What is the single major flaw with Guild wars 1? It is not the weird glitch that causes your character to spin in circles whenever you walk into a wall. It is not even the sometimes excessive amount of rubber banding that occurs at certain times. No the primary fault that prevents Guildwars 1 from becoming a truly legendary game is Anet's consistent inability to balance the game fairly.
What causes this horrible imbalance? Well so many fingers have been pointed at everything that it is really difficult to tell. Many say that the game was balance way back when only proph was released and that the addition of new classes and mechanics such as shadow stepping destroyed that balance. But that is not true. According to that train of thought the only way that Guildwars could be balanced again would be to remove 80% of the depth of the game, and more game content is definitely not what destroyed the balance in Guildwars. In fact the only problem with the additional layers of content added to Guildwars is the same problem as the original game has, Anet has not been able to figure out how to balance it, and the only reason that those layers and not the original are pointed at as the unbalancing force is because the people who are pointing are only comparing it to the original. No the problem is deeper that that.
Deep down the reason Guildwars has never been truly balanced is simple because Anet has been trying to hard. And balancing in the wrong direction.
Anet has been trying since the original release of Guildwars to balance all professions. But therein lies the problem. Anet has been trying to balance the professions between Each other. That will not accomplish anything except reducing the game to allowing you to pick what you look like, same skillset all around. Let me explain. The problem is that Anet has been trying to make the various classes equal. But if all classes can do all things just as well as any other class what you end up with is a boring single class game with no difference between the classes except for visual appearance. Almost four years of this sort of balance have left the game little more than smoking ruins. Open up observer mode on pretty much any match and you will see at least 5 monks and 5 warriors as well as usually 3 elementalists and 2 rangers with maybe a ritualist or necromancer thrown into the mix for shits and giggles. Assassins, paragons, mesmers, and even dervishes are rarely if ever seen.
And the reason for this is because anet has not been able to figure out how to make a profession both effective and balanced. And that is what will continue to dominate this game as long as classes are balanced to be equal.
So after this long and rather tedious rant you may be wondering "Well if that is the problem what is the solution." The answer is role based balancing. not balancing a class to be just about as powerful as every other class, but instead balancing classes so that they can fill a proper and very specialized role, but not allow for any one role to be able to win a game.
For the game to become properly balanced it will require a major overhaul in the thinking behind balancing. Don't balance everything so that every class can fill all roles equally well. Make every class fill a truly unique role that cannot be filled by any other class. As I said, assassins spike and run, warriors tank and pressure, monks heal and prot. Monks cannot spike, warriors cannot heal, assassin's do not tank.
Each class has to be unique and good at it's role. Each role must be useful enough to make it a viable choice for a team. But a team should still need to choose it's members carefully to be at full power, after all preparation is half the battle.
Below I will place my vision of what roles the various classes should fill. These roles do not have to be used for the actual game, but the game Must be balanced with roles in mind, otherwise the game will devolve into "pick how you look. Good now here is the current single useful build. Go Fight!"
- In Alphabetical order.
- Assassin: Assassins should be just that, their role should be to move in quickly by circumventing the main battle lines(Shadow step) then kill a key soft target (e.g. monk) then escape and prepare for their next mission. As an assassin a character should be able to deal very high damage to unprotected low armor targets, namely spell casters. Generally an assassin would have a high damage combo with very long recharge skills, also all shadow steps would have a forced retreat clause, however assassin skills should be rather ineffective vs high armor targets and assassins should also take damage very quickly. How this would work, an assassin would shadow step in an use his combo, hopefully resulting in the death of the enemy spellcaster. However since the assassin's shadow step is under a time restraint(much like the 10 second limit of shadow fang) he has to work quickly because if he gets interrupted or blocked he will not have time to wait around for another combo (remember the high recharge on assassin dagger attacks), so something like a shield bash or riposte on a skill bar can ruin an assassins entire combo if he is not careful.
- Also another possible limitation would be that the retreat clause in the assassin's shadow step would not function if a unit with adrenal skills is adjacent. this means that if he carelessly shadow stepped to a monk with a warrior standing next to him, that warrior can now act like the monks bodyguard and kill the trapped assassin. Also all assassin defenses would have to be active, no more of this block 75% of attacks as long as you are attacking and getting a critical every 10 seconds silliness. Try changing critical defenses to
- 10 energy, 1 cast, 15 recharge
- Foe 10 seconds each time you score a critical hit you block the next attack against you.
- And flashing blades could be more like
- 1 energy 1 recharge
- for 2 seconds you block the next attack against you and your attacker takes xx dmg.
- this would allow for some defense but still be over ridden by large scale assaults.
- So for assassins the role is hit and run, both dealing and taking high dmg in short intervals.
- The Dervish is a bit of a tricky Role to define. They fill sort of a front line offence role. They are not a solo spike like the assassins would be, but they can deal high damage over a small area. They would have worse defenses that a warrior, but a slightly higher damage output over all. Also the dervish skill bar should be of the form 1 very powerful elite skill and 7 sub par other skills, with the elite being largely support for the rest of the skill bar. For example:
- Avatar of balthazar
- Same as current but with a small + dmg to scythe attacks.
- Pious Assault
- Melee Attack. Remove one of your enchantments. Deals +5...17...20 damage and if you activate this skill while under the effects of an avatar skill, or if it is activated directly after you activate a dervish elite skill you inflict a Deep Wound (5...17...20 seconds)and do not loose an enchantment.
- Overall dervishes do not need a great many changes but they still should be balanced with a front line offensive character in mind.
- The elementalist is the raw damage character. They deal high damage over a large area, but also take a lot more damage. they should have very little utility outside of their huge damage. Right now elementalists have a large number of ways to inflict conditions, knock downs etc. but really they should have only a Very limited ability to do anything other that sheer damage to the enemy team. That said an elementalist will also need some way to circumvent defenses because otherwise a simple enchantment could make them almost harmless so some limited form of enchantment removal should be used, but again it should not be a major theme to the elementalists, just a bit of support because elementalist should largely be relying on their teammates to break though the opposing teams defense, while they simply pile on the damage.