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Posted by: JonathanSharp

JonathanSharp

Game Design Lead

Next

A while ago Jon Peters said something that has been taken out of context. He said that only two people were working on the things he was working on (which was true – but he meant it differently than how it was received) and people have taken that to mean that we only have 2 people working on balance, or PvP, or both (at this point it’s morphed into different things in different threads).

Based on what was said, I understand how it could have been construed, so I wanted to be as transparent as I can be, so that you know what’s happening inside the studio.

PvP
On the PvP team we have programmers, designers, QA and an environment artist (Darrin Claypool – he’s the guy who just finished making Temple of the Silent Storm). Many PvP features need all members of the team, but some are programmer intensive, or art intensive. For example, while we’re still working on custom arenas and other core features (which involve server programmers, UI programmers and gameplay programmers), designers and artists were able to build the recently released “Temple of the Silent Storm”. Because the map required no code, we simply worked with art, design and sound in order to support this map’s needs. Work on custom arenas requires zero environment art, so those two features (custom arenas and a new map) don’t impact one another greatly, as far as work flow goes.

WvW
For WvW, we have a similar setup. We have designers, QA, programmers and environment artists. WvW is a massive piece of the GW2 pie, and the WvW team is able to focus on WvW needs. While many of us in the company may give feedback/ideas/suggestions to the WvW team, they are the ones who actually implement and carry out those changes.

Balance
When it comes to balance, we have multiple people who give feedback/guidance/suggestions, even though a smaller subset actually implement those changes (which is what Jon was saying in his post). After we have balance meetings, a few of the designers implement the changes. If it’s a WvW change, the WvW designer will implement that change. If it’s a PvP change, one of the PvP designers implements it (again, this is what Jon was saying). If it’s strictly a balance change, then we have a designer do it that has the bandwidth (sometimes it’s me, sometime it’s even Izzy, but usually it’s Karl or Peters). Currently, when we have balance meetings, the following people are present in various combinations, depending on the topic:

  1. Jon Peters – game designer
  2. Karl McLain – game designer
  3. Representatives from the WvW team, including QA and design
  4. Representatives from the dungeon teams, including another game designer
  5. Representatives from the live response team, including QA guys who play ALL aspects of the game A LOT
  6. Other representatives from the PvP team, like Tyler Bearce (designer) and Roy Cronacher (QA)
  7. Izzy – lead designer
  8. Myself – game designer

When we’re in those meetings, we’ll talk about hot topics, and issues that are currently a big issue for a certain piece of content. We also listen to high level players, we read the forums (sometimes we even take the best-written posts, print out 10 copies, and bring them to a balance meeting), and we play the game to get a feel for ourselves. Just because you don’t see a change that YOU want, keep in mind that someone else may disagree. Just because we don’t do every single change YOU want, doesn’t mean we don’t care about you or the game. We just try to make the best changes for the greatest number of players.

I just wanted to clear this up to let you guys know a little bit more of what happens here inside the studio so you understand more of what Peters was trying to say. He’s just as busy as we all are, and with a lot of us gone for Thanksgiving (he’s not here right now), I just took it upon myself to try to clear this up a little.

Cheers

IGN: Chaplan
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer

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Posted by: Syeria.4812

Syeria.4812

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve seen that “two developers” comment taken so far as to have people claim that only two people in total work on all of PvP.

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Posted by: JonathanSharp

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JonathanSharp

Game Design Lead

Next

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve seen that “two developers” comment taken so far as to have people claim that only two people in total work on all of PvP.

It’s ok, given what was said, and the way human communication works, it’s understandable why players were saying that. I just wanted to clear it up a little.

IGN: Chaplan
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer

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Posted by: Ruufio.1496

Ruufio.1496

Thanks I love both of you Jonathan’s because my name is also Johnathan but with an h.

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Posted by: felivear.1536

felivear.1536

I definitely appreciate this level of openness. It is refreshing. I still think that some of the fixes take an odd amount of time (which gave legs to the whole 2 people argument). Again, these kinds of posts are a delight. It’s nice to get a feel for what’s going on. We may not agree with some of the directions but at least there is transparency. I, for one, welcome that. I do however realize that you all are incredibly busy and posting is not always possible. I wish there were just someone actively on the SPvP boards whose entire job was to post here. He could speak for you guys more often and quell the fear of the masses and update us on things going on.

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Posted by: aydenunited.5729

aydenunited.5729

I definitely appreciate this level of openness. It is refreshing. I still think that some of the fixes take an odd amount of time (which gave legs to the whole 2 people argument). Again, these kinds of posts are a delight. It’s nice to get a feel for what’s going on. We may not agree with some of the directions but at least there is transparency. I, for one, welcome that. I do however realize that you all are incredibly busy and posting is not always possible. I wish there were just someone actively on the SPvP boards whose entire job was to post here. He could speak for you guys more often and quell the fear of the masses and update us on things going on.

