Guild Wars 2 changes detailed

PAX East 2011: ArenaNet discuss some of the ways in which it will play with the formula for its upcoming massively multiplayer online game.

Who was there: A massive panel of ArenaNet employees, including lead content designer Colin Johanson, game designer Jon Peters, community manager Regina Buenaobra, senior vice president Randy Price, lore designer Jeff Grubb, and more.

What they said: The Guild Wars 2 panel spoke to a packed house at this year's Penny Arcade Expo East. An extensive trailer for the game preceded the discussion and highlighted several of the talking points to be covered, including the game's active combat and the focus on player choice. When the trailer finished, the room erupted into thunderous applause.

Guild Wars 2 will, in fact, be an MMORPG.

After the audience had quieted down, Johanson spoke first. He had three key points to knock out of the way. First, is Guild Wars 2 going to be a "true" massively multiplayer online role-playing game? The answer was "yes," GW2 will be one giant, persistent world. Second, will there be jumping in GW2? Again, the answer was "yes," which was met with an excited round of applause. Third, will GW2 have a monthly subscription fee? This time, the answer was "no," which received even more applause than before, plus a little cheering.

With that out of the way, Johanson turned the conversation to how GW2 will be innovating on its predecessor, including the player's personal story, dynamic events, and combat. Beginning with personal story, Johanson stated that the team at ArenaNet has attempted to get players more invested in their characters by creating numerous branching paths in the story. The choices that can be made have tremendous consequences, including altering a character's unique home city. All of a player's actions will also be logged in a player journal, which the player can review to see past achievements.

Next, he spoke about the changes to how quests will be structured in GW2. The traditional setup of collecting a quest, completing it, and then retrieving a reward has been completely reimagined. Now, the world of GW2 will be populated by numerous dynamic quests--quests that are ongoing for the player to discover. The example given was of a pack of savage centaurs terrorizing the countryside. Players will battle these beasts for control of a settlement. Anyone can jump in once the fighting starts, and the event will scale according to how many "active players" are present.

If the players lose the battle with the centaurs, then they lose the use of that settlement. This marks the beginning of a quest chain and advances the scenario to the next level. Now, the centaurs have a foothold and will attempt to reinforce it by collecting wood from the forest. The players can engage them again in the woods, and whether they win or lose the chain will advance in another direction. This constant splitting of the chain means that once the chain resets, the content that can be experienced could be completely different.

Johanson then transitioned into his third point: combat and its focus on teamwork and active participation. One of the base rules of the game, he explained, was that rewards and experience are shared among those who participate in a fight; the player should always feel excited to see another player rushing over to help. For the combat specifics, Johanson turned the microphone over to Peters who explained that in GW2, they didn't want to pigeonhole characters into specific roles, such as tank, damage per second, or healer. Instead, no matter what the class, they want players to be switching between roles in combat on the fly.

Before handing the discussion off to the audience for a question-and-answer session, the panel loaded up a skills compilation video, which highlighted the abilities of the recently announced thief class. The video included snippets from five different thieves, including some who used high-explosive projectiles and others who preferred to teleport in and out of melee (or turn completely invisible).

The Q&A session began after that. One early question started a discussion about the recorded character audio in the game. Peters revealed that there are about 400 lines of dialogue for every player in GW2. "We've recorded over 60 feature films worth of dialog for Guild Wars 2," he added.

Two other attendees asked about the specifics of the dynamic events. From the ensuing banter, it was revealed that there are more than 1,000 of these scripted events throughout the world of Guild Wars 2, and while they are ongoing, players shouldn't see the events play out the same way every time. Grubb also mentioned that the rewards for these events are tiered based on participation and that players don't have to participate in the whole event to get a reward (but it helps).

The next person asked about how the developers were going to keep Guild Wars 2 interesting for those who complete its end-game content. Johanson jumped on this one and launched into an explanation of the five-man dungeons, each having two modes: a story mode and a repeatable mode. He also mentioned the numerous minigames available and all of the different player-versus-player options. In GW2, PVP battles will run the gamut from five-on-five skirmishes to massive world-versus-world events where three game servers are pitted against each other in one massive battle royal.

Another question shifted the discussion to how the game's AI accommodates mixed-level groups in dynamic events. The panel took this opportunity to introduce GW2's side-kicking system. If a player has a high-level character who has gone back into low-level territory, that player will be side-kicked down to the appropriate level for that content. This will allow players to adventure with those of a lower level without having to create an entirely new character. In addition, high-level characters can side-kick friends up in level so that they can adventure together in the later areas of the game.

The panel then discussed the inclusion of the jump and swim abilities, as well as possibilities opened up for designing maps. One participant asked about navigational aids for players who need more direction. Johanson responded with an explanation of GW2's scouts. These scouts will highlight areas on the map where players can go and help people, and when finished, there is typically a dynamic event nearby.

