Theorycrafting: Guild Wars Style
I realize most people reading blogs about an MMO that hasn't released already know about theorycrafting. However, I wanted to take some time to set up theorycrafting and its usefulness in Guild Wars 2, as numbers will be a large part of this blog post launch.
So... theorycrafting. What is it? Is it one word or two? A hyphen? Some people love it and some people think games would be better off without it.
The term came into existence among Starcraft players when debating strategy away from the game. Sitting around the lunch table arguing about which race would win a given scenario was a way to play Starcraft when you couldn't play Starcraft. Of course it was all theoretical, and therefore, Theorycraft. Sometimes the term was used negatively, like "He can't micro/macro/some other skill, he's just a theorycrafter", meaning the player has a head for Starcraft theory but is not a good player.
The term became more popular when it carried over to World of Warcraft. Players began reverse engineering the formulas used for their character's damage. Spreadsheets were made, simulators were built, and threads were filled with arguments (primarily on elitistjerks.com. All in the name of higher DPS, higher TPS, or higher HPS/M.
I always hated math, why would I do this?
First off, you don't have to: people like me who love math will do it for you. Theorycrafting is a great to figure out what works well without any bias. You may feel like massive crits are the way to go, but putting 50 small bleeds on an enemy might be the true fastest way to kill it. Theorycrafting can tell you this. Theorycrafting has brought new terms to gaming like soft cap. The game doesn't tell you that defense is less useful after a certain point, theorycrafters do.
TheoryWarring: Guild Wars 2 always has to be different, right?
In other MMOs I've done theory crafting just to figure out what rotation to use or mostly, which heal will give me the best HPM. Guild Wars 2 is going to be different though. Through the first two beta events I can already tell that the best DPS does not mean the best player. So I want to change what theorycrafting has been into a more suitable case for Guild Wars. I am dubbing this Theory Wars.
Theorywarring should tell you not just the damage numbers, but help you make decisions while you play, because that's what Guild Wars 2 combat is all about. It's not about trying to take the human factor out of your perfectly theory crafted rotation. It's about position, support, control and damage.
We will have to crunch some numbers and figure out DPS and all that, but then, like a good Engineer, we have to take that theoretical science and apply it. Make some bridges. Let's build a great build, and learn to make decisions while playing that build that really make it shine. Let's learn how to fight more effectively with and against other professions and let's learn when to support and when to hit like a truck.