IncGamers Guild Wars 2 Interview

IncGamers caught up with the ArenaNet team who answered a few questions regarding the sequel. On hand to answer our questions were Eric Flannum, Lead Designer,  Curtis Johnson, Designer, Jon Peters, Designer Ree Soesbee, Designer. Topics covered in the interview include races,. PvP, Lore and more.

The most recent trailer showed us GW2’s five races. Does each race have unique abilities, and how important will they be when choosing a character?

Eric Flannum Each of the five races has unique skills available to them. Our philosophy behind the design of these racial skills is that they are slightly weaker than equivalent skills determined by profession. While they may be less powerful, the racial skills capture the flavor of each race and provide additional options for the player. For example, a human playing a profession that normally doesn?Eurot have a good way of dealing with conditions could take the ?Euro?Prayer to Kormyr?Euro? racial skill, which removes a condition but is a fair bit weaker than comparable skills provided by a profession specializing in condition removal. By doing this, we hope to give the various races access to skills that make them feel unique without making them overpowered when played as a particular profession.

Will there be high-level Pick-Up Group PvP, as we saw in Heroes’ Ascent?

Jon Peters We have two main types of competitive play in Guild Wars 2. First we have World vs World (WvW), which pits uneven numbers of players against each other across large maps and involves level progression. We also have Player vs Player, which pits smaller groups of evenly matched opponents against each other.
The plan for PvP is that it will be broken down into two types of play tournaments and pick-up play. Tournaments will allow organized teams to face off in brackets that determine an eventual winner. These will run frequently to give ad-hoc teams a fighting chance. Pick-up play will feature variable team sizes and will be hot-joinable.  Players can form a group or play solo, picking a game to join based on map, available space, and other settings. Rather than spending time looking for a group, players will simply be able to jump in on their own, form a group with friends or strangers, and look for a game that satisfies their level of play.

In GW1, the norn worship six spirits the Bear, the Raven, the Wolf, the Ox, the Wurm and the Owl. One GW2 interview mentions different spirits the Bear, the Raven, the Wolf and the Snow Leopard. Have the Norn really changed the spirits they revere? If so, is there a lore explanation for the change?

Ree Soesbee The norn have not changed the spirits they revere; the list in GW1 was an incomplete one. Although the Great Spirit, Bear, is seen as the strongest, most important Spirit of the Wild, she certainly is not the only one to guide and inspire the norn people. Groups of norn ?Euro usually families, larger lodge houses, or isolated hearthsteads ?Euro tend to revere a particular animal spirit more than others, invoking its bravery, wisdom, or cunning in order to emulate its beneficial qualities. As with all things, the norn are very individualistic about their personal beliefs. This means that in some areas, Ox is a very well-known spirit and guardian, while in others he is far less important.

When the Elder Dragon Jormag arose in the northern Shiverpeaks, the norn were led south to establish Hoelbrak by four of their most powerful Spirits of the Wild ?Euro Bear, Raven, Snow Leopard, and Wolf. The other spirits did not take an active hand in the norn exodus.  Spirits such as Ox and Owl had other issues taking their attention; they were not able to lend their aid to the norn in their time of greatest need. The four Spirits of the Wild that aided the norn the have become more prevalent, and the norn who settled Hoelbrak built four large Spirit Lodges to thank them for their protection and wisdom.  The other spirits are not given the same prominence, but that does not mean they have been forgotten.

What’s the degree of hostility between the Gold Legion and the other charr legions? Do they openly try to kill each other, or is it just a matter of not liking each other but working together for the good of the charr?

Ree Soesbee Open warfare rages between the three charr legions and the Flame Legion, mockingly called the ?Euro?Gold Legion?Euro by their foes due to their soft characteristics and reliance on magic rather than weaponry.  The Flame Legion subjugated and enslaved the other three legions during the period before the Searing through the fall of Ascalon. Kalla Scorchrazor?Euros defiance and the great war between the charr earned freedom once more for the Iron, Ash, and Blood Legions, the Flame Legion fell into chaos ?Euro but they did not lose their drive and determination to gather all charr under their banner and seize the throne of the Khan-Ur.

