Baby Steps: The Evolving Approach to PvE

In my last post about the overall PvE meta, I stated what the current situation of PvE is. That statement isn’t quite accurate, because it was focused not on the current situation, but the release situation.

Granted, the vast majority of the content in the game is generally the same as it was when Guild Wars 2 released, but calling it a “current situation” doesn’t do justice to what has been added. The new content shows a completely different approach to designing challenges for the player base.

In this post, I’m going to illustrate how different content has been tailored to address many of the shortcomings of PvE at release. Each small piece shows how thing are getting better, one step at a time.

NOTE: For this post, I am focusing on the following major pieces of content. While there have been other changes, they aren’t as impactful (or as easy to illustrate) as these:

  • Fractals of the Mists
  • Guild Content
  • Living World (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • Super Adventure Box
  • Tequatl Rising
  • Triple Trouble
  • Dry Top
  • Silverwastes

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Dried Up: Why Dry Top Isn’t Popular (And How to Fix It)

Dry Top is way less popular than it was when it was the focus of Living World and the entire map was new. But unlike some that would shrug and say “eh, it lost its newness, that’s why people don’t go there,” I think that several flaws with the map can be seen in hindsight. Flaws that I think ArenaNet saw, because they were fixed or avoided with Silverwastes.

In this post, I will note what is wrong with Dry Top, and compare it against Silverwastes to show the improved approach. I will also have suggestions for how to fix the problems of Dry Top without abandoning its original flow.

DISCLAIMER: For both Dry Top and Silverwastes I did not consult guides for my first few runthroughs. I still have not consulted a guide about Silverwastes that told me something I didn’t already know. I had to consult a guide about Dry Top to figure out where things happened and when.

If you’re interested in why Dry Top and Silverwastes are good areas in general, see this post.

Continue reading Dried Up: Why Dry Top Isn’t Popular (And How to Fix It)

50% of a Trinity: The Current Situation of PvE

The Revenant announcement has sent the community into spasms about loaded words like “taunt”, “the trinity”, and “new technology.” For now, I’d like to weigh in on the statement “Taunt and the like is just bringing the trinity back into the game.”

In a word, no. But beyond this statement, I see a justified misunderstanding about what ArenaNet has aimed (and failed, as I’ll cover later in the post) to create with its combat system and underlying balance.

NOTE: This post is primarily concerned with PvE balance. sPvP and WvW are not in view.

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Rewards Done Right: Dry Top and Silverwastes

If there is any one thing about Heart of Thorns that I am excited about, it’s the announcement that the Heart of Maguuma will have the same meta-event approach present in Silverwastes (and to a lesser extent, Dry Top).

While others have said they like either zone for how there’s always something going on, or the anti-zerg approach to things (try to get a T4 Dry Top by zerging it, just try), the reasons why the two zones work so well (and why Silverwastes is more popular than Dry Top) are far more varied.

In this post, I’m going to explore nine different characteristics that set these zones apart from the core game. In a second post, I have noted what makes Dry Top fall short of Silverwastes for raw popularity (and what could be fixed to help).

Continue reading Rewards Done Right: Dry Top and Silverwastes


Bad Karma: Restoring Value to a Worthless Currency

One of the enduring problems with the overall economy of Guild Wars 2 can be summed up in one word: karma. Though there are a couple other currencies that have a similar level of minimal worth, the design intent and execution over time of karma is a textbook case in what happens when a currency has ineffective sinks.

I’m going to analyze exactly why karma has practically no worth. Then, I will outline a way to fix karma in the short and long term, restoring its value without destroying the value of gold and other currencies.

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Negative Incentive: Why Not to Make Masteries Expansion Exclusive

As I mentioned in my last post about the masteries dev blog, there are two things that I dislike about it as announced: tier increases and needless expansion exclusivity. This time around, I’m writing about the latter.

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Levels By Any Other Name: Mastery Track Tiers

So a few days ago, the dev blog for the masteries system went live. Turns out that my own analysis and speculation cleaved too close to the existing WvW progression system, with specific tasks rendering points that in sum would give abilities. I’ll update it to reflect what I got wrong, while keeping the original text.

That said, I’ve got two particular bones to pick about the system as outlined in the dev blog: tier increases and needless expansion exclusivity. I’ve split them out into their own posts due to the length of each.

Continue reading Levels By Any Other Name: Mastery Track Tiers