ArenaNet Community Manager Regina Buenaobra stopped by their blog to announce that ArenaNet President Mike O’Brien will be on participating in an Ask Me Anything session on the /r/gaming subreddit today at 12pm, PDT.
Here’s a list of signatures:
Mike O’Brien – President/Founder – MO
Chris Whiteside – Lead Producer – Chris
Mike Zadorojny – Content Designer – z
Mike Ferguson – WvW Designer – Ferg
Peter Giuntoli – Programmer – Peter
Jon Peters – Systems Designer – Jon
Isaiah Cartwright – Lead Systems Designer – Izzy
Regina Buenaobra – Community Manager ~RB
Check below the break a compilation of AMA responses.
Updated: 3:14pm PDT
How does your design team go about balancing? Will you be balancing more on paper statistically? By player feedback? From what you’re seeing at high rank play?
When it comes to balancing you have to attack it from all angles, stats are really good at finding oddities super good or super bad, but it’s bad at taking all the variables into account. Player feedback is great at finding complex combinations or helping identify the most broken skills. We also play a lot which combined with stats and feedback help us see the problems first hand which can help at finding unique solutions for the problems. So I think we try and come at balance from as many angles as we can.
When talking about the arrow carts or the rams, are you thinking about making those moveable in some way. Actually the arrow cart already has wheels, so it’s kind of weird not being able to move them around.
Unfortunately we won’t be adding movement to any of the stationary siege weapons. -Ferg
Will there be an option that allows you to see all players on the WvW Map?
No. We show combat markers when a group of 6 or more people fighting, but we simply cannot show all players on the map. It would drastically increasing the bandwith needed for the game and we do as much as we can to keep our bandwidth requirements as low as possible. -Ferg
What qualities, education, and experience do you look for when hiring a community manager for a company such as arena net? What kind of education (degree?) and experience helps?
We don’t have specific education requirements because experience matters more for community management than what degree you hold. If you talk to a bunch of community managers in the video game industry, you’ll probably hear different answers as far as degrees go.
Everyone on our community management team has some previous experience that is relevant to their role. When we hire community managers, we look at what their experience in managing communities is, what they’ve done to contribute to fan communities (if they aren’t already professional community managers), etc.
Writing experience helps because we do a lot of writing in this role and need to communicate ideas well, both internally and to the public.
Organizational experience is also helpful. At ArenaNet, community managers often act as producers. For example, I was effectively the event producer for this reddit AMA. After we decided we wanted to do it, I planned the event, got developers together, scheduled it out, wrote the blog post, coordinated the social media push, kept PR and our EU Community Team in the loop, etc. I also act as producer for our North American conventions. Community management duties and roles will differ from company to company, so while this is true at ArenaNet, it might not be the case elsewhere.
We also try to get a feel for the candidate’s instincts, as this is a very important quality in this job. Like other disciplines at the studio, we give a test as a way to filter candidates. Making sure that the candidate is a good fit for the team and that the personalities mesh well is also really important for us.
Are there any plans on making the WvW borderlands maps different in the future?
Not currently. -Ferg
Short Version: My son was diagnosed (out of the blue) with a rare form of Leukemia on April 16th of this year. This placed us in the hospital (CHOP) for 6 weeks straight. Along with all the prayers, the other thing that has helped him cope with this illness has been the anticipation of GuildWars 2…… and I just want to thank everyone for their efforts and let you know that we are looking forward to the finished product. (Click here to read the extended edition.)
Wow thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to provide any sort of help in your time of need. Speaking as a family member of a recent breast cancer survivor, I know how important it can be to focus everyone’s attention in a way that provides some entertainment to you and your family.
Stay positive, our thoughts are with you. Good luck to your son and your entire family during such a difficult time!
Our thoughts and best wishes go out to Pete and your family. Thank you for sharing the story with us and I hope we get a chance to see you in game this weekend. If Peter would like to chat or play for a while with a few us then feel free to send an email to me.
I will PM you with details.
How big is your in-house audio team? How much of the audio do you outsource?
We have outsourced some sounds in the past and bought a few small libraries but most (80%-90%) of our sounds have been recorded and designed by us. Thanks for asking, we take a lot of pride in our original sounds and have worked very hard to make sure Guild Wars 2 sounds as good as it can. I can’t wait for you to hear the finished product.
James Ackley Audio Director
Will the Rank 3 PvP rewards be available in the BWE?
They should be, but good luck getting to them in 60 hours.
Any chance we’ll be able to play some of the city minigames (bar brawl, shooting gallery, etc) in BWE2?
Have you made any changes to ranger offhands? Both Torch and Warhorn have one interesting skill that defines the weapon and makes it worth bringing (Bonfire, Call of the Wild) and one plain damage skill that just seems like it’s tacked on there to fill out the slot (Throw Torch, Hunter’s Call). Both of these skills seem like they could be changed to do fill a particular niche (respectively, AoE damage and party support) better.
Not yet. Those are coming but not this beta weekend. I’ll look at those two offhands a bit. I had some ideas for both, but we haven’t had time to discuss them so they haven’t been put in yet.
Will there be transitions between night and day and will they run on a cycle or be timed?
Thanks for the question. There is a night and day transition in the game.
They run on a consistent cycle.
When the game launches, will you have a system of multiple instances of the same open area or will the server infrastructure be expanded to accommodate an even greater number of players attempting to access big areas like Queensdale and such?
The overflow server system will still be in place at launch. We are purposely doing this so that people are not restricted from areas they want to explore, but at the same time we don’t overload a particular map with a horde of players.
The party system has had some improvements to it for this BWE so it will handle overflow server system better.
WILL I DREAM?
I had a GW2 dream the other night. It was about Guardian Spirit weapons. I woke up and thought, crap bow of truth summon requires you to stop moving to cast it. I should fix that. I did, but its not in this BWE
What Profession is the hardest for you as developers to deal with, be it due to balance,skills,fans opinion,etc.
…because it is supposed to be a support archetype in a game with no dedicated healer and no ally targeting.
I’m a casual gamer, and GW1 with private instanced gaming was perfect for me. And it saddens me to learn GW2 will be your average MMO. Why have you guys decided to drop what made GW so unique? The instanced gaming was/is brilliant. At least give us the ability to choose the mode we wish to play.
GW1 used instancing to tell a story and to allow the world to change in response to the player’s actions.
GW2 also uses instancing to tell a story. I think you’ll find the storytelling is even stronger in GW2 than in GW1.
GW2 has some epic things that happen in instances, but it doesn’t need instancing to support big world-impacting events, because the whole design of the game is that players can impact the world around them.
Excited to play your game but had one big question…why no open world pvp (or servers that offer that)?
The overall design for Guild Wars 2 does not support fully open world PvP and it would take a prohibitive amount of work to even make it possible. World versus world is our version of open world pvp, and while it isn’t ‘true’ open world pvp for more pvp purists, it does contains many of the elements that make world pvp so exciting. Hopefully it will mostly satisfy people that want open world pvp. -Ferg
Are you doing anything to help with spell effect overdose/spam? Currently it’s nigh impossible to see anything in a group of 5+ people due to the amount of special effects each person produces on a targeted area.
We’ve been working on reducing the effect overload we added an effect LOD system as well as have been identifying noisy effects and making them less noisy.
We have made changes here and will continue to until we are happy with it.
Will there be a PVP mode similar to that of GW1? The main reason I even played GW1 was because of Hall of Heroes/Hero’s Ascent, as well as Random Arenas. Is it possible that we may see something like this in GW2 at some point?
We are shipping with the PVP modes that were available in the last event. One of the things we felt was an issue in GW1 was how fragmented our PVP community became, so we’d like to avoid that as much as possible. I’m not completely eliminating the possibility of new modes because plans change all the time, but if we did add new modes, it wouldn’t be happening any time soon. -Ferg
OK seriously, why is the beta only available to people who either a) preorder GW2, or b) win a beta key in random obscure contests. That isn’t a good way to convince people to buy GW2 – you basically already have to know you want the game if you want to try the game.
