I've noticed a lot of one dimensional thought in the way some people regard skills, and in many cases I see the same character building paradigms being applied to GW characters that are used to develop MMO characters (be it EQ, WoW, DAoC, etc.)
If anything, I think drawing those types of connections are going to hinder our ability to create powerful characters. I think first, and foremost, GW is a strategy game. Terminology like DPS, tank, healer, and all those buzzwords imported from MMOs are deterimental to building a character in GW. If you look at GW as a strategy game, like chess, try asking how much DPS the Italian Opening does.
Looking closely at GW, more parallels can be drawn to chess than to an MMO. The only similarities it bears to an MMO are atmosphere and user interface. The mechanics, rules, and strategies that lead to success are nothing like an MMO. If we build and play our characters like they are MMO characters, someone who's playing it like a strategy game will steamroll us every single time. While we try to maximize damage, he's systematically shutting down our victory scenarios.
I think it's faulty to view each skill on our bar as a way to cause damage. I think we're better served by viewing each skill as an opportunity to maneuver ourselves into a superior position. Examine a spell like Hex Breaker for example, if you cast that prior to getting into spell range, that can leave a hex-casting opponent severely crippled for his strategy. You'll have done 4 things
- Disabled his skill
- Prevented his skill from effecting you
- Caused him to use up energy for no effect
- Caused damage
If he was going to cast Backfire on you, now it's used up for 20 seconds, did nothing, he takes damage, and he used up energy. Because the activation times are the same, and having cast Hex Breaker at least a few seconds before, you'll have an opportunity to cast it again long before his Backfire is ready. If the hex was Defile Flesh, he'll still sacrifice his life too!
While powerful by itself, if you combine Hex Breaker with Arcane Thievery, that can completely shut down a caster. You've disabled 1/8th of his spells with Arcane Thievery, in addition to that you've protected yourself from any hexes (which may be 0 spells, but statistically is likely to be at least 1 spell. Due in part to the number of spells which are hexes, and the devastating effects of many hexes make them highly attractive).
Those two spells alone are enough to shut down a great number of "direct damage" types. Essentially, you'll have broken their build, depriving them of 1/4th of their skills while only using up 1/8th of your own (due to the fact that Arcane Trickery isn't so much "used" as it was exchanged).
Another attractive point is that Hex Breaker (and the similar line of "skill breaking" spells) don't have an activation time, while most hexes have an activation time of 2 - 3, so you can actually reserve using it until you see them casting and still be ahead of the game.
I'm not saying everyone should start using Arcane Trickery and Hex Breaker, what I'm saying is that the process of building and refining a character will need to be a lot deeper than designing the optimal damage to energy regeneration ratio. If anyone we face has so much as a single skill that interrupts a carefully designed "max dps" design, it becomes nearly impossible to win. If we're not careful about the habits that we import from MMOs, going for max dps is like shooting our hand out thinking "nothings beats rock".
Mostly this was written as a reminder for myself, but maybe it will help someone else too =)
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Thread: One Dimensional Thought
09-05-2005, 18:25 #1
One Dimensional Thought
09-05-2005, 19:14 #2grizdenGuest
I really liked this post, so much so that i created an account to post a reply. First i have to say that unlike chess where to win you make it so that the king cannot move, in gw i believe that you do need some type of damage or win condition. I used to play magic the gathering alot and i always played a counterspell deck. The key to that and to what i think your trying to say in your post is knowing what the other persons win condtion is and shutting that down. I think that in order for your suggestion on builds to work we need to know what the other types of characters are going to do. I think we should open up and talk about the different types of characters that are currently being played and then use this radical thinking of non dps driven characters to find ways to shut down our enemys. Well thats my random rambling on the subject.
Oh and by the way i'm new to guild wars, but i already have found this thinking to be the way i'm goign to try and play.
09-05-2005, 20:24 #3
Excellent post, and I agree wholeheartedly.
