ArenaNet takes a tempered stance on Guild Wars 2 dungeon balancing
ArenaNet's previouslyestablished moderation when making balance tweaks to Guild Wars 2 essentially boils down to "wait and see." That viewpoint extends to managing dungeon difficulty - Director Colin Johanson wrote a forum post yesterday to explain the developer's "active monitoring" of how many deadly, towering monsters punch players' faces in and vice versa.
"We’ll be keeping an eye on bosses we think don’t have enough varied mechanics to warrant their large health pools and updating them over time to make them more varied/interesting fights," Johanson stated. "We’ll be monitoring and continually tweaking/adding to dungeon rewards over time and of course balancing where we see the need. And, of course, we’ll be looking at adding more dungeons as well!"
Johanson went on to reiterate ArenaNet's thoughts on knee-jerk cries for content nerfs and buffs, writing, "The game is very new for most of our players, and I can absolutely promise with more knowledge of the game and advanced player skill, the explorable dungeons can all be overcome by joining skilled groups. We’ve seen many groups do it just fine in our internal alpha test once they had time to learn how to play the game well. Just like [original Guild Wars zone] Domain of Anguish, it takes time and practice to learn how to overcome stuff as hard as our explorable mode dungeons, and that’s exactly the kind of players they are designed for."
While the dungeons haven't yet kicked my poor Thief's head off in terms of challenge, other critical areas of Guild Wars 2, such as a proper introduction to group content mechanics beyond flash mobs, could be improved. While challenging encounters certainly keep veterans and fans interested enough to return for more, it runs the risk of alienating fresh MMO players -- an audience Guild Wars 2's pre-launch fervor specifically targeted -- unfamiliar with how much coordination and awareness they demand.