The problem with this is trying to balance conflicting and contradicting views constantly… the atmosphere now on any gaming forum is equivalent to that during the Salem Witch trials, and who wants that job, really? Especially considering for every good suggestion, there are 3 terrible ones, and angry rhetoric is usually the standard for both. Everyone thinks they are right, and in the current climate of gaming forums these days, it’s better to be a quiet observer and let you fight amongst yourselves than to try and appease those who cannot be appeased.

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Posted by: JonathanSharp

Previous

JonathanSharp

Game Design Lead

Next

I definitely appreciate this level of openness. It is refreshing. I still think that some of the fixes take an odd amount of time (which gave legs to the whole 2 people argument). Again, these kinds of posts are a delight. It’s nice to get a feel for what’s going on. We may not agree with some of the directions but at least there is transparency. I, for one, welcome that. I do however realize that you all are incredibly busy and posting is not always possible. I wish there were just someone actively on the SPvP boards whose entire job was to post here. He could speak for you guys more often and quell the fear of the masses and update us on things going on.

That’s what I’m trying to do. We can’t spend our ENTIRE days on the forums, but we try to make an effort to take a break from development as much as we can to address your questions/ideas/comments/concerns.

And the reality is, you guys go for stretches of time without seeing anything new from us (patch to patch)….so even though we’re making a ton of progress, we can’t show it until it’s ready. Which means there can be long gaps of communication if we’re not careful. But things are still happening, features are being added. We just can’t talk about them until they’re ready.

IGN: Chaplan
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer

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Posted by: Aga.8641

Aga.8641

We just can’t talk about them until they’re ready.

There in lies the problem good sir. I personally don’t care too much about getting dates, but I want to know what you are working on, which just doesn’t happen. If you’re working on it already then telling the community isn’t going to create any hollow promises or anything. Right now we know that custom arenas are going to be the next pvp content….That’s it. I mean what are you going to do after that, surely you know.

Take the last patch for example, there was some nice pvp additions such as 5vs5 hot joins and daily/monthly achievements, surely these weren’t done over night, so you could have told the community about them while you were working on them, rather then the day the patch was released…………………..

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Posted by: Nemui.6753

Nemui.6753

I wish there were just someone actively on the SPvP boards whose entire job was to post here.

i think it’s fair to assume that any dev post (i’m talking about actual devs, not gaile gray or the community team) in these forums (not just PvP, the forums in general) is made by devs in their free time, or when they have a free minute or two while they’re at work. i’m sure they are not paid for reading the forums and/or posting on them, but to do their actual job.

considering this, it’s no wonder the communication seems .. inconsistent. 90% of the interesting dev posts are made by people who have no obligation whatsoever to even be here. in fact, i’m betting some might even be wary of posting here and avoid it, because they’re not sure what repercussions their comments might have.

since i’ve been following the developement of this game for years, i’m familiar with many names at ArenaNet. and anyone in a similar postion is probably able to tell what to expect in a dev post just by looking at who posted it.
but i imagine many people in the community (if they even visit the forums) just go: “oh, it’s a red post, so it’s official, so it must all from one coordinated team of mods, who are paid to moderate and post on here.”

(edited by Nemui.6753)

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Posted by: Seether.7285

Seether.7285

So which one of those people in the meeting are the reason we had the tournament system implemented instead of the matchmaking system which was successfully used by so many other games?

Which of those people in the meetings was it who decided to hold off on fixes to things like the block bug, svanir rune and thief culling for a major patch instead of a hotfix?

Which of those people decided to make Paid tournaments the first monetization option rather than custom servers?

I know these questions will never be answered but if that designer ever stumbles upon this post, know that you are a major source of GW2 maladies and if your design team isn’t able to make a miracle happen to recover the community and begin a second expansion, it would be your poor decisions that ruined a game which has an amazing gameplay system to work with.

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Posted by: IomegadriveOne.5291

IomegadriveOne.5291

Oh so instead of 2 people ignoring Rangers, it was an entire team. Thanks for clearing that up. Really helped.

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Posted by: HappinessFactory.4910

HappinessFactory.4910

<3 JonathenSharp any sort of transparency is appreciated and this is the best kind especially because it includes stuff we hadnt known previously

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Posted by: Soryuju.8164

Soryuju.8164

If improved communication with the community is a priority for the devs, may I make a suggestion? After patch notes affecting balance are released, it would be awesome if a representative of the PvP team could make a post in these forums briefly outlining the reasoning behind the different changes. This would lead to much more productive discussion on the forums afterward, since it immediately provides a second perspective for people who disagree with the changes to consider. There would be more arguments about the quality of changes and less whining about them, and based on what you guys have said here about the importance of player feedback to your discussions, it could be mutually beneficial. The community gets a better idea of where Arenanet is trying to direct each profession and PvP as a whole, while the development team gets more constructive and focused feedback to consider during balance discussions. It seems like a win-win situation to me, and all it requires is a post after each balance patch.

