New achievement system that plays into dailies/monthlies that adds new style of gameplay
New achievements to encourager cooperative play – i.e. rezzing, rallying) – things that will help players better at understanding the concepts of our game.
Allow players to filter back into some of the deserted zones (i.e. this month’s monthly achievement for jumping puzzles was used as an example)
New content with the guilds – 4-5 different styles of content that show up in the world that guilds can go in to help kick off and pull other players into it as well.
Adding tiers to guild economy/ear guild tabs, adding in new rewards for guild members to show off.
>100 new rewards tied to the achievement system to allow players to show off some of the cool stuff they have done.
Framework rolling out next couple months
New Ascended items coming into play outside FOTM with the new achievement/reward system.
Philosophy on the dungeon
Multiple phase change for the dungeons – first build – remove the idea of rez rushing (i.e. only way to beat some of the difficult encounters at the moment is to have dead players run back from nearby waypoints while players that are alive kite the mobs)
You can no longer able to use the waypoint if someone in your group inside the dungeon is in combat
We are nerfing some of the encounters that are a bit more challenging
Phase 2 – go back and look at some of the encounters – retune and increase difficulty if necessary.
New rewards (no details)
We are working right now on a system that go across the board, not just for dungeons, sPvP, open world etc. Allow players to find other players who want to do similar activities. It is a bit far off.
Working on custom arenas – need to make sure it is bug free, we are polishing them atm
Working on leaderboards – see your progress against other people
New player experience for PvP – better matchmaking system – play with players of your skill level.
Working on a new 1 team vs 1 team version of our tournament system , will be paid tournament (but reduced the cost and reduced rewards). Winners stay in, losers kicked out to the lobby. (Current tournament system require 8 teams for a single tournament with 3 rounds so it is hard to get tournaments started at the moment)
This new tournament version will be on Temple of Silent Storm map (this map has a lot of tournament potential).
Adding more PvP specific armor skins – i..e skins that are available in PvE but not in PvP.
Blog post coming up to talk more
Looking into progression in WvW to give you some kind of character development and rewards
Goal is to progression/rewards. Encourages more players to do WvW.
Recently tested culling – we are doing great things with culling – running a lot of different tests/tweaks.
Our WvW programmer talks about more on the official GW2 forums.
Adding more PvP specific armor skins – i..e skins that are available in PvE but not in PvP.
AoE abilities balancing
One of the issues brought up a lot in WvW./sPvP is AoE (Area of Effect). We feel like they are too strong at the moment and a lot of people in WvW are gaming the system using AoEs.
For people that don’t know – max targets for siege weapons is 50 while max targets for AoE is 5.
Reducing AoE effectiveness to bring them in line with the single target damage skills.
Major update coming to all the AoE skills – make classes that are good at single target damage stand out a bit more.
Same thing with dungeons – right now if you have a lot of AoE you can past encounters by just spamming AoE which is not what we want.
Why no specific dates for updates
Sometimes codes interact weirdly and we don’t want to give you a date if stuff screws up and we have to push back. We will give you dates when we are in the final stages of testing.
Same with buggy stuff – sometimes bug slip out.
Philosophy for weapons/traits & class balance
We want every single class to feel like they have multiple options to deal with every situations, this doesn’t mean every class will have the exact same options.
We want every single class to deal situations in an unique manner – we keep “purity” in certain skills/traits i.e. only mesmers and thieves have stealth to deal with some situations. Not everyone have stealth but every class have a defensive mechanism they can use if they don’t stealth.
We want to bring up all the weak weapons/traits on par with strong weapons/builds/traits in addition to reduce AoE effectiveness.
A lot of classes have 1-2 good builds while some have 5-6 builds , we want to bring up all the classes to 5-6 good and viable builds.
