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Full transcript of ArenaNet AMA on Reddit


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#1 Wajdos

Wajdos

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 11:18 PM

This is a full transcript from AMA on Reddit.

I hope it will be useful for some of you. ~~Wajdos.


Mike O'Brien - President/Founder - MO
Chris Whiteside - Lead Producer - Chris
Mike Zadorojny‎‎ - Content Designer - z
Mike Ferguson - WvW Designer - Ferg
Peter Giuntoli - Programmer - Peter
Jon Peters - Systems Designer - Jon
Isaiah Cartwright - Lead Systems Designer - Izzy


_______________________________________________________________

Will the guild cap. remain at 100 members for BWE2? If so, any plans to increase the capacity at launch?

The plan for guild cap is that guilds will be able to gain influence to up their cap. How this will work is not exactly determined yet, but the current limit of 100 is lower than the maximum a guild will be able to achieve.
Jon P
Just got a message from the guild guys that it isn't influence, but will be some other factor that determines guild size allowed. Also it is not in the next BWE. :)

As not much information is out about how the automated tournaments will work in depth, I'd love if you could answer the following:
Will automated tournaments be cross-region or will they be locked to the region your team is part of, I ask this due to latency issues that one may encounter from US teams to EU teams trying to face eachother on equal ground (while not on a LAN event)?
How many rounds will there be (if any) and what maps will be selected for competitive play by default(if the amount of rounds is lower than the amount of maps available)?
Will changing utility skills and weapon sets while out of combat be disabled for Tournament mode?
Lately you have stated automated tournament winners will be able to receive "loot", what do you mean by this?
Thanks in advance!

They are per data center.
The automatic ones will be 8 team single elimination.
Changing utility skills isn't determined yet, but there will be some solution for tournaments that isn't in yet.

Will we be able to easier group up with friends.. like change districts and such to reach our friends?

Yes we have improved that for this beta weekend already.

Will the WvW mini dungeon be instanced or will it be part of the WvW map?
It is part of the Eternal Battlegrounds map, not an instance –Ferg

Trait tiers: many dislike it other are not sure, what was the reason behind it?
There were a number of problems with the old system that we felt required a change. We believe this new system keeps the spirit of the old system, while actually working better in the long run. Here are the problems we believe this change solve:
1) Best builds were all 30,10,10,10,10. There was always a super strong trait in every line which made each player only put 10 points into that trait line and still gain a very powerful benefit. In the new system this will still be true, but it will be tempered because people will be giving up going 20 or 30 points into multiple lines. This has allowed us to shift traits around so that more of them get play at different levels, meaning they don’t all have to compete against each other at tier 1.
2) This system is so much easier to balance. It is not reasonable to make 12 equally useful traits, particularly given how some of them had niche effects. Making 12 equal traits is harder, takes longer and ultimately leads to some traits seeing a lot less use. Finally an important point is that balance creates more choice as well because unbalanced and bad builds aren’t really options. The old system created a very small subset of über-builds which stomped out a lot of the good builds along with the bad ones.
3) Opportunity Costs are what make interesting choices. Trait tiers allow us to split the traits. 6 allowed in slot 1, 10 (6 tier 1 and 4 tier 2) allowed in slot 2, and 12(6 tier 1, 4 tier 2 and 2 tier 3) allowed in slot 3. The final 2 tier 3 traits are "elite"-like, in the sense that you can only ever have one of them on your build at once. If I'm making a damage warrior I am going to put 30 points into strength, same as every other big damage warrior, but now those characters are all guaranteed to be split at least in half forcing you to not take one of the two exclusive final traits. Before, anytime a character went 30 points in a line they were taking the same 3 (maybe 3 out of 4) traits.
4) Option Shock. New players at level 20 were clicking on a trait line for the first time and seeing 12 options which was very overwhelming. This gives them a bit of a reprieve to pick between a smaller number of traits at first and then learn more as they have played their character more.
5) Putting 30 points into a line left you with a climax of picking the third most interesting trait which did not feel good. Players want to feel like that decision to go 30 is a big decision and that when they make it they get to make a big decision that simply could not happen in the old system. Now when you commit to 30 points you are rewarded with an important choice as well as options that you didn't previously have.
Finally, these are not the final balance numbers or often even the final traits/functionality and we will be iterating on this system as we move towards release. I know for certain there are already a number of changes I wish I could have made before this weekend, but they will have to wait until next time. If you had a really fun build before this change and it is lost now, post it in our beta forums and we can figure out how to make it viable. The intention here was not to remove fun, good builds but to create more viable builds that will increase the variety of characters in the game.
Jon P


Were the best builds 30/10/10/10/10 from actual competitive players or were these simply the most common? Being common and being effective are two different things entirely, which I'm sure you know.
If 12 traits were all equally useful you should be seeing a relatively equal distribution of use. There is nothing preventing bad builds still. I could make 20/10/20/10/10 and it'll probably be bad if not terrible in the new system. You are still left with the problem of making 12 interesting and useful traits to prevent that from happening.
I felt opportunity costs were already present, were players actually stating the opposite? The competitive scene is going to be hurt by this change overall I think as the builds will be even more alike than before. As you yourself stated, every big damage warrior is going to have 30 points in Strength and the same applies to every class. You either have 30 points for weapon damage or condition damage.
Option shock is something people will overcome and this treats people like idiots to a certain degree by saying you can't handle all this choice so let me limit it for you.
Isn't this and point 2 in direct contention? You make the traits all generally interesting and you have opportunity cost present and you don't need some big "reward", since getting another sweet trait is the reward. If all the traits aren't interesting you have to give a reward as people basically say useless for slot 1, useful for slot 2, great for slot 3. If someone doesn't feel good from getting a third useful trait I'd argue the traits were far from interesting enough as that equates to only 25% of all the traits in a line.

The 30,10,10,10,10 builds were from the best players in our closed test. Also there are many considerations and while not everyone is going to make sense for everyone, from a design standpoint for us, this was the best solution for the most players, and more importantly for the game and how we want it to play.
Jon

I appreciate the reply and it is definitely good to know that is where you guys are getting these builds from. I would have liked to hear some more in-depth reasoning on my other points, but I understand you can't spend all day on one person.
I hope I didn't come across as an *, but I'm interested in seeing GW2 be as awesome as possible. Thanks again.

Nah I understand your trepidation. I think to anyone who is worried about specific design stuff I try to tell them these two things.
1) We have to design the game for ALL the players so try to think what is best for the game, not just for you.
2) Try and remember all of the decisions we have made from a design standpoint that led you to follow the game in the first place and until you try it assume that changes we made were for the same "smart" reasons. It helps to temper your reaction and creates a much more open As Eric Flannum likes to say: "Think of the coolest possible version of this, not that worst."
Jon


Im going to assume some tweaking was done, or will be done, to make this make sense for all lines. For example, the Ranger Beastmastery line has basically its entire trait choices as buffs to specific pets. Its hard to really separate that, as if you choose to say, use a cat pet and its a 30 point trait, but a spider pet is a 10 point trait, then you are essentially tiering the pets. I am wondering how this will work out but have a feeling I will have my answer in 2 days when I log on :X

Yes a lot of tweaking was done and a lot more will be done. What we have now is the first reasonable pass with this system.
Jon

Thanks for the response. I must admit I was one who was arguing heavilly against this but your explanation, primarilly the final two points, sold me on it. I was always expecting any builds I came up with (and i spend all my BWE time making and testing builds in the mists/sPVP) to change or disappear after balancing. So this wasn't a shock to me. However I didn't feel like limiting options was the only way to fix it. But hearing it from you guys that you TRIED to fix it without doing this and it just didn't work, well, I beleive you. So I trust it will still be an exciting customizable system you have going here, and appreciate all the hard work.

Yeah in the end there are a lot of smaller pools of customization in GW2, but there are a lot of pools.
Pick weapons Pick heal skill Pick utility skills Pick elite skill Pick trait lines Pick major traits Pick weapon/armor stats Pick weapon sigils Pick armor runes
Looking at it on the surface it seems manageable, which is the goal for more casual players, but honestly there is so much customization that sometimes it is staggering...
Jon

I know I read an interview awhile ago that tried to answer a question ranking the importance of each pool of choices. I know the answer had the armor/weapon stats and sigils/runes ranked pretty low. It currently seems the contrary however. Statistical choices (of which I have and always will be a HUGE fan) are incredibly impactful and while as a community we have a few trait calculators, it kills me we do not have a calculator for these other choices. So I think a lot of players do not realize that trait choices sometimes weren't even the biggest contributing factor to their favorite builds. Upon release when I have more time to do so I plan on taking the time to break down all the stats and their effects on everything as a mathemetician unless someone else does so before me. Just for fun, cause I like knowing how that stuff works :D

Honestly it just depends a lot on build. Right now I'm sitting with some of our PvP guys and they are feverishly testing tournament stuff to make sure its as good as it can be for this weekend. After every game I hear them talking about what the other team was using, what changes they are going to make, etc. Sometimes a single sigil choice can make a huge impact. I know Izzy currently has an ele build that uses some sigils to create a lot of pressure damage, but other times sigils are an afterthought in a particularly balanced build. Like I said, so many options its hard to make sense of it all until you can really get in there and play with it on a consistent basis. We can't wait to see what players are able to do with the system, but I can tell you from observing some of the meta-game of our closed test that the highest level players have already taken it to a crazy level or complexity that will satisfy the hardcore PvP players for a long time.
Jon


Will there be some sort of option to easily increase trail points or view trait skills for a given tier?
One of my biggest annoyances was trying to set up a build for PvP. I would have to click the mouse a bunch of times to get 20 points into a tree and if I clicked one extra time I would have to reset and do it over again.
Not only that but there didn't seem to be an easy way to see what major traits were available in a tree until I put the points into it. It would be really useful to see what the 2 "epic" traits are for a tree without having to put 30 points in.

Oh yeah we fixed the UI so you can see all traits in a line before spending points! :)
Jon


Heh you obviously typed that out before this AMA, guess you were expecting it :P

WHAT?@>! :) Yeha we know this question was coming, but we played with the trait system for a long time and this new system, especially as we get more and more time to balance it has been a tremendous help in balancing the game and creating more build variety.


Not a question, but I just wanted to say that I am blown away by how much you guys truly listen to your players' feedback; it's definitely a breath of fresh air in this industry. Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

Thanks so much to the community for being so involved and supporting us throughout the Development process. We couldn't do it without you.
Chris

I'm really frustrated at the rate we are able to unlock skills in WvW. It seems (from the last BWE) you would have to land the killing blow on an enemy invader to up your progression on the skill you are working on.
Is there a plan to somehow get credit for attacking the target and get progress on a skill without having to land a killing blow?
This was a bug and should now be working as intended. Some of the problems may stil exists but it is our intention that WvW is on equivilent footing reward wise in every way to PvE.
Jon P

Guild Wars 2 has very competetive, engaging and fun to watch PvP which could lead to the game becoming an e-sport. However, for that to happen, there will have to be a spectator mode. My question is if this is something that will be in the game on release or added at a later date.
We intend to support spectator mode at some point, but right now we are focused on core features to get the game into your hands so that you as the players can help us determine the course of future updates.
Jon P

Can you please confirm the Cash Shop won't turn into Pay 2 Win, and that items offered through the shop mostly will be aesthetic?
Hi Korval,
We have no intention of creating a Pay 2 Win model. We want to offer the player a suite of options to enhance the game and not to unbalance it.
We also intend to work with the community to pioneer what Micro Transaction mean to Online Worlds moving forward.
Chris

Can you fix the ability queue? Currently, if you press a button several times, it fires off several times. Can we have an option like “No ability queue”, “0.5ms”, 1ms”, etc?
There is a timeout on the queue. We are always tweaking this, but often it still has some issues that we are still working out. We have tried removing the queue, but that felt even worse than some of the issues we still see now. We have made improvements to queueing since the last BWe and there are still more to come before release.
Jon P

Will the Commander Rank for WvWvW have a working 50man Squad UI? To Elaborate:In BWE1 the "raid-like" group UI to allow for 50 members to be in a Squad together under a person who had read the Commanders Rank Book wasn't working. Will it be for BWE2/release?
The followers tab in your contacts panel will show you the members of your squad. There is no limit on squad sizes.
We made a bunch of improvements to the squad system over the last month or so and will definitely be looking for feedback on it over the weekend to determine if we need to make additional improvements.
- Ferg

Will we be allowed to group with friends for Arena PvP? In the last beta weekend I could not group as a team to join Arena PvP.
In this BWE we are introducing tournmaments which will allow you to PvP with friends. We have also made some improvements to the hot join games allowing you to follow friends into games via a chat link and will continue to improve these now and after release as well.
Jon P

I am a graduate student studying cognitive psychology - judgment and decision making, specifically. I interviewed with Valve a couple weeks ago, but the work I've done isn't that applicable to their games. I was wondering if ANet has considered using cognitive psychologists in their game production and design.
Hi DoxDox,
Psychology of play, understanding of player types and target audience's is extremely important in gaming. This is not a track we hire for specifically but we expect an understanding of this in our employees and especially in game design. Should you want to learn more about career opportunities i would suggest visiting:http://www.arena.net/jobs/
Thanks for your questions.
Chris

Can you outrun a centaur?
Hrathi or Tamini?
Jon P

Początek formularza
The Death Shroud skills we saw during the stress test and BWE1: Are these the final skills? In my experience haunt (the projectile that teleports on hit) was a lot of fun in a few very specific instances but for the most part wasn't used. Any specific tweaks for DS coming up?
Also (I'm allowed to squeeze in two questions right? :P) MH dagger seemed to be really weak compared to MH axe for the Necro. Thoughts?
Obviously thank you so much for the game and for taking the time to do this AMA. I cannot explain to you how refreshing it is to see developers break from the "WoW" mold and go off in their own direction. I love WoW, but I cannot wait to love Guild Wars 2 as well =D

That skill now applies blind making it much more useful. We are always making skill and trait changes to make the game better. :)
Firstable, I love you Anet, and a question time. This is our second beta test event ( not including Stress test), and we get to keep our characters again, which is amzing. Is there any chance that in future, in the final release we will keep our original characters created in beta phase?

Hi Kuba,
Thanks for getting in touch.
Beta characters will not transfer into the game when it goes live.
Chris

First of all, I wanna thank you and everyone over there at ArenaNet for the great support and dedication over the past decade!
I want to ask if we will be able to play with you this weekend and how to find you ingame?

