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Hey everybody! If you're wondering how many more parts this Q&A is going to be, well, this is the last one! In case you've missed the other ones, here you go: Do you think you'll ever go down the PvE only skill route again?
Colin: Well we kinda have that with racial skills, or they're the closest thing to that. How much we'll expand on those, I don't know. I'm not sure that that's really that compelling. [...] I would be shocked if we did. A stronger split between competitive PvP and the rest of the game is possible.

Have you ever considered trying to spread players out across the WvW map instead of sticking with the zerg?
Colin: One of the things I've noticed while playing World Vs World is when I get a group together to go take a keep, every time there are more than (say) five players a little orange marker shows up on the map. One thing I miss about playing [...] is that there were scouts that would find out where people went and they would report back to different people. The little orange swords just ruin all of that. It's basically everybody knows where you're all the time.

Our February release will change that. The little swords won't pop up unless there's, I wanna say, 25 people present. We're looking for more ways to spread out the players on the map.

Are you able to make a bigger WvW map?
Colin: No, bigger we can't do. With our existing tech those are the largest maps we can make (engine limitation). We're currently looking several different ways to spread players out, and that's been a big focus of the World Vs World team right now.

What's the deal with the PvE elements in World vs World, such as exploration or the jumping puzzle?
Colin: For the jumping puzzle, I   would prefer that it would not be in the WvW map and have it be a separate thing. I think it takes up the queue space and disconnects players trying to get in. How we answer that is going to be interesting, but in the long run it's very likely it's going to stay as it is. World complete is an interesting one though, because what we've seen from our data measures is that people go to World Vs World for map completion then stay because they end up enjoying it so much. I'm really nervous about removing it because I think it's a great recruiting tool. Though it kinda sucks for people who don't want to have anything to do with it and have to wait for certain areas to open up.

Comment about how the fights are condensed in the center of the maps. Question about spreading things out more so that the fights aren't always in the center.
Colin: All of those things are on the table. Spreading players out and trying to make better use of the space we've got. The WvW team, right now, is really looking at all those options. That's a big part of what their focus is, is trying to answer those questions. That's certainly one of the options that we talk about.

What's your view on the PvE components in WvW such as world exploration, the jumping puzzles and things like that?
Colin: I think for the jumping puzzle, I would prefer that it not be in the WvW map and it's a separate thing that. Especially when there's a queue like that and people are trying to get in. I think it disconnects players from the content they're trying to play. How we answer that is going to be interesting. There's a lot of different ways that we can separate them now, but I think in the long run it's very unlikely that it will stay in the WvW map where it's eating up population queue. It will go somewhere else. We'll have to figure out the best way to do that.

World complete is an interesting one. We've seen from our data metrics, because it's on world complete, there's a bunch of people that play WvW. Because it takes them there to actually get to do it and they end up having so much fun that stay. I've talked to countless people who've said, "I only went there for that, and I ended up running around and I got so addicted to it that I can't stop playing it." One of my best friends actually got into it because of world complete and literally he's on four hours a day now and he doesn't play anything but WvW. World Complete was the only thing that got him into that. So I'm really nervous about moving it because I think that it's a great recruiting thing. It also kinda sucks for people that don't want anything to do with it and have to wait for those areas to get opened up. It's a tough one and I don't really know a great answer for it.

Question about WvW ranks and matchmaking and how you end up fighting the same worlds each week.
Colin: Matchingmaking has the same problem as everything else I just said. It's basically the same couple of people who have to fix that also because it's all server work. But yeah, certainly matchmaking is another thing that we'll be looking at at some point when resources are available. I think matchmaking works right now. It obviously gets stale if you fight the same people over and over again. And that's less than ideal. I think our major goal is how do we make the existing game more fun first before we deal with matchmaking. Because if it's so much fun it doesn't matter if you're fighting the same opponent. I think that's okay. So I would say that it's higher on the priority list, but at some point we're going to have to look at matchmaking and try to find ways to make that more exciting. Personally, I'm a fan of the English, or I guess the European football relegation system. You fight your way up to a tier and you get knocked out of a tier and you're fighting your way through it. I don't know how we adopt exactly that but it'd be awesome if we could do that. I wish American sports had that. It's a way better system in the long run.

Comment on how it's hard to keep going if your server is really losing, or always loses. Would hiding the score help?
Colin: It's a really interesting idea. I've actually never heard anybody at the office throw that out there. I'll go back and throw that at the WvW team and see what they think. [We] definitely want to solve that problem. We want to create incentive for you to login every day - on Thursday your server's getting destroyed and there's a reason why you still want to play. Surprising people with the score is an interesting way to accomplish that. Very, very different that the stuff that we've been talking about. That's a very simple thing we can do.

Comment about Jade Quarry and if they have a 50k point lead that no one feels the need to login to WvW and that it's a really big demotivator. That there are guilds that are falling apart because of it. Question on if that could be addressed somehow.
Colin: I think they're really the same problem. It's like, if you're getting killed or if you're winning by a lot, in both cases there's no reason for you to login. We need to fix both of those. I think it can be the same answer for both pretty easily. Because it really is the same issue, which is "why do I play every day," as opposed to "why do I want my server to win this week?" So that's really high on our list of stuff we're trying to address.

Was there a reason why you went with servers in WvW and not teams, for example?
Colin: The biggest reason that I'm aware of - and a lot of this, just to provide context to isome of these answers - I was only on the content team when a lot of this stuff was decided so it's hard for me to say 100% for sure what the decision making process was four years ago when I wasn't in the room. But I would guess that the reason that was made was to try to make worlds feel more important to players and feel like the people that you play with on your world is your community and that teams would be a subset of that and it wouldn't feel as compelling. It's interesting to see if that still stands up. Now that the game's out, is it still the case. Do people really feel a bond with their world or.. actually, that's a question for you guys. Do you feel attached to your world at all? Do you really feel like your guild, or the people that you play with in your guild, are more...