Part 2 Q & A session Q: How close do you feel each class fulfill the class philosophy
We use one set of balance numbers for wvw, pve, and spvp. We do this because people get acclimated to characters – we want people to play a class in a certain situation and feel comfortable in another
Some classes are filling their roles, some are not
We are brining up the weaker builds to be on par with the good builds.
So yes they are but there are more work to be done.
Q: Expain what you mean by progress in WvW
We are encourage people to defend, to get involved, to break away from large mass mentality of zerging
Reward the individual player for what they are doing rather than contribute scoring via server
Q: Culling fixes available in WvW, sPvP, or PvE, when?
Depends on testing – WvW atm is bad, PvP is not an issue, PvE affected for large scale events (i.e. Lost Shores, Shatter event)
We are testing the system in WvW and hopefully it will affect all across the board.
Adding reconnect to fractals, and coming up a solution for the level restrictions – those are coming up in the next build.
Able to start at the highest fractal level achieved by any group member – it will advance everyone who is eligible for advancement up one tier
You will be rewarded based on your personal level, not the level of the fractal you are in (i.e. if you are not 10+, you can’t get ascended rings by doing higher fractals etc)
Q: Dynamic system in open worlds – how will it evolve – make it more understandable, more rewards
Changes to Orr at end of month – adding some new effects, environment zones, rewards
Continue building lore/story – between content patches we will add in new events, new guild stuff.
Q: Stance on allowing people to see enemy nameplates in WvW
Mixed feeling – we want server to viewed as a wholeand not introduce bitterness to individual players
Not completely opposed to the idea – be interesting to get bragging rights, more competitive nature
Not sure how to design around that at the moment – maybe add it as a reward?
Need to make it voluntary, prevent harassment issues
WvW is about large scale massive battle mentality where individual players are not as important
Q: Advancement/prestige design for wvw
We want to keep things consistent – similar to some other stuff in the game. Can;’t talk much
Q: How does dev priorize development time – new content or old content bug fixes?
We want to to do bug fixes first then add in new content.
We looked at dungeons across the board, fractal bosses are more interesting – environment affect them etc. We want to do the same to the original dungeon bosses.
Specific teams to focus on different areas of the game to make sure no area is left behind.
Q: Do you think classes will have more weapon combinations sometime in the future? (i.e. Eles using greatswords)
Great question, you might be able to see it in the future – can’t comment more
Q: Examples to make boss more interesting
Different mechanics when bosses get to a different health stage etc like some of the fractal bosses.
We now have more better tools to develop boss scripts.
Q: WvW and ascended gear?
It is an idea being tossed around – use the badge system perhaps.
I am hopeful that we will see Ascended gear in WvW
Q: Custom areans – new game modes? cost to host?
Yes, cost money to host, you rent server from us.
You can’t create an entirely new gamemode but you can turn some features on/off.
I know you guys want new gamemodes like CTF
Q: GvG – Guild vs Guild
Guilds battle in guild halls – you had a flag, a guild lord etc in GW1.
We see it more as the team 5vs 5 stuff in GW2 and in custom arenas
Q: New game modes?
We want to use conquest as the base and develop around it, we are talking about deathmath, CTF and see if they can fit our game.
Maybe we can implement some elements from other gamemodes.
Why do we keep to conquest? If you want something to grow, to do Esport, you want something that people can pick up and familiar with.
New mode – pushing the boundaries of what conquest can do arriving sometime before the death of the universe.
Q will GW2 become a ESPORT?
Yes, we are working on things that GW2 needs to be an esport – i..e custom arenas, Spector mode, better streaming support
Releases later in the year.
Q: Do you agreee with the statement the current metagame is boring
Current metagame is boring, could use some expansion
Bunker – a class is a class that hold down a position, has a lot of healing and self-survability (i.e. a tank). We don’t want the bunker to go away completely. Bunkers give you an anchor in the map.
We don’t want to be case that every team needs a bunker.
Bring builds to all classes to what the bunkers are currently.
Eles are tough, guardians are tough, mesmers are hard to take care of, so are thieves.
