Guild Wars 2 explains the philosophy of Masteries

Players are not getting a level cap bump with Heart of Thorns; the apex of power in Guild Wars 2 will remain Level 80. But there will be new progression in the form of Masteries, which a new article explores in some depth. The difference is that rather than represent universal power growth, Masteries are entirely contextual character improvements that allow characters to better navigate, explore, and handle content that the player is doing anyway. So all of the movement tricks like gliders aren’t just fun ways to explore the jungle; they’re ways for players to access parts of the jungle that would otherwise be cut off.

Players, meanwhile, are a little miffed that all the mastery in the world won’t allow them to access the Super Adventure Box again. A parody video by Eexa expresses annoyance in the only possible way: in the form of a song! It’s probably not going to fully send the message either, but when you’ve already got a history of making musical parodies about building golems and being a genius in Lion’s Arch, it’s at least consistent.

[Source: Hidden Arcana: Mastering the Maguuma; YouTube. thanks to Siphaed for the tip!]
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18 Comments on "Guild Wars 2 explains the philosophy of Masteries"

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woolydub
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woolydub

I’d actually be really interested in Anatoli’s actual opinion of the mastery system. I guess when someone as articulate as Anatoli comes around, you put them on the payroll so they can’t express their opinion or the truth of what these systems actually do. Nothing against Anatoli or any other past author of Flameseeker. I would love to do work for ArenaNet.

I am however tired of how the way ArenaNet communicates to its customers. While the precursor masteries are gates for cosmetics(which is fine, cosmetics are the end game according to ArenaNet) the Maguuma Masteries are gating content pure and simple. They even had the gall to go out on stage and call out other games that have gear gating. A gate is a gate, is it not? Should another game company call out the Mastery system as thinly veiled progression gating and then trot out their own thinly veiled gating for their game? 

I think the Mastery system in its current iteration is a mistake. I think they should have it, but I think they would have been better suited treating the portion of the Maguuma Masteries the same as the precursor portion. Put glider skins in for mastery points. Armor skins. Weapons. Treat the items like the Achievement Panel weapon and armor skins. We bought the content(boxed price for HoT). 

Combat should be skill-based. Two characters fully decked out in Ascended Gear and Legendary weapons attack a boss. 1 can kill it because they spent an arbitrary point in a system that is only valid in that region and the other can’t because they chose to spend a point for jumping on mushrooms? No thank you.

Grimmtooth
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Grimmtooth

I see masteries being about as popular as last april’s trait revamp. As in the main thing people will gripe about in HoT baring a last minute “feature” anouncement.

McGuffn
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McGuffn

I think Arenanet is making a mistake. I read somewhere recently that their playerbase wants harder stuff. And because players want it they won’t make the same mistake as wildstar, which was too exacting. Maybe, but there isn’t much in game evidence of it. Few people do Fractal 50, and just about anyone that does fractals rolls for the swamp first because it is the easiest. Few people do Aetherpath or the longer versions of any dungeon. And people complained that SAB2 was too hard and next to nobody did it. But then again, maybe by “hard” they mean “almost as easy as it is now.”

“Heading up the Masteries team is Lead Designer Crystin Cox…” I should just point out that this is the monetization person Anet got from Nexon that many people hated, unfairly or not. 

And who’s this Anatoli writing this article for Anet?

Enikuo
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Enikuo

Sazri They also took the rewards out, made the second world way harder and intentionally unfair, and it was still time-limited (a fact they leveraged to sell $10 continue coins). At the time, ArenaNet was still in the midst of “all content is temporary” and “all the rewards are rare, like concert t-shirts” phase. 
But, they’ve moved away from that a lot. They introduced the achievement rewards. They made the second season of the living world re-playable. They added The Silverwastes. I think if they introduce SAB again and let players earn the rewards over time, instead of trying to force a time-limited grind for rare skins, they’ll see players a lot more engaged with it.

