An Appendix to Group Combat

I mentioned earlier how design approach dictates encounter approach. In regards to Guild Wars 2, the combat must work on the large scale of dynamic events. Due to this, the combat roles cannot become isolated into small partnerships with private communication lines.

I didn’t want to distract from an overview to get into some nitty gritty comparisons of the above concept. This little addendum to the topic will show how group play is always a part of the GW2 design. First’ let’s compare some familiar MMO concepts within the game. For the purpose of this comparison, all WOW abilities will be in blue and all Guild Wars 2 equivalents will be in red.

Sunder Armor vs Vulnerability

Sunder Armor

Strikes at the defenses of your target, reducing their armor by 4%.  Sunder Armor causes a large amount of threat, increased by attack power.  Can be applied up to 3 times.  Lasts 30 sec.

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a condition which lowers the target’s armor by 10. Stacks in intensity.

Now let’s also add in a Sunder Armor mimic skill for Druids:

Faerie Fire Feral

Decreases the armor of the target by 4% for 5 min.  While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible.  Stacks up to 3 times.  Deals2950 damage and additional threat when used in Bear Form.

All three of these skills seem quite alike. I could throw in a skill from Rift or SWTOR that work as game-similes. The important difference here is that Vulnerability is a condition within GW2, so that it is not class specific. As well, while Sunder Armor and Vulnerability sound alike, skills like Sunder Armor only benefit physical attacks while vulnerability benefits all attacks. Rules for Sunder Armor also state a limited stack amount, and when you have similar skills like Feral Faerie Fire, one debuff overwrites the other. In Guild Wars 2, if Vulnerability is already on a target, your vulnerability application adds more stacks on top of the existing vulnerability. This way the basic concept of “lower armor” works far more naturally within group combat, because the lowering of armor improves damage for everyone and other skills applying the same effect do not fight with your skill applying the initial effect. Everything is handshaking and accepting.

This built-in friendliness towards group play exists throughout the design of the game.

Protection:

Protection is a boon which reduces damage taken by 33%. Stacks in duration.

Divine Protection

Reduces all damage taken by 20% for 10 sec.

Pain Suppression

Instantly reduces a friendly target’s threat by 5%, and reduces all damage they take by 40% for 8 sec.

Divine Guardian

All party or raid members within 30 yards, excluding the Paladin, take 20% reduced damage for 6 sec.

There’s more comparative skills to be had here, but I went with the skills that most immediately came to mind. Again, the Protection boon is something that is a part of the skills of many classes and not a skill in and of its self, while the comparative skills are class specific tools. Again, the boon is not overwritten by other Protections but stacks with them in duration. Divine Protectin, Pain Suppression and Divine Guardian all work in different ways. Divine Protection is self targeted and as such only applies to the Paladin. Pain Suppression can be cast on any friendly target, though likely group defined, and has twice the damage reduction of Divine Protection. In a battle of skills, Pain Suppression wins out over Divine Protection due to its hardier strength and its greater utility. Divine Guardian is highly impressive for its raid-wide effect, but is still a 20%damage reduction and has the shortest length of the three skills. Each of these skills are isolated from each other due to their nature. By being a boon, Protection accomplishes all of the respective roles of the three WOW skills by how its used in the various class skills that apply it.

For example, the Ranger skill Stone Spirit can work like a Divine Guardian:

Stone Spirit: Summon a stone spirit that gives nearby allies a 20% chance to gain protection.

Ranger traits can improve the chance and frequency of the application, making it very powerful. Still, the boon itself is tied to a spirit which can be killed, and all boons are dispellable through various skills which remove boons. Skills like Pain Suppression and Divine Guardian are not able to be dispelled. Their cooldown and strength require they remain.

What this gets to is that the concepts of “lower their armor” and “reduce our damage intake” are concepts likely present in any Guild Wars 2 grouping, while these concepts require specific classes and specializations for them to occur in the typical MMO.

teamwork 
— n
1. the cooperative work done by a team
2. the ability to work efficiently as a team

Teamwork doesn’t mandate specialization. A field goal attempt in American Football requires the specialization of the kicker, hiker and placeholder, but that doesn’t mean everything must be a field goal attempt. Kicking in goals in Australian Football is vastly different from the NFL, but the game still requires much teamwork to accomplish a similar goal. In Guild Wars 2, you will find yourself altering your playstyle to help others on the fly. You may offer them help, but others must be a part of the team by taking you up on that help.

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