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Guild Wars 2 Interviews: Exclusive Interview

By Garrett Fuller on April 28, 2010

MMORPG.com:

Give an example of one traditional MMORPG element that you felt needed to be changed when developing Guild Wars 2.

Eric Flannum - Lead Designer:

One of the most obvious things we wanted to change was the visceral impact of combat. We want our combat to feel like it has a lot of impact. We aren’t making a twitch action game but that doesn’t mean that combat has to be unexciting. We’ve worked very hard to make all of our skills have a real sense of impact when they land.

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MMORPG.com:

Looking at the game as a player, what is your favorite aspect of Guild Wars 2?

Daniel Jennings - Programmer:

That projectiles, even though they are conceptually simple, ?have so many cool behaviors. For example, an arrow shot from a bow doesn’t just go from you to your enemy and disappear; instead it can be reflected, set on fire, bounce between several enemies, or return to you after hitting a target, healing you when it hits.

Braeden Shosa - Programmer:

I’m a little biased because I wrote it, but one of my favorite aspects of GW2 is its new animation system. Our animation technology was rebuilt from the ground up to support GW2’s ambitious, action-oriented combat across a multitude of player and creature rigs. Among many other improvements, the new system features transition animations for the smooth animation quality gamers expect, independent upper and lower body animation tracks for running n’ gunning, and looping animations for hold skills. The new animation system helps us achieve our goals of uniquely identifiable skills, joy of movement, and visceral combat with deep but accessible mechanics.

Jon Peters - Game Designer:

Content actually made for a persistent multiplayer world. When I see another player in Guild Wars 2, no matter in PvE or PvP, my reaction is, “Awesome, another person. How can we help each other!”

Isaiah Cartwright - Game Designer:

Finding something new. It’s amazing when I turn a corner or walk over a hill and run into something not just visually impressive but something I’ve never seen before. There are so many amazing, beautiful, jaw dropping things going on in Guild Wars 2 it often leaves me stunned thinking are we really doing that?

MMORPG.com:

You have a large number of races in the game, how will they work together?

Eric Flannum - Lead Designer:

In our lore none of the five races are at open war with each other but none of them are close allies either. The exception to this is the City of Lion’s Arch which is an independent city state that welcomes all races equally. In Lion’s Arch you can see charr technology working hand in hand with asura magic and the resulting teamwork has turned Lion’s Arch into the preeminent mercantile power in the world.

When it comes to gameplay all of the races bring something unique to the table. We use racial skills to give each race its own flavor and also to bring players a wider breadth of options to consider when building their character. An asura player will always have a way to blast enemies with magic while a Sylvari player can always choose to heal their allies.

MMORPG.com:

In the Blog you mentioned non-combat activities for Guild Wars 2. Can you give an example of how these will impact players?

Eric Flannum - Lead Designer:

One of the major things we are doing is bringing back many of the activities that players loved from the first game. For example we had a lot of mini games like snowball arena, rollerbeetle racing, and nine rings. These were all activities that players could engage in no matter their level. In most MMOs players will pick certain cities and use those cities as social hubs. We recognize that this is the case and have decided to populate the major cities in the game with mini games similar to those found in Guild Wars. We call these games “activities” and they encompass everything from a bar brawl to a shooting gallery. It’s important for us to treat our major cities as social hubs where players of all levels can gather and have fun.

MMORPG.com:

You talk about making MMOs more social, is there a plan in place with Guild Wars 2 to give social rewards to players?

Eric Flannum - Lead Designer:

The structure of Guild Wars 2 allows us to make the game a much more social experience. Shared goals, more generous rules for loot and XP sharing, and scaling content mean that it is very easy to play with other players. Because of this social interaction in Guild Wars 2 happens more naturally without enforced grouping mechanics.

We also believe in providing a strong social network for players and rewarding and encouraging players to form friendships in the game. We will be talking about exactly how we intend to do that sometime in the future.

MMORPG.com:

What is the biggest lesson you learned from Guild Wars that you are bringing to the sequel?

Daniel Jennings - Programmer:

Because changing builds/skillbars in Guild Wars is so easy, players have been able to come up with some pretty crazy skill combinations that we hadn’t really thought of. The problem with these combinations, though, is that the main result is a stack of enchantments and slightly higher damage numbers coming from skills. With Guild Wars 2, we’re trying to not only make it easier to discover these cooperative skill mechanics, but also visually show you what’s going on. The canonical example of this is a player firing an arrow through a fire wall; the arrow catches fire and burns its target when it hits. It’s a mechanic that makes the game cooler, but also rewards players for trying different skill combinations together in a way that makes sense.

Braeden Shosa - Programmer:

I think the biggest lesson I learned from Guild Wars is that a ?robust social platform is tantamount to our success and our players’ enjoyment of our games. Gamers socialize today in entirely new ways, and modern games should recognize that friendships persist even after players logs off. We recognize this at ArenaNet, and I’m proud to ?be building GW2 from the ground up to be the ultimate social gaming experience.

Jon Peters - Game Designer:

Skills should be simpler. Simpler skills are like building blocks instead of puzzle pieces. It is a lot easier to build something with blocks and you can make a lot more varied and unexpected stuff.

Isaiah Cartwright - Game Designer:

PvE and PvP take different things to make them awesome. We tried to smash them together at first in Guild Wars and it really made things hard for us. In Guild Wars 2 we’ve set up a frame work that will make things a lot easier for us this time around and I think both areas of the game are greatly improved as a result.

MMORPG.com:

You said the players will have a lot of choices. It has been a trend lately to give consequences to these choices. Will you have a similar system?

Eric Flannum – Lead Designer:

Player choices will definitely have consequences. We tell a very personal story for players and consequences in that story will have a lot of repercussions on the content that a player will experience. For example you may need to get information from a villain. Do you break into his house while he’s away or attend a party with him and try to use diplomacy and espionage to get the information from him? Players will be presented with a number of meaningful choices over the course of their story.

MMORPG.com:

Can you give a deeper explanation on how Guild Wars 2 will have a persistent world? Will it be more than just a social meeting room?

Eric Flannum – Lead Designer:

Guild Wars 2 is a fully persistent world. What we mean by that is that you will be in the world with other players and that anything those players do to impact the world will change things for everyone. If a group of players wipes out a bandit camp then that bandit camp is gone (until the bandits rebuild it of course), if a town is overrun by centaurs then the services in that town are gone until players can win it back and rebuild it.

We do have instancing of course which we use both for dungeons and in helping to tell a character’s personal story.

MMORPG.com:

How is the schedule on the project going? Do you see a beta by the end of 2010?

Eric Flannum – Lead Designer:

The project’s going really well thanks for asking! J In all seriousness we’ll be releasing beta info when we get closer to the date. As you can tell, it’s a very ambitious game and it’s important for us that the game is executed at the highest level possible rather than rushing to beta before we’re ready.

 

Also check out our breakdown of the newly revealed Elementalist profession and combat mechanics here.

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