Q: Do you find any profession to be out of balance like Ele bunker, roamer, thief one shot combo, mesmer portal?
Ele bunker is really strong, on our watchlist
Mesmer portal is giving us problems –giving that tool onto other classes maybe?
Q: Reward screen for the new crowns for the achievements
If you are playing a specific class, you have a reward that can be tailoring to your class
A chest containing stuff that your class that you can use.
Not class specific armor etc.
Q: Get crowns are achievement we already have?
First build only have crowns for daily and monthly achievements
Later phase will have crowns are other achievement.
New daily and monthly achievements tied to new content – allow to pick specific rewards you care about.
Feb’s monthly will reward crowns
Crowns are a new type of currency but these won’t take up inventory space (i.e. it will be like karma/gold)
Q: Elaborate your plans for changing AoEs
This is not a quick fix, we are getting a lot of data.
If your skil does 10 damage to a single target, if you have another skill that have the same opportunity cost but deals 8 damage to 5 targets, the AoE skill is better – we don’t want you to use AoE skills on single target mobs.
Maybe add a new mechanic where mobs are resistant to AoE damage.
In PvP and WvW we see people using AOEs on enemy players rezzing other etc
Part 3 (Dev responses to common concerns) AoE
Just wanted to let you guys know that we’re reading this thread.
Your logic, reasons, anecdotes and ideas are being listened to. Also keep in mind, that as I said yesterday, a skill can be a balance problem in one area of the game, but underpowered in another. That’s the nature of using one set of #‘s to balance across all areas of the game. So we’re keeping that in mind as we look at this. We may need to do different tweaks in different areas of the game.
We’re also not going to make a knee jerk reaction to this. We’re still gathering data, watching player trends, and having meetings on all possible ramifications from possible changes.
There are a few different knobs we can turn in regards to AoE some of the bigger ones being:
Radius of the AoE
Frequency of the AoE Damage
Damage of the AoE
Max Targets of the AoE
Currently, some players causing the AoE are able to do more damage to one person while also controlling a portion of the field, compared to a player with single target damage.
In our balance discussions we always look at what these changes could do to PvE as well as PvP. Any changes we make will undergo a lot of testing, both internal and by our trusted alpha team. It is important to understand that we are not doing a blanket nerf to all AE’s or a dramatic adjustment of the damage AoE’s can do. There may be some cases where players can build for AoE damage, but are just not viable or other cases where AoE is clearly the dominate way to build, and as such the other builds get left on the side lines. Its these classes/builds that we are concerned about.
- Jonathan Sharp
I agree. We’ve done some of the core stuff we wanted to nail w/ the conquest format, so now we’ll start getting into different secondaries that provide new types of gameplay.
Also, I think it’s ok to have some “just for fun” maps and “competitive/serious/tournament” maps. So let’s say we come up with a secondary that may appeal to more casual players, but not as much to hardcore players. I think that’s ok. It will just be known (and other games do this), that some maps are more for casual audiences, and others are for the hard core players.
- Jonathan Sharp
Thanks for all the feedback guys. We’re looking forward to the 1 team vs 1 team test coming up and seeing your feedback.
We plan to do other tests down the road, depending on how it goes. So that’ll be a great place for us to try some new ideas! And as I said, once we feel we have a strong core of “normal” conquest maps, I think it’s totally fine for us to branch off and try some other things that may not make it into tournament play.
- Jonathan Sharp
MMORPG.com Livestream with Colin Johanson (Jan 18th, 2013) - Link
Interesting life cycle in a MMO – once a MMO comes out, you immediately become a MMO service provider. Once a MMO launches, you have that peak concurrency right off the bat, then population drops down and it settles into the core player base, then that core population slowly decline every month after that.
If you look at EVE, WoW, those are great examples of games that settled into their base population after launch and then every month start to grow a bit. All the other games that weren’t as successful hit their base point and started to drop off a bit.