The next question was about ArenaNet's plans for future content for GW2. Price spoke up and pointed out that even though the original Guild Wars is almost six years old, the team just sent out a major content release last week. "It's inevitable that you'll see new events out there [in Guild Wars 2] over time."

The panel then talked about how the game's AI will accommodate players who enter a dynamic event and either do not participate or participate very little. In brief, it knows if a player is helping or not and will scale accordingly. Then, the question of auction houses and their inclusion in GW2 came up. Peters addressed this, saying that there will be marketplaces where players can post advertisements for items they want to sell or items they want to buy.

Quote: "The human city has a perpetual bar brawl you can jump into at any time."--Johanson on the minigames in Guild Wars 2.

Takeaway: Guild Wars 2 looks as if it's really coming into its own and drawing a hard distinction between itself and the countless other MMOGs out there. A world driven completely by dynamic quests is an ambitious goal, and it's exciting to see if ArenaNet can pull it off. The packed house brought plenty of energy to the discussion and made sure to slip in a few jabs about a certain online competitor. Guild Wars 2 still doesn't have an official release date, but the team hopes to see the title released sometime this year.

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97 comments
simon6818
simon6818

I think it will be very good if everything they say they are doing is there. combat looks more in tune with a real world were you can dodge and interact with it and everyone has a chance to perform in that event, i may not understand how they are doing it but sounds like it will work as people come and go in the event and it scales up and down and the more you put in the more you get out, do love the idea that the old quest system has gone like most done WoW and its so not fun anymore. as for subs you don't need them the game should sell its self people are still buying GW1 6 years on, we pay for wow (why) to quest to cap then to grind DG and instances don't get me wrong i enjoyed my time there and made some good friends but there is nothing new even with cata (may look different but its the same) the Harrison Jones Quests were fun lol . everything iv read or seen makes GW2 look to good to be true and to hope for but i believe them they are making a game for them selves as well as for us because they are gaming fans and that gives me hope.

OmegaRecon
OmegaRecon

If they're bringing RPG stories to MMO's, that will sell. I'm very interested about GW2 now.

Furysgarbage
Furysgarbage

The First Guild Wars was excellent. Im sure this one will be even better!

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

That last question was stupid. If a DPS could wear plate then everyone would choose that build. Who wouldn't want to deliver heavy damage and take heavy damage at the same time??

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

This game can't come soon enough. No fees and a fresh break away from the collect-a-thon rubbish. Go kill 5 of these, and 10 of those, and collect 20 of them. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Agent-M
Agent-M

I have been waiting for a game like this for many years. Even while playing WoW for all those years I always hoped something new, fun, and innovative would come along and take my time away. Its games like these that make me proud to be a gamer. Its games like these that make me proud to be working in the video game industry.

Jimi_13
Jimi_13

looks like garbage when that guy is using the pistol to shoot the lizard, think they would have a aim thing like connect the pistol to the direction of the creature instead of shooting into space. But I'm sure it will be a little fun

oflow
oflow

Between GW2, Tera and SW:ToR some people are actually bringing some innovation to MMOs instead of just trying to be WoW clones. I will buy this game being a fan of the first. Looks good. Just hope all the herpderp crowd from WoW doesnt play it and ruin the community.

DoorKnob22
DoorKnob22

Definitely gonna snap this up when it comes out.

johncollins80
johncollins80

@VONthug XD Oh man, i wish i could give you 5 thumbs up instead of just one... I laughed so much!

VONthug
VONthug

@icebox98: What in the blue hell is wrong with you?

megakick
megakick

cataclysm was such a let down. i couldn't bring myself to level 80 to 85 only to have to do the same routine i did in wotlk. yes blizzard added a few new things to make life easier but the big part of the game is the same nothing new.

SaurabhAV
SaurabhAV

The person talking about combat.. the 2nd person talking, I didn't really make much sense in my opinion. He is very vague.. I wish he was a bit more specific

AzatiS
AzatiS

@Filkobe I wonder how happy are you ( i dont know if youre are oldschool WoW player or newbie so ill talk since Cata ) that you gave.. 40dollars for Cataclysm expansion + 13dollars x4months ( 52dollars ) = 92dollars already x 12million ( assuming overall wow subs ) DO THE MATH... For a game that till now the only thing it offered you as patching was... what? Tweaking balances? You spend till now 52 dollars for balances? And in the next 2 months , youll pay another 26dollars , we go up to 78 dollars so youll have Zul'aman and Zul'Gurub in their new version??? Old dungeons again? Is that serious new content for you to think that Blizzard deserves these 150Million dollars per month from WoW subs alone? Think it over.

