New Attribute System: Simplification Lends Complexity

To gear up for PAX East, the Arenanet blog machine has been spewing out updates and info on everything from new classes to old systems, especially for the purpose of showing exactly what they meant by an “iterative process.” In THIS article, Isaiah Cartwright takes a focused look at attributes in gw2 and how they have changed.

On Ravious’ post on KTR, the first commenter criticizes, “The switch from the GW1-items which were differentiated mostly by skin to this system is a huuuge step back. “Can I come on your raid plz, I have the mighty ring +300 BS-attribute.” Anet pandering to the wow kids … again!” I imagine this worry stems from one of the biggest annoyances of MMO players in a post-WoW era: groups DEMANDING a certain stat be stacked to a certain level.

Stat stacking occurs in a game for a variety of reasons. One reason this may come to be is through the possibility to be poorly specialized. Depending on what you’re class is and what role groups demand from your class, you could be spec’d terribly. Like a warrior having too much in some sort of magic increasing attribute and not enough in strength or something that gives more health. In the most extreme of cases, a tank could have less health than the biggest attack of a boss, defeating his or her purpose as a tank and making them ineffective and unwanted. This creates frustrating situations for all players who are less than completely dedicated to grubbing for that most epic piece of gear possibly found.

In Guild Wars 2, two things happen that prevent this.

First, so far the attribute system is made simple enough that all professions gain something by putting points in to any of the attributes. This makes no “bad” attribute build. Period. Even  the players who specialize their attributes in nothing and make completely even appropriations will be valued. This simplicity of 4 universally valued attributes actually requires your choices to be THAT much more thought out. As Izzy points out in his subsections, “Power or Toughness, Power or Precision, Vitality or Toughness, One Attribute or a Mixture?” All of these questions are just a sample of the potential role/specialization/play style you want to roll, and there is no wrong way, since they all help equally, just in different ways.

Secondly, you will feel your weaknesses. With no dedicated healing/condition removal or tanking or DPS roles, if you have a chink in your armor from going all out offense, you don’t really have anyone to hide behind. All of those people who max out their power just to find out, theres no healer to hide your insecurities, guess what? No, you cannot just run in and expect it all to be O.K., there will be blood. Yours. This will force people to think about how hey play. Keeping with the same attribute stacking theme of putting it all into power, you will always be left defenseless. Does this mean you become a hit-and-run? You will most likely have to take some healing downtime, away from the frontline.

With the requiring of locking into one of the 3 RPG roles gone, in addition to open content that does not always require grouping, I believe players will abandon a more even spread of attributes in favor of a more jack-of-all-trades approach in order to be more survivable and self-reliant. This self-reliance, but not necessarily for the purpose of solo play, will be a huge motivator in play style decision-making in ways we might never have seen before.

Of course, the accuracy of my claims can and will only be verified at launch, if not at least around beta testing. Until then, this is what Anet’s put on the table before us.

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