Guild Wars 2 Updated Q&A - Adventuring Parties, Story, Choices, and PVP

We get more details on this upcoming action role-playing sequel in this new interview.

by

The original Guild Wars was an intriguing game that combined the hack-and-slash gameplay of the Diablo series with the meta-game strategy of Magic: The Gathering, but it also relied heavily on "instanced content." That is, rather than have the game take place in a fully shared, persistent world where all players could interact at once, much of the game took place in instances--smaller, closed-off areas that were designed for smaller groups of players. Developer ArenaNet is now working on a sequel that will bridge the gap between the original game and a full-on massively multiplayer game with a persistent world, but the team is also looking to emphasize story and online interaction in the sequel. Lead designer Eric Flannum explains.

GameSpot: Can you give us a progress report on the game's development? What parts of the game is the team currently working on?

Eric Flannum: Our top priority is putting the finishing touches on our demo for GamesCom and PAX. We're very excited to let our fans try Guild Wars 2 hands-on for the first time. We'll be showing the starting human experience and a high-level Charr area, so that's what we're concentrating most of our efforts on at the moment.

GS: We understand that the intent in Guild Wars 2 is to tell a deeper story with a better narrative system than just clicking on a quest-giving character and reading a quest description along the lines of "go kill 10 rats and bring me their tails." How will players experience the story in the game? Will we see more scripted sequences with escorted characters explaining what's happening? In-game cinematics?

EF: We tell the story in Guild Wars 2 in a variety of ways. There are cinematic sequences which are a mix of 2D and 3D art and are fully voiced. For example, each story starts out with a beautiful cinematic that establishes the background of the player's chosen race as well as a more-personalized section that talks about that character's specific background. We also have scenes which take place in the gameworld which also feature full voice-over. These scenes occur in the world and can happen in a variety of situations. The scripted sequence you mentioned with an escorted character is one example of this. Finally we have dialogue trees for players who want to go more in-depth with the story. These dialogue trees make heavy use of our personality system to provide role-playing opportunities for players who want that sort of experience.

GS: It's very fashionable for role-playing game developers these days to talk about the importance of consequences for players' actions. How important will the effects of players' choices be in the game? How much will the world, or at least players' experiences, change if players decide to rescue the burning village, or decide to not rescue the princess?

EF: Player choice can have a variety of consequences in Guild Wars 2. There are generally two types of choices that players are involved in. The first type happens during the personal story and often features moral dilemmas that will have a dramatic impact on the narrative that the player experiences. Do they try to save an old friend who has gotten into trouble, or go stop a villain from killing a large number of strangers? If the player chooses not to save [the endangered characters], those characters may die. Players [will make many of those decisions] in an instanced home area.

The second type of choice is one that gets made by aggregate player actions in the persistent world. If players don't keep the centaurs and bandits under control in the human starting area, for example, then they will miss out on a variety of merchants, waypoints, and other services. Not to mention all the burning villages, poisoned wells, and general unrest that will also occur.

In Guild Wars 2, your choices will affect the world and its populace…and whether or not they have a really awesome faire with confetti and stuff.

GS: The previous Guild Wars game offered an excellent hack-and-slash role-playing experience with some really interesting meta-game strategy, but despite its online play options, it wasn't necessarily massively multiplayer in every sense. We understand that the intent is to make the sequel a full-on massively multiplayer game. Tell us how. And tell us why.

EF: This was a common critique that we heard about Guild Wars. We made the first game heavily instanced to combat a lot of the things we saw as problems with massively multiplayer games--things like kill-stealing, griefing, and the inability to affect the world. With Guild Wars 2, we saw the opportunity to combat those same problems, but this time, [we'll do so] in a fully persistent world. So we use things like our event system, shared player goals, and our loot and experience point systems to eliminate many of the problems we see with other persistent-world games. To give one specific example, our event system lets players affect the world through their actions, so we don't have the problem that other games have in which a sick quest character is given an antidote only to drop to the ground a few seconds later so another player who takes the same quest can then "cure" the character. In our game, a sick character is cured until something makes them sick again, and players will almost always have the chance to prevent that sickness from occurring in the first place.

GS: How will Guild Wars 2's player-versus-environment play better reflect what ArenaNet feels massively multiplayer games will be about? For instance, how does the game handle grouping?

EF: Grouping is handled in a manner that will be familiar to most players. You can start a group and invite anyone you see fit. We see groups primarily as ways for players to keep track of each other and to help facilitate communication. One thing that is unique to our game is that it's a perfectly viable option for multiple players to play together without grouping at all. We distribute loot and XP to any player who participated in killing a monster. This means that a player can never take XP or loot away from another player by trying to help them, and it's always a viable option to help a player who's in trouble. We want it to always be a good thing when one player runs into another in the world.

GS: How will Guild Wars 2's player-versus-player competitive play embrace the concept of being "massively multiplayer"? Will there be new PVP modes?