Many people from the studio will be playing throughout the weekend. I plan to take Friday off just I can spend the whole day in game. It's an amazing experience for us to play alongside all of you. You'll be able to easily spot anyone in the ArenaNet guild because of the company logo about our heads. ~z

So we won't be seeing you on the european servers eh?

Actually some of us were talking about relocating to EU servers for this weekend. -Ferg

For many players Guild vs Guild was our favorite aspect of the original Guild Wars. When I think of Guild vs Guild I think of Guild Halls (home turf) and all the hours I spent practicing with my Guild Team. Having 1st and 2nd tier players and just enjoying all the aspects that made GvG such an amazing e-Sport experience.
You have said GvG and Guild Halls will not be available at launch can you confirm that these are features at least being tested internally or on the drawing board for down the road?

Tournaments, which are in this BWE, are the equivilent of GvG in GW2. Players will be able to form teams and enter the most basic form of tournaments this weekend. More tournament support is incoming.
Jon P

In WvW theres a lot of people, interaction and basically a lot more things going on... will the person who only have the minimum required system can enjoy playing in WvW?

We're doing everything we can to ensure that anyone who can run the game can participate in wvw. We've made a number of optimizations since the last event to improve performance and we will continue to do so, hopefully people should have a little better performance in WvW this time around. – Ferg

As a pre-purchaser I’d like to thank you allowing fans to buy and pre-load the game before release, this makes the experience much smoother when trying to play the game. However, as a pre-purchaser I am also confused as to why ANet decided to put an enormous shroud of secrecy over Guild Wars 2 since the opening of the pre-purchase. It’s been almost two months since you have opened up the pre-purchase and almost all pre-purchasers, who are customers, have absolutely no idea around what time of the year the game will come out. It is also half-way into 2012, the supposed year of release and still no info. What is worse is that two community managers recently contradicted each other, only adding to the frustration and confusion.
Community Manager (AT): We will have a one-month delay between the release date announcement and the actual release date.
Community Manager (RB2): The idea that there will be a one-month delay between is a rumor and is not verified by ANet. Contradiction
Another detail is that you have allowed for a no refund policy on the pre-purchases, only creating suspicion to your secrecy. Then, pretty recently, the NCSoft’s investor call came up and at one point it was stated that Guild Wars 2 is looking at later 2012 release. I don’t think my trust in ANet could have dropped any lower than it did at that point. I mean, why are we finding out from NCSoft the time of year that GW2 will be coming out and not ANet themselves?
So, my question is: Why is there so much secrecy around Guild Wars 2 and the release window? I’m not asking for a release date, but I’d like to know a rough estimate of the time that the product I paid $59.99 for will be delivered and available for me to use. I’m positive that I am not the only one who has a desire to know what window of 2012 Guild Wars 2 will be released in.
Thanks for your time.

We try to be very open and transparent with our fans, as I hope this AMA shows you.
Your concerns are all about release date. The fundamental issue here is that we just don't have a release date right now. We're using beta testing in the traditional sense. When beta testing shows that the game is where we want it to be, we'll lock in a release date.
I'm pumped about what we were able to accomplish for BWE2 and I think you guys will be too when you see it. We're not that far off. We're obviously going to release in 2012, and any statements to the contrary are absurd.
As for the "one month delay" versus "not one month delay", we have to line up distribution and retail sales so obviously we'll announce a release date in advance of the actual release, but we don't have a policy of "exactly X weeks in advance". Aidan was giving his personal take on this. Rubi is correct that there isn't a nailed down number of weeks notice.
~ MO

GP2. The gameplay/mechanical changes from BWE1 to BWE2 aren't insignificant. How much of the game is still being iterated upon based on feedback/observation?
GP2a. (followup to last question) Does the team consider big changes to the base game possible following launch?

GP2a. (followup to last question) Does the team consider big changes to the base game possible following launch?
Yes, we intend to listen to the community and figure out what changes will help improve the game for players, as well as which are technically feasible. There will be a lot of effort going into Guild Wars 2 support after ship.
Jon P

Guys just look at how much GW1 changed after launch. I mean... they practically redesigned a class (Dervish). I don't think we need to worry.

Also if you take a look at the change list from BWE to BWE2, that is literally stuff we have done in the last few weeks. We have a great process here for making changes which helps us make good on our philosophy of iteration. This is the kind of progress we want to keep making on the game as we keep moving forward.
Jon


What's a normal day of work for you? From arriving to work, to the time you leave.
Do you guys play any other games :D? If so, what games do you enjoy?
Do you plan on playing a regular character in Guild Wars 2?

Hi Ace of Hearts,
A 'Normal' day is dependent on the discipline you work in but if i may i will answer your question holistically. we are very collaborative at Arena and so we meet regularly to discuss features, problems and ideas. A lot of time is spent in implementation with regular peer reviews of the work and play tests. We also spend a lot of time getting to know each other, our likes, dislikes and what drives us.
We are all big gamers and play most new releases and as well of golden oldies. we have a gaming room with consoles, boards games, table football and ping pong. Every week members of staff sit down to play table top games as well ranging from Role Playing Games to table top War gaming. Basically we love games!
I will have a regular character in game and would love to play with you should you want to.
My character name is Snowcrash.
Thanks for your question and for supporting Guild Wars 2.
Chris

Hey Chris, Snowcrash eh? Neal Stevenson fan i'm guessing?

Hi Beach,
Yes i love cyberpunk and Snowcrash is one of favorites.
Chris



I recently got in to the CS:GO beta and have been playing a bunch at lunch. Before that it was Diablo 3, then HoN (which I'm horrible at), and Skyrim. After watching this year's e3 trailers I can't wait to play Watch Dogs!
-Peter


GP10. What is the status on fixing Pet AI?

We have fixed a large number of bugs with pet AI, but there are still some lingering ones. Anyone that finds a good case for reproducing them, please don't hesitate to post about it in our beta forums or somewhere on the internet and hopefully it finds its way to us.
Jon P


Deep dish or thin crust?
Deep dish obviously.
-Ferg (originally from Illinois)

GP5. Is first-person-view going to be available? Can we disable the camera-swing?

We are going to making a number of improvements to camera between now and ship. First person is something we want to do but might be a post release things. Yes we will disable the camera swing. Someone just showed it to me.

is the character limit staying at 5 without paying or will we have more when the game is officially released?
Hi Lucleader,
Asura is not available in this event. But watch this space!
Thanks for the question and your support.
Chris

GP6. What is the thought behind the mechanics of the different profressions downed abillities? Some classes get really useful abilities like interrupts and stealth, others get long-cooldown abilities that won't save them.
We are aware that some professions downed skills are, lets say, less than or greater than desirable. We will need to take a close look at these and I suspect we will do so "soon" TM.

Since there is some debate on it. Bottom line is we want you to be string enough to have a chance to rally but not so strong that you just easily rally every time or are impossible to take down.
Jon


What goes in to preparing for the Beta Weekend? I've participated in numerous Betas, but I am curious as to what goes on behind the scenes. Thanks so much for the AMA, can't wait for Friday!
What goes on behind the scenes? Well first of all we've all worked furiously getting the beta build ready for you. We've been testing the hell out of it and squashing any bugs we can find. When hundreds of thousands of people start playing on Friday at noon, generally that uncovers some new bugs, which we fix that day. Then we spend the weekend playing the game with you, reading your posts and feedback, and taking notes about what's working and what's not working.
The key issue we face with testing GW2 is that it's such a social game that it just plays completely differently with thousands of players logged in than it does in smaller internal play-tests. So every hour of play in a beta weekend is super valuable to us. Immediately afterward we make all our plans for what we need to fix/tweak/change prior to the next BWE.
~ MO

@ Chris Whiteside - Any long term plans for expanions and what will they entail? In a general sense - new zones? New planets/dimentions? Or just expansion/change of current ones?
@ Mike Zadorodjny - Does it take more work to make content for existing zones or completly new things like dungeons?
@ Mike Ferguson - Are there long term plans to expand WvW? Like new maps or mini-zones?

Hi Frag,
Thanks for the question. We do indeed have awesome plans in the Expansion area. It isn't something we are talking about currently, however you can expect the pioneering work to continue as well as our pledge to continue to develop and support the game through the thoughts, ideas and passion of our community.
Thanks,
Chris

If I may add a question for the team: Do you guys browse /r/guildwars2? And if so how often?
Yes, I read it pretty much every day.
~ MO

GP3. Sense of moving is a great idea, what about a sense of being connected to the ground with walking/animations? Players also experience a 'sliding' effect when walking.
We have worked hard on this issue. Just like any game there are cases where you can make it look crazy, but we feel like those are mostly edge cases at this point. We still have some things in mind that we want to do here, but what you see now is close to what you will get.
I will explain a bit how it works.
Visually we have transition animations that help blend between different states, but for those worried about responsiveness those transitions are purely visual so as soon as you press strafe left you are moving at full speed to the left. This disconnect is what sometimes causes the floaty feeling.
Jon P

P1. What is the status of the Engineer re-work? What kind of changes are being made?
Still in progress. I think the key piece is getting their kits to inherit some of the benefits that you get from collecting and customizing weapons.

P2. Is there a re-work in progress for the Mesmers? A lot of people are unsatisfied with the current AI + shatter mechanics. Additionally, there are issues taken with the class mechanic being susceptible to AoE weakness, lack of synergy between the scepter and other weapons, lack of utility/power of the illusions, amongst other things.
There have been some changes already, but if it is not responsive enough we will make the changes necessary to make Mesmers viable. Please give them a shot in this BWE and let us know what you think. Jon P

P4. http://lorehound.com...GW2_Warrior.jpg This warrior has what appears to be a 2-handed axe. Are there any intentions on implementing 2 handed axes in the game, or will there be greatsword skins that are designed to look like axes?
Two handed axes are awesome. No reason to skin, lets save some cool stuff for expansions :)
Jon P

PVP1. Are there any plans on making a PvP type that can transit into an eSport?
Please give our automatic tournaments a try this weekend. This is our first step towards e-sport. :)
PVP2. It's been previously stated that spectator-mode for PvP won't be available until sometime after launch, any idea about an ETA when we can expect it?
It will be based on how simple it is to add and how requested it is. :)
PVP3. Can we, or are you planning on implementing - a way for players to duel each other?
We intend to have dueling post release, but when will depend on how demanded it is and how easy it is for us to get it into the game. ECHO!
Jon P

P6. Will Engi's get more weapon options in the future? Or possibly more weapon kits?
Yes, both at some point!!!
Jon P

Will there be WvW ranks and rank abilities/gear?

There will not be ranks in WvW. –Ferg

D3. What is the status on performance optimization?
We’ve worked on improving client and server performance between BWE1 and 2 and plan on focusing more on performance and polish as feature development winds down.
-Peter

I hate MMO's I just don't get it. I try and try (My girlfriend loves them and I do it for her) and I just can't do it. But for GW2 I am extremely excited for it. Everything about it just makes me incredibly happy. You have the Beta thing coming up and I have a question. What are the chances of me getting in the beta if I were to buy the game now? I really want to play it but I heard about people not getting in last time and also I am going to have to dip into my budget to get the game. Atleast right now.
I wish you guys great success, if you guys converted me, who swore up and down to never play a MMO game you should have no problem recruiting others and have an amazing fan base.

I'm glad to hear that you're so excited for the game! Making a game that attracted MMO and non-MMO gamers was one of our core philosophies.
For this upcoming event we've prepared the servers to handle "last minute" pre-purchasers. So if you find it in your budget to pick up the game on Saturday you'll still be able to enjoy the end of the event.
~z

P7. Can we get class icon's above the Mesmer illusions, as to help with them being actual illusions? Right now it's easy to identify which one isn't the real one!
Nice catch. Putting in a bug on this right now!!! Bug #249954!
Jon

D4. What is the intent with game performance as it applies to multi-core processors (2, 4, 8 core etc)
As part of our performance improvements we plan to push more processing on to multiple cores. We're already utilizing multiple cores though!
-Peter

P5. How come Guardians are the only Profession that are limited in range abilities? Everyone else has true-ranged skills, but Guardians have skills that can't go up inclines/ledges (they don't travel through the air, but on the ground)!
I actually updated those skills since the last BWE. Give scpeter a try I tried to make this the ranged option, particularly in WvW for Guardian.
Jon P

mesmer staff had the same bug, did you guys fixed that as well?

Maybe, I'm not sure, but if not I will get it next time. We discovered a good new way to do it, but not sure I hit every skill yet.
Jon


Straight talk: How many copies do you need to sell to make this game a success?
How in the world can your MMO make money after SW:TOR, Aion, Rift, Tera and so many others have… well, not failed completely, but eeeeeeehh….. MMO's take so much work and money to produce, how can you recoup all that from box sales and cosmetic micro-transactions alone?
Addendum: I've bought your game. I've pestered all my friends to buy Guild Wars 2. But I was listening to the Giant Bombcast talk on the dissolution of 38 Studios and the failure of SWTOR.
They seemed to think that WoW's numbers were a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of serendipitous events + polish and that people are finished with MMOs, excepting for trying the new hotness for a few months then abandoning it. How is your game going to prove them wrong?
Does it even need to prove them wrong? With no subscription, won't you make just as much if everyone abandons your game in 6 months anyway? That doesn't seem weird when you're paying $60 for Skyrim and getting ~200 hours of gameplay. Don't we abandon every game after 6 months of playing it? Will your quick expansions bring them and their money back?
Afterword: Your PR/marketing strategy/community guys deserve a raise. The hype for this game is off the charts. Love your effort to engage all of us and your response to the criticisms of the first beta weekend. Thanks for doing this.

First of all, what we all care about in an online world is making a living world that stands the test of time, where players can keep having fun with their friends year after year. So success isn't based on how many copies the game sells up front. Success is based on whether people keep playing the game over time. And financially, success is based on whether people keep supporting the game by buying new content.
Second, I'll address this idea that the time of MMOs is closing. If the word "MMO" means the same game mechanics that companies have been hashing out again and again for the last decade, fine, let them rot. But if you change the word "MMO" to "online world", then I bet we can agree that "online worlds" are only going to keep growing in importance.
~ MO

I'll try asking again:
Will the Asura or Sylvari EVER be playable in a BWE, or is A-Net planning to not let us play as them until launch?
Also, since BWE 2 was delayed so much, will BWE 3 be less than a month away from BWE 2?

