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Finding the perfect match

Arenanet has just placed a blog post online in which Juston O'Dell, server programmer at Arenanet, outlines the upcoming change to the sPvP algorithm.  The blog post contains information regarding the rollout, changes, and scoring system for the revamp.

This algorithm tuning, along with other sPvP updates, launches on 2 December 2014.

To start off, the first thing I should mention is that we’re separating matchmaking from ladder ranking. Previously, your ladder ranking was based on your matchmaking rating. Removing this link gives us far greater control over how the ladder progresses over the course of a season, as well as the hidden variability and volatility seen with the old ladder. More importantly, this change gives us much greater flexibility in both areas, without which many of the following changes would simply not be possible.
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Announcing Improvements to PvP and the Ladder Test Season

Arenanet has announced upcoming changes to the sPvP of Guild Wars 2.  The changes are added to an update on 2 December 2014.  You can read the full announcement here.

The update will include a host of other improvements to PvP. We’ve overhauled the entire flow of how a player enters PvP. Rosters are a thing of the past; now you can simply join with your party. Players now have to confirm before entering a match, so 4v5 situations can no longer occur from people going AFK. For players who do drop out, the Dishonor system has also been improved to better handle bad behavior.
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Tangled Paths
The war against Mordremoth rages on in the Silverwastes as a new mystery arises. The Zephyrite Master of Peace has taken his precious cargo beyond the front lines. Where has he gone, and what answers will he give if he’s found?

After completing “Tangled Paths,” showcase your tactical mastery as a hero of Tyria by completing challenging, episode-related achievements.

  • With the release of “Tangled Paths,” players can continue to build their Carapace and Luminescent armor sets by collecting the light, medium, and heavy gloves.
    • Carapace gloves are obtained by completing the new Silverwastes reward track, completing the storyline, and exploring the Silverwastes.
    • Players will once again have the chance to prove their mastery of the region by unlocking all three weight classes of Luminescent glove armor to complete the Luminescent Gloves collection.
  • Explore the newly discovered labyrinth, and find nightmare pods full of rich rewards.
    • Nightmare fragments can be found in small pods throughout the maze. Combine them with a bandit skeleton key to open the greater nightmare pod.
    • The greater nightmare pod contains rare and masterwork gear, dragonite ore, and a chance to discover new recipes for Bountiful and Furious Maintenance Oils, Sharpening Stones, and Tuning Crystals.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented players from assigning, removing, or reassigning healing, utility, or elite skills while in a cosmetic transformation (e.g., during the siege of Ascalon in the Urban Battlegrounds fractal).
World Polish
  • Silverwastes
    • The cryptobotanist now correctly indicates the parts he is looking for.
New Items and Promotions
  • World Tournament finishers are available to support your favorite region in the World Tournament Finals. Players purchasing the winning region’s finisher before the finals will receive three Celebration Boosters after the event. Each region’s finisher is available in the Upgrades category of the Gem Store for 600 gems each.
  • A new Pact weapon set is available at Black Lion Weapon Specialists for a limited-time price of one ticket per weapon. Tickets can be found inside Black Lion Chests.
  • The Jungle Explorer outfit is now available in the Style category of the Gem Store for 700 gems.
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Tangled Paths Begins November 18

Arenanet have just announced the next Living Story update, titled Tangled Paths.  This update is a continuation of the second season of the Living World.  The trailer on the official announcement page shows dragon attacks, potential new skills, and new world content.

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Echoes of the Past
As the Pact prepares for the war against Mordremoth, heroes unite in a mysterious land to hold the line against the Elder Dragon’s encroaching forces. But as secrets are revealed, will Tyrians find hope, or only come to understand that the road to war is paved with points of no return?

After completing Echoes of the Past, showcase your tactical mastery as a hero of Tyria by completing challenging, episode-related achievements.

