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The Price of Progress #8: One is the Loneliest Number

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Rinzler

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The Price of Progress #8: One is the Loneliest Number

Welcome to the Price of Progress, an ancient textual series, soon to be vlog, detailing the intricacies of Guild Wars 2 structured PvP, all of the newest builds, and Guild Wars 2 news sprinkled in as needed. In today’s edition, I’ll be covering class synergy and what it means to play off of each other in terms of team skill dynamics. Heavy stuff right? It’s really not. I promise. That being said, I hope you guys enjoy the new simplistic discussion based format I've been tooling with, and as always feedback is heavily encouraged. Let’s go!

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Our questions to be answered today will include:

What does it mean to be synergistic?

Why is the “LETS 1v1 DAWG” not an accurate measuring stick for skill in Guild Wars 2?

What classes benefit the most from having a supporting cast?

Synergy

In the MMO genre, class synergy typically comes from a variety of skills coming together to form a cohesive relationship on a targets face. An example would be a Warrior Immobilizing the target, allowing a guardian to get an easy ranged Burn and Teleport off, and when completing the teleport, dropping a projectile reflecting shield on the immobilized enemy, making for a relatively safe window of damage for both of our vicious vikings.
Using less complex examples, skills that bleed and a slow, AoE poison and burn, etc., all allow for opportunities to capitalize on a targets poor cooldown usage or generally naughty disposition. With a lack of condition removal, these basic and easy to execute synergies can send a player packing very quickly, allowing an early victory chant and subsequent feast.

1v1 Argument

In past MMO’s
,
1v1ing has been a great source of information in terms of cooldown usage, general skill timing in reference to your opponent, and waving it in their face when they got stomped. But is this as accurate a yard stick as it was in say, Aion? Or World of Warcraft? I’ll elaborate.

In previous MMO’s the objective was always to kill. There was no “Conquest mode” per say, and even if there was, like Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft, the games central system of balance was tailored to an Arena style of PvP, and not the casual, albeit insanely addictive, massive team raid formats.
So where does this leave us in terms of Guild Wars 2? One thing is for certain, Same class 1v1’s will always be viable to attain a better understanding of one’s class, but further building on this, balance and synergy should be looked at in pairs of two or three, for example, a Thief and Elementalist. I won’t go into exactsies, as I’m just the catalyst. You have to crunch the numbers.

What Classes Benefit the Most from having a supporting cast?

We’ve seen in past beta videos that we have classes that can hold their own in 1v1 scenarios by slowly whittling down their opponents, whilst surviving at a pretty comfortable amount of health, but not necessarily optimizing their damage by being alone in a fight. Take for example the Necromancer, Mesmer, Thief, and Engineer classes.
All of the aforementioned have the obvious capability of doing damage, otherwise they wouldn’t be viable. But putting the pushing and CC power of your Necro behind a Warrior, accumulating absurd amounts of bleed, and throwing an Elementalist/Ranger into the mix to really pack a punch, would round out a 3-2 split very nicely, with the remaining 2 players consisting of your Thief and Ele/Ranger gank squad.

Build of the Week

This week’s build of the week is my newest iteration of the “Support Thief”, in which I replace our previous creation’s Shadow Refuge skill with Blinding Powder, allowing itself to be used offensively without space restriction, meaning I’m not limited to a set point in space for trying to force the increased damage out of stealth buff that we used to get from our prior focus on the Shadow Arts tree.

Our new state of mind gives us the following:

10
Points
Deadly Arts
:
  • Poison on steal
  • Damage on steal

30
Points
Acrobatics
:
  • Swiftness on Evade
  • Dodging removes Cripple and Chill effects
  • Returned endurance on dodge
  • 10s of regen and remove damaging DoTs at 75% health. 45 Second CD.
  • Increases damage by 10% when endurance not full
  • Gain 2 Initiative every 10 seconds

30
Points
Trickery
:
  • Stealing gives you 3 initiative
  • Leave Caltrops behind on dodge
  • Increases max initiative by 3
  • On steal gain protection and regen for 5/10 seconds respectively
  • Damage +2% for each point of initiative
  • +4 initiative on using a healing skill

I’ll leave the majority of conversation regarding implementation and changes from last beta to all of you, with careful consideration to not monopolizing the thought process and allowing you to deduce for yourself what is viable about this build and what is not. I will leave you with this: There is a reason that it is a Thief, and not an Assassin. On that note, have fun Etch-a-sketching, and as always, fight for the user.

