fancy runes/sigils (Just runes of the Trooper =3). We discussed it though, and we came up with several strategies that helped up speed up our time.

    I think the biggest problem is the lack of LFG. Anet needs to do something like what Riot did with teambuilder so that PUGS don’t have to waste half their day finding a good group.

    Also the way the gimmicks are, the optimal build is as less healers as possible, and as many DPS as possible. If they design a fight where several healers/tanks are absolutely necessary (splitting phases, dunno) to force team configs away from 90% dps, maybe we’ll see more build diversity….

    But honestly so few people are actually specced for tank/healing anyways, it might the same old LFhealer/tank problems as everything else.

    Ultimately though, the encounter is still very well designed and fun, if you can find a group for it, which is a whole different adventure onto itself…

    -Ursan

    • Jeromai says:

      Nearly all of the groups I’ve been getting into have been bogging down with green circle mechanics, which has been quite tiring and annoying.

      It seems to be a combination of unwillingness to put on one or two cc skills, group healing skills and naturally low hp classes running the circles without having come up with a strategy for being able to top off their hp quickly.

      I suspect that groups with condi engis and necros that know their stuff don’t end up with this problem because engis have healing turret, knockback and moderate hp, while necros are really naturally tanky and can transfuse with shroud 4 and possibly immobilise with shroud 5.

      There was one group where the circle runners just kept trying to stand there with seekers in there, and I ended up deciding to play completely experimental lots-of-knockback rifle warrior (since focusing on dpsing was just getting us wiped from Distributed Magic about one or two mins in).

      I felt like I was nearly the only one on beater duty, but they managed to push to split at 5.30 as a result. (Ie. Not great dps, but at least they got somewhere instead of consistently wiping.) I remain convinced that the circle runners need to take some cc responsibility for themselves somehow.

      Also makes me want to properly theorycraft a machine gun rifle zerker because his high health pool might help surviving in the circles more.

      It would probably be hilarious and doable for a 10 warrior vale guardian with some coordination of group composition. Warrior tank, maybe warrior shout healer, banner regen, PS warrior/berserkers, condi berserkers, some rifle/longbow warriors handling circle duty, plenty of wild blow, tremor, stomp and bolas to go around.

  4. fireflyry says:

    I like the majority of your thoughts and also agree many will more than likely be implemented in similar or various forms, mostly in terms of scaling back the difficulty to obtain or access reward.

    I can’t get on board with the DPS meters though.

    Even if access of the numbers are restricted to only that user it’s open to abuse. I could grief a whole team, “Yeah man..getting over 9000!!!”, while in reality I could be hitting like a wet noodle.

    Also screenshots.

    It also plays into the hands of gear and build dictatorship at the expense of diversity.Once the perfect team/gear/build/class is found for optimal DPS output and proven via DPS output meters to the community it will become cookie-cutter at the exclusion of everything else, not to keen on bringing back the days of standing around waiting on that one cookie to join in order to complete the meta max DPS cookie cutter team composition aka “lfmonk then go!”.

    Or:

    “Doing 1764 guys!”.

    “You should be doing 1784 meta DPS with this exact build…do you have the following gear…”

    “Uhhh…no?”

    “NEXT!!”

    or:

    “Uhh yeah?”

    “L2P…NEXT!!”

    I could only see such a tool being advantageous if there were blanket gear set-ups and stats aka sPvP. If everyone is on a fair playing field from the get go such meters could possibly be justfied but I think their use as a tool of dictatorship, segregation and exclusion based on a number set by the very top tier players in the very best gear for that exact purpose outweighs any positives they would bring to the community.

    It also seems very biased in regards to scapegoating DPS as the sole reason for success or failure, what about heal output or tanking and the effects that has on DPS output? What about that player that gears towards survival more than straight out damage? Maybe overall that would be more advantageous to success because the healer under-performs but good luck getting into a team.

    It’s just a can of worms really.Would be happy to be proved wrong though.

  5. Pragmatically, personal DPS meters in specific contexts seem sensible. It would take a radical departure from current philosophy to do something even as simple as implementing combat log copy-paste functionality, however. I don’t think there’s enough impetus there to shout down the “look at the world, not the UI/numbers” mantra. Look at how long it took to get ELO-style ratings (guild team sPvP leaderboards) as opposed to their custom, hybrid-ish ranking system. Essentially, someone in ANet would have to push raids as hard as eSports to “rehabilitate” the current ToS-violating number-crunching tools and I don’t think they’re going headlong into it as Bhagpuss suggests, but rather pushing their egg-basket in a wheelbarrow down an accommodating decline.

  6. […] Yo. That’s all I’ve been asking for and needed for philosophical parity. An alternate pathway(s) to legendary armor functionality. Since 20-fucking-15. […]

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