  • The new Carapace and Luminescent armor sets are now available, with distinct looks for light, medium, and heavy professions.
    • Beginning with the six shoulder pieces in Echoes of the Past, the full sets will become available over the rest of the season, for a total of 36 new skins to unlock.
    • By completing the story and playing in the open world, players can earn pieces of Carapace armor.
    • Prove your mastery of the area by completing item collections to upgrade your Carapace armor to Luminescent armor.
  • Completing events in the Silverwastes rewards you with bandit crests that can be traded for a variety of rewards, including:
    • Recipes to craft components for the new Sinister stat combo (condition damage, power, and precision).
    • An Endless Dust Mite Tonic.
    • The Bandit Combat Journal, used to unlock the Bandit Weapons Specialist collection.
    • Bandit Skeleton Keys, used to open Lost Bandit Chests buried throughout the area.
    • And more!
  • Search throughout the Silverwastes for Lost Bandit Chests.
    • Complete events to receive Silverwastes Shovels used to find and uncover chests.
    • Once a chest is uncovered, every player in the map will have a chance to open it. Don’t forget your Bandit Skeleton Key.
    • Chests contain Embroidered Coin Purses, Lumps of Raw Ambrite, and a chance for the new Endless Arid Devourer Tonic and new high-level bandit weapons with a choice of stats.
  • Moved the Enchanted Treasure Chest inside the Salma District (human home instance). It is now inside the first house on the left upon entering the map.
  • Straits of Devastation: Fixed the strong-current warning at the boundary of the Sea of Elon.
  • Malchor’s Leap: Moved the world map marker for the Doric’s Shrine point of interest so it is no longer hidden by the Doric’s Waypoint icon.
Profession Skills
Posted Image Elementalist (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Glyph of Elementals: Toggle abilities for this skill are now instant. Skill facts of toggle abilities will no longer appear on this skill.
  • Glyph of Lesser Elementals: Toggle abilities for this skill are now instant. Skill facts of toggle abilities will no longer appear on this skill.
Posted Image Engineer (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Magnetic Shield: This skill can now be used while moving and will no longer root the engineer in place.
  • Slick Shoes: Reduced the cooldown of this skill from 60 seconds to 45 seconds.
  • Super Speed: Reduced the cooldown of this skill from 45 seconds to 30 seconds.
  • Toss Elixir H: Fixed an issue in which boons given by this skill had the wrong durations when traited with Potent Elixirs. Also fixed the incorrect skill facts that appeared when traited with Potent Elixirs.
  • Toss Elixir C: Fixed an issue in which boons given by this skill had the wrong durations when traited with Potent Elixirs.
Posted Image Guardian (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • “Retreat!”: Reduced the cooldown of this skill from 60 seconds to 40 seconds.
  • Bane Signet: Increased the duration of the knockdown from 2 seconds to 3 seconds.
Posted Image Mesmer (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Maim the Disillusioned: Increased the number of torment applications per clone shattered from 1 to 2.
Posted Image Necromancer (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Death Shroud: Reverted a change that caused this effect to incorrectly cancel abilities (such as stomping) when the necromancer’s death shroud runs out.
  • Necrotic Grasp: Increased the velocity of this projectile by 50%.
  • Life Siphon: Increased this skill’s base healing by 25%, and increased the scaling with healing power by 75%. Fixed a bug in which this skill increased by 25% instead of 20% when traited with Bloodthirst.
Posted Image Ranger (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Point Blank Shot: Added a warm-up to this skill and changed the projectile to help differentiate it from other ranger longbow abilities.
Posted Image Thief (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Reduced the recharge of venom abilities from 45 seconds to 40 seconds.
Posted Image Warrior (PvE Forums // PvP Forums // Skill Calc)
  • Crushing Blow: Increased the number of vulnerability applications that this skill applies from 4 to 10.
  • Tremor: Increased the velocity of this skill by 12%.
World vs. World
  • All siege weapon sites now display names with their build prompts.
  • Reduced the overall size of arrow cart and ballista build sites.
New Items and Promotions
  • Miniature Belinda Delaqua is now available in the Toys category of the Gem Store for 350 gems.
  • A talking Replica Job-o-Tron Backpack is now available in the Style category for 500 gems.
  • A new Guild Flag Finisher is available in the Upgrades category of the Gem Store for 600 gems.
  • A Celebration Boost has been added as an uncommon drop to the Black Lion Chest Boost Slot. This one hour buff grants 100% boost to magic find, WvW rank gain, experience from kills, and gold from kills.
  • Reduced the cost per use of the Silver-Fed Salvage-o-Matic to 60 copper.
Bug Fix:
  • Fixed a server crash.
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Echoes of the Past Begins November 4!

Arenanet has announced the next update for the Living World.  Titled "Echoes of the Past," it focuses on tieing together all the events of the past season and a half.  Be sure to check out the release page on the official website.  The official trailer, found below, highlights expansions to zones, possibly new regions, and some flashes from the past game!

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TenTonHammer has had an interview regarding the upcoming updates of the Living Story.  Arenanet's Bobby Stein and Steven Waller weighed in on some of the story instances of the next updates, as well as their ambitions for future updates and mistakes from past updated.  You can check out the full interview here.

Steven Waller, Studio Technical Director at ArenaNet, states that, “We’ll be introducing a lot of interesting lore that has deep roots in Guild Wars, some things back to original Guild Wars 1 that has ties. We think people will be really excited about that and we’re going to visit some places that people have only speculated about or heard rumours that they existed. We’re going to learn some pretty big secrets that relate to Tyria’s past. This road to war is going to have these points along the way where things will happen and there’s no going back from them. These points of no return where actions will be put in place or information will be learnt and once it’s there, they’ll have impacts on Tyria forever. This idea of the road to war being paved with points of no return is the overall theme that we have working for the second half of the season and we think people are going to be really surprised by the variety of gameplay and instances but also the deep level of lore and information that they’re going to get about Tyria.