We have a certain amount of server capacity. We promised people who pre-purchase that they’ll have guaranteed slots in each upcoming beta. After taking care of them, we give away remaining slots in online contests.
Although WvW and the domination style sPvP is very fun, can we be expecting more game types soon after release? The variety of different PvP games seems to be severely lacking compared to the wonderful PvP in Guild Wars 1.
For now in structured we are focusing on conquest so we can support that type and make it the best it can be. At some point in the future we will consider more game types.
Were any extreme/major changes made to the thief profession? I feel like the thief has been slightly neglected compared to other professions, such as ranger and guardian.
We did do a big thief balancing pass in between last BWE and this BWE so be sure to check out the traits as there is a lot of new stuff in there as well as tweaks to the existing stuff.
Why do some skills root the player for 0.5 seconds?
I’ve tuned a lot of this since the last BWE. Please give it a try and give feedback again. There are still some that stop you that should not, but our philosophy is, skills should stop you if it feels like they should stop you, otherwise, they shouldn’t
Plenty of games frankly suck when it comes to patching and uptime. While you guys have been awesome when it comes to the speeds for patch downloads, how do you guys see server downtime looking when updates come along?
Guild Wars 2 should expect to have the same amount of down time that Guild Wars 1 has had (which is about 32 hours total give or take a few). We don’t need to take our servers down to patch.
Note: This doesn’t count internet routing issues that interfere with gameplay.
Our downtime is extremely minimal between builds. You’ll basically be out of the game long enough to restart the client and download the new data.
Multi-hour downtimes? Not in Guild Wars 2.
You should check out our track record with GW1.
We have cool tech that generally allows us to push new updates without any downtime at all.
I am absolutely furious you are holding the beta when I am on holiday I don’t suppose you have any plans for another beta some time after this one?
well sorry your going to miss it, there will be at least one more after this one well announce when at a later time.
What kind of expansion to the World vs. World system are we likely to see, if any? I assume it won’t stay static for all time, but are there any strong ideas for what the team would like to do? Something like Darkness Falls from DAoC perhaps?
We’re always looking at ways we can improve the game post ship, but what you’ll be playing this weekend is pretty close to how we intend to ship WvW. We still have a bunch more polish to do, but don’t expect any more areas or expansions any time soon.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep before this weekend
Will Guild Wars 2 be on Steam?
No, it almost certainly won’t be on Steam. Valve has some new business terms will keep almost all new MMOs off Steam.
Keep in mind the GW2 client is free to download from our web site and has no copy protection. (And if it’s really important, you can add non-Steam games to your Steam library.)
Do you feel the clone/ phantasm duality with shatters is working well? I feel there’s more incentive at building either a full clone factory or a full phantasm army.
We have made some pretty strong changes here in this BWE build so give it a try and let us know what you think.
My question is, how much did you go all out when designing the personal story missions? Can we expect missions to be even more unique than what we could see in the BWE?
I don’t think the story team went out of their way to make things different, I think they just had a bigger, badder, meaner content system that they could work with. Without the constraints of the old system in place these guys and gals have been coming up with some amazing content. I’ve only seen a fraction of the stuff they’re working on (my desk faces the backs of a bunch of them) and it looks mighty impressive.
How often do you guys read the beta forums? I imagine a lot gets buried.
During the Beta Weekend Event, developers read the forums as they’re able to, in between taking care of the game or participating in playing with the community. After the event ends, people are reading more regularly. One of the reasons that we close the forums to posting after an event is so that our teams have the time to read through feedback without more pouring in.
The global Community Team (all 9 of us) will be reading the forums during almost the entire weekend when we’re on duty.
When answering the questionnaire and give our opinion about the events in which we engage, I wonder how you manage the data collected in BWE. You work with statistical averages or treat each as an individual and private comment?
We use this data in a number of ways, often we use the averages to help us identify outliers then we can look at the comments to see whats happening.
So both really.
It’s a little bit of both. The average tells us overall how people think a particular event or story step was received but the individual feedback can be crucial to us understanding what particularly stood out to people. The feedback is one of several things we look at when determining what changes we need to make to various areas around the game.
Why did you guys decide to make Amulets have such a huge impact on the stats of a character? And do you have plans to add more options (since they seemed limited in the BWE1)?
We moved all statistics to amulets in PvP in order to make it easier to understand and easier to balance. There are a few more and different amulets this time around and we will continue to iterate here.
Should we only expect to see tweaks to existing skills (damage, cooldowns, etc.) going forward or is there still room for more radical changes?
We’ll still be doing a lot of balance and tweaks, but we try and avoid major overhalls. For example on thief steal we reduce the number of random items you can get from things so when you steal from something your picking from a list of around 3 things. This allows it to be a lot less random then it was before.
Are there plans to allow persistant grouping in casual pvp?
This is something we are strongly looking into and should be in before ship, just not this weekend.
I was blown away by the amount of changes made between BWE1 and 2. Are the tools you use just customized to rapid iteration so that you can change systems/content/features almost on the fly?
Yes, we work a lot on our tools so we can make fast rapid iteration, it blows me away all the time how much we can do. : )
Yes, from day one that was a major part of development for GW1 and more-so with GW2. We believe in order to innovate you must be able to iterate on new ideas so we built many of our tools and development process around this. We hope this means we will be able to continue to support the game strongly heading towards release and beyond.
What element/feature/idea are you most proud to have implemented into Guild Wars 2?
It’s so hard to pick just one. I’d probably say the fact that we’ve created an online game where people actually tend to go out of their way to help each other and work together. In just about every other MMO I tend to solo and run away from other people unless I specifically intend to group with them, but in GW2 I find myself constantly running towards people because it actually makes life easier and more fun, not frustrating and annoying.
No more shouting ‘that’s my mob’, or getting frustrated at any of the other mechanics that tend to push people away instead of bringing them together. It really feels good to play with other people in GW2, and not just with people I know.
In Guild Wars 2, if every fight across the board is different every single time, how does a PVE player know that they are improving? How can you know from a success whether it was a specific change you made for the better, or a random confluence of skill timing or accidentally mashing a dodge or any of tens/hundreds of other factors?
Will there be a way that I can log in and seek out a mechanism that, for an hour or two on a Friday night, will let me improve a specific aspect of combat by practicing – e.g. detecting and coping with Conditions? (There’s no dueling a friend to practice, afaik.) Or will it be more like, jeez, just play the content, you won’t be able to choose what you get better at because the context will never be the same twice in a row, but you are bound to get better at some skill, sometime…
Just because the conditions of the world around you are changing based on the outcomes of dynamic events, doesn’t meant that what you need to do to survive changes drastically all of the time. Creatures have a specific set of skills that you will learn as you play the game (and we’ll help you learn with tool tips tell you the style of combat that a particular creature likes to use). What will change however is maybe the numbers and types of creatures that you encounter in a particular area.
Breaking it down a different way, if you see a Modniir centaur using a bow, you will come to know how he’s going to attack. If you want to practice against this particular type of creatures there are places in the world that are dominated by the Modniir forces (I know because I put them there ) that you can find to practice on his particular style. But measuring progress comes down to things like how much damage you take during an encounter, how many times did you have to use a utility or your uber elite skill to survive? Also, when you start getting better at one centaur bowman, can you take down two at the same time, or three, or four?
Now because an event has happened and the Modniir forces now control an forward base the surrounding area is now patrolled by bowman and a caster. You’ve already seen one of these guys and now how to react to him, you just need to adapt your play style to account for the caster.
