Since Prophecies was released almost 6 years ago, skill builds have been a huge aspect of the Guild Wars experience. You’re only allowed 8 skills at a time and one of the skill slots has the option to hold an elite skill. There are over 1000 non-elite skills and almost 300 elite skills spread out over 10 professions. Basically, what I’m getting at, is that players should have no problems creating builds that work for them and their party, no matter how silly or trivial they may seem.
But these days, after balances and nerfs and buffs, there are only so many builds a player will run depending on the mission, PvE or PvP. This is called, The Meta. So, where have all the silly and fun builds run off to and why have people stopped running them? Because Meta builds are more efficient? Because, after all the nerfs to non-meta elite skills, it’s not worth the trouble? Because copy-paste builds from PvX are so much easier to use? If you answered “Yes!” to any of the three previous questions, then
YOU ARE WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE GAME. Let’s explore why.
PvX and The Meta
Since the creation of the PvX Wiki, players have flocked to the site to share, rate, and comment on builds and the popularity of it grew fast, and it’s safe to say that’s worked out pretty well. The good and great builds are at the top while trash builds that don’t work will fall between the cracks. Is that so bad? Well, maybe.
You see, when the game was just starting out all those years ago, you could bring whatever build worked for you to get the job done and in PvP, everyone was still learning what countered what and there was no real “meta” build. Fast forward to now and you have the current “meta” build being run in Heroes Ascent waiting for the next big update that’ll bring about a new “meta” while “speed clears” are all over the place for “elite” areas of the game. So, again, is that so bad? Well, for veteran players who have 5 accounts and stacks of ectos, not really. For the economy, maybe, but no one cares about the in-game economy anymore, right? Oh, right, back on point.
It can be argued oh-so many ways and everyone could morally be right, and not many people will get mad over it, but, what players should be mad over is when you’re setting up for a run (let’s use Fissure of Woe as an example and you’re a Necromancer) and you have your build setup as a variation of the traditional Spiteful Spirit build. You get into a group, ready to go, and you ping your bar. The leader asks if you can run a different bar, which he pings(how nice of him/her), and you notice only two skills and the attribute values are a little different, but it’s practically the same, so you say that your build is fine, but, before you know it, you’re kicked from the group and left with a sad face and no group. It could have been worse though, especially if it’s a completely different build all-together. You might as well just leave the group yourself and save the leader the trouble of kicking you. No one cares that you think the elite on your own bar is “fun” or “cool,” or that you spent a week testing it out. If it can’t be found on PvX, it must suck.
Okay, maybe that was a bad example. SS these days is pretty flexible with what utility skills you bring alongside it, but the point is, PvX has stifled fun and creative builds…for the most part. Have you ever tried Yellow-Way? Have you even heard of it? Well, you might have. It was on PvX for a while, but then it wasn’t, and now it’s on a user page or two. Anyway, Yellow Way is an 8-man team of Warriors and Paragons using Warrior, Paragon, and Norn skills only to do whatever you can with it. It’s great fun, even if it doesn’t work out half the time or takes twice as long to complete a mission, and it’s even more fun with friends. So, fun builds are out there, just not on PvX. I guess you’ll just have to make your own.
What does that mean for Guild Wars 2?
Well, you know you get 10 skills now instead of 8 for GW2, but the first five of those are decided by what weapon you bring and then one other slot is for a dedicated healing skill, but already you should be able to imagine that fun you can have from trying unique profession/weapon combinations, even without knowing what profession-based skills you’ll bring. A perfect example of this is a Necromancer duel-wielding daggers (which was a blast trying at PAX last year, by the way) Here’s the thing; it worked out really well, more so than I was anticipating. If I had to sum up the 30-minute demo experience in one word, it would be “FAWESOMIC” (Fantastic+Awesome) So, maybe ArenaNet has taken away some skill choices, but now you can run with an Elementalist with a scepter in your main hand and a dagger for an offhand, which I (sadly) did not get to try, but none the less, how can that not sound like good, silly fun? It might seem like you’ll have fewer choices for builds in Guild Wars 2, but really, there is a good amount of freedom between weapon and skill choices so don’t worry, and you’ll love making builds.
-Written by : TheLazyGeek
So, here’s a question for the readers, Have you ever just “went nuts” when making a build; Use an elite that’s under-powered and worked around it? How’d that work out for you?
About the author: The laziest gaming-geek you’ll meet (maybe) who spends [too much] time playing games and “geeking out” over how awesome ‘The Guardian Legend’ really is. He also writes at his own blog, TheLazyGeek.com and can be found on twitter.