One of the main things for me going into this new season is whether we can expect answers to the side plots that people didn't notice or fully understand. There’s a large amount of strands still left untied:
  • Where is the Master of Peace going?
  • Where were the Zephyrites heading?
  • What was the golden glow from the Zephyrites Airship?
  • Why has the ship carrying that glow been looted?
  • What lead Aerin to pursue the Master of Peace in this way?
  • How will Marjory deal with Belindas death?
  • Will Majory and Kasmeer be the same?
  • How will Eir and Brahams relationship continue to improve after fighting together in the Shiverpeak Mounts?
  • What is to become of Rytlock?
  • What did the vision the Commander saw involving the golden chamber full of crystals mean?
  • How will the battle against Modremoth shape up after the attack upon the Pale Tree and the Avatar?
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Tyria's Point of No Return

A page was added to the official Guild Wars 2 website that outlined the future content of the Living Story, which re-launches on 4 November 2014.  The update also mentioned the next update will be Blood and Madness, a Halloween themed update, which will last from the the 21st of October until the 4th of November.

The page has since been removed, but the update information can be found below:

A Living World

The return of Living World Season 2 is rapidly approaching. When the season resumes on November 4, we’ll see the story pick up from the cliffhanger that left one of the world’s leaders fighting for survival, and the races of Tyria preparing for war against the Elder Dragon Mordremoth.

For Tyrians, the awakening of each of the previous elder dragons led to catastrophic world events: earthquakes, tidal waves, and the raising of a long sunken continent are just some examples of the destruction left in their wake. These have seared their marks into the face of Tyria.

Now another elder dragon stirs deep in the heart of the jungle. The world’s leaders have agreed to turn their attention to this new threat and attempt to destroy it before it can wreak the havoc they’ve seen other elder dragons sow. As season 2 returns, we turn our eyes towards Mordremoth as our next target. We also ponder the meaning of the vision given by the Pale Tree and the role that legends of Tyria’s past may play in a story that is yet to unfold.

Holiday Festivals

As we’ve done in the past, there will be festival releases interweaved into this coming Living World season. Let’s take a quick look at our festival calendar for the remainder of 2014.
This coming Tuesday, October 21, the Mad Realm returns with our annual Halloween release. On December 16, we’ll release our usual holiday-themed festivities with Wintersday. Both of these releases will feature the same content as last year but with refreshed rewards, giving you fun new festival-themed items to earn.

Into the Jungle

The road to war is paved by points of no return. Tyria has already decided to take the battle to Mordremoth. As we go on this journey we’ll learn dark secrets of Tyria’s past, venture into stories with roots deep in the very heart of Guild Wars lore, and visit places that have only been rumored to exist.

Season 2′s final episode will feature an unforgettable end for all of you who go on this journey with us. So make sure to jump in and join the ride starting on November 4.
We’ll see you in game!
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Posted ImageJohn Smith outlines discussion of RNG changes

As Arenanet is gearing up for the continuation of season 2 of the Living Story, talks on the forums are focusing on the CDI.  John Smith has outlined two ongoing ideas in both topics and inside the studio doors.  Be sure to voice your views and opinions in the thread on the official forums.


Here’s the premise. RNG is evenly distributed on aggregate. On an individual level this means that while almost everyone falls into a reasonable range in the middle, there are outliers on each side of the distribution that are either highly rewarded or not rewarded at all.

These individuals become sample cases and spotlights for experiences that maybe shouldn’t exist.

We do need to be very careful about ideas that flatten the experience entirely as that quickly becomes not fun at all.

There are two concepts that have been discussed in the other thread and in the studio that I’ll briefly summarize.

1. Use a specifically non-random NG. The NRNG functions similarly to a RNG, but has characteristics that either squish the distribution so that outliers exist much less or specifically manipulate a player’s experience for loot in a more complicated way that makes it feel rewarding.

2. Implement measures that counteract low-end outlier behavior inside of game design. This would be a system that is something like: If player hasn’t received a rare drop in X time send them Y tickets for random drops.
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Gaile Gray returns to the community team

For many of those who have been with Arenanet for many years, you may recall she used to be the community team leader for a good chunk of Guild Wars 1, but was moved to support liaison before the launch of Eye of the North.  Due to internal reshuffling at Arenanet, she is now back in the support team role, meaning she is back in telling Arenanet what the community wants.  Micheal Henninger announcedthe news, and is taking her position.

Most of you know that Gaile has moved from Customer Support to a new (and very awesome) role over at the Community team. She’s still nearby so I think I can still hit her with my trebuchet – I’ll report results soon.
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