Guild Wars 2 Hub

Your Source for Original GW2 Guides and Features

Profession and Traits Interview with Jon Peters

Around the Web

July 2, 2012 - 11:24pm -- Xerin
Professions and Traits Interview with Jon Peters

Today we're pleased to bring you the first part of our exclusive Guild Wars 2 interview series on the state of the game as ArenaNet prepares for launch, and for the upcoming beta weekend later this month. This week we have a great two part interview with Jon Peters on the trait system and profession balancing.

GW2Hub: The original reaction to the tiered trait system wasn’t particularly positive. Having had an opportunity to comb through GW2 forum feedback since the second beta event, how has the reaction changed? Do you think people now realize what your intentions behind it were?

Jon Peters: Not every change is going to make everyone happy, and every change comes with benefits and drawbacks. We believe this change drastically improves a number of aspects of the game with a fairly limited set of drawbacks. Anytime we can make that kind of change we tend to do so. I think that having experienced it, players are at least now able to form their own opinions on the subject, rather than theory crafting how it might impact them. Remember as well that this game is not finished yet and changes are still coming to specific traits and trait lines that will continue to improve this system.

GW2Hub: Why do you think there is resistance to your changes to traits and the tiering of them?

Jon: Anytime you change something that you have already shown, there will be people who liked what they had and resist that change. This is just a universal truth. There is also currently a misconception that Guild Wars 2 lacks character customization compared to the original Guild Wars. This is expected as we intentionally reduced the number of options for each choice in order to make each system easier to understand; however, we countered this by creating more choices and more interaction between those choices.

This creates more depth, but less complexity. As players dig deeper, they will find a system with more choice—one that still takes time to master, but one that will actually help more people reach that level of mastery. Of course it may frustrate people who are coming from a game they already have mastered, namely the original Guild Wars, but this is a new game after all.

GW2Hub: There were originally all manner of suggestions that traits would bring about a “soft trinity” with several proposed builds suggesting primarily healer elementalists or healer guardians. Though sound in theory, and whilst more support builds are possible, I found that the games mechanics and playstyle still override any such builds (you can’t just sit and heal others, for example). What are your opinions on these builds and their wider impact on Guild Wars 2? Do you think people, now that they’ve got their hands on it, haven’t necessarily gravitated toward such heavily focused builds?

Jon: I don’t think this system is ever going to allow a full-on “soft trinity” because we made a number of decisions that directly counter it—from the small set of boons and conditions to everyone having a self heal. That being said, the point of the builds is to help define areas where your character can feel they have a sense of specialization, which I do believe is accomplished within the limits of the system.

There is a massive difference between the Bull’s Charge, Frenzy, Hundred Blades warrior we saw a lot of people using this last beta weekend and a Tactics warrior with healing shouts; however, we still build a system where the purity of purpose in professions lies more in their playstyle than in their roles.

GW2 Concept Art

GW2Hub: Some of the builds I’ve experimented with felt very niche and at times a little like a trash build from the original Guild Wars. One particular ranger build saw me deal massive damage, but die in one hit from a thief, as I’d focused entirely into power and precision. Is it intended that every build has a place? Is this all just subjective?

Jon: We are still working out what the upper and lower limits for builds need to be. By the next beta weekend, you will see a lot of balance changes to all of the professions as we work toward establishing those limits. There are still going to be builds that fall into the glass-cannon category, support category, etc. We just need to determine where to draw the line.

GW2Hub: Moving to professions directly, one of my biggest concerns with Guild Wars 2 at the moment is the AI, notably ranger pet AI, the responsiveness of engineer turrets, and necromancer minions. Are you able to shed a little light on how you’re approaching AI? Is it still even a priority? My biggest concern is that if it isn’t just right, at least one class out of the eight could be crippled…

Jon: We have handled a few bugs on the AI side, but we haven’t really tackled it full on yet. This is really a matter of resource management. The programmers who handle this stuff also work on other critical systems, such as performance. The short answer is that pets need to be 100% responsive in combat, always attacking when they can and obeying any commands you give them. That has to happen in order for us to release the game.

GW2Hub: Where are you in terms of professions overall? Are you happy with where they currently are? Can we expect any major changes for the third beta weekend?

Jon: I am currently working hard to make improvements to each and every profession, particularly fixing skills that were either not useful or too weak. Expect to see significant changes for almost every profession for the next BWE.

