GWI: So a lot of other PvP game play really involve the occasional temporary like power up or buff. Will anything be like that in Guild Wars 2.

Jonathan: Yeah. We haven’t really talked about it, but we have some other maps that rely on that mechanic.

Matt: We’ve teased it.

Jonathan: Yeah. I’ll just say yes. The short answer is, yes.

GWI: For balancing purposes any plans on having additional PvP only skills or adding PvP specific rules to skills that differ from how they would be used in a PvE environment?

Jonathan: Sure sure. Yeah we have talked about some skills and we might need to split into a a PvE or PvP version. We have the tech to do it, but we’ve want to avoid that if possible. We have seen some very specific skills that we think that this might work better. For instance it would be more fun in PvE if it does this, but have the same skill in PvP can do this.

Matt: We really want to avoid those arbitrary rules that make someone go “Oh I can’t really use this ability now. It was awesome in PvE but not in PvP.”

GWI: Especially if they get kind of accustomed using it in the PvE environment.

Matt: Exactly!

Mike: We want somebody to be able to play the game and be able to play in mmos and not have to learn rules every time they change areas.

Jonathan: If we do have to split the skill, we want it to be the exception, not that they are all split.

GWI: OK. So balancing a game obviously seems to be a difficult thing, but essential in creating healthy PvP game play. Is there anything in the design process that you’ve run across that just didn’t work as intended, or had to be scaled way back due to being overpowered?

Matt: “Unload” for the Thief. That needed to be scaled back. That was pretty

Mike: The greatsword Mesmer skill, I forget which one it was, the light ray of death.

Matt: So skill wise, yeah. Variant-wise for PvP; I just don’t really know if there has been variance that were just insane. CTF was kinda of.

Mike: We prototyped a bunch of different maps and a bunch of different play styles. I mean one of the things that we do here is we iterate constantly. I mean we thought of an idea and we’re like” Hey this could be pretty cool let’s try in the game” and we’ll put it in. If it doesn’t work, we’ll see if we can make it work. If not, we’ll get rid of it. And it’s just kind of what we do here on a daily basis.

Matt: There’s lots that we’ve had to dial back and retune, It’s what we do.

Jonathan: We have this thing that we’ll talk in balance meetings which is “Would you bring this skill if it did one damage?”
“No it would be horrible!”
“Would you bring it if it did a thousand damage?”
“Yeah, but It would be completely broken and overpowered.”

Okay, so there’s a number between 1 and 1000 that makes this skill good and fit for our game. We just have to find that number for every single skill.

GWI: Everybody seems to have that one PvP moment when you are down on the ground throwing rocks at each other for like 5 minutes. So do you guys have any interesting PvP stories?

Mike: We were doing Khylo and were just starting to get the Engineer in for play testing. I went into turret building mode just to lock down one
of the points. I finally got to where I was like firing off Chap, and fending off Izzy and I wasn’t dying off as easy! Then I was like “Yes, great victory!”

I don’t even know who won the match, but it didn’t matter.

Matt: So your victory was not getting slaughtered?

Mike: Yes, yes it was.

Matt: I guess my victory was when we were fighting against Chap, Izzy,
Tirzah, and the crew that we took to Germany and PAX. I remember using an Elementalist skill “Lightning Flash”, up onto a wall that Izzy was on shooting arrows down from. He was really close to death and I used a knock-back skill that kicked him off the wall and he actually died to fall damage.

And that was the best moment in my life.

I’m married with two kids, and that’s the best moment of my life.

Jonathan: One of the most amazing matches, that I’ve had, was I was actually playing as my Mesmer and we were down 300 to 480; It was just not looking good. So I called out “Stall, stall, stall!” which just meant, “stop all the control points and don’t die”, because we didn’t want them to get anymore points.

It actually came down to us stopping all the 3 control points at 499, and we were at 300. We were able to come back and won 500 to 499, and a lot of that was the Mesmer bouncing around and creating chaos. People thought they would be fighting me at a certain point but those were just my illusions. Then they would kill those and I would be back capping another point. I was using portals and running around taking two different points at once; bouncing back and forth between them creating a lot of chaos. I couldn’t stand there and take it like the other classes can, like the Warrior or a Guardian; the Mesmer is not nearly as strong, but creating all that chaos allowed us to come back in the game. It was a really fun game.

Mike: So after his story, you now know why we feel so good about beating him.

GWI: In regards to the Mesmer portal skill, how far can someone travel?

Jonathan: Right now it’s just radar, it’s not huge. We don’t want you to be able to jump all the way across the map, so there’s a limitation with how far you can go with that stuff.

GWI: Have you seen people using it for moving groups from one capture point to another? Can it actually span from one capture point to another?

Jonathan: Maybe on other maps, but that’s still being decided. On Kylo you can’t.

What’s really cool is, let’s say we’re pushing into capture point A as an example. As I’m going in with my teammates I will leave a portal exit behind, in the middle, as we enter the capture point. We’ll take Point A, and as soon as we’re done, I slap down a portal exit, we all jump in, and we go back to the middle of the map towards another point. I may have only saved 5 seconds of running, but that’s 5 seconds of running for each member of the team. So all the sudden, we can be very mobile together.

GWI: Have you found that the Mesmer’s illusions really do fool a lot of people?

Jonathan: Oh yeah. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t do it by itself, but once you know how they work, you can start behaving like one of your illusions.

I was playing against someone and had like 10% health or something like that. I ran around a corner as they were chasing me and I was able to pop off some illusions quickly. As they rounded the corner, I just stood still. I started, very slowly, pushing my #1 skill like my other illusions were doing. They were like “wait, which one of these is the real one?”

I then switched over my weapon set and went invisible for 3 seconds. With those 3 seconds I was able to make it back around another corner, heal up, and then get to safety.

Behaving like your illusions fools people. However, these guys are getting really good at spamming AOE, AOE, AOE. So you can’t really keep illusions up.

Matt: We like to just burn them down.

Jonathan: So yeah, they’re doing a really hard counter to that strategy, so you just have to find a different strategy. I might have to switch over to a different weapon set, or switch over utility spells the next time I die, something like that.

GWI: From a strategy standpoint, is there any kind of tips that you’d like to give to those who are looking to start playing PvP matches in Guild Wars 2?

Mike: Don’t die.

Matt: Yeah, don’t die. Actually, stay mobile would be my thing. We have a lot of movement skills, dodge rolling, there’s a lot of things you can do to get out of the way. I don’t think a lot of people use that to their advantage, and I don’t think a lot of people use the terrain to their advantage either. I think those are two important things to focus on. I got a kill on Izzy by using the terrain to my advantage, and all I had to do was two skills. You just have to look outside the box.

GWI: In the Kylo PvP matches, you would see a red target around where trebuchet shots were about to land. Does the massive WvWvW trebuchet have a similar targeting reticule?

Matt: Like if you look up will you see what’s about to hit you in the face?

Mike: Ooooh yeah.

GWI: The smaller trebuchet targeting reticule allowed for you to be able to kind of bounce out of the way of the shot, I take it this one doesn’t have it?

Mike: Oh no. You see a giant, flaming ball of death heading your way.

Matt: A giant one. A giant smoke trail… yeah, you see it coming.