Three Guild Wars 2 developers talk about the major discussions from the forums before taking questions directly from the community.
Three ArenaNet developers took time on Thursday to go over the major topics related to the upcoming changes mentioned in the blog post outlining ArenaNet’s plan for the start of 2013. The developers included Lead Content Designer Mike Zadorojny, Game Designer Jonathan Sharp, and Systems Designer Matt Witter who each represented the PvE, PvP, and WvW areas of the game respectfully. Below is what the developers talked about, but for those just wanting the facts there is a tl;dr bullet point list on page two.
New Achievement System
Mike Z started off going into the new achievement system that is built around the daily and monthly achievements. First off is that daily achievements will change from day to day and will focus on getting players back out into specific parts of the world and working with other players (reviving downed players was the example given).
To build on this new achievement system is the new Crowns currency that will be rewarded for completing the daily and monthly achievements. For those of you who have already finished the January monthly achievements, don’t worry as February will be the first monthly achievements that will reward currencies with dailies starting to reward just after the patch. Normal achievements are not included but have plans to be implemented later, though whether they give Crowns or work off a different reward system still hasn’t been determined. To go along with this reward system more than 100 new rewards are being added for players to show off their accomplishments. Ascended items will also now be attainable outside of the Fractals of the Mists dungeon with this new achievement System.
Being a currency, the Crowns will not take up any inventory space but instead appear next to the Karma amount in your inventory. Unlike Karma however, Crowns will be an account-wide currency.
Along with the idea of getting players back out into different areas of the world, Mike Z mentioned how Guilds would be able to kick off 4 or 5 different styles of content out in the world. After a guild(s) has kicked these off then other players can come and join in the event. Along with this ArenaNet is adding to the current tiers of influence rewards (Economics, Politics, Art of War, and Architecture) and adding in new rewards for these higher tiers. Guild vs. Guild however appears to not be something on ArenaNet’s plans as Sharp mentioned how they see the current 5v5 sPvP as being the competitive, team battle system that GvG was in GW1.
Dungeons will be updated in multiple phases. The first build will remove the idea of rez rushing (keeping bosses in combat while dead players revive and rush back to the boss to continue fighting). After the update, players won’t be able to revive at a waypoint if anyone in the party is still in combat. To balance with this change, ArenaNet is making the bosses that forced players into this tactic easier. Not to make things too easy, they are also planning to bump up the difficulty of explorable modes to their original challenging states and giving a boost to the rewards to match the challenge.
Mike Z said that wants to make all of the bosses similar to those in the Fractals. He likes how they were able to build the bosses and the environment to work together. Most of the normal dungeon bosses are pretty stagnant in their environment and in their approach against the players and they want to fix that.
A LFG tool is in the works but is still far off. The tool will not be used for just dungeons, but sPvP and open world as well to allow players to find groups to do any activity with.
Not much new information here. Leaderboards, New player experience, 1v1 Tournaments running Temple of the Silent Storm, Blog post coming soon to talk more on all of this. There is plans to add PvP exclusive skins to the game. WvW is also getting skins, but it was not clear as to whether the WvW would be their own exclusive skins or if WvW is considered PvP in relation to the PvP exclusive skins (meaning the skins would be available from either sPvP or WvW).
Sharp did go a bit into Custom Arenas for sPvP. They will cost (don’t know how much yet) as you will be renting a room from ArenaNet. After renting the room you become the host and have the option to turn on and off different features. Sharp said that you wouldn’t be able to create an entirely new game type but would have a lot of options to play with.
Writer’s Note: I am guessing one of the options is going to be the ability to turn off specific capture points, which would be nice if you want your room to be 2v2 and having only 1 or 2 capture points to keep things more interesting. If this is so I imagine you could turn off all of the capture points and end up with a Team Death Match room essentially.
On the topic of new game modes, they said that they have indeed been testing different game modes. ANet wanted Conquest to be the base mode of sPvP so that it is easy for a player to show it to someone, explain it easy, and say that is PvP. Then they wanted to expand off of that base. They said they have tested many different game types including deathmatch, CTF, dodgeball, and MOBA. They didn’t talk specifics but said that not everything works in Guild Wars 2 but that just because the whole didn’t work when they play tested it meant that there still were not parts to the game types that could work. To this note they said that a new mode will be arriving sometime this year that will be what the community has asked for but not necessarily in the way they imagined. More ESport content support coming this year.
Balance was another hot topic including its effect on the Meta game. Sharp said that they want the meta game to be a shuffle of roles such as roamers, dps, bunkers on team make-ups. They don’t want a team to need to have anything specific like a bunker, so they are looking closely at how to balance things to make everything good but nothing required. To this subject, Portal Mesmers came up, including the comment of giving some other classes the portal mechanic to lessen the need of a Mesmer on the team.
AoEs are also being closely looked at so that an AoE is not a better choice of skill when fighting 1 or 2 players compared to single target skills. Another part of balance is getting a good choice of builds for every class. They don’t want to limit classes to 1 or 2 builds while others have 5 or 6. Instead they want every class to have 5 or 6 viable builds instead of being limited to the 1 or 2 good builds while any other build is left subpar. To this effect they are looking at weak weapons and traits for the classes to improve so they are viable for builds.
The goal is to add progression into WvW with suitable rewards attached to that to help encourage more players to do WvW. One part of this is rewarding the individual player for what they are doing. As it is currently, the reward is server based with the overall score. Some of the rewards could include skins as well as WvW-only abilities. With this they want to encourage people to defend and get involved and away from the mass zerg mentality. Ascended gear not attainable in WvW yet, but they are looking at how to get it in there and the new progression and reward system could be part of that and the badges could be part of it. Culling is getting closer to being a thing of the past, and will be added across the game so large events like the dragon events and karka events will not have culling problems anymore.
Fractals of the Mists
Already announced that the disconnect and fractal level issues will be resolved in the next build. The rewards for the Fractals will be based on your own personal fractal level however. So a player with fractal level 5 will get rewards similar to having done a level 5 fractal even if they are in a group doing fractal level 15. This way a fractal noob is not getting rewarded with ascended rings the first time they run the fractals.
Orr - In the upcoming build there will be some changes to Orr. New Effects, environment zones, and rewards.
The devs said that overall they want to focus on fixing bugs and the current content more than adding in more content. They said they don’t want to start layering more content on top of something that is broken. There are multiple teams that are working on different areas of the game, so there are Dynamic Event teams that are working on building the lore and story throughout the world and Dungeon team working on improving the bosses. With the multiple teams, ANet can improve areas of the game and not worry about leaving other areas behind since another team will be working on it.
The devs also wanted to state that they are not staying quiet because they want to, but because they don’t want to create false hope if something gets pushed back (like if a bug pops up in testing that requires content to be pushed back to the next build). They want to deliver awesome content and don’t want to disappoint players if something has to get changed or the date for its release pushed back, so they try to keep everything close to the vest until it is absolutely is coming out and then they will come out and talk about it completely.
Matt "Mattsta" Adams