We talk with Mike Ferguson and Habib Loew about the new WvW Progression and removal of Culling.
The March content update for Guild Wars 2 goes live tomorrow. A big part of the update will focus on World vs. World including the new WvW specific progression system and the end of culling in WvW. In anticipation of the patch, ZAM was able to grab an interview with ArenaNet about these two major changes.
During the interview I had the chance to talk with Mike Ferguson, the Lead WvW Designer, and Habib Loew, the Lead WvW Programmer. After the introductions were done we jumped straight into the questions about the new Ranks and Abilities progression system in World vs World.
It has been mentioned that the new progression system in WvW will be a way for level 80 characters to continue to progress. Does this mean that only level 80 characters will gain the new WvW experience or will lower level characters progress in this new system as well?
Mike: Anyone that plays in WvW can gain World XP by completing events and killing other players. It is not specifically for characters level 80, but it is a good way for people level 80 to get an additional sense of progression.
Habib: Really the best way to think of it is as a parallel progression system. So whether or not you are level 80, there is something WvW specific that you can advance by playing WvW.
Mike, you mentioned that completing events and killing other players would earn you World XP. What about things like the lone Sentry points, using Supply, the NPC mobs or completing the jumping puzzles?
Mike: The sentries will give you a little bit because you do an event there. Just the little stuff like spending supply does not actually give you World XP.
Habib: Unless you did it as part of completing an event.
Mike: Right. If you do it as part of completing a defending event and you get credit for the defend event, then that will give you World XP. But the actual use of supply itself will not.
How many ranks will be added with the patch?
Mike: Right now the system has just under 2,000 ranks that you can acquire. The system that we built is actually expandable so we can make that number go higher later if we decide to.
Habib: And when we are talking about a rank here, think of it as being analogous to a level. So you get ranks periodically and every so many ranks you get access to a new WvW title. So right now for example, if you see an enemy run up there may be an Anvil Rock Invader. That is what we are calling a WvW title. So they might turn into an Anvil Rock Scout or Anvil Rock Gold Legend depending on how advanced they are.
Along with these ranks new abilities will be added. Do players earn a new ability at the same time they achieve the next title?
Mike: The way that it works is that every time you gain a rank you get a World Ability Point and you can spend those to unlock or level up abilities. That’s really gated on what ability you want to buy and how many World points you have remaining. So it's not intrinsically tied to when you get a title.
So will there be a new window that will show players a tree of abilities to unlock?
Habib: Yeah. We have actually redone the score panel a little bit to give a little more detail and add in the world progression systems. Where the current score panel just gives you a generic overview of the entire match, we have actual split it out so that each map has its own panel inside of there so that you can look at like Eternal Battlegrounds or each of the Borderlands and see what the state is on that map without having to go into WvW and open up your world map to see that.
Mike: In addition to the existing display of course which we preserved. Then there is another tab there that lets people look at their rank and ability purchases and what abilities are available, how many points they have outstanding and all that kind of good stuff.
How long will it take to gain each rank?
Mike: The timeframe we are targeting is somewhere between an hour and two hours for each rank up. Obviously some players will be going faster or slower than that, but we are generally targeting the range of an hour to two hours.
And that will be consistent across all the ranks or will it have a leveling-type curve?
Habib: Every rank is consistent except for maybe like the first couple starters where we might give you the ranks a bit faster, but then you will hit the plateau really early on. At that point we are just giving you the points and where we do the titles where we intersperse them at different intervals.
How many different titles are you adding?
Mike: We currently have 16, but the system is expandable if we need to add more in later.