CDI- Character Progression- Vertical

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Posted by: Chris Whiteside

Chris Whiteside

Studio Design Director

Next

Hello Fellow Collaborators,

Welcome to the last CDI topic of 2013. In this topic we will be discussing Character Progression. The CDI rules are as follows:

Rules
1: This initiative is all about discussion.

2: We will not be disclosing information pertaining to what is currently in development.

3: Anger and emotion will have less impact than intelligent discussion.

4: Together we will share and evolve design philosophies which will impact how we develop the game moving forward.

5: Aggression and disrespect to a fellow community member or developer will not be tolerated, and in the extreme could lead to the shutting down of the initiative.

6: The teams primary focus is work toward the development of GW2 and therefore posting of discussion and commentary may not be as frequent as you like. Please do understand that the initiative is taken very seriously by us all and that we will be reading the discussions and joining in as often as it is possible to do so.

We will be talking about both horizontal and vertical progression and I hope we can stay focused on what is in game now and what we would like to see in the future.

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

Finally please note this is not a competition either between yourselves or the developers in regard to one up man ship. The point of this Initiative is to work together to make the game better.

Note: We will disclose the ideas we do or don’t like as a group but we will not discuss schedules or timing around implementation. If there is still concern surrounding how seriously we take community collaboration then please do take the time to think about how much impact the community has had on the working of this game over the year.

Here is a summary by the Lost Witch:

CDI Dev post recap: part 1
CDI Dev post recap: part 2
CDI Dev post recap: part 3

And a discussion about the thread on Massively!

http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/12/17/flameseeker-chronicles-we-will-control-guild-wars-2s-horizonta/

Chris

(edited by Chris Whiteside.6102)

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Posted by: Estriella Faerie.4029

Estriella Faerie.4029

Before talking about character progression, horizontal or vertical, I think it would be necessary to have a word on Anet view about progression reset.

With the Fractured patch, many players saw their progression (fractal level) resetted to 30, without any kind of compensation for that loss.

Many threads were opened on the forums to talk about it. The first few got deleted, even some pretty big threads, like this one:
https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/dungeons/Fractal-personal-level-reset/

Another was locked here (over 850 posts):
https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/gw2/Fractal-levels-above-30-to-be-reset/first

And finally the last one active is this one (over 1000 posts):
https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/livingworld/fractured/Merged-Fractal-level-reset-is-equity-wiped-Discuss/first

Over 2000-2500 posts were made, without any concrete answer from Anet. The only answer we got, 3 weeks ago, from a community coordinator, is that “the Developers are reading these posts and we are gathering feedback.” But not a word from those developers since.

Of course, in those 2000 posts, some were quite vindicative, especially after seeing we were completely ignored, but quite a few were also constructive, like this one from Abramelin:
https://forum-en.guildwars2.com/forum/game/gw2/Fractal-levels-above-30-to-be-reset/page/15#post3236535

So, before talking about progression, let’s talk about progression reset. Because if Anet consider it’s okay to reset a player progression without any form of compensation, why talk about progression anyway, it can be reseted at any time…

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Posted by: Draygo.9473

Draygo.9473

What I would like to see is anet take some steps to provide some fairness when considering wvw progression and pve progression in terms of gear.

Currently you have to capture more than 25 keeps to get the same dragonite as the pve player that does a single temple DE chain.

I understand that sometimes capping keeps is an easy task, and you can do it more than once a day, but the time requirement to get over 500 dragonite through wvw is simply far greater than the time requirement to get 500 dragonite through pve.

There is plenty of supply of bloodstone dust and emp shards are almost common enough (though could use a slight increase). The biggest roadblock to ascended armor for wvw players is the difficulty of obtaining dragonite.

I would suggest that anet look at a few numbers to fix it:
Average keep capture rate per person in wvw that solely attacks keeps (karma/wxp trains)
Average dragonite rate for players event hopping from dragonite granting event to another.
Additional sources of dragonite, as like a loot role on a player kill while defending an objective.

Delarme
Apathy Inc [Ai]

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Posted by: Savoy.6824

Savoy.6824

I have a question. A high up designer (I wont name names because I think its against forum policy) once said that the goal of guild wars to was to just be able to play the game without having to gear up to play the game. I feel the ascended armor and its 5% stat increase compel me to gear up to play the game.

I know other people and other developers do not feel compelled to get this gear before playing the game but I do (please dont waste your breath trying to convince me otherwise because you wont) and I would like to know if there will be any more vertical progression that takes such a substantial time investment to obtain in the near future (and by near future I mean the next two years, since thats how long it will probably take me to obtain the current iteration of gear)?

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once – Nietzsche

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Posted by: Felbryn.5462

Felbryn.5462

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

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Posted by: Romo.3709

Romo.3709

Might as well bring it up straight off the bat. Character progression in general. In the update “Fractured” most of the players involved in fractals have had they progression taken away. Now before we get into Instabilities and how it changes the gameplay, let me get to the point I’m trying to make.
Bringing the new ways to play and new mechanics behind it is all good if not mostly requested feature by most players. It is not about how we all got our level reset down to 30 regardless how high we got in the past. The two main reasons people complained about that update is that there was no early enough announcement nor any kind of discussion or feedback gathering from the players before the update was implemented.
Understandable that you wanted to bring players to “equal footing”, but you completely erased any kind of progression past level 30 like it never happened without any kind of reward, like most of the gameplays in the game have. Resetting is one thing, but some of us went even further and had multiple characters level their way up to the top, which in the end made it pointless with the account bound level progression. All that with no explanation nor any kind of involvement in Fractured sub-forum at all.
To have a decent quality discussion about character progression is kind of hard when the idea had been planted in back of our minds that the said progress can be taken away from us at any given time as long as any explanation is thrown out there. Regardless if we agree or disagree with such explanation.
Would you care to elaborate on it at all? I’m not trying to put devs in any uncomfortable position here. All I’m trying to say that the character progress has been erased and nothing had been done to compensate for that. Therefore why bother with further progression? I hope you can see where I’m coming form.

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Posted by: Deified.7520

Deified.7520

Part 1:
Anet had original designed the game to be heavy on the horizontal aspect with the original routes of gold, karma, skillpoints, and dungeon tokens. They said they introduced the ascended gear because players had gotten exotics way too quickly and they needed to put something in for the to work towards.
First lets discuss why the original currencies failed.
For starters the game is ridiculously easy to earn these currencies. They are ridiculously easy to farm to. So they dont challenge the players at all. I feel that since they are not challenging and they are earned everywhere players do not feel as satisfied when the earn them. This combined with the fact that there is no good drains except for crafting means that players can easily obtain stockpiles of them causing future content that involves them be meaningless.
On the concept of dungeon tokens, I feel one of the main reasons most of these aren’t satisfying is because theres also an exploit or a path thats insanely easy to do and people just farm that. In my years of playing MMOs I find that players feel most rewarded when they’re given something that shows they’re better or more dedicated at the game then other people. So with these dungeons if there is even one path that is “farmable” it ruins the entire dungeon sets image.
Now lets look at why current outlets of progression aren’t living up to what the game is supposed to be.
Guild Wars 2 was sold on NOT being a grind. In a dev post from a long time ago they said it themselves that Gw1 rewarded players on collection, and they didn’t want to do that. Despite this, they did. Ascended gear is a great example. Many will say that there are alternatives route to gain ascended gear besides gathering a bunch of materials and crafting them. However, thanks to RNG this is still a grind. These alternate routes of earning them are usually insanely easy. As a result they have to make the drop rates insanely low. SO you’re still grinding for about the same amount of time, just this time instead of grinding for different mats you’re just doing the same thing over and over again. So in other words Guild Wars 2 progression is still heavily gated by collection and it is even worse than Guild Wars 1. This is also the most popular form of progression because the long grinding requirements make it more unique and hence more “impressive” in some peoples eyes. However, there are still a good amount of people who think those don’t mean anything. My guild is heavy on the PvE and WvW side and I read and hear about people talking about how a player is very bad at the game despite having a legendary of ascended weapon.
Finally lets talk about methods of fixing it.
For starters the concept of tokens. These are good routes if done route. Dungeons did not do this right. Why you may ask? Not only does it take one path to destroy it, but they are still grindy to the point that when someone finally gets the gear they want from that particular dungeon they are burnt out on it. So we need to find a way to use the concept of tokens in a manner that doesn’t cause players to be burnt out on it. My suggestion on this is map specific armors and weapon skins. So say I wanted a full armor set from a map. They would take around 150 total tokens. Each event in the map would award players 10 tokens. Jumping puzzles 12, mini dungeons 15. World bosses would award 25. This means I dont have to spend a bajilion hours to earn one piece of gear.
Following this I would start to involve more difficult bosses to areas of the map that aren’t obvious. They are not denoted by a event and they are not just timed spawns. They require you to do actions across the entire map to spawn them. They have a good chance to drop specific weapons and armor pieces. However, to do the pre event actions to spawn them you need to spend 50 tokens gained from the above suggestion to gain a special one hour buff that goes away on death and is required to do the pre events. Now these bosses will be hard, as in lidari concealing darkness hard. They will be instanced to 1 player. For each additonal player it gets harder, but the drop chance increases. This means that on a solo level it is still difficult enough to be impressive. The drop rate needs to be like this. If I’m doing it by myself and I kill this boss 5 times I should have gotten one times of his unique drops. One or event two of these bosses should exist in each zone.
The items from the token vendor would be dependent on the zone level. You can not earn tokens till you’re level 70. Level 40 zones and under would be rares. 50-70 zones would be exotics but level 65. 70+ zones would be level 80 exotics. The items from the really hard boss would be ascended with unique looks too.

