In Guild Wars 2 World PVP, aka WvW, I’ve experienced a dynamic that I haven’t seen since 2005 when I played KnightOnline – significant differentials in character run speed and “burst” distance traversal.
What reinforces these movement differentials? Three factors:
- There are no mounts in the game, so there is no equalizer in terms of covering ground over distances
- Some classes can spec for significant burst distance traversal capabilities
- Some classes have stronger swiftness boon mechanics or other run speed buffs
In a game with mounts, players have much greater control over where and when they engage. If you see an enemy zerg coming, you can ride the other way, and they won’t catch you unless you maneuver into a dead-end.
The Thief and Elementalist classes seem to have the most attractive means of acquiring burst distance traversal without onerous tradeoffs – the Thief via Shortbow and Elementalist via offhand Dagger. With a Shortbow, a Thief can teleport up to two times, including traversing z-axis, which means they can port to locations that make catching them difficult. Elementalist with offhand Dagger can cast Ride the Lightning, which covers a range of 1200 very quickly with no cast time and a short cooldown of 15 sec. Elementalist also has a teleport via the Lightning Flash cantrip which can traverse z-axis. These are great tools in-combat and out-of-combat.
I’ve been very impressed with the roaming effectiveness of Sceptre/Dagger for Elementalist, after spending many hours grouped with a player named Melanin on Blackgate. Staff certainly has its place, especially in ranged standoff and keep fights, but for roaming, Sceptre/Dagger rocks.
There are ways to boost the run speed or burst distance traversal of other classes, but they tend to require more meaningful tradeoffs. The longer I’ve played my Warrior in WvW, the more uncomfortable I feel when not running with a Sword (or Greatsword) and the Mobile Strikes trait equipped, which enables abilities that provide movement to break immobilize. Granted, is partially due to how much I enjoy World PVP when roaming with a small group or solo.
However, that brings me to the larger point. If you play a spec or class with limited run speed mechanics and limited burst distance traversal, here are the issues that you’ll face:
- You won’t be able to create a gap and escape when you want to
- You won’t be able to catch an opponent who can out-gap you
In other words, you’re dependent on someone else to help you manage those situations, or you’ll be run over or left in the dust. Players tend to clump together into zergs in WvW moreso than I’ve seen in other games, and I believe the movement differentials are one of the influencing factors.
As a last note, the swiftness boon is valuable, but it doesn’t help when immobilized / crippled / chilled. In my opinion, burst distance traversal provides far more mobility than a run buff during a fight.
Do you think the character movement differentials are good for the game? If not, what would your solution(s) look like?