If you’re looking for a more standardize type of content you can always jump into the dungeons with 4 friends (or random people you meet in the world). They general flow of the dungeon will be the same but don’t expect the run to be identical each time. The dungeon guys have been adding some new random encounters to spice up things in there.
The PvP Lobby is also a good place to try out new tactics and to pratice dodging. The PvP guys have added some training dummies for players to practice against.
Remember: Dodge rolling is your friend!
This question is to Peter Giuntoli what was the most challenging/rewarding thing in gw2 for you to program/develop?
Ooooh man. I’ve been working on GW2 since 2008 and I’ve had the opportunity to work on a lot of different features but I think the most rewarding experience would have to be the world map. It was one of the first things I started working on when I joined the gameplay programming team in 2009 and it’s gone through a lot of iteration (still not done!) over the years. Another highlight would have to be the renown heart system, I really enjoy how that turned out.
What do you think sets Guild Wars 2 from other MMORPGS?
Our social structure, in other MMO’s when someone comes up and attacks the same mob as you get upset with them in GW2 you both get full rewards so your happy when you see people. This combined with the fact you can play with your friends at any level allowing you to play at your own pace and still play with your friends really makes the game feel more like a multiplier game.
Hey guys, taking the risk earning a lot of hatred for even mentioning this, but i wanted to ask how “locked” your state of the game is at the moment. since we come closer to launch now, and everyone is desperatly waiting for it, how propable is it you would revamp certain mechanics, put a lot of work into defining the mechanic of a class in a new direction if you stumble over a possible way to improve it even more. Would you take the time to reconsider like half the skills of a class or is it just polishing from that point on?
Interesting question. While we are finishing of the game we still pay huge attention to feedback, ensuring that everything we do meets and exceeds our communities expectations. With this in mind we prioritize feedback and internal quality assessments and decide as a group how we action the initiatives.
Thanks for your support and sorry i can’t answer your question in more detail.
I know I read an interview awhile ago that tried to answer a question ranking the importance of each pool of choices. I know the answer had the armor/weapon stats and sigils/runes ranked pretty low. It currently seems the contrary however. Statistical choices (of which I have and always will be a HUGE fan) are incredibly impactful and while as a community we have a few trait calculators, it kills me we do not have a calculator for these other choices. So I think a lot of players do not realize that trait choices sometimes weren’t even the biggest contributing factor to their favorite builds. Upon release when I have more time to do so I plan on taking the time to break down all the stats and their effects on everything as a mathemetician unless someone else does so before me.
Honestly it just depends a lot on build. Right now I’m sitting with some of our PvP guys and they are feverishly testing tournament stuff to make sure its as good as it can be for this weekend. After every game I hear them talking about what the other team was using, what changes they are going to make, etc. Sometimes a single sigil choice can make a huge impact. I know Izzy currently has an ele build that uses some sigils to create a lot of pressure damage, but other times sigils are an afterthought in a particularly balanced build. Like I said, so many options its hard to make sense of it all until you can really get in there and play with it on a consistent basis. We can’t wait to see what players are able to do with the system, but I can tell you from observing some of the meta-game of our closed test that the highest level players have already taken it to a crazy level or complexity that will satisfy the hardcore PvP players for a long time.
I know that I should complete a dungeon with my main story quest but when I have done that where do I do it again with a team of 4? where do i enter?
After you’ve completed the story mode on the dungeon you can go back to the dungeon entrance and it will give you options to re-enter it. There is currently only one dungeon in the BWE and it is level 30 and it can be found in the Charr map Ashford.
Are all characters on the account bound to one guild, or you can join different guild with each of your created characters?
Your account joins the guild and an account can be in many different guilds then each character can represent a different guild. So yes character can be in different guilds.
Why are developers turning to these beta weekends that are more like “free demo weekends” than anything else?
Thanks for the question. I can’t speak for other developers but we take our Event Weekends very seriously, obviously we aim to show the game in the best light but it is as much if not more so about testing systems, learning about new bugs and most importantly getting feedback which we use to increase the overall quality of the game.
I appreciate the reply and it is definitely good to know that is where you guys are getting these builds from. I would have liked to hear some more in-depth reasoning on my other points, but I understand you can’t spend all day on one person.I hope I didn’t come across as an [bleep], but I’m interested in seeing GW2 be as awesome as possible. Thanks again.
Nah I understand your trepidation. I think to anyone who is worried about specific design stuff I try to tell them these two things.
1) We have to design the game for ALL the players so try to think what is best for the game, not just for you.
2) Try and remember all of the decisions we have made from a design standpoint that led you to follow the game in the first place and until you try it assume that changes we made were for the same “smart” reasons. It helps to temper your reaction and creates a much more open As Eric Flannum likes to say: “Think of the coolest possible version of this, not that worst.”
Mike Z: What is this on your fingers?
Our studio has an indoor soccer team (The Commandos!) that plays in a game developer league up here in the Seattle area. I broke my finger a while back in a collision and it’s still healing. I have it wrapped to another finger for support.
He claims it was a soccer injury, but as his roommate the real truth is he got it while fighting gangs for local charities.
Last BWE I was playing as a Ranger, and I felt that the third chain in the sword “1″ skill that leaps to the enemy (plus some lag) made it so I had almost no control over my character. Are you going to/have you altered that skill at all?
In the blog post we talked about improving the “sense of hitting.” That is the phrase we use for all visceral combat improvements. this includes audio, effects, animations, timing of skills, camera shakes, and a number of other things. You should feel an improvement all-around, and I know I made some changes to that particular skill as well. If it still isn’t better after this BWE we will get it there.
Will you ressurect a Skillpoint giving NPC in Beetletun, Queensdale?
The skillpoint NPC lives!
It actually has some other unforeseen benefits, so we know it is important and will work hard to get it in asap.
How does the Mystic Forge work?
The mystic forge takes 4 items and turns that in to another item. It’s a gamble but allows you to get some powerful items in return. Hope you enjoy it! Psst, try shaking the UI when you’re using it. I love the effect!
Is it intended that 2 handed weapons have only one sigil slot? Doesn’t this make two one-handers better, as you get two sigils?
This is something we wanted to talk about between BWE1 and BWE2, but ran out of time. It is high on the list of stuff to do next.
What will be the level cap for this BWE?
The level cap for this BWE is 80 (just like release). It just might be a little harder to earn experience once you’ve played through Gendaran Fields. However you can continue to level in WvW. I was able to get my thief up to level 39 in BWE1, and I know there were players who broke the level 40 mark.
In WvW, it’s hard to see the people in your group during PVP. Do you plan to change the font color of regular player’s name to a neutral color (like white) and change the font color of grouped player’s name to a special color (like green) so that we can see and follow our friends more easily in WvW? It would really help if you would increase the font size of player’s name as well.
It’s something we could potentially talk about doing at some point, but we have no plans to do that yet. We’re waiting to see if our other fixes help alleviate some of the visibility issues we encountered over the last event. -Ferg
Has a loot all button been added yet?
I’d recommend turning on auto-loot which skips the loot screen entirely!
Will there be GvG like in GW1? If not then where are the actual “guild wars” occurring in the game?
There are Guild Wars in WvW. Also Tournaments are our replacement for GvG. The first stage of them is in this BWE, but there will be more hardcore ones coming in the future that build towards monthly and yearly championships.
Is there any way for me to participate in the Beta Weekend event without pre-purchasing the full game?
Just before this Beta Weekend Event, we did a number of beta code giveaway promotions with media partners and community sites. The best way to find out about these promos is by following us on our social networks like @GuildWars2 on Twitter our or page on Facebook. If you’re not keen on either of those social networks, I noticed that /r/GuildWars2 had compiled a list of sites doing code giveaway contests and promos. There will be ways to get beta codes for future Beta Weekend Events, among them being media sites.