(edited by Deified.7520)

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Posted by: timmyf.1490

timmyf.1490

Well, didn’t take us long to get off topic, huh?

Chris, I have a lot of feelings about this because this has definitely affected my enjoyment of the game. I would say that I’m torn on the subject, and here’s why…

I Bought the Game For The Grind-Free Gearing

I play about 2-3 hours per day, but I hate farming. As a player who had played Guild Wars all the way from early-purchase, I was happy to have another game that continued with that style of easy leveling, easy gearing. For stats, at least.

All My Real Life Friends Quit Because “There’s Nothing To Do”

When GW2 came out, I had about 8-10 real life friends who got the game with me. Around October or November, when they all had exotics, they didn’t know what to do. So they left.

You Can’t Please Everybody

In theory, adding another tier of gear should have kept my friends around longer. But truthfully, once they got their Ascended gear, they probably would have left anyway. Meanwhile, I now feel the pressure to gear out 8 characters in very expensive, long-term-goal gear that isn’t supposed to be in the game. Or at least wasn’t supposed to be in the game at the time I purchased it.

Whatever You Choose, Please Make It Clear

If Ascended is the end of the treadmill, that’s fine. I can manage. Most of my toons will never have Ascended armor, but Exotic is good enough. If, however, you continue to add more vertical progression, you should make that known. I don’t want a vertical gear treadmill and I can leave and find another game.

It is your decision to make, but all I ask is that you respect the player-base enough to let us know your plans.

Guild Leader – [MEGA] Super Mega Happy Fun Time on Northern Shiverpeaks
www.supermegahappyfuntime.com

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Posted by: Deified.7520

Deified.7520

Part 2:
So that gives the players some great horizontal progression that awards player skill in the game and the zone expansion offers great ways for the developers to continually expand this and make zones important to players. You’d keep the current levels of progression so that crafters and what not are still able to get these gears.
Next up horizontal progression with skill points. Since skill points are so easy to come by, the time it takes to get a new skill as a endgame player is so short that it doesnt’ properly take up the reigns of a lack of a vertical progression. One way you can alleviate this flaw is to gate these skills behind actions. They don’t have to be insanely hard task like the above suggestion of the bosses/liadri concealing darkness tough. Though should challenge the player to a certain extent. Now WvWers will still want some way that they can easily gain these so you can lock the skill behind maybe player kills or badges of honor. You’d keep the 25 cost for skillpoints, but players wont be able to purchase these unless they do the specified action. An example in PvE would b rescuing a group of tengu from an incoming destroyer force. In reward they will reward you knowledge of their tribes culture and you can then purchase the new skill. This should properly take up the reigns that the signet of capture left in Guild wars 1.
The final progression that they need to add is with Guilds. There just isn’t enough progression for guilds aside form the influence, and even then it is not a lasting form of progression to keep endgames sastified. My suggestion is to put in “guild structures” in each map. Two max. These strucutures would have a public area and a guild area that leaders of the guild can decide to open to the public or not. In these guilds would be special buffs, the armor/weapon skin zone vendors would be in the public area. There are some other vendors and services that required the zone they’re located in to be stabilized. Have a stabilized region not only unlocks certain services in the guild structure, but they also give guild wide buffs. Now each guild structure is in one stabilization zone. So zones are split into two areas. When a event is completed in this area, the zone becomes stabilized. It degrades over time. Lets say there are three “levels” of stabilization. It would take about 1 hour-2 hours for an area to become unstabilized one level. For a guild to gain access to a guild structure, they must meet the requirements of a certain guild influence level. As the zones level increases, more influence is required since in the harder 80 zones more people are required to do events and it is tougher. Influence would also get a passive drain to help get rid of in active guilds. This would guilds seem more important for players aside from being just a big LFG system.
Those are atleast my ideas of a perfect Guild Wars 1. Those are my opinions, but just right now I feel like this game’s endgame is way too heavily focused around crafting. Crafting in general (including the mystic forge route) is just such a huge chunk of progression. It wasn’t what sold me on guild wars 2. Guild wars 1 did have its progression routes that took lots of gathering of rare materials (similar to the crafting/MF in gw2), however its routes of progression for skills and items that didn’t involve grinding (such as completing a story campaign) awarded you instantly. These rewards were gated behind actions that were hard enough that they were satisfying to earn and they weren’t just easily by passed with gold. At this point I"d take any form of progression that required me to think a little and wasn’t just a crafting simulator.

(edited by Deified.7520)

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Posted by: Ursan.7846

Ursan.7846

I feel like, “vertical” progression in form of skills and titles, even with a slight power-creep associated with it, is ultimately good and better than progression via gear.

In GW1, newly introduced skill were clearly superior to old ones (i.e EotN skills are much more widely used overall than Prophesies skills.) while titles increased character’s power levels. It can be debated that, while they aren’t gear, these progression method were “vertical” in the sense that they made clearing content easier.

But these “vertical” progression methods (I put them in quotations because I know people will disagree with categorizing skills/titles as vertical progression) are much more welcoming than progression through gear. In gear progression, there’s an inherent sense of abandoning your previous progress and replacing it with something new. Whereas in skills and titles, progress just builds up, and you have none of that feeling, which I hypothesize is one of the reasons why GW1’s “vertical” progression was much more welcomed by both people who do like vertical progression (Your character undoubtedly gets stronger, often much more significantly than simple stat boosts, as you grind out titles and obtain new skills) and people who like horizontal progression (skill/title progression does not feel like traditional vertical progression.)

So in conclusion, I welcome in the future if the game introduced more potential progression through those two methods: skills and titles.

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Posted by: Zyphent.2967

Zyphent.2967

I’ll leave the Ascended Stuff for others to argue about, I’m content with it now that its all in the game as is.

Whatever happened to vertical cosmetic progression is what I’m wondering?

The Fractal Capacitor is a brilliant example of this, its a backpiece I can get and wear, then as I do more and more fractals, I can gradually upgrade its appearance cosmetically. I’d LOVE to see more of this. The Halloween 2012 backpiece had this as well.

Also, Titles are a cosmetic progression reward that is severely underutilized. What about Title tracks that I could progress through?
Example: As it currently stands each world of Super Adventure Box has its own title, and I don’t need all the achieves in World 1 to get the title for World 2. But what if doing all the achievements in one world just Progressed my Super Adventure Box title track up one level? Then I could have a form of progression with titles! Note: Some work like this already in a way, like the Hall of Monuments titles. Why dont more?

Now that ascended is in the game, I’d love to see vertical progression take the form of upgrading stuff I currently have cosmetically. ANet seems to have been doing this early on in the games life.

(edited by Zyphent.2967)

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Posted by: TheDaiBish.9735

TheDaiBish.9735

1. I think we should look at the reasons why Ascended – and vertical progression – was introduced, and the mistakes made in their implementation.

After this, then look at potential solutions to these reasons and mistakes, and apply the lessons to possible fixes to the current system of vertical progression, and the implementation of more horizontal progression systems.

2. Horizontal progression tends to be the progression system that adds depth. A number going up on a build you’ve used for a few months isn’t as ‘deep’ as gaining a skill / trait ect that changes your build and the way it’s played.

3. Depth in builds and choices (the ‘progression’ part of character development) is pointless if the content doesn’t utilise that depth either through lack of mechanics, mechanics being able to be brute-forced through sheer damage, or having to use a specific set of skills (although the last one isn’t as bad, since going from the fight being incredibly difficult to slightly easier because you use a different skill you found, and using that skill properly, shows progression).

(edited by TheDaiBish.9735)

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Posted by: Deified.7520

Deified.7520

Part 3:
There’s a lot of other games that have really good horizontal progression. One of which is Skyrim. Some may not agree, however since the game scales to your level for the most part is is very much like horizontal progression. Look at the skill system. There is no just skill point you get each level. In order to unlock skills you actually have to find the in the world. Some require you to do special actions such as joining a faction or doing a quest.