EF: We have two types of PVP in the game. The first is a small, team-based competitive style which places everyone on equal footing. Our second type, or "world vs. world," is a massive game type that takes place between multiple worlds (or servers, as other games call them). WVW features battles with hundreds of players, keep sieges, resource gathering, and a lot of map-wide strategy. We haven't released a ton of details on PVP yet because we're still very much working on it. Our basic policy is to not talk about things until they're in the game and we've had a chance to iterate on them. You can expect to hear more about PVP in the coming months.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the game?

Guild Wars 2 will offer large-scale competitive play and free-form adventuring parties. (Note: Not that kind of party.)

EF: Guild Wars 2 has been a labor of love for all of us on the team. From the beginning, we have tried to make a game that built upon many of the ideas we established with the first game--and we've been pushing those ideas to the next level. At ArenaNet, we are always trying to push the boundaries of what's possible in an online game and constantly challenge ourselves to provide the best possible experience for our fans. We hope that as many people as possible can make it out to GamesCom and PAX to play the game. We think that they'll be pleased by what they experience.

GS: Thanks, Eric.

Discussion

166 comments
markrawle
markrawle

@lokizhul In the original GW a character made for PvE started at level 1. You could still use them in PvP but they would be a bit useless until they'd leveled up a bit. The option to make a PvP character made a high level character that was only usable in PvP, so you could play from the start. It would be like if in WoW you had the option to create a brand new level 85 character who could only participate in arenas & battlegrounds, and was not allowed to quest or do instances.

lokizhul
lokizhul

Can someone please answer just 1 question to me, when i cr8 my charter in gw2 do i play that charter in pvp and pve like in wow...i am asking this becouse when i bought gw night fall and started creating my charter i was given the option to cr8 pve and pvp one , i mean wtf! I deleted the game right away and never started playing it ...sorry for my eng i hope someone knows what i was thinking and will answer my question. ty

bartimeo8
bartimeo8

I simpy love the environment interaction they have put in this -a ranger using the fires of a mage for her arrows, charged bullets from an electric field (!)- What usually makes a battle epic is the battle interactions and cooperations, the moves and combinations within the hero's party that seem to make their fight a composed strategic artistic piece and this hasn't been achieved by a game up to a good level as of yet. It will surely be a hard task for GW2's team if they take it farther still from what was revealed so far but it sure looks great!

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

They've certainly caught my attention. I've never been interested in MMOs. But this and SW:TOR have me seriously thinking about diving into the genre.

ninn1000
ninn1000

I think If GW2 can really achieve what it wants to (which seems a little doubtful given their high expectations in situations MMO's shouldn't be able to create), I think we could have a sure contender against WoW for the first time.

jono2
jono2

Now this will be a game that you get your moneys worth!!!

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

@ Fusco1980 Go back and note the part of my comment that said taking a long time isn't necessarily a bad thing. And I have slammed ActiBlizz for taking 12 years to basically re-release Starcraft. Not there is anything wrong with that but would be nice to see the professional reviewers take them to task for that a bit between their non-stop slobbering over what a great game it is. @ Leg3nd4ry Huh? I said a lot of people have moved on and wonder how many will be willing to come back. ANet will have a more competitive situation in drawing those players back vs. if they had successfully gotten their product to market sooner and transitioned them from one game to the next. I didn't say anything about people paying or not paying attention. I played GW almost exclusively for about 3 years. If you are a video game dev you can't get a much better customer then that. I'm sure I wasn't the only one like that. Think of what a great advantage you have in the marketplace if you can get your customers and keep them away from all your competition. Or if you both prefer I'll just fall all over myself to say GuildWarz 2 is gonna rule dood!

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

durtyDoubleD
durtyDoubleD

@Fusco1980 I agree completely...But there's something so addictive about it, and I don't know why @Stoneys_Rock I started playing the game when i was alot younger, alot less mature, so life consuming was a bit of an exaggeration, and that was back in vanilla, so you had to be pretty f***in hardcore to get anywhere but yea, GW2 looks great

icebox98
icebox98

FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

girlgam3r
girlgam3r

Still waiting for this .... so many great games on the rise, this is just another one to add to my wish list.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Wozl
Wozl

Immediately reordering my life in readiness for this.

TStorm5
TStorm5

@Fusco1980 Very True, I think your point makes alot of sense, and yes I am very impressed with the changes they have been making. I think they will make solid improvements to an already solid base. I agree with what you are saying, but when I said "challenge" World of Warcraft, I mean more that it could create it's own large and solid fanbase (much like World of Warcraft's), not that it should steal World of Warcraft's fanbase. But yes I agree with what you said 100%. :)

placksheep
placksheep

@ Fusco1980 Bioware gets the benefit of the doubt from me until they make one crappy game. Every last product they've come out with since the '90s has been a slam dunk. I'll reserve judgment until I have played it myself.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

placksheep
placksheep

2011 is going to be a really good year for MMOs. This and The Old Republic are tops on my wish list!

Boozer11
Boozer11

@Fusco1980. Perhaps your right people do get a little to interested in their stats but maybe just a k/d ratio would be nice. Challenges like in cod would be stupid though it would ruin the immersion a player has in the game

Grodus5
Grodus5

Looks good, it will have to be good to pull me away from Cataclysm, but I can honestly say I'm looking forward to this game.