GW2Hub: I was enjoying the engineer over the last few phases as it’s so fun to play, but have developed a list of concerns or issues, especially around kits, the tool belt, and trait line synergy. I think out of all the professions in the game it needs some tweaks at the moment. Can we expect any changes or significant improvements over the next few patches? I noticed their traits have had a tidy up…

Jon: The engineer is the first profession we have addressed since the last BWE. Changes have been made to many skills and to the trait lines as well. The previous list of traits contained many holdovers from the old trait system that did not fit into the new tier paradigm.

GW2 Concept Art

GW2Hub: There were several moments with the engineer where the random component of Elixirs gave me what I didn’t want (and caused my death), which happened much more than I would have liked. Elixir B and S having guaranteed effects are wonderful skills. Is it too late to replicate this and remove all random elements from Elixirs? In its current form, I worry for the competitiveness of the profession…

Jon: I guess people read somewhere on the Internet that random effects cannot be in competitive games. Like everything on the Internet, that is at most a half truth. The truth is that random effects are what create moments of opportunity for players to react to. There is a threshold of randomness that is not acceptable, but if you are given outcomes that have clear, non-game breaking implications, those are the moments that expert players should be using to press advantages. Without randomness, all you have is masked complexity, which is hard for new players to understand, and creates false choices.

GW2Hub: Still with the engineer, what is your overall opinion on their kits? Are you happy with them? With the exception of Bomb Kit (that many feel happy with), I found the Tool Kit, Mine Kit, Flamethrower, and Elixir Gun all feel a little lacklustre in various areas. Are you hoping to address any concerns raised?

Jon: Every single one of the kits has been updated and improved in the last few days. We will gather feedback on those improvements in the next BWE and continue to work from there. I’ll give you an example, because I am feeling generous. :-)

Mine Kit is no longer a kit. It is a single mine that works as the elements of the kit did, but now, when you detonate that mine, it knocks enemies back and removes boons. This means that you can throw it at your feet and then blast people away from you, or you can throw it past a fleeing enemy and detonate it to blast them back toward you. The tool belt has been replaced with a “drop mine field around my location” skill, which toggles to “detonate mine field.”

We'd like to thank Jon for his insightful answers, as well as our friends over at ArenaNet and NCsoft for their help in lining up our exclusive interview series. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the second half of our exclusive interview with Jon as the series continues!



Valhalic's picture
Submitted by Valhalic (not verified) on

Very good read and can't wait till the 2nd part. Was so glad engineer getting some sweet love. Goodbye mine kit and hello mine field!

Eviator's picture
Submitted by Eviator (not verified) on

Thanks for posting. Looking forward to part 2!

Eddo's picture
Submitted by Eddo (not verified) on

Seriously, you ask multiple questions about the engi, but can't even ask one question about the mesmer, only the other class being heavily changed?

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

There are two parts to this interview, perhaps wait for the second? ;) 

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Dude, have you even read the very beginning? He explicitly stated it's a 2 part thing. It'll probably be released today.


Not only that but there will be also another review coming this week with colin johanson. Be patient. 

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

As noted, there is a second half to the interview that you'll want to watch for if you're interested in info on some of the other professions. It will be hitting the site a bit later in the day today (Tuesday) for your reading enjoyment. :)

Cl1p's picture
Submitted by Cl1p (not verified) on

Great scott, I can't wait to play the new engi ^^ 

Put these interviews online faster!!!!! :p

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

...The answer about the elixir randomness has me skeptical.

This the problem that plagues staff mesmer - and a bunch of mesmer skills in general as well.
Only in rare cases do the random conditions ever contribute - and the rest just have no effect on combat or gameplay in the vast majority of cases, leaving these skills very underpowered. Aegis for three seconds at that critical moment versus swiftness while immobilized - I never want to "not have power" like these randomness skills cause.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

I'd actually agree. I really dislike random elements and just can't seem to work my head around them.  I think that's more indicative of my personality though.  I tend to avoid the random Elixirs on Engineer because it's just no gaurentee.

ArcherAvatar's picture
Submitted by ArcherAvatar on

Agreed.  Fortunately, there are a few with dependable effects, and a wide assortment of other types of skills we can choose.

Although I share your attitude towards "random elements" I've tried selecting just one out my three utility slots to experiment with.  I usually end up dissatisfied with it and drop it but, I'm at least trying them which is a personal improvement for me...

visitoor's picture
Submitted by visitoor (not verified) on
they could combine the random elements with a fixed effect so you would always get something useful, but still be unpredictable

Galen's picture
Submitted by Galen on

Actually, he did give an answer about the random effects.  He said that there is a degree of randomness that is acceptable and can give fantastic moments, but he also says there is a threshold of randomness being unacceptable.

