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.