After A Diverse Dungeon Experience

Once Again a hypocrit says Hello to talk about GW2..i know, I said I wouldn’t..what can I say, at least I’m consistent in my inconsistency . This one is more a critical piece rather than negative so maybe that’s different.

I’ve been doing quite a few dungeon runs lately because..god knows why and I still can’t get used to the experience of them. They aren’t as chaotic as they felt on release now that people are more used to their classes, know the dungeon and have the better gear but the whole group experience needs a lot of work to be anything resembling a fun or challenging experience. The major problem with them is of course that their implementation and design around this new trinity is broken. I enjoy the foundation of it, and it could be something that really does work but the way it is currently implemented do nothing to promote group coordination. It’s honestly like the playing together alone kind of mentality that infects the rest of the games design creeped its way in here as well.

This thought comes around again due to how much I enjoy playing my necromancer, unfortunately the game has other thoughts and makes much of my skills entirely useless against many of the more important bosses. A necromancers main weapon is it’s ability to control the combat in certain ways, they have movement impairing skills in nearly every weapon set yet such effects wash off bosses like they have the all too common Melandru runes and Lemongrass Poultry Soup. It is an obsolescence of a complete part of the trinity they were aiming for making many of the builds people use ineffective. Could you imagine what would happen if they removed a part of the holy trinity, the whole experience would need to be retooled and would never have the same level of depth.

Control should be an important part of these group experiences. Bosses hit very hard and these fights revolve around avoiding these hits as much as possible yet many of the class tools that may be useful can’t be used. There is a huge chasm between the usual pointless hits people take and the must avoid mechanics of death that are typical of certain attacks. I could see control being useful more often if groups were having to use these more often to mitigate a more sustained and consistent style of damage. Mostly the only mechanics of use are dodge, immune or reflection attacks since those are the mechanics that must be avoided and anything else can just be dismissed.

Support doesn’t seem as important as it could be either. The two most important boons, protection and regeneration are mostly useless in a fight as damage is too high and their effects too low to compensate. If damage was more consistent and contained less spike damage these mechanics would have more of a place in combat. Mitigation rather than just negation would add another layer of complexity and group coordination to fights.

Another major frustration to these fights is the way the bosses were animated in regards to their damaging abilities. Aoe abilities are easy enough to see and avoid but many of these boss’s have single target, or directed attacks that can easily kill people in one shot, yet there is very little warning too them. When playing Tera a large part of the experience was learning the animations and attacks of the various monster types and the combat felt rewarding because of it. I don’t see such a mechanic entering GW2 as the amount of partical effects can get rather ridiculous and completely obscure enemies.

Actually, I imagine a more diverse system would draw some of the strength from recent releases like TSW and Neverwinter. I have been in a few mixed groups in these dungeons often without any semblance of the trinity yet it works (well enough) all because the major attacks have specific animations for them. GW2 already has the aoe markers for attacks but missed out on a version of these for the more directed attacks and this system would have been a perfect fit with the unholy trinity avoidance style of combat.

The other part I really hate about these dungeon fights is the Defiance effect as it negates many of the more powerful class and weapon mechanics and limits the strategy that could be apart of these fights. In many dungeon experiences of old, interrupting key skills was rather common or even just using these skills to blunt the effect. Here it’s avoid or die and that seems limiting. Well-timed knockdowns, stuns and fear should play a part in all these.. and for gods sake let me blind these mobs and have it mean something more than a measly 10% damage reduction.

I saw this video just as I was writing this and it discusses the effects and problems that defiance has on combat as well as discussing possible solutions. It details it far better than I could have.

Overall it is focusing merely on avoidance rather than control and support which is why the entire experience feels so lacking. All that’s left for people is to do as much damage as fast as possible and we see this with the popularity of beserkers gear in dungeon runs. Often enough the entire group is composed entirely of glass cannon killers, if your after speed runs it’s pretty much required that you have this as well as being a high damage class.

I think these dungeons could be an interesting and fun experience, the foundation of this (un)holy trinity is a good idea but with a focus on damage and the restriction of the affect other abilities have means the idea will never be realised. The fractal dungeons are a far better experience but even they need a lot more emphasis on the entirety of the trinity rather than an emphasis on a small part of it. I would honestly like to see the amount of diversity in builds in dungeons that I see in WvW with regularity, when  damage is more sustained, control and support become more useful and you get a far more tactical, engaging, and enjoyable experience.. I honestly feel sorry for the people who only do the PvE in this game as they probably don’t realise the complexity the combat system has.

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6 thoughts on “After A Diverse Dungeon Experience

  1. Protection actually cuts a nice amount of damage off – only problem is that it’s not very noticeable to most players that it’s happening.

    This was an inherent problem in City of Heroes’ buff/debuff support too, very few people appreciated the players who provided them until they suddenly went AFK or were no longer there – then everyone else went wtf…why have the mobs gotten so hard?! (Ironically, never connecting it to the person contributing the support.)

    I quite agree with control needing to play a stronger role and defiance being an annoying mechanic. Still, my cynical mind doubts whether players can handle it. I believe the devs made a sneaky experiment with the guild bounty Half-Baked Komali regarding this.