Personally, it sounds like he is saying that they are trying to find where the line between acceptable and unacceptable randomness lies.




Zerdav's picture
Submitted by Zerdav on

Aye, and that line is what makes randomness work or not, not randomness itself.  

Martok's picture
Submitted by Martok (not verified) on

Outstanding!  Good info here on the Engineer and I'm eagerly awaiting what other bits you were able to get for the 2nd part!

Killyox's picture
Submitted by Killyox (not verified) on

I don't mind randomness as long as it's to an acceptable degree. 

Elixir H random boons are OK as far as I am concerned. 

Elixir X not so much. 2 out of 3 effects are at most "okish" for DD engie.

Throw Elixir S can be either useless or totally awesome. Sometimes I would like stealth but get stability...meh, and sometimes opposite happens.

Throw Elixir U is way too random. Don't like it.

Elixir U is acceptable.

Knitting-A-Round Club's picture
Submitted by Knitting-A-Roun... (not verified) on

Why are the questions longer than the answers O.O?

Entombed's picture
Submitted by Entombed on

masterfully done.  These were some really great questions that inspired some very interesting responses.  I think the bottom part focuses a little too heavily on engineers and a little too forced, but I'll wait for the second part to reserve judgment.  I know many people are concerned with engies, mesmers, and pet AI, and I'm very glad (at the very least) you addressed 2 out of the 3.  Besides that small quarrel, excellent job 

vortex's picture
Submitted by vortex (not verified) on

Thanks for the great interview!

Just a question, are the concept arts from the new press asset kit?

Sardu's picture
Submitted by Sardu on

The concept art used in the interview is cropped directly from screenshots of the Personal Story window. If you haven't poked around that part of the UI yet, each 'chapter' or stage of the story has some fantastic concept art along with a synopsis of what transpired during that part of your story.

DigiTamer's picture
Submitted by DigiTamer (not verified) on

Thanks for this interview, it answered a lot of my own questions ^^

know, that I earned that "knowledge" I am going to buy gw2 ^^

maybe at because of theyr current 10% discount

ArcherAvatar's picture
Submitted by ArcherAvatar on

Fantastic interview... a very interesting read which piques my curiosity about some of the changes in store for us on July 20th. 

Looks like much of my time in the BWE before launch will be spent re-visiting characters I've already created and checking out the changes made to each (provided the characters are not wiped for this upcoming BWE that is... if they are wiped it's no big deal, I will just be spending time in "the Mists" experimenting on some of the practice dummies there.)

Orlav's picture
Submitted by Orlav (not verified) on

Great article, looking foreward to part 2!

I hope the new mine kit is more fun than the old one with the knockback.

Though I completely disagree with his answer about how randomness should be handled in competitive games.  This spontanaity that we all love should not be a result of game RNG, but the player playing unpredictably.   The tools should allow for flexible enough tactics to keep opponents guessing if played right - otherwise it's not a well designed game imo.

Zinny's picture
Submitted by Zinny (not verified) on
To be truthful, to say randomness isnt despised among competition is just silly. Look at super smash brothers...people in competition always remove random item drops as well as pick maps that have no random threats. In the latest ssb they put in a random mechanic that made you trip randomly...people immidiatly threw a fit and players even went so far to crack the game to remove it so they could hold competitions. Random effects just give you the feeling of rolling dice....sure theres always random components but when theyre right out there smacking you in the face like this...its going to create upset and be undesireable. I'm surprised a game developer doenst see that even though i could throw out examples all day long where it has not worked.

sylvinstar's picture
Submitted by sylvinstar on

I think Orlav put it well:

Though I completely disagree with his answer about how randomness should be handled in competitive games.  This spontanaity that we all love should not be a result of game RNG, but the player playing unpredictably.   The tools should allow for flexible enough tactics to keep opponents guessing if played right - otherwise it's not a well designed game imo.

And thanks for asking about ranger pets Lewis.  They need some major help for competitive pvp.  As it is now, I think I'd go to a great sword ranger with all-out personal damage and leave the pet as an afterthought.

Zinny's picture
Submitted by Zinny (not verified) on

ya, that is worded well i think i skipped over that.  SSB's designers said they put in the random "trip" mechanic because they didnt want their game to have a competitive scene and was designed for carefree play.  If gw2 was aiming for that and not an Esport scene..i'd understand, even league of legends removed the random dodge mechanic from their game and frown upon randomness in their character designs since getting into the Esport scene.   I think its like comparing Chess to Candy Land.....the first one is controlled by the randomness  of the players decisions...the 2nd contains roll of the dice mechanics.   First one is competitive while the 2nd one is care free fun.   Is Gw2 supposed to be carefree fun or competitive.  Guess we'll wait and see. 