AzatiS
AzatiS

It looks awesome. BEST graphics in any mmorpg as of today by far. Its gameplay has the right doses of intensity and FXs to make it exciting. Some skills are unbeleivable to even watch ( pheonix anyone? ). Game got very nice PVE aspects. From multiway dungeons to the awesomeness of dynamic events , that actually deserve to call em dynamic!!! PVP will have from arenas types to server vs server type of pvp...!! What more you can ask.. ALL this free , no charge except the box!!! I mean , release it already to stop my wow subscription the next second.. !!

Judge_Omega
Judge_Omega

My favorite part of the original game was Random arenas, pvp combat with a thousand skills to choose between offering extreme depth. It's going to feel so limited to be restricted to just a single classes skill set. More options = more fun. No multi classing = less fun.

Filkobe
Filkobe

I'm sorry guys but this will fail. You can't make a game so deep as they are claming without asking a monthly fee. It will never be as polished and complete like a team of developers that has millions of dollars coming in every month, no matter how many they decided to reinvest in it. You can think and say whateveer you want but you can't go against mathematics... this will be a gorgeous looking game but it will have a 10th of the content of games like WoW or Rift or SWTOR.

staminix
staminix

Guys, you do realise this won't be instanced like GW1, yeah? This game will have a full persistent world with hundreds of players in one area.

GameJunkie13901
GameJunkie13901

I am curious to see how well they pull off the single world MMO which is what GW1 was missing - a grouping of instances is far from being an MMO. If they do it right this game is going to be awesome, which is good considering the way the MMO genre has gone for the past few years.

DoorKnob22
DoorKnob22

I'm feeling pretty pumped for this.

Jimi_13
Jimi_13

I'm a big fan of the first one. Never liked the worshiping of statues, but understand it's just a game. Though pvp skins for weapons and armor should be unlocked from pve experience I like to look cool. That would be sweet if they had a mission creator for people, community always makes the best stuff But seems like it will be a alright game, hope it's fun.

poisonelf1
poisonelf1

This really looks like something to keep the fingers crossed for. Downward spirals of mmo's has been terrible. A note on tedious tasks, and res pathing from enemy camps when logging in, I hope gets more coverage. In short the use of plug-ins destroying most mmo's. Things in the game that should be there, from voice chat, to damage parsers everyone will want, to that that shouldn't. This being gold spamming, hacked accounts, speed macros, ultimately leading to all the op this or that guy- game alterations bringing down the game. Hope this comes out at a price of the game, and not the cost of another computer with the most top end requirements.

Master_M2K
Master_M2K

@simon1812 - All the weapons that will be available at released have already been confirmed and with no plans of adding anymore. So no scythes, spears, whatever. ArenaNet have also told us that there will be no Dervish and the Guardian is the replacement for the Paragon & Monk. @majere613 - ArenaNet have already solved this problem by making sure that you will only get Gold, XP & Karma for completing an event. Karma is what you trade in at Karma vendors for gear & special items, so they'll be no important reason for people to fail a particular event for gear/items.

SkylerX
SkylerX

Skyrim for my single player fix and GW2 for my co-op fix and BF3 for my shooter fix this year? I'm already more excited this year than I was all of last year.

blackace
blackace

I loved the first Guild Wars, but didn't have time to play much because I was playing both WoW and EQ2 at the time. I finally quit EQ2 and played Guild Wars for awhile, but WoW still ain't up most of my time 8-10hr sessions of WoW 2-3 times a week were not unheard of. Today, I don't have time to play WoW or GW. I barely have time to play my XBox 360 & PS3 for 30-60 mins a couple time a week. Starting a family is the death of MMO's.

alzeer1
alzeer1

some mmoa relesed these year i feel nothing even tryed beta kinda like pass everything for what i see from guild wars 2 cant wait)

Gilberga
Gilberga

@ KriobaKeys im the same ay haha, always waiting for updates. Need a relese date so i know how long to induce a coma for... only way i know how to time travel lol

SilverEdge000
SilverEdge000

@N0tYrBeezin Not even. It's purple :P And its like, made out of some crazy metal. Not bones that break :D

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

@Cruxis27 Actually it looks like a copy of the Frost Wyrm in Wrath of the Lich King. In other words, a copy cat! :)

majere613
majere613

@Tichondrian. That's not quite what I meant, though I fully admit I've not been following GW2 all that closely. The situation I was envisaging would be where a particular reward was available for doing the 'fail' chain, and people therefore got grumpy at you for trying to start the 'win' chain, or vice-versa, much like the open world pvp in WoW where one side might be deliberately losing control of an objective in order to do the quest to capture it later. Of course, depending on how itemisation and the whole quest reward system work, this may not be an issue in GW2. It's more a concern about the idea in general terms, not a specific criticism.