Hi Zyketor,
Thanks for your questions. Will Asura and Sylvari be playable in a BWE? Watch this space (-:
In regard to our event cadence, this is very much dependent on the feedback we receive and internal readiness to ensure that not only is each event up to scratch but more importantly ensuring we have everything in place to guarantee we are going to get the best feedback possible which in turn builds towards the overall quality of the game and launch.
Sorry i can't be more specific but we take our Events very seriously from a development perspective and therefore there are a plethora of considerations when it comes to timing.
Thanks for your support,
Chris

The new system makes sense to me. One question. You said that the 30-point traits were elite-like and a build could only have one of them. I am assuming you mean per tree, and not overall (ie. you could go 30 30 10 and get 2 'elite' traits, one per tree).
Yeah, per tree.

I don't see how this creates more variety. You're restricting choices. You talk about variety and say things like 'I am going 30 points into strength, same as every other big damage warrior'.
Then you talk about elite-traits..which I assume means players are now forced to go 30 in trees. Personally, I thought the passive stat bonuses from traiting in a tree was a sufficient reason to go the full 30. How does forcing any similar-type character to go 30 into the same specific trait line and choosing from 1 of 2 elite traits promote variety?

When you have over a billion choices, but a few super strong ones you just basically have a bunch of bad choices. Now we have a few hundred million choices but hopefully have increased the number of good ones by ten fold or more.
I understand wanting to create more choices. I'm not a fan of filler traits that are there just to take up space and no one takes. My solution would be to make those traits people aren't taking more worthwhile, not restricting choice. Maybe there was too much choice before, but I'm still concerned (even moreso really) that cookie-cutter builds will now just be everywhere.
Hmm, let me ask this. When you say 'elite traits', are you speaking of their impact on gameplay? Basically traits that players feel compelled to take because it will make a massive difference as to how their character performs? Or just that there's only two to choose from. If these 'elite traits' are that powerful, then players are..'compelled' to take them. And there's only two, so that leads to not much variety. And also tier 3 still having 6 tier 1 and 4 tier 2 options is moot if everyone only choose the elite trait when they get to that tier.

The basic fact is we made this change because your solution wasn't working despite how much we tried and this solution solved this problem of not enough viable builds while also solving a bunch of other problems. Does that make sense?

Well, we're not really on equal footing in this discussion =cP. I'll have a much better idea of how the system functions in a few days. But I don't want to monopolize your time, so I'll bow out.
However, I still have concerns. My mind just has a hard time grasping how eliminating potential choices somehow creates more choice. And I know you've mentioned that weak traits no one takes means less choice. My -hope- would be that there's a viable reason to take every trait. That even a spec of taking three tier 1 traits is viable. Which means that tier 2 traits aren't that much better than tier 1 and 'elite traits' (that term still scares me) aren't mandatory. Maybe some nice synergy between lower tier traits could make those builds feasible.
Anyway, cheers and thanks for your time. I appreciate it.

Ok I saw this analogy on the GW2 thread on Penny Arcade so I will steal it.
Imagine an ice cream shop has 100 flavors but 3 of them taste good and the rest are terrible. This is probably because they spent time making each one instead of making them all good.
Now imagine an ice cream shop with 10 flavors. They are all good because they took 10x as much time improving each flavor as they did in the other version where only 3 were good by chance because its too time consuming to make 100 ice cream flavors.
Anyone else like Strawberry ice cream?
Jon

WvW is on equivilent footing reward wise in every way to PvE.
Does this mean that lower-level players can now actually see a benefit from WvW? The cripplingly low gold return from WvW events coupled with continual repair expenses and siege blueprints meant that WvW was a net loss in money if you sought combat. Plus experience return and item drops seemed quite low.
Have you considered a separate currency for WvW for siege weapons and equipment repairs? I really strongly disliked having to farm PvE to have enough money to play WvW.

I don' think you will see it yet, but this is something we will work hard to balance as we get closer towards release.
Jon

Pets were dying ridiculously fast in the first beta to the point where I gave up on ranger. Has that been fixed? Are they worth even having now?

I would say they are strong now but still not perfectly balanced. There is a lot of balance work to be done now and not this weekend, but the next time you play the game it will be a lot more balanced.
Jon

I bet you guys are loving to torture us by not releasing Asura/Sylvari, haha. Love you guys anyway.
Hi Oni,
(-:
Watch this space!
Chris

Can you tell Kristen Perry I think she's awesome and I'm a big fan of hers?
Hi Jeffu,
I will do and thanks for your support.
Chris

Hello!
What can we expect from this BWE regarding optimization? Is there major improvement from the last BWE? Any info concerning optimization (like details on CPU vs GPU usage) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for doing this AMA and for making GW2!

We've spent some time on performance improvements and will move more of the team on to performance as time goes on. Specifically, we've moved some of our processing that was done on our main thread on to other threads.
-Peter

Are we going to see any increase in FPS this weekend? In other words, did you work on optimization after BWE1 and Stress test?
Our engine and content programming teams made a number of improvements since the last weekend. Ideally you should see at least some increase in performance, but we're not even close to done yet so don't be too discouraged if you're still having performance issues. Please be sure to leave feedback on our forums over the weekend and let us know how it feels!
-Ferg

If the 'elite' traits are powerful enough that you would be overpowered by getting more than one per tree, doesn't that mean nearly everyone will make 30 30 10 builds to take advantage of two elite traits?
The gap between T1, T2, and T3 should be noticeable but not game breaking. There are plenty of builds that I currently run that do not use T3 traits despite going 30 points in a specific line.
Jon

One of the ways in which we accomplish this is to make the T1 traits more generic, T2 traits a bit more specific, and T3 traits more specific, so you tend to use T1 in later lines if you want to go that line but be more general.

If we the players could only test one thing this weekend what would you want us to test?
Hi Tagon,
Different members of the team would give you a completely different answer so here is mine. Explorable Catacombs.
Thanks for the questions and your support,
Chris

Why Amazon is offering bonuses of pre-purchases for pre-orders. (all BWE's and 3 day head start)? Confirmed by a number of people who only pre-ordered gW2 there.
We're still working with Amazon to figure out what they'll be able to do, so I don't have a final answer for you.
But the basics are this. We have limited server space, so while we guarantee beta access for people who have committed to purchasing the game, we don't guarantee it for everyone who just walks into a store and says, "yeah, reserve me a copy".
Some online stores, not just Amazon, are not able to actually bill the credit card until shipment. But the customer has still made his intent to purchase very clear. It's more like purchasing but being able to get a refund later, which we're fine with, than it is like just adding a name to a reservation list and then having to come back and purchase later.
Because we know Amazon is important to a lot of customers, we want to find a way for Amazon to be part of the prepurchase program. It would be unfair to exclude them for being up-front about a policy that's actually already being used behind-the-scenes elsewhere.
~ MO

Will the new beta event start from scratch, or will we be able to use our characters from the previous beta event? Just wondering if I'll have a chance to try the dungeon this time or not. :)
Hi Mindwerks,
You will be able to use your existing character from the previous BWE.
See you in game!
Chris

For any developer that would like to answer:
What element/feature/idea are you most proud to have implemented into Guild Wars 2?
I personally love how easy it is for me to play with other people. I'm not worried about the next player over stealing my kill or taking my loot. On the contrary, if there are a couple of us working on an event I naturally begin to use more skills that help allies and I adapt my play-style to complement theirs.
In addition the game easily allows me to play with my friends, especially the ones that have different amounts of time that they can dedicate to gaming. The level adjustment system doesn't trivialize the content when I go back to help someone who just started the game, combined with how the dynamic event system changes the world I can go through a map multiple times and see different events playing out.
~z

Hello ! I have a weird question for Mike O'Brien... and you said "ask me anything" so here i go... (it is a very serious one by the way ;)).
I speak for a french website named Panthéon. It is dedicated to events' creation/organisation and recently we are preparing a challenge for the international community of GW2.
It is about taking fun pictures of the charr plushie around the world in places we have listed (in USA, in France, in Germany etc). It would work like some kind of fun achievement for the community and be like a photo album.
But you see, we added a special challenge for our two french community managers (it wouldn't be funny if we didn't make them participate !). They have to take a photo of you with the plushie on your shoulders (or something bolder, like fooling around with it if you're aren't affraid for your brand image ).
So this is my question : would you eventualy agree to help our poor two CM to complete their achievement ? Pleaaaase ! :)
Sure, I'll take a picture with the plushie. Is this a specific plushie that you're going to mail us?
~ MO

What is the funniest bug you've found during development process?

Sit jumping.
I don't know why, but it seems like everybody loves it (except the guy that introduced it)
I'll actually be sad to see it go.
-Ferg

Is there a possibility that we could then see some "I just started moving" speed ramp-up times then? Maybe the character doesn't start at full stride, but quickly works into it?

Strait from one of our animators: "we DID have a ramp up speed early in development and removed it because it (surprise) made movement feel sluggish and pissed people off"
Jon

What have been the most surprising errors or bugs that have been reported in testing so far? And think we'll have a testing session where the Sylvari and Asura are available before release?
You're asking me to re-live my nightmares? :)
When we're missing models we end up displaying a naked headless human, always a little disturbing.
-Peter


Well... all the questions I had to ask seem to have been asked already, but I did just wanted to take a second to say you guys are -awesome- and just from playing the beta I can tell that this game is well worth the five year wait since the release of Eye of The North.
Guild Wars was my very first step into MMO gaming and I'll never forget it. I still play to this day. Also as a roleplayer I wanted to say thank you for the parts of GW2 that cater to the roleplaying community such as the town clothes.
So thank you ANet! Keep up the amazing work, can't wait for release! (make release soon please! hahah)

Hi NorthStarHero,
Thanks for your kind words and support, we can't wait to release either, share the world with you and get a chance to play with community.
Chris

Can you talk a little about game optimization (like support for multi-core CPUs and newer DX11 GPUs) for GW2 and what your plans are?

This is something we'll be working on until release. You'll see improvements with each beta weekend.
The cold hard technical speak is: we need to fix the main CPU thread getting stalled on occlusion queries to the GPU; we need to fix driver compatibility issues; we'll continue offloading work to other threads.
~ MO

Information regarding the WvW dungeon has been pretty sparse apart from 'traps, three entrances, a dark room, treasure at the end'. Should we be expecting a traditional dungeon experience with bosses and possibly events, or will the conflict be limited to player vs player in an interesting environment?
Could you paint a clearer picture of what the WvW dungeon experience will entail?

It's primarily a PvP experience, with traps that can be operated by players to impede others progress through the dungeon. We may add a few other PvE elements like bosses but we really want this area to be about navigating through the traps scattered through the jumping puzzle and fighting your way past the enemies to get the awesome shiny bits at the end.
-Ferg

I HAVE A QUESTION; about particle effects. What's going on with them? What are your plans for them? How do you feel about them at their current state? Have they been reduced already?
I think this is a HUGE topic that is always under discussion. I would like if Anet could alleviate my worries about this (by saying it's good as it is).

Hi Hammerguard,
We are constantly evaluating every part of the game specifically in regard to player feedback. We have done multiple reviews of this specific area over the last month and are currently very happy with the results.
Following this weekends event we will collate feedback and determine our next course of action appropriately.
Thanks for the question and continued support. See you this weekend!
Chris


D5. Are all of the game areas (such as Gendarran Fields before this BWE) still under development, or are they just being held back until launch?
We're constantly adding new events and content to the game. Some of these changes are based on feedback and experiences we obtain from playing in weekend events like BWE1. Obviously we're holding some things back until launch (we don't want to show you everything yet!), but we very much are practicing the "When It's Done" philosophy here at the office. This weekend players from BWE1 may notice some new content we've added to the existing maps.
~z

Towards the end of the last BWE, I was disconnected while in WvW and couldn't get back in since the instance was full. It just kicked me to the login screen and I was locked out of the character. Could you guys fix it so people get sent to Lion's Arch or something instead?

Yes indeed! We are right now working on a fix that will save those characters so you aren't locked out. –Ferg

Are there any plans to add an item preview feature? We've seen it before in games like LOTRO, where you could Ctrl+Right Click to preview an item on your character. It's an important feature for a game to have, and the capability is clearly there, as we've seen with the dye previewing system.
We are working on an item previewer right now. It unfortunately didn't make it in for BWE2, but we'll definitely have it prior to ship! –Ferg

Hi, thank you for your time. Can you guys give us a rough idea of just how big your presale numbers were? Thanks! –Aliette
Hi Aliettefaye,
Thanks for the question.
Whilst we can't go into specifics, I can say that we were very excited by the response to the presale and humbled to.
Sorry i can't give more details and thanks for your support.
Chris

Will this beta recognize the GPU and more than 1 core of the CPU?
We still have work to do on performance but you should see improvements from BWE1.
-Peter

Engineer Question, As Weapon Kits replace your weapons will Weapon Sigils on your Pistol/Shield or Rifle affect Weapon Kit abilites/Kit swapping? Struggling to think of any other classes that technically lose out on potentially very nice bonuses to dmg/utility in that way.
That is a potential option we are exploring to help Engineers that use kits.
Jon

I started playing Guild Wars during the November BWE back in 2004. After three Collector's Edtions, four full-game editions, and multiple cash-shop purchases, I am still enjoying the game seven years later.
My son was born in April 2005, shortly before Guild Wars went live. I spent those nights playing Guild Wars between late-night bottle feedings and cuddling. Now, my son is seven years old and running around Pre-Searing enjoying his warrior/ranger.
Thank you, Mike and everyone else at ArenaNet, for creating such great games for our family!

Thank you for your support! It's posts like this that make it such a joy to do what we do! – Ferg

In GW1, Dhuum would rise out of the ground and strike people down as part of the banimation. In GW2, will there be anything like that? Commando Firing Squad? Maybe Dhuum again? Thanks.

Of course we'll have to do something cool!
Honestly, we haven't added this to a dev list yet because it's something we can add so easily after launch. There are so many things we have to focus on before launch.
~ MO

Will there be wandering mobs of a pack of creatures, a la Guild Wars 1? It gave a sense of immersion to know I was fighting a group/pack of dogs, as opposed to like, one dog. Thanks for doing this AMA.