KriobaKeys
KriobaKeys

Wow... i'm speechless, i just hope to God my PC can run it!

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Leg3nd4ry
Leg3nd4ry

@ Fusco1980 Well i understand, trust me, i'm hooked on any new information that comes out on gw2 too lol. But usually just stick to the forums on guild wars 2 guru for my ramblings. People will get interested in the game on their own, no need to sit here and defend it all day, in good time the non believers will be converted :)

ALLMIGHTYDOG
ALLMIGHTYDOG

I like what they are doing. I liked the original because of the lack of grind in getting to level 20, and also because you felt like it was your story. I'm glad they are keeping the latter up. It gives you a sense of ownership for the game, and the only other MMO I felt anything similar war WAR.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Leg3nd4ry
Leg3nd4ry

@ Fusco1980 Geeze man do you live on here or what? I'm sure i follow gw2 as much as you do but i don't feel the need to comment on everyone elses posts a billion times :P Calm down lol. Everyone will learn how great gw2 is when it comes out.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

TStorm5
TStorm5

Looks good. I played Guild Wars alot but took a long break from it. I dont plan on returning to the original but I might pick up this if they keep making improvements on the already solid basics. This is definetely one of the few games (in my opinion) that has the potential to challenge World of Warcraft if it's done right.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

TheBig-Nar-Nar
TheBig-Nar-Nar

I think people need to stop judging this game by trailers and comments...

owman
owman

looks incredibly gay

Boozer11
Boozer11

I think they need to add stats to the pvp. I loved the pvp on the 1st guild wars. Problem is there is no way to see how many kills you've gotten how many deaths you have or how many kills with a certain skill etc. I think that adding more complex stats would be an easy way to make the game more fun and competitive

KillErmarinE15
KillErmarinE15

Thank God I gave up PC gaming, this game looks so fun and adictive. Looks like it would take up a lot of my life like the last one did. But for you people who will get it, enjoy it!

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

foxglove1313
foxglove1313

OK let's separate the rhetoric from the reality. Guild Wars in beta had a level cap of 40, which was reduced to 20 for release. That's a game that really is taking away the grind from gameplay in a concrete way. So when that same company makes a sequel and raises the level cap to 80 and tries to make me believe they are still committed to taking the grind out of the game I simply don't believe them. It's also the same tired dev rap about making you feel special in the game world that has thousands of other players who want to feel 'special' to and is obviously impossible to achieve. As for a revised quest system where you won't have to kill 10 rats etc etc, I don't think a system involving scripted events that are on a 10 minute timer are really any different. From the description, that's what it sounds like to me. Tabula Rasa had that and it was no more exciting than killing 10 rats after seeing it the first time. I really liked Guild Wars and played it alot but, to me, it looks like the devs are traveling down the same WOW clone road and not really bringing anything new to the table. That's too bad, I was hoping for something more and better for GW2.

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Groyd
Groyd

I have played the first Guild Wars and it was an amazing experience (my first MMORPG with good graphics lol). One thing I really hope for in Guild Wars 2 is better PVP. Think Ima buy this game though I really hope I won't get too addicted. xD

Majkic666
Majkic666

@Fusco1980 i am not gonna lie, i never played the first game and will never do.... I am not buying mmorpg because i normally quite games like that when i pass lvl 20, because it is getting boring withhout any meaning of the story , but i will check this one out and maybe buy it after chacking out gamplays of it when it comes out

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Serentor
Serentor

omg i just cant believe my eyes right now on this piece of awesomeness...

Majkic666
Majkic666

i have never got the story in MMORPG games.... it is normally the same, go out train your character fight other players and shoot yourself (in real life) but this looks different there may be more to this then other games... i defiantly hope it is different from other MMORPG and has a great story

DenisG
DenisG

doodadQ Posted Aug 11, 2010 1:25 pm PT i think it sounds too good to be true, it seems really hard for someone to do that without lag or constant updates. I think it will be less like what they are saying and more like 50 of the same events just in different places, not "a new one every time." It shows how little you know. I follow the game every day so far it has well over 1500 events in it, including underwater events. By the time the game is done they'll have 2000 to 2500 events. :)

Fusco1980
Fusco1980

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Morf_uni
Morf_uni

@Fusco1980 Doing alright mate :) just lurking around here these days got too much stuff to work on. Still dropping by your blog once in a while :) Gotta admit even though i'm looking forward to guild wars 2. I'll still be getting DCUO for my PS3 the day it hits the streets haha Funny thing is i ain't even into comics, go figure haha :)

Excalibus
Excalibus

@Gursky69 the new level cap will be at lvl 80

lee1823
lee1823

@thebruceshow your HDTV prob has a VGA input matey..... just plug your pc into it! I consider myself a console gamer.... yet i play most of my games on my pc as it has a decent graphics card and i use my 360 pad as a controller for ALL games via Pinnacle game profiler (3rd party software - awesome). The result... better framerates.... clearer, crisper picture (even at the same resolutions as PS3 / 360). My PC didnt cost an arm or a leg, neither did my GFX card. i use my PS3 / 360 for exclusives. Just an idea!