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Interview GW2 - Univers Virtuels

Guild Wars 2 Lead Designer Eric Flannum, Game Designer Jeff Grubb and Global Brand Director Chris Lye answer some of the numerous questions of our French fans. Enjoy!


Univers Virtuels: Guild Wars was stuffed with great gameplay innovations. We already know that GW2 will feature some of them, like quick teleportation between places and the possibility to show your target to your party. What about the others, like the possibility to draw strategies on the mini-map, or the fact that players could turn the ingame text from their language to English at any time just by pressing the CTRL key? Will you keep these functionalities in GW2, and have you thought of new ones?

Eric: Although we are not talking about very specific elements of the Guild Wars 2 client yet, we can confirm that players will be able to draw and click on the map like they did in Guild Wars. Only party members will be able to see this. We will definitely support switching languages easily on the fly, but the details are not yet decided.

UV: How long will it take for characters of different races to be able to play together? Should friends who want to enjoy the game together choose the same race?

Eric: After a short tutorial experience, players will be able to join friends by using an asura gate to travel to any of the major racial cities. That way, it will be easy and convenient for everyone to play with their friends, whatever their race is.


UV: Will every profession have its own chains? If so, can you give us an example of an Elementalist's chain?

Eric: Not every profession features chain skills like the warrior does. The elementalist, for example, does not currently have any chain skills.

Environmental Weapons

UV: Environmental weapons sound awesome. You announced that some professions' mechanics have been built with those weapons in mind. How do you balance environmental weapons' spawn rate – considering the fact that some professions can create a few of them – so that any player in an area can have a chance to pick one up but not too easily, so we don't feel like we are always using them?

Eric: Environmental weapons bring new and cool skills to the player, on a temporary basis. As the name suggests, they are based on the environment, so we pretty much look at each environment and ask ourselves, “Would a branch fall from this tree so that the player can use it? What about a piece of rock at this particular location?” If so, we wonder what the player could do with it and if it brings interesting gameplay at this point of his adventure. Given that many of these environmental weapons are destructible, the player is quickly back to using his own weapons.

UV: Can those environmental weapons be used multiple times? If I throw a rock at an enemy, can I go pick it up afterwards and use it again?

Eric: No you can’t use environmental weapons several times. Once used up they are broken. It is similar to real life: once thrown, the rock is probably broken and of much less use.

UV: Can monsters use their own environmental weapons? Or even use the same ones as the players, and thus pick them up before we do?

Eric: In some cases yes they can. For example, a jotun can throw his sword at a player which creates a « jotun sword » environment weapon. The jotun will try to pick his sword back up, but a player could get to it and use it first.


UV: We already know that race-based skills will be less powerful than their class counterparts. Isn't it a risk as players tend to maximise or even specialise their characters? Or do you plan them to be used mostly while soloing?

Eric: It is not a risk in the sense that the builds using racial skills are still very much playable. While using racial skills may cost you a certain amount of efficiency or power, it also brings certain capabilities which can modify the gameplay to your advantage. We certainly hope that players will be trying the racial skills and that these skills will help create a certain sense of immersion into the race culture.

UV: Can you explain the main differences between the warrior's shouts and banners? They both seem to buff/debuff and to have a certain area of effect.

Eric: When a warrior handles a banner, it acts as an offhand item that can be carried around and planted in the ground. He can also pick it up, use certain skills while carrying it with him, and plant it somewhere to offer an advantage to his allies. The buff offered by the banner is permanent (well, until it is destroyed by an enemy). Shouts, on the other hand, will affect allies for a particular duration after the shout is used.

UV: Deep Wound doesn't exist anymore. What is the new effect of Eviscerate?

Eric: The new Eviscerate skill in Guild Wars 2 deals a large amount of damage. It does not currently inflict any condition.

UV: In the beginning of the video of Eviscerate, the warrior throws an axe at an enemy. What skill is that?

Eric: That skill is, strangely enough, a warrior axe skill called « Throw Axe »!


