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Profession & Traits Interview with Jon Peters Pt. 2

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July 4, 2012 - 6:45am -- Xerin
Professions and Traits Interview with Jon Peters

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.

GW2 Concept Art

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.

GW2 Concept Art

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.


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

We are looking into the Mesmer.


Yeah, that we already knew. Disappointed about this part of Interview, as there are absolutely no new information about this class, that needs so much more love and revision of ANet...

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

From all professions you picked Guardian as the overpowered one? Wtf?!

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

I think you've miss-read the question: "people I’ve played alongside believe they are “overpowered".

This isn't my opinion, but the opinion of others (or some others).  Personally I don't believe any profession is over or underpowered, but more specifically certain builds are.

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

I hope they design the game so you don't die so fast.   In the past I died so fast I never even realized what I did wrong.  The game shouldn't be designed that a single mistake would be fatal.  I want to be able to recover from my mistakes and still win.  I want to try different skills and combos but if I die in a flash, I will never know what works or doesn't work.  Oh I guess I would but I would like it to be a thoughtful process instead of an epiphany.   

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I agree. The Guardian definitely is not overpowered.

Nyth_'s picture
Submitted by Nyth_ on

I don't see guardians as Overpowered, but they do seem (with the current knowledge) to be a neccesity to nearly any setup. Their support is through the roof, which combined with their survivability makes too much of a group asset really.

And that is what people complain about. Nearly every dungeon 5 man group was looking for a guardian, because when shit hits the fan it's always Tome of Courage that saves the day.  Nearly every organized PvP group had at least a guardian, because you can stick it on a capture point and it can survive long enough against uneven odds for reinforcements to arrive. That makes it feel OP, even though it might not be at all.

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

No he followed that with mentioning the guardian as op 2 other times lol. This guy has not played the class to full extent. Not saying its under power but it is not close to overpowered I think it's fine. Just give 1200 on scepter

Lewis B's picture
Submitted by Lewis B on

I'm not sure the Guardian itself is overpowered, but its survivability on certain builds is ridiculous that make it a far too valuable addition to any party.

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

Completely agree. At the moment a defensive control guardian is a must have for every group. The amount of time they can control an objective is just too irreplaceable.

Enjoyed the interviews, can't wait to see the changes they implement for all professions in BWE 3

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

1200 is crazy , considering engineer pistols skills are around 900


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

There is no overpowered Build persé. If anything is overpowered then it's Tome of Courage but that is only on a survivability perspective.... Warrior, Necro, Ranger etc. are way more powerful with some Builds the Guardian only has 1 overpowered elite.... Everything else is balanced...

I just want to say there would have been way better examples for an overpowered profession than the Guardian =)

Akilles7's picture
Submitted by Akilles7 on

Funny the Guardian isn't overpowered, but the Necromancer is. I feel the love there!

Maybe it's just the Lich Form that's overpowered like your Tome of Courage!

Hey but only in the survivability perspective don't forget that one.

DrunknGod's picture
Submitted by DrunknGod on

Personally I think you all are reading too much into your own personal definition of "OP."  Will a Guardian one-shot you?  Not in a million years.  Can it easily take on at least 3 attackers?  Absolutely.  In sPvP it has been trending as a "must have" profession on any team.  It can completely lock down a control point...that's OP.  

Jon Peters himself said Guardian and Necro were the two biggest offenders on being "too"defensive.  To add to that while he didn't use the exact words, he just said the Ele is OP.  Did you not catch that when asked about the glass-cannon Thief build that will 1 or 2-shot an enemy?  To think there's an Ele build out there worse than that is scary.  There you go...Ele's are OP.

Alter E's picture
Submitted by Alter E (not verified) on

I think more accurately would be certain builds are OP, not the class.

Also Guardians going 3v1 only happens if you don't have an effective counter or understanding of the guardians protection/skill cycle (Although I agree the Elite is over the top).  A necro with corrupt boons and a  focus off hand or well of corruption, or all 3, can effectively solo this guardian.  A few timed knockdowns can rid this guardian as well (the elite prolongs this, but does happen only every 3 mins).

The meta is WAAAY to young and people are making some huge sweeping conclusions already its almost funny.  I can't wait for release since I have so many idea's to break the mold and many of them don't include a guardian or are actually  just three classes, with multiples of one.  There is so much out there that works....

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

Whereas the Guardian and Necro can be incredibly hard to kill when they are specced for it, they are more or less worthless when they don't have a point to stand on.  And given the rapid speed that a point can be neutralised, it is easy enough to use control skills to throw them off the point and immobilise them so you can take it off them.

Keeping it that way is another matter, but I think most of these 'grief' builds will be gone in the next beta.  The nerfs to Might and Vulnerability made survival builds far stronger in BWE2.  Assuming they are now 'balanced' it is likely survival builds will be nerfed to compensate as well.

Great read as always mate, roll on BWE3. 

Akilles7's picture
Submitted by Akilles7 on

By the words of Jon about the Necromancer being too defensive, I predict the nerf hammer coming to hit the Necro again, in it's only good point left... the defense.

Since last year watching Sardu videos playing against the dev's, the Necro's have been in free fall from BWE to BWE "Bash those bastards all the way long! Har!"

Do we have the Blood builds viable? Condition's even Jon admits, not good!

The Dagger's have been fixed? But the Axe got nerfed right?