We actually hit our base point with GW2 where for a month we saw the same login numbers and every week for the last 5 weeks it has being slowly going up and that is really exciting for us.
We are the fastest selling MMO ever made – to get to 3 million copies (maybe not including China). The game is doing better than we ever imagined it could
Where did you guys think you would be after launch at this point?
We definitely didn’t expect to have this many sales, this many concurrent users, this many logins. Our goal is to hit our base user and then build on that every month and have it go up. We definitely seen that.
The actual sales and actual numbers are much higher – a big chunk higher than where we thought we would be right now. Can’t say the details.
How is the Black Lion Trading Company working out?
In GW1 we had a really small live team because the game wasn’t big enough to generate a consistent revenue. The gems/micro-transaction based model allow us to have a much larger live team in GW2, allowing players to see much more content on a monthly basis.
Our live team in GW2 is 15-20 times larger than the live team in GW1.
Have you found that things are easier to make in GW2 since you are now working on your second game?
It is mixed – we are learning more.
The challenge that is different GW1 is that our dynamic event system is really complicated, much more so and time consuming to make than traditional quests in GW1.
You have to account for when the event occurs, how does it interact with other events/contents, and what happens when the event occurs too many times in a row, how do you reset the event after completion.
It is much more challenging to build but also much more rewarding – we are getting faster and better at it.
So the short answer is no – in the amount of times it takes to design a quest in GW1, we are only about 10% into an event in GW2.
WvW: How is the fight against culling going?
It is a huge project that involve us basically rewriting the entire way how models and assets load.
Jan update is our first major improvement – models that appear near you will first be a low res model that act as a placeholder until the whole character is loaded in. This will fix those “invisible” characters that appear next to you that some of you are currently experiencing.
Next major step is how do we show more models and more things happening on screen. We are doing a lot of internal testing and it is looking very promising.
We are going to stay away from doing massive open world events with hundreds of people until we get culling fixed.
AoEs in WvW
Guys working on skll balance are still trying to decide what to do. Some of it will be going through and evaluating all the AoEs in the game and trying to pick out a couple that are over the top and making some tweaks.
We don’t want AoEs to be as strong or more powerful than a single target damage spell in the same amount of time when it has the capacity to hit 5 people instead of 1.
There are some skills right now that you always use no matter what and they are not necessarily situational or you time them properly. We want there to be a lot of tactics and thought that goes into the things that you do. That will be part of the strategy when we look through the AoE skills.
We don’t want to make them useless, we just want to make them working as intended and we noticed that there are a couple right now that are not.
Bunker Elementalist on your watchlist – what does it mean?
Watchlist means we are seeing it as a very common build. This warrants the discussion is this the meta that we want to have right now. Is it fun to play as, is it fun to play against? If the answer is yes to both, then we don’t change it. If it is no, then we will take a look at it and tweak it a little bit.
If it is not fun to play as, and play against, is probably something we don’t want to see in our game.
Watchlist means someone is sitting around watch people playing Ele bunker 24/7.
Engineer feels weak compared to my guardian – what classes are the team looking to tweak?
(Host) – Engineer Grenade build was on the watch list before and it was changed accordingly. To be fair, the engineer is still awesome with the grenade build. (Colin) – yes that is what I run on my character and I agree.
We are looking at all professions at all times, we try not to just look at a single profession at any one time. That is a really dangerous thing to do and you are not look how it affects the entire game.
The guardian is intended to be meaty-tough, engineer is more for people who are looking to play with versatility, tricks, and gadgets. If there is something on engineer we need to tweak, we will take a look at it.
In GW2, the 8 professions are very closely split between the game population, which you don’t see in a lot of other games.
Most popular race is human? Yea, same with all other MMOs with humans – the most popular race is human. Lowest played race in GW2 is the Charr.
WvW & Zerging – what are you guys working to get people away from zerging.
