Toxic Trail, Social Awkwardness, Final Laugh, etc., etc., etc. are horrid mechanics, in my opinion. It’s not that they’re difficult, they’re just annoying and add little to the experience. Sure, they might catch a tier noob unawares and do some damage, maybe once or twice, but what do they really add to the experience? More hecticness? More dodging?
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t feel they add any significant value in making higher level fractals more difficult, just more annoying. It’s especially fun when, say, you dodge a golem’s pull in aetherblade and dodge the other golem’s knockback only to take damage from an anomaly’s flux bomb because endurance. I think high level fractals, taking into account the extra damage, mobs, mechanics, etc., have enough going on without adding seemlingly random agony effects just because. To me, all they accomplish is being a minor inconvenience and making vigor and mobility potions more important, but they don’t make it more fun by any stretch of the imagination.
To me, the ideal form of agony would be something akin to an enrage timer whislt at the same time punishing consecutive mistakes severely. Is it really necessary to have one attack with a minor telegraph obscured by all the kittens GW2’s UI has to offer (with everyone’s names, guild tag and titles, coupled with damage number and enemy names right where the action is… brilliant) hit for 21k because higher difficulty? No, it really isn’t, and it doesn’t actually make it fun nor relevant because if your team is good enough you’ll get ressed anyway.
So, my suggestion/feedback: get rid of random agony effects and make it instead something that ticks for X amount per second for as long as you’re in combat, perhaps increasing by tier, whislt at the same time reducing healing by X%, again varying according to tier. Agony, then, becomes something that punishes manifold mistakes (rather than needing to have absurd damage given the health pools to make higher tiers more difficult) and punishes underperforming builds/subpar players, because with reduced healing and a consistent DoT you’ll need to be on point with dodges and finish that fight fast. That, in my opinion, would add enough excitment and make higher tiers more rewarding without having to add a gazillion new things, including increased health pools and damage numbers.
Of course many won’t like it but, hey, there are four tiers… it should be a thing that some people are t2 players whereas others are t4 players. And while we’re at it, let’s make fractal avengers actually finish people off so that if you suck you die. As it is, a group ability to complete a fractal is reliant upon having 2-3 players that are good enough to ress those that aren’t and even if they can’t it doesn’t matter because those 3 players could probably finish it on their own.
I understand the dev team is trying to make them harder, but the way it’s being done is somewhat ridiculous, with too many notches being turned up rather than a few well defined and thought out tweaks. Take Nightmare, for instance, it’s become quite epileptic in its pace. It was good as it was, one of the best. Throwing an attack every 1.5s your way because more hecticness = good is just not the way to go.
I’m all for making them harder, mind you, it’s just a question of how.