Cruxis27
Cruxis27

The dragon at 5:00 makes deathwing look like a kitten.

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

@SDSkarface. Actually I don't think that will be too much of a problem, arenanet made plenty with the original guild wars and it's selling of over 6 Million units, plus arenanet is part of the Larger NCsoft which has made Aion, City of Heroes, The Lineage series, and more so I don't think servers will be too huge of a problem. Take into mind that the founder of the company was a former lead programmer at blizzard and led the development of Battle.net so I'm fairly certain that the server issue isn't something that they've overlooked. That and you have to take into account the units of GW1 being sold because of people who are excited for GW2 and want to see what the first one is like. Trion had never even made a famous game before rift and they didn't have any server problems, arenanet won't either.

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

@Szeiden Im currently playing Rift and that is the true definition of an MMO done right, if GW2 is truly an MMO instead of an instance based arena game like GW1 was they are going to need lots of servers and plenty of bandwidth, ill stand by what i say and maintain that this isnt going to be a reality. Unless you know of an MMO currently that is offering this? thats right there is none. why? because its not profitable. I expect to see the devs start pitching a microtransaction idea to the community within months of the GW2 servers going live if not weeks. matter of fact now that they announced to the world its going to be free, i wonder how those free servers are going to hold up on launch day..Rift still has massive server queues and its been out a week and they added 50 more servers, and its pay to play.

trastamad03
trastamad03

@blastm re-watch and listen to what the blond girl, the map editor, said about adding jumping into the game.

Szeiden
Szeiden

@SDSkarface There are always expansions. Guild Wars fills a niche. There are many of us who don't want to pay a monthly fee nor pay microtransactions. Microtransactions ruin game balance in every game I've played that have them (the 12 f2p MMOs I have played have all devolved into whoever spends the most real money is the best). I despise microtransactions for this reason. Monthly fees people avoid for the obvious reason of having a monthly commitment so I don't think I have to elaborate there. I am a little worried about how profitable this game will be, but I feel that the very payment system alone will attract many people on top of what sounds like great features. With expansions, the longevity of the game isn't a problem as long as the game is popular enough to support the company between expansion releases. The problem with your comment is that your worry is justified, but your surety of failure, "if its a true MMO theres no way they can avoid the fees", is not.

Tichondrian
Tichondrian

@majere613 Its good that it doesn't matter what you do then, since the game features branches for each action! If you succesfully defend the city, you can pursue the Centaur base of operations for instance and etc. etc. People would know this if they just read a little bit into the game.

MONSTA604
MONSTA604

Whats the point of posting this on the front page again? Theres nothing new here

megakick
megakick

it will have micro transactions like guildwars. WOW has both subscription and micro transactions. guild wars is still updated. how many diablo 2 updates have u seen.

blastm
blastm

seriously, who cares about jumping in a MMO? Keep asking the developers for action games features, and all you'll get will be more crappy RPGs....

simon1812
simon1812

Cyanohydrin there r still 2 classes left to be revealed, and we still dont even have a clue what they r going to be about , I still believe the 2 classes left are related to either the dervish, the ritualist or the paragon and even the mesmer. I think the combination of weapons have reached its potential (six classes so far each limited to the weapons they can use). so what would be next? new weapons I say! either scythe (crossing fingers) or maybe spears, maybe a kusara kama who knows, I expect some of the good old stuff but I would also like to be surprised too.

SDSkarface
SDSkarface

if its a true MMO theres no way they can avoid the fees, either through microtransactions or some other way,the price you pay for the retail box will not be the last. The first Guild Wars was not an MMO it was more like a 3d diablo, an MMO on the other hand requires tons of servers and bandwidth, i just dont see this happening sorry. and if it does it will be unprecedented. a completely free MMO... its unheard of, remember i said it first.

warorc
warorc

Monthly fee = $0 is a sad I think. That plainly means that the lifespan will never be close to what I would've wished for. There wont be enough money to keep adding great content. Another thing I would love to know, why is EVERYTHING scripted in MMORPG's still? There should be MORE random events.. Like a small percentage for some world events being partly random so that not EVERYTHING becomes so predictable?! Some "Centaur Attacks" could have a percentage of having the Centaur King present (like a 3% chance) that basically changes the entire siege, where players would need to enlist higher level players to have a chance of defending or taking back their village for example, that could set off a completely different tree of events depending on the outcome etc

Roger_
Roger_

I just wanna fast forward to the time of the release of this game!

Xizle
Xizle

Seriously can't wait!!

KriobaKeys
KriobaKeys

I check the website everyday for new news on GW2 and honestly each time i find a new bit of information on their official site the game just looks better and better.