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Posted by: Sirevanac.3178

Sirevanac.3178

If improved communication with the community is a priority for the devs, may I make a suggestion? After patch notes affecting balance are released, it would be awesome if a representative of the PvP team could make a post in these forums briefly outlining the reasoning behind the different changes. This would lead to much more productive discussion on the forums afterward, since it immediately provides a second perspective for people who disagree with the changes to consider. There would be more arguments about the quality of changes and less whining about them, and based on what you guys have said here about the importance of player feedback to your discussions, it could be mutually beneficial. The community gets a better idea of where Arenanet is trying to direct each profession and PvP as a whole, while the development team gets more constructive and focused feedback to consider during balance discussions. It seems like a win-win situation to me, and all it requires is a post after each balance patch.

YES!

I dont want to quote League of Legends, but its something they do. With each patch, they release a video explaining the major changes. I think its a GREAT idea to do so, it explains a lot of things that may seem fuzzy but they arent. And you can also avoid A LOOOOOOOOT of posts in the forums about recurrent topics, and discussion over discussion of the same thing (PvP forum becomes “I got killed by a Thief” depending on the hour you check it).

Great thread, thank you a lot Gw2 team

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Posted by: Plague.5329

Plague.5329

I think people jumped to the conclusion only two people were working on PvP because it certainly feels like it. Updates, changes and rebalances have been very, VERY slow, if not nonexistant. Every player has things they feel like need to be examined with their professions, and when the patch notes are released and almost none of them have been addressed in any way, it’s very frustrating.

A very large portion of the skills in the game, currently, aren’t viable in the meta, which isn’t really changing. Understandably, you may think that changing just a single skill can have long-reaching affects across all classes, due to how players have to adjust their builds to either counter something or due to no longer having to be so concerned about a certain build. But many skills or traits are simply not part of the meta, at all, and it makes many of wonder what exactly you’re spending all of your time on. If it takes weeks to get a single skill to function correctly, just move on to something else. Surely you can do something like… make Discipline’s passive bonus to Warriors not be worthless, in a day. There’s no excuse for things like that, or similar, taking this long. They should have been done and out of the door in a month after release, yet here we are, still waiting for them to even be noticed.

So, that’s why.

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Posted by: Tamlane.3409

Tamlane.3409

We just can’t talk about them until they’re ready.

There in lies the problem good sir. I personally don’t care too much about getting dates, but I want to know what you are working on, which just doesn’t happen. If you’re working on it already then telling the community isn’t going to create any hollow promises or anything. Right now we know that custom arenas are going to be the next pvp content….That’s it. I mean what are you going to do after that, surely you know.

To be fair, the devs don’t really owe it to us to tell us anything they are working on. We’re not entitled to know what they have planned.

That aside, things are always going to be in flux, and while they might be working on something with intent to release in, say, the next few weeks or months, if they then find some sort of problem in implementation and have to scrap a bunch of their work, that might push that feature/change off another month or two. Or maybe something else happens and they decide that the feature/change isn’t possible/feasible in the foreseeable future, and it gets scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile, if they say on the forums that “We’re working on [x feature] and hope to get it done in the next few weeks/months.” then people, inevitably, are going to take that as “We are working on [x feature] and it will be done and ready and rolled out in the next few weeks/months.”

And then they hit a roadblock, and they have to delay/scrap it.

And, hey, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they are very transparent about this, and come back, and say “Sorry guys, this thing that we were working on, it just isn’t working out, and we have to delay/scrap it.”

And then we get a chorus of “Booooo! Anet makes these promises and doesn’t keep them! They shouldn’t say they are going to do something if they’re not going to do something! They shouldn’t prematurely announce things if they aren’t going to follow through!” And so on.

Sure, that isn’t going to be the entire playerbase, but it’s going to be the vocal one, and the one that gives the game/devs a bad name.

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Posted by: Oozo.7856

Oozo.7856

Oh so instead of 2 people ignoring Rangers, it was an entire team. Thanks for clearing that up. Really helped.

The snark is strong with this one.

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Posted by: TigerBait.5143

TigerBait.5143

Oh so instead of 2 people ignoring Rangers, it was an entire team. Thanks for clearing that up. Really helped.

10/10 would read again.

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Posted by: Holland.9351

Holland.9351

Please please please have people working on fixing bugs. Especially in skills and traits. They’re not balance issue, nor WvW, nor PvP. But they’re the most important issues in the game which cause people the most grief.

If bug fixing is the job of the balance team, then they will surely need more than 2 people doing the actual work. We’ve been waiting since beta for certain bugs to be fixed and there hasn’t even been a word on it. We rarely get bug fixes.

