The Guild Wars team has just finished an Ask-Me-Anything on Reddit. Here’s what we learned from it.
The world of MMOs isn’t ‘closing’
“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.” Mike O’Brien
Downed abilities are being reworked
“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’.” said ‘TM’. Jon Peters, Systems Designer also commented; “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.” – anon
The automatic tournaments are GW2’s “first step towards e-sport” – Jon Peters. Dueling will be added post-launch; the exact date depends on demand.
‘Floatiness’ isn’t going to go away. “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 Peters.
Polish will come when GW2 is feature complete.
“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 Giuntoli
“As part of our performance improvements we plan to push more processing on to multiple cores. We’re already utilizing multiple cores though!” – Peter Giuntoli“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.” Mike O’Brien
Content development is still going on.
“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.” Mike Zadorojny
Big changes are possible past 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 Peters
Will get class icons above their illusions to prevent easy identification.
Two-handed axes won’t just be skins. “Two handed axes are awesome. No reason to skin, lets save some cool stuff for expansions.”
Reworking is 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.” – anon dev. Jon Peters also said they will get more weapon options and weapon kits “at some point” and that they’re exploring options to implement Weapon Sigils on Weapon Kits.
Pet AI is still problematic. “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 Peters
The guys gave some tips to avoid enemy AOE spam. Z said go for scorpion wire combos. “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 Peters. Also, Jon revealed that the thief stealing results normally come from only 2 or 3 items – and that he uses it in PvP a lot.
How the Mystic Forge works.
“The mystic forge takes 4 items and turns that into 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 Giuntoli
“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.” – anon dev.
The WorldvWorldvWorld dungeon
“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.”- Mike Ferguson
WvWvW should be open to minimum spec.
“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.- Mike Ferguson
50-man squads will feature in WvWvW
“The squad member limit is indeed 50, we only talked internally about raising it.”- Mike Ferguson
“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!”- Mike Ferguson
The Ability Queue is still buggy
“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 Peters
Automated tournaments will be locked per data center, not region. The automatic tournaments will be 8 team single elimination and are only the most basic form of tournament. Whether you’ll have the ability to change utility skills and weapons sets outside of combat hasn’t been decided yet. Tournaments will replace Guild versus Guild. More tournament support is incoming, including spectactor mode.
What are Arena.net up to, right now?
“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.” Mike O’Brien
“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!” Chris Whiteside
There will be no ‘pay-to-win’
“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 Whiteside
Pyro II may be revived
Bennett Foddy, creator of QWOP and GIRP http://www.foddy.net/, asked Mike O’Brien if he could remake the game. Mike said yes, and he’d send Bennett the files.
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. – Mike Ferguson
Most surprising bug
When we’re missing models we end up displaying a naked headless human, always a little disturbing.-Peter Giuntoli
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.Mike Zadorojny
The (very long) reasoning behind the trait changes:
“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 Peters