I’m sure you will pay my question no heed, but I’m sincerely curious as one on a strict budget would be, I haven’t had the money to play your first game… I was wondering if I’m able to acquire GW2, will I be missing out on a whole lot? Lore, and otherwise?
We’ve tried to make GW2 extremely accessible to new players coming to the franchise. You won’t know the history of each location and the significance that it played long ago (250+ years before) but we will teach you the important parts. Returning GW1 fans will find nostalgia in visiting those same locations and will surely have a stronger connection to them, but that won’t negatively impact your understanding of the world. It won’t be like you didn’t read a chapter in a book and now everything is referencing what you didn’t read. If there is an old location from GW1 in GW2, there will probably be an NPC studying the importance of said location and be glad to bring you up to speed.
Can you offer me any ideas of why the end game will be fun for someone who loves cool looking gear? Do you guys have unique, flashy items that drop in the end game dungeons (I know stats are the same)? Is there enough content in the end game to keep me playing, without relying too heavily on PVP?
We just introduced a bunch of legendary items that you can craft that I think will fill your desire for some REALLY sweet looking end game gear. -Ferg
Could you please explain how the Elo system for matching servers is calculated in WvW?
It’s actually a modified glicko system. I don’t want to pull the curtains back too much on this as we’ll be evaluating how it works over the weekend and determining if we need to change some pieces of the formula.
Will necros ever be given any type of control over their minions ? Even something as simple as attack and stop?
Minions have some AI bugs. They SHOULD attack what you attack and run when you run. We want them to feel uncontrolled, but not broken. Many of those bugs are removed now, but keep helping us find them so we can get it to 100%
Is the frequency of dynamic events going to change prior to launch?
Event frequency is one of the things we’re evaluating with these beta weekends. -Ferg
Can we get an out-of-combat weapon switch for Elementalist? Right now they feel just right as far as weapon balance, but it’s really obnoxious to have to go to my inventory to switch weapons out of combat when the functionality is already in the game.
This is really a problem for everyone, and not just weapons. We want to have a template system so players can move between different weapon, skill, trait, and item builds, but we want to do it right so it will likely not be until after release.
Will it be available for mac? If so any release dates etc?
I’m a Mac user too, so I feel your pain.
Right now we’re obviously focused on launching the game, but I’d love us to be on Mac in the future.
Many of us like the old Alterac Valley from WoW, are you planning on doing epic long pvp battleground where you can summon things to fight for your side? Make it for us hardcore peeps… fun hour + long battles that you have to capture bases and such and summon monsters to slay enemies.
You should really check out WvW. Last BWE there were some epic keep sieges that lasted for hours. Those pesky Red invaders finally made it through the inner gates just as our reinforcements arrived to push them back out with an army of arrow carts.
WvW also has ways for you to get NPCs to come aid your assaults to keep things interesting.
Will we eventually be able to see the names and guilds of enemy players in WvW?
You will never be able to see enemy names, you can however see enemy guild tags. -Ferg
Jumping into water with certain skills (like the engi’s Rocket Boots) or from a very high point doesn’t feel like you’re hitting water. There’s no big splash and no bubbles forming in the water. I find this a little bothersome especially since the game is so extremely polished in other regards. Is this something you will fix or look into?
Sure. We can look into it. I can’t promise anything, but we will try.
I’ve….never seen an AMA with so many answers before. Totally going to have to buy this game…
We’re not done yet! Thanks for your support! -Ferg
Before the Beta event goes live, can you guys write an article listing all the gameplay changes from the last Beta event (ie, minions now have more hp, changed duration of xxx skill, increased damage of xxx skill, pets have better AI, etc.)?
We are working on some patch notes for this BWE. It is honestly so msssive that I am sure some things will get lost which is why we did the blog post to overview the larger changes. As we move forward expect patch notes to become more and more accurate.
How do you see the thief’s steal ability working out in the e-sports section? The items you get from this mechanic are obviously kind of random and usually the e-sports sector likes to steer clear of these kind of random use abilities.
Also any chance of some kind of improvement to the system? At the moment it is a little hard to see what you have actually stolen in combat?
It is not as random as you think. It is really one of 2 or three choices. I find it to be quite useful in PvP.
I never redeemed my 2000Gems during the first BWE…is there any way I can redeem these during the second
We won’t be carrying over unspent gem balances from BWE1. But fear not, you can get another 2000 gems in BWE2.
I started playing Guild Wars during the November BWE back in 2004. After three Collector’s Edtions, four full-game editions, and multiple cash-shop purchases, I am still enjoying the game seven years later.
My son was born in April 2005, shortly before Guild Wars went live. I spent those nights playing Guild Wars between late-night bottle feedings and cuddling. Now, my son is seven years old and running around Pre-Searing enjoying his warrior/ranger.
Thank you, Mike and everyone else at ArenaNet, for creating such great games for our family!
That’s awesome. I’m glad our games have been such a part of your life. This is the source of our passion for what we do.
How fun it is answering these questions?
Any chance we have to connect with our community we love.
Hope this answers your questions (-:
i Heard from someone that the world PvP will be a failure, because of extreme lag and low fps. Is that a real treat? ot not?
As you are aware the game is not finished yet and our Beta Weekend Events are specifically designed to allow us to improve both the quality of the game and the overall performance.
Thanks for the question and your support.
Were the best builds 30/10/10/10/10 from actual competitive players or were these simply the most common? Being common and being effective are two different things entirely, which I’m sure you know.
The 30,10,10,10,10 builds were from the best players in our closed test. Also there are many considerations and while not everyone is going to make sense for everyone, from a design standpoint for us, this was the best solution for the most players, and more importantly for the game and how we want it to play.
What jobs are there at ArenaNet for people who lack drawing skills and really love writing? Would content designer be an option? And what do you need for that?
We have full time writers!
QA is a great place to get an introduction to the industry, and is a great place to gain experience that you can transfer to another department. QA folks work with many different segments of the game and can get a great glimpse into what it takes to actually make a game. Good writing skills are critical in writing informative bugs that can help track down and fix major issues.
We have a number of content designers who are fantastic writers, but to get a job and excel as a content designer, you really need to have a good feel for what makes content exciting to players and how to reproduce that excitement over and over again without it feeling stale and repetitive. You also need to be able to analyze and fix bugs that come in and that takes a lot of problem solving skill.
Personally I can’t even draw a stick figure, so it’s good I’m a designer instead.
I’ve tried out MMORPGs before but could never really get into them. What is unique about your game that could change my mind and get me in to the genre?
To me I feel like the most unique thing is the fact that you don’t get upset when you see another player, grouping up and playing alone side people is a normal thing to do rather then trying to find a slice of the world where no one is so they can’t steal your kills, you loot, and your time. It makes the game feel more like a multiplayer game rather then a large single player game where I chat with my friends. This combined with the fact you don’t have to be the same level to play with your friends means I can level at my own pace and always know I can meet up with my friends and have a good time.
SWTOR removed the Party Bomb from their game in 1.2 without any patch notes. It was pretty much the entire reason I played their game. Do you guys have anything resembling the Party Bomb?
Not exactly the same, but check out Evon Gnashblade’s Box o’ Fun in this weekend’s beta.
This will probably get buried but have you fixed the totally horrible performance from previous betas?
We are always working on performance and improving it, it’s one of the reason large scale tests are so good, it helps us find these issues and fix them.
You really need to bring back the GW1 option of CANCELLING a skill (esc key), a single press would cancel the queued skill if there’s one or cancel the one you’re activating.
You already can cancel using ESC.
Is the game running on more than 1 core this beta event?
Can you tell Gamestop and other retailers to stop pushing the June 26th release date?
It’s only 20 days away. Maybe they’ll stop pushing it after June 26?
Seriously, I hope the fact that every retailer is showing a different date makes it clear to everyone that these dates aren’t coming from us.
Will we be able to transfer servers in the next BWE with the amount of gems we have?.. or will there be any period where transferring is free?