Comment about how he feels the bond but that the people that jumped servers a lot might not feel the bond/feel as attached.

There's a link between the server you play on and the server you represent in WvW. My question is why have them linked? Why not choose a server to WvW on, and the actual server that you choose to play on the rest of the time be independent of that.
Colin: The reason for that is that we want to build a sense of community. The people that are out in PvE, when you go back out from WvW, or you're out in the PvE world - you're trying to recruit them. You see these people and you have the capacity to say, "you're a part of my world, come represent us in WvW. Come help us out." I think Guild Wars 1 had some really compelling parts of this. It's like the Hall of Heroes, right? When the message went out in the game that our world now controls something. That was sort of the sense that everybody that was on that side felt tied to it, they felt like they were a part of that win. I would hope in time we could get that type of messaging for WvW to a certain degree as well. So that everybody who's on that world feels an even greater tie to it. But the biggest reason is just so that you recognize and get to know the same people in every part of the game. There are a huge percentage of our playerbase that plays WvW that also plays PvE on a regular basis so we want to create that tie between the two of them so that you really get to know people and have that community.

Where's Final Rest?
Colin: Someday you will all discover it and everybody will be really excited.

Comment and question about how conditions only stack to 25 and if you have more than one condition stacker that it becomes useless and if anything is being done to address it.
Colin: Currently, no. Interesting statistic for you - every condition in the game costs server bandwidth. We have to track how often the condition is running, what the duration of that condition is, and what the stack is at. So the more stacks we allow, the more expensive it gets because we're tracking every additional stack on there. So, we could say that you could have infinite stacks. Number one, that becomes really imbalanced. But number two, it's really expensive for us on a performance basis. That's one of those weird, kind of backend server issues that can help make game design decisions regardless of what you want to do with it.

Comment and question on how if everyone has their own individual stack on a mob instead.
Colin: Yeah, it's tough. It's certainly something that we can look at. It does drastically change the way the professions play. It does say that you can no longer stack all of one type of condition. It might change the skills on each weapons if we were to do that. It would encourage more group play to a certain extent. It's not really something that we're talking about, but it's an interesting idea.

Are there any plans to add any further content to Southsun Cove?
Colin: Yes! There are guild missions that happen in Southsun Cove. There is content coming.

I really like the landscape but it's a bit quiet at the moment.
Colin: Yeah, we definitely are going to continue to expand on that.

The guild missions is how many times can you run past a champion Karka and pick up the orichalcum.
Colin: And pick up the node and run back. <random banter>

A little while ago it was also mentioned that there was going to be different ways of getting precursors.
Colin: Some day, yes.

.. like scavenge hunts.. so no immediate plans for that?
Colin: We've thrown in a few more RNG ways to get them, like random chances for places they can go in the game recently. But that's no the real solution, that's just a "hey, let's just increase it a few more point so people can earn them at this point." The fixes for qualifying for loot that'll go in the February release will also increase the chances of getting precursors because it means you have a higher chance of rolling for loot on every creature you kill which means you have a higher chance of getting a precursor. So that will help as well. But long term we'd like to do something a little bit more epic where there is a clear path of, "here is everything you need to do and when you complete it you'll automatically get a precursor." We're not working on that right now, we're really trying to decide what that will be. But yeah, certainly at some point we will add a system that lets you do that.

Are there any plans to make legendaries account bound, so they're not getting sold on the Trading Post?
Colin: I think they only concern with that would be retroactively changing it, since they're already out that way.

You could stop them being added, couldn't you, and then when they go..
Colin: No, we can't. The way the items work is if we were to do that we affect all the existing items. So I don't really know what's going to happen there, that's really more up to our commerce team on how they'll want to handle that. But it's certainly something where there's been a lot of discussion about it.

Yeah, I keep getting mails from gold sellers that want to sell them for 1200 euros and stuff like that so there's an immense amount of money involved for gold farmers to sell those.

With regards to legendaries, obviously with Twilight and Sunrise you can combine them to make Eternity. Are you planning on doing that with any other legendaries?
Colin: Yeah, we will at some point expand on the legendaries. There might be new types of weapons, more combinations. Certainly there will be more legendaries at some point. Certainly weapons, maybe even other types of legendaries. We'll see. We're not done with those but what we don't want to do is roll a whole bunch of those out when we don't have a better system for getting precursors.

Is there going to be a fix for female Asura tier 3 shoulders? Because it's pretty demoralizing to buy the shoulders for the silly amount of gold it is to quickly find out that they don't work on female Asuras.
Colin: I would hope so. I don't know where that is in the pipeline.

<laughter, banter>
Colin: And when you dance on their corpse you've got to have shoulderpads. It's very important.

Question about the customization of weapons.
Colin: It's an interesting idea, I know our art team would like us to do it. It's not currently something that we have anybody working on but it is possible in our system to do that.

What about making dyes account bound? Can we please have dyes account bound?
Colin: I think at this point it won't happen. It's gone too far down that path. I don't think the commerce team will swap that back. That would be my guess.

As someone who ran lots of big events in Guild Wars 1, one of the things I'm slightly disappointed in Guild Wars 2 is the itemization. Things like account bound tonics because it's great to have little prizes you can give out for things and there seems to be a lack of little fun prizes to give out and stuff like that.
Colin: We've tried to do as many of those as we can and certainly we'll keep doing more of them. I think the holiday festivals were loaded with a bunch of that stuff and we'd like to do a lot more of those. They're just fun for social events, right? To get together.

Comment about how they should unbind the quaggan tonics so that they can give them to everybody.