For example, the ranger has a trait line designed for bows with 3 minor traits which are all about “opening strike”, but this skill is bugged because it will only work if you’re within 900 range from your target. Bows have a range of 1200 and the trait to give the longbow 1500 range is in the same trait line as these minor traits. All 3 minor traits are rendered completely useless because of this seemingly simple bug.

If people are leaving it’s because bugs aren’t getting fixed. Put everyone on fixing all the skills/trait bugs for a month.

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Posted by: josephsora.4579

josephsora.4579

Alright, just make sure the raking/rating system in the future (I hope it has one) not gonna to be something like in-game Qp Leaderboard, I hope you understand what I mean.

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Posted by: Relentliss.2170

Relentliss.2170

I want to work on the WvW department. They have not done a thing except remove the orbs. I’d check their desks for pillows. At least the spvp guys are trying.

We don’t need to make mandatory gear treadmills, we make all of it optional

Anet lied (where’s the Manifesto now?)

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Posted by: MOOMANiBE.2638

MOOMANiBE.2638

I’m seeing a bunch of replies here about “oh so you’re ignoring us” or “you need to tell us what you’re doing more often”.

Here’s the thing – communication with an audience this large is tricky, especially for people working at a large studio like ANet. Why? Consider:

For every one balance change you see, the developers have tried 10 or more and then scrapped them. Announcing or talking about these in advance leads to speculation, anger, debate, disappointment, and then all over again if they don’t make it through. Sometimes a cool idea goes on the backburner for a long time and is then returned to. It’s simpler for everyone involved to simply keep a lid on tests like this until they’re a guarantee, and it allows the developers to focus on feedback of what people want right now, not what they want out of something that may not even happen.

Every day there are developers who read your posts and may agree or disagree, and bring that to meetings with them. Just because ANet isn’t doing what you want at the time doesn’t mean there aren’t people within the company supporting your interests. However, they have to be careful posting about such things because players take a developer post as a commitment, not as an individual’s statement of opinion. It’s a tricky position to be in, wanting to tell people about your plans or your thoughts but being unable to because it’s not ready or because it’s backburnered or the company decided to go in a different direction. In the end, it’s their responsibility to do what’s best for the team and the game, and not to jump the gun or call out fellow developers over a disagreement.

Not everyone can do public speaking – again, particularly towards an audience this large. Look at the misunderstanding created by a single carelessly worded line, and you’ll realize why most game studios don’t let their developers post at all and force everything through a PR approval gauntlent. Asking for more is nice, but understand the issues they face before proclaiming that they hate the fans because they can’t reply to everything.

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Posted by: Roger Smithee.4730

Roger Smithee.4730

You guys let Cartwright anywhere near class balance and I will outright denounce the credibility of the game as a whole.

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Posted by: Mange.8324

Mange.8324

Because the map required no code, we simply worked with art, design and sound in order to support this map’s needs.

So your first true PvP content addition was basically effortless? Bravo Anet, you got a lot of making up to do next patch.

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Posted by: IomegadriveOne.5291

IomegadriveOne.5291

Oh so instead of 2 people ignoring Rangers, it was an entire team. Thanks for clearing that up. Really helped.

The snark is strong with this one.

Considering the original post was in the Rangers section of the forums. I have a right to speak on being lied to by Jon. Where he promised in the last Halloween patch that there would be major changes to the Ranger class. This patch comes, we pretty much get nothing that was a major problem fixed.

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Posted by: Coopers.4376

Coopers.4376

Because the map required no code, we simply worked with art, design and sound in order to support this map’s needs.

So your first true PvP content addition was basically effortless? Bravo Anet, you got a lot of making up to do next patch.

Designing a map is effortless? Please there’s no need to bring stupidity into this thread.

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Posted by: HERO.2057

HERO.2057

JonathanSharp.7094
That’s what I’m trying to do. We can’t spend our ENTIRE days on the forums, but we try to make an effort to take a break from development as much as we can to address your questions/ideas/comments/concerns.

1. If you can’t have someone spend their ENTIRE day on the forum,… i’m not gonna finish this setence because it’s absolutely ridiculous what you just said.

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Posted by: Eclipses.7152

Eclipses.7152

Either way the balance team is rather awful. 3months since launch and the balance of the game hasn’t gotten better imo. Not drastically so anyway.

To add to that, there is so much broken kitten in every class. How many times have they said they’ve fixed a trait/ability only for it to be still broken? How many traits just don’t work? How many runes just don’t work? How many sigils just don’t work?

If you want to start, how about you start by making a post in each profession’s thread about where you see that profession (as it stands) and where you want to take it, what needs to be improved/what need scaling back and why. That’d give you great feedback.

I highly doubt you’ll do that though – your handling of the ascended gear situation has completely jaded me to your ability to factually communicate with the playerbase.