World transfers will be free until 6pm PDT Saturday. After that point they will cost 1800 gems, so if you want to switch, do it early! -Ferg
In Reality is Broken Jane McGonal consider’s Bernard Suits sum of a game as the best definition: “Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.”
Do you agree with this idea and if so do you find it hard to get individuals to realize that when you put in unnecessary obstacles (such as your trait and skill change) it does have positive effects they can’t necessarily see from a conscious viewpoint?
Great question and one that could take a long time to answer but if you don’t mind i will attempt a short answer.
“Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles’
I think that is an interesting way of putting the psychology of play, I don’t necessarily believe that it is a method of overcoming unnecessary obstacles so much as a basic human instinct to fix problems, explore the unknown, compete (even in PVE) and realize positive ‘wish fulfillment’.
The second question is fascinating and very astute:
Do you agree with this idea and if so do you find it hard to get individuals to realize that when you put in unnecessary obstacles (such as your trait and skill change) it does have positive effects they can’t necessarily see from a conscious viewpoint?
I think it can be difficult to understand ‘Goals/Mechanics’ of systems when you have already become engaged in existing ‘Functionality’. This being the case it is therefore difficult for the user to determine the reasoning for the change. It isn’t that the change is an ‘Unnecessary Obstacle’, in this case, it is that the logic for this specific change comes from a different goal that resides within the same feature.
Specifically in regard to this area we will continue to take on board player feedback and action decisions appropriately. Thanks for a great set of questions and your support.
Will there be a different closing event this weekend?
Good news! We have an exciting new finale for this event! I’ve tried to make each event feel special and capping it off differently was a cool way to do that while trying out new things with our systems. This time around, though, my new co-conspirator Anthony Ordon came up with a really cool idea that we had to bring in additional people to implement. This finale was definitely more than a one person job.
Will there be titles obtainable only in WvW?
We just did some work to get the groundwork in for WvW specific achievements and titles. I’d like to have some of that stuff ready for BWE3, but no promises!
What tools are there for smaller groups to combat a zerg daoc had realm ranks with powerful abilities and tons of cc, however in guild wars there doesnt seem to be aoe mez like in daoc what is stopping people from just zerging also are there any rewards for wvw like realm ranks in daoc to give a sense of pvp progression?
Siege weapons are often a great equalizer, because building siege is so limited by supply smaller groups can often always be filled on supply dropping a balista or a arrow cart at a nice choke can really drop a larger group with a smaller group. Also there are mec camps can really help smaller groups as bigger groups are often after the bigger objective but if you take the mec camps you gain a lot of support. Also splitting up can really help, smaller groups can attack smaller objectives and the bigger groups are forces to either split up or divert there force to that objective, cutting off supply lines, or taking key towers can really whittle the large zergs.
I’m the guy who made the popular web games, QWOP and GIRP, which have been played around 100 million times.
When are you going to make a sequel to Pyro II, the best game of all time? Do you still have the source code to the original? Can I port it to Flash for you?
Blast from the past!
I have the old Turbo Pascal source code on some floppies, if they’re still readable. I don’t know how much it would help. You’d be better off writing Pyro III in Flash.
I want to ask if we will be able to play with you this weekend and how to find you ingame?
I’ll be playing on a character with my real name, “Regina Buenaobra.” Beware impostors who may misspell my name. Also, you can spot people from ArenaNet because they’ll be in the ArenaNet guild, and you’ll see the little red coliseum logo floating next to their names in-game.
I’ll be roaming Tyria as “Peter Giuntoli”. I’m not very creative.
Do you guys play any other games ? If so, what games do you enjoy?
I recently got in to the CS:GO beta and have been playing a bunch at lunch. Before that it was Diablo 3, then HoN (which I’m horrible at), and Skyrim. After watching this year’s e3 trailers I can’t wait to play Watch Dogs!
I’m interested in becoming a games system designer, but wouldn’t have a clue how to get into that field. For years it’s just been a huge hobby of mine to write pages and pages of world building & custom game rules for tabletops and such, and would love to turn that into a career. Any tips?
Design is hard one to start off in while it does happen it’s often a lot easier to go from QA into design. There is a lot of designers out there and experience is often the first thing looked at, so it’s can be easier to get into the industry from a position that doesn’t take as much experience like QA or Game Master. I also think practice design helps a lot, Design professions, classes, items from a game you really like. Like any skill the more you practice the better you are at it. This is why experience is looked on favorably.
When will you guys open the beta forums? Friday?
The forums will be opened shortly before the Beta Weekend Event Starts on Friday.
Will we be able to easier group up with friends.. like change districts and such to reach our friends?
Parties should have a higher probability to stick together when exploring the lands of Tyria.
I want to address a problem regarding the Doylak supply in wvwvw. The supply taken into a outpost carried by a doylak is has always been taken out by players walking by to collect supply for some other reason not regarding the outpost itself. I know its a teamgame but because of that system we can hardly ever get the chance to stack a certain ammount of supply in order to buy new upgrades because people will take it as soon as the doylak carries them in. Do you have a better solution for that problem? Maybe the supply in outposts and castle can be devided into a stack for players to collect and repair stuff and one stack which player cannot pick up and is only used to upgrade and buy things for the castler/tower/outpost
The goal is for people to protect thier supply, as well as for the enemies to attack. It’s a focus point for conflict. You can also upgrade each supply point and gain more guards to protect the Dolyaks this makes it a lot harder for 1 person to stop supply chains.
Should i get attached to my beta character?
Sadly, we will be wiping beta characters before launch. But your beautiful-thief-scoundrel will always have a place in your heart. Therefore he/she will never disappear forever.
In the last BWE some of the skill challenges were bugged, (NPC’s didn’t res and such) were these bugs fixed for the next BWE?
We definitely put in a lot of time to fix bugs that popped up during the first BWE. Thanks for finding those!
So we won’t be seeing you on the european servers eh?
Actually some of us were talking about relocating to EU servers for this weekend. -Ferg
I would really like to know a description of your jobs, please! What does a producer, system designer and president do?
I’m classified as a gameplay programmer, members of our team end up getting assigned features to work on and then end up working on the code for that features all the way from the servers to the UI! We’ll work alongside designers and artists and iterate on the design until we come up with something we like. A pretty awesome job IMO!
Systems designers basically come up with the various gameplay elements that are not specifically content related. We handle things like profession and skill design, guild and community features, and any other systemic things like how combat works or character progression features. We also fire nerf darts at anyone within range.
Will the flamingo guild emblem return?
A flamingo is not currently an emblem option. -Ferg
During this beta weekend will we be able to transfer characters to different servers for free or will they cost gems?
As we did last time, we’ll have a period of free transfers at the start of the event to help people find their friends. Then we’ll test the full system for the remainder of the weekend.
Is there an easier way to stop attacking your target besides running out of range?
control-right click on your autoattack to turn autoattack off. That is how I play.
Will our skill points be refunded this BWE since you have introduced skill tiers?
Yep, you should be able to select new skills in the skill tree when you log in!
What can we expect from this BWE regarding optimization? Is there major improvement from the last BWE? Any info concerning optimization (like details on CPU vs GPU usage) would be greatly appreciated.
This BWE will have some client perf improvements, but it won’t magically fix all the problems. This is an area we’ll keep working on to launch.
Will there be wandering mobs of a pack of creatures, a la Guild Wars 1? It gave a sense of immersion to know I was fighting a group/pack of dogs, as opposed to like, one dog.
Depending on the difficulty of the area you can already see things like this. In Queensdale near the Orlaf Escarpments there are roaming packs of wargs and in the western side of Snowden Drifts you can find raptor hunting packs. The further you go off the beaten path the more interesting things you might discover!
In GW1, Dhuum would rise out of the ground and strike people down as part of the banimation. In GW2, will there be anything like that? Commando Firing Squad? Maybe Dhuum again?
