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Damage Versus Support

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November 1, 2012 - 5:29am -- Xerin
Guild Wars 2

I was going to save this link until Dolyak Delivery but having continued to read the thread over the last few days, I felt it merited its own discussion here on Guild Wars 2 Hub.  The thread on the official forums discusses the disparity between offensive and defensive skills, with the game having a clear focus on the offensive.  The original thread starter supports defensive skills being brought into line with offensive, in terms of cool downs and potency.  He highlights the differences between skills, seeking to have defensive skills boosted so that they can be used as frequently in a fight. 

I’ll make no bones about this, implementing what the original thread started is seeking would single handily cripple Guild Wars 2 and return it back to the days where people seek out pure supportive characters.  Considering the potency of bunker builds already, realigning support skills (boons and direct utility skills) to have higher potency or lower cooldowns would have irreparable consequences.  What I find frustrating about this thread is the fact its misses the point: ArenaNet want all players to have independence in Guild Wars 2.  The implementation of each profession having its own heal and the ability to resurrect others is a clear indicator of this, combined with the fact that all professions are fully capable of dealing good damage.

Were we to shift the goal posts, to allow others to specialise exclusively in support (at the total or near total expense of damage) would undermine all that has been attempted by ArenaNet in moving the genre forward, away from the stagnant roles we used to take part in.   What I also feel is missing from the thread starter is the realisation that support can come in all forms, that it doesn’t have to be a boon or direct healing to be considered supportive.  Airblasting a foe away from a downed party member, using stability to complete a stomp or stealthing your party to move through a pack of enemies is all support, albeit an offensive variant.  As an Engineer in tournament PvP who doesn’t use the Elixir Gun or Healing Turret, you might argue I’m offensive.  However, in terms of support I provide:

  • Supply Crate, complete with healing turret and bandages.
  • Airblast to knock foes off control points or away from my downed party members.
  • Napalm as a combo field to provide might to allies if blasted, or burning for projectiles.
  • Magnetic Inversion to knock foes back and provide area of effect combo’s to my party.
  • Stability or Stealth from Elixir S to aid in escape or stomping.
  • Condition removal by throwing my Elixirs onto allies.

All of these elements are supportive, drawn from offensive skills, but it is the mindset of how we view support that is key.  Continuing to seek out a clear definition isn’t appropriate in Guild Wars 2, where players should be comfortable in the gray, rather than requiring black and white.  I appreciate that there will be many players whom have ventured from other MMOG’s who enjoyed nothing more than to sit back, heal and let others do the work but to be blunt: there is no place for it here and the game is all the better for it.

What are your thoughts on the matter?


Rin Aki's picture
Submitted by Rin Aki on

I agree, the support in GW2 is far superior than other games precisely because it is not just from boons and healing. To be supportive you need to think. You need to use your brain rather than facerolling your keyboard to perform your standard healing/support rotation. You need to be offensive to support as well as defensive. Knockback/down, blind, daze, stun, cripple, chill, poison (reduced enemy healing), vulnerability, immobilize, wards, portals, agro grabbing minions, projectile reflection and many more, they all have their role to play in supporting your allies.

My supportive character is my Guardian, and with it I can pull enemies, block movement, reflect enemy projectiles, grant swiftness, grant burning to allies, aoe blind, grant aoe block, cure conditions on allies and grant a little over 400 healing per second to allies using virtue of resolve and regen.

My damage dealing thief can also support her allies, using: aoe stealth, aoe blind, aoe poison, multi target cripple, vulnerability and projectile reflection. So even a damage focused profession can do a great deal to help his allies and could do even more if set up with support in mind.

So I too do not think support and heal other skills need to be brought inline with offensive skills. As you have stated in your other article bunker builds are already an issue, if support was as powerful as offensive skills the game would be a complete mess imo.

Order of the Ono & Semper Dius

tarian's picture
Submitted by tarian on

While I do agree that support abilities must not be brought up to the power level that they negate powerful offensive abilities, some support abilities or utilities need to be looked at.  My favorite example is Wells for necros.  They last for only a handful of seconds, most of the useful ones have a minute cooldown that can get reduced to 48 seconds if traited; and, unless you have 20 points into curses you can only drop them where you're standing, which removes quite a bit of usefulness if you aren't spec'ed into curses.  As Wells stand in their current power level, I find it extremely hard to justify bringing them along, despite the usefulness of a dark combo field (or light field with Well of Blood).  Spectral Grasp, Signet of Undeath, Spectral Walk and/or Armor, Epidemic, Blood is Power, Plague Signet, even Poison Cloud, all of these offer utility and have a reasonable amount of output versus cost that justifies their utility slot for their given occasions.  Wells on the other hand, are most useful when dealing with trash packs, but considering the length of those trash pack fights, and the length of cooldowns, you'll only use a Well once during those fights, but it'll only help for one or two attacks, and then it's gone, under the assumption that everyone stays still and doesn't have to move.  Even when I set the wells up myself, there is barely enough time with the staff equipped or minions out to pull off my own blast combo to put out extra aoe blinds.

So, should utility powers that offer support provide a counter that negates offensive abilities?  No, I don't think so, but in no form or fashion do I think that all utility powers should stay at their current levels of power.  There are obviously a handful in each class that NEED to be adjusted up, reflect their cooldowns and opportunity costs.

What are you willing to sacrifice?

chaosgyro's picture
Submitted by chaosgyro on

You're exactly right, but where the thread starter (and his supporters) want a relatively uniform boost for pure support you (and anyone with half a brain :P ) believe that skills should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Specific to wells: they should probably be ground targeted without a trait and last a little longer at the least.  ANet should strive to make skills more useful, rather than simply make them more powerful...and I guarantee that is going to be a fine line they'll be walking for the rest of GW2's life.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

Oh absolutely, it should be evaluated on a case by case basis: that is absolutely key. I don't get from the thread starter however that, that is what he is seeking.  It strikes me as someone point blank wanting a support model of play style that would see all supportive skills remapped so it is a play style you can undertake fulltime.

In relation to Wells, I think you're absolutely right.  They could use a little love in terms of cooldown, targeting and duration. But, having been on the receiving end of some formidable Necromancers the thought does make me nervous :D