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GW2guru forum discussion covering this blog:

http://www.guildwars...th-vvv-rinzler/


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When you talk about 1v1 in an MMO it reminds me of when I used to play DAoC heavily and people wanted to 1v1 you all the time... the best was when a paladin wanted to 1v1 my paladin. If you haven't played DAoC it may not make entire sense but basicly a paladin "twists" his auras (meaning spams all 4 to gain all 4 buffs and reuses them as soon as they come off cooldown to gain all 4 effects again with little downtime on each) and spams ruby slash, with the ocasional shield bash. So every fight basicly came down to who could pull off their rotation perfectly for say... 30 minutes straight. And im not joking, some paladin v paladin fights would last that long until 1 person finally called it quits due to boredom.

1v1 in an MMO or a MoBA shows nothing but how well your class is able to take down another uninhibited. unfortunatly both types of games revolve around team dynamics and this solo skill is only about 50% of what is required; and it just irritates the hell out of me like a frickin spider bite when people talk about "oh im a great player, its just all these random scrubs that prevent me from getting to the top" -.-

/rant

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When you talk about 1v1 in an MMO it reminds me of when I used to play DAoC heavily and people wanted to 1v1 you all the time... the best was when a paladin wanted to 1v1 my paladin. If you haven't played DAoC it may not make entire sense but basicly a paladin "twists" his auras (meaning spams all 4 to gain all 4 buffs and reuses them as soon as they come off cooldown to gain all 4 effects again with little downtime on each) and spams ruby slash, with the ocasional shield bash. So every fight basicly came down to who could pull off their rotation perfectly for say... 30 minutes straight. And im not joking, some paladin v paladin fights would last that long until 1 person finally called it quits due to boredom.

1v1 in an MMO or a MoBA shows nothing but how well your class is able to take down another uninhibited. unfortunatly both types of games revolve around team dynamics and this solo skill is only about 50% of what is required; and it just irritates the hell out of me like a frickin spider bite when people talk about "oh im a great player, its just all these random scrubs that prevent me from getting to the top" -.-

/rant

[Rant] tags appreciated ^.^ And I understand, believe me. You've been in a DAoC mood lately.

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I’ll preface this comment by emphasizing this is simply my opinion and is not intended to contest your thesis – I just wanted to elaborate with some of my thoughts.

What does it mean to be synergistic?

Group synergy is a term that gets tossed around everywhere – one of those gaming “buzz words” if you will. While I do agree that synergy surely encompasses (as you described) the “cohesive relationships [of] skills converging on a target,” I also believe it’s more than that. I think group synergy extends beyond: which classes, what skills, and how they come together, but is also inclusive of the playstyle compatibility within the group itself.

To place this assertion within context, take for instance arena PvP on WoW. Certain team compositions were thought of to be “OP” while other fringe compositions were deemed inferior. Generally speaking, there was strong synergy between say an RMP comp, due to the way the classes and their respective skills/roles complimented one another. But RMP was not unbreakable, and even some teams who ran RMP were terrible.

In GW2, ability combinations are a direct manifestation of profession synergy. The Ranger’s arrows that travel through the Elementalist’s Burning Speed, ignite, causing additional condition damage. Projectiles traveling through the Ranger’s Healing Spring will spread additional heals to nearby allies. All these scenarios are concrete examples of synergy between professions. We must also consider the fact that GW2 does not have traditional class roles (i.e. healers). Thus, group synergy will also have to account for maximizing conditional removal, defensive boon gains, and regen. However, synergy between classes and abilities is just scratching the surface.

I think great PvPers are players who adapt. To really be “synergistic” is to be able to adapt – to make any given situation, composition, opponent reaction, mistake etc. work. You’re not always going to have the perfect parameters to set off combos exactly when you want. Teammate A, whose class is supposed to mesh with yours so amazingly, may already be dead. PvP teams need to be symbiotic. Success will require more than ‘ability x plus cooldown y produces combo z.’ The synergy I would strive for on my team would also need to be built on excellent communication, trust, and adaptability.