Of course we’ll have to do something cool!
Honestly, we haven’t added this to a dev list yet because it’s something we can add so easily after launch. There are so many things we have to focus on before launch.
Engineer Question, As Weapon Kits replace your weapons will Weapon Sigils on your Pistol/Shield or Rifle affect Weapon Kit abilites/Kit swapping? Struggling to think of any other classes that technically lose out on potentially very nice bonuses to dmg/utility in that way.
That is a potential option we are exploring to help Engineers that use kits.
Can you guys give us a rough idea of just how big your presale numbers were?
Whilst we can’t go into specifics, I can say that we were very excited by the response to the presale and humbled to.
Sorry i can’t give more details and thanks for your support.
Are there any plans to add an item preview feature? We’ve seen it before in games like LOTRO, where you could Ctrl+Right Click to preview an item on your character. It’s an important feature for a game to have, and the capability is clearly there, as we’ve seen with the dye previewing system.
We are working on an item previewer right now. It unfortunately didn’t make it in for BWE2, but we’ll definitely have it prior to ship! -Ferg
Towards the end of the last BWE, I was disconnected while in WvW and couldn’t get back in since the instance was full. It just kicked me to the login screen and I was locked out of the character. Could you guys fix it so people get sent to Lion’s Arch or something instead?
Yes indeed! We are right now working on a fix that will save those characters so you aren’t locked out. -Ferg
Are all of the game areas (such as Gendarran Fields before this BWE) still under development, or are they just being held back until launch?
We’re constantly adding new events and content to the game. Some of these changes are based on feedback and experiences we obtain from playing in weekend events like BWE1. Obviously we’re holding some things back until launch (we don’t want to show you everything yet!), but we very much are practicing the “When It’s Done” philosophy here at the office. This weekend players from BWE1 may notice some new content we’ve added to the existing maps.
I HAVE A QUESTION; about particle effects. What’s going on with them? What are your plans for them? How do you feel about them at their current state? Have they been reduced already?
We are constantly evaluating every part of the game specifically in regard to player feedback. We have done multiple reviews of this specific area over the last month and are currently very happy with the results.
Following this weekends event we will collate feedback and determine our next course of action appropriately.
Thanks for the question and continued support. See you this weekend!
Could you paint a clearer picture of what the WvW dungeon experience will entail?
It’s primarily a PvP experience, with traps that can be operated by players to impede others progress through the dungeon. We may add a few other PvE elements like bosses but we really want this area to be about navigating through the traps scattered through the jumping puzzle and fighting your way past the enemies to get the awesome shiny bits at the end.
Can you talk a little about game optimization (like support for multi-core CPUs and newer DX11 GPUs) for GW2 and what your plans are? Give us the cold hard technically speak.
This is something we’ll be working on until release. You’ll see improvements with each beta weekend.
The cold hard technical speak is: we need to fix the main CPU thread getting stalled on occlusion queries to the GPU; we need to fix driver compatibility issues; we’ll continue offloading work to other threads.
What have been the most surprising errors or bugs that have been reported in testing so far? And think we’ll have a testing session where the Sylvari and Asura are available before release?
You’re asking me to re-live my nightmares?
When we’re missing models we end up displaying a naked headless human, always a little disturbing.
What is the funniest bug you’ve found during development process?
I don’t know why, but it seems like everybody loves it (except the guy that introduced it)
I’ll actually be sad to see it go.
What element/feature/idea are you most proud to have implemented into Guild Wars 2?
I personally love how easy it is for me to play with other people. I’m not worried about the next player over stealing my kill or taking my loot. On the contrary, if there are a couple of us working on an event I naturally begin to use more skills that help allies and I adapt my play-style to complement theirs.
In addition the game easily allows me to play with my friends, especially the ones that have different amounts of time that they can dedicate to gaming. The level adjustment system doesn’t trivialize the content when I go back to help someone who just started the game, combined with how the dynamic event system changes the world I can go through a map multiple times and see different events playing out.
Will the new beta event start from scratch, or will we be able to use our characters from the previous beta event?
You will be able to use your existing character from the previous BWE.
See you in game!
Why Amazon is offering bonuses of pre-purchases for pre-orders. (all BWE’s and 3 day head start)? Confirmed by a number of people who only pre-ordered gW2 there.
We’re still working with Amazon to figure out what they’ll be able to do, so I don’t have a final answer for you.
But the basics are this. We have limited server space, so while we guarantee beta access for people who have committed to purchasing the game, we don’t guarantee it for everyone who just walks into a store and says, “yeah, reserve me a copy”.
Some online stores, not just Amazon, are not able to actually bill the credit card until shipment. But the customer has still made his intent to purchase very clear. It’s more like purchasing but being able to get a refund later, which we’re fine with, than it is like just adding a name to a reservation list and then having to come back and purchase later.
Because we know Amazon is important to a lot of customers, we want to find a way for Amazon to be part of the prepurchase program. It would be unfair to exclude them for being up-front about a policy that’s actually already being used behind-the-scenes elsewhere.
Deep dish or thin crust?
If the ‘elite’ traits are powerful enough that you would be overpowered by getting more than one per tree, doesn’t that mean nearly everyone will make 30 30 10 builds to take advantage of two elite traits?
The gap between T1, T2, and T3 should be noticeable but not game breaking. There are plenty of builds that I currently run that do not use T3 traits despite going 30 points in a specific line.
Are we going to see any increase in FPS this weekend? In other words, did you work on optimization after BWE1 and Stress test?
Our engine and content programming teams made a number of improvements since the last weekend. Ideally you should see at least some increase in performance, but we’re not even close to done yet so don’t be too discouraged if you’re still having performance issues. Please be sure to leave feedback on our forums over the weekend and let us know how it feels!
What can we expect from this BWE regarding optimization? Is there major improvement from the last BWE? Any info concerning optimization (like details on CPU vs GPU usage) would be greatly appreciated.
We’ve spent some time on performance improvements and will move more of the team on to performance as time goes on. Specifically, we’ve moved some of our processing that was done on our main thread on to other threads.
Will there be a type of PvP where people actually need to obtain gear? Rather than the auto-80/auto-gear in the normal PvP?
WvWvW offers persistent character progression. There are many previews and threads online that will supply you with a full download of what our WvWvW offers.
Thanks for your question and support,
Does this mean that lower-level players can now actually see a benefit from WvW? The cripplingly low gold return from WvW events coupled with continual repair expenses and siege blueprints meant that WvW was a net loss in money if you sought combat. Plus experience return and item drops seemed quite low.
Have you considered a separate currency for WvW for siege weapons and equipment repairs?
I don’ think you will see it yet, but this is something we will work hard to balance as we get closer towards release.
(Regarding traits) I don’t see how this creates more variety. You’re restricting choices. You talk about variety and say things like ‘I am going 30 points into strength, same as every other big damage warrior’.
Then you talk about elite-traits..which I assume means players are now forced to go 30 in trees. Personally, I thought the passive stat bonuses from traiting in a tree was a sufficient reason to go the full 30. How does forcing any similar-type character to go 30 into the same specific trait line and choosing from 1 of 2 elite traits promote variety?
When you have over a billion choices, but a few super strong ones you just basically have a bunch of bad choices. Now we have a few hundred million choices but hopefully have increased the number of good ones by ten fold or more.
You said that the 30-point traits were elite-like and a build could only have one of them. I am assuming you mean per tree, and not overall (ie. you could go 30 30 10 and get 2 ‘elite’ traits, one per tree).
Yeah, per tree.
How in the world can your MMO make money after SW:TOR, Aion, Rift, Tera and so many others have… well, not failed completely, but eeeeeeehh….. MMO’s take so much work and money to produce, how can you recoup all that from box sales and cosmetic micro-transactions alone?
