We talk with some of the developers behind the last Flame and Frost arc and the changes coming to sPvP.
The fourth and final chapter of Guild Wars 2’s, the Flame & Frost story arc Retribution, will be released on April 30th. In preparation for the new content, ArenaNet sat down with the press to go over the new dungeon tied to the Flame & Frost story as well as the introduction of Custom Arenas and Spectator Mode in sPvP.
(Click here to jump to Custom Arenas and Spectator Mode or continue reading for the Flame and Frost story.)
From the Living World team behind Retribution we talked to Steven Waller, Coordinator for the Living Story content, and Living Story content designers Leif Chappelle and Matthew Medina. Before Leif and Matthew dug into the design of the dungeon, Steven dived into what the Living Story is for ArenaNet.
The Living Story is massive updates for lore with content delivered monthly. ArenaNet has committed itself to delivering this new and free content that is diverse and affects the world of Guild Wars 2. With each new month ArenaNet is growing and evolving the world with unique themes, taking players on a journey that will continue to evolve over the coming months and years. It is part of ArenaNet's philosophy to innovate and push the boundaries of the MMO genre. While many MMOs frequently update their games, ArenaNet is trying to tie every update into the larger story of the game that is a living world.
The Flame & Frost story arc content started about three months ago. Tyria was being and has been terrorized by a new combined threat of the Flame Legion and the Dredge. The Norn and the Charr have pretty much faced the brunt of these attacks so far with their citizens being killed and displaced from their homes. More recently the Molten Alliance has grown even bolder, made new attacks, introduced spying mechanisms into broader areas of the region, and all of this has been leading to hints of a possible larger scale invasion. During this two new heroes have arisen. Rox and Braham have stepped forward to meet this challenge and beat back some of the Molten Alliance’s forces with a hint of the Alliance's new combined technology in the March update.
In our April release, new intelligence alerts our heroes and their allies that the Molten Alliance weapons facilities are located under the Shiverpeaks. The heroes are now going to take the fight to the Molten Alliance, with the hope of rescuing those prisoners taken in March and striking a blow against this new combined threat. Players will fight side by side with our heroes as they explore the depths of these secret facilities. The threat is greater and the attack is even deadlier as a combined force the Molten Alliance is more powerful than anyone has imagined. Players will have to save the prisoners and destroy these weapon facilities before the Alliance can arm itself for an invasion.
This new dungeon is not like the traditional dungeon where there is a story and explorable paths. It is a single path dungeon and it is one that we pretty much designed from the start to build toward the final encounter. We started by designing this massive boss encounter – their skills, their mechanics and all that and made it really fun – then worked backward from there. In this way we took the mechanics and skills that you need to know for the final encounter and introduced those one at a time and then in different combinations as you worked your way through the dungeon. In taking each of the mechanics and making units that sort of epitomize that mechanic and gradually introducing and putting them into different combinations, you can build up your ability to react to them leading up to the final encounter so by the time you get there you'll know how to succeed.
We added some new types of things you will be doing in the dungeon. For example there are these Molten Brawlers that have a stomp or ground pound that creates a shockwave that you can actually jump over. With jumping being one of the cool new things you can do in GW2 (over GW1), why not use that? So you can use that or you can just dodge roll through it if you are not as adept at jumping. Another example being the Molten Protector where he basically creates this big force field on the ground and anything that is inside of it will have all of the damage done to it reduced to zero. You can still affect them – you can knock them back and do various other things to them – but you are going to have to deal with this place in the battlefield now that you need to get everyone out or else you can't damage them. So you have to figure out what to do with the protector; do you separate him from the group or do you just damage him down before he can do anything? You will need to figure out your tactics on how to deal with these guys.
One of the things we did to make that fun for repeat play is we have a variety of different enemies that will change randomly with different groups and combinations of enemies. When the different lieutenants with different skills are together in different combinations, it really changes how you battle against them. With who you try to take out first, there are different ways depending on who is in the group you run with and the play style that you have that can really affect the experience that you are going to have.