Guild Wars 2 details Whisper in the Dark’s Essence Manipulation mastery track mechanics

    
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Gonna be honest, I am really excited to see this dev blog that went up on the Guild Wars 2 website today, not so much because of the subject matter but because it feels like ages since we got one of these pieces from the devs, and it takes me back to much happier times for the game.

The dev blog in question comes from ArenaNet’s Clayton Kisko, who’s deep-diving the three-mastery Essence Manipulation system that’ll be featured in next week’s Whisper in the Dark episode. Kisko says the design for the system is a bit like rock-paper-scissors. “Communicating the system to the player is key, because it can be very complex, so you’ll discover information about it through achievements, icons, props, enhancements, open-world dialogue, and NPC conversations,” he writes.

Here’s how it works: There are three mastery tracks (Vigilance, Resilience, and Valor), each of which is strong against one of the others and therefore against one of the three key mob types on the map (Svanir, Fallen, and Aberrant). Players will be slaying mobs to pick up the linked buff orbs to make them more powerful against certain enemies, thereby becoming the rock to smash the scissors or the paper to envelop the rock.

“Once you’ve trained an essence, you’ll have some fun decisions to make about how you build your character and play in the map. You might decide you have enough stacks of might from resilience and forego might-enhancing traits for something else. With Build and Equipment Templates, this exploration and experimentation is easier. Players who’ve fully trained Essence Manipulation should be able to take down tough enemies—including champions and Strike Mission bosses—with fewer than the recommended number of allies. When roaming the map, you can choose to be as efficient as possible by farming up essence orbs in a creature-specific area, then head for events with creatures that are weak against that essence, farming up the next round of orbs and grabbing chests along the way.”

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Godnaz
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Godnaz

Masteries are usually reserved for expansions so to me as they indicated, this shows that they are indeed moving toward displacing further expansions in favor of smaller content releases in shorter time spans and pushing those large releases out.

My concern is the time and effort wasted on Mastery abilities that will get little use. Speed-increasing mushrooms, withstanding poison hazes, adrenaline, summoning Exalted warriors to fight by your side, smashing walls with your Roller-Beetle.. These Mastery abilities saw little use even inside zone specific areas in those expansions.

I’m holding off any judgement until we get to see how these tracks work and how often they get to be used. I just don’t see how productive it is to create these elaborate traits when they get little use and are abandoned. Otherwise I’m really excited to see where this content goes.

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Anton Mochalin

On the other side, when you use a new mechanic too widely there’s risk of it becoming boring or breaking other mechanics. As far as I understand ANet’s approach they try things and then look at the usage statistics. When people like a mechanic so much they try to use it in unexpected places this means it can be integrated in more actions/areas or replicated (like with mounts). When people don’t seem to be interested the mechanic can be abandoned. I actually like how GW2’s world includes the traces of such experiments – it somehow corresponds to that overall spirit of curiosity and exploration the game has.

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Axetwin .

*edit*
Nevermind.

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

Masteries are usually reserved for expansions

No, they are not. We had a new mastery each new LS episode for years.

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TomTurtle

It’s something I’d have to get my hands on to get a good feel for. I can appreciate the desire for a rock-paper-scissors system, which can be really fun when done well, but I’m hesitant about this implementation.

If I have to stop what I’m doing and go farm a certain part of the map in order to do stuff in another part of the map, that may have the opposite effect of being fun. I’d hope not, but hey, it’s less than a week out so we’ll see.

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styopa

“There are three mastery tracks (Vigilance, Resilience, and Valor), each of which is strong against one of the others and therefore against one of the three key mob types on the map (Svanir, Fallen, and Aberrant). Players will be slaying mobs to pick up the linked buff orbs to make them more powerful against certain enemies, thereby becoming the rock to smash the scissors or the paper to envelop the rock.”

So….The Secret World’s AEGIS system, then?

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

Except less grindy perhaps since GW2 comes out with content patches more frequently than Secret World or Legends?

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styopa

They do come out with plenty more updates, and AEGIS in TSW was basically the last content that was released.

However, I will say that the trinary rock-paper-scissors thing in TSW was really, really gamey and unenjoyable to play. I hope GW2 figures out some better way to do it, or abandons it quickly.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

That’s what GW2 is known for, developing something new and flashy while not following through. I say that as a fan of the game (was my second long term home after WoW lost it’s flavor, sort of my second MMO wife sort of).

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Hikari Kenzaki

This was my exact thought. They’re adding AEGIS. That worked soooooo well for TSW.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

It won’t matter in a few months anyway, as I said GW2 frequently adds masteries that only matter for one or two episodes, where as AEGIS was the only thing Secret World had for roughly a year at least when content started to dry up.

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imayb1

Yep. It seems likely that this is another “Koda’s flame” mastery: sort-of useful briefly on one map and never heard from again. I plan to ignore it.

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Ben Stone

Yep, my thoughts as well. I hated AEGIS. This seems like more of a gimmick though, unless later tiers offer serious firepower against those mob types and they start hitting like trucks.