Eclipses
The Royal Guard – http://theroyalguardclan.enjin.com
Isle of Janthir

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Posted by: Phira.3970

Phira.3970

I believe there’s too much focus on balance but that may be just me. Many players tend to just bandwagon the most popular known strong build – so for these players they wouldn’t really care about balances. I think that the efforts towards balance should go more towards implementing must-have core features such as Elo rating. Balance comes after imo.

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Posted by: daphuq.9038

daphuq.9038

Either way the balance team is rather awful. 3months since launch and the balance of the game hasn’t gotten better imo. Not drastically so anyway.

To add to that, there is so much broken kitten in every class. How many times have they said they’ve fixed a trait/ability only for it to be still broken? How many traits just don’t work? How many runes just don’t work? How many sigils just don’t work?

If you want to start, how about you start by making a post in each profession’s thread about where you see that profession (as it stands) and where you want to take it, what needs to be improved/what need scaling back and why. That’d give you great feedback.

I highly doubt you’ll do that though – your handling of the ascended gear situation has completely jaded me to your ability to factually communicate with the playerbase.

harsh as it may sound, i completely agree with this post.

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Posted by: rootnode.9546

rootnode.9546

If you want to start, how about you start by making a post in each profession’s thread about where you see that profession (as it stands) and where you want to take it, what needs to be improved/what need scaling back and why. That’d give you great feedback.

That’s a great idea! Love it.

Anyway, Jonathan: thank you for the post. I for one, and I think many others, would welcome more posts like this. More openness and more communication.
With a post like this (detailed information and some insight), you folks could’ve prevented a lot of the kittenstorm you got over the weekend, the event and the patch.

I hope that we’ll see more of these posts from now on.

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Posted by: xiv.7136

xiv.7136

This is what some of us have been saying to all those “2 people” comments, it’s obvious there’s a lot of you working on the pvp side

Please do continue and add the spectator mode and ladders/rankings, we need these quick

The game is great, continue!

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Posted by: Soul.5947

Soul.5947

All i understand from this post is that you do not have a team that is focused on balancing like you do for other stuff. How can you want to make gw2 an esport but you focus on new maps instead of balance. The spvp part of the game is lacking not because of lack of maps but because the lack of balance. Maybe get a team together that works on balance. Make 1 person play 1 class all the time and he should tell you what’s the problem.

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Posted by: scerevisiae.1972

scerevisiae.1972

I think the community would greatly benefit from, and appreciate, a summary of your game/class performance metrics, e.g. mean/std deviation of TTK, TTL, DPS.. something like what valve does with TF2 stats. It’s one thing to say “balance is fine”, but it’s quite another to see good evidence of it.

The other thing I think people would really like, is a class-by-class breakdown of how that class is performing, its strengths/weaknesses, how close/far it is from design goals, and role within current metagame.

Many Ele players for example have issues with the lack of viable builds in the game due to buggy or unbalanced traits, Ele’s low base defense and mobility (excepting d/d), and difficulty of applying damage (very high skill floor, pidgeon-holing of staff into support role, 5 target AOE cap, slow dragon’s tooth animation, lack of mobility and healing on focus).

(edited by scerevisiae.1972)

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Posted by: Ireniicus.2167

Ireniicus.2167

Thanks Johnathan for taking time out of your very late evening/morning to contact us and clear a few things up.

I do agree with Moomanibe post explaining why it is so difficult for you guys being anything other than vague about upcoming change until it is ready to go. I have managed application development teams and know how tricky it can be to discuss with Clients (in this case the players) future roadmaps. Things get delayed or shelved and disappoint inevitably ensues.

That said I think it is fair to say a large contingent of WvW players myself included, have felt somewhat let down by all the noise for pve and to a lesser extent, s/t PvP whilst hearing at best a couple of lines for what we enjoy most.

I hope you can understand we may feel a little melancholy that the only tangible change to WvW since launch, has been to remove reward or complexity albeit broken mechanics, to the game.

Personally I play alot of PvE and WvW and the rewards are in no ways commensurate per hour played. Could we have a policy statement confirming that it is ANets wish that they should be and they are working towards that ,or not as the case may be and if the latter the rationale.

I hope to hear more about WvW soon but until then thx for the recent updates, they were solid and further confirm the incredible value for money of this product.

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Posted by: pyronix.4081

pyronix.4081

Thank you so much for this post. I’ve seen that “two developers” comment taken so far as to have people claim that only two people in total work on all of PvP.

It’s ok, given what was said, and the way human communication works, it’s understandable why players were saying that. I just wanted to clear it up a little.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for being so open about this.

I’m just a little bit concerned with balance changes. It seems that you have representatives for WvW and PvP which is good. However, I don’t do PvP and I really don’t care for WvW (although I do it just for the monthly achievement but again, I don’t care if the class Im playing is useless in WvW).

My concern is for PvE. Based on the team structure you’ve given so far (and again, I hope I’m not misunderstanding the process of reviewing balance changes), I’m getting the impression (that I hope you’ll correct) there is no developer champion for PvE (hearts, dungeons, dynamic events, general open world veteran and champion mob encounters, etc).

