There’s a big PVP update coming to Heart of the Mists in Guild Wars 2’s next update. To further detail the changes, we were able to interview ArenaNet’s Benjamin Phongluangtham and Grant Gertz about the new envisioning of the PVP hub and what new rewards come with excelling in the game.
MMORPG: Let’s start with the obvious: why change the Heart of the Mists? What’s the reasoning? Is it simply to give it a new coat of paint?
Benjamin Phongluangtham: With the addition of new features such as Champion’s Rest and the free-for-all arena, we felt it was a great time for a larger revision of the map. In doing so, we were able to retain all of the old features while adding a few other little exploration bits that I’ll leave to the players to discover!
Grant Gertz: Players spend a lot of time in the PvP lobby, whether in queue, to chat and discuss PvP with other players, or, with the introduction of Automated Tournaments, while waiting between tournament matches. We wanted to provide players with a fresh map to explore and enjoy during these times. The previous lobby predated gliding and leagues. We took the opportunity with the introduction of Automated Tournaments to create a lobby that better incorporated gliding and provided avenues to celebrate our top players.
MMORPG: The blog mentions a free-for-all brawling area. How large is this, and is it purely for sparring?
BP: The free-for-all arena is big enough for 10 people or so to fit comfortably. Its main purpose is simply for something to do while waiting for matches, however feel free to use it to test builds or issue a public challenge to a friend. Keep in mind that it truly is free-for-all, so other players can jump in and interfere at any time. People in Champion’s Rest can even have some effect on the arena floor.
GG: The closest size approximation is probably the middle point on Foefire. I would say the term brawling, rather than sparring, is a better representation of the area’s purpose. You can absolutely try to use it for those “1v1 me bro” moments, but there will likely be other people fighting nearby. In addition, depending on who is in Champions Rest above you, there may be some additional hazards to contend with in the pit.
MMORPG: The new automated tournament system seems like the biggest change. Why did it take so long for something like this to be added? It seems like a brilliant way to have organized PVP ongoing in GW2.
BP: Automated tournaments are something we’ve been excited about for a while and are the future of competitive PvP Guild Wars 2. However, because League play is likely to be the first competitive experience in Guild Wars 2 that most players will have, we wanted to make sure the system was in a solid place before moving on to tournaments.
GG: After we launched leagues in December 2015, we spent time iterating and improving them. We polished off the major changes we wanted to make with Season 5 and turned our attention to the next update. The team took some time to discuss and brainstorm what is next for Guild Wars 2 PvP. From that came the basis of the PvP portion of this month’s competitive feature pack. We knew we wanted to bring Guild Wars 1 style automated tournaments to Guild Wars 2. We knew we wanted to introduce a map specifically for 2v2 players. And we knew we wanted to celebrate this with a new lobby. Automated Tournaments was by far the biggest for the team, but we got started right away and now that it is up to our standards, we’re excited to see it going live on June 20th.
MMORPG: Are there any changes to PVP rewards with the new Heart of the Mists and Tournaments? You mention the Glorious Hero armor set. Will there be new rewards monthly?
BP: We have the return of the Glorious Hero armor set, as you mentioned. In addition, automated tournaments will be giving out gold, mystic coins, and new llamas based on how you place. We also have prestige rewards such as access to Champion’s Rest and, for the first place team every month, statues of your likeness in the Hall of the Mists. New rewards for both Tournament and League play is something we will continue to focus on and will talk more about in the future.
GG: There will be three tournaments a day and one monthly tournament. Each daily offers gold, dyes, mystic coins, reward track potions, and qualifying points for the monthly. The monthly offers larger amounts of the same items as the dailies and adds llamas, armors, and access to Champions Rest for the top teams. The team that wins the monthly will also receive a unique title and have their likenesses sculpted into statues in the lobby.
MMORPG: Champions Rest, the new “Cool Kids Table” in Heart of the Mists, how does one gain access?
BP: Placing in the top 4 of a monthly automated tournament or in the top 25 of a League season will get you access to Champion’s Rest.
MMORPG: Once it’s obtained, is it account wide, and does it last forever?
BP: The pass you get is account-bound, so you can use it with any character. The passes last for 2 weeks from the time they are used. First place in the monthly tournament will award 2 passes. Second through fourth gets 1 pass. In Leagues, First through third place will receive 2 passes and fourth through 25th will get a one week pass.
GG: The pass is account-bound, so you can use it with any character. All passes are temporary though, so if you want to stay at the “Cool Kids Table” you need to continue to perform at a high level.
MMORPG: The statues seem like the ultimate bragging right. Can players choose anything about the statue that represents them? Are there achievements for making the cut?
BP: With statues, we really wanted people who win the monthly tournament to get recognized for their accomplishment. The statue will take whatever appearance you have when you enter the final match of the monthly tournament. It doesn’t support backpacks or full outfits. Along with the statues, there is an achievement and a title for getting first place in the tournament.