Still Trying to Wrap My Mind Around GW2 Traits

There is something I really can’t wrap my mind to understand it fully: The new Trait system in Guild Wars 2.

Not that’s completely unintelligible or more complex than a game of chess with Kasparov, but I really can’t figure out which of the those sides is the important one.

Thing is: You pick a trait line; adding points to it increases 2 attributes and, at multiples of 5, open a trait slot with more passives. It’s simple at the surface, but I can’t really decide if I should focus on the attributes or the trait slots.

The system is somewhat similar to RIFT soul trees: As you put points in the skills in the tree, you also open skills in the root. But, at the same time, it seemed that the real focus was on the tree and the root was just bonus material. So it was easy to have a focus when building your character.

But the trait system seems… weird when you focus on numbers. Let’s take, as example, the Guardian. In the Virtues trait line, adding one point decreases the recharge time of Virtues in 1% (it also improves the damage of conditions, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s ignore that for a second). Now the question is: Is it worth adding a single point to get 1% recharge time? What about 3 points for 3%? If the numbers are meaningless, this means that you should, instead, focus on the trait slots, which you gain one at every 5 points spent. But then, everything will move in multiples of 5 and we’ll have to ask why there are single units in the first place: If trait slots are so valuable, why not give those 5 points all at once (every 5 levels) and simply let me pick the trait slot?

I think the trait system is pretty interesting, specially when some of the attributes you get are, sometimes, unrelated to the trait slot you’re opening (for Guardians, 10 points in Virtues let you pick a longer elite skills, for example) as it messes with min/maxing, but at the same time its hard to see if points or slots are the leading decision maker at first glance.

Most of the “tools” floating around are fixed on numbers but not their effects (what 100 points in toughness means, for example) so I guess we’ll have to wait for the game for someone to pick those and, sadly, make a spreadsheet.