This week there was a blog post from Mike Z, Game Director, to let all of us know a bit more about what ArenaNet’s plan moving forward after the recent layoffs and to give us some idea of what we have to look forward to in Guild Wars 2 moving forward. If you haven’t read it yet you really should because aside from there being some specific things on the horizon there’s also a lot of exciting potentials set forth here. I’m going to take a bit of a closer look at the post and explain a bit about why I think the future is bright for the GW2 community.
In the first section of his post, Mike Z talks about the general core ideals ArenaNet has for GW2, none of which are of any surprise. However, after reiterating their core goals, he goes on to say “The Living World of Guild Wars 2 is a great way for us to accomplish all of that. It’s the best way to provide our player community with regular content updates—great features, new horizons to explore, and an engaging story that brings our world and characters to life…”. This is interesting because to me it seems to be indicating not only will we not be getting another expansion anytime soon (we already knew there wouldn’t be one after this living story season) but they are also not planning on another at all.
Some people might decry this as a terrible thing as expansions hype the game up and create larger influxes of cash all at once, but I think no more expansions might be the better long-term call here. Don’t get me wrong here, mounts, gliding, the mastery system, and elite specs are cool, and I love everything we have gotten so far. But how long can this go on? We are already having issues with balancing base classes and two elite specs, every time another one is added the balance complexity multiplies. So far in both expansions, we have gotten ways to augment our movement capabilities in the world but how much more significant movement augmentation is left that wouldn’t destroy other parts of the game? Additionally, we could get new Masteries as part of the living story updates so that we could continue progression that way separate from expansions.
From there he goes on to detail how there are now specific teams for Skills & Balance, Rewards, WvW, and sPvP which echoes the set up they had years ago. I wouldn’t, however, take this to mean these are the only teams there, or people weren’t working on these things previously. Hopefully having these specific set aside teams will help get content out for these areas on a more reliable schedule. I’m also hopeful the Rewards team is different than the team which does gemstore stuff because gemstore things aren’t exactly what I would call rewards. So, we can hopefully look forward to more in-game rewards.
Another interesting bit from this post is between now and the release of the last episode of Season Four of the Living Story we’ll be getting another content update from the Current Activities Team. This is the same team that gave us the sad anomalies which randomly started popping up around the world and all the events which came from that. If I had to guess this new content will be things relating to some of the fallout of our most recent encounter with Kralkatorrik. We might see branding pop-up in new parts of the world which hadn’t previously seen it before. Or there might be more rifts between the Mists and Tyria causing havoc. I do hope it will be a similar type of release as it was previously where things were just sort of dropped in with no real notice and players were left to find things on their own. It always feels more interesting and immersive when games let me discover things on my own. I love the thrill of discovery!
Not only did Mike Z confirm there is another raid on its way, and it’ll continue Qadim’s story, but there will also be some small-scale open world content coming with it. For those who do not raid Qadim is the final boss in the Mythright Gambit raid which takes place inside the Mystic Forge. Spoiler alert, but raiders do not kill him at the end of the raid. Instead flees gleefully leaving the Mystic Forge and Zommoros leaves us with the thought he has perhaps been changed in unexpected ways… which can mean anything. Honestly, the possibilities on this one are vast though players who have taken part in the Jahai Bluffs bounties probably have had a bit of a sneak peek at what is coming next.
A bit further into the future (there’s no exact timetable on these things yet) Mike Z confirmed not only are build templets finally on the way but also legendary runes and sigils are on their way. Templets are a feature which has been requested since the game was launched essentially. So, having this be a confirmed in process update is exciting. I’m also interested in the fact legendary runes and sigils were also mentioned alongside this update. My thinking on build templates has always been for it to truly be effective having a way to switch all the gear along with it is necessary. Legendary gear plays right in with this. Of course, being able to use build templates without legendary equipment is also important.
The last thing I wanted to mention was he also talked about how the WvW team is still focused on getting the restructuring they had previously talked about (alliances) completed. But in the meantime, they will also be doing various events to shake things up a bit in WvW and make things a bit more interesting while we wait on this large update. These events would be along the lines of the No Downed State week they did previously. I’d honestly like to see how far they could take these temporary events to change things up. They could push things because even if it breaks some things, it’d only last a week.
There’s much more Mike Z talked about in his blog post; these are just the topics which were particularly interesting to me. Hopefully, we’ll see more posts of this type in the future as it is always helpful to know where they are headed both in the shorter and longer-term. This does require the fan base to be understanding when they have adjusted plans though. Disappointment is of course expected when a project gets changed but remembering the iterative nature if games and how the alternative is not hearing about anything until it’s about to come out, I think we can all manage to keep perspective.