Depending on the difficulty of the area you can already see things like this. In Queensdale near the Orlaf Escarpments there are roaming packs of wargs and in the western side of Snowden Drifts you can find raptor hunting packs. The further you go off the beaten path the more interesting things you might discover!
~z

I have a concern about the way Elite Skills are tiered now. What was the reason behind this choice. I know why you guys limited utility, but the number of Elite skills is pretty small, so don't bring me this "new player overloaded with choice" argument please.=P Also, does this mean the higher tier Elite Skills are more powerful/useful than the lower tiered ones? It doesn't make sense to me...
Remember this system must scale as we expand the game. :)

Hello!
What can we expect from this BWE regarding optimization? Is there major improvement from the last BWE? Any info concerning optimization (like details on CPU vs GPU usage) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for doing this AMA and for making GW2!

This BWE will have some client perf improvements, but it won't magically fix all the problems. This is an area we'll keep working on to launch.
~ MO

Just a very quick question, will our skill points be refunded this BWE since you have introduced skill tiers?

Yep, you should be able to select new skills in the skill tree when you log in!
-Peter

Is there an easier way to stop attacking your target besides running out of range?
control-right click on your autoattack to turn autoattack off. That is how I play.
Jon

During this beta weekend will we be able to transfer characters to different servers for free or will they cost gems?
As we did last time, we'll have a period of free transfers at the start of the event to help people find their friends. Then we'll test the full system for the remainder of the weekend.
~ MO

Here's a question that is very important for my guild:
Will the flamingo guild emblem return?
I am not kidding you, please bring it back into GW2. It means everything to my guild.

A flamingo is not currently an emblem option. –Ferg

I would really like to know a description of your jobs, please! What does a producer, system designer and president do? :)
I'm classified as a gameplay programmer, members of our team end up getting assigned features to work on and then end up working on the code for that features all the way from the servers to the UI! We'll work alongside designers and artists and iterate on the design until we come up with something we like. A pretty awesome job IMO!
-Peter

Systems designers basically come up with the various gameplay elements that are not specifically content related. We handle things like profession and skill design, guild and community features, and any other systemic things like how combat works or character progression features. We also fire nerf darts at anyone within range.
-Ferg


So I have a question, :) In the last BWE some of the skill challenges were bugged, (NPC's didn't res and such) were these bugs fixed for the next BWE? Thanks for your time. :)
We definitely put in a lot of time to fix bugs that popped up during the first BWE. Thanks for finding those! :)
-Peter

Quick question, in case this is overwhelming; "Should i get attached to my beta character?" I am new to beta testing in MMORPG's, and apparently it is standard practice to wipe all accounts at launch. Objectively, it makes a lot of sense, but personally, i don't want my beautiful-thief-scoundrel to disappear forever :(
Sadly, we will be wiping beta characters before launch. But your beautiful-thief-scoundrel will always have a place in your heart. Therefore he/she will never disappear forever.
~z

Hello Arenanet,
I want to address a problem regarding the Doylak supply in wvwvw. The supply taken into a outpost carried by a doylak is has always been taken out by players walking by to collect supply for some other reason not regarding the outpost itself. I know its a teamgame but because of that system we can hardly ever get the chance to stack a certain ammount of supply in order to buy new upgrades because people will take it as soon as the doylak carries them in. Do you have a better solution for that problem? Maybe the supply in outposts and castle can be devided into a stack for players to collect and repair stuff and one stack which player cannot pick up and is only used to upgrade and buy things for the castler/tower/outpost

The goal is for people to protect thier supply, as well as for the enemies to attack. It's a focus point for conflict. You can also upgrade each supply point and gain more guards to protect the Dolyaks this makes it a lot harder for 1 person to stop supply chains.
~Izzy

Will we be able to easier group up with friends.. like change districts and such to reach our friends?
Parties should have a higher probability to stick together when exploring the lands of Tyria.
-Peter

When will you guys open the beta forums? Friday?
Hi Paralda,
The forums will be opened shortly before the Beta Weekend Event Starts on Friday. :-)
~RB

I'm just heading off to work, but I just wanted to say a couple things real quick.

1.   You guys are incredible. I want to go on and on about your studio and how much I admire what you're doing and how you do it, but time constraints.

2.   I'm interested in becoming a games system designer, but wouldn't have a clue how to get into that field. For years it's just been a huge hobby of mine to write pages and pages of world building & custom game rules for tabletops and such, and would love to turn that into a career. Any tips?

Thanks again!

1.) Thanks : )
2.) Design is hard one to start off in while it does happen it's often a lot easier to go from QA into design. There is a lot of designers out there and experience is often the first thing looked at, so it's can be easier to get into the industry from a position that doesn't take as much experience like QA or Game Master. I also think practice design helps a lot, Design professions, classes, items from a game you really like. Like any skill the more you practice the better you are at it. This is why experience is looked on favorably.
~Izzy

First of all, I wanna thank you and everyone over there at ArenaNet for the great support and dedication over the past decade!
I want to ask if we will be able to play with you this weekend and how to find you ingame?

I'll be roaming Tyria as "Peter Giuntoli". I'm not very creative. :(
-Peter

I'll be playing on a character with my real name, "Regina Buenaobra." Beware impostors who may misspell my name. :-) Also, you can spot people from ArenaNet because they'll be in the ArenaNet guild, and you'll see the little red coliseum logo floating next to our names in-game.
~RB

Mike O'Brien! I am so sad that I was out when you started this AMA.
I'm the guy who made the popular web games, QWOP and GIRP, which have been played around 100 million times.
When are you going to make a sequel to Pyro II, the best game of all time? Do you still have the source code to the original? Can I port it to Flash for you?

Blast from the past!
I have the old Turbo Pascal source code on some floppies, if they're still readable. I don't know how much it would help. You'd be better off writing Pyro III in Flash. :)
~ MO

Hi Mike , long time daoc player here with a question.
What tools are there for smaller groups to combat a zerg daoc had realm ranks with powerful abilities and tons of cc, however in guild wars there doesnt seem to be aoe mez like in daoc what is stopping people from just zerging also are there any rewards for wvw like realm ranks in daoc to give a sense of pvp progression?
Also friends of mine were wondering about a full pvp server like mordred everyone v everyone everywhere what are your thoughts on that?

Siege weapons are often a great equalizer, because building siege is so limited by supply smaller groups can often always be filled on supply dropping a balista or a arrow cart at a nice choke can really drop a larger group with a smaller group. Also there are mec camps can really help smaller groups as bigger groups are often after the bigger objective but if you take the mec camps you gain a lot of support. Also splitting up can really help, smaller groups can attack smaller objectives and the bigger groups are forces to either split up or divert there force to that objective, cutting off supply lines, or taking key towers can really whittle the large zergs.
~Izzy

Will there be titles obtainable only in WvW?
We just did some work to get the groundwork in for WvW specific achievements and titles. I'd like to have some of that stuff ready for BWE3, but no promises!
-Ferg

Will there be a different closing event this weekend? (Please don't say you have to wait and see, if it's the same I'll get my normal sleep and if not I'll have to adjust my sleep to catch it because I'm curious)

Good news! We have an exciting new finale for this event! I've tried to make each event feel special and capping it off differently was a cool way to do that while trying out new things with our systems. This time around, though, my new co-conspirator Anthony Ordon came up with a really cool idea that we had to bring in additional people to implement. This finale was definitely more than a one person job.
~z

In Reality is Broken Jane McGonal consider's Bernard Suits sum of a game as the best definition: "Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles."
Do you agree with this idea and if so do you find it hard to get individuals to realize that when you put in unnecessary obstacles (such as your trait and skill change) it does have positive effects they can't necessarily see from a conscious viewpoint?

Hi Deushache,
Great question and one that could take a long time to answer but if you don't mind i will attempt a short answer.
"Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles'
I think that is an interesting way of putting the psychology of play, I don't necessarily believe that it is a method of overcoming unnecessary obstacles so much as a basic human instinct to fix problems, explore the unknown, compete (even in PVE) and realize positive 'wish fulfillment'.
The second question is fascinating and very astute:
Do you agree with this idea and if so do you find it hard to get individuals to realize that when you put in unnecessary obstacles (such as your trait and skill change) it does have positive effects they can't necessarily see from a conscious viewpoint?
I think it can be difficult to understand 'Goals/Mechanics' of systems when you have already become engaged in existing 'Functionality'. This being the case it is therefore difficult for the user to determine the reasoning for the change. It isn't that the change is an 'Unnecessary Obstacle', in this case, it is that the logic for this specific change comes from a different goal that resides within the same feature.
Specifically in regard to this area we will continue to take on board player feedback and action decisions appropriately. Thanks for a great set of questions and your support.
Chris

Hi ArenaNet,
As a college student who is seeking an internship, do you have any Web development internships available?
I've played hours and hours of the beta and the stress test. How many bugs or tweaks have you guys made since starting the first weekend beta event?
Do you feel the game is close to almost finished or are we in-store for a lot more BWEs and Stress tests?
Thank you for doing an AMA!
We've got job postings listed on our site.. I actually started out working as an intern at ANet and they decided to hire me full time for some reason!
-Peter

Can you tell Gamestop and other retailers to stop pushing the June 26th release date? :)
It's only 20 days away. Maybe they'll stop pushing it after June 26? :)
Seriously, I hope the fact that every retailer is showing a different date makes it clear to everyone that these dates aren't coming from us.
~ MO

Hi! Regarding the BWE2 and further BWE, will we be able to transfer servers in the next BWE with the amount of gems we have?.. or will there be any period where transferring is free? Would just like to be able to experience all of this amazing content with some friends! :)
World transfers will be free until 6pm PDT Saturday. After that point they will cost 1800 gems, so if you want to switch, do it early! –Ferg
You really need to bring back the GW1 option of CANCELLING a skill (esc key), a single press would cancel the queued skill if there's one or cancel the one you're activating. Also please remove the automatic activations of the [1] skill - this is terribly annoying and has led me to death many times (overaggro).
You already can cancel using ESC. :)
Jon

I'm probably way too late.. but.. I want to know if we'll see the Asura and Sylvari before release.
Hi Minifig,
Watch this space (-;
Chris

This will probably get buried but have you fixed the totally horrible performance from previous betas?
We are always working on performance and improving it, it's one of the reason large scale tests are so good, it helps us find these issues and fix them.
~Izzy

Are you guys all logged into the same account at once right now on different computers, or are you huddling around the same one?
I want to believe it's the latter, because the mental imagery of Mike Ferguson jumping for the keyboard when he sees a WvW post makes me laugh.

I like that image. I won't shatter it for you then. ;-)
~RB

We're on different computers, but Mike still jumps for his computer when he see's a WvW post.
~Izzy

If it helps, I do kinda jump in my seat a little bit every time I see a WvW question.
"OOOO!!! MINE MINE MINE!"
-Ferg



When game goes live, will we be able to select the server we want to play on again or are the servers we are on now the ones we are stuck with unless we decide to pay to move?
Hi Tag,
You will be able to select the server you want to play on.
Thanks for the question and your support.
Chris

SWTOR removed the Party Bomb from their game in 1.2 without any patch notes. It was pretty much the entire reason I played their game. Do you guys have anything resembling the Party Bomb? I pre-ordered, so I'm playing with or without one, but it would be the cherry on top. :)
Not exactly the same, but check out Evon Gnashblade's Box o' Fun in this weekend's beta.
~ MO

Just a very quick question, will our skill points be refunded this BWE since you have introduced skill tiers?
Well, I just logged in and checked on my engineer from last time and all my skill points have been refunded, so yours should be refunded as well. –Ferg

Chris Whiteside: If you are being held hostage by Arenanet, and cannot divulge what you mean by "Watch This Space" to people asking about Asuras and Sylvari in upcoming BWE's, just reply here with "Watch This Space".
Watch this space...
Help! (-:

I've tried out MMORPGs before but could never really get into them. What is unique about your game that could change my mind and get me in to the genre?
To me I feel like the most unique thing is the fact that you don't get upset when you see another player, grouping up and playing alone side people is a normal thing to do rather then trying to find a slice of the world where no one is so they can't steal your kills, you loot, and your time. It makes the game feel more like a multiplayer game rather then a large single player game where I chat with my friends. This combined with the fact you don't have to be the same level to play with your friends means I can level at my own pace and always know I can meet up with my friends and have a good time.
~Izzy

Will we have a chance to access character creation before the BWE2 this friday? That way I can mess around and not be wasting time? :P
Hi Krewemember,
I am afraid not.
Chris

Well, to make it a shorter question. What jobs are there at ArenaNet for people who lack drawing skills and really love writing? Would content designer be an option? And what do you need for that?
We have full time writers!
-Peter

QA is a great place to get an introduction to the industry, and is a great place to gain experience that you can transfer to another department. QA folks work with many different segments of the game and can get a great glimpse into what it takes to actually make a game. Good writing skills are critical in writing informative bugs that can help track down and fix major issues.
We have a number of content designers who are fantastic writers, but to get a job and excel as a content designer, you really need to have a good feel for what makes content exciting to players and how to reproduce that excitement over and over again without it feeling stale and repetitive. You also need to be able to analyze and fix bugs that come in and that takes a lot of problem solving skill.
Personally I can't even draw a stick figure, so it's good I'm a designer instead. :)

If you'd be so kind, tell Mike Ferguson that Princess Celestial says hi, and that he hopes the vanishing siege engine blueprints bug has been fixed!
Hi! I think we still have an issue with blueprints vanishing if you log out or crash with the bundle in your hands, but we did fix a bunch of other siege bugs.
-Ferg

First of all, I wanna thank you and everyone over there at ArenaNet for the great support and dedication over the past decade!
I want to ask if we will be able to play with you this weekend and how to find you ingame?