1v1 Metrics

In GW2, I feel that 1v1 will have less value as far as being a direct measurement of skill in PvP, than say WoW arena. I believe I made the comment on a previous blog entry of yours that it is essentially a comparison between a deathmatch vs object-based PvP. Don’t get me wrong, there may be scenarios where you will be tested 1v1. Take for instance capture points. In Eye of the Storm for example (WoW), a resource was captured faster the more members that were present. In GW2, that isn’t a factor. If you’re solo guarding a capture point, your ability to kill an attacker or at least hold them off until reinforcements arrive could make the difference.

Objective-based PvP is different from Arena Deathmatch simply in the fact that, in deathmatch style PvP (WoW), when you die (barring no one is able to clutch-rez you), its all over. The objective, as you put it, is always to kill. Therefore, I think having solid 1v1 proficiency is more of an asset – however, I will assert that its value is not completely lost in GW2.

Also of note is the downed state system in GW2, which is a whole other can of worms. This is getting too long already, so that will be saved for another discussion.

Supporting Roles

I know that you touched on supporting casts in a more offensive sense, but you can also have defensive support. I believe that with the lack of traditional class roles in GW2, the onus is then placed on the individual player and/or his team to decide how to maximize support. There exists a multitude of build variants for each profession that prioritize support and sacrifice a large part of individualized damage.

I have researched Ranger builds that prioritize Compassion – these builds are the epitome of a support role, but it does have its cons.

An excerpt: http://www.guildwars...t-ranger-guide/

Due to the high compassion of the build you will be healing for roughly 300 hp/s from regeneration. Throwing axes through the water field is a great way to bounce around additional healing as well. If the fight looks bad use your elite skill Spirit of Nature to further pump healing, granting an additional 480 hp/s to nearby allies. Done correctly you should be able to sustain over 1000 hp/s on all of your allies for an entire minute at a time. This level of sustained healing is unapproachable by any other class.

In terms of offensive support:

Warhorn's Call of the Wild will be your top priority, with 170% boon duration Call of the Wild will last 25.5s, with your 20% reduced offhand cooldown from Wilderness Survival trait Offhand Mastery you will be able to recast this every 28s, approaching near 100% uptime for Fury, Swiftness and Might. Using your Moa calls will also help bolster your team. Between Call of the Wild and Furious Screech you will have no problem keeping Fury up on your entire group 100% of the time.

Of course this is, in large part, theory and the difference between theory and practice is rarely will the parameters exist for theory to play out perfectly. But the idea is that the opportunities for support roles exist in abundance. I personally, am wanting to try out different builds on my Ranger and pair up with different professions. Building and developing “synergy.” And now we’ve come full circle…

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This is a great article. I would like to play off of what Seiryss said. I had friends who competed in 3v3 Wow tournaments and they ran an unusual comp of RRD yet they turned some heads with how well they "synergized". They knew everything about each others class as well as the classes they competed against. Knowing your enemy and what they are capable of is important because it allows you to have an idea of how to react to what they are doing in combat.

You made a great point with this:

"I think great PvPers are players who adapt. To really be “synergistic” is to be able to adapt – to make any given situation, composition, opponent reaction, mistake etc. work. You’re not always going to have the perfect parameters to set off combos exactly when you want. Teammate A, whose class is supposed to mesh with yours so amazingly, may already be dead. PvP teams need to be symbiotic. Success will require more than ‘ability x plus cooldown y produces combo z.’ The synergy I would strive for on my team would also need to be built on excellent communication, trust, and adaptability."

You need to be able to adapt and react to changing situations... When you think you know everything you need to step back and realize you don't. Communication is huge and without it the team will go nowhere. You can always look at stats on paper and factor in class skills but if the players' personalities don't "mesh" then you aren't getting far. Reacting and knowing what your teammates will do is also important. After playing for awhile you will understand how your teammates play so you aren't second guessing their moves and you will work as a "symbiotic" killing machine. It is like one giant flow that can be interupted but quickly regains it's strength and continues to dominate.

PvP is about acting and reacting with no hesitation. You need to know your character's capabilities as well as your's as a player. How well you do in the heat of combat will show your teammates your true colors and whether or not they can depend on you.

This is my 2 cents on being in a team. I could sit here and talk all night... I know I learned a lot during college football and what it takes to contribute to a team and strive for greatness and a common goal. I miss that and that is why I'm looking forward to GW2 and PvP with the guild...

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