Yesterday I had the great opportunity to play through some of the new content that is being released today in Flame & Frost: The Gathering Storm (February's content update). The fine people over at ArenaNet gave a great tour showing off what they’ve been working on, and offered some info on how they make this content. Players of all types will have something to be excited about for this, and future builds of Guild Wars 2.
The tour started off with a look into the Spirit Watch PvP map. Right away I was just in awe at how amazing this map looks. Plant life, and architecture fill your screen, giving you an epic setting to do battle in. This map also had several layers of elevation, offering a ton of interesting ways for players to strategize against the other team. But this also served as just another way to create a visually pleasing experience for PvP players.
So why so much focus on making a map look so nice? As the developers pummeled me to death with arrows and greatswords, they gave me a very straight answer. Why do battle in a dull environment? If you make the setting look epic, it helps make the battle feel epic. The trick is to first make the map function. Things start off with layouts. The team then had to go through several iterations, reworking the map to give it a nice balance. They even timed themselves to make sure both starting areas were equal distance from map objectives. The map looks so good that you don’t really consider all that went into making it. It’s just epic!
ArenanNet has given each map its own unique game play, and Spirit Watch is no exception. The development team has several more ideas for future maps, and maybe other PvP related content. We may see new types of settings. We may see maps that are larger, or smaller, in size. But where do they get their inspiration? They play games of course! The developers all seem to be gamers, taking things they love about other games, and making them better. They play games as part of their research. If only that was in every job description.
There are benefits to being in a guild, but running dungeons seem to be the main reason guilds get together. Today that all changes. The introduction of Guild Missions will help bring guild mates closer together.
There are different types of mission that a guild can purchase through the use of influence. Guilds can become bounty hunters, tracking down nasty bad guys and putting them behind bars where they belong. They can go through a series of challenging puzzles and mazes to test their coordination. The Guild Rush style mission has players taking the form of animals to go through a race course. It reminded me a lot of Roller Beetle racing from GW1. And of course you have players that just want to bash and slash. That’s where Guild Challenges come in, throwing waves of enemies at a defendable base.
The great thing about having all these choices, is that ArenaNet wants to give every type of player something to do. They also want to keep the focus on players working together. The mission objectives are randomly selected, but multiple guilds could be tasked with the same mission. Guilds can work together to complete the missions. Expect guilds to network in order to help each other out. This would also be a great way for an alliance feature to be added later on... hint, hint ArenaNet.
Not in a guild? No problem! Non-guild players will see the mission as dynamic events. They can pop in and help out guilds and get the standard event rewards. I was worried I was going to have to bribe other players with my gold to get outside help. But like always, if you do something with other players, you’ll get rewarded. The developers designed the content so that everyone gets something for playing together. This may also be a great way for guilds to recruit other players, but we'll have to see how it works in a live environment later today.
So why throw in Guild Missions instead of giving us a Guild Hall? With a Guild Hall you can all get together, but then all you have to do to just stand around. With missions you can get together, go out into the world, and do something. Stuff like a Guild Hall could become a reward for completing Guild Missions. The development team also has high hopes that other teams, such as the Living Story or Holiday team, will find a way to incorporate Guild Missions into their events. After seeing the different mission styles, there really is a lot of cool things they could do to spice things up.
I want to thank the developers over at ArenaNet for taking the time to show what they’ve been working on. It was a great time playing with them, even if we did fail all the missions. They opened up a bit more, showing us why and how they make new content. I’m excited to play through all the new stuff on the live server, and even more excited about what we will see in the future.
What type of missions will your guild try out? Are you excited for the new PvP map? Tell us what you think in the comments below. Ane be sure to read Rob's preview of everything from Flame & Frost: The Gathering Storm as well, including the new daily missions!
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