First of all, what we all care about in an online world is making a living world that stands the test of time, where players can keep having fun with their friends year after year. So success isn’t based on how many copies the game sells up front. Success is based on whether people keep playing the game over time. And financially, success is based on whether people keep supporting the game by buying new content.
Second, I’ll address this idea that the time of MMOs is closing. If the word “MMO” means the same game mechanics that companies have been hashing out again and again for the last decade, fine, let them rot. But if you change the word “MMO” to “online world”, then I bet we can agree that “online worlds” are only going to keep growing in importance.
How come Guardians are the only Profession that are limited in range abilities? Everyone else has true-ranged skills, but Guardians have skills that can’t go up inclines/ledges (they don’t travel through the air, but on the ground)!
I actually updated those skills since the last BWE. Give scpeter a try I tried to make this the ranged option, particularly in WvW for Guardian.
What is the intent with game performance as it applies to multi-core processors (2, 4, 8 core etc)
As part of our performance improvements we plan to push more processing on to multiple cores. We’re already utilizing multiple cores though!
What are the chances of me getting in the beta if I were to buy the game now? I really want to play it but I heard about people not getting in last time and also I am going to have to dip into my budget to get the game.
I’m glad to hear that you’re so excited for the game! Making a game that attracted MMO and non-MMO gamers was one of our core philosophies.
For this upcoming event we’ve prepared the servers to handle “last minute” pre-purchasers. So if you find it in your budget to pick up the game on Saturday you’ll still be able to enjoy the end of the event.
What is the status on performance optimization?
We’ve worked on improving client and server performance between BWE1 and 2 and plan on focusing more on performance and polish as feature development winds down.
Will Engi’s get more weapon options in the future? Or possibly more weapon kits?
Yes, both at some point!!!
Will there be WvW ranks and rank abilities/gear?
There will not be ranks in WvW. -Ferg
This warrior has what appears to be a 2-handed axe. Are there any intentions on implementing 2 handed axes in the game, or will there be greatsword skins that are designed to look like axes?
Two handed axes are awesome. No reason to skin, lets save some cool stuff for expansions
Is there a re-work in progress for the Mesmers? A lot of people are unsatisfied with the current AI + shatter mechanics. Additionally, there are issues taken with the class mechanic being susceptible to AoE weakness, lack of synergy between the scepter and other weapons, lack of utility/power of the illusions, amongst other things.
There have been some changes already, but if it is not responsive enough we will make the changes necessary to make Mesmers viable. Please give them a shot in this BWE and let us know what you think. Jon P
What is the status of the Engineer re-work? What kind of changes are being made?
Still in progress. I think the key piece is getting their kits to inherit some of the benefits that you get from collecting and customizing weapons.
Sense of moving is a great idea, what about a sense of being connected to the ground with walking/animations? Players also experience a ‘sliding’ effect when walking.
We have worked hard on this issue. Just like any game there are cases where you can make it look crazy, but we feel like those are mostly edge cases at this point. We still have some things in mind that we want to do here, but what you see now is close to what you will get.
I will explain a bit how it works.
Visually we have transition animations that help blend between different states, but for those worried about responsiveness those transitions are purely visual so as soon as you press strafe left you are moving at full speed to the left. This disconnect is what sometimes causes the floaty feeling.
Any long term plans for expanions and what will they entail? In a general sense – new zones? New planets/dimentions? Or just expansion/change of current ones?
Thanks for the question. We do indeed have awesome plans in the Expansion area. It isn’t something we are talking about currently, however you can expect the pioneering work to continue as well as our pledge to continue to develop and support the game through the thoughts, ideas and passion of our community.
What goes in to preparing for the Beta Weekend? I’ve participated in numerous Betas, but I am curious as to what goes on behind the scenes.
What goes on behind the scenes? Well first of all we’ve all worked furiously getting the beta build ready for you. We’ve been testing the hell out of it and squashing any bugs we can find. When hundreds of thousands of people start playing on Friday at noon, generally that uncovers some new bugs, which we fix that day. Then we spend the weekend playing the game with you, reading your posts and feedback, and taking notes about what’s working and what’s not working.
The key issue we face with testing GW2 is that it’s such a social game that it just plays completely differently with thousands of players logged in than it does in smaller internal play-tests. So every hour of play in a beta weekend is super valuable to us. Immediately afterward we make all our plans for what we need to fix/tweak/change prior to the next BWE.
What is the thought behind the mechanics of the different profressions downed abillities? Some classes get really useful abilities like interrupts and stealth, others get long-cooldown abilities that won’t save them.
We are aware that some professions downed skills are, lets say, less than or greater than desirable. We will need to take a close look at these and I suspect we will do so “soon” TM.
Is first-person-view going to be available? Can we disable the camera-swing?
We are going to making a number of improvements to camera between now and ship. First person is something we want to do but might be a post release things. Yes we will disable the camera swing. Someone just showed it to me.
Does the team consider big changes to the base game possible following launch?
Yes, we intend to listen to the community and figure out what changes will help improve the game for players, as well as which are technically feasible. There will be a lot of effort going into Guild Wars 2 support after ship.
What is the status on fixing Pet AI?
We have fixed a large number of bugs with pet AI, but there are still some lingering ones. Anyone that finds a good case for reproducing them, please don’t hesitate to post about it in our beta forums or somewhere on the internet and hopefully it finds its way to us.
What’s a normal day of work for you? From arriving to work, to the time you leave.
Do you guys play any other games ? If so, what games do you enjoy?
Do you plan on playing a regular character in Guild Wars 2?
A ‘Normal’ day is dependent on the discipline you work in but if i may i will answer your question holistically. we are very collaborative at Arena and so we meet regularly to discuss features, problems and ideas. A lot of time is spent in implementation with regular peer reviews of the work and play tests. We also spend a lot of time getting to know each other, our likes, dislikes and what drives us.
We are all big gamers and play most new releases and as well of golden oldies. we have a gaming room with consoles, boards games, table football and ping pong. Every week members of staff sit down to play table top games as well ranging from Role Playing Games to table top War gaming. Basically we love games!
I will have a regular character in game and would love to play with you should you want to.
My character name is Snowcrash.
Thanks for your question and for supporting Guild Wars 2.
As a pre-purchaser I’d like to thank you allowing fans to buy and pre-load the game before release, this makes the experience much smoother when trying to play the game. However, as a pre-purchaser I am also confused as to why ANet decided to put an enormous shroud of secrecy over Guild Wars 2 since the opening of the pre-purchase. It’s been almost two months since you have opened up the pre-purchase and almost all pre-purchasers, who are customers, have absolutely no idea around what time of the year the game will come out. It is also half-way into 2012, the supposed year of release and still no info. What is worse is that two community managers recently contradicted each other, only adding to the frustration and confusion.
Community Manager (AT): We will have a one-month delay between the release date announcement and the actual release date.
Community Manager (RB2): The idea that there will be a one-month delay between is a rumor and is not verified by ANet. Contradiction
Another detail is that you have allowed for a no refund policy on the pre-purchases, only creating suspicion to your secrecy. Then, pretty recently, the NCSoft’s investor call came up and at one point it was stated that Guild Wars 2 is looking at later 2012 release. I don’t think my trust in ANet could have dropped any lower than it did at that point. I mean, why are we finding out from NCSoft the time of year that GW2 will be coming out and not ANet themselves?
So, my question is: Why is there so much secrecy around Guild Wars 2 and the release window? I’m not asking for a release date, but I’d like to know a rough estimate of the time that the product I paid $59.99 for will be delivered and available for me to use. I’m positive that I am not the only one who has a desire to know what window of 2012 Guild Wars 2 will be released in.
Thanks for your time.
We try to be very open and transparent with our fans, as I hope this AMA shows you.
