User:Lon-ami/Trait system revamp theorycrafting

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This article is a personal Guild Wars 2 trait system revamp theorycrafting by Lon-ami, with focus on improving the April 2014 Feature Pack changes to the trait system.


Feeling epic is a trait on its own.

In the original trait system, characters unlocked traits by buying one of three trait guides that unlocked every trait on a tier. The April 2014 Feature Pack changed the trait system so that each trait was individually unlocked, either by buying a trait guide or completing a specific piece of game content.

The idea was great, and the community was very positive towards it. Traits were given a new depth, and now you needed to explore the world to unlock each one. However, the implementation, together with changes to the required level to unlock each trait tier, weren't received as well. Instead of adding a new layer of fun, challenge and progression, the new trait system felt like a checklist of long and boring activities, an unnecessary ordeal that limited build variety and eventually forced you to buy them instead of playing the game, just to avoid the hassle.

First of all, I think the goal of the new trait system should be to encourage players to play the game, to go out and explore specific pieces of open world content, all while their characters progress normally, without being forced to change their course. For this reason, I'll remove all of these activities from my revamped system:

  • Personal story, map completion and dungeons - It's fixed content you'll complete sooner or later, and both have their own special rewards. Adding trait unlocks to them is not only redundant, but also deprives other activities of the opportunity of being more rewarding.
  • World vs World - It's an unstable setting, where your progress is actively affected by the group efforts of both allies and enemies. It's no good for new players, either, who are easy prey to more experienced enemies.
  • Jumping puzzles and exploration challenges - They already have chests and achievement points on completion. Also, they aren't quite your typical content, and forcing new players to get into them if they want to unlock traits, which aren't related to non-combat activities like these in any way, might not be a good idea. Having some would be nice, as long as they aren't very difficult, but they shouldn't be part of the core trait experience.

This leaves us with dynamic events, precisely one of the core aspects of the game which, excluding some world bosses, don't have any special rewards. Dynamic events have the exploration and open world content factor I've talked about before, so they're the perfect driving force for the trait system. Additionally, new players don't pay too much attention to them, believing Renown Hearts are more important, so focusing on them for the trait system would reinforce their importance before the players. I'll focus on group-oriented events, long event-chains and fixed-timer events, because I think they have friendly respawn timers, are found easily, and promote teaming up with other players.

Second, vendor trait guide prices don't feel quite right. The profession trainers ask for way too many skill points, while they don't ask for too much gold. I've roughly halved the required skill points, and doubled the gold costs. I've also changed the World vs World profession trainer so that it asks for Badges of Honor instead of gold, to give WvW players an additional acquisition method.

Last but not least, I'm going to change the required level to unlock each trait tier. I know traits might be confusing for new players at first, but I think it's a good way to add early character customization for those looking for it from the first minute. The players who aren't that interested on them might get curious about the system once they start unlocking traits, so the earlier the better. Nonetheless, those who ignore the trait system won't see their experience affected so much from what it comes of ignoring them nowadays, or what it came of ignoring them in the past. With the change, the required levels are back to the numbers before the April 2014 Feature Pack.

Unlocking trait tiers and points[edit]

Earlier the level, earlier the power.

Every profession has five trait lines, each of which is linked to one primary and one secondary attribute. Within a trait line, traits are grouped into 3 tiers: Adept, Master, and Grandmaster, unlocked at levels 10, 35, and 60. These tiers unlock sequentially as a character progresses and determine how many trait points can be spent in any trait line.

Characters acquire their first 2 trait points at level 10, and earn 1 additional point every 5 levels up to level 80, for a total of 14 trait points. Levels 35 and 60 are the exception to this rule, and give no points to emphasize the new unlocked tiers.

Tier Unlock
Max points
per line
Adept 10 2
Master 35 4
Grandmaster 60 6
Tier Adept Master Grandmaster
Level 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75 80
Points 2 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1
Total points 2 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 13 14

Each trait tier has one minor trait, which is fixed and automatically unlocked, and one major trait, which you can customize with traits of the corresponding or lower tiers.

Major traits need to be unlocked, either by buying trait guides from a profession trainer or completing specific content.

Vendor trait unlock methods[edit]

Trait guides can be purchased from profession trainers. Each trainer offers 65 different trait guides, one for every major trait for that profession.