Look a Guild Wars 1. To get a new skill not only did you have to be a certain point in the story, but also needed to know how to kill him. Most bosses had specific strategies.

Most popular RPGs in the world never had a skill system that was just level up and you get a point for a new skill. They usually had another gate.

Also if WvWers (all skills should be auto unlocked for spvpers) want, they can just buy skills with a combination of badges of honor and skill points.

Right now the endgame for horizontal progression of karma/gold/skillpoints/achievements is getting old fast. I’m seeing more people get burnt out faster. You either need to find drains for the karma/gold/skillpoints or split them up so its not so easily obtained to make them more meaningful.

Currently the game has more the enough horizontal progression dealing with crafting and collection. It has moderate to good horizontal progression for dungeon gear looks and WvW gear looks. Now its time to start introducing some new ways of horizontal progression.

(edited by Deified.7520)

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Posted by: AndrewSX.3794

AndrewSX.3794

Progression thread
So, it begins.
/popcorn

Seafarer’s Rest EU – PvE/WvW – 8 × 80 chars.
Most used: Guard/Mes/War/Nec/Ele.
Yes, i use 5 chars at time. Because REASONS.

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Posted by: TheDaiBish.9735

TheDaiBish.9735

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

Basically:

  • How easy it is to attain the Ascended gear?
  • Is the balance of acquisition of Ascended out of whack between different game-modes (i.e. Easier in PvE than WvW, easier in the open world than it’s intended game mode [Fractals])?

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Posted by: Chris Whiteside

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Chris Whiteside

Studio Design Director

Next

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

Hi,

To clarify I am looking forward to hearing the communities thoughts on speed of acquisition such as how long crafting time takes? or drop rates in fractals and other areas of the game etc.

I hope this adds some clarity.

Chris

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Posted by: VOLKON.1290

VOLKON.1290

One of the huge draws for me to GW2, and one I still love today, is the flattened progression system. I’ve played enough games that were based around the vertical type with the gear treadmill involved, with WoW being a major one, and believe it or not they have far FAR less endgame then we have here in GW2 with the horizontal style. Really… what do you do for endgame in the WoW model? You either raid or prepare for raiding, that’s really it. So, from the heart and most emphatically, please let the ascended tier be the final tier of gear. We don’t need higher and it will be so incredibly much easier to create new content based on a known and expected level of power while keeping that new content accessible to all.

That last part… that’s the most important. Accessible to all. You shouldn’t be forced down a narrow road of required content in order to progress to further content later. You don’t need the WoW style of gimmickry where you toss a new raid every now and then and watch the lemmings run along to the next expansion while you suck the sub fees out of them. You’ve proven that already. Keep ascended max, keep content tuned to exotics and the sky is the limit for what you can create while simultaneously making sure the vast, vast majority of players will be able to experience it all. NEVER sacrifice accessibility!

So, progression. Horizontal rules. I’d like to see more and varied options towards that horizontal… a growing choice of ascended (and exotic) skins for example. Cosmetic things that maybe go a little beyond just an achievement and a title, but I’m not exactly sure what. Well… I have an idea, remember the statues in the Hall of Monuments? Of course, that would require a housing type of setting, but it would be great to have a place of our own to progress with our accomplishments as opposed to a power grind. Imagine a fireplace/hearth carved out of one of Jormag’s teeth that you can craft after defeating him? A lovely couch made of genuine naga hide? That type of progression, showy instead of powerful, would go a long way.

Of course, this is all my opinion, others will vary. I like the path we’re on progression-wise and the potential that is available using this path can be endless. (And yes… housing could really benefit the whole thing… but that’s a topic for another CDI…)

Edit: Just saw the later post – regarding speed, exotics are (now) fine but may have been a little to quick originally. If you speed up the rate of ascended progress you’ll need to more quickly offer alternative skins and the like to shoot for. Some people will push the speed to it’s maximum allowable, and they’ll be the loudest ones shouting that there’s nothing left to do while the rest of us cruise along at our own pace.

#TeamJadeQuarry

(edited by VOLKON.1290)

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Posted by: Aeonblade.8709

Aeonblade.8709

On the topic of vertical progression:

Vertical progression is a necessary part of the RPG genre. Since the dawn of the genre itself, the name of the game has been progressing your character in the game world to become more powerful. Taking this part out of the game defeats the purpose of the genre imo.

That being said, I can understand the frustration some people would have in dealing with said progression. I only get to play maybe 1 or 2 hours a day most days, so I can understand that frustration more than others.

However, without vertical progression, we run into the doldrums of development like we are currently trapped in. Interest in the game has waned considerably, most of the first wave of players have moved on to other games because of a lack of things to do in game. I think this stems not so much from a lack of things to do, but from feeling a lack of actually earning anything. The game does nothing after you hit 80 and get your initial set of exotics to make you feel like you are gaining anything, power or otherwise.

I’m not advocating a WoW style gear grind that takes months and months to catch up to the current tier with. What I’m advocating is the inclusion of real character progression beyond cosmetic. A level 80 character should have a means of continuing to gain power, otherwise playing beyond getting the character to 80 has lost it’s point and meaning.

Personally, I would like to see the inclusion of more ways to make our characters seem like they are growing. Right now, my Guardian hasn’t changed at all in 6 months, and I log in less and less as a side effect of this. My friends list is empty. Most of the guild I am in has moved on.

I don’t want people to have to grind for the gear upgrades the way cosmetic upgrades are already a huge grind in the game. I think gear should be easily obtainable, but there needs to be a way to show character progression at level 80. Ideally, gear will be easier and less painful to get than the pretty cosmetic stuff everyone wants, but it would go a long way in keeping RPG fans invested in the game beyond the initial 6months to 1year mark.

I would like to add I think the top tier gear (currently Ascended, this topic of discussion) should be obtainable from any avenue in game that the person enjoys. Be it champ trains, world completion, jump puzzles, WvW, Fractals, whatever. It shouldn’t feel like a grind and it should come naturally. You can leave the grind to cosmetic progression like it currently is. But right now there is a complete disconnect from the point of 1-79 and level 80.

Anarai Aeonblade [GASM] – Guardian – DB
RIP my fair Engi and Ranger, you will be missed.

(edited by Aeonblade.8709)

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Posted by: Chris Whiteside

Previous

Chris Whiteside

Studio Design Director

Next

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

Basically:

  • How easy it is to attain the Ascended gear?
  • Is the balance of acquisition of Ascended out of whack between different game-modes (i.e. Easier in PvE than WvW, easier in the open world than it’s intended game mode [Fractals])?

Couldn’t have said it better myself DaiBish. Thanks.

Chris

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Posted by: DiogoSilva.7089

DiogoSilva.7089

HORIZONTAL PROGRESSION
The flaws with its execution in GW2

Skill/ Build Progression
What is skill/ build progression? It’s about getting new tools to improve or customize our builds.

  • It is crippled by some of the systems set in place for vertical progression, like stats being tied to gear, which in turn is tied to huge money and time sinks.
  • It is further restricted by how trait allocation works, and the lack of build templates.
  • Non-profession skills are very underwhelming. Although this is done on purpose for the sake of balance, when they aren’t worth using, they do not serve their purpose to enhance world immersion, as they are left unused, nor do they add any form of horizontal progression, because no build will be created around them.
  • Skill hunting is generic and lacks the charm GW1’s elite skill hunting had.
  • The skill system is generally very restrictive, with few weapons per profession, very few utility slots tied to high cooldowns, and an elite skill system that isn’t acchieving the epic feel it was meant to acchieve.

Solutions

  • Separate the concept of (ascended) gear crafting from the concept of equipment stat customisation. Make it easy or easier to change stats, or at the very least, to craft new copies of the same gear with different stats.
  • Add an universal build template system, and allows us to change traits on the fly (while not in battle, dungeons, etc). Creating and saving builds should be free. Loading/ changing them could still require a small money sink, if Anet feels it needs to be there.
  • Revise how non-profession skills should be balanced. Instead of making them bad on purpose, make them decent but only fill a certain niche/ tied heavily to a specific area or situation. In theory, the new spray skill does that, but it’s a poor skill even for its intended purpose.
  • It’s probably too late for a better skill hunting system, but perhaps that can still exist for something other than skill collection. More on that later.
  • Anet is already adding new skills to professions, so this area is already covered.

I’ll talk about skins next.

Elementalist.

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Posted by: Edgar Doiron.2804

Edgar Doiron.2804

What I would like to see is anet take some steps to provide some fairness when considering wvw progression and pve progression in terms of gear.

Currently you have to capture more than 25 keeps to get the same dragonite as the pve player that does a single temple DE chain.

I understand that sometimes capping keeps is an easy task, and you can do it more than once a day, but the time requirement to get over 500 dragonite through wvw is simply far greater than the time requirement to get 500 dragonite through pve.