What's left after the Necro survival blows away? Last BWE got hit by a Ranger for 8k dmg, on my Support/Well Necro, but Hey! I'm the one that's overpowered!

I love the Necromancer theme, but I'm afraid that after or during BWE3 the right call it's to start looking for another profession as a main, Necro's never been able to even 4 shot people, there's at least 4 other profession who can even 1 or 2 shot players, but seems that the bigger evil it's the Necro survival.

I don't feel that the Necro's getting the love anymore, let's see what comes next.

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

That's slightly worrying to me.  The whole thing that got me interested in Guild Wars 2 in the first place was the Necromancer, and hearing that they're getting hit really hard on defense while other classes are able to one or two shot players is a real downer.

Nyth_'s picture
Submitted by Nyth_ on

Well it is true (and this is coming from someone who plans ot play a necro as his main or 2nd character); that necromancers are currently quite strong on the defensive side.

ANet developpers aren't new to the scene, and they certainly aren't unfair. If they have to reduce necro's defensive capabilities and notice that the profession is now off-balance. They will fix that.

Necro has always been my favorite profession lore wise; although I have to say that in it's current state it doesn't appeal to me as much as it did earlier (pre-BWEs and GW1). It lacks some significant archetype defining aspects atm which make me gravitate towards Ranger atm.

Life Drain builds (big aspect among most Necro archetypes) are all but present. The undead army feeling is not really present (I felt more like a dog walker than a commander of an army). And most importantly gamplay wise, a lot of the weapon abilities don't  feel like they mesh well with each other.

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

Thanks for the interviews.  The delay in approval was a good thing IMO.  News will be a bit dry from now until the next BWE I am thinking.

I agree with those that say the game is way too young to start with sweeping generalizations about OP classes.  One tweek to an ability could change a whole build and end the complaining about a class being OP.  Of course it would induce wailing about nerfs from people that were using the OP build.

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

Great interview, mate! I was more interested in the Engineer stuff mentioned in part 1, but its great to see questions from other professions answered as well. Thanks in large part to this interview, I'm really interested in giving Mesmers a shot. I'm always attracted to the classes with a stigma surrounding them, whether its notorious difficulty to play properly or some sort of feeling of being too weak. They almost always aren't actually as weak as the community makes them out to be, so I like the challenge of finding my way around the naysayers, so to speak.

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

But... you said on guru there would be Thief info! But there is just a mention at the end and not any info about them :(

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

Engineer, guardian, warrior, and thief are the four I have done the most with since the beta weekend.

Mesmer always last... why they dont work on it.. and is the worst class i mean buggy/broken.

Nyth_'s picture
Submitted by Nyth_ on

Are we reading the same interview, because half of the interview Jon is talking about how the mesmer is one of the most worked on professions.

Also the quote you picked are just the classes HE worked on the most. And he isn't the only developper.


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

"One of the goals of Guild Wars 2 is that offense is greater than defense in the long run"

Then why does my character keep shouting "OFFENCE, THEN DEFENCE"?


The Mesmer: On the happy side of the useless spectrum.

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

If they do end up nerfing the guardian & necromancer's defense/survivability then they definitely need to give them decent sized boosts where offense & damage are concerned.


I mean come on as a guardian all I really have is defensive support & survivability. Even when I go all out for offense & damage my damage will not be 1/4th of what a warrior or ranger is capable of with a build balanced between offense & defense.

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

"I mean come on as a guardian all I really have is defensive support & survivability. Even when I go all out for offense & damage my damage will not be 1/4th of what a warrior or ranger is capable of with a build balanced between offense & defense."

I completely agree. People run glass cannon builds and get mad that they are harder to kill then other classes. Well, that's the whole point of the Guardian. They are there for defense and support... But like others have said if you put some CC into your build you could keep the Guardian off the point and just shrug off their puny damage. 

Nyth_'s picture
Submitted by Nyth_ on

It's not that they can't be nuked down by glass cannon builds. As that is pretty much the point of beefing your chracter on the defenisve side after all.

The problem is that guardians and necromancers can defend a control point for a long time against uneven odds (2v1 / 3v1) for long enough for their team to reinforce them. And that is crossing the line of being too defensive. On the other side, all of this might also be inexperience of players, not knowing well how to hurt a setup like that.

Of course if you DO nerf their defenisve capabilities; then you need to make up for that should the class become unbalanced.

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

really nice questions.exactly what players are really need to know.

BnC Rush's picture
Submitted by BnC Rush (not verified) on

I mean come on as a guardian all I really have is defensive support & survivability. Even when I go all out for offense & damage my damage will not be 1/4th of what a warrior or ranger is capable of with a build balanced between offense & defense.

Yes, the guardian is superb at being defensive, but that is not the only thing a guardian can do. I can show you video footage of a Spirit Weapons build I ran in the stress test that made gave me top player for my team in every match, and none of it was from defensive play.

I have to agree that everyone needs to stop being so judgmental about the game right now. It's still in beta. 

This is a great interview, I'm glad to know that they are being vocal about tweaks, even when they are being secretive at the same time.

Nyth_'s picture
Submitted by Nyth_ on

I have to agree that everyone needs to stop being so judgmental about the game right now. It's still in beta.

Isn't that pretty much the definition of playing a beta. That you have to be judgemental of the state of the game ?! surprise