<more banter about tonics, dyes - how there's a lack of stuff to give away for events: "first prize is a dye!" wow, you know>

Activities, like for example bar brawl, things like that, are there any other ones in the pipeline in the future?
Colin: Bar brawl is coming eventually. There are other ones we've prototyped. They'll need a lot more work before they're going to get added. But at some point we'd like to have them all over the game. One of the nice things about the new rotating achievement system is that you can pick... I want to say keg brawl is almost every day of the week. There's different things you can do in keg brawl to contribute towards your daily. My hope would be as we add more mini-games like that. We can create a little rotation, so like Monday is keg brawl day and everybody goes to keg brawl for a day as it's on your daily achievement list. And Tuesday is bar brawl day and everybody goes there, and then Wednesday is shooting gallery or whatever.

Polymock?
Colin: Yes, maybe that one.

It'll be really nice to encourage people to go back to the cities to do that.

I love the new daily system, it's so good.
Colin: The one in February is so much better. There's so many things we wanted to do that we can't do because we don't want to force people to do a specific game type. You know when you open it up a give them a choice, "hey, pick five of these ten and do the things you want to do," suddenly jumping puzzles can go on there, keg brawl can go on there, and we're not forcing you to do that game type and then it becomes a choice.

One of the things about Star Wars daily and monthly system, is it didn't actually have a month to do it. It didn't just chop off at the end of the month. You could take two months to do you monthly but it would then roll over. You see what I mean? As we've got in US and also UK, a multi-national guild, having the daily cut-off at midnight or whatever, when you're right in the middle of a team it can disrupt the flow.. "gotta get this done, gotta get this done!"

That's happened to us a few times, especially when there's been a new build or something like that. You're trying to do the daily and you've got like one more creature or dodge or something...

One more salvage to go!

It's amazing how so many people don't actually know how to dodge.
Colin: That's why we put that in. It's incredible how few people actually regularly dodge.

Somebody wanted to ask how you manicure your beard.
Colin: It's different.. some days it's kind of crooked because I'm half awake when I do it.

In regards to guilds, would it be possible to have a little bit more management for guild leaders in a raid instance. For instance having guild dots on the minimap or the main map would be even better. Because one of the things we find quite often is literally you've got a commander tag up and you find people tend to get a little bit lost and stray off. It'd be nice to, when raid leading, I stopped doing it because it's so tough, is being able to see whose running away from the guild.
Colin: We were actually talking about that earlier. It's certainly something we'd look at. Right now nobody's working on that but over the course of the year... Every community building tool that we can do that makes it easier to play with other players gives you more reasons to play with them and better rewards, those are all stuff that we're focused on. The guild missions system is definitely a huge part of that and we want to keep building stuff like that.

Anything you'd like to ask us quickly?
Colin: What is your guys' favorite part of the game? What's the thing that's most compelling to you?

I like the jumping puzzles.

I think for me it's all the little areas, the hidden areas, the hidden gems.

I'm still trying to get into the kitten room.

That's what makes me go back and do more exploring. It's what's over there? The detail that you put in the world and how vibrant it is.

I like all of the easter eggs from Guild Wars 1.

Did you have a mission to destroy everything in Guild Wars 1? Apart from the Granite Citadel, is there anything left standing?
Colin: The ruins of many things are there.

Any plans for storage of town clothes, and dungeon tokens?
Colin: Yeah, dungeon tokens probably earlier than town clothes, but it would be nice to do things to allow you to store any of that stuff.

Did you say the dungeons tokens before, that we are gonna have another use for them?
Colin: Well, I think that we would like to expand the reasons to use them. If nothing else, just new items on the vendors down the road is something that we'll be looking at for sure. As we add new types of reward systems to the game we'd like to layer those across everything we've got, so my hope eventually we'll add more types of rewards on laurel vendors, on merchants, on karma merchants, they'll go on dungeon guys. So we can kind of go on Fractal NPCs and we can layer it all across the game and make it more rewarding.


Whew! So that's done. And unfortunately it looks like our recordings got cut off from time to time so if you see some answers on other fansites (personally, I'm not sure who all else was invited) that we haven't had on any of our Q&A posts, please feel free to highlight and link them in this thread!

Again, big thanks to ArenaNet for including us in this Q&A session and a big thank you to Colin for answering all of the questions we, as a community, had! If this Q&A spurs on more questions for you, leave them in this thread and we'll see if we can get enough good questions for something else down the road.

Cheers! Back to Top

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Here we have Part II of our Q&A with Colin Johanson. If you missed Part I, you can catch that here.

On a related topic with the blue tag: is there any chance [...] position of that on smaller character? it very quickly disappears into the crowd of nameplates [...] (This refers to the commander icon.)
Colin: That's an interesting point, yeah. I'll throw that out to our UI guys.

Question on the ability to resize and change the UI.
Colin: Right now there's not very much at all we can do with the UI, from like realizable elements and things so hopefully at some point we can tackle that

Question on hiding UI elements such as the purple daily stars, green personal story arrows, etc.
Colin: Yeah, I think the UI team has something down the road so that we can consolidate that whole right side of the screen and make it easier to manage and use. That's still a long ways off 'cause that's a huge engineering project to try and re-do the way all that works. That's definitely something that at some point they'd like to take [...]. We do want to have that daily reminder up there too, so it's a careful balance, right.

You must be able to sort of just say I've seen it, go away now, even if it's just for one play session or just until the next map load or something.
Colin: As an advanced player it's not something I'm worried about now. Yeah, careful balance 'cause that UI, some of that stuff is like the, "I don't know how to play this game, here is something telling me what I should be doing right now," so we don't want people to be able to get rid of some of that because they suddenly have no idea what they should be doing. There's that very careful balance, making sure there's enough for advanced players to be able to do things without newbs getting totally lost.

Yeah, 'cause it's a very tidy UI isn't it? Compared to a lot of MMOs we're used to toolbars spread everywhere.. a very neat, concise UI.