There is plenty of supply of bloodstone dust and emp shards are almost common enough (though could use a slight increase). The biggest roadblock to ascended armor for wvw players is the difficulty of obtaining dragonite.

I would suggest that anet look at a few numbers to fix it:
Average keep capture rate per person in wvw that solely attacks keeps (karma/wxp trains)
Average dragonite rate for players event hopping from dragonite granting event to another.
Additional sources of dragonite, as like a loot role on a player kill while defending an objective.

Or they could add them to the rank up chest? doesn’t need to be much, but still there.

Forgeman Destroyers [FORD] – Sorrows furnace

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Posted by: Savoy.6824

Savoy.6824

Now, jumping right into horizontal progression. Can the ArenaNet designers begin to design a game that incorporates the orders that we joined in our personal story. The designers may already be doing this to some degree, but it is my opinion that it is lightly used.

You may recall that in the first Guild Wars there were two factions. I believe they were called the Luxons and the Kurzacks. In that game it was possible to compete quest for a particular faction. Doing so resulted in rewards such as special armor and weapons. I would like to see the orders work in a similar fashion (or if no one likes the orders, then create some new factions for us to be a part of. I just pick the orders because there already in the game and I like that incorporates the personal story back into the game)

Also, I believe it would be great if completing quest didnt stop at skin and title rewards. If npc’s in the world could react to you based on which order you joined that would be cool as well. Have npc’s sell you cheaper food based on the order your in. For example, the vigil could sell you cheaper food that has power at its base, where the order of whispers could sell you items that deal with vigor or stealth. Discount food has already been done in game. The dragon bash festival introduced food that could be bought with candy (which is basically another currency when you get down to it) The food had buffs similar to that of food that was already in the game it just didnt last as long. Please dont stop at just food, Im just using this as an example.

Maybe put some animosity between some of the orders and provide us with some conflict we can participate in. Thats all Ive come up with for now. Anyone else have any ideas?

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once – Nietzsche

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Posted by: Dyroth.5063

Dyroth.5063

My take as someone just coming back to the game after a decent sized break:

I personally feel the horizontal progression always was lacking in this game. Yes I have done stuff to create a unique look for my characters and tried to get weapons I liked, but in the end I felt like I was just running through the same motions most of the time. More variation is really needed for horizontal, unless that has changed in the 6 months I been away.

Vertical progression isn’t a bad thing. Having new gear sets to get for that stat growth is great. What is bad is the fact that it is very stiff in this game where one of the best features was flexibility. I understand that it should take time to gear out one character in the best. Alts are generally behind that main character in most other MMOs. That is acceptable. What really bothers me is the lack of stability I feel when choosing a set to work towards. Last patch brought a lot of class changes. Those changes are rather common here in comparison to most games, and they will probably remain common as well. Therefore, there is no way a build I go for today will be a hugely long lasting build, that may require multiple gear changes. Now suddenly after a patch, or maybe just on whim, I am farming hours to just be back to where I was.

In short, long time consuming progression is bad for the best feature of GW2 and that is the fun of just trying out new builds and playing around with stats.

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Posted by: Romo.3709

Romo.3709

Hi,

To clarify I am looking forward to hearing the communities thoughts on speed of acquisition such as how long crafting time takes? or drop rates in fractals and other areas of the game etc.

I hope this adds some clarity.

Chris

Chris, at the moment fractals with the given reward/time ratio is rather quite low. Getting 1-1.4g per 4 levels of fractals, which frankly some equal the amount of time needed for medium-longer dungeons is incredibly low given the time needed to complete these. At the same time Fractals such as dredge level tend to sometimes take an hour to two hours to complete, depending on a group. Regardless of promises to get that particular level shortened. Drop rate for ascended materials is just not worth the time.
The only time consuming ascended material that so many people constantly complain is Dragonite ore, since it’s incredibly difficult to obtain if you do not spend all day WvW-ing or standing around and waiting for Metas to come up, which give you anything from 1-5 for smaller and up to 25 for bigger ones that take on average 15 minutes.
If fractals were to give all the ascended materials, maybe it would increase the interest. But I hardly doubt anyone will bother going through an hour worth of dredge to get 10 dragonite ore.

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Posted by: Deified.7520

Deified.7520

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

Basically:

  • How easy it is to attain the Ascended gear?
  • Is the balance of acquisition of Ascended out of whack between different game-modes (i.e. Easier in PvE than WvW, easier in the open world than it’s intended game mode [Fractals])?

Couldn’t have said it better myself DaiBish. Thanks.

Chris

In terms of collection in WvW and PvE I think its in a pretty good position. However, obtaining in different routes does take a bit longer I felt. I also understand why. This game is very easy in most parts of it. If you increased the drop rate the item would lose its significance because it would be too easy to get. So I feel like you need to increase the difficulty in more ascended gaining areas while also increasing the drop rate. I don’t want to have to do a really hard event 100 times to get one ascended piece.

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Posted by: Evee.2714

Evee.2714

Greeting and salutations citizens of tyria, my name is Eveenus though most of my friends call me E.V.

This time around Arenanet has asked for our opinions and thoughts on the matter of vertical and horizontal progression in Guild Wars 2, and by association the reward system.

I’m going to start this off very blunt by saying I did not like the implementation of Ascended gear (and how it currently exists within the game), and am probably one of the most vocal people against it you will find. I feel it goes against the beginning philosophy of Guild Wars (or at least the one that was publicized).

With that out of the way I will not be advocating for the removal of ascended gear, which I have no doubt some people would enjoy. It is in the game and all we can do now is look forward as to how to improve not only it’s implementation but also the way rewards as a whole work in Guild Wars 2. Oh I should also probably also mention I will not be covering vertical progression beyond ascended gear, there are plenty of other people that will no doubt touch on it and I personally do not want to see any more implemented into Guild Wars 2.

Now to the nitty gritty and to begin by looking at the current and how it can be improved to better facilitate all players.

As it stands Ascended Gear as whole has many ways of being acquired laurels, fractals, rng, guild missions, gathering, gold, and cold hard cash (witch translates into gems then gold). However Ascended gear is acquired as individial pieces, and each individual piece has a very limited avenue of acquisition.

Armor and weapons can be crafted which in practice means they are acquired with gold either buy getting it and buying what you need or going out and getting what you need yourself hence losing the opportunity to get gold. The most conservative measure for armor on one character is roughly 400 gold in the current market (which is flooded right now so I would expect a rise soon and that is AFTER reaching 500 in the appropiate skill). This is fine, it’s an avenue for those with lots of gold (or money) to get what they want without a time restriction. However, for the more average player this is a lofty goal which is quite frankly, ridiculous to expect them to achieve in any sort of timely manner. My suggestion, add other avenues that are strictly about the time invested, no influence from the market at all. Currently there are three ways to do this pristine fractal relics, laurels, and guild commendations. I say why pick one? Have a general idea for how long each piece should take and just go with it for all of them. For the sake of an example let’s say a full set of armor should take 20 days to get (going by the time gated materials this seems a close number to what would be appropiate). that would be 20 laurels, 20 pristine fractal relics, or 12-14 guild commendations.

This would allow those that do not enjoy crafting or more importantly farming gold for extended periods of time an enjoyable avenue of acquiring their gear. While still giving those who do enjoy acquiring gold for their rewards or skipping time gating to acquire it their way. Oh this would also mean that those ascended pieces that are currently only available through time gated or RNG means (rings, necklaces, acessories) should probably be available through means of gold. Ascended level jewelcrafting should handle that nicely though.

Then there’s the area of the game that lacks any true way of ascended acquisition through itself. WvW, Arguably the game type that having Ascended gear matters the most. I’m not much of a WvW’er but I feel this should be said. Please make all Ascended reasonably obtainable with Badges of Honor or from rank and season chest (or even all of them!)

If this is implemented I think it would be a boon to the current state of affairs. Ascended gear was said to be implemented to serve to purpose of something for players to aim toward after exoctics but to be much less daunting than a legendary, which some do not even want (including myself but that is personal taste). Right now however, ascended armor in particular is too much of a lofty task for some (including myself) because of it’s single avenue of acquisition that is very very very (am I making my point?) steep. Steep enough that I could actually get a legendary in a similar timeframe to ascended armor/weapons. Obviously, not really filling it’s inteded role there.

Evee of the Relics of Orr Podcast on the youtubez and twitch. See us at relicsoforr.com

(edited by Evee.2714)

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Posted by: VOLKON.1290

VOLKON.1290

Before people run off on how important vertical impression is in their views, do you really want to spend a few months and many, many gold to get your ascended gear only to have hyper-ascended come out shortly after? No, that archaic sub-fee trap needs to be left dying at the mouth of the sewer pipe where it belongs.

#TeamJadeQuarry

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Posted by: Naus the Gobbo.5172

Naus the Gobbo.5172

Progression depends on each individual player.
I am in favour of vanity progression.