Zerg is sort of the natural gameplay that is kind of evolved – find a commander and follow it. Comfort in numbers.
Strategically, the best strat is to split into mini zergs and constantly harassing the map.
We need have more capacity for commander to direct others, coommunicate, develop tactics and strategy.
Provide reasons to holding multiple objectives for long period of time other than just score – If my server is losing, what is the reason I am going to keep logging in to keep playing.
We need to provide incentives to winning over a short period of time and that is one of the major features that we are focused on.
Progression Model for WvW
We are actually working on two systems: one is the new feature we just talked about to incentive short term win and the other is the progression system.
One of the key features missing from WvW right now is a reason for me to login and progress as a individual – I can fight for my server, for scores, for fun, but there is not a clear sense of progression for me as a player.
This progression system will give you WvW specific abilities you gain as you work down the progression path and recognition so other players can see your progression.
Enemies won’t see your name but they will see your progression – i.e. title, name that show up differently to enemies (i.e. not just an invader). Details are not finalized yet.
Crowns (renamed to Laurels) and achievements
We renamed crowns into laurels – crowns translate into bad words in other languages.
Laurel system is a new currency like gold/karma. You earn 1 laurel for each daily, 10 for per monthly. Merchants in cities you can trade – ascended gear, infusions, more hidden items in the game, tonic that transform you into cats, some new mini pets, WvW things you can get.
This is taking some of the rewards that are currently buried behind RNG and giving you access to them by just logging in to your dailies/monthlies.
Daily achievements – in the initial release for Jan, each day of the week have different dailies but you need to do all of them. Down the road we will add in a new system that allow you to pick from a list of which dailies you like to do and make dailies choices a bit more specific (i.e. complete 4 jumping puzzles).
The intent with new system of achievements we are releasing later on is to create hotspots in the world to direct people to – i.e. score goals in keg brawl. Give us a chance to showcase part of the game people may not know about and give people a incentive to go back some of the older areas. We will also be adding in new content to these old areas to make them more exciting.
Guesting allow you to click on a world and play with your friends seemlessly – limited to 2 worlds per day to play on. Server transfer cost depends on how full the servers you want to transfer to.
We had guesting almost done in each of the earlier patches but right before we were about to release it someone found a major bug that forced us to push it back.
Not having a level cap in earlier versions of GW2– what made you change about that design?
That idea sort of morphed into our level scaling system. We need to make it rewarding and fresh everytime you go back to that world.
One of the factors right now preventing the rewards to be as good is that on some maps, you can’t get loot up to your level
We are fixing that soon – you will always have a chance to get loot up to your level on those maps that are not giving out level appropriate loot.
For Jan update , we are thinning out the density of mobs in Orr, making some more waypoints always active, and adding some more new rewards – from vendors, from drops.
We also tweaked some of the bosses in temples to make them a bit more exciting for larger groups.
We didn’t complete rebuild Orr but we tweaked it a little bit.
Guild houses/player houses anytime soon? We will do guild halls some point, it is not something we are actively working on atm. Player housing is in our radar.
Fractal relics – anyway to trade them in for other items? – not in the upcoming Jan release. It is something we will look into.
Plans to tweak precursors for legendaries? – we like to do in the long run is doing an epic scavenger hunt – we are in the midst of designing that right now. That is going to take some time. Legendaries don’t make you more powerful and not our #1 focus. Our #1 focus is making our core world stronger because that affect all the players. We will also find additional ways to get precursors – additional places that they can drop – not intended as a fix but something to go by until the real fix.
LFG: It is something we are working on, we have a team working on it. We are not building on a dungeon finder that auto places you in dungeons. We want to make a tool easier for players to play with. It is not automated. It is something you won’t see for the next couple months.
Additional hairstyles, additional cosmetic features? We will continue to expand on that
Additional playable races? It is something we could be. Might be part of an expansion. No guarantees.