I raise this concern because, and as I’ve already repeatedly mentioned in the Mesmer forums, certain balance changes to the Mesmer due to PvP are impacting PvE gameplay. I don’t do PvP on Mesmer so I really have no idea how “OP” the class is that it will merit nerf upon nerf every patch, but it’s disheartening to see this because as I was leveling the Mesmer, I was struggling with it more than other classes (necro, engineer, ranger) until about level 40-ish, and continue to struggle with it when it comes to loot tagging for DE encounters that are AoE centric.

I would just like to have a little bit of clarification if and how PvE concerns are handled during balance change discussions.

Looking forward to your reply.

Thanks!

EDIT: I also would like to know if you would consider, or if there are already, class champions within the development team. Class champions = developers assigned more or less to focus on just one or two classes in terms of conceptual development and playtesting balance changes across the board (PvE, WvW, PvP).

(edited by pyronix.4081)

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Posted by: MarzAttakz.9608

MarzAttakz.9608

Thanks for the post, please continue communicating. I would like to point out that you should replace your entire QA team as they are severely under-performing.

I’m going to use the recent Elementalist changes as an example here…

Reported action: removed unintended blast finishers from Evasive Arcana and changed Dragon’s Tooth to combo at the targeted location.

Actual result: no blast finishers at all from a grand master trait, dragon’s tooth and from magnetic grasp leap finisher. In short you screwed up something to do with our combo finishers, an intrinsic part of the class.

Reported action: Cantrip Mastery now reduces the cooldown on Mist Form.
Actual result: It only reduces cooldown in Heart of the Mists and sPVP.

Those are a few documented changes out of 90+ bugs listed by players in the stickied bug thread, it took the community under 15 minutes to find the holes your QA team didn’t!

People make mistakes, I accept that, however if your job description is quality control I would take that very seriously since they are responsible for the stamp of approval and hence responsible for the mistake.

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Posted by: Galen.9042

Galen.9042

Whilst I am overjoyed to see a developer chiming in here, I remain stunned that nothing has been said to the Elementalist community regarding the complete destruction of our best trait, nor has anything been said to Oceanic players like myself who were unable to participate in the Lost Shores finale. Going by developer replies at least, Arenanet seems to care most about SPvP and WvW, dungeons, and perhaps Rangers. The other classes seem to be totally ignored, as is the PvE experience of players outside of instances.

Can we please get some developer responses in the class forums to let us know that something, anything, is being done to address the bugs and glaring balance issues that are still extremely prevalent.

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Posted by: Dojo.1867

Dojo.1867

Well imo you should do your balance meetings more often then or specifically adress someone for it (not just the person that has some time left like it sounds in your post).

Fact is you balancing progress is rhater bad. Alot of changes since bwe1 that were simply stuff like a wrong cooldown persisted way too long. It just needs more attention and also MORE people directed to the speficic taks Jon was talking about. The balancing itself needs a real team and not the people of the other areas holding meetings ocasionally.

Please focuss more ressources on balancing and ability/class improvements. Wouldn’t hurt if they come up with new slot skills for comig updates either. For example it would have been great if each class would have gotten 2 new slot skills for the lost shores update. Then again there is so much unviable stuff right now you should fix first…

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Posted by: DiogoSilva.7089

DiogoSilva.7089

If there’s one thing I can wish for, when it comes to communication with the fans, is that I (and many others, I’m sure) would like if red posts on the profession boards popped up a little more often. Usually devs go there hype one or two upcomming changes, which is cool, and I can understand why it’s not a good idea to promise much more than that. But I would also enjoy to see more often the devs’ thoughts on the current state of each profession, or even answering to some ambiguous patch changes or intentions behind changes.

For example, the elementalist. We know Evasive Arcana had unintended blast finishers that had to be and were removed. But were all of them unintended or is the full removal a new bug? And what does the devs think of EA’s contribution to a different playstyle? And about conjures, what’s your vision behind them? Are you trying to do, what will come after the buffs? If we could get one or two extra red posts each week or even each two weeks, it would create a much nicer forum environment, imo.

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Posted by: Hsinimod.5784

Hsinimod.5784

Representatives from the live response team, including QA guys who play ALL aspects of the game A LOT

Jon, how do we get that job? I have a guild full of people that would be happy to QA the content alongside the rest.

Playing Devil’s Advocate since 1990.

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Posted by: Iruwen.3164

Iruwen.3164

My concern is for PvE. Based on the team structure you’ve given so far (and again, I hope I’m not misunderstanding the process of reviewing balance changes), I’m getting the impression (that I hope you’ll correct) there is no developer champion for PvE (hearts, dungeons, dynamic events, general open world veteran and champion mob encounters, etc).

