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Dungeon Difficulty in Guild Wars 2

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Probably the biggest eye opener in Guild Wars 2 is when you start to run dungeon instances. These are areas designed for a party (five players) and include some pretty difficult encounters. But the game does not do a good job at preparing players for them, at all. Instead, you glide through the game however you wish (whether that be through structured PvP, world vs world, PvE, crafting, etc.) and then get tossed out to the wolves in a dungeon to learn the right way to play the game.

Starting Early

The best way to try and get some experience here is to start early. Follow the story line and do the dungeons as you come to them in each zone, so you can get used to how they work. At the end of the day they are all pretty much the same in terms of their difficulty, although different bosses have different strategies. Regardless, getting an early start means you will be much better prepared as you continue on the rest of the game, and it can help make the game much easier overall. The alternative, waiting until you are level eighty to do any dungeons, takes you through the opposite path: easy content and then the tough. It is better to mix the two together as much as you can so that there are no, or at least fewer, surprises.

Are Dungeons Needed?

Some people argue that the difficulty of dungeons is irrelevant because none of them are a necessity. You can get great gear in the game, good drops, etc. without ever even doing any instances. The instances are more for the challenge and enjoyment of content. This is not to say that they do not give great rewards, however; you can still get awesome items from running them, and the rewards are static (when it comes to the currencies you get that can be traded for gear). But when it comes down to it, the dungeons should be a balance between fun and challenging. Going without a challenge at all kills the fun, and making them too challenging does as well. There needs to be a middle ground. Or, in lieu of this, something along the lines of making them more and more difficult as players level up, so that they can be a sort of learning curve. As they are now, it does not matter which one you jump in to because they are all equally difficult.

The Problem With Difficulty

The big problem with difficulty, I think, is that there are no true roles in Guild Wars 2. While people can choose to spec themselves up as a healer, buffer or tank, none of these are true to what they are going for. As such, even players that are using the same class and for a similar purpose can have widely different successes with their play. One group may do well without any tanks, for example, and another may need one to even take down the first couple mobs. It is things like this that make the balancing aspect of the game extremely difficult. Unlike games where you have the tank, healer and DPS classes, this just does not exist in Guild Wars 2. Or at least not to the same degree.

Finding a Resolution

I think what the game developers need to do is come up with a sort of resolution for the lack of class roles. Allow players to, for example, choose their role when they enter the dungeon and then give them a special skill (or a couple of them) specifically for that role. If I chose to become a healer, for example, I may get a heal skill and a buff. A tank may get a taunting skill and something to boost their defense. Things like this would be simple to implement and would go a long way towards creating some equality for the dungeons and allowing them to balance the challenge with the fun aspects much better. As they are run now, I just do not see the appeal. If this were ever done, I think it could also take another step and allow for raid dungeons, for twenty players or so (sort of like the “Squad” system already does). The possibilities are endless! It just takes that first step.

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