Well we'd like to thank you and all the rest of our fans for your incredible support. We wouldn't be here without you!
I will likely be playing under my real name 'Mike Ferguson' as well. Either that or as my necro 'Ferginomicon'. No matter what I'm playing though you'll see me out in WvW ;)

Regarding the traits, could you please add a possibility to look which traits go in which slots without the need to put points into the line? Kinda like the minor traits.
yeah we did this. :)

Believe me, we wanted it just as much as you did. probably more right now since I literally am testing this stuff every day. :) So glad it is in too!!!
Jon


i Heard from someone that the world PvP will be a failure, because of extreme lag and low fps. Is that a real treat? ot not?
Hi Davyon,
Absolutely not.
As you are aware the game is not finished yet and our Beta Weekend Events are specifically designed to allow us to improve both the quality of the game and the overall performance.
Thanks for the question and your support.
Chris

How fun it is answering these questions ? :D
Hi Hersiras,
Any chance we have to connect with our community we love.
Hope this answers your questions (-:
chris

I never redeemed my 2000Gems during the first BWE...is there any way I can redeem these during the second? Thanks.
We won't be carrying over unspent gem balances from BWE1. But fear not, you can get another 2000 gems in BWE2.
~ MO

What server do you all play on? Just in case someone wanted to be sure and be on a rival server so they could test out your pvp skills. Not that I would do that, just in case someone did want to though =)
My character is on Ehmry Bay. I tend to idle in the PvP lobby answering questions or playing WvW.
Jon

Many of us like the old Alterac Valley from WoW, are you planning on doing epic long pvp battleground where you can summon things to fight for your side? Make it for us hardcore peeps... fun hour + long battles that you have to capture bases and such and summon monsters to slay enemies.
Have you tried WvW? :)
Jon

You should really check out WvW. Last BWE there were some epic keep sieges that lasted for hours. Those pesky Red invaders finally made it through the inner gates just as our reinforcements arrived to push them back out with an army of arrow carts.
WvW also has ways for you to get NPCs to come aid your assaults to keep things interesting.
~z

How do you see the thief's steal ability working out in the e-sports section? The items you get from this mechanic are obviously kind of random and usually the e-sports sector likes to steer clear of these kind of random use abilities.
Also any chance of some kind of improvement to the system? At the moment it is a little hard to see what you have actually stolen in combat?
It is not as random as you think. It is really one of 2 or three choices. I find it to be quite useful in PvP.
Jon

Before the Beta event goes live, can you guys write an article listing all the gameplay changes from the last Beta event (ie, minions now have more hp, changed duration of xxx skill, increased damage of xxx skill, pets have better AI, etc.)?
This would help a lot, in my opinion, when choosing what specific things to test and play with.

We are working on some patch notes for this BWE. It is honestly so msssive that I am sure some things will get lost which is why we did the blog post to overview the larger changes. As we move forward expect patch notes to become more and more accurate.
Jon

I've....never seen an AMA with so many answers before.
Totally going to have to buy this game...
We're not done yet! Thanks for your support! –Ferg

Jumping into water with certain skills (like the engi's Rocket Boots) or from a very high point doesn't feel like you're hitting water. There's no big splash and no bubbles forming in the water. I find this a little bothersome especially since the game is so extremely polished in other regards. Is this something you will fix or look into? :)
Sure. We can look into it. :) I can't promise anything, but we will try.
Jon

Will we eventually be able to see the names and guilds of enemy players in WvW?
You will never be able to see enemy names, you can however see enemy guild tags. –Ferg

Will it be available for mac? If so any release dates etc? I want a game for my mac when I'm at university haha.
I'm a Mac user too, so I feel your pain. :)
Right now we're obviously focused on launching the game, but I'd love us to be on Mac in the future.
~ MO

Greetings, loved the first beta weeked, looking forward to the next one.
My question is this: Since appearance is supposed more important than stats on gear, will their be a way to preview the appearance of items on our character before purchase from vendors? Thanks!

Hi Esepa,
Thanks for taking the time to ask the question.
We are currently working on Previewer. We will provide more details when we have them.
Thanks for your support.
Chris

Chris Whiteside, please answer: What do you mean by "Watch This Space" to everyone that asks about if Asura or Sylvari will be in an upcoming BWE? Are you trying to hint at something that you're not allowed to say? Like they will be incorperated in the middle of BWE2 or something?
Hi Zyketor,
I am saying we will have to wait and see (-: Neither Asura or Sylvari will be resident in BWE2 however.
Chris

Can we get an out-of-combat weapon switch for Elementalist? Right now they feel just right as far as weapon balance, but it's really obnoxious to have to go to my inventory to switch weapons out of combat when the functionality is already in the game.
Other than that, thank you so much for this game. I'm seriously pumped to LAN with my brother to play the crap out of this BWE :)

This is really a problem for everyone, and not just weapons. We want to have a template system so players can move between different weapon, skill, trait, and item builds, but we want to do it right so it will likely not be until after release.
Jon

Is the frequency of dynamic events going to change prior to launch? The faster rate may aid in testing, but it can be overwhelming. It's detrimental to the sense of having an impact in the world when the same foes respawn five minutes after being defeated.
Event frequency is one of the things we're evaluating with these beta weekends. –Ferg

Will necros ever be given any type of control over their minions ? Even something as simple as attack and stop? Also they dont seem to have good intelligence with the environment. I.e. if minions are attacking someone and they jump out a window the minions take the long way around.
Minions have some AI bugs. They SHOULD attack what you attack and run when you run. We want them to feel uncontrolled, but not broken. Many of those bugs are removed now, but keep helping us find them so we can get it to 100%
Jon

Could you please explain how the Elo system for matching servers is calculated in WvW?
It's actually a modified glicko system. I don't want to pull the curtains back too much on this as we'll be evaluating how it works over the weekend and determining if we need to change some pieces of the formula.
http://en.wikipedia....o_rating_system
-Ferg

Hey guys, thanks for the AMA! I have a quick question: I have been following GW2 for quite some time and played in two of the past betas. I love the game; however, I still struggle with the end game. Can you offer me any ideas of why the end game will be fun for someone who loves cool looking gear? Do you guys have unique, flashy items that drop in the end game dungeons (I know stats are the same)? Is there enough content in the end game to keep me playing, without relying too heavily on PVP? I am very concerned about this, but people always downvote me in/r/gw2 when I ask, or simply give me nonsense answers. I feel like you might be able to truly help.
We just introduced a bunch of legendary items that you can craft that I think will fill your desire for some REALLY sweet looking end game gear. –Ferg
Another question coming from me if I may. Is there any chance that after release we'll be able to buy your amazing soundtrack? I'd love to have a disc proudly displayed on my shelf. :)
We've got the soundtrack included in our collectors edition!
-Peter

I'm sure you will pay my question no heed, but I'm sincerely curious :) as one on a strict budget would be, I haven't had the money to play your first game... I was wondering if I'm able to acquire GW2, will I be missing out on a whole lot? Lore, and otherwise?
We've tried to make GW2 extremely accessible to new players coming to the franchise. You won't know the history of each location and the significance that it played long ago (250+ years before) but we will teach you the important parts. Returning GW1 fans will find nostalgia in visiting those same locations and will surely have a stronger connection to them, but that won't negatively impact your understanding of the world. It won't be like you didn't read a chapter in a book and now everything is referencing what you didn't read. If there is an old location from GW1 in GW2, there will probably be an NPC studying the importance of said location and be glad to bring you up to speed.
~z

I have been following Guild Wars 2 lately, but I am still unsure as to whether it is a game that I am fully willing to purchase. So, with that being said, is there any way for me to participate in the Beta Weekend event without pre-purchasing the full game?
Thank you, and good luck with the upcoming event!

Just before this Beta Weekend Event, we did a number of beta code giveaway promotions with media partners and community sites. The best way to find out about these promos is by following us on our social networks like @GuildWars2 on Twitter our or page on Facebook. If you're not keen on either of those social networks, I noticed that /r/GuildWars2 had compiled a list of sites doing code giveaway contests and promos. There will be ways to get beta codes for future Beta Weekend Events, among them being media sites.
~RB

All the classes are so interesting and awesome! Which one should I play? I'm having a hard time deciding.
I love the warrior. Savage leap FTW!
-Peter

Will there be GvG like in GW1? If not then where are the actual "guild wars" occurring in the game?
There are Guild Wars in WvW. Also Tournaments are our replacement for GvG. The first stage of them is in this BWE, but there will be more hardcore ones coming in the future that build towards monthly and yearly championships.
Jon

has a loot all button been added yet?
I'd recommend turning on auto-loot which skips the loot screen entirely!
-Peter

In WvW, it's hard to see the people in your group during PVP. Do you plan to change the font color of regular player's name to a neutral color (like white) and change the font color of grouped player's name to a special color (like green) so that we can see and follow our friends more easily in WvW? It would really help if you would increase the font size of player's name as well.
It's something we could potentially talk about doing at some point, but we have no plans to do that yet. We're waiting to see if our other fixes help alleviate some of the visibility issues we encountered over the last event. –Ferg

What will be the level cap for this BWE?
The level cap for this BWE is 80 (just like release). It just might be a little harder to earn experience once you've played through Gendaran Fields. However you can continue to level in WvW. I was able to get my thief up to level 39 in BWE1, and I know there were players who broke the level 40 mark.
~z

Is it intended that 2 handed weapons have only one sigil slot? Doesn't this make two one-handers better, as you get two sigils?
This is something we wanted to talk about between BWE1 and BWE2, but ran out of time. It is high on the list of stuff to do next.
Jon

How does the Mystic Forge works?
Are there any advantages of using the Mystic Forge vs. salvaging and crafting
How are the traits and skills going to be handled with existing characters with the new system?
Is there going to be a final event at the end of the BWE? Thanks

The mystic forge takes 4 items and turns that in to another item. It's a gamble but allows you to get some powerful items in return. Hope you enjoy it! Psst, try shaking the UI when you're using it. I love the effect! :)
-Peter

About duelling:
I actually has some other unforeseen benefits, so we know it is important and will work hard to get it in asap.
Jon

Will you ressurect a Skillpoint giving NPC in Beetletun, Queensdale? It was dead for me since the start of the first BWE. It was the last thing to 100% area completion.
Also, Sylvari in BWE3 please?

The skillpoint NPC lives!
-Peter

To add to this thread. Last BWE I was playing as a Ranger, and I felt that the third chain in the sword "1" skill that leaps to the enemy (plus some lag) made it so I had almost no control over my character. Are you going to/have you altered that skill at all?
In the blog post we talked about improving the "sense of hitting." That is the phrase we use for all visceral combat improvements. this includes audio, effects, animations, timing of skills, camera shakes, and a number of other things. You should feel an improvement all-around, and I know I made some changes to that particular skill as well. If it still isn't better after this BWE we will get it there.
Jon

Is the beta open or closed? If closed, how can i throw my name in the hat to be considered?
maybe a rediculously stupid question, but i do not see it mentioned anywhere. i am really interested in everything i have read about the game and devs involvement in the community, but havent actually played.

Those who have pre-purchased the game have guaranteed access to the Beta Weekend Events.
At the end of February, there was a 48-hour sign-up window for a chance to be in a future beta event.
The best way to find out about these promos is by following us on our social networks like @GuildWars2 on Twitter our or page on Facebook. If you're not keen on either of those social networks, I noticed that /r/GuildWars2 had compiled a list of sites doing code giveaway contests and promos. There will be ways to get beta codes for future Beta Weekend Events, among them being media sites.
~RB

Have you guys optimized beta 2 to run more smoothly than the first beta?
Any chance we'll get to see the other races any time soon?
Rangers pet functionality, have they been improved?
We've done work on ranger pets and performance in between BWE1 and 2.
-Peter

Is there a place you can go outside of the game to look at these traits?
Probably posted here and on Guru 5 minutes after the build goes live on Friday. :)
Jon

hey mike will people who have played guild wars the first one and all the expansions will they get anything from that?
You can earn rewards in GW2 via the Hall of Monuments so yes you can get some rewards in GW2 from GW1.
~Izzy

Mike Z: What is this on your fingers? http://www.flickr.co...157630006079533
Our studio has an indoor soccer team (The Commandos!) that plays in a game developer league up here in the Seattle area. I broke my finger a while back in a collision and it's still healing. I have it wrapped to another finger for support.
~z

He claims it was a soccer injury, but as his roommate the real truth is he got it while fighting gangs for local charities.
~Izzy


First off I am loving your game and everything I hear about it. Second at the last WBE my friend and I had difficulties playing together whether in PvE or PvP. WvW worked fine but the others it was difficult to play together. PvP especially, when we did manage to get into a game together we would be on opposing teams or it would balance the teams and separate us even though we were in a party. Is anything being done about this?
Also are certain classes being balanced? My friend was playing a ranger and his pet wasn't able to do anything other than die but his damage was ridiculous. When we were put on opposing teams he dropped me so fast. Also the necromancer will just never die with that skill. I believe it's called death shroud. I might be thinking of something else but that ability seems a tad ridiculous. As for the elementalist I love it's damage but is it meant to be such a glass cannon? I'd fine with that if it is I was just curious. What are the current changes being implemented to the classes for balancing purposes or otherwise?

Hi Blacklight,
Thanks for your questions.
When moving from map to map you will now retain your party.
We are continually balancing the professions based on feedback from the events.
Jon P or Izzy could give you more specific details.
Chris

Why are developers turning to these beta weekends that are more like "free demo weekends" than anything else?
Hi Boyblunder,
Thanks for the question. I can't speak for other developers but we take our Event Weekends very seriously, obviously we aim to show the game in the best light but it is as much if not more so about testing systems, learning about new bugs and most importantly getting feedback which we use to increase the overall quality of the game.
Chris

Guild question: Are all characters on the account bound to one guild, or you can join different guild with each of your created characters?
Your account joins the guild and an account can be in many different guilds then each character can represent a different guild. So yes character can be in different guilds.
~Izzy

When a character joins a guild that guild becomes attached to the player's account, any characters on that account can then "represent" that guild. A single account can be associated with multiple guilds which means that all characters can have a unique guild if that's what you'd like to do!
-Peter


I know that I should complete a dungeon with my main story quest but when I have done that where do I do it again with a team of 4? where do i enter?
After you've completed the story mode on the dungeon you can go back to the dungeon entrance and it will give you options to re-enter it. There is currently only one dungeon in the BWE and it is level 30 and it can be found in the Charr map Ashford.
~Izzy

Hey guys, taking the risk earning a lot of hatred for even mentioning this, but i wanted to ask how "locked" your state of the game is at the moment. since we come closer to launch now, and everyone is desperatly waiting for it, how propable is it you would revamp certain mechanics, put a lot of work into defining the mechanic of a class in a new direction if you stumble over a possible way to improve it even more. Would you take the time to reconsider like half the skills of a class or is it just polishing from that point on?
Hi Pariax,
Interesting question. While we are finishing of the game we still pay huge attention to feedback, ensuring that everything we do meets and exceeds our communities expectations. With this in mind we prioritize feedback and internal quality assessments and decide as a group how we action the initiatives.
Thanks for your support and sorry i can't answer your question in more detail.
Chris

Hi, I have been on the fence for a while about Guild Wars 2. I am inclined to think that it will be a lot of the same and not much different from other fantasy MMOs. I have watched a lot of game play and release videos about Guild Wars 2 and still have yet to see something that sets it apart from other games. Sure you have some pretty unique leveling ideas, and some awesome PVP but all upcoming MMORPGs say that.
What do you think sets Guild Wars 2 from other MMORPGS?