There's certain things which still would be nice to do.  Once you hit max level you don't really need the XP bar there anymore, it's just extra clutter.
Colin: Unless you're setting up skill points.

I've got a rather sort of involved question, well it's not really involved, one of the questions I've got was about user-generated content - how in the past the focus on gaming, on MMOs, was to develop content. There seems to be mood, particularly with other games like Team Fortress, Minecraft and what's rumored to be in TESO towards player-developed content. Is that something that you'd be looking forward to Guild Wars 2 down the line?
Colin: I think the guild mission system is sort of a small step in that direction, it's kinda tiptoeing down that line but it's a concept of various content that's gated by groups being able to kick it off. They're not actually creating it, they can't just go anywhere in the world and say "I want to create content here". But there's a whole bunch of content that's gated from its inception in the world until a guild comes and creates it. I think that's kind of us toeing our foot in the water to see how that goes.

It's interesting right, the perpetual thing that you battle with an MMO is how do you create enough content for your players to feel like there's always something new to do and you can never keep up creating enough for people's consumption rate. The only real solution to that is either completely computer-generated content where the game generates everything automatically which potentionally loses kind of the soul of.. that feel of something that's hand-generated, or played-created content. And then the question of that is how do you control it so that stuff isn't completely breaking your system or operating outside the rules of your game or, you know. This happens with developers, we build content all the time that's terrible and we have a QA team that comes in and tells us that this is terrible, re-do it. And we'll do it over and over and over again until we get it to the point that it's fun to play and often times it takes 50 or a 100 people to get that right or it takes thousands of alpha testers who are playing and giving feedback for weeks until it actually gets good. I don't think a designer's ever had a good idea the second they thought of it that is what we put in the game. It's always been somebody thinks of something and then hundreds of people give feedback and it gets iterated on over and over again. So the challenge with player-generated content is how do you build that process into it where it constantly gets refined and made better until it can actually go in the game. I don't have a great solution for it but I think that those are the challenges that a game will face, and my hope would be that whatever the cutting edge of that is we actually get that implemented in Guild Wars 2 at someday but it's definitely a challenge and something we're gonna have to figure out at some point.

Yeah, thanks, I'm really interested in the player-generated content thing because we've had some guild members who have come in and burnt through content and then just left where I think building a strong community you've got the tools to enable the players to do events, like the guild missions, basically use what's in the game already in a more creative way.
Colin: It's just a win, right. As long as it's fun, that's the tough part. Neverwinter is a great example of that, right. Where it's basically, in the original one, players could build all the content and they had really good stuff. Occassionally some of the player-generated content is fantastic but you had to sift through all the other noise to get down to it. And so it's a careful balance you have to walk. How do you open that up so that everybody can get the right stuff and have a great time without having to pick through all the stuff that doesn't.

I think they were talking about submitting like player-generated armor - one of the best Skyrim content is players making their own models and stuff like that. I think the way they were talking of doing it was you submit to Bethesda and they say "Yeah, that's good content," or "that works," and it then goes in the game but it seems like quite a lot of admin overhead to get that into.
Colin: That's the tough part, right, is how do you do it without all the overhead. 'Cause what you're going to end up doing is instead of having a department of developers you're going to end up with the exact same number of people and all they do all day is review content that gets submitted. And your pace is exactly the same because it takes them so long to review it all and you're basically getting the exact same rate of content into the game. So I'm not sure that's going to solve the problem. I think the key is how do you build a system that lets players generate content unto infinite volumes and you don't have to review it but it also works and gets in the game. I don't know what the answer to that is. I mean, that's a challenge for all of us to try and figure out, right. But that's what the next step will be someday and whether that happens in Guild Wars 2 or another game will be interesting to see. I hope we're the one that comes up with the right answer but that's not easy to solve.

Question about how often they look at something they produced and then decide to step away from it.
Colin: Oh, all the time. I think one of the really unique things about ArenaNet is the QA team is actually embedded in all the projects. Almost at any other game company I've worked at or heard of the QA team is in a separate building, they're not allowed to talk to developers. I've heard horror stories about some companies where they're not even allowed to make eye contact with people who work on the game and if they walk down the hall they need to like look down as they walk past. And that's an experience a lot of QA testers go through. It sucks right? That's awful and that's not how you make good games. I think good games are made by hundreds and thousands of people who are all giving feedback until you come up with the best idea. I think that if you can push your ego aside and realize that you're never going to have the best idea and that everybody together will come up with it, you can make really great games. So we bring our QA team in and they sit with the developers that are part of the process and if any of them says, "this isn't good enough," we stop it and don't put it out. We work on it until we get to the point where everybody is really behind it. I think that's one of the really unique things about the company. Alpha testers - we try to do the same and really give them a chance to say, "this isn't working at all and we're concerned about it". There's a lot of content that people have never seen that we've actually just canceled because it wasn't working and we take it back to the drawing board and try something else. That's part of the development process that's behind the curtain but I can't tell you how many times that a specfic event in the game was done over and over again until it got to the point to it being what you actually saw in the game.

I think that openness to say that you're willing to say no to content is kind of part of the difference between like your development studio and other companies - this whole "we're not gonna tell you about it" where as you will come around to talk to the fans and sites, "this isn't ready" or "we're gonna shelf this, this isn't coming out 'cause its just not gonna impact the game in a way that's going to be enjoyable for you."
Colin: Yeah, I think it's unique. I don't know too many other companies that do that. I would love to see that at this point. It's really different, I mean, it means sometimes that we will make a huge mistake, right. We'll do completely the wrong thing and everybody gets behind it and we'll put it out and realize we did the wrong thing. I think you have to be able to get out there and be like "hey, you know, we completely blew it on this, we're responding to that and we're gonna change our plans because of that." I think if you can be honest about that it makes a big difference too. Certainly we're human and we make really bad mistakes sometimes as well and I think as long as we can accept that and go do something better we're gonna be okay.