Transformation items are my favourite. Endless cat tonic, watchknight, molten berserker, you name it.
Items like that are what motivates me, not statistical progression.

I am also crazy about vanity items I can spawn in the world. Chairs to sit on, bonfires, banners, finishers.
Just something for me to spawn and perhaps interact with.

If dyes were account bound then I would collect them. As it stands now I only get a few cheap ones for alts.

Also, use up what you already have in the game. There are a ton of skins, but because of the terrible transmutation system we stick to one skin and one skin only.

Imagine if we could unlock skins and endlessly switch between all of them. I would go out of my way to collect as many as possible – even buying those in the gem store.

What we do in life echoes in eternity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6zkT2uZAGA – GW2 – A world of wonder

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Posted by: Evee.2714

Evee.2714

I talked about Ascended gear in my last post so now how’s abouts some horizontal progression ideas?.

A large part of horizontal progression is cosmetic: particularly armor and weapons as it stands now. Players work to obtain the looks they want for their character, after some time they may get bored of the look and want a new one. This is fine and great, but why does this wonderful system have to be limited to armor?

How about new animations, particle effects for casting/attacking, in-combat quips, hairstyles, tatoos, (visible) jewelry, or even alternate skills?

A long time ago, while Guild Wars 2 was still in development the idea of profession specific skill challenges was touted around. Ultimately the idea was scrapped for the (much better) current universal approach, but what if profession challenges made their way into the game in another form?

Example: A Thief challenge to climb a trap riddled tower, without being able to actually walk. A puzzle built specifically for shadowsteps. The reward? Unique attack/skill particle effects like shadow refuge but are sick of seeming the same ol’ house? How about a cloak of shadow of the area instead? Sick of that mediocre -woosh- effect when you slash and stab? How about something a little more…red? ;P

The possibilities are endless here as to what the challenges could be and what their rewards could entail, but the core idea remains. A challenge tailored to a single profession, with a reward to match.

Moving on we can look at the (currently) under utilized personality system, currently you make a choice at character creation and as you speak with certain NPC’s sometimes you are given a choice as to what to say and there’s some bar in your hero panel that shows which choices you pick most often or something. What if personality went further than that though? What if it affected the way or characters look and act? What if a honor bound human would never say “I can outrun a centaur!” but instead opted for a simple and somewhat self dignified “I will outrun you!”? This would be a great way to personalize our chracters even further in a manner that would be.. refreshing.

I could go on and on about more ideas for horizontal progression, and even more ways to improve the acessibility of the current vertical progression system but this post is getting long and I’d liek to see what people have to say about what I said.

With that said if anyone dev or not wants to speak with me about this topic or Guild Wars 2 in general you can find me in-game, live on the relic of orr podcast, or on twitter. Jsut remember keep it civil and look forwards toward making Guild Wars 2 the best game it can be, not back at past mistakes or whatever; I’m horrible at being deep.

Evee of the Relics of Orr Podcast on the youtubez and twitch. See us at relicsoforr.com

(edited by Evee.2714)

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Posted by: Edgar Doiron.2804

Edgar Doiron.2804

Hi,

To clarify I am looking forward to hearing the communities thoughts on speed of acquisition such as how long crafting time takes? or drop rates in fractals and other areas of the game etc.

I hope this adds some clarity.

Chris

Chris, at the moment fractals with the given reward/time ratio is rather quite low. Getting 1-1.4g per 4 levels of fractals, which frankly some equal the amount of time needed for medium-longer dungeons is incredibly low given the time needed to complete these. At the same time Fractals such as dredge level tend to sometimes take an hour to two hours to complete, depending on a group. Regardless of promises to get that particular level shortened. Drop rate for ascended materials is just not worth the time.
The only time consuming ascended material that so many people constantly complain is Dragonite ore, since it’s incredibly difficult to obtain if you do not spend all day WvW-ing or standing around and waiting for Metas to come up, which give you anything from 1-5 for smaller and up to 25 for bigger ones that take on average 15 minutes.
If fractals were to give all the ascended materials, maybe it would increase the interest. But I hardly doubt anyone will bother going through an hour worth of dredge to get 10 dragonite ore.

Fractals gives you a lot more chest (4) than regular dungeons though. So i think the 1g+ is fine

Forgeman Destroyers [FORD] – Sorrows furnace

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Posted by: Moshari.8570

Moshari.8570

I will start with two statements: First is that I played GW1 all the way through and loved it. I loved the story, I loved the fact that I could level all of my characters and enjoy the content without the grind….at least it never felt like a grind.

My thoughts regarding the loss of progression in fractals is well documented…I am more upset that no Dev took the time to post anything in the Fractured forum than anything else in GW2 right now…and it colored the way I look at GW2 now as opposed to prior to the fractured patch…and not favorably. CDI means you talk to us…even if you don’t agree with us, you can at least explain yourself…that never came regarding removing of our progression with no thought to how we would feel about it….regardless of reasons.

Okay, back on full topic:

I look at vertical vs horizontal progression as work vs enjoyment. Horizontal progression to me should be about cosmetics. If you gave me some really incredible looking armor in the game (multiple sets that I can mix and match pieces from) as well as some incredible looking weapons (like legendary used to be before they upped the stats on it), all while leaving the stats alone and unchanged from the other armor and weapons in the game…I would have STILL felt compelled to work towards those items…but at the same time, it would not have felt necessary to work towards those items. Like the Fractal capacitor. at one point, you gain all the stats you will get on that item…after that, you work more to make it glow (you add looks without stats)…it gave me something to work towards, while at the same time, I was not inferior to those people that already had the glowing backpiece….it didn’t feel like work to go for it, it was enjoyable because I didn’t have to do it…I wanted to.

With Vertical progression, it is work…it becomes a second job…why? because now I have to have it…and I have heard all the arguments that all content can be done in greens…but these people have obviously never done a PUG fractal or dungeon run where people complain if it takes 15 seconds longer to complete than with a different group. There is a reason people dump rangers or necros from dungeons, its not that they couldn’t complete the dungeon with a ranger, its because it would take longer…with vertical progression, if you are not wearing the BiS, you WILL be shunned…maybe not from every group…but just as anyone who has ever asked a girl (or boy) out knows….a “No” still hurts…so you HAVE to get BiS…this becomes now “work” as opposed to “playing”.

My point is, you could have still satisfied the people who wanted something to work towards (myself included) without introducing a gear grind…by introducing cool new armor sets that perhaps are time-gated to get, or require personal quests, etc….but did not provide increased stats.

As is, I will never be able to equip all of my ALTs with BiS gear…and this means that any of my ALTs that is not wearing it (or wielding) is a second-class citizen in the world…whether I enjoy playing them or not.

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Posted by: styx.7294

styx.7294

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

Basically:

  • How easy it is to attain the Ascended gear?
  • Is the balance of acquisition of Ascended out of whack between different game-modes (i.e. Easier in PvE than WvW, easier in the open world than it’s intended game mode [Fractals])?

Couldn’t have said it better myself DaiBish. Thanks.

Chris

It’s pretty hard to acquire ascended gear. Weapons and armour take a long time. WvW earns very lil’ gold since food/upgrades/repairs/siege are a big gold sink (it’s weird ‘cause some people just zerg around, don’t buy food, never put down siege or upgrade things and that sorta things costs a lot). Basically playing your best (gah! those consumable prices) kills your gold income which is very frustrating. The game has lots of builds and has balance patches which then warrant buying multiple armour sets/weapons for even the same build – I’ve basically run the same build for nearly a year but have 3 armour sets to go with it as well as somethin like a dozen weapons. If it was some weeks between gettin an ascended weapon, I wouldn’t so much mind but raising a new crafting skill is incredibly expensive as well and it’s taking several months for me to get even a 2nd ascended weapon.

The whole experience of ascended junk has been very frustrating for me. I want to be able to get my gear and play but with how expensive things have gotten, after the first weapon I feel like I’ve basically been out of that entire progression. Very few people in my guild have more than one ascended weapon and it’s been months now.

Raven Hold [RH] – Gate of Madness

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Posted by: FeveredDreamer.2693

FeveredDreamer.2693

For more than a year now (since Ascended gear first came out) the discussion over vertical vs. horizontal progression has been going back and forth among the player base both here on the forums and on varied sites devoted to GW2. Throughout these discussions there has been a great deal of conjecture from either side about what the game’s “vision” is, how GW2 has veered away from its pre-launch mission statement and what where the game is headed in the future. It would be seriously awesome to read here, from the game’s developers where we as a players can expect GW2 to go in the future. While I understand that the CDI isn’t intended to discuss what is currently in development, it shouldn’t be a problem to express to players what the game’s general direction is intended to be.