Tier Number(s) Cost per trait Cost per trait line Cost for all traits
Adept I-VI 50 Silver coin + Skill point.png Gold coin + Skill point.png 15 Gold coin + 30 Skill point.png
Master VII-X Gold coin + Skill point.png Gold coin + Skill point.png 20 Gold coin + 40 Skill point.png
Grandmaster XI-XIII Gold coin + Skill point.png Gold coin + 15 Skill point.png 45 Gold coin + 75 Skill point.png
Total costs: 16 Gold coin + 29 Skill point.png
(13 traits)
80 Gold coin + 145 Skill point.png
(65 traits)
Tier Number(s) Cost per trait Cost per trait line Cost for all traits
Adept I-VI 50 Badge of Honor.png + Skill point.png 300 Badge of Honor.png + Skill point.png 1,500 Badge of Honor.png + 30 Skill point.png
Master VII-X 100 Badge of Honor.png + Skill point.png 400 Badge of Honor.png + Skill point.png 2,000 Badge of Honor.png + 40 Skill point.png
Grandmaster XI-XIII 300 Badge of Honor.png + Skill point.png 900 Badge of Honor.png + 15 Skill point.png 4,500 Badge of Honor.png + 75 Skill point.png
Total costs: 1,600 Badge of Honor.png + 29 Skill point.png
(13 traits)
8,000 Badge of Honor.png + 145 Skill point.png
(65 traits)

Completion trait unlock methods[edit]

As an alternative to buying trait guides from profession trainers, traits can be unlocked through completing various dynamic events. These unlock methods are consistent across professions based on the position of the trait line and number in the trait interface.

Each five traits of the same number can be acquired in five different ways, no matter the trait line they are from. Once you complete the corresponding event, the reward interface will let you choose one of the five to unlock. To acquire further traits of the same number, you can complete any of the other four events, or you can complete the same event again the next day, until you complete the set of five.

Distribution of trait acquisition by zone[edit]

1 15 Caledon Forest 1Yes 1Yes
1 15 Metrica Province 1Yes 1Yes
15 25 Brisban Wildlands 1Yes 1Yes
1 17 Queensdale 1Yes 1Yes
15 25 Kessex Hills 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
25 35 Gendarran Fields 1Yes 1Yes
35 45 Harathi Hinterlands 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
45 55 Bloodtide Coast 1Yes 1Yes
55 65 Sparkfly Fen 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
1 15 Plains of Ashford 1Yes 1Yes
15 25 Diessa Plateau 1Yes 1Yes
1 15 Wayfarer Foothills 1Yes 1Yes
15 25 Snowden Drifts 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
25 40 Lornar's Pass 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
40 50 Dredgehaunt Cliffs 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
50 60 Timberline Falls 1Yes 1Yes
60 70 Mount Maelstrom 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
70 75 Straits of Devastation 1Yes 1Yes
75 80 Malchor's Leap 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
80 80 Cursed Shore 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
30 40 Fields of Ruin 1Yes 1Yes
40 50 Blazeridge Steppes 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
50 60 Iron Marches 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
60 70 Fireheart Rise 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
70 80 Frostgorge Sound 1Yes 1Yes 1Yes
0 0 Lion's Arch 1Yes
80 80 Southsun Cove 1Yes

Trait acquisition content[edit]

Zone Trait number Dynamic event
Lion's Arch Adept - III
Caledon Forest Adept - I
Adept - II
Metrica Province Adept - I
Adept - II
Plains of Ashford Adept - I
Adept - II
Wayfarer Foothills Adept - I
Adept - II
Queensdale Adept - I
Adept - II
Brisban Wildlands Adept - III
Adept - IV
Diessa Plateau Adept - III
Adept - IV
Kessex Hills Adept - III
Adept - IV
Adept - V
Snowden Drifts Adept - III
Adept - IV
Adept - VI
Gendarran Fields Adept - V
Adept - VI
Lornar's Pass Adept - IV
Adept - V
Adept - VI
Fields of Ruin Adept - V
Adept - VI
Harathi Hinterlands Adept - V
Adept - VI
Master - VII
Dredgehaunt Cliffs Master - VII
Master - VIII
Master - IX
Blazeridge Steppes Master - VII
Master - VIII
Master - IX
Bloodtide Coast Master - VII
Master - VIII
Iron Marches Master - VII
Master - IX
Master - X
Timberline Falls Master - VIII
Master - X
Sparkfly Fen Master - VIII
Master - IX
Master - X
Fireheart Rise Master - X
Grandmaster - XII
Grandmaster - XIII
Mount Maelstrom Master - IX
Master - X
Grandmaster - XI
Straits of Devastation Grandmaster - XI
Grandmaster - XII
Frostgorge Sound Grandmaster - XI
Grandmaster - XII
Grandmaster - XIII
Malchor's Leap Grandmaster - XI
Grandmaster - XII
Grandmaster - XIII
Cursed Shore Grandmaster - XI
Grandmaster - XII
Grandmaster - XIII
Southsun Cove Grandmaster - XIII