It has taken the Flame Legion two hundred years to gather their forces enough to once more face the other three legions in open battle, but even over that time, they never lost sight of their goal. They have used tactics ranging from guerilla warfare and sabotage to infiltration and betrayal, all in the name of power. There have been times during the interregnum when the Flame Legion was strong enough to challenge one, or even two of the other legions ?Euro but now, with the rise of their new ?Euro?God,?Euro Gaheron Baelfire, the Flame Legion is strong enough to challenge the combined might of all three legions in battle.

If the Flame Legion dominates the Iron, Ash, and Blood Legions once again, they will usher in a new era of tyranny among the charr. They will take their vengeance on the charr females who dared oppose them and raise weapons against their ?Euro?rightful lords.?Euro They will raise Gaheron ?Euro one of their own ?Euro to be the sole God among their race, and other charr will worship him, or be destroyed.
So, no. I wouldn?Eurot say it?Euros an amicable relationship.

How long does an asura live? We got some hints on GWEN that an asura could live for centuries…

Ree Soesbee Asura live for slightly longer than a human ?Euro perhaps 5-10% longer (an exceptional lifespan for an asura might be 120 years). They do not live for centuries ?Euro but asura inventions often continue to operate long after the original architect has become no more than a facet in the Eternal Alchemy.

Is Vekk still alive?

Ree Soesbee In GW2? No, I?Eurom afraid not. But as to what happened to him in the end?Euro? well, let?Euros just say physics choked back.

While there are guns in GW2, will characters still have the choice of keeping the primitive weapons like bows?

Eric Weapon use in Guild Wars 2 is restricted by profession.  There are indeed professions that use guns, bows, or both, as well as some professions that can use neither. If a player wants to wield a bow they will certainly have multiple professions to choose from.

What have you learned from GW1 in terms of management of an online community and about how to structure a game in general?

Eric Flannum After releasing three full games and an expansion, we?Eurove learned a lot about community management and game structure. For example, one of the things that seemed like a great idea to us when we first started making GW1 was the unified server for all players. On the surface this seems preferable since it allows people the greatest amount of flexibility when playing with their friends. In practice it means that player community is much harder to build. When playing in a world with hundreds of thousands of players you hardly ever encounter the same people on a regular basis (our heavy use of instancing also had a huge effect on this). Some players also use the large number of players as an excuse to act in a rude manner, knowing that they can?Eurot really gain a negative reputation or ever have to be held accountable by the community for their actions. Of course, breaking things into different servers isn?Eurot magically going to make these issues go away or solve all of our problems, but online games are ultimately all about player communities.  Anything we can do to foster healthy and active player communities is a big win for us.

Do you intend to make PvP a strong enough game on its own for it to be viewed as a competitive game (E-sport)?

Jon Peters We?Eurore building our PvP from the ground up as a separate experience. Players will take a character to PvP to retain their name, race, and profession. After that, they will be limited by skill alone. After that, we?Eurove taken a lot of cues from the first-person shooter genre, to make Guild Wars 2 feel more like an E-sport. Public games will be hot-joinable. We will track player statistics, generate rankings to let players see how they compare to their peers, and hold a variety of tournaments, both large and small, to let the most competitive players duke it out for the bragging rights to be called the best Guild Wars 2 players in the world.

The word “Guild” in the Guild Wars franchise has always suggested the central role guilds would play in the game. As you have stated, Guild Wars 2 will in many ways be improvements to what you wished you could have done in GW1. In this regard, could you tell us what lessons you have learned from GW1? How will guild-related features be different from GW1?

Curtis Johnson When we made GW1 we knew that guilds and community were essential parts of the online role play experience, so we made it easy to start a guild very early in the game and for players to keep those relationships going by including all their characters in the same guilds. 

For Guild Wars 2 we?Eurore keeping that same focus on early connections. We?Eurore making it easy to keep all your characters in one guild, but for GW2 we decided that more friends means more fun, so it will be possible to have different characters in different guilds.  We also wanted to give guilds more common purpose, so we?Eurore including guild achievements, and placement in the world including guilds holding keeps in World vs World. We also want to make it easier to stay connected with your guild mates, so we?Eurore introducing features like a guild calendar to make meeting and coordinating across time zones easier, and participating in guild chat from any web browser so you can stay in touch even when you can?Eurot play.