On launch GW2 offered something very different from what currently populates the MMO genre. It may have been a far step away from GW1, but it was also a far step away from most of what the industry offers as “the norm”. Gradually over time, and suddenly with the introduction of ascended gear that has changed. Please note that I am not attempting to state that ascended gear is impossible to earn by any measure, or that it is even particularly difficult, it is however sharply limiting in some of the things that were once GW2’s greatest strengths when contrasted with other MMOs.

  • Alts:
    Increasing the range of GW2’s gear ladder makes it harder for people to play multiple characters and sufficiently gear them out.
  • Build diversity:
    Where previously players had the flexibility to play different builds and gear sets in the different parts of the game (WvW, Open World, Dungeons/Fractals) now build diversity is much more sharply limited based not only on the gear one has to carry but the challenge of getting that gear. It is more costly for players to experiment with builds over time and dramatic class changes have a more negative impact on players due to invested time.
  • Value of old content:
    As the rewards systems of the game change and become more vertical, old content becomes (as in most other MMOs) much less rewarding. Dungeons officially offer nothing but gold and armor skins (that you have to waste transmutation stones on) at this point.

One of the standard arguments against the above is that the vertical progression is shallow and ultimately optional. “You don’t ‘need’ ascended gear” after all, but if it isn’t necessary, why is it around? Once stats start getting raised through gear grind either old content has to be made more difficult, or old content becomes trivial to run either of which seems a poor choice.

I could complain about ascended gear and vertical progression until I’m blue in the face, but in an attempt to be constructive a few suggestions:

  • Gear could have swappable stats (like legendaries)
    This would at very least place less confinement on horizontal progression by allowing players to try out differing builds without having the character defined purely by their gear.
  • Gear could cap out at ascended with things like infusions being account unlocks
    This might help to limit the impact on those with alts, while still offering the opportunity for vertical progression.

There will always be some new MMO to offer players the hottest new gear ladder, but I think the genre can and should offer more than that. An MMO shouldn’t have to be your life for players to be on an even scale.

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Posted by: VOLKON.1290

VOLKON.1290

The whole experience of ascended junk has been very frustrating for me. I want to be able to get my gear and play but with how expensive things have gotten, after the first weapon I feel like I’ve basically been out of that entire progression. Very few people in my guild have more than one ascended weapon and it’s been months now.

This here sounds like you may still, in the subconscious recesses of your mind, have a smattering of the vertical progression system left over from other MMOs. With the flattened progress, you don’t need to get your ascended gear to be able to play. I don’t have an ascended weapon or piece of armor yet, but that in no way impairs me from participating in anything and having fun doing so. I like that it takes a long time. It’s a long term goal that doesn’t affect the short term fun.

#TeamJadeQuarry

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Posted by: PopeUrban.2578

PopeUrban.2578

Vertical Progression
This is a hot button issue. People are fairly well adjusted to the idea of ascended now, but simply taking the easy road and adding another and another 5% stat hike down the line is going to result in new and returning player alienation.

Gates, not Grinds
Vertical progression needs to be handled in terms of gates, not grinds. A good example is the way fractal levels, hearts, and waypoints are handled. You don’t theoretically need to grind 31 to gt to 32, or 32 to get to 33, etc. and you don’t need to collect 4 milliong whatevers to unlock a waypoint. You need to prove your ability to pass the prerequisite, and you need to do that one time. Doing a thing, even if it’s difficult, costly, or time consuming to first time is often fun. In terms of gated content, it isn’t about the equipment and stats as much as it is about accomplishing something. Putting laundry lists of “a stack of this and 200 or that, and five of these” in place of some sort of questing, boss fight, or other content diminshes that sense of accomplishment. Getting one of each of five things, all from different places/methods, and combining them to get the “key” for the sixth thing is fun.

You already did it better once
If we’re going to progress characters, it needs to be meaningful, fun, and content driven. The EOTN systems and guild wars 1’s mission systems were very good at this. You could earn skills by progressing thematically through content related to those skills. You could unlock a “boss dungeon” by defeating several other dungeons. You could access later fights by doing easier ones. The goal of these methods of advancement didn’t just boil down to “do one thing” or “Collect currency” as much as it encouraged you to go out and complete a variety of content. In these systems my advancement wasn’t ever measured by the numbers on my character sheet as much as it was measured by all the things I had access to, and a lot of those things were placed in a strict vertical acquisition heirarchy despite not adding mechanical power to the character.

Horizontal Progression
Horizontal progression is a term that should really read “customization and options” as that’s what we are really saying when we talk about it. The main problem with horizontal progression is that so many of the trait and skill systems are extremely high impact per choice, leaving little room to have a skill or rune set or whatever “for fun” because taking that one “fun” thing can seriously cripple your overall effectiveness.

Despite having a smaller skill bar, GW1 did a slightly better job of this. A large number of builds had around five or six “key” skills, and two or three “optional” skills. With the GW2 system, there’s very little wiggle room due to the limitation on slot types. You can’t take a fun but lackluster skill because it takes up all or 1/3 of your options. When looking at Horizontal Progression we need to look at low impact but useful customization hand in hand with high impact things like traits and mainline skills.

Adventuring Ranks
Skill points are vastly underutilized. Take a look at the WvW ranking system and envision a version of that, only for general PvE. Allow players to “rank up” passive buffs to acquire effects like those found on consumables. “favored enemy” bonuses, minor stat buffs. Conditional bonuses when in certain areas, and other things that help to individualize characters.

Teamwork!
What if there were a way to customize the effects of your combos with other players? What if there were more ways for characters to meaningfully interact in combat? What if these were highly customizable, both visually and mechanically?

Weapon skill customization and collection
What if there were several cosmetic versions of each weapon skill, and you could learn them via skill capture, looting, or some other method? Mechanically they would always work the same, but let’s pretend you could get unique or rare versions of these skills with altered effects, character animations, shouts, projectiles, etc. This could be an entire new and fun subset of horizontal progression.

What if it were possible to add over time slot-limited skills to weapons? Use the weapon slots like the heal and elite slots to make it easier to balance, but how about it?

My Home Town and/or Guild Hall
You know where vertical progression is awesome? When you’re building something massive. Adding content to allow players to upgrade, improve, and customize things like these adds an entire new subset of potential shinies to acquire, none of which upset the power balance of player skills.

Guild Master – The Papacy [POPE] (Tarnished Coast)/Road Scholar for the Durmand Priory
Writer/Director – Quaggan Quest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky2TGPmMPeQ

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Posted by: DiogoSilva.7089

DiogoSilva.7089

Skin/ Cosmetic Progression
What is skin/ cosmetic progression? It’s about upgrading our looks until we get satisfied or impressed by our own character.

  • There are no incentives nor any system to collect different skins.
  • The best dyes mostly come from permanent content.
  • Dye collecting is soul-bound.
  • (Somewhat related) But technical or artistic issues take away the motivation from working towards cosmetic goals.

Solutions

  • Add a Skin Locket where we can collect all the skins. Account-bound, please.
  • An expanded list of acchievements for filling said locket.
  • Expand the crafting system so we can pick the skin of the item we’re going to craft, based on what we have collected. There should exist several skin options right since early-game, so that newbies don’t all look the same either.
  • Unique account-bound-on-acquire skins dropped by unique bosses, or found while exploring the world of Tyria. There you have it, the substitute for GW1’s elite skill hunting.
  • Add more dyes with shaders, and spread them more through the game.
  • Dye collecting should be account-bound. Talking from personal experience, not having access to my costly celestial and black dyes on my alts takes away the motivation from working towards their looks.
  • Improve the quality of the shaders (look at how sweetfx (?) mod makes GW2’s armor look much prettier), some technical issues about armor pieces or dyes looking too plastic-like, and seriously reconsider what it takes to design appealing armor skins, especially for anyone besides heavy male armor and scholar female clothes.

I’ll talk about my take on ascended gear next.

Elementalist.

(edited by DiogoSilva.7089)

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Posted by: Evee.2714

Evee.2714

This here sounds like you may still, in the subconscious recesses of your mind, have a smattering of the vertical progression system left over from other MMOs. With the flattened progress, you don’t need to get your ascended gear to be able to play. I don’t have an ascended weapon or piece of armor yet, but that in no way impairs me from participating in anything and having fun doing so. I like that it takes a long time. It’s a long term goal that doesn’t affect the short term fun.

Quite frankly the playability without it is irrevelant, you can play in full yellows or even greens but do you want to? NO

More stats = more power = more possibilites. People want the gear becasue they feel they may actually need it at some point (and in the case of fractals this is entirely true).

Simply put it should be reasonable for anyone to obtain in a relatively good time, several months for one character a good time is not.

Evee of the Relics of Orr Podcast on the youtubez and twitch. See us at relicsoforr.com

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Posted by: Belenwyn.8674

Belenwyn.8674

I my eyes a big concern of players with ascended gear is the restricted accessibility and the time. I am a passionate craftsman. I can easily craft one set within a month. But equipping three or four characters with one or one character with multiple sets is a very large project. Maybe it would be much easier to wait for the legendary versions.

