We recently had the chance to ask Guild Wars 2 Game Designer Jonathan “Chap” Sharp a few questions around PvP and balancing, here’s what he had to say.
Many of those who played a Ranger in previous BWE’s felt like their pets didn’t provide enough damage or had a slow reaction/target time, both ultimately resulting in a lowered DPS. First, have any significant changes been made to pets since BWE2 to balance DPS? Secondly, are there any future changes expected, and if so, what do they include?
Chap: Since the last BWE we’ve improved Pet AI, and we’ve also rebalanced a lot of the pets. Their damage should be higher than before, due to the AI changes, and a lot of them had slight tweaks to their defensive stats as well! This means we had to rebalance some ranger skills to account for the fact that their pets work now. Also, there were a number of bugs that had ranger pets stop attacking. We think we have addressed them all now.
Can you give the philosophy behind 8v8 being more individual/pickup group oriented versus the more pre-made party oriented structure of 5v5? (ie: 5v5 allows queuing for group joins instead of individuals) Which do you think will be more popular in the end, and what are your plans for its expansion in the future?
Chap: 8 on 8 is our PvP format that will allow new players to jump in and just have fun. It’s just like playing a public game in a shooter or on a random RPG server. We feel that by letting new players play in an 8 on 8 format, they can get to know the game at their own pace. If PvP was just limited to 5 on 5, new players would be taking away 20% of their team’s power if they are standing still or are just trying to get a feel for a profession. If it’s an 8 on 8, players can learn at their own pace, while having the majority of their team still playing.
Our 5 on 5 format is more focused on organized play, and we want 5 on 5 to be our standard team size for organized competitive play. 6 on 6 creates even splits, and we feel that odd team numbers create more interesting splits. PvP in the original Guild Wars was 8 on 8, and it was really hard to get that many people together at a single time. So 8 on 8 is out, 7 on 7 is pretty much just as hard to organize as 8’s….and 6 on 6 is even numbers. 4 on 4 is just too small for a full game, and it also has the problem of being even teams…which means a lot of 2 on 2 matches…and at 4on4, you don’t have as much strategy). In the end, 5 on 5 just felt like it was the perfect spot for a team.
Also, when you look at other competitive games, a lot of them already ask players to organize themselves in teams of 5, so we felt that 5 on 5 in our game would allow those established teams to easily transfer over to Guild Wars 2’s competitive scene.
So, fellow Rangers, you want to battle for supremacy against other worlds? Well, after spending quite a few hours in WvW this last beta weekend, I have some tips and tricks for you.
Keep in mind that even though you are up leveled to eighty in WvW, you don’t get more utility skill slots or traits. This is what I learned with my three utility slots and tragically few trait points.
It may surprise you to hear that the most important weapon for a Ranger in WvW is an offhand. In fact, I practically never unequipped my warhorn during the entire beta weekend. Call of the Wild is great in so many situations. It gives you swiftness for quicker travel from place to place and makes retreats easier. Fury and Might greatly augment your offensive capabilities in a pitched battle and, as an added benefit, affect nearby allies. Those are never in short supply in the battlegrounds.
One of the Ranger’s greatest strength is his ability to survive in tough combat situations. Do you have giant jotuns breathing down your neck, a horde of centaurs looking to run you down, or flame legion charr using you as fireball target practice? A skilled Ranger has a way of making sure he’s not where his foe wants him to be.
Today I’ll discuss skills, traits, and strategy based around evasion and generally being a slippery target.
A quick aside: any player looking to survive past level ten needs to understand the two types of dodging, active and passive. Active dodging uses your endurance bar and is accomplished by double tapping any direction or using the dodge key. This causes your character to perform a basic dodge roll and depletes some of your endurance bar. Endurance regenerates over time. You can dodge twice in quick succession with a full endurance bar, but must then wait for it to recharge. You will be using this a lot if you want to be a successful Guild Wars 2 player regardless of class.
Equally important is passive dodging. While attacking and using skills, you can and should still be moving around. This can be as simple as backpedaling while firing a bow, increasing the amount of time it takes a foe to come close to melee distance. It’s also useful for staying outside of area of effect attacks, avoiding projectiles and keeping your foe more interested in more melee-focused, armored targets like warriors, guardians, and possibly your pet.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the Ranger specific goodness.
A few days ago TalkTyria posted a rather interesting article on the changes to the Ranger profession. The author, Distilled, talked in depth regarding the profession in Guild Wars from PvE to PvP, then comparied those core mechanics to the new mechanics found in Guild Wars 2.
The problem with the beastmastery element of the GW1 Ranger was that it felt very much like a final thought. “They’re bow users, with the ability to apply preparations to their arrows, set traps and summon guardian spirits… oh yeah and they can have pets.” In Guild Wars 2, the Ranger has been built as a beastmaster class first and foremost. For a Ranger, the pet is the be all and end all – if you aren’t using your furry companion to his full potential, then you will struggle to be effective.
You can find the full article here. For further Rangery goodness, make sure to check out Wilfinlock’s Nature’s Companion: Why play a Ranger. If that doesn’t sate you, head on over to our ranger forums.
In Guild Wars 2, you will make many decisions. You will affect your character and the world in quite a few ways. One of the first and most important choices you will make is your character’s profession. You are going to choose Ranger, and I’m here to tell you why.
Never fight alone.
Animal companions will be your ever present allies. You can bring along a devourer with the ability to poison foes, or perhaps you would rather have a bear watch your back mauling any who would cross you. Take a dip in the water and roam about with a bloodthirsty shark. Ravens, big cats, wolves, spiders, jellyfish, and even the illustrious moa bird will stand at your side and fight tirelessly to protect you. Having this many options means you will always be able to complement your skills and weapons with a fierce beast intent on tearing your foes asunder. Did I mention you can have a shark?