Comment and question on how the fans are more forgiving of ArenaNet and how does it feel to be held accountable.
Colin: It helps. There's still plenty of vicious folks who want us to be infallible and I wish we could be but I think we definitely get the benefit of the doubt more often that other studios do because at least we try to have that level of interaction and honesty with our fans as much as we can.

One of the things I've got down here is that there was some quite disappointment from GW1 fans about some of the things put in the game. Things like not being able to play with friends in different regions, asthetic weapons, that kind of stuff. How do you go about balancing the expectations of this longstanding fan community with the vision of the game?
Colin: It's really tough. I think that at the end of the day we always have to look at if it's exactly Guild Wars 1, we already made that game, and if people love exactly GW people should go play GW, right. So it has to be something different or we're gonna end up remaking the exact same game we already built. So we definitely look at it that way as we know there are some people that aren't going to be thrilled with Guild Wars 2 because it isn't GW and it can't be. It wasn't going to be successful because we'd be competing with our own games.

One of the things from Guild Wars 1 that is missing from Guild Wars 2 is the ability to have a utility skill in the elite slot. Is this something that's possible to be implemented in Guild Wars 2 because I know a number of classes, specifically as an elementalist, our elites skills are underwhelming in most instances and to have a utility skill in the elite slot would be better than a lot of the elites. Is this something that would potentially looked at?
Colin: Potentially. I think that some of it is accessibility, you know, any time you start adding more and more complicated rules to the way things operate it gets that much harder for new players to understand how the game works and plays. So we have to be really careful of that, like Guild Wars 1 eventually turned into that where by the end it was a really niche game for people who really understood how all of it worked. It was very very complicated, it was very hard to learn how to play and it was incredibly fun for all of us who understood it. But for a new player, we saw very few new players would get in the game and stick with it for a long time just because it wasn't that accessible. It was really overwhelming, there was really complicated rules so we need to make sure that there's a careful balance of great depth as you level through the game and the game keeps getting more complicated at a rate you can learn it - that doesn't completely overhwelm you in the beginning as well.

So on that same stance, I have heard a few issues where new players have come in and found the learning curve quite steep. So what kind of things do you think you can do to help assimilite new players into the game?
Colin: We're actually working on that right now as we look to releasing the game in other regions we need to make sure the new player experience is as easy to learn as possible. So we're going back at looking at everything we can do to try and do that and we're looking for a lot of feedback too. We're evaluating what level players leave the game and where they should kick in.

Sticking on the topic of the skills, obviously there's bits of information coming in about the March update, that there will be WvW specific skills. Maybe you can elaborate on those?
Colin: So the WvW progression system doesn't give players skills, it just gives them new abilities that are specific to WvW and they are not intended to make it so if you're standing out in the field and you're fighting 1 on 1 against another player the abilities do not making you more powerful than anyone else in WvW. They just expand your ability to operate in WvW. We don't want to create a system where like, five years from now someone who's leveled way down the tree is able to just kill everbody else. Instead it just makes you more functional and it gives you additional abilities that helps your capacity in WvW that doesn't make you more powerful than anyone else.

Are you able to give an example?
Colin: Like potentially carrying more supply, would be an example, things like that.

It's like a passive thing that's not slotted in your bar or anything, it's just something that's active in the back?
Colin: Correct.

So I gather the intention is not to allow players that have been in WvW for a long time to have more power than than someone who's just coming in for the first time.
Colin: Correct.

So you guys are potentially aware of that issue.
Colin: Yeah, I think that kind of goes against our core design philosophies so we would never want to do that. We need to make sure that you're more functional but not more powerful. We might do some things like you're better at using siege weapons, which could be interpreted as slightly more powerful but it is only in very specific situations where you're on siege and everything. I think that that's at least far enough away from the core issue that maybe it's okay but we would never give you like more strength or more power or anything like that. We don't want to touch that stuff.

Does that same assumption apply to any potentional expansion and the level cap? You've said the level cap went to 100. In my MMO history an increase in level means an increase in power and I'm not assuming that's going to be case in Guild Wars 2 or...?
Colin: I don't know at this point, we're really not focused very much on that stuff. We're really focused on just "how do we make the core live game we've got as strong as possible?" So we haven't really looked at what the answers to those questions are. Certainly at some point we might raise the level cap and with that that could mean that your stats all go up another 10 levels, I think leveling is easy enough in Guild Wars [2] that that's not that big of a deal.

It was more of the "I've gone and got my exotic armor, I've gone to all the dungeons here, I leave the game for a few months and because of an expansion sudden I then have to go buy and farm all my gear again because the stats have gone up."
Colin: I think in other games that's super frustrating and I would hope we not do something along those lines. I think we can do things that are unique to Guild Wars [2] that are different than that. Back to Top

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This week we had two live interviews - one on the official Guild Wars 2 livestream and another with MMORPG.com. Today we'd like to highlight the two transcripts that dulfy created for them:

Guild Wars 2 Dev Livestream (Jan 17th, 2013) - Link

MMORPG.com Livestream with Colin Johanson (Jan 18th, 2013) - Link
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Earlier tonight, MMORPG held a live interview with Colin Johanson. Pokket managed to squeeze out a lot of good information from him, which I will be highlighting below. Instead of writing out a transcription of the interview, I'll paste the questions (some paraphrased) and make bullet points out of Colin's answers. If you want to watch the entire interview, it's up on their Twitch.tv channel.