Many people do not like crafting but they are forced to it to obtain ascended gear in a reliable way. It the same situation as in other MMOs where you are confronted with only one way to the best gear. It would help a lot if you could introduce several ways to the goal like (time gated) tokens dungeons, fractals or even WvW. If it is needed you can introduce time gates in all ways. But the more reliable ways we get offered the faster and easier we can work toward multiple set we like to have.

Another concern many people have is the future of vertical progression. They worry about infusions. Will there be another round of progression based on infusions like rare or exotic versions. Will the players be forced at the end to go for ascended gear to catch up?

(edited by Belenwyn.8674)

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Posted by: FeveredDreamer.2693

FeveredDreamer.2693

You Can’t Please Everybody

In theory, adding another tier of gear should have kept my friends around longer. But truthfully, once they got their Ascended gear, they probably would have left anyway. Meanwhile, I now feel the pressure to gear out 8 characters in very expensive, long-term-goal gear that isn’t supposed to be in the game. Or at least wasn’t supposed to be in the game at the time I purchased it.

Whatever You Choose, Please Make It Clear

If Ascended is the end of the treadmill, that’s fine. I can manage. Most of my toons will never have Ascended armor, but Exotic is good enough. If, however, you continue to add more vertical progression, you should make that known. I don’t want a vertical gear treadmill and I can leave and find another game.

It is your decision to make, but all I ask is that you respect the player-base enough to let us know your plans.

I just wanted to quote these two points as I think they’re really essential not only to the future development of GW2 but maybe more broadly to MMOs as a genre. To the first point “you can’t please everybody”, one MMO after another has tried this, always with the same sort of wishy washy rhetoric about not serving one group over another. There are some things these groups fundamentally disagree on and I don’t know that they can be reconciled. The horizontal v. vertical progression issue is one such point I think.

Part of the value of vertical progression is in showing off one’s successes by being tangibly better than those who have not progressed to your level/ability/whatever, this just doesn’t mesh with the idea of being on a level field with freedom to experiment and explore different options. When you try to serve both these groups, you really end up serving neither. Ascended gear is not nearly enough to please someone who genuinely wants deep vertical progression, but it is more than enough to wreck the gameplay of those who prefer horizontal progression.

On a more basic level “whatever you choose please make it clear”, this should be basic when working with any community. Folks want to know where stuff is going and whether or not it is worth their time to continue to invest. To ANet’s credit, GW2 has become /way/ better about this recently, and and the CDI is a great example of the right way to do things. Yet its not very valuable if it ends up being a marketing tool, in this thread you’ll surely see lots of people talking about the pre-release statements and the spirit of the game etc. Reasonable or not, people take that sort of stuff seriously, if it is decided that GW2 needs to move toward being a more standard vertical MMO please, let people know, it is helpful to everyone to know where the game is going.

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Posted by: Romo.3709

Romo.3709

Fractals gives you a lot more chest (4) than regular dungeons though. So i think the 1g+ is fine

True, but I can easily do 3-4 dungeon paths within the time it takes to complete one fractal run, giving me way more than 4 chests, that frankly have really close loot table to what fractals have. Resulting in more chests and more gold in the end. And if you end up getting dredge level, which after last update is way more likely to get, the reward per time put in is basically cut in half.

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Posted by: Shanaeri Rynale.6897

Shanaeri Rynale.6897

Vertical progression is to me at least chasing after shadows. Either you increase the effectiveness so little it becomes pointless to have it, or you have it so it makes some difference and then have to include it into your game balancing equations.

Eventually everyone will have it, or get bored and thus you are backed into a corner of either needing to up the effectiveness again or accept that you have to now go by horizontal progression.

You are also faced with the same question as to raising the level cap. Raise the level cap AND increase effectiveness you then have to balance everything to that new level cap as well as deal with the bad press and community backlash of all their hard won gear being outdated and comparatively ineffective.

Since we are where we are, and the removing of ascended tiers would create just as much harm as making news ones. I think drawing a line under things and looking at ways of improving things horizontally is the most logical and cost effective(both in money and community good will) way to go

If the objective is to provide an intermediate step between exotic and legendary in terms of time spent that kinda fine(would have been nice to have been told this up front) then my suggestion is to increase flexibility as you go up a tier not effectiveness

So.
Rate and Exotic: Fixed stats, limited looks
Ascended gear: Variable stats(can change on the fly) Limited looks
Legendary: Variable stats and shiny looks.

No one wants their expensive, ascended gear to be outdated if subsequent patches make a certain stat combo unviable or suboptimal. I know for me, I would just quit rather than be made to regrind all the mats again.

If exotics are easy to get, then changing a build is less expensive and less painful.

This way we work towards flexibility and looks as a reward progression rather than short lived power increase which exponentially increase the effort and workload. It will also help increase build diversity which at this point in time has to be a good thing.

There also seems to be a lot of community damage control needed. So again, I would suggest.
1. End the speculation about more gear tiers
2. State that level cap will not rise.
3. Be transparent and open about future plans
4. Apologise for the upset these moves have caused, and state that don’t worry we’ve learned the lessons and moved on.

(edited by Shanaeri Rynale.6897)

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Posted by: TheDaiBish.9735

TheDaiBish.9735

The two main areas for discussion will be Horizontal and Vertical progression, however please understand that the commentary and ideation we are really looking for regarding vertical is around its accessibility in game.

I’m not sure I understand this bit; could you clarify?

Basically:

  • How easy it is to attain the Ascended gear?
  • Is the balance of acquisition of Ascended out of whack between different game-modes (i.e. Easier in PvE than WvW, easier in the open world than it’s intended game mode [Fractals])?

Couldn’t have said it better myself DaiBish. Thanks.

Chris

De nada.

In terms of this, I feel a bit of variety could be added in terms of acquisition, with skins to show where you got them from.

For example, Fractal runners could maybe have to collect a certain item from each Fractal to ‘Ascend’ an Exotic item, as well as giving it inherent AR, thus giving them a route that doesn’t involve general crafting or relying on drops, thus taking time away from the game-mode they enjoy. Kind of like how it was in GW1. However, so that they aren’t gained quickly, randomise the location of these items, or maybe add a bonus goal that needs to be completed.

WvWer’s could use use Badges of Honour and some other item exclusive to WvW(since BoH are available in Achievement Chests)(my impression of the dedicated WvW crowd is that they want to focus on that game mode, and not jump through hoops). Maybe add a WXP Infusion too?

Keep crafting for general PvE, but:
1. lower the requirements with the Exotic part (400 – 425)
2. make infusions craftable (425 – 450)
3. the actual Ascended gear part (450 – 500)
4. unique skins / ability to use Ascended Inscriptions and Insignias to ‘integrate’ other stats into a single piece (somewhat like Legendaries) at 500.

Maybe 2 and 3 could be swapped, with recompense in the form of materials used for those who reached 500.

TL:DR: Tie Ascended acquisition to the game mode, but make it require that that game mode needs dedication by the player so they don’t simply chase after the easiest option.

(edited by TheDaiBish.9735)

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Posted by: Lheimroo.2947

Lheimroo.2947

Sorry in advance for the essay. I’m just going to outline my thoughts here on why ascended gear/stats progression is such a big deal to me.

Let me preface it by saying that GW2 is enjoyable as a game and I have no intentions to just berate. It’s simply that the gear progression issue pours vinegar into the milk for me.

Ascended gear/stats progression:

1. Takes a lot of time and effort but isn’t optional
2. Goes against the original stated goals of the game.
3. Is antagonistic to alts
4. Takes focus off other more attractive kinds of progression.
5. Raises the spectre of further gear progression and progression ‘resets’ in future.
6. Is designed to be unmitigatable as a task.
7. Rewards time spent rather than actual accomplishment.
8. Primarily requires gold and thus playtime-to-gear is out of developer control

I can elaborate on any of those points. Trying to keep it short.

To summarize, something so mandatory can not be so painful. It’s painful in grind and to alts and in lost opportunity for something better. It has to become less mandatory, or less painful. I prefer it become less mandatory.

I’m simply not motivated by acquiring higher stat gear. Rather than feel rewarded by finally doing so, I feel a sense of relief – ie, ‘thank god, the grind is finally over, my character is finished, and I can do what I want!’. In psychological terms that’s not actually reward at all; that’s technically negative reinforcment, the taking away of a negative stimulus.

To put it in simple terms, reward is the treat you give the dog for ignoring the squirrel. Negative reinforcement is the relaxation of the choke chain when he stops tugging after it, and punishment would be flat out smacking him.

