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Guild Wars 2 - Beta Weekend Event Follow-Up Interview
Guild Wars 2










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ArenaNet has been holding Beta Weekend Events for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 approximately once a month. After participating in both events, we sent them some follow-up questions about their general experience with the betas and some specific issues that were popular in community discussions about the game. We tried to get a little bit of everything in there, from class balance to PvP to the cash shop. Our questions were answered by Producer Chris Whiteside and Lead Game Designer Eric Flannum.


1. What were some of the big takeaways for the development team from BWE 2?
Chris Whiteside: We got a large amount of extremely important feedback from the weekend. The key takeaway was that much of the feedback was micro rather than macro—we received a lot of feedback regarding balancing and accessibility rather than some of the much broader feedback items from BWE1. This is fantastic for us because it shows that the actions the community wanted us to take after the previous event were executed in the correct manner.

Much of the feedback we are looking into now surrounds balancing, accessibility, tutorials, and a number of “nice to have” requests from the community.

To our community: Please do keep the feedback coming—it’s making a huge difference to the game. And thanks for all your support; we really do appreciate it!



2. What are some of the main things you'll be working on for BWE 3?
Chris: Interesting question. As you know we have not announced a BWE3 [ed. note: Developers actually confirmed that there will be a third Beta Weekend Event in a Reddit Q&A just prior to BWE 2] so I will answer in the context of our continued work-to-launch readiness.

Aside from the areas listed above, we are doing some work on melee vs. ranged balancing (across the game) as well as finishing off a handful of core systems and features, based on the feedback we received from the previous event. We also have a few new things to show off!


3. What was your favorite bug that players found in the BWE?
Chris: Well “favorite” is definitely subjective in the two examples I am going to give here. The first one actually popped up in BWE1. “Sleep-jump” allowed players to use the “/sleep” emote and then jump whilst lying on the floor. The community really loved it, and we thought it was hilarious.

The second was an instance in which a player could execute a set of actions on their character and bring down the zone for everyone. We didn’t find this one hilarious, but we did find it very interesting. Needless to say, we got this fixed very quickly.


4. One particularly big topic on the Beta forums was that armor dyes are now applied per-character instead of over the entire account—something that proved wildly unpopular with beta forum posters. Is ArenaNet thinking of making any changes to the current dye system based on player feedback?
Eric Flannum: We always take player feedback seriously, and while we have no current plans to make dyes unlock on an account basis, we are going to do a few things that will allow players to more easily acquire the colors they want through crafting and use of the mystic forge.

5. As of BWE 2, the only way to obtain town clothes or minis was to purchase them from the gem shop. Will some town clothes or minis be obtainable as in-game rewards (say, for achievements or as mini-game prizes) when the game launches, or will they be restricted to the cash shop only?
Eric: At the moment, our plan for town clothes and minis is that they are only available via the Black Lion Trading Post (formerly, the Gem Store). There are, of course, some exceptions to this for things like the collector’s edition and other promotional giveaways. One other thing to note is that players are able to use in-game gold to trade for gems with other players via the exchange, so a player does not necessarily need to use cash to acquire these items.

6. Speaking of mini-games like the bar brawling and shooting gallery mentioned in various development blogs, are they still planned for launch? I keep trying to hop over the fence to crash that private shooting gallery party in Divinity's Reach!
Eric: There will be several activities ready to go for launch. You haven’t seen them yet because we’ve been waiting for some tech that we’re developing for PvP before we could consider them finished. We’ve got that tech now, and while I don’t know if they’re going to be in any future BWE, you will definitely be able to throw kegs at each other and break chairs over peoples’ heads in bars by launch.

7. Did you get a lot of players testing out Catacombs in explorable mode? What did you learn from their experiences that you can apply to it and other explorable mode dungeons?
Chris: We had a lot of players try out the explorable dungeon. I, too, ran it a number of times with players to get their feedback. We found two seemingly diverging opinions in one main category of feedback: difficulty.

Interestingly, the prevailing feedback was to not change the current difficulty of the enemies and scenarios, and yet we were also getting feedback that the dungeon was too hard.

As we researched the difference between the two sets of feedback, we noticed that the latter group of players was having trouble due to the high skill ceiling and associated learning curve. Our dungeons and core combat mechanics are very different to those found in other MMOs, and, as such, these experiences were very daunting for some players.

We felt that the difficulty shouldn’t be lowered, however, as we don’t believe this to be the issue.

Instead, we isolated two key areas that we will be working on to ensure that all players have more of an equal footing based on the diversity of their previous game experiences. First, we are going to do some work on melee combat to give players more time to react to enemy attacks and behaviors. Second, we will be putting in systems that telegraph changes in the game states and behaviors of enemies and bosses dependent on how the group is interacting with them. A good example of this is the lack of perceivable telegraphs when the Spider Queen spawns her spiders.

All in all, we were very excited by the feedback on the explorable version of the dungeon. We just needed more players passing through it to understand what we needed to tackle to ensure that the explorable versions of our dungeons would be both highly accessible and challenging—and above all, fun.


8. Are you looking at keeping the initial guild member cap at 100 for launch? Either way, can you tell us more about the mechanics for raising the initial cap, as alluded to in the recent Reddit Q&A?
Eric:We are definitely going to have a higher guild cap. We’ve just implemented the new system and are looking to iterate on it based on feedback from our internal testing, so I’m afraid I can’t say more about it until we’ve had a little testing time.


9. Thanks to some matchup mishaps in BWE 2, a number of servers found themselves quite demolished in World vs World vs. World PvP. Even though the finished matchmaking system should make that situation less common, what kinds of strategies might servers employ to bounce back from such a situation? Are there any plans to make it easier for servers to recover from losing all their objectives in WvWvW?
Eric: The matchmaking actually worked as intended, but since the new servers had a record of zero wins and zero losses, they ended up being matched with existing servers that also happened to have even records. It was our mistake—we simply didn’t anticipate that happening. We’ve already made changes to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

One of the best ways for a server to bounce back from being dominated is to switch to a different map. Enemies are often very slow to react to a shift in the battlefront, and sometimes jumping to a different map entirely can buy a server some breathing space.

We are currently talking about giving some help to servers that are severely overmatched, but we aren’t quite ready to talk about just how we’re going to do it yet.


10. The state of the mesmer class was much-discussed during BWE 2. What's the current thinking on the role that the team wants clones and phantasms to play for mesmers in PvE and PvP?
Eric: Clones are intended to act as decoys and fodder for shatters in both PvP and PvE. As such, we don’t want them to be significant sources of damage. Phantasms, on the other hand, should be dangerous, which is why we call them out to enemy players by not making them exact copies of the mesmer. We’re still working on getting the balance for illusions down properly, and players should continue to see improvements as we progress.



RPGamer would like to thank Eric and Chris for answering our questions and being so open about ArenaNet's development process. We'd also like to thank Marc Bianchi from High Road Communications for setting up the interview for us. For more information about Guild Wars 2, please see our game page or the official web site.



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