Guild Wars 2: Colin Johanson Livestream

Colin Johanson, Game Director for Guild Wars 2, talks about the upcoming content patch and future of Guild Wars 2.

In an official ArenaNet livestream earlier today, Game Director Colin Johanson talked about the upcoming Living World content and teased some of what is to come later in Guild Wars 2. Colin started off by talking about the content patch coming next Tuesday before moving on to community questions.

The upcoming patch will allow players to vote for the candidate of their choosing, but also decides what content will be developed for future content releases. Tokens will drop all over the game from mobs and new activities, and being a pirate election anything will go. Vote as many times as you have tokens and look out for the candidates doing whatever they can to win. Colin even mentions candidates buying players' votes.

One of the benefits of each candidate is an addition to the Fractals of the Mist dungeon. Voting for Evon will add the Fall of Abaddon and voting for Kiel will add the Thaumanova Reactor explosion. The winning instance will be added to the Fractals by the end of the year, but Colin added that in the same patch the Molten Alliance Weapon Facility dungeon from Flame and Frost and the Aetherblade dungeon will both be added as well.

The election will also add a rotation of activities on a daily rotation including daily achievements for that day's activity. Colin went on to add that the Living World is helping ArenaNet to build a portfolio of content that can be brought back. The activities are an example, but also include things like the Bazaar, holidays and the Super Adventure Box. Having these core content allows them time to build and expand them to even greater things in the future.

In ZAM's interview with Studio Design Director Chris Whiteside, he mentioned that the Living World team was expanded up to four full teams. Colin has said that players have not really seen the effects of this expansion yet. The Flame and Frost content was all done by a single team which meant that content had to be built and pushed out very quickly. With the June content, Colin said, players are starting to see how having more teams is helping to build bigger, better and more polished and bug free content but that the full effect of having four full teams won't be noticed until a little later this year.

The Living World story is all leading up to a single point, Colin mentioned. It might not seem like all the story is connected at the moment, but it will all make sense to players later on. Not all story may pay off immediately, but be laying ground work for content further into the future. Whichever candidate that players pick in the upcoming content could have an effect on later stories as players are picking a new Lion's Arch Captain's Council member and each candidate might vote and lead stories differently.

One part of the Living World that Colin mentioned they need to work on is the balance between temporary and permanent content. The earlier Living World releases like the Flame and Frost arc was almost solely temporary content, which was good for telling a story but not for building a world. He did want to say that they want to continue with temporary content as it allows for interesting story. The first Southsun release was an example he brought up, where discovering this new island, invading it and colonizing it was really interesting. Content like this could come back as long as the technical details are better sorted.

Colin was also asked a lot of expansion related questions. He mentioned that they are still not set on whether there will be a typical expansion style release or something new for GW2, but that the content expected from an expansion would be coming at some point. The Personal Story for example is not being replaced by the Living World, but is content that would be released with the expansion content along with another dragon. He did point out that another dragon would not be coming to GW2 this year. Colin also said that it is "certainly a possibility that we will go back to locations from GW1 that people love" but that "there is so many directions we can go." He mentioned all the open areas on the map and the different dragons in different directions for the game to go.

As part of the expansion questions Colin was asked about adding new classes. He mentioned that they were less likely to add new classes as just add new weapons and skills to existing classes. The current classes fit most of the archetypes he said, so fitting in new classes wouldn't be too needed as just expanding the current classes could accomplish the same thing. He did mention that it is still possible for new classes to be added and that adding a new heavy would balance the armor types to three classes each.

Lastly was a question regarding a group finder tool. Colin said that they have been actively working on an LFG tool and that it is an extremely complicated system with tying into what it needs to do and character data. He did say that it was play tested yesterday and will be released before the end of the year.

This livestream was just a preview of what is coming to Guild Wars 2. This Thursday, ArenaNet will be putting up a new blog post where Colin will do a high level overview of what to expect in the second half of 2013. Check back to ZAM on Thursday for our look at the overview.

Matt Adams

Follow me @MattstaNinja

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