We sat down with ArenaNet to talk about the new WvW map, Edge of the Mists.
Last week I had a chance to sit down with Devon Carver and Jon Peters of ArenaNet to talk about the new World vs. World (WvW) map in Guild Wars 2, Edge of the Mists. What makes this new map so special is that it is the first WvW map that will create overflows when the population reaches the cap instead of lining players up in a queue like the current maps.
Another special feature of the map is all of the new features, including different monster types for defenders in different areas of the map and different capture objectives, could one day be updated into the older maps. So to start off the interview I wanted to go back to the origins of the map and ask if this map started as a new map to fix the queue or to have a testing grounds for new WvW ideas.
Both Devon and Jon agreed that the map started off as a way to fix the queue. Since launch one of the things the team has been trying to solve is the problem of queuing. Once they decided that the best way to fix the queue problem was to create this new map, the focus then shifted to asking what they could possibly do with the map. When they knew the map was going to be tested in a live beta setting, it opened the door for the team to try out radical ideas they had to make a new, interesting experience for WvW.
Even after Edge of the Mists goes live early next year, it will remain as a place for the developers to try out radical new things. With each home area for each server containing unique mob types, the map already has an asymmetrical setup. With this segmented place, the WvW team can add something without throwing the map completely out of whack. Then if the change turns out to be something negative, it doesn’t have an effect on the scoring in WvW.
Living World is an example of something that could be added without making a major change to how the other WvW maps are played. I had commented that the addition of the Nightmare Towers during seasons was probably not the most loved addition, and Jon Peters replied that the towers were not all positives or negatives though there were probably more negatives. The good thing the team saw about the towers was that it was breaking up how the area played so that players didn’t see the same thing every time. It did, however, cause players to break up as well where some would go after the tower while others would flip the camp and now you have two groups going after different objectives when they are supposed to be on the same team, working together.
Devon Carver added that the towers were like the first stab at putting the Living World content into WvW so players could play that content and get some of the Living World achievements without being forced out of WvW to do it. They couldn’t say whether Edge of the Mists would be the new home for all Living World content, but Devon commented that the map did allow for a cleaner space that wouldn’t impact a season or even just a regular one-week matchup.
With the radical changes that Edge of the Mists has over the older WvW maps, ArenaNet has said that content that players liked on the new map might be transferred over to update the existing maps. I asked Devon and Jon how the WvW team was looking at the player base and seeing what content was liked and could possibly be moved over. The answer was that the community has a big part in their decision. Anyone currently in the beta has access to forums where the can leave feedback on what is good and what is not so great as well as guild representatives that submit feedback for their guilds as a whole of what is or isn’t liked.
The WvW team also gets in and plays with the players to take the temperature of the test. During any test there are at least a couple of developers on that will be playing and asking in chat what players think about the map. All of this player feedback is in addition to the internal feedback that the team is getting as they playtest the map as a group.