Nov 4, 2011

Combos - The New Meta Game?

First off, let's define the term meta game as the most efficient way to play a game, or an aspect of the game.

Now let's face the facts, builds in the original Guild Wars were pretty wonderful and disastrous - and who hasn't heard of it being referred to as Build Wars? Hard core players (people with way to much free time and a serious vitamin D deficiency) loved the meta game and all that it entailed. But new or casual players were usually victims of the meta game monster.

To fix the issues developers have made some significant changes to Guild Wars 2. For example, secondary professions were axed and builds now have a template design. You truly can play any profession you want, solo or with a group, and you have a better chance of not being horrible! Developers have made some huge steps in the right direction, making the game more attractive to all types of players and extremely user friendly to new and casual players.

But has this come at a price? Have developers nerfed the meta game to appease the casual masses? If you had asked me this yesterday, I may have said yes. While the template builds do offer some customization (with weapon swaps, traits, attributes etc) they are a far cry from the original Build Wars customization...or are they?

After reading today's post on cross profession combos, I think the meta game is back! I know developers have spent time creating a game where you can play the way you want to play. But what if we want to play metaway? For a while it felt as if there was limited customization to tactical team dynamics. Then we got a pvp post or two from Izzy, which helped us to understand some potential meta tactics that are already being discovered in alpha testing. But still, there didn't seem to be to much depth. Combos, however, add a whole new layer to team dynamics that I am really looking forward to.

Now, I know some of you frown upon "elite" players, but that is not what I'm talking about. Personally, I frown upon any player with a poor attitude. I am talking about players who enjoy discovering, developing and executing the most efficient way to do something in the game. Some players *cough*me*cough* enjoy efficiency and reaping it's rewards.

My only concern is this: if combos do offer depth to a meta game, will it be to overpowered and create some of the same issues that arose in the original Guild Wars? Or have developers already stamped  out those fires with the changes that have already implemented?


  1. Great post, I'm very excited about the prospect of a wide variety of combos, I do think they will help separate the skilled/experienced players from those who are not.

    My only concern is that you will be locked into a certain weapon set if you are playing with a specific profession in order to perform a powerful combo. Of course there are two weapon slots, but this could potentially lock you into one of those slots.

    To ameliorate this problem I hope they make the combos give a slight advantage but not a huge one. The smoke screen + stomp -> team stealth combo has me a bit worried...perhaps it will be balanced if they give it a short duration.

  2. Combos add a bit more depth to the game and to teamwork, but balance is the key. Will each profession have access to roughly equal numbers of combos? Or of 'initiators' (the first part of the combo) as well as 'finishers' (the last part)? There is a danger that a particularly useful combo will create a higher demand for the professions involved, and conversely a combo-poor profession will not be able to find a party for the more challenging content (ie dungeons).

    Either of these situations would defeat Anet's goal of making all classes equally viable and wanted for grouping.

    However, they've done a pretty good job of balancing GW1 which is much more complicated, so I have faith they will probably get combos balanced right (just maybe not at launch).

  3. I recon balance wont be an issue with cross-prof combos. All they need to do is scale down power of these combos just like racial skills.

    "1+1>2 but still less than 3"

    Surely A-net can nerf many attributes like damage, duration, effect (eg remove 1 condition and cant remove whole stack) and lot more.

    Combos suppose to be rewarding player that make the right positioning and timing of using skill with some small bonus that opens up some unassessible effect for perticular classes.

  4. "First off, let's define the term meta game as the most efficient way to play a game, or an aspect of the game."

    I don't think that word means what you think it means.

    Also, "Have developers nerfed the meta game to appease the casual masses?"

    I wouldn't put it that way, but technically, yes. And adding more hand-crafted combos doesn't change that. There's a world of difference between a game in which skill parameters from activation time to recharge time are first-class entities and any two skills from any two classes can be combined, and a game in which you can only use cross-profession combos that the designers specifically programmed in.

    Not that I'm ragging on GW2; it is what it is, and I'm really excited for it as such. GW1 and GW2 are just different games, and although there's no doubt that GW2 has less freedom in at least one important sense, they're both awesome in their own ways.

  5. I don't think balance will be that much of an issue, these combos are just to spice up the combat system in my opinion. Sure, combos will help, but the game is based around the skill of the individual, not what combos a team uses.

    Imo, the most use you're going to see for this kind of thing will be in PvP, A-net is trying to make their E-sport as exciting to watch as it is to play, so factors that could give someone a slight advantage if they recognize them and take advantage of them are included to entertain. For example; in a big fight, a theif steals an elementalist's fire attunement and puts down burning on the other team. It's fun, and unpredictable, just like these combos could be (which is a good thing :D ).

  6. Well i had an idea that perhaps they have 1 finisher for every weapon for every proffesion? perhaps an initiator aswell, then its easyly balanced and you can combo anytime, anywhere