In the first part of our interview with Jon Peters, we discussed the tiered trait system and some of the upcoming changes to professions players will be able to experience heading into BWE3 later this month. Today we're pleased to bring you the second and final part of the interview in which we discuss the state of Corruptions necros, upcoming mesmer changes, and a whole lot more!
GW2Hub: It’s been interesting watching the metagame develop over the last few phases. At one point everyone I came across was running huge damage builds, but I’ve now noticed many leaning toward defense, ensuring they’ve got the skills and attributes to survive for much longer periods of time. (I think I lean toward the defensive camp.) Have you noticed any surprising trends in how people have built their professions over the last few phases?
Jon Peters: I try not to worry too much about BWE metagame. People are just learning the basics of the game compared to what we see in our internal tests. I can tell you that the builds people think are strong are really not the ones to be the most worried about, as there are some absolute monster builds in the current internal meta that thankfully have not seen the light of day in our weekend events.
GW2Hub: How do you feel the balance of the PvP is shaping up, now that significant pools of players have played the game? From my perspective, I’ve found that the guardian at times feels too important to be without in structured PvP and WvW. Its skill set, being so supportive, is just too valuable to not have one by your side. Is that something you’re trying to address and/or avoid?
Jon: The balance of the game right now is basically at what I call the 80% rule. Things are basically okay, but there are a ton of things that just don’t feel right the more you play. We have done the groundwork of establishing what we feel is a good baseline for balance, but now we begin the “second 80%” of actually making sure things adhere to that baseline. Some of that work has begun for the next beta weekend, but not all of it will be completed.
GW2Hub: Still with the guardian, many people I’ve played alongside believe they are “overpowered”—how do you even begin to approach and combat such statements? A guardian can certainly survive for very long periods of time…
Jon: There are a few aspects of every profession that are currently wildly overpowered. If you look around on YouTube, you can see examples of mesmer, engineer, ranger, warrior, elementalist, thief, necromancer, and yes, guardian, being overpowered. It is now our job to bring those things into balance with the rest of the game.
GW2Hub: I’ve played alongside several thieves in the last few phases that have 1- or 2-shot opposing players through stacking critical hit chance, power, and precision and combining them with effective use of items. Did you ever want scenarios like this to be possible? Is it a concern that will be addressed, or are you happy that such builds exist?
Jon: We want there to be glass-cannon builds, but there are a number of extreme ones right now. The worst one is actually an elementalist build, which I won’t describe here because I don’t know if I will have time to completely remove all forms of it before the next weekend.
GW2Hub: Moving on to the necromancer, do you think the Corruption changes are working out as intended? Self infliction is a good idea, to create synergy with Consume Conditions, but they don’t actually last long enough to stack them to really affect CC and hinder you far too much. It seems a poor trade off at the moment for not much in return. Is this still a work in progress?
Jon: These are some of the newest skills in the game. When we introduce new stuff, it tends to be either too strong or too weak because we don’t scrutinize the numbers on those skills until we let them get some repetitions in our meta. I think it is fair to say Corruptions are not good enough yet.
GW2Hub: Still with the necromancer and similarly to the guardian, necromancers are commonly seen as unstoppable killing machines through their use of the Death Shroud mechanic and their ability to almost gain a second life. In a control-point situation, this can buy invaluable time. Are there any current concerns with how long they can survive and what role this plays in structured PvP and the focus on defending control points?
Jon: One of the goals of Guild Wars 2 is that offense is greater than defense in the long run. It doesn’t mean that spec’ing defense is bad or that we don’t want you playing defensively. It means that we want to make sure that stuff dies and there is progress. There is a fine line here, and you have called out two of the biggest offenders on the “too defensive” side of things, but we will not remove this role, as it is fun; it just needs to be viable but not required.
GW2Hub: The mesmer has seen a few changes going into the second beta weekend, the most noticeable being illusions no longer dealing damage and a huge reduction in the damage to Mind Wrack—if they aren’t bugs! What was the reasoning behind these changes? The profession has obviously lost a huge chunk of damage because of them…
Jon: The mesmer is the newest profession as far as getting play in our metagame. This means we will be making more dramatic changes to it than to our more established professions, such as the warrior. We believed that the purpose of clones was distraction and not damage, and used the beta weekend to test a version of that. Because those changes went in recently, we did not really balance all of them. In the case of clones and Mind Wrack, they may have ended up on the sad side of the useless spectrum, while phantasms, particularly the Illusionary Duelist, had the opposite effect. Changes to this stuff have already been made and more will be made in the future as well.
GW2Hub: Are there any intentions to change the mesmer’s scepter skills, and can we expect any scepter improvements? As the only ranged one-handed option for mesmer, I feel it would benefit from some minor tweaks (a change to Illusionary Counter and perhaps a change to the Ether Clone being my choice).
Jon: Scepter mesmer will get looked at just like everything else. It does have some great skills, but some aspects are still a bit clunky. I can’t say for sure what will change, if anything, because sometimes as we clean up bugs, things become more fun and interesting as well, but I can say that as with everything we won’t just ignore it.
GW2Hub: I was really disappointed that confusion is so underused on the mesmer as it has so much potential to be a cornerstone of the profession. Confusing Images is excellent, and I felt the scepter really should be our weapon of choice for confusion. Are there any intentions to ramp this up again?
Jon: We had to be careful with confusion because we couldn’t balance it in PvE vs. PvP. We recently got technology that let us change the balance numbers in these two environments, which will help us improve its usage. We have learned that confusion works best in large stacks of short duration, so you will see us moving more toward the Confusing Images model in that sense.
GW2Hub: Lastly, what profession have you been spending the most time with lately?
Jon: Engineer, guardian, warrior, and thief are the four I have done the most with since the beta weekend. Today will probably be some more thief stuff before I move on to the other four. We try to just continually sweep the entire profession list, brushing up the things that need help.
GW2Hub: Thank you for your time!
Jon: Thanks for the great questions; I can’t wait to let people try the changes I have been working on.