Our social structure, in other MMO's when someone comes up and attacks the same mob as you get upset with them in GW2 you both get full rewards so your happy when you see people. This combined with the fact you can play with your friends at any level allowing you to play at your own pace and still play with your friends really makes the game feel more like a multiplier game.
~Izzy

This question is to Peter Giuntoli what was the most challenging/rewarding thing in gw2 for you to program/develop?
Ooooh man. I've been working on GW2 since 2008 and I've had the opportunity to work on a lot of different features but I think the most rewarding experience would have to be the world map. It was one of the first things I started working on when I joined the gameplay programming team in 2009 and it's gone through a lot of iteration (still not done!) over the years. Another highlight would have to be the renown heart system, I really enjoy how that turned out.
-Peter

I'm a working mom, I don't have much time to play games. Of the games that I do play, I find it rewarding to be good at them, as good as possible given the "no-time" thing. Anyone can become good at any skill, of course, simply by throwing time at it. (20k hours, why not?)
Anet has suggested in many interviews that they envision a much more dynamic game with what seems like a substantial increase in the way they continuously vary the environment around you. This is great for keeping one's brain piqued, if seeking new experiences is what gamers want (and of course we all do), but when it comes to getting better at something, it's rather like showing up to piano lessons every week with the teacher saying, "Okay, I've randomized the layout of the keys, let's see if you can make progress on the Chopin piece I gave you." Given enough time throwing oneself into that unpredictable scenario, one would make progress and improve, and every piano lesson would certainly be far more interesting, but there is value to be had in providing stable mechanisms to practice and improve oneself. Mastery is a function of time invested - I know this because when I carefully practice a single measure ~600 times, I get much better.
I would never have gotten to be competent at raiding in WoW - and I apologize for using the W-word but it's what other people were playing at the time - if not for the fact that WoW provides unintended but incredibly useful aspects of skills acquisition, namely reproducibility and quantitative analysis. For example, many boss fights are always the same. If your team shaves 15 seconds off the time to down because you made a change that increases your DPS by 3% or you got 600 milliseconds faster at stabbing at an interrupt or whatever, then you are doing something right, you've made measurable progress.
In Guild Wars 2, if every fight across the board is different every single time, how does a PVE player know that they are improving? How can you know from a success whether it was a specific change you made for the better, or a random confluence of skill timing or accidentally mashing a dodge or any of tens/hundreds of other factors?
Will there be a way that I can log in and seek out a mechanism that, for an hour or two on a Friday night, will let me improve a specific aspect of combat by practicing - e.g. detecting and coping with Conditions? (There's no dueling a friend to practice, afaik.) Or will it be more like, jeez, just play the content, you won't be able to choose what you get better at because the context will never be the same twice in a row, but you are bound to get better at someskill, sometime...

Just because the conditions of the world around you are changing based on the outcomes of dynamic events, doesn't meant that what you need to do to survive changes drastically all of the time. Creatures have a specific set of skills that you will learn as you play the game (and we'll help you learn with tool tips tell you the style of combat that a particular creature likes to use). What will change however is maybe the numbers and types of creatures that you encounter in a particular area.
Breaking it down a different way, if you see a Modniir centaur using a bow, you will come to know how he's going to attack. If you want to practice against this particular type of creatures there are places in the world that are dominated by the Modniir forces (I know because I put them there ) that you can find to practice on his particular style. But measuring progress comes down to things like how much damage you take during an encounter, how many times did you have to use a utility or your uber elite skill to survive? Also, when you start getting better at one centaur bowman, can you take down two at the same time, or three, or four?
Now because an event has happened and the Modniir forces now control an forward base the surrounding area is now patrolled by bowman and a caster. You've already seen one of these guys and now how to react to him, you just need to adapt your play style to account for the caster.
If you're looking for a more standardize type of content you can always jump into the dungeons with 4 friends (or random people you meet in the world). They general flow of the dungeon will be the same but don't expect the run to be identical each time. The dungeon guys have been adding some new random encounters to spice up things in there.
The PvP Lobby is also a good place to try out new tactics and to pratice dodging. The PvP guys have added some training dummies for players to practice against.
Remember: Dodge rolling is your friend!
~z

For any developer that would like to answer:
What element/feature/idea are you most proud to have implemented into Guild Wars 2?

It's so hard to pick just one. I'd probably say the fact that we've created an online game where people actually tend to go out of their way to help each other and work together. In just about every other MMO I tend to solo and run away from other people unless I specifically intend to group with them, but in GW2 I find myself constantly running towards people because it actually makes life easier and more fun, not frustrating and annoying.
No more shouting 'that's my mob', or getting frustrated at any of the other mechanics that tend to push people away instead of bringing them together. It really feels good to play with other people in GW2, and not just with people I know.
Barring that...WvW ;)
-Ferg

I was blown away by the amount of changes made between BWE1 and 2. Are the tools you use just customized to rapid iteration so that you can change systems/content/features almost on the fly?

Yes, we work a lot on our tools so we can make fast rapid iteration, it blows me away all the time how much we can do. : )
~Izzy

Yes, from day one that was a major part of development for GW1 and more-so with GW2. We believe in order to innovate you must be able to iterate on new ideas so we built many of our tools and development process around this. We hope this means we will be able to continue to support the game strongly heading towards release and beyond.
Jon

Are you overwhelmed by player support? :)
Hi Aloraiel,
Its humbling and exciting at the same time. You guys rock!
Chris

Are there plans to allow persistant grouping in casual pvp?
As of last beta weekend it looked like we would get to choose between free-for-all or full-team-premade, but no option exists to queue up (and remain grouped with) a friend or two. For those of us who primarily PvP, but do so casually and with great emphasis on staying along side our buddies, the guarantee to stay on the same team means a great deal, and we're troubled by its absence. Not only that, but it seems a bit unprecedented as nearly every other PvP game, especially RPG-style pvp, has that guarantee to some degree, which leaves GW2 as an unhappy outlier.
It's very telling that the absence of a guaranteed group with friends has not immediately barred our interest. We greatly enjoy GW2 pvp. But to many of us, who highly value the little time we can take to PvP cooperatively, the issue remains paramount. Perhaps there's a middle ground, such as letting players join as a pair or trio, but no four- or five-man groups in casual pvp. Something which would allow groups without handing the game to premades.

This is something we are strongly looking into and should be in before ship, just not this weekend.
Jon

Hi, first off loved most of what I saw in the first beta which brings me to my question, one of the biggest problems for me was during the human story having so much fighting take place in cramped spaces making it almost impossible to actually utilise mobility or kite correctly.
Is there any chance this will be improved upon?

Hi Grjzeham,
Great question. We have indeed done a new pass on this from the last beta weekend and now there is a lot more room for you to fight in.
Chris

Actually, that was one of the things that the story team worked on addressing after the last BWE. ^
~z


I know there have been a lot of profession-specific concerns on various forums and that you've been working to address a lot of them, and that we won't know what's been changed until we actually get to play the newest build, but I'm wondering if it's unreasonable to expect major overhauls at this stage of development?
For example (speaking as a thief player), I know there's a lot of talk about the thief's Steal mechanic being too gimmicky since the item stolen is random. You can't really rely on them in a fight since you don't know if you're going to get an offensive item, one that heals, or something else entirely. Accordingly there's been a lot of discussion on places like GW2Guru about it would be best if Steal mechanics were reworked completely.
Obviously that's just one topic out of many, but my question is just if we can expect to see large-scale reworks to various mechanics down the line, or if what we've already got is mostly already set in stone? Should we only expect to see tweaks to existing skills (damage, cooldowns, etc.) going forward or is there still room for more radical changes?

We'll still be doing a lot of balance and tweaks, but we try and avoid major overhalls. For example on thief steal we reduce the number of random items you can get from things so when you steal from something your picking from a list of around 3 things. This allows it to be a lot less random then it was before.
~Izzy

As a thief in wvw I feel forced into ranged because of aoe spam
Try scorpion wire out. You can do some cool combos with it.
~z

Also look for stragglers if you are a good stealth thief. Otherwise as a melee thief you want to work with more evasive utilities or go with shortbow for mobility as well as good aoe damage.
Jon

Why did you guys decide to make Amulets have such a huge impact on the stats of a character? And do you have plans to add more options (since they seemed limited in the BWE1)?
We moved all statistics to amulets in PvP in order to make it easier to understand and easier to balance. There are a few more and different amulets this time around and we will continue to iterate here.
Jon

I enjoyed the heck out of the last BWE, and felt very strongly about the importance of giving good feedback. Is it early enough that the comments we leave in-game can still have an impact? Do you read all of them?
Also: I love the inclusion of a dodge feature and the fact that many of the abilities can be cast without "selecting" a target. As such, can we see more moves that have projectiles that can be dodged/need to be aimed, such as the elementalist's primary water dagger attack? I know this sort of thing is difficult to implement, but clearly dodging certain shots/attacks but still taking damage is frustrating, as is having to target an enemy with a select few abilities while others flow more naturally. Meanwhile, using the mouse purely for POV is a very rewarding experience.
In addition, the sort of "sticky" nature some moves had was also strange, like using the primary lightning dagger attack on an enemy was either all-or-nothing independent of the target's movement during the attack.
Thanks again. Playing an elementalist felt more "right" to me than any other class in any other MMO. I'm counting down the hours!

Hi August,
The purpose of the weekends is to get feedback that we action, which in turn effects the overall quality of the game and the experience. So please do keep the feedback coming and we try to read as much feedback as possible.
Thanks for the question and your support.
Chris

GP2. I do not know much about reddit, and to be honest I might be doing this completely wrong. But anyways, I just need to get this through to you guys, because me along with many of my other friends feel the same way. Are you going to allow more customization like the utility skill bar in the main set skill bar/weapon set skill bar? For example, with the guardian (hammer i believe) there was a skill that launches an opponent away from me. This really aggravated me because I wanted to keep my opponent close to me so I can finish him off the way I wanted to, instead of having to chase down him.

Try using skill 5 first, then skill 4 if you want to keep him around. Also we gave the hammer a new skill that is a line attack that immobilizes that should help him chase down enemies.
Jon

I don't play MMO's but the amount of support and respect you give to the community is making me seriously consider putting this on my To-by list.
An MMO is nothing without it's community and fans. : )
~Izzy

When answering the questionnaire and give our opinion about the events in which we engage, I wonder how you manage the data collected in BWE. You work with statistical averages or treat each as an individual and private comment?
We use this data in a number of ways, often we use the averages to help us identify outliers then we can look at the comments to see whats happening.
So both really.
~Izzy

It's a little bit of both. The average tells us overall how people think a particular event or story step was received but the individual feedback can be crucial to us understanding what particularly stood out to people. The feedback is one of several things we look at when determining what changes we need to make to various areas around the game.
~z

How often do you guys read the beta forums? I imagine a lot gets buried.
During the Beta Weekend Event, developers read the forums as they're able to, in between taking care of the game or participating in playing with the community. After the event ends, people are reading more regularly. One of the reasons that we close the forums to posting after an event is so that our teams have the time to read through feedback without more pouring in.
The global Community Team (all 9 of us) will be reading the forums during almost the entire weekend when we're on duty.
~RB

Last BWE when we would follow friends into Structured PvP games we would often be split onto different teams. Will we eventually be able to play with our friends when it comes to random Structured PvP games?
Yes this BWE you will be able to play tournaments which will allow you to play in organized teams with your friends.
~Izzy

It seems like the personal story hasn't gotten quite as much attention as the other core game modes, but lately I realized it has a lot of potential. GW1 missions often boiled down to the same thing: go to waypoint and kill monsters along the way. My favorite mission, though, was Tihark Orchard, which really broke the monotony. For non-GW1ers, it was a solo mission where you attend a royal party and hobnobbed with princes.
With GW2's upgraded engine, there's so much more potential than running to waypoints and killing things. I enjoyed the human mission where you don a bandit disguise and infiltrate their hideout. My question is, how much did you go all out when designing the personal story missions? Can we expect missions to be even more unique than what we could see in the BWE?

I don't think the story team went out of their way to make things different, I think they just had a bigger, badder, meaner content system that they could work with. Without the constraints of the old system in place these guys and gals have been coming up with some amazing content. I've only seen a fraction of the stuff they're working on (my desk faces the backs of a bunch of them) and it looks mighty impressive.
~z

Hello Izzy, Do you feel the clone/ phantasm duality with shatters is working well? I feel there's more incentive at building either a full clone factory or a full phantasm army.

We have made some pretty strong changes here in this BWE build so give it a try and let us know what you think.
Jon

Will Guild Wars 2 be on Steam? That's literally the only thing keeping me from buying it right now. Don't leave me hanging bros, I hate missing these weekends.
No, it almost certainly won't be on Steam. Valve has some new business terms will keep almost all new MMOs off Steam.
Keep in mind the GW2 client is free to download from our web site and has no copy protection. (And if it's really important, you can add non-Steam games to your Steam library.)
~ MO

What kind of expansion to the World vs. World system are we likely to see, if any? I assume it won't stay static for all time, but are there any strong ideas for what the team would like to do? Something like Darkness Falls from DAoC perhaps? ;)
Btw, kudos to the entire WvW team, it alone caused my pre-purchase merely by description and made me a drooling, sleep-depraved loon BWE1.

We're always looking at ways we can improve the game post ship, but what you'll be playing this weekend is pretty close to how we intend to ship WvW. We still have a bunch more polish to do, but don't expect any more areas or expansions any time soon.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep before this weekend ;)
-Ferg

What Profession is the hardest for you as developers to deal with, be it due to balance,skills,fans opinion,etc.

Guardian. :)
Jon

I wonder if it's because Guardian appeals to a lot of different kind of players? To those who want to be paladins, those who want to be monks, those who want magical knights, etc, etc.

