Guild Wars 2 recently expanded with the newest Living Story episode that brings a new raid wing and some exciting story elements into the game. It all comes as part of ArenaNet’s commitment to story in Guild Wars 2. We had a chance to speak with members of the team to learn more about the most recent update. See what they had to say!
MMORPG: Tell us more about Bastion of the Penitent.
CRYSTAL REID, GAME DESIGN LEAD: Bastion of the Penitent is a different release compared to our previous raids. It’s a single wing so the story starts and concludes with this release. During the initial design process, the raid was more of a tomb than a prison, and it was hard to design the event style encounters for this release. So instead we built 4 larges bosses for players to tackle.
BOBBY STEIN, NARRATIVE LEAD: Raids are the only place where we can tackle darker themes or tie up loose threads that don’t fit in the main narrative. In this case we decided to provide some closure to a historical character who was sometimes referenced in lore, but almost never shown. Players meet up with Glenna, a Durmand Priory scholar who has been investigating the different raid locales, to uncover the mysteries inside a strange, remote cavern. Throughout their journey they will discover the horrible truth about the Bastion, and come face to face with some of the most terrifying demons ever presented in Guild Wars lore.
MMORPG: It is said that players will face off against four new bosses. Which would you consider the most challenging overall?
CRYSTAL: For the initial versions of the encounters, the Shackled Prisoner is probably the most challenging since it has a lot of additional play roles that the entire raid needs to execute well in order to succeed. With the Challenge Motes, the Mursaat Overseer ranks as one of the more difficult. The number of mechanics in it are relatively small in comparison, but the timing on the attacks can be tight and failure to execute them flawlessly results in death.
MMORPG: Will players be faced with any new mechanics during the raid content?
CRYSTAL: We’ve introduced a lot of new mechanics with this raid release. In particular the Shared Agony mechanic in the Caine encounter required a bunch of new tech from our gameplay programmer to support. The new tech allows is to chain damage off other players based off proximity.
MMORPG: Is there potential for infiltration into Jenna's inner circle? What kind of teaser can you give us for the mysteries that will be uncovered both in the story and in the raid?
CRYSTAL: The raid is bringing back a character from Guild Wars and tying up the loose ends of their story. But I don’t want to spoil who that is so you’ll just have to check out Bastion of the Penitent for yourself!
BOBBY: What Crystal said! But I’ll add this: be prepared to encounter some really horrific stuff. We purposely start you off cold when you step through the raid portal, so there’s an element of discovery every step of the way. Everything from the bosses and environment art to the audio and dialog works to create an oppressive atmosphere, the likes of which we’ve never done before. We tried to integrate the story into every element, so whether you’re playing the raid for the pure challenge, or wanting to explore uncharted territory you’ll be rewarded with something new. Our hope is that you take the time to examine all the clues inside, and that you ultimately walk away with a different perception of the Guild Wars universe.
MMORPG: Are the events in Divinity's Reach tied to the events (story-wise) in Bastion of the Penitent?
BOBBY: The stories featured in The Head of the Snake and Bastion of the Penitent are standalone. You do not need to play one to understand the other. Raids are essentially side stories, and while they may sometimes share themes with other content they are not part of the core Guild Wars 2 narrative. Because of that, we can tackle darker or more mature topics that don’t fit elsewhere in the game: failure, guilt, betrayal, and struggles for redemption.