I raise this concern because, and as I’ve already repeatedly mentioned in the Mesmer forums, certain balance changes to the Mesmer due to PvP are impacting PvE gameplay. I don’t do PvP on Mesmer so I really have no idea how “OP” the class is that it will merit nerf upon nerf every patch, but it’s disheartening to see this because as I was leveling the Mesmer, I was struggling with it more than other classes (necro, engineer, ranger) until about level 40-ish, and continue to struggle with it when it comes to loot tagging for DE encounters that are AoE centric.

Same here, playing solo PvE with the mesmer actually gets worse and worse. The only good thing I could say about it is that we rarely die. ANet said WvW isn’t supposed to be completely balanced, if it’s more PvE than PvP then leave it as is and don’t break PvE. PvP doesn’t matter to most people at all, so separate the skills for PvP and WvW/PvE as already done for other classes and GW1.
Also, as I already said here, a lot of the changes seem rushed and untested.
Portal recharge change from 60s to 90s- doesn’t really change anything. Should have been a five port limit or something like that, that would instantly fix the problem of a whole invisible army appearing right in your back. Also, its duration is still broken since… always.
Greatsword damage reduction slipped through unnoticed, I’ll never understand how this could happen if there’s actually any beta testing at all.
Moa doesn’t last ten seconds, many times it’s 3 to 6 seconds.
There are more examples for a lot of other classes and skills (see MarzAttakz’s reply for example).
And a lot of bugs, even just wrong tooltips, have been in the game since headstart.
So no, this isn’t good work. And although I appreciate this form of communication and openness, I’d be happier if those problems were actually fixed, because then people wouldn’t complain that much in the fist place. They’re just voicing their opinion more and more aggressively because important things are simply not handled properly.
I’m not the one who determines what’s important and what’s not, but gamebreaking bugs surely are. And we can expect a fix for less relevant bugs within three months. Just talking about bugs here, not even balancing.

(edited by Iruwen.3164)

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Posted by: Dardamaniac.1295

Dardamaniac.1295

Still the statements of Jon Peter in the Rangers forum prepatch are no way reflected in the patch updates.
16 bullet points become 14
Signets,shouts,spirits,weapon improvements become a greatsword buff, a slightly spirit improve and many UNDEWATER improv/changes.

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Posted by: KarlaGrey.5903

KarlaGrey.5903

If improved communication with the community is a priority for the devs, may I make a suggestion? After patch notes affecting balance are released, it would be awesome if a representative of the PvP team could make a post in these forums briefly outlining the reasoning behind the different changes. This would lead to much more productive discussion on the forums afterward, since it immediately provides a second perspective for people who disagree with the changes to consider. There would be more arguments about the quality of changes and less whining about them, and based on what you guys have said here about the importance of player feedback to your discussions, it could be mutually beneficial. The community gets a better idea of where Arenanet is trying to direct each profession and PvP as a whole, while the development team gets more constructive and focused feedback to consider during balance discussions. It seems like a win-win situation to me, and all it requires is a post after each balance patch.

They actually did that for any major skill update on GW, as you may see here: http://www.guildwars.com/gameplay/developer_updates/

Anyhow, it is ok to see some of Anet show their faces from time to time here, but their replies are normally reserved for the select few, usually positive, threads.

It is true they aren’t required nor obliged to disclose and explain the reasons behind every balancing decision (unless it’s a major overhaul of a class concept or a set of skills). However, good communication between the community and the devs has always been of benefit to both sides, so willingly deciding to neglect or even dismiss it is a rather bad strategy to go by.

Having said that, I personally don’t mind less frequent feedback from the devs, IF they let their updates speak for themselves instead – IF the changes made would on a regular notice address and also fix the pestering issues/bugs (instead of introcuding new bugs, or changing features that weren’t particularly problematic); IF the updates would finally add some of the core (pvp) infrastructure the game should have been released with already, then myself, and most definitely many others, would have still be playing this game more or less regularly.

Because the above hasn’t been the case (at least not on a regular notice), some players eventually give up and leave, while others turn to forums in order to highlight the issues that are harmful to the game and haven’t been dealt with in an appropriate time frame. What is important here it taking into account the argumentation behind these kind of complaints, and (here comes the important part) how the pvp crew separate good/justified arguments from the rest (there are many issues many posters aren’t even aware off, or will not push for because they are prevailent outside their normal playing environment – e.g. wvw vs tpvp).
Relating to the above, I find this part in particular to be problematic:

We just try to make the best changes for the greatest number of players.

This reeks of the ‘tyranny of the majority’.
How many of that ‘majority’ can actually bring your attention to things that are supposed to make this pvp into an esport, if most of those voices come from random pvp or wvw.

On a side note, I particularly like this part of the OP:

After we have balance meetings, a few of the designers implement the changes. If it’s a WvW change, the WvW designer will implement that change. If it’s a PvP change, one of the PvP designers implements it

Ergo: WvW isn’t pvp, or at least is not classified as such.