Sazri
Guest
Sazri

The last time SAB was opened, most players didn’t bother with it much. It’s only a loud minority that thinks it was the end all and be all of the game and demand it back. Anet isn’t going to put a lot of resources into new SAB stuff if the same low turnout happens again.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

I miss SAB. I also miss Lion’s Arch.

cursedseishi
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cursedseishi

Nordavind omedon666 
I’m betting it’s a mix of mossy green and bile yellow. No one ever wants to really touch either of those, so it’s the perfect way to stop it from being deployed. If the “Deploy SAB” button was red, you know an intern or new hire would accidentally hit it one day just because “oooo red button!”.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

aspeda  That is incorrect.  We did get the Year of the Ram event for the Chinese New Year.  Sure the Dragon Ball game was a rehash from Dragon Bash back in 2013…but it was something extra that we haven’t had in a while.

aspeda
Guest
aspeda

I wish there was new content to play but that hasn’t happened since the Point of no return living story. Nothing really to do but log in for the daily unless you’re new.

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

Loved the SAB video. Nice use of the new camera features within the game.   What is really cool is that the first two videos were posted in winter and fall of last year, prior to the camera changes.   

And oh how that “Do you want to build a Golem” very much pulls on heartstrings and is so beautifully done.

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

VeyV 
No, not light stat increases.  That is character power increasing, a creep that fits right into the treadmill model.  What they’re trying to do is so that the character isn’t gaining flat power increases that improves across the board, but instead unlocking localized power that is specific to the area and situation to progress. A flat stat increase further makes past content trivial (down scaling or not).  Doing a mastery that say makes you progressively immune to dinosaur poison -just as an example-, would mean that it improves your character progression against those mobs in that area, but doesn’t effect negatively on the rest of the game.

Although the passive Swiftness might be one I could agree with, if only out of combat and does not work in WvW.    But I also see another issue with this.  If there were k-trains or chest groups in an area that start pushing out new players or others because they don’t have a now required swiftness improvement.   This makes it to where the community starts split up.

camelotcrusade
Guest
camelotcrusade

Oh my, that header shot.  I obviously haven’t played in a while because I do not remember the pink glitter wings with masking tape on them.  Makes me wonder which game started the expectation that detachable wings would be a celebrated part of the transportation framework (they are popping up everywhere).  

I mean, I saw Condor Man as a kid but it was supposed to be funny that he ran around like that.  I am not sure if the guy in the header is on action comedy spy adventure, though.  But maybe the wings make it so.

Enikuo
Guest
Enikuo

GW2 has this interesting design conflict of seeming to really want vertical progression without having vertical progression. I’m not really excited about needing to sync masteries with friends to play the same content, but I’ll have to see how it’s actually implemented. I don’t trust that I ever understand what that team actually means anymore. They’ve been making a lot of good changes lately and they’re not raising the level cap or adding a new tier of gear, so I’m hopeful.

VeyV
Guest
VeyV

Most of the confirmed masteries are confined to HoT. It seems pointless to me to have a mob that is invulnerable and then – by progressing the story line – acquiring a mastery that primarily serves to progress past that mob. It only gives you the illusion of progressing when it’s a very binary gating mechanism. I’d wish they focused more on masteries that benefit your experience all over Tyria. A passive Swiftness buff or some very light stat increases for PvE, a bit more tokens/gold from dungeons whatever.

Greaterdivinity
Guest
Greaterdivinity

Anets refusal to even open back up the existing SAB boggles my mind. Folks love it, even if there isn’t more of it coming, and it’s already made. Just roll it out from time to time and let folks have some fun!
And I never really got to play it so I want to finally check it out : (

FeveredDreamer
Guest
FeveredDreamer

Masteries sound super-great… Also the video is amazing.

Nordavind
Guest
Nordavind

omedon666 Is it red? The button that is. I like red buttons.

omedon666
Guest
omedon666

You gotta believe that there’s a panic button at ArenaNet that brings back the SAB. When the financials or relevance dips, you know they’ll hit it.

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