I know there was a lot of effort put into this Halloween event. It's by far the best holiday event that I've ever taken part in and I have taken part in many different MMO events. ... My question is, is this going to be a one-time thing or are you going to see a lot of this reused next year as well?
  • May use a small amount of this years' event as the baseline to build on, but they don't want to have the same holiday festival every year
  • Hopefully next year there's something even more over-the-top and crazy
  • Going to do a lot of really special one-off events that aren't just holidays
Okay, real quick. It took me over five hours to complete the Clock Tower. How long did it take you? [I kept this question because the answer was funny!]
  • "I gotta be honest. I gave up after three hours. I did everything else and I couldn't do the Clock Tower. It's really embarrassing but I couldn't do it. I did it internally, but I cheated and teleported a couple of times but once we got on live I couldn't cheat anymore so I totally couldn't do it. It was really embarrassing."
For future costumes, do you plan on making any combat-useable skins or will they all remain town clothing?
  • Something that they're going to talk more about in the future
  • Ddded the costume brawl to see if they could make costumes a lot more fun to play around in
  • They'll just keep an eye on that and decide on if we want to do anything more with costumes beyond that
Do you plan on putting the same amount of effort, if not more, into the major holidays throughout the year. And, this will kind of dive into November.
  • Wintersday is something that is coming in the future that's a Guild Wars 1 tradition
  • There will be a different twist now that the Gods don't exist in the world anymore
  • You'll see a very different storyline for Wintersday this year
  • They're going to start doing a lot of special events in the game as well
  • They'll have recurring stories that build out over time and tell stories that occur across the world and change the course of the world over many months - some might be smaller than Halloween, some might take many months
  • Want to update the game, tons of free content
  • A lot of stuff got lost in the shuffle with Halloween - with that build they added over 50 new events, two mini-dungeons, new jumping puzzles, sPvP tournaments that give out qualifier points for championship tournaments in the future
Can you talk about what's in the November 15th build?
  • Beta version of a new sPvP map for people to test and give feedback on, if people like it they'll add it to the permanent PvP rotation
  • Weekend long event that permanently changes the world in some places and opens up a new island that people can explore - small map with a lot of fun stuff and a storyline across the weekend that changes the world
  • Brand new type of dungeon to be added - gets harder the further you get in, really big with a ton of levels
  • New rewards to the game that are buried deep within the new dungeon
Do you plan on having any sort of server first announcements for the dungeon?
  • Still talking on if they want to do server first announcements
  • One of the things they want is make sure they have messaging so players can tell who are the best at different things, who have gotten the farthest in different areas
  • Going to do more for WvW rankings each week and build towards having an official site where you can go and see all of that information (currently in the works and should be coming out very soon™)
Will there ever be dynamic events that affect the whole world like the end of the beta events and so forth?
  • One-off world events, the events done at the end of betas, the lead-up to Halloween is something they'd continue to do
  • The thing that reveals the island and dungeon that gets added to the world is part of a big sweeping event
Pokket comments on how amazing the Halloween event was and how many people were involved.
  • Going to be adding a ton of new stuff for higher level characters
  • Going to be adding a lot more to the WvW side
What have you learned from the Halloween release that will apply to future updates and expansions?
  • That they need to do better messaging both in the game such as where things are, and better messaging outside of the game to make sure people know what time things are happening and where to show up
  • Need to do a better job at getting the word out
  • Make sure they know where people are going to go and what they are going to do and planning ahead of time all of the different places they'll log in to
One question I had in regards to Halloween and the Clock Tower. There were a lot of complaints from people that were playing as an asura and couldn't necessarily see through all of the other people. Was that intentional or is that something that you might take and learn for the future and perhaps making it instanced?
  • It's feedback that they will listen to, they'll make the choice design-wise for things like this in the future
  • They want people to have fun
  • It's a challenge because it's an MMO and they want it to be social, they want you to be able to go in with different players, so they need to find a good middle ground
How big will the new island be in November and what will be its setting or theme?
  • It's not a full-sized map, it's a place where they want the storyline to play out
  • It will stay behind after the weekend with new content
  • Not intended as a big end-game expansion
  • Live team will add more and more content to the island later down the road
  • Will have new rewards that you can't get anywhere else in the game
  • Theme-wise - have to wait and see
I'm curious about the plans for sPvP. What new modes are coming out and what new rewards are in the works as it seems people need more of a carrot system beyond just better gear?
  • Competitive tournaments that came out with the Halloween update - rewards such as qualifier points and gems
  • Down the road there will be custom arenas that they will talk more about later
  • Working on things that need to be finished that are mandatory for any game that wants to be a large competitive game
  • Working on additional rewards
Are there any plans to give experience to your character outside of sPvP? Like when you're doing sPvP but it gives you experience to level up outside of that for those that want to level outside of traditional leveling.
  • It's something they are talking about and they haven't made a decision yet
What's your opinion on build saving tools and perhaps seeing those in the game in the future so that people can switch between builds they like?
  • Something they are talking about, a feature they added to Guild Wars 1 a while after the game initially released
  • Not currently being worked on
Are there any plans to offer more skills or other forms of PvE progression similar to how completing campaigns could net you new skills in Guild Wars 1?
  • Haven't planned anything like that
  • Certainly something they might do in the future
What are the plans for expanding guild features? Guild Halls, calendars and things like that.
  • Someday there will be Guild Halls but it's not something that is actively being worked on
  • Will expand on guild features down the road as well
Can you talk about your thoughts on housing for both players and guilds?
  • Not currently working on but housing is another thing they think is awesome and someday it might find itself in GW2
Will there be 10-man or larger sized dungeons or hardmode dungeons that take 10 people?
  • Doesn't want to go into specifics yet
  • They're evaluating every part of the game to see what kind of stuff to add
Are there any plans to introduce legendary armor? Perhaps special armor skills that are related to them.
  • Not currently, but you never know what might happen in the future
Will any future updates include an improved looking for group tool?
  • Down the road we might take a look at that
  • Not currently being worked on because they are working on more important issues
Are there any plans to improve dungeon rewards to make them worth more to do?
  • Actively working on dungeon rewards to make it more fun for people
  • Want to make sure that it feels like a challenge and that you get good rewards for the time you spend in them
Can you talk about the comment from GWI that there is a possible MOBA-style PvP game in the works? The Halloween map was kind of like this.
  • He thinks that came from years ago when they played around with one of those and someone did an interview a while ago where they talked about how they had a MOBA map early on
  • It's something that was scrapped because it wasn't working well
  • Things like that are always open and on the table as projects they might go after again, they tend to pop up in the form of mini-games like the skeleton battle for the Halloween event
  • Other areas of PvP that they really want to focus on first
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I'm sure many of you have heard about Surfeuze, the first level 80 in Guild Wars 2. We had a chance to interview him about his experience in-game this weekend. Here's what he had to say about it:

First off, congratulations on completing such a feat! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your guild?
Hi, I’m Jeremy, 29, and at the risk of disappointing some, I’m a man. I currently live in Toulouse, France.  I started playing video games with Counter Strike and Dota, as many other players. I started playing with War Legend in 2002, and then on Warhammer, WoW, PlanetSide and Aion.

War Legend was created in 2000 by Denpxc, and had always been a Hardcore Gaming PvP-oriented guild.

Now tell us a little bit about your in-game self! I see you chose the elementalist. Can you tell us what attunement(s) and weapon set(s) you favored while leveling?
It’s hard to say what attunement I favored, because each one is important; as an elementalist, I need to adapt to every situation by choosing the right attunement. Each one has its particularities and each one is essential! If I were to keep only one, it would be the fire attunement. I mostly played with a staff, which casts mainly AoE skills.

What about your trait build? Did any of it change much as you leveled or did you stick to the same set-up?
I spent my trait points in the arcane, air and fire trait lines. I decided to use the following major traits: Internal Fire/Pyromancer’s Alacry/Pyromancer’s Puissance in the fire line, Zephyr’s Boon and Arcane Lightening in the air line and finally Elemental Attunement and Blasting Staff in the arcane line. While the fire line grants more powerful fire spells, the arcane line enlarges AoE: if you use both fire attunement and staff, your fire AoE will be “explosives”! It’s an AoE based DPS build. I used the same build as I leveled. [Link to build.]

What kind of pre-game preparations did you make? Did you do a lot of research prior to launch?
We did a lot of researching/tests during the few beta week-ends and stress tests, in order to have an overall idea of what we’ll be doing when the servers go live. For example, we already knew which race, which maps we’ll use, and also that the crafting will be part of the rush: we knew that crafting was the easiest way to burn through the last levels so we simply prepared it cautiously : leveling 4 or 5 crafts with T1 to T3 materials was enough.

Did you make use of the XP boosts from the gem store or any other consumables?
We used something like ten XP boosts, and a few Craft boosts, and only from levels 40 to 80. We also used some cooking consumables that you can buy in Queensdale.

When you went out into the world, did you run solo or did you have a group? Did you find one or the other "better" for speed leveling?
As said in the news on our website, I ran with 3 other guildmates: Denpxc, Muji and Tiphaine. As promised by Arena Net, Guild Wars 2 is really a game made for groups and socializers: it’s way faster to play in group than to play solo, contrary to most of the other games; in Guild Wars 2, another player represents help, not encumbrance.

What types of content did you rush to or away from to help max out your leveling?
Since the WvW was down on Vizunah Square (and since it isn’t the fastest way to level) we didn’t use it at all. The whole leveling was done in PvE: the first 60 levels were done by completing “renown hearts” and dynamic events, the last 20 using craft.

Were there any zones or types of hearts or events that you steered clear from?
Yes, we avoided epic quests (green quests), group events (most boss have so much hps it's taking too long), escorts events, and most renown hearts events that we never did before in beta and stress tests.

Which two crafting disciplines did you choose to level up first? How many disciplines did you end up leveling?
We decided to level up first cooking and armorsmith. Given that all crafting disciplines (except cooking) use items like totems/bloods/venins … it’s quite hard to level up two crafting disciplines at a time, except for the cooking. Else, you can level up the first 140 points of the cooking discipline in only a few minutes and spending a 50 pa to gain more or less 2 levels, as explained in this guide, so the cooking was for us the best choice to do. On the other side, armorsmith was a random choice; it could have been tailor as well.

We ended up leveling 5 disciplines, but only a few points: since our guildmates weren’t as high leveled as us, it was impossible to obtain high level materials, so we leveled up a bit of each discipline, around 200 points.

Since the Trading Post was down all weekend, how did you get all the materials for your crafting disciplines?
Since the trading post AND the WvW were downed, all our guildmates were stuck in PvE: by simply recycling all the items and gathering materials on your way through events, we obtained what we needed. It wasn’t farming at all : all players were leveling in a normal way.

Which of the crafting disciplines did you find the easiest to level? Which ones would you consider the hardest in regards to materials needed and cost of said materials?
Cooking is certainly one of the easiest to level … At least the first 200 levels! The next 200 levels are way harder, because you need all the materials to discover recipes, and there’s so many of them that you don’t even have enough place in your bag … Moreover when you gather a “vegetable root” for example, you can’t be sure of what you will get from it, so as a chief you must adapt to this randomness : you may need a particular item to pursue your crafting, and you can’t even find it … Jewelry is also a hard one to level, because of the need of gems that also appears randomly in ores/trees when you gather other materials. The 6 other crafting are way similar in their mechanics.

I'm sure you saw the comment made by Mike O'Brien on Reddit. What was your reaction when you saw it? What about when he made his apologetic post later?
We were very happy when we saw the apology because the first message was more or less accusing us of having used an unfair tactic or an exploit. We knew he was not talking about us at that time so we were still fine in our mind but the community was asking for more and we had no idea how to prove ourselves. I mean Mike is the President of ArenaNet!