(edited by KarlaGrey.5903)

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Posted by: ViRuE.3612

ViRuE.3612

Nice post, thanks for the clarification. I wish though that with major balancing patches someone could take 10-15 minutes for each class to outline why changes were made. After balance patches like the last one sometimes I feel like I just took my car in for service and when I go to collect it a feature has been removed or changed. No explanation, except maybe “the designers looked at this model again recently and decided the original wasn’t what they intended”. Thief is a pretty good example of this, thief players generally have no idea what your thinking is behind recent changes.

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Posted by: Heimlich.3065

Heimlich.3065

Nice post, thanks for the clarification. I wish though that with major balancing patches someone could take 10-15 minutes for each class to outline why changes were made. After balance patches like the last one sometimes I feel like I just took my car in for service and when I go to collect it a feature has been removed or changed. No explanation, except maybe “the designers looked at this model again recently and decided the original wasn’t what they intended”. Thief is a pretty good example of this, thief players generally have no idea what your thinking is behind recent changes.

I just wish somebody (anybody) would take 10 or 15 minutes to test the fixes/changes documented in the patch notes. At present, every player has to do his or her own testing to discover whether or not changes actually are as described in patch notes. When the patch notes and actual changes are in serious conflict, that makes ANet’s development process look sloppy and rushed. I can never tell whether a new change was unintended (i.e. a bug) or horribly documented.

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Posted by: Kasama.8941

Kasama.8941

Thanks for the correction Jonathan. It’s always nice to know what goes on behind the curtain, as it solves a lot of complains on the forums. I just thought of two questions after reading how many you are at balance meetings. How much does player input come into play (pun intended) during the meetings? And can’t too many people in one room make it take too long to reach a final balancing decision?

Also, I really think you could use a communication (note, not a community) manager. Not only for the forum, but also for ingame events, as it can be quite confusing to find out where you need to be at times. And that’s while reading the forums. Players who don’t read this forum, don’t have a clue about what an event is about, or where to go. I’d love to see something like signs in Lions Arch, advertising for an upcoming event. Much like you did with the posters in The Lost Shore event. And maybe players could then click the signs, which would then take them to the website for more information. Or, you could make a separate menu in the hero window, that could then be used to set up event advertising

80 Ranger | 80 Mesmer | 80 Thief | 80 Guardian | 40 Engineer
“The learned is happy, nature to explore. The fool is happy, that he knows no more.”
-Alexander Pope

(edited by Kasama.8941)

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Posted by: Allie Murdock

Previous

Allie Murdock

Community Coordinator

snip

I’m getting the impression (that I hope you’ll correct) there is no developer champion for PvE (hearts, dungeons, dynamic events, general open world veteran and champion mob encounters, etc).

I raise this concern because, and as I’ve already repeatedly mentioned in the Mesmer forums, certain balance changes to the Mesmer due to PvP are impacting PvE gameplay. I don’t do PvP on Mesmer so I really have no idea how “OP” the class is that it will merit nerf upon nerf every patch, but it’s disheartening to see this because as I was leveling the Mesmer, I was struggling with it more than other classes (necro, engineer, ranger) until about level 40-ish, and continue to struggle with it when it comes to loot tagging for DE encounters that are AoE centric.

snip

This is something that I can comment on! We absolutely have PvE in mind when balance changes are made. Our designers, while having certain projects they work on (PvP, WvW, dungeons, etc.), are invested in the overall feel of combat in the game. It is a delicate balance, no doubt, but one we take very seriously.

Thank you for your constructive feedback, and feel free to make suggestions where you think changes could be made.

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Posted by: OGDeadHead.8326

OGDeadHead.8326

In general, I think gw2 lacks considerably when it comes to skills, compared to its predecessor. It’s a different game of course, but build diversity suffers a lot when there are so few to choose from. Traits somewhat compensates for this, and to some extent equipped effect of items, but still, it’s a lot of same old same old.

The long cooldown on many skills is another issue, at least in pve. Four minutes cooldown is a very long time in a fast paced action based game. For balancing reasons in pvp, I can understand you don’t want to touch this too much – yet.
For pve though, I feel that shortening the cd by a large amount on many skills would allow for more fun – you’d get to use more abilities, more often, and not only spamming the same weapon skills over and over again.

Finally, I would love to be able to setup a different trait-set for wvw as well. Creating a build for pve is rather different from a build suitable for pvp, at least for me, coming from the spvp side of things. Actually, being able to save a number of builds, and being able to swap between them easier would again allow for more fun in this game imho.

Thanks for reading!

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Posted by: Brannoncyll.1978

Brannoncyll.1978

Thank you for the update Jonathan, it is very much appreciated. However I echo the sentiment of other posters in this thread in asking whether the resources allocated to class balance and bug fixing are really enough considering the glacial pace at which fixes are being made and the lack of QA on those that are?