Also because it is supposed to be a support archetype in a game with no dedicated healer and no ally targeting. :)
Jon

I am absolutely furious you are holding the beta when I am on holiday I don't suppose you have any plans for another beta some time after this one?

well sorry your going to miss it, there will be at least one more after this one well announce when at a later time.
~Izzy

Do any A-Net staff play any other games, such as League of Legends or Dota 2? And if yes to the above two games, what is your ELO or what is your favorite champion?
Rammus. :) I don't play too seriously anymore.
Jon

Q: Uptime and Patching
Plenty of games frankly suck when it comes to patching and uptime. While you guys have been awesome when it comes to the speeds for patch downloads, how do you guys see server downtime looking when updates come along?
For comparison, I'm looking at Rift (awesome with downtime) vs Blizzard (abysmal with downtime).

Guild Wars 2 should expect to have the same amount of down time that Guild Wars 1 has had (which is about 32 hours total give or take a few). We don't need to take our servers down to patch.
~z
Note: This doesn't count internet routing issues that interfere with gameplay.

Our downtime is extremely minimal between builds. You'll basically be out of the game long enough to restart the client and download the new data.
Multi-hour downtimes? Not in Guild Wars 2.
-Ferg

You should check out our track record with GW1. :)
We have cool tech that generally allows us to push new updates without any downtime at all.
~ MO


Why do some skills root the player for 0.5 seconds?
I played a Warrior during the beta, and I found that a significant amount of the time, I would cast a skill, and be forced to stand still while I 'cast' it. Almost every Warrior weapon had at least one skill that locked you in place, and all of the charging skills did it at the beginning of the charge too.
I don't see how this balances gameplay in a game where casters can almost always cast on the fly, and I also feel that it makes using those skills (that root you for 0.5s) feel clunky. This is especially true when doing something difficult, and trying to escape. I have these skills I could use, but I can't, because if I use them I will get hit.
Please give me an answer! :D I love the Warrior profession, but I really hate being forced to stop moving. It's why I play melee in all other games.

I've tuned a lot of this since the last BWE. Please give it a try and give feedback again. There are still some that stop you that should not, but our philosophy is, skills should stop you if it feels like they should stop you, otherwise, they shouldn't :)
Jon

Were any extreme/major changes made to the thief profession? I feel like the thief has been slightly neglected compared to other professions, such as ranger and guardian.

We did do a big thief balancing pass in between last BWE and this BWE so be sure to check out the traits as there is a lot of new stuff in there as well as tweaks to the existing stuff.
~Izzy

A PvP question:
Although WvW and the domination style sPvP is very fun, can we be expecting more game types soon after release? The variety of different PvP games seems to be severely lacking compared to the wonderful PvP in Guild Wars 1.

For now in structured we are focusing on conquest so we can support that type and make it the best it can be. At some point in the future we will consider more game types.
Jon

I'm stunned at the amount of energy and spirit you guys put into this... How are you gonna relax afterwards? :) Vacations...? or gaming?(lol).
I would honestly like to thank you and all of your employees for doing this amazing thing. I don't think any people are aware or capable of realizing just how much profound happiness you guys generate. But let me tell you - it's a lot! ♥
Best regards, ~Ophy.
Ps do you have any underpaid employees? :)

I'm gonna relax by hanging out the the WvW mini-dungeon slaughtering noobs... :)
Jon

OK seriously, why is the beta only available to people who either a) preorder GW2, or B) win a beta key in random obscure contests. That isn't a good way to convince people to buy GW2 - you basically already have to know you want the game if you want to try the game. I wasn't particularly impressed by what I saw of GW1 (I didn't really play long though, so I didn't get in-depth). I'd really love to try GW2 though, but I'm absolutely not willing to preorder it just to get into the beta. So for the moment, I am not buying it because I have no idea whether or not I'd like it.
We have a certain amount of server capacity. We promised people who pre-purchase that they'll have guaranteed slots in each upcoming beta. After taking care of them, we give away remaining slots in online contests.
~ MO

will there be a PVP mode similar to that of GW1? The main reason I even played GW1 was because of Hall of Heroes/Hero's Ascent, as well as Random Arenas. Is it possible that we may see something like this in GW2 at some point? I was not a fan of the PVP in the last beta.
We are shipping with the PVP modes that were available in the last event. One of the things we felt was an issue in GW1 was how fragmented our PVP community became, so we'd like to avoid that as much as possible. I'm not completely eliminating the possibility of new modes because plans change all the time, but if we did add new modes, it wouldn't be happening any time soon. –Ferg
As a concept art lover, I must say you guys have arranged the strongest team of concept artists I have seen in years. I am speechless every time I see some art of this game.
Not a question, just a compliment, I hope you read this and if you can please give your fantastic art team the proper praise they deserve.
Thanks! All of our artists work tirelessly to create such amazing visuals. I will pass along your regard.
~z

Are you doing anything to help with spell effect overdose/spam? Currently it's nigh impossible to see anything in a group of 5+ people due to the amount of special effects each person produces on a targeted area.

We've been working on reducing the effect overload we added an effect LOD system as well as have been identifying noisy effects and making them less noisy.
~Izzy

We have made changes here and will continue to until we are happy with it.
Jon


Is there anything we forgot to ask?
a/s/l?
-Ferg

Have any of the weapon skills changed considerably since the first BWE?
Yes. Guardian hammer skill 3 is a line immobilize now. Death Blossom is an evasive attack now. Numerous others...
Jon

This BWE is during euro 2012, which will cut down on my precious playing time :(
So, which team do you support?

Go Russia! (Poland is also acceptable )
~z

Hello! Excited to play your game but had one big question...why no open world pvp (or servers that offer that)?
The overall design for Guild Wars 2 does not support fully open world PvP and it would take a prohibitive amount of work to even make it possible. World versus world is our version of open world pvp, and while it isn't 'true' open world pvp for more pvp purists, it does contains many of the elements that make world pvp so exciting. Hopefully it will mostly satisfy people that want open world pvp. –Ferg

Hey guys, simple question: do you guys plan on releasing some kind of API to get data out of the game? (e.g. web services)
Love the way you get in touch with us btw, keep up the awesome work.
~ An old GW1 player

Hi Sebcorbin,
Thanks for the question. This is something we are working on and will provide more details on in the future.
Thanks for your support.
Chris

I'm a casual gamer, and GW1 with private instanced gaming was perfect for me. And it saddens me to learn GW2 will be your average MMO.
Why have you guys decided to drop what made GW so unique? The instanced gaming was/is brilliant. At least give us the ability to choose the mode we wish to play.

GW1 used instancing to tell a story and to allow the world to change in response to the player's actions.
GW2 also uses instancing to tell a story. I think you'll find the storytelling is even stronger in GW2 than in GW1.
GW2 has some epic things that happen in instances, but it doesn't need instancing to support big world-impacting events, because the whole design of the game is that players can impact the world around them.
~ MO

Hello GW2 team,
I accidentally registered 2 serial code on the same account, basically using the same email. From what i know, the second serial code is consider wasted. Is there any way to undo/correct the mistake and separate it into 2 account?

It should be impossible to register two prepurchase keys on the same account. Is it possible you registered a one-event key and then registered a prepurchase key on top of it?
The customer support team will be able to help you.
~ MO

Thanks for making my wife excited to game again. :3

Thanks for supporting us!
Chris

WILL I DREAM?

I had a GW2 dream the other night. It was about Guardian Spirit weapons. I woke up and thought, crap bow of truth summon requires you to stop moving to cast it. I should fix that. I did, but its not in this BWE :(
Jon

Are you sylvari?
-Ferg

I have a question for anyone who could answer. I'm a huge newbie to the series and I participated in the first BWE. When my character would die, I would have to pay X amount of coins to be taken back to a waypoint. Is this how death will always be? Will there be an option to run to your body to retrieve it? What if for whatever reason you're out of coins and cannot pay to get to the waygate?

If you are out of coins it is free. Otherwise, no, no running.
Question: The last BWE and stress test had queues to get into open world areas. When the game launches, will you have a system of multiple instances of the same open area or will the server infrastructure be expanded to accommodate an even greater number of players attempting to access big areas like Queensdale and such?

The overflow server system will still be in place at launch. We are purposely doing this so that people are not restricted from areas they want to explore, but at the same time we don't overload a particular map with a horde of players.
The party system has had some improvements to it for this BWE so it will handle overflow server system better.
~z

Hello! I have a question that I have never seen asked yet; while I was playing in the last BWE1, I did not see much night scenes in the game and if there was I must have been oblivious. Will there be night and day scenes for the game? Will there be transitions between night and day and will they run on a cycle or be timed?
Hi Exokin,
Thanks for the question. There is a night and day transition in the game.
They run on a consistent cycle.
Chris

Any chance we'll be able to play some of the city minigames (bar brawl, shooting gallery, etc) in BWE2?
Have you made any changes to ranger offhands? Both Torch and Warhorn have one interesting skill that defines the weapon and makes it worth bringing (Bonfire, Call of the Wild) and one plain damage skill that just seems like it's tacked on there to fill out the slot (Throw Torch, Hunter's Call). Both of these skills seem like they could be changed to do fill a particular niche (respectively, AoE damage and party support) better.

Not yet. Those are coming but not this beta weekend. I'll look at those two offhands a bit. I had some ideas for both, but we haven't had time to discuss them so they haven't been put in yet.
Jon

Awesome. Even something as simple as adding a Blind, Confusion, or Vulnerability to Hunter's Call would make it less of a "no reason not to hit this on recharge" kind of skill, and it'd tie into the support theme of the warhorn nicely. There was a suggestion on Guru waaay back to combine Throw Torch with Bonfire to give the ranger a way to apply a fire field at a distance, and freeing up another slot for something more dynamic. The rest of the ranger weapons have really improved over the past few months, which I love because that's probably going to be my main character.
Speaking of Confusion: I remember a while ago someone from ANet saying that Confusion was difficult to balance because the rate of skill use was so much higher in PvP than PvE. Has confusion been changed at all (split for PvE, for example) as a result of this, or is it still something you're working on?

Not changed, but we are going to split it soon.
Jon

Will the Rank 3 PvP rewards be available in the BWE?
They should be, but good luck getting to them in 60 hours.
Jon

Oh man, I'm late to the party. Not necessarily Guild Wars 2 related, but how big is your in-house audio team? How much of the audio do you outsource? I see no audio people on the AMA team _

Hello, We have 5 internal sound designers, 1 outsourced Composer and .5 Audio Programmer.
We have outsourced some sounds in the past and bought a few small libraries but most (80%-90%) of our sounds have been recorded and designed by us. Thanks for asking, we take a lot of pride in our original sounds and have worked very hard to make sure Guild Wars 2 sounds as good as it can. I can’t wait for you to hear the finished product.
James Ackley Audio Director

Are there any plans on making the WvW borderlands maps different in the future?
Not currently. –Ferg

It's been over 3 hours, ya'll know......
Never give up never surrender...
~Izzy

What qualities, education, and experience do you look for when hiring a community manager for a company such as arena net? What kind of education (degree?) and experience helps?
We don't have specific education requirements because experience matters more for community management than what degree you hold. If you talk to a bunch of community managers in the video game industry, you'll probably hear different answers as far as degrees go.
Everyone on our community management team has some previous experience that is relevant to their role. When we hire community managers, we look at what their experience in managing communities is, what they've done to contribute to fan communities (if they aren't already professional community managers), etc.
Writing experience helps because we do a lot of writing in this role and need to communicate ideas well, both internally and to the public.
Organizational experience is also helpful. At ArenaNet, community managers often act as producers. For example, I was effectively the event producer for this reddit AMA. :-) After we decided we wanted to do it, I planned the event, got developers together, scheduled it out, wrote the blog post, coordinated the social media push, kept PR and our EU Community Team in the loop, etc. I also act as producer for our North American conventions. Community management duties and roles will differ from company to company, so while this is true at ArenaNet, it might not be the case elsewhere.
We also try to get a feel for the candidate's instincts, as this is a very important quality in this job. Like other disciplines at the studio, we give a test as a way to filter candidates. Making sure that the candidate is a good fit for the team and that the personalities mesh well is also really important for us.
~RB

Will there be an option that allows you to see all players on the WvW Map? It would be great to see, where the big army is :) (sry for my bad english. I'm from Germany :)
No. We show combat markers when a group of 6 or more people fighting, but we simply cannot show all players on the map. It would drastically increasing the bandwith needed for the game and we do as much as we can to keep our bandwidth requirements as low as possible. –Ferg

When talking about the arrow carts or the rams, are you thinking about making those moveable in some way. Actually the arrow cart already has wheels, so it's kind of weird not being able to move them around... From balancing perspective, it would probably be anothe if we can move them slowly!?

Unfortunately we won't be adding movement to any of the stationary siege weapons. –Ferg

Will the dead guy for skill point in Beetletun ever not be dead?

The carnival skill point challenge NPC went through survival training. He should no longer die.
~z

Not particularly a BWE question, but will you be hiring for community contacts? I see you have a community leader position open in your 'job listings' section on your website. Sadly, I live in Georgia and can't make it to Washington, but I'd love to be able to help out however possible. /begin boasty rant/ I used to handle the kind of work daily when I worked with musician Amanda Palmer as one of her team. /end bosty rant :P/
We do not currently have any openings for community managers at ArenaNet. I believe you may be confusing that listing with the Seattle NCsoft office.
In general, full community managers are always expected to work onsite and not remotely. Keep an eye on the job listings for the Bellevue office--that's where we are: http://us.ncsoft.com...jobs/index.html
~RB

I just want to say that I did not play Guild Wars 1. In the past few weeks though, Guild Wars 2 has caught my attention. The game is looking absolutely fantastic and the word-of-mouth that I hear about the Arena Net team is great. I hear that you respond to your community really well. This Reddit AMA, with 8 participating team members, is just wonderful and is taking the extra mile that many other companies simply do not do.
I will be playing Guild Wars 2 for sure, and I'm gonna try to get all my friends to play. I wish you great financial success.

Thanks! I hope you enjoy the game! It has been a tremendous amount of fun working on it.
~z

How does your design team go about balancing? As a avid player of competitive games ranging from WoW arena, StarCraft master league, to LoL silver-gold elo, balance is a pinnacle to keeping my PvP experience engaging and compelling.
So will you be balancing more on paper statistically? By player feedback? From what you're seeing at high rank play?