We thought that he would never take the time to correct his message since he must be so busy with the game launching. This really proved once again how ArenaNet is different from the others games company, they are really listening to the community from all front and do not hesitate to do everything they can even in hard times.

Thank you for taking the time to answer some of our questions! Is there anyone you want to give special thanks to for helping you out this weekend?
I’d like to thank again Frix, who oversaw and organized all the crafting part, and our guildmates that made this achievement possible with all their support. Thank you, GW2 Guru, for this interview!


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A guildie of mine has just come back from gamescom where she had a long conversation with Martin Kerstein, who very kindly agreed to answer some of my questions for us. These are her notes from the interview.

1. How will the guesting system work? will we need friends on the other server?

The reply was as per the blog, except a new peice of information

The guesting system will be delayed until the servers have settled down. The guesting system will then be enabled and server transfers will need to be paid for. Until the guesting system is activated server transfers will be free.

2. Why are there no dedicated or official English And Russian language servers, but there are French, German and Spanish?

This is to do with localised translations of the game. It was felt that if they gave other servers dedicated languages then other nationalities would demand localised translations also.

English is the default language on all other non localised servers.
  
3. Seeing as 3 multi language servers were removed from EU and replaced by specific language ones. How confident are you that the unofficial english speaking servers will have enough capacity?

They removed the servers to increase capacity for those languages. However, they have raised the cap on all other servers to compensate. They are confident they have enough capacity for launch, but will monitor in subsequent days and weeks to come.

4. What was the reason for not letting Guild Members on different servers make use of guild features like the Guild Bank and Emblems unless they re-learn them?

His opinion (but he wasnt a dev) was that this is because of WvW and the imbalance it could cause if powerful guilds influence buffs could give benefits to chapters of the same guild on another server. I.e give them an unearned boost in WvW. Back to Top

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In approximately one hour, Jeff and Ree will go live on ArenaNet's livestream channel below. They are currently taking questions from the community - all you have to do is send your questions @GuildWars2 on Twitter.

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Kotaku is hosting a Q&A right now with Mike Zadorojny. All you have to do is reply to their article with a question and await an answer!

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Mike Zadorojny, a content designer at ArenaNet and expert on all things Guild Wars 2, is here to answer your questions live for the next hour. Wondering about class balance? Curious about the game's story? Want to know more about how leveling and co-operative play will work? Want to know what they've learned from the beta? Ask away.

Here are some of the current questions and answers:

How the PVP works in Guildwars 2? i saw some videos but i didn't get it. Can you explain a bit more about it, Like World PvP or just battle grounds, and is the PvP a big role in GW2?

Mike: With any of your characters you can visit the sPvP lobby that will bump your character up to level 80 and unlock all traits, skills, armor and weapons for you to use. From here you can jump into any of the on going sPvP matches. For WvW, any player can open up the score window and jump directly into any of the 4 maps (1 central and 1 home for each world) in the ongoing battle. In WvW your character is scaled up to level 80 (not a true 80) and you have only the items and skills you've unlocked available to you. In WvW you can level your character just like in PvE by doing events and killing monsters/players to unlock additional skills and traits.

What makes this game different from any of the other mmorpg's that are out there?

Mike: We built GW2 from the ground up to be a great social experience for players. We removed the idea of kill stealing, we made buffs and area based rather than single allies, added the ability for anyone to ressurect another player (even during combat), and everyone gets their own loot and exp for killing creatures, and more... We want players to choose how they want to play the game and not be forced into archtypes or game play styles that they're not interested in.

What will the end-game content will look like? will there be any kind of "raid" or other type of dungeon where we go in big group to take high level boss?

Mike: The traditional sense of an end-game is a little different for us. With our level adjustment system in place, you basically are unlocking additional places to explore and play as you level up. Since you won't be extremely overpowered (100,000 damage hits) by going back to lower level areas that you've never visited before you can experience the content as something new. Add in WvW, repeatable dungeons for the hard core who like challenges, legendary weapons from crafting, sPvP and the large scale bosses out in the open world, and you've got a lot of gameplay types for players to choose from.

Will Norn have more racial similar clothing to that of the NPCs or do they have to look more human?

Mike: Each of the races has a racial set that can be purchased for karma from vendors in their capital city once players reach mid-level. Using transmutation stones you can technically buy them early and transmute the looks onto your lower level gear. :P Back to Top

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Kaeyi Dream brings us a video interview with Matthew Medina, Content Designer for ArenaNet.


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TowerTalk is back with another interview - this time with Bobby Stein, Lead Writer for Guild Wars 2. Wartower was gracious enough to provide a summary of the interview in english.

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  • It's his job to work with content designers, assist with writing dialogues, conversation in cinematics, rules and guidelines for characters and societies and make sure that there is a consistent tone and style in the end product. They are 11 persons in the team in total.
  • Asked if he brings coffee to the team, he admits that sometimes he brings snacks, but mostly he gives his team what it needs and supports it with constructive feedback. He is always concerned that the most appropriate person for the content is working with the right designers on the subject. It’s a mix of managing and responsibility, but he has great flexibility in organizing his job.
  • Stein has different teams of writers: role building - cares about the continuity from Guild Wars 1 to 2, outlines the main characters and their framework, works with the content designers to outline the general structure: Running points are Jeff (Grubb) for the dungeons, Ree (Soesbee) for personal stories and John Ryan for explorer modus of dungeons. Stein and his team are responsible for executing all the stuff. Work with content designers is either to initiate stories or to revise them.
  • Dialogue should be very tightly with the gameplay; the content is reworked in cycles and several times ingame. Then it is prepared for voice acting to get the script ready for the actors.

You can view the rest of the summary points here. Back to Top