Your concerns are all about release date. The fundamental issue here is that we just don’t have a release date right now. We’re using beta testing in the traditional sense. When beta testing shows that the game is where we want it to be, we’ll lock in a release date.
I’m pumped about what we were able to accomplish for BWE2 and I think you guys will be too when you see it. We’re not that far off. We’re obviously going to release in 2012, and any statements to the contrary are absurd.
As for the “one month delay” versus “not one month delay”, we have to line up distribution and retail sales so obviously we’ll announce a release date in advance of the actual release, but we don’t have a policy of “exactly X weeks in advance”. Aidan was giving his personal take on this. Rubi is correct that there isn’t a nailed down number of weeks notice.
In WvW theres a lot of people, interaction and basically a lot more things going on… will the person who only have the minimum required system can enjoy playing in WvW?
We’re doing everything we can to ensure that anyone who can run the game can participate in wvw. We’ve made a number of optimizations since the last event to improve performance and we will continue to do so, hopefully people should have a little better performance in WvW this time around. – Ferg
For many players Guild vs Guild was our favorite aspect of the original Guild Wars. When I think of Guild vs Guild I think of Guild Halls (home turf) and all the hours I spent practicing with my Guild Team. Having 1st and 2nd tier players and just enjoying all the aspects that made GvG such an amazing e-Sport experience.
You have said GvG and Guild Halls will not be available at launch can you confirm that these are features at least being tested internally or on the drawing board for down the road?
Tournaments, which are in this BWE, are the equivilent of GvG in GW2. Players will be able to form teams and enter the most basic form of tournaments this weekend. More tournament support is incoming.
Will the WvW mini dungeon be instanced or will it be part of the WvW map?
It is part of the Eternal Battlegrounds map, not an instance -Ferg
I’m really frustrated at the rate we are able to unlock skills in WvW. It seems (from the last BWE) you would have to land the killing blow on an enemy invader to up your progression on the skill you are working on.
Is there a plan to somehow get credit for attacking the target and get progress on a skill without having to land a killing blow?
This was a bug and should now be working as intended. Some of the problems may stil exists but it is our intention that WvW is on equivilent footing reward wise in every way to PvE.
Guild Wars 2 has very competetive, engaging and fun to watch PvP which could lead to the game becoming an e-sport. However, for that to happen, there will have to be a spectator mode. My question is if this is something that will be in the game on release or added at a later date.
We intend to support spectator mode at some point, but right now we are focused on core features to get the game into your hands so that you as the players can help us determine the course of future updates.
Can you fix the ability queue? Currently, if you press a button several times, it fires off several times. Can we have an option like “No ability queue”, “0.5ms”, 1ms”, etc?
There is a timeout on the queue. We are always tweaking this, but often it still has some issues that we are still working out. We have tried removing the queue, but that felt even worse than some of the issues we still see now. We have made improvements to queueing since the last BWe and there are still more to come before release.
Will the Commander Rank for WvWvW have a working 50man Squad UI? To Elaborate:In BWE1 the “raid-like” group UI to allow for 50 members to be in a Squad together under a person who had read the Commanders Rank Book wasn’t working. Will it be for BWE2/release?
The followers tab in your contacts panel will show you the members of your squad. There is no limit on squad sizes.
We made a bunch of improvements to the squad system over the last month or so and will definitely be looking for feedback on it over the weekend to determine if we need to make additional improvements.
Will we be allowed to group with friends for Arena PvP? In the last beta weekend I could not group as a team to join Arena PvP.
In this BWE we are introducing tournmaments which will allow you to PvP with friends. We have also made some improvements to the hot join games allowing you to follow friends into games via a chat link and will continue to improve these now and after release as well.
I want to ask if we will be able to play with you this weekend and how to find you in-game?
Many people from the studio will be playing throughout the weekend. I plan to take Friday off just I can spend the whole day in game. It’s an amazing experience for us to play alongside all of you. You’ll be able to easily spot anyone in the ArenaNet guild because of the company logo about our heads. ~z
Firstable, I love you Anet, and a question time. This is our second beta test event ( not including Stress test), and we get to keep our characters again, which is amzing. Is there any chance that in future, in the final release we will keep our original characters created in beta phase?
Thanks for getting in touch.
Beta characters will not transfer into the game when it goes live.
There were a number of problems with the old system that we felt required a change. We believe this new system keeps the spirit of the old system, while actually working better in the long run. Here are the problems we believe this change solve:
1) Best builds were all 30,10,10,10,10. There was always a super strong trait in every line which made each player only put 10 points into that trait line and still gain a very powerful benefit. In the new system this will still be true, but it will be tempered because people will be giving up going 20 or 30 points into multiple lines. This has allowed us to shift traits around so that more of them get play at different levels, meaning they don’t all have to compete against each other at tier 1.
2) This system is so much easier to balance. It is not reasonable to make 12 equally useful traits, particularly given how some of them had niche effects. Making 12 equal traits is harder, takes longer and ultimately leads to some traits seeing a lot less use. Finally an important point is that balance creates more choice as well because unbalanced and bad builds aren’t really options. The old system created a very small subset of über-builds which stomped out a lot of the good builds along with the bad ones.
3) Opportunity Costs are what make interesting choices. Trait tiers allow us to split the traits. 6 allowed in slot 1, 10 (6 tier 1 and 4 tier 2) allowed in slot 2, and 12(6 tier 1, 4 tier 2 and 2 tier 3) allowed in slot 3. The final 2 tier 3 traits are “elite”-like, in the sense that you can only ever have one of them on your build at once. If I’m making a damage warrior I am going to put 30 points into strength, same as every other big damage warrior, but now those characters are all guaranteed to be split at least in half forcing you to not take one of the two exclusive final traits. Before, anytime a character went 30 points in a line they were taking the same 3 (maybe 3 out of 4) traits.
4) Option Shock. New players at level 20 were clicking on a trait line for the first time and seeing 12 options which was very overwhelming. This gives them a bit of a reprieve to pick between a smaller number of traits at first and then learn more as they have played their character more.
5) Putting 30 points into a line left you with a climax of picking the third most interesting trait which did not feel good. Players want to feel like that decision to go 30 is a big decision and that when they make it they get to make a big decision that simply could not happen in the old system. Now when you commit to 30 points you are rewarded with an important choice as well as options that you didn’t previously have.
Finally, these are not the final balance numbers or often even the final traits/functionality and we will be iterating on this system as we move towards release. I know for certain there are already a number of changes I wish I could have made before this weekend, but they will have to wait until next time. If you had a really fun build before this change and it is lost now, post it in our beta forums and we can figure out how to make it viable. The intention here was not to remove fun, good builds but to create more viable builds that will increase the variety of characters in the game.
Will automated tournaments be cross-region or will they be locked to the region your team is part of, I ask this due to latency issues that one may encounter from US teams to EU teams trying to face eachother on equal ground (while not on a LAN event)?
How many rounds will there be (if any) and what maps will be selected for competitive play by default(if the amount of rounds is lower than the amount of maps available)?
Will changing utility skills and weapon sets while out of combat be disabled for Tournament mode?
Lately you have stated automated tournament winners will be able to receive “loot”, what do you mean by this?
- They are per data center.
- The automatic ones will be 8 team single elimination.
- Changing utility skills isn’t determined yet, but there will be some solution for tournaments that isn’t in yet.
Will we be able to easier group up with friends.. like change districts and such to reach our friends?
Yes we have improved that for this beta weekend already.
Will the guild cap. remain at 100 members for BWE2? If so, any plans to increase the capacity at launch?
The plan for guild cap is that guilds will be able to gain influence to up their cap. How this will work is not exactly determined yet, but the current limit of 100 is lower than the maximum a guild will be able to achieve.
UPDATE: Just got a message from the guild guys that it isn’t influence, but will be some other factor that determines guild size allowed. Also it is not in the next BWE.