One thing to remember is this is a very well-rounded game both PvE and PvP and the strategies employed for both will be different. In PvE you will need some way to do damage either yourself of by protecting teammates and henchmen. During PvP, I think it is being found veryquickly that DPS doesn't mean diddly. That is a chess match trying to determine how your opponent is going to attack and then counter it before it happens. I think this game has a lot in common with collectable card games such as Magic the Gathering. There you collect cards but you can only use a certain amount. Create the right deck of spells and you will devestate your opponent. However, should he have one card - that can ruin your entire plan. It seems like every character has that one card to trump a different player. The trick is building your party in GvG to have as many of those cards as possible to effectively shut down your opponent.
10-05-2005, 01:06 #4
Very nice post. I'm interested to see how the whole community responds to it, so perhaps we can get it moved to the appropriate section of the forums.
Welcome to the forums everyone. :happy14:
10-05-2005, 01:17 #5Originally Posted by Tsume
Seriously, this post could be titled: "Primary guidelines for Mesmers" and it wouldn't be out of place at all. Nice job :D
10-05-2005, 06:40 #6
You have made an exellent point with this post, raisenero. Cheers to "template" and "DPS" becomming dirty words compred to "strategy" and "foresight".
Also, Cheers to this forum, where I have seen only intelligent conversation and constructive criticism. Here's to hoping it stays as such.
10-05-2005, 07:37 #7
Funny thing about this line of thought is I could see a team going too far in the direction of strategy and wind up getting ganked by some team of noobs with an overly obvious dps/zerg/nuke strategy.
At the end of the day, damage has to come from *somewhere*... You can have 2 teams shutting each other down all day, but if nobody is dealing damage nobody is winning the damn battle!
But hey, at the end of the day, we're all noobs here... 3 months from now we'll have some perspective, imo ;)
Last edited by sly_1; 10-05-2005 at 07:39.
10-05-2005, 08:04 #8grizdenGuest
In response to dealing damage, theres 8 actions you can take if you focus all on highest possible dps then you lose the point of the thread but if everyone takes 2-3 actions to shut down a paticular enemy, then in a team of 8 you could take out around 12 or so character types. Now that leaves 5-6 actions in your bar to deal damage with. Now if the actions your using to shut down your enemy are also dealing damage then you've killed 2 birds with one stone. I think that with enough thought and alot of communication within the team you can take some unused talents and turn them into game breakers. Now going back to the card game comparision, while playing the mtg i noticed that alot of the cards i used to win were cards noone used, but if you put 2 or more together then they become powerful. I think theres alot of such combos in this game and the trick is finding them.
10-05-2005, 09:16 #9
People are already using strategy thinking when they create their builds. When you finish a build for your character, try to think in what order you will cast your spells and in what situation. Often times people (myself included) will find that there will be problems with their build before they even test it.
Planning strategy for your battles is always a good thing, but remember to be flexible. Sure think about recharge times, and other good stuff but remember that things will almost never go as you planned. For example you were talking about backfire, this will be stripped away very fast by one of his allies so if your entire strategy was relying on backfire lasting on him for 10 seconds then everything could collapse.
Also you seem to enjoy writing (I can tell by your long, thoughtful post). A little suggestion would be to "dumb-down" your writing. Using big words is fun and all, but using smaller words and being more concise will improve the flow of your short article.
10-05-2005, 18:29 #10
Originally Posted by sly_1
Originally Posted by PKMG StaR
I see a lot of people using strategy for their builds, and I think that's great, I love when to read a new strategy to try, but I also see some people who think in terms of "What does the most damage?", my post was meant to highlight the differences between GW and an MMO, and why the same plan won't work. Posted in the Mesmer Strategy area because I play a Mesmer primary character, and the whole idea of strategy and subtlety is what Mesmer skills are all about. I have read a ton of great strategies, especially on this site's forums, and most of those are what inspired this post.
I don't really like writing, but it's a new game and one I'm more excited about than anything since Tribes 1. If this were a game like WoW or EQ2, I wouldn't have written much because there would be very little to say. "Get a better weapon, pick skills that do the most damage.". For a combat strategy "Press attack, stand there until it's dead and you're not."
But a game like this deserves to have a lot written about it =)