Balancing Guild Wars 2 difficulty is tough when top players do “ten times” more damage

'Easy' and 'hard' have very different meanings for players

Guild Wars 2 is about to delve into a new era with the launch of the Icebrood Saga – a new season of Living World updates the promise of bigger, “expansion-tier” features. As with any new update, the developers have to cater to both the casual players who are there for the story, and the high-end players who want big challenges – and that gap is bigger than you might think.

“We generally try and make the story content be approachable to the average player, because that’s why people are here and what they’re playing,” game director Mike Zadorojny tells us in response to complaints that Season Four was too easy. “Moving forward, we’re trying to give players who are looking for meaningful challenge a way to have that with the Icebrood Saga.”

But that’s easier said than done. “The challenge is that the skill disparity between average players and hardcore players is extreme. We’re talking about ten times damage output. You can’t necessarily put a DPS check that the average player is going to be able to overcome without making the fight entirely trivialized for the hardcore. But we have some tricks up our sleeve that we’re going to be trying.”

The Icebrood Saga will bring a focus on repeatable story content, which will manifest in both the announced strike missions and other ways, as Zadorojny tells us in our interview – which could be an out to make harder versions of that content.

For more on the state of PvP, raids, and world restructuring, you can follow that link to see our interview with Zadorojny on the future of Guild Wars 2 in full.