Mojang's Minecraft 1.8 world generator heralds "the return of floating islands"

2K plan Steamworks support for Borderlands, Civs III and IV post-Gamespy shutdown

Apocalypse Now: Survarium will be open to everyone this week, but only for one day

ArenaNet to develop Guild Wars 2 PvP as an eSport, starting with automated tournaments: “We listen to you and we hear what you’re asking for.”

ArenaNet are building an iceberg. They’re building an iceberg, but you’re not allowed to see it. In fact, you won’t see it until a huge update crashes into your Guild Wars 2 client, if I’m making the right sense out of their new blog post on structured PvP.

Bear with me. The gist is that ArenaNet don’t like to announce a thing until it’s really, definitely coming - indeed, many of the features they’re talking about now are already in-game. But somewhere beneath the waves, beyond the tip of the iceberg detailed here, there are long-term plans to develop Guild Wars's 5v5 PvP as a full-blown eSport.

The first step down that route is free automated tournaments, which are already rumbling away quite nicely in-game. Free tournaments are designed to draw in new players with a friendly system for random groups and some nice loot drops. The top four of eight teams in every free tournament are sent away with reward chests, glory, and rank points.

Anybody can join solo and be auto-grouped with other new players - a system designed to gently nudging nervous newcomers in the direction of a more social playstyle.

The idea is that free tournament experience will embolden players enough to jump into paid tournaments, due to arrive in-game imminently, with a pre-gathered team and no small confidence. Entry fee is paid for with in-game tickets, purchasable at the gem store, granted via a rank up, or found in free tournament reward chests. It's worth noting, too, that gems can be bought with proper money, the RL stuff.

Though the risk is greater in paid tournaments, so is the reward - all teams emerge with something, while first and second placed teams emerge not only with glory and rank points, but gems. ArenaNet expect that the very best players will make a profit on gems through PvP.

There’s more planned. In the near future, teams will be able to rent custom arenas - private maps for training in secret or fighting personal grudge matches. Teams can select which maps they want to play on, and customise them to their tastes.

No details yet on how rentals will work, but this is just the first step in ArenaNet’s journey towards deep, accessible, and properly supported small-scale PvP in Guild Wars. Also on the cards are leaderboards, match spectatorship, larger tournaments, and streaming. The eventual aim? Guild Wars as international eSport.

“We listen to you and we hear what you’re asking for. We want to see eSports grow worldwide, and it’s a big part of how we think here at ArenaNet. We design sPvP maps with commentators in mind,” says systems designer Jonathan Sharp.

“We think about streaming and how our game will do on streams when being learned by new players. We watch eSport replays/streams in the office. We watch GW2 gamecasts on Youtube. We think about how people will organize tournaments (small and large) within custom arenas.

“We talk about eSport matches while we’re at lunch. We think about how to best get new players into the game, while also making sure professional players have a way to grow their fame. We think about the best way to show high-level matches to the masses. Really… we just think a lot about eSports. Not just for GW2, but we think about growing eSports around the world.”

Have you tried the free automated tournaments yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Login or Register

Guild Wars

Guild Wars 2's April Feature Pack will improve the quality of life in Tyria

Guild Wars’ ninth anniversary starts three weeks early because of typo

The great Guild Wars 2 gear merger - or the way PvP works now

Better together: ArenaNet spills the beans on how Guild Wars 2's megaservers will affect other features

Guild Wars 2 megaservers will fill underpopulated maps with players from April 15

Fancy dress: Guild Wars 2's Wardrobe System detailed

Guild Wars

Guild Wars 2 to get 40 new traits via first-ever features-only update on April 15

Guild Wars 2's Scarlet is dead, but her legacy remains in Aftermath

Closed beta, open for business: Guild Wars 2 comes to China on March 11

While Lion's Arch burns, ArenaNet fiddles around with an interactive Guild Wars 2 atlas

Lion's Arch burns in Guild Wars 2 today

Fiscal fumble: Guild Wars 2 isn’t farming as much gold as before for NCSoft

Guild Wars

What Guild Wars 2's Edge of the Mists update brings to World versus World

Guild Wars 2's first city comes apart at the seams in February 18's Escape from Lion's Arch

Chase Scarlet to the Edge of the Mists in the next Guild Wars 2 update

Origins of Madness update will "rock Guild Wars 2 to the core"

Guild Wars 2 supervillain Scarlet Briar's year-branching storyline begins finale January 21

Guild Wars 2 starts laying out the presents for Wintersday

Guild Wars

Origins of Madness: Talking giant wurms and evil puppets with Guild Wars 2's Mike Zadorojny

Guild Wars 2 Wintersday event brings cold front to Tyria on December 10

Guild Wars 2 launches Great MMO Migration contest. Free copy to those willing to pledge allegiance

Guild Wars 2 video teases Fractals of the Mists. A new update to the endless dungeon

Guild Wars 2 PvP team tournaments begin on 23 November

Guild Wars 2's Tower of Nightmares will arrive just in time for Halloween