UV: How do stackable conditions work? Are they combined into one big condition, which means that they can all be removed through a 'one condition removal' skill, or do we have to remove them separately?

Eric: Conditions are currently removed as a stack. If you have bleeding on you five times then a condition removal skill that removes one will remove them all as it removes the stack.


UV: Perpetual discovery of the game content seem to be one of your major objectives. Dynamic events, a starting town different for every race you play, a personal story with real choices that will give players an exciting fresh game experience for each new character. What about end-game content? Will dungeons be a fresh new experience each time as well, with randomly generated content, different paths to choose from, or different ways to overcome obstacles?

Eric: I won’t say much here as we are not ready yet to talk about end-game, but I can tell you that we came up with a bunch of really cool ideas that will undoubtedly made end-game an original and fun experience for many players. Keep an eye on the Guild Wars 2 website and the ArenaNet Blog for more information when the time comes.


UV: You announced pretty early that you want a clear separation between PvE and PvP. On the other side, it is not possible to create a PvP-only character anymore. If this is understandable for unbalanced PvP – World versus World – won't it be a problem for rerolls in balanced PvP? If my party/guild needs an elementalist, how long will it take for me to create a new character and get access to balanced PvP?

Eric: It would be as easy as going through the character creation screens, ending up in the starting zone and then switching to the PvP mode. You would then need to equip your character and create your build by selecting skills and traits, an experience that Guild Wars players are already familiar with.

UV: Three servers will be at war each week with a predefined rotation. Will players who do not belong to the three concerned servers still be able to fight in the Mists, with no rewards of course?

Eric: A World vs. World match is really about three vast groups of players fighting each others over a variety of objectives, so that their world can obtain certain advantages. Every server is involved in a three-server WvW match in the Mists and players may only fight for the server they currently belong to. Since every server is always involved in a WvW match of some sort, we need to allow players to transfer servers during a WvW matchup. However, since it would not be fair to allow people from other worlds to influence the balance of the battle by constantly moving between servers, we will impose some restrictions for a short amount of time on players who switch servers.


UV: The Dragon of the Deep is probably the most enigmatic of all. We do not know much about him. What's his name? Is he as hungry for power as the others?

Jeff: The Deep Sea Dragon (DSD) has attracted a lot of attention on the forums primarily because we haven’t really referred to it since the “Movement of the World.” The existence of the DSD is not well-known to the average Tyrian (for whom the other dragons may be legendary or distant threats). The exact nature of the DSD is as yet unrevealed, and its powers differ from the other dragons as those Elder Dragons differ from each other. But it shares with its kindred a desire to consume, corrupt, and destroy.

Business model

UV: The biggest difference between GW1 and GW2's business model is that in Guild Wars 2, the in-game store will exist right from the beginning. Did you take it into account while developing the game? Will players be able to buy special items that create unbalanced situations between characters, like XP boost potions or this kind of items?

Chris: We said very clearly from the beginning that Guild Wars 2 would stick to the no-subscription-fee model of the original Guild Wars. Just as we have microtransactions in Guild Wars, we will similarly have them in Guild Wars 2. We will provide additional details on these in the future.

Guild Wars Books

UV: The three books that fill the gap between GW1 and its sequel should have been released before Guild Wars 2 comes out. Will you be able to keep up with that delay considering that the first tome will only be released soon?

Jeff: Yes, we are on track with our schedule so far. We just released Ghosts of Ascalon on July 27th and the feedback has been very positive so far. It makes us very happy and excited, as we are working on the second and third novels. J. Robert King is well underway with Edge of Destiny, the second novel in the trilogy of Guild Wars novels, which is currently scheduled for release at the end of this year, and we are finalising our discussions about the third novel.

UV: If the trilogy is a commercial success, will you consider writing more books in the Guild Wars universe?

Jeff: Absolutely! One of the strengths of ArenaNet has always been our responsiveness to our fans – if they show us they love consuming our lore in this format, we will definitely write more books.

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