    The initial mechanic was to knock off all the defiance stacks so that he could be knocked back and his fire shield removed, and to hold DPS otherwise so as not to give him too many might stacks or something like that. But it ended up failing lots because of the uncontrollable horde of players who might rush him with autoattack on and be completely blind to the mechanic, and I think he was tweaked after. Perhaps in a more controlled dungeon setting…

    • There are still quite a few of the guild challenge bosses that need you to utilise control effects to remove defiance. The funny thing is I think that Konami one is harder now as the fire condition keeps getting applied and you can’t do anything about it.

      I don’t think Anet gives its playerbase enough credit, it’s good to have challenge and to require a little learning with fights.

      Haha, yeh protection probably is like that.

  2. I see two contradictory comments that I see quite often from people in the same post.

    First: that mitigation is not important or meaningful (but at least the way you phrase it, as not enough, does not contradict the below).

    Second: That bosses often do single target attacks that will one-shot the victim.

    Unlike many who make these two claims together, your blog here does imply that you might believe that if the first was stronger, the second might not occur.

    The thing I find though, is that it is very feasible to make the first concern strong enough to slide the second one off of the table. Among my 5 80s, my warrior and guardian can both stack enough mitigation to withstand 1 to 3 direct frontal hist from any non-fractal boss, and any fractal boss up to the point I have reached (fractal level 5, super low).

    The issue I see is that most players believe support and control are pointless, so they get one-shot when a boss locks his eyes onto them and they miss-time their dodge (or have run out of endurance). Me? I just stand there, and then hit my heal. Dodging every other one if I notice it.

    And I’m not using bunker builds either. I’m ‘tanky’, but not ‘bunker tank’. I hit back pretty hard. Not as hard as a glass canon, but hard enough that -I- have to do something to shake aggro if I need a break (and the game is not built for tanks, so I can really only go for about a third of a fight without shaking aggro for a bit to get all my cooldowns sorted. With guildies we usually have 2 to 3 of us on “balanced but tanky” builds to swap it around. In PUGs, I just switch to ranged for a bit).

    ArenaNet designed the game assuming people WOULD build for support and control.

    I believe the lack of tells on many boss attacks is on purpose with this in mind. These bosses are not hard to do when everyone builds AND plays for support, control, AND damage. Nobody gets one shot from a missed dodge.

    The ‘DPS is all that counts’ idea that is popular right now is so because there are groups that know how to see all the ‘hidden tells’ and so dodge in time… and now everyone thinks they are ‘just as leet’ as those groups, and so builds for a playstyle they cannot hope to master.
    – Which then results in countless complaints from people who say bosses have hidden direct attacks that can one-shot. They don’t, if you build for protection, armor, regeneration, etc…

    My other 3 80s? Recent 80s. They could survive the same 1 to 3 direct boss hits in story mode and world champions while leveling, but are as yet untested in explorables (caveat: my thief had some issues from the mids 60s to mid 70s because she kept getting facerolled by the new hologram mobs, but then at 75 I moved to Orr and started taking on events there, and found she had more survivability than I’d expected, but she’s still built for vitality rather than toughness so I can’t say how she will hold up).

    • I partly agree on defiance. But again I also partly counter: interrupts do work. My warrior achieves much of her powerful mitigation by being a mace warrior – and I don’t just interrupt the casual hits from the boss. I’ve stopped quite a number of big hits with a stun or daze. It DOES FAIL to actually stun or daze them, but it WORKS to interrupt.
      – This has resulted in my warrior being more able to ‘stand toe to toe’ with a boss than my guardian, in direct contradiction of popular belief about the classes. Which could just be about my comfort zones… Maybe I completely suck at guardian, but still my warrior can get in there and be ‘tanky’ on a boss.

      • I didn’t know they could actually interrupt, does it work on all bosses and attack or just specific circumstances. I’ve noticed fear will briefly work sometimes as a well but haven’t really worked out why.

    • I don’t know.. I’ve done quite a few exploration bosses where standing toe to toe is just not possible. Damage is just to high and too regular. This is coming from my 26k health necro with death shroud. I’ve been caught without dodge and death shroud a few times after being focused and had one hit send me down. Arah seems too like this mechanic more than others but it’s there. Admittingly I don’t really have access to many boons and defensive sets so the problem is probably magnified.

      Pointless was probably too strong a word, to me it’s just not meaningful enough. I do think there should be certain one shot mechanics but a bosses regular attacks shouldn’t be them, there is should b a more manageable middle ground. And yeh support can be useful, the point is though that it is suboptimal, and that only a small part of control and support.. Like negating hits and increasing damage are useful enough to be used with frequency. Regeneration isn’t going to help someone being focused, neither will protection, retaliation, blind, weakness.

      It could be a lot better than it is. There should be an element of complexity and coordination to learn for experienced groups, but at the same time not as overtly punishing to new players. Obscure high damage mechanics don’t help in the learning.

      The problem I think is that while Anet did plan for support and control skills they didn’t expect them to be used. Enabling any group composition to be able to complete them came at a cost of complexity to the encounters. Story modes should be easy and for everyone, explorable is where they should of challenged and added required skills.

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