Rather than giving me a pleasant rewarding goal, you’ve delayed that feeling of relief for me indefinitely. Again, the most I can feel from acquiring my final gear is not reward (you got an A, kid, have five bucks!), but relief from an imposition upon my fun time (you got an A, kid, now you can stop studying every night!) – and that’s no motivation to go into a video game with. Getting max stat gear hasn’t felt good for me since years before Gw2 came out; it feels like the price I have to pay for the free enjoyment of the actual good stuff.. y’know, the game activities?

I admit I also have a bit of a streak in me that is going to rebel on any game designer setting my playtime with a shopping list of tasks that must be completed, even if only ‘eventually’. Only if it’s not too painful. If it’s punishing, I don’t go to video games to be punished. End of story.

It would feel far far better if the mandatory stuff were easy, and let the optional stuff be fun to own however hard it is to get.. which is indeed what we started with. But really, any extreme.. pure horizontal or pure vertical, would be preferable to this weird hybrid.

So what we had before ascended gear was basically what I wanted in a game, and I didn’t ask for what I got instead. That’s why I’m angry here; it feels like a year wasted in pursuit of something actually detrimental to the game. You really didn’t have to turn the entire spirit of things upside-down when all that was needed was some elaboration of the horizontal aspect. Horizontal stuff still hasn’t gotten very much love at all. That’s shocking given that’s how a lot of us expected to progress in this MMO.

If I could ask the developers one question it would be this: Please tell me what the goals are for stat progression, and if what’s been put in already has made the game a better game by your own criteria?

For the players – would ascended gear being cropped back to exotic stat levels and given the stat-switching capability feel good?

(edited by Lheimroo.2947)

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Posted by: Moshari.8570

Moshari.8570

There is an idea that floats through the minds of many players of other MMO’s that you can only ever have one Main, and the rest are Alts. The reason for this is simple, in most MMO’s the gear progession is so steep that you can only ever afford to progress one character. When I started GW2, I really hoped this was different, I wanted to be able to enjoy EVERY class and EVERY race…to be able to switch and play through the different stories…and this was true, until Ascended came out.

The vertical progression has killed the game for me, I look at the time and money needed to outfit all of my characters and suddenly it is impossible.

Horizontal progression is infinitely preferable in my opinion and I feel that GW2 still has a ton of potential in this aspect. Right now, there are very few armor sets, and even fewer vanity sets outside of the gem-store. This needs to change. Give us some really amazing armor sets (particularly sets that could be mixed-matched) WITHIN the game to work towards…give us cosmetic things to work towards and I bet you would satisfy everyone within the game. Those that want to grind towards things, can grind towards that awesome glowing armor, while those casual players will not be left behind. How about new pets for rangers (Rockdog for instance), that they could work towards…it could have the same stats as other pets (like black-widow vs jungle spider), but look cool….give Thieves a cool new hood or mask they could work towards,

The potential for horizontal progession is infinite! You could keep putting more and more “looks” and other “cosmetic” items into the game, giving people more and more things to work towards, while at the same time, not alienating anyone who needs to take a month off from the game, or the casual players. You could keep everyone happy.

As for how to “fix” the current Ascended issue: Give us more ways of obtaining it. Start throwing Ascended weapons and armor into dungeons, fractals, make it not account bound so that we can make sets for guildmates, let us buy it with pristine fractals…get it out there so that everyone can have it….it’s ugly…so you can still do this while adding horizontal progression with better “looks” to apply to it.

Make money in the Gem store with transmutation stones, un-transmutation stones, upgrades to banks, etc….I am all for ANET making money…its the only way to pay for new content in the game…but start giving us some cool cosmetic upgrades outside of the gemstore (I would have gladly done the tower another 50 times for Kasmeer’s staff…putting it in the gemstore actually made me not want it).

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Posted by: VOLKON.1290

VOLKON.1290

Regarding Fractals progression… wouldn’t it be nice to be able to craft a socket into exotic armor for AR purposes only? People that don’t have the time or resources to pursue more ascended may find this a nice alternative in order to progress through Fractals.

#TeamJadeQuarry

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Posted by: Romo.3709

Romo.3709

Keep crafting for general PvE, but:
1. lower the requirements with the Exotic part (400 – 425)
2. make infusions craftable (425 – 450)
3. the actual Ascended gear part (450 – 500)
4. unique skins / ability to use Ascended Inscriptions and Insignias to ‘integrate’ other stats into a single piece (somewhat like Legendaries) at 500.

That. The amount of “worthless” exotics needed to level the crafting part to 500 is crazy. Making all those exotics just to dump them for 10%-20% of crafting cost at Trading Post just to hope to get at least part of money “lost”.

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Posted by: Linki.7246

Linki.7246

I know the game is built on having horizontal progression and i want it that way aswell, but i feel there is too little of it. I know Karma was probably a thing meant to be used for this but it got too easy to get too fast, and the vendors wasn’t very interesting either.

Dungeon tokens are good and all but not everyone likes the dungeons or the armors designs that they hold.

The magic find progression was something that i love and wish there were more of, reminds me a bit of the title tracks from GW1 in a sense of long term progression.

Something i’d love to see more of is map specific progression, like some have already talked about above, but these would obviously need to be filled with rewards and long term goals to keep people from completing them in a week and never return like most other content currently. And i have thought of a few ideas along with a friend of mine.

Bring back some sort of “quest” system for each map (Something along the lines of http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Zaishen_Challenge_Quest from GW1) only instead of doing all 3 you choose one and do that and get a token for that map or map area(ascalon/kryta/orr etc) one from each map per day.

The quests for lets say Queensdale as an example could be:

  • 1: Complete X amount of Dynamic events in this zone
  • 2: Slay the Shadow Behemoth
  • 3: Complete the dungeon in this zone (if it has one)
  • 4: Slay X amount of a creature type
  • 5: Kill X veterans
    Etc etc.

Now once per map per day you could get a token to be used for map vendors, if they should be for each map or for each map type i had not decided on.

Now prices for these could be anything from say weapon skins, armors, weapon sigils/armor runes maybe. Infinite —> Combat <-- tonics and ofc unidentified dye packs etc. and they should be priced for value ofc so weapon skins/armors are much more expensive than the other fluff.

Now i’m just gonna use Southsun as an example of an area already in game which i’m sure was intended for being a new lvl 80 zone for players to go that could benefit from a system like this imo. And lets use http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Sclerite_weapon_skins as an example of a rewards that could be gained from a token vendor on that map.

There are so many skins lately that have either been Black lion key / ticket locked or gem shop only that i feel the game itself gets so empty. I know you need to sell stuff in the gemshop to make money but it needs to be more balanced with things to do in game aswell.

(edited by Linki.7246)

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Posted by: Conncept.7638

Conncept.7638

I would just like to know what your team considers horizontal progression.

In my book horizontal progression means that you are able to continually expand your character in to more varying content; have more builds, explore more areas, experience stories which branch out; basically expand outward in variance rather than upward in scaling.

But every addition to the game since launch has been contrary to my definition, ascended gear is so difficult to obtain, and takes so much space, that I can’t have but one build per character. All new explorable content is removed shortly after its introduction, and all of it caters to completionists, having a set of achievements you clear like a checklist, rather than an adventure scenario which allows you to choose meaningful content along a story path.

I don’t really consider anything that has been added since launch to be horizontal progression, does your team? And how do you define it as such?

(edited by Conncept.7638)

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Posted by: Savoy.6824

Savoy.6824

@Lheimroo.2947 yes it would feel good if they moved it down to exotic and gave us stat switching. But ill settle for just being able to buy it with all forms of game currency. Right now you can buy accessories with laurels, badges, commendations,and pristine fractal relics. It needs to be this way for weapons and armor too.

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once – Nietzsche

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Posted by: DiogoSilva.7089

DiogoSilva.7089

VERTICAL PROGRESSION
The flaws with its execution in GW2

Ascended Gear

  • The crafting process is convoluted.
  • It’s not tied to immersive content, and therefore lore-less and lacking charm (Tequatl skins being an exception). Mostly a soulless grind.
  • The infusion system feels redudant when there’s already a rune/ sigil system set in place.
  • Very unfriendly to many forms of horizontal progression (build-crafting or playing with alts).

Solutions

  • Add a crafting “roadmap” in the crafting stations, some sort of tree of all the materials required, and where to obtain them. Kinda like what already happens in dedicated fan sites, but within the game itself.
  • Create new content and new stories with the purpose of obtaining ascended gear.
  • Remove the infusion system from weapons and armors, and expand the rune/ sigil systems instead. Add ascended versions of runes and sigils that can only be applied on ascended equipment.
  • Separate the concept of “upgrading stats” from “customising stats”. Upgrading stats could require all the work and time-sink it does now for ascended gear, but it should be much easier to customize/ change those stats regardless of their rarity tier.

I’ll probably talk about alt-playing next time.

Elementalist.