When it comes to balancing you have to attack it from all angles, stats are really good at finding oddities super good or super bad, but it's bad at taking all the variables into account. Player feedback is great at finding complex combinations or helping identify the most broken skills. We also play a lot which combined with stats and feedback help us see the problems first hand which can help at finding unique solutions for the problems. So I think we try and come at balance from as many angles as we can.
~Izzy

Will there be more playable races(than the 5 that are confirmed) its those tiny little information that I personally would like to know at the slightest hint if possible. (i really need to go get myself the game as well, but i'm in no rush tis only beta)

There will only be 5 playable races at launch. (asura, charr, human, norn, sylvari)
~z

I would like to be able to lvl in WvW and I believe it is ANet's intention to make it possible. There is a problem with it as of now... Problem is with weapon skills unlocking only when you deal a finishing blow to an opponent or it might be when you do most of the damage to downed opponent, but with chaotic nature of huge fights (and let me add, huge fights is the only place a low lvl with no skills can kill someone) you tend to splash damage all over the place and skill unlocking is just not progressing. Plz fix it, it would help if you made it so that hits progress skill unlocks... Otherwise great game though, thanks.

We had a bug that was preventing people from getting the proper credit from player kills. We fixed that up so it should be much easier to get credit (and rewards) from player kills int he upcoming BWE! –Ferg

Hi, an engineer question here: Currently there's a lot of randomness going on in the elixir department. The thrown elixirs are quite unpredictable and the elite elixir X borrows from 3 different classes. Is there any chance the randomness of the elixirs will be reduced, removed or be made more equal (throw elixir s' possible results are very different) in result? Or do you really want that randomness to be part of the engineer's skills.
Thanks for taking the effort to answer all these questions btw! It's been very interesting to read everything so far.

As we said earlier they are surprisingly less random than you might think. For instance Thrown elixir U is 3 defensive walls. Veil for cloaking (from Mesmer), Smoke screen and Wall of Reflection (thief and guardian respectively) for ranged protection.
Jon

Since the Elementalist basically has 4x more skills than other classes, how are you making sure it's balanced?

While the Ele does have a lot of skills it's not 4x most professions have 2 weapon sets as well as other F1-F4 skills. That said they do have a lot of skills so when we balance the ele we look at all 20 skills at once sense comboing cc's or aoe's can stack up quickly when you switch rapidly. We also try and put a lot of cost into some of the abilities like cast time. In the end the Ele is a tricky one due to the amount they can adjust to the situation but with higher costs and recharges we can make a lot of trade off on each skill.
~Izzy

Hope you're still doing this AMA when I ask-
Is your intention to make a good game, or a game to compete with other MMO's? I firmly believe as a long-time gamer that there's a difference.
I believe if you make a good game, people will play it. But if you make a game that your goal is just to 'overthrow' other MMO's, people may be less interested as you're just trying to make a better game than other MMO's, rather than just make a great game.
.
As someone who never played Guild Wars, what can I expect going into GW2? I've never been an MMO type player pre-WoW, and I grew tired of WoW really fast.

Hi Biiglesxyz,
It is definitely our goal to pioneer and create a game that reflects the aspects that we and our community feel are important and relevant to the advancement of online worlds and our experiences within them. ArenaNet was setup to innovate and this is core to our development philosophy.
We do our very best to meet and exceed our communities expectations and Guild wars 2 wouldn't be what it is today without them. It is in this spirit that we create online worlds, in which we are always looking forward and making sure we never lose site of who we are and the promise we have made to the community we depend on.
In answer to your second question i would say to expect the unexpected and would recommend going and reading/seeing what players have to say about the game. Their are many articles on how we are trying to pioneer and what we offer that is different in this space.
Thanks for taking the time to send the question and we hope to see you in Tyria soon!
Chris

Does Izzy do cartwheels in order to get around the office?
-iQ

Usually this happens after he's done with his meetings for the day and can get back to working at his desk.
~z
Yes, I also walk around with nerf weapons often and fly through the office like an airplane. : )
~Izzy
He teleports around!.
Chris

This one is to Izzy or Jon: I know you guys have had a headache balancing the Guardian, some people is worried there is some lack of offensive options for Guardians right now. Do you agree on this matter? Have there been some changes for Guardians as a whole? Significant ones?
Thanks, love you guys!

Guardian has plenty of offensive options :)
Jon

I played the original guild wars some but have been largely avoiding GW2's development... Now I feel a desire to play. Curse you for this AMA, but also thank you.

No no Thank you!
~Izzy

Hope to see you in Tyria Zam!
Chris

Will there be weather changes in areas such as rain or snow?

You will see the environment change around you from time to time as you progress through the game. The biggest changes will usually come from larger events.
~z

What do you do to prevent a game that is so PvP heavy as GW2 to become unbalanced? In other MMORPGs you often see that there is always one class which is superior.
We play. A LOT. And we iterate even more.
We have some great testers that help point out balance issues, and we have tools that allow us to easily make changes so we can identify problems, fix them and test those fixes extremely quickly. We also pay close attention to the community at large because if anything pops up that breaks the game, they tend to tell us about it pretty quickly :)
That being said, there are almost always going to be certain random combinations that blow up and cause issues. Our job is to prevent those combinations from occurring as much as we can, and we try to fix major imbalances as quickly as possible, because no matter how much testing we do, it's a near certainty that SOMETHING will slip through. -Ferg

Any of you arenanet people want to play with me saturday? :D
I will, I'll be on Ehmry Bay and as always my character names is Izzys Rose, I mainly do a lot of WvW : )
~Izzy

♥What makes you special in your own eyes? :)♥ Also, how's the coffee at ArenaNet? And is it free? ~♦phy

The openness and collaborative feeling we have here at the office is one of things that makes me so proud to be a part of this team. This game is amazing because of the people working on it and because we've banded together behind a single vision of making a fantastic game.
I think the coffee is good? People seem to drink a lot of it. Yeah it's free. I'm just happy we finally got Pepsi stocked in the lunch area!
~z


Were you able to sleep sound after sending thousands of Black Moas to their deaths last beta?
Yours,
A concerned Moa

As the man responsible for putting the Black Moas into harms way for the last BWE, I am proud to say that the Moas had a larger kill:death ratio than the players. Despite the sheer number of players the Moas definitely rose to the challenge.
~z

Will there be a way to switch overflows/districts as easily as there was in GW1?

They'll be an easy way to switch to an overflow server if you have a party member currently residing there.
~z

Q. Will you rank the WvW servers prior to launch? Throwing the heavy hitters like Sorrow's Furnace against an unpopulated server will result in Unfun.

We will not rank servers, but we will likely have a short period after launch where we run shorter matches like we do during the BWE's to allow servers to sort themselves out through normal play. If we tried to rank servers beforehand we'd invariably be wrong and some server would still end up getting stomped for 2 weeks, which isnt fun for anybody. -Ferg

Dear everyone at ArenaNet, firstoff I've gotta thank all of you for creating such a great and beautiful looking game. Now here's my question; I participated in the last BWE and noticed a strange bug, whenever I was in a party or in battle at WvWvW I was unable to chat through TEAM or PARTY channels even though it said I was typing into them. Has this bug been fixed? EDIT: Also another question, will 3rd Party Alienware FX color changes make an appearance in Guild Wars 2?
We have indeed made a number of fixes to chat, things should be much better this weekend! –Ferg

What is your favorite dynamic event? :)
In Gendarran Fields there is an event on the east side of the map where you fight in a norn arena. : )
~Izzy

Fear the Mighty Dolyak.
~z

How much do you plan to support the game post release when it comes to new content, mainly dungeons?
What I'm asking is, will you aim to make your PvE content last a long time through frequent dungeon updates and other various challenges only available once the player is max level and has proven his worth.
The fear being that the current dungeons will get old quickly after hitting the level cap due to most of them being available during leveling.

We are going to have a live team that provides post release support, but we aren't ready to talk about any of our plans for that just yet. –Ferg

Will you rematch Penny Arcade in table tennis?
I hope so. That was an exciting and fun night.
~z

I don't know if i'm too late for this AMA but i just wanted to ask you guys if you plan on implementing key binds for the mouse. I noticed there were none in the previous beta.
We redid the keybinding system, you still can't bind left click or right click, but you can bind the other buttons.
~Izzy


Would it be possible to let us choose the aoe ring colors? I have a terrible time seeing the red circles (red/green colorblind). Thanks.
Probably not, but we are still investigating some options to help out colorblind folks. -Ferg


can we jump?
Yes
~Izzy


Hi, thanks for this AMA guys! :D
I have some questions about the Ally Thieves generated by Thieves Guild and Ambush Trap (I love this band of thieves/agents/thugs concept :D):
Has the "Pistol Thief" bug where he just fires Black Powder and then runs to your opponent and stands there without making attacks been fixed?
What's the lore around them? Is there an universal Thieves Guild? Or they're supposed to be colleagues the player made during his years being a Thief and met them on different works?
Will they be usable in the future in underwater combat (switching to the proper underwater weapons)? I guess Ambush Trap would be hard because it's a Trap, but other Minions can be summoned underwater but the game doesn't let me to use Thieves Guild underwater. And connecting with that: Will all utility skills have an underwater version/modification or simply there will be less skills underwater?
Thanks for everything guys!

The pistol thief bug was fixed
I'll leave this question for someone else as I'm not the best to answer the lore stuff! :)
It's very likely!: )
~Izzy

Ok everyone, time for me to get back to work. This has been a blast! Thanks for all the questions, hopefully we'll see you all in Tyria this weekend!
-Ferg

#2 SunRoamer

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:24 AM

Compared to this, it seems like there's some stuff missing.

E.g. I picked a random question and searched for the words used, but didn't find it on here.

Quote

Q: What made you guys decide to go with a system, that makes it so somebody is always around equal level of whatever zone they are in? Did you guys ever have any major doubts later on going with this route? Also, got any spare beta keys ?? haha

A: We really didn't want to have a situation where a high level player could come back and ruin the play experience for others. This system also made it so higher level players could still participate and progress their character (gaining karma and other rewards) alongside their friends.
The system really felt good when it went in. I'm not sure there were major doubts with it once we played with it.
Sorry, I don't have any keys. :(
~z

So yeah, is this still getting updated? Otherwise I'm sorry to tell you that this is hardly a "full transcript" :P

(putting the whole thing in spoilers might also help with readability)

#3 Hector

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:34 AM

The way the trait tier is spelled out seems to just encourage min/max playing. Which kind of sucks, tbh.

#4 viper11025

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:21 AM

Happy...mixed feelings....
-Sighs softly-
Can't see use playing Catacombs hun, toakes too long to get to the level needed....spent all last weekend event leveling, and exploring only got to 14.

#5 Kityn

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 03:35 AM

Thank you very much for the transcript.

Edited by Kityn, 07 June 2012 - 03:39 AM.


#6 Elder III

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 04:10 AM

wowzers that was a lengthy Q&A session! :D

#7 Lord Xaldin

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:19 AM

Long Q&A for sure... but worth it. Interesting information to say the least :)

#8 Screenager

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:21 AM

ty for that.. morning reading for the commute :)

#9 Arshay Duskbrow

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:26 AM

I see they completely dodged the question of the dye system, just like I thought they would...

#10 DutchAres

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:33 AM

Strange that no body asked about the guardian shields/domes.
Are ground targets supposed to go through shields or is it a bug?
Are siege damage supposed to go through shields or is it a bug?

Or did they already answer this some where else?

#11 NapTooN

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 08:52 AM

View PostDutchAres, on 07 June 2012 - 05:33 AM, said:

Strange that no body asked about the guardian shields/domes. Are ground targets supposed to go through shields or is it a bug? Are siege damage supposed to go through shields or is it a bug? Or did they already answer this some where else?

The Siege stuff was answered somewhere else long ago regarding an old Engineer Shield Skill (it absorbed a projectile like the new Mesmer Utility Skill).

The Absorb worked like a block so it can only absorb things that are considered "blockable". In that regard they said that a Treb-shot for example is considered "unblockable", therefore it can only be avoided by dodging out of the zone it would impact.

It is safe to assume that all the Siege Weapons are considered "unblockable", therefore a Guardian Bubble wont help.

About the ground targeted Skills: If they have a projectile it can be intercepted by the bubble, but Skills that are not "Projectiles" can not be blocked by a Bubble because the Bubble says that it blocks "Projectiles".

#12 Tamora

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 10:06 AM

no information about the dying melee and the dye issue from what i've seen so far?

#13 DutchAres

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 12:53 PM

View PostNapTooN, on 07 June 2012 - 08:52 AM, said:

The Siege stuff was answered somewhere else long ago regarding an old Engineer Shield Skill (it absorbed a projectile like the new Mesmer Utility Skill). The Absorb worked like a block so it can only absorb things that are considered "blockable". In that regard they said that a Treb-shot for example is considered "unblockable", therefore it can only be avoided by dodging out of the zone it would impact. It is safe to assume that all the Siege Weapons are considered "unblockable", therefore a Guardian Bubble wont help. About the ground targeted Skills: If they have a projectile it can be intercepted by the bubble, but Skills that are not "Projectiles" can not be blocked by a Bubble because the Bubble says that it blocks "Projectiles".

Oke that siege like trebs will hit you i can understand, but why arrowcharts?
But it realy sucks that groundtargets attacks dont get blocked, makes the sanctuary (doom) that heals you when inside useless, since it will just get spammed by enchanters -> everyone will see the bubble as nice target for ground attacks instead that it will be a safe zone.

#14 Menehune

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 04:03 PM

View PostLord Xaldin, on 07 June 2012 - 05:19 AM, said:

Long Q&A for sure... but worth it. Interesting information to say the least :)

Yep, most definitely.

And all hail the ArenaNet spirit!

Quote

It's been over 3 hours, ya'll know......
Never give up never surrender...
~Izzy


#15 Vahkris

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:03 PM

View PostTamora, on 07 June 2012 - 10:06 AM, said:

no information about the dying melee and the dye issue from what i've seen so far?

There was a tiny bit, but it wasn't very straightforward.  They mentioned in a couple places that they've taken a good look at skills.  Previously they stated (on the GW2 official forums) that they were going to take a look at defensive capabilities in melee.

The specific mention was when they stated that Leaping Death Blossom is an evasive attack.

Quote

Have any of the weapon skills changed considerably since the first BWE?
Yes. Guardian hammer skill 3 is a line immobilize now. Death Blossom is an evasive attack now. Numerous others...
Jon

It look like they've made various changes, but obviously we'll have to get into the BWE to check.

#16 Soy Oil

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 07:09 PM

Total downtime of 32 hours, over seven years?! THERE'S a stat I'm going to quote from now on.