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Colin Johanson on Dungeon Difficulty

I thought this was an interesting post from Colin over on the official board regarding Dungeon difficulty which can be highly subjective based on your current skill level.

“What I would call ‘hard’ was trying to run Domain of Anguish and Mallyx with a balanced setup in the first weeks it was released. Many people called it impossible, but it was a heck lot of fun to do! Why? Because it offered veriety and fluid gameplay, quick and deadly like it should be. Not kiting a mob for 2 minutes and then walking into the next mob rinse and repeat.”

I’ll point out ironically, when we first turned on DoA back in Gw1 the posts you’re seeing in this forum from a few folks about difficulty were the exact same comments everyone had about DoA. It was “impossible, mobs were just tuned to do insane damage and have huge HP, there was no tactics to defeat DoA”, etc. I went back and read through the original DoA launch feedback and it was literally identical to the comments folks on the forums are leaving now.

We made the choice back then to stick with the difficulty, and give people time to learn how to play the dungeon better and overcome it. A few months later, people viewed it as the most fun thing in the game and totally reasonable without us changing anything.

We’ll be doing the same with the Gw2 explorable dungeons, our own internal testing teams and alpha test groups learned to beat them using a combination of player skill, synchronous builds, strong use of cross-profession combos, use of cooking/consumable buffs (these make a huge difference!) and well formed player tactics. By comparison, after having months to play the game and the time our alpha was complete, some of our better dungeon groups felt the explorable dungeons were too easy for launch, we decided not to make them any harder given the expected player skill on launch.

We’re actively monitoring every dungeon and working on balancing issues we encounter appropriately. We’ll be keeping an eye on bosses we think don’t have enough varied mechanics to warrant their large health pools and updating them over time to make them more varied/interesting fights. We’ll be monitoring, and continually tweaking/adding to dungeon rewards over time and of course balancing where we see the need. And of course, we’ll be looking at adding more dungeons as well!

All of that being said, the game is VERY new for most of our players, and I can absolutely promise with more knowledge of the game and advanced player skill, the explorable dungeons can all be overcome by being skilled groups. We’ve seen many groups do it just fine in our internal alpha test once they had time to learn how to play the game well. Just like Domain of Anguish in Gw1, it takes time and practice to learn how to overcome stuff as hard as our explorable mode dungeons, and that’s exactly the kind of players they are designed for.

If DoA was any indication, a couple months from now, many of you will likely be posting saying most of the dungeons are too easy and you need better challenges


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  • Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t they nerf DoA at some point because of the difficulty? One I recall was the spirits around Mallyx being nerfed within a couple of months.