Last week we took some community questions and got some ArenaNet answers.
Edge of the Mists launches later today in Guild Wars 2. Players will soon discover that no place is safe from the villain Scarlet Briar as the new World vs. World map is overrun with Aetherblade pirates. If things were not already bad, the major Living World characters Braham and Taimi have become stranded in the Mists. Players will need to help them while fending off Aetherblade attacks!
Last week, ZAM sent out a call for community questions about today’s patch and we had the opportunity to talk with Mike Zadorojny to get these questions and more answered. The Edge of the Mists was in a public beta test up until a few weeks ago which allowed players to see what would soon be coming to Guild Wars 2. It was then only natural that many questions would be about the new addition to the map: the Aetherblades.
"Um... Where's Braham?"
The Aetherblades are not going anywhere. They are a new permanent part of the Edge of the Mists with their foothold in the very center of the map as ArenaNet wanted there to be this constant AI controlled opponent on the map. Currently they will just be in the certain of the map, but with this release players will start to see how ArenaNet is working to improve the AI. Players will see allied NPCs come to help build the static siege locations around the map in this update and eventually they plan to have the Aetherblades roam the map, possibly even build their own, non-static siege and take objectives from players.
Some of the community questions then looked at Edge of the Mists new design for WvW in terms of both skillful and small team battle as well as the general aesthetics of the map. ArenaNet wanted Edge of the Mists to support more skillful gameplay, where controlling areas mattered and good siege placement could turn the tide of a battle. Along with this, they wanted to create avenues that small groups of players could affect the flow of the map. Even the NPC objectives have had scaling added to them, so the hp and damage of NPCs like the Tower Lords will increase as more players show up to fight them. The scaling will work like it does in PvE and not be a 1:1 ratio. This means that 20 players won’t make it 20 times harder and that while the NPCs will be scaled down for small groups of players to kill, they will still be easier to defeat with more people.
As for the look of the map, Edge of the Mists was created by the same team of artists that worked on the original WvW maps. Mike said that everything they were doing about the map, such as its ability to create overflows and its detachment from the WvW War Score, allowed the artists to take risks that they probably never would have with the Borderlands and Eternal Battlegrounds.
What's this? Canach imprisoned in Lion's Arch!?
A big concern with the map being able to create overflows was the imbalance that high population servers would create when facing lower population servers. During our interview with Devon Carver last week, we found out that winning a matchup would provide a set amount of supply to be dropped in the team’s home citadel. As long as your team won at least one instance of the Edge of the Mists, they would receive this supply drop and it would be the same amount of supply as a team that might have won three instances of the map.
Now the concern of a server’s population is almost void as all servers of the same color will be fighting together on the same Edge of the Mists instances. All servers within a region that are blue during the current week’s matchup will be pooled together to form the Edge of the Mists blue team. Region will still be a dividing line, but this will still mean 8 or 9 servers will be pooled to form each side within the Mists.
When asked about whether ArenaNet is happy with the current turnout of players in WvW, Mike answered that it is a surprisingly large number of players that grew over the last year and that continued to increase their participation in WvW. ArenaNet always want to see that turnout grow even larger, but the population cap for the WvW maps was always a limiting factor, a limiting factor which players might have witnessed first-hand during the very popular Season 1 of WvW. The Edge of the Mists will help remove this population cap as the sky is the limit with the new map’s ability to create overflows.
"All you have to do is step through the portal and you're there, in a magical land of glory, victory and triumph--most days."
The population cap for the Edge of the Mists itself will be on par with the population cap that the older WvW maps have. Mike, however, wanted to again stress that players will always be able to join at least one instance of the map without worrying about a population limit due to the map’s ability to create overflows.
One perceptive reader noticed that ambient creatures, those little white flies and rabbits, were missing from the Edge of the Mists during the beta tests. Unfortunately, these little guys won’t be seen in the new map. Mike said they removed them after feedback from both the beta and internal testing. This was done to keep the focus on the PvP elements nearby, but also to remove the random rallying that could occur off of them.
What this patch will be adding is a new permanent achievement category for Edge of the Mists. These new achievements can only be completed while on the new map, but this won’t stop players from being able to complete the old WvW achievements (as well as future WvW season achievements) on Edge of the Mists as well. What will be missing is a temporary meta achievement category, as no new meta will be added for Edge of the Mists.
For a long time the dolyak escort events have given no rewards pending an improvement to the game’s core dynamic event system. Mike said that they have made significant changes to the core of the game in strides toward how players get rewarded. As part of this they are continuing to discuss how to be as inclusive as possible including rewarding players who take on the supporting roles like escorting dolyaks.
ArenaNet’s ultimate goal, Mike explained, is for players to feel appropriately rewarded for whatever they do in the game. For improving this in WvW players saw the introduction and improvements to the WvW rank-up chests. This patch will continue to improve these chests with the increase drop chance of ascended gear.
Lastly, we asked Mike about the Tricks and Traps which hasn’t seen any new traps beyond the original two (supply and stealth traps) since it was first introduced. Mike said that the teams main focus was on getting Edge of the Mists finished since it solved many problems such as the WvW population limit. Now that Edge of the Mists is coming out, the team will be able to focus on other things including expanding the selection of Tricks and Traps.
Matt "Mattsta" Adams
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Last week we asked for community questions and ArenaNet gave us five gem codes containing 400 gems each to give away to those who asked questions. Congratulations to the five lucky winners! We took questions both here on ZAM and on Reddit, so check your inboxes on the site you submitted your question to see if you were a winner.
We will again be taking questions after the teaser is revealed for the next two (so one week from today and three weeks from today) and will be giving away another handful of gem codes each time. Additionally, at the end of the season we will be giving a Digital Deluxe edition of Guild Wars 2 to anyone who submitted a question during any of the three calls for community questions. So if you submitted a question last week, you are already entered to win the Digital Deluxe!