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  • That’s more news on just one page than we have been able to pull out of Regina’s and Linsey’s “secret box” for months. A good thing that the time of silence seems to be over now.
    >> Racial skills <<
    There are long posts about how they will be introduced – and now they are “sub par normal skills”. *big grin* I get the feeling that they will be good “starter skills” (and we all know we took e.g. Monk secondaries for the hex removal and hard rezz)
    >> Lore stuff <<
    Nice info … enough to keep the Lore geeks excited a few days.
    >> No bows for me? <<
    Hmmm…. weapons are limited by the professions? Although this isn’t knew (half of the classic RPGs work that way), this seems to be new to the world of GuildWars.
    >> Guild focus <<
    Joining different guilds? Certainly a novelty. Guild achievements? Very interesting… I want to know more about that. Guild calender? Pretty awesome. Web based guild chat? Not sure about that, because of security issues (e.g. the log-in process).

    I’ll leave comments on the PvP stuff to the “pros” and stick my “casual nose” into the PvE stuff first.

  • Main thing I want to comment on: Guild updates seem awesome. Very promising way to deepen your connection with your Guild, plan better etc.

    Secondary but almost if not equally cool, player statistics and both PuG and organized PvP play. Level progression sucks in pvp, so doubt I’ll WvW much. Then again if that scores Divinity’s Reach as a hangout for my guild… Sounds like I’ll have too many things I want!

  • Malhavoc Adhamar

    GW2 is looking to be shaping up very nicely. I’m liking the lesser skill idea for the racial as well as the improvement guilds are getting.

    If the World vs World PvP is anything similar to Warhammer: Age of Reckoning’s Realm vs Realm system then I think I’ll be getting deeply involved in that very early on. The leveled aspect is a minor concern but if a WAR teir system is used to prevent high leveled people from picking on the lowbies then bring on the fun.

    Can it be GW2 tiems prz?

  • Just want to thank all the guys from this site that contributed questions smile

  • Its nice to hear news on the GW2 front on the game design and lore, though I’m quite surprised about the comment of the game going back to the sever system and limiting player interaction. I always liked the fact that I could game with any one in the world no mater where they are from. this is one of Guild wars greatest strengths not a weakness. Should we have to be confined to servers like most other MMO games I do hope we can transfer at any time we wish.
    As for the limiting of weapons to classes….. I will have to think on that. If this combo will exist in gw2- could a mesmer/Ranger use a bow?…. I hope so.

  • this interview does clear things up, just a bit weird about the part bows are limited to profs.
    normally everyone can use it, now it seems there will be some kind of stat that forbids it. mad

  • Weapons limited to professions? Different guilds on one account? Different servers? That doesn’t sound good at all.

    To be in more than one guild does definitely not mean more fun. You cannot focus on several guilds. That’s just not possible. You’ll never have an intimate relationship with your guildmates if you’re in several guilds >< And what’s the point in being in a guild, when you don’t know the other people there? I want to have fun with my guild and part of that is e.g. knowing their first names, real life meetings [Gosh … those are fun :D] and so one …

    And what about that different server stuff? I mean, that was one of the best things about GW1. One could easily play and trade with people from all over the world. It’s stupid to be restricted to one server :<

    I don’t really care about that weapon stuff. Course it’s fun running around with caster swords, but i could go without that oô

    The rest sounds really great XD

    PS: Hope my English isn’t all too bad =P

  • Natalie Black

    Earlier on they said that it would be easy to change servers but didn’t specify much about how it would work. I was under the impression it would be free unlike other MMO’s as they made it sound like you would switch on a whim, not something your going to do if you have to pay.

  • Yes you’ll be able to switch between servers and no it won’t cost you a dime doing so.

  • Wait…Ree Soesbee as in the Ree Soesbee that did fluff/storyline back in the old days of Legend of the Five Rings?  THAT Ree Soesbee?  Jimminy Cricket, sign me up!!!  Her fiction was always topnotch, and paid a lot more attention to cohesion and coherency than…shall we say…other developers of the game.

  • Most of this sounds great, but I really hate the concept of adding firearms to the this game. Awful idea…

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  • Thank you for these.  I am new to this game and I find Guildwars a very challenging game. I find it cool that we can add more firearms.


    cool hmm

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