Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Fewer Attributes: More Freedom

A while back I came across a thread on GW2guru which was attempting to predict the stats of the remaining professions by plotting where each point would be placed on the attribute board. For example, the original poster postulated that each professions would be able to slot 6 points over each of the attributes we were aware of at the time (Strength, Agility, Perception, Intelligence, Vitality and Willpower). So, the Warrior class would slot 2 points into Strength, 2 into Vitality, 1 into Agility and 1 into Perception. The poster then went on to say that you could attempt to predict what composition the new profession would present by looking at which set up of attribute spread hadn't been covered yet and using a bit of logic (Assassin - or Thief - would present with 1 in Strength, 2 in Agility, 2 in Perception and 1 in Willpower).

At the time I bought into the way this system seemed to be working, but it did always strike me as somewhat clunky. Perception would obviously be a well sought after attribute - criticals are vital in Guild Wars (and other games, just look at Aion and their characters slotting nothing but Crit Chance modifiers on their armour). Intelligence and Willpower were obviously the more caster-based attributes, but Willpower always came over as the weaker of the two (any decent Guild Wars player knows that having effective energy management is better than having a larger energy pool). What really bugged me was the separation of Strength, Intelligence and Agility. This made an arbitrary distinction between Melee and Ranged damage - it complicated things past the pure idea of what the attribute should be about - "Damage".

Izzy Cartwright recognised this problem in his latest post at the ANet blog:

You could make a warrior carrying a sword and bow in your two weapon slots, which was not uncommon for players to want. Unfortunately, if you split your attribute points between strength and agility, you were less effective overall than someone who carried two melee or ranged weapons and specialized appropriately... The other problem we found was that this system limited experimentation and discovery. We want players to have fun trying out new weapons. If a player with a warrior locates a rifle, we want them to enjoy testing out its different skills and possibly working it into their active weapon set. We discovered this experimentation isn’t nearly as much fun if you didn’t spend your attributes properly to take advantage of this new weapon.
I know that when the game hits the ground I am going to want to run a character who uses both a ranged and a melee weapon (I'm hoping for dual pistols/sword and offhand) and I would much rather be able to do decent damage with both rather than having to heavily spec into one and then be gimped with the other.

Later in his post, Izzy reveals the new attribute system - far more streamlined and manageable than the spectrum of 6 we had seen before:
  • Power—increased attack damage.
  • Precision—increased critical strike chance.
  • Vitality—increased health.
  • Toughness—increased defense/armor.
The new attribute system effectively means that, short of different trait slotting, you can be fairly efficient with any weapon you pick up as long as you're able to wield it. What this also means is that the character you play will be less based upon which points you slot where, but on how the character feels. Having a tighter attribute choice frees up the player to get a feeling of what its like to play with each attribute. The player can more effectively get a grip on how their character plays with a high "Power" attribute much easier, rather than attempting to factor in Strength, Agility, Intelligence and Perception. I think this new system will allow us to more effectively play the game as we want.


  1. Its all about the bears in armor.

  2. It's an interesting take on attributes... hopefully it works out well!

    It looks like their perspective is to simplify it. Sometimes making it more specialized can also be a good thing. I suppose a simplified system can also lend itself to specialization...

    But yeah, it'll be good to see how this works out. The lessons from this can be invaluable to future games.



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