Vulpis's picture
Submitted by Vulpis (not verified) on

Well, there is a simple solution to that, don't want the randomness, then just plain don't take the skill, and instead use something more reliable.

curt's picture
Submitted by curt (not verified) on

I sure hope they fix shatter for mesmers. Several times I saw 0 damage when I shatter 3 of them on my target. When the illusions do damage it is too low when compared to pets and minions of other professions. For this reason I'm going to experiment by shifting traits around to emphasize conditions/boons instead.

Aveneo's picture
Submitted by Aveneo (not verified) on

Any word on Rangers (and other classes) getting quivers on their back when they are using a bow? Pulling arrows out of thin air looks pretty daft :P

gio's picture
Submitted by gio (not verified) on

i dont understand why people are complain about hes questions.(i mean enginier and archer)

because today in all betas only this 2 class has mostly non balanced and broken ui skills.

pets not attacking,dont reacting on commands,enginier turrets and kits are hell nonbalanced and you want him to ask about guardian and elementalist wich are normaly balanced?

i personaly do not play with archer or eng but to be honest i see how many people are really complaining about this 2 class.

so questions are exactly seted up as it should be and thank you for this nice interview.

AnonymousPlaySafe's picture
Submitted by AnonymousPlaySafe (not verified) on

I got very little out of the interview when you take into account the title.  It got skewed way too far into the author's experience with the engineer - when, based on the title, we should have gotten a better feel for all classes and races.  I felt the general trait question answers were vague at best - but then anet has gone so far from what was the guild wars franchise in this game, that it might have them confused.  Here is real point just expect allot of nerfs post release - that is one thing that anet will carry over from Guild Wars (about the only thing GW2 has in common with the franchise) and they do love to nerf skills.

OcRaM's picture
Submitted by OcRaM (not verified) on

Could you address this question for the Thief community?


You stated that every profession had changed from the past BWE? What about the Thief's skills? I use "Infiltrator's Arrow" as an example. It can't be used to gain distance in battle because of the short range, running to that particular place you want will be as fast as if you use the skill. Another shortbow's example could be "choking gas" which seems very lackluster. We feel they doesn't actually work as intended. Do you give us some light about this?


Zinny's picture
Submitted by Zinny (not verified) on

a LOT of people didnt read the part where it says this is the first of a two part interview....the other classes are mentioned in the 2nd half people.

Tobi's picture
Submitted by Tobi (not verified) on

Great read, though I hope to see other professions addressed in part 2 - tbh. Sounded too much like interviewer asked the questions he needed himself, instead of the whole gw2 community.

But hey, then again a lot of ranger and engineer fans are probably happy :) Also I still understand you can't address everything..

Hope to hear something about elementalist dagger/focus next time, more especially the lack of damage, even though its a good fun set of things you are getting.. The "main" attack burning speed doing 2k is hopefully something that will change.

Atleast I have a sweet build that just lack some damage to be nice.

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

Later today :)

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

The Mesmer is covered in the second part, it will be going live later today :)

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

The Mesmer is covered in the second part, it will be going live later today :)

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Ok then, thanks a bunch Lewis B! Looking forward to it!

Bob's picture
Submitted by Bob (not verified) on

Plz ask if weaponsigils/stats will apply to kits and conjured weapons in the future.

Sprawl's picture
Submitted by Sprawl (not verified) on
Can you ask questions about more than just the engineer next time? Thanks.

oneeyered's picture
Submitted by oneeyered on

Great interview and answered many of my questions. Dare I say I am a bit excited to try out engineer now...

Its a simple world for complicated people



Taldren's picture
Submitted by Taldren (not verified) on

Wish you asked about Mesmer's ... BWE#1 basically destroyed Condition-based mesmer play, BWE#2 gutted Shatter-based mesmer play, and all that was left was Phantasm-based builds that had to use a bugged trait to be competitive.

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

Why would you do this to my mine kit *cry*

epic's picture
Submitted by epic (not verified) on

no part 2 fail?

burberry scarf label authentic's picture
Submitted by burberry scarf ... (not verified) on
NOUVELLE ViDEO Reportage sur un stagiaire qui mendie pour mieux gagner sa vie. Kevin Razy