Custom PvP arenas with much of the functionality of FPS dedicated servers are to be added to Guild Wars 2 in limited beta form in the Retribution update due next week, alongside a spectator mode. They’ll be accompanied with new World vs World abilities, guild missions, guild siege weapons and back banners. Meanwhile, Arenanet will conclude their Frost and Flame storyline with a brand new dungeon.
While every player will be able to test a custom arena via Guild Wars 2’s new server browser, only a few players will get the honour of personalising their arena. By buying a starter pack via the gem store (other methods of acquisition are being discussed), you can start to build your personal battleground.
Editing is simple and relatively deep; certainly deeper than anything else available in an MMO. You can add a password, a message of the day, provide individual or guild level access, change the team size, skill limits, respawn timers and more.
Arenas are rented, with time codes available to purchase from the gem store. You can fund any arena, not just the one you bought - the idea being that the community will fund the most entertaining arenas. Your arena will have a set grace period when it runs out of time to add some more, but if none is added within that period, it will be deleted.
ArenaNet have two goals with the forthcoming spectator mode: entertainment and education. In the original Guild Wars, spectating high level matches proved popular: they’re aiming to recapture that community. Spectators will be provided with fixed cameras around the map and player views. You’ll also be provided with their complete build, including skills, weapons, armour and traits.
And don’t expect to just watch pros: ArenaNet explained that watching a player who is causing you trouble in spectator mode should give you enough information on how to counter their style and build.
World vs World is also seeing some love in the form of extra abilities to expand on Marches new WvW progression system. A new “Arrow Cart Mastery” ability will make your rain of arrows even more deadly, while NPCs will quake in their boots with a further five levels in the “Guard Killer” ability line.
Guild siege weapons are also to be added; alongside banners that you can wear on your back: we’re unsure if this is the return of the classic capes or a new design all together.
Lastly, the guild missions, added last month, are getting more archetypes: one guild rush sees you transformed into adorable quaggan while you race over Frostgorge Sound. There’s also 24 new guild trek locations.
Stay tuned: we will be tinkering with the custom arenas and spectator mode next week.