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ArenaNet Q&A on Escape to L.A.

Answers by Mike Zadorojny, design lead, Guild Wars 2

I. A lot of people compared what they saw in the cinematic with the first real update of the Living World, the Lost Shores, where Karkas invaded Lion's Arch. Colin also mentionned in an interview that "ArenaNet [...] has spent much of the past year building the necessary technology to help realize the studio's vision of what a living game world should be". Could you elaborate on that ? Can we expect an invasion comparable to what happened in November 2012 ?

Mike Zadorojny: We want to change the world in dramatic and exciting ways, whether it's through dynamic elections, invasions of hostile forces and massive battles that bring the players of the world together. With Scarlet’s attack on Lion’s Arch we’re ending this season with a climactic Tyria-shattering finale.

II. The video showed Scarlet's army wreaking havoc in Lion's Arch, and surely, the city won't remain unscratched. Can we expect radical and permanent changes in the city ? Some people even think that the city will be destroyed and that we will have to rebuild it entirely.

Mike Zadorojny: We've promised that the land of Tyria will never be the same, and you can expect that the damage Scarlet has wrought will be felt for some time.

III. It's a bit difficult to understand the chronology of the events between the living story and the personnal story. If the two timeline happens at the same time, how can we, Heroes of Tyria, fight Zaithan and Scarlet at the same time ? If one storyline follow the other, why the Pact is not reacting to the invasion, especially against the airship from the Aetherblades ? Also, a lot of people are hoping for Trahearne to die in the invasion, and it can't happen if he's still in Orr...

Mike Zadorojny: The Living World is generally thought to take place one year after the events of the personal story. The Pact forces have been cleaning up in the wake of Zaithan and weren't prepared for Scarlet's assault. The Orders of Tyria are each assisting in the attempt to retake the city.

IV. What are the reactions of the "secondary" races (Tengu, Kodan, Hylek, Skritt, etc...) toward Scarlet's actions ? Why haven't they done anything yet ? Do they consider themselves out of Scarlet's reach ? Or is it selfishness and they just don't want to help the other races ? Can we expect those other races to be involved in the event following Lion's Arch invasion, for exemple, the Tengu from the Dominion of Winds which is fairly close to Lion's Arch, but also to both Aetherblade base and Kessex Hill where the Tower of Nightmares appeared ?

Mike Zadorojny: The tengu are holding strong in their belief of non-interference. They will hold their defences strong and attack anyone who approaches their territory. Scarlet's forces have hit hard and hit fast. Most of the secondary races haven't had a chance to react or are too scared to.

V. Players seem to find the last couple of update more enjoyable than the previous ones. You mentioned technical improvements, but i guess that improvements where also made on the scenario, the events and the shape you want to give to the Living World. Based on players feedback, which aspects of the Living Story did you change or will you change ?

Mike Zadorojny: We're always listening to our players, whether it's on the forums, through our Community Development Initiative or in game playing alongside them with each new release. Obviously this affects how we approach the Living World and the content we develop for the game. Most of the changes we’ve made have been subtle and have guided how we take different parts of the game. (In fact, here I want to bring up that we’re launching our next Collaborative Development Initiative, where we open a formal channel for player community input into all things Guild Wars 2 – your readers can find out all about it here:

VI. Can you tease us some ultra-secret-development-projet-details concerning this invasion or the future chapters of the Living Story (season 2 ?) ? For exemple, during Lion's Arch invasion, buildings may be destroyed, inhabitants will have to leave the city : how did you chose which consistent modifications to make ? Was the choice difficult ?

Mike Zadorojny: Here’s a teaser - Evan Gnashblade is not happy about being deputized by his nemesis Kiel into the Lionguard during the chaos, and he's holding a grudge. Whenever we make changes to the world, it's always a challenge to make sure the changes feel impactful and meaningful. It's even more challenging when you're drastically changing a major location like Lion's Arch. Everything we do in the Living World is part of the bigger story we're trying to tell.

VII. Does you "art department" always design concept art when you discuss about the world of Tyria and the future adventures in GW2 ? Is it important for you to always have a visual support when you create all of this content ? How do you implement the idea/vision of your artists into a new update ?

Mike Zadorojny: ArenaNet is a very cooperative environment, and the Living World teams are a close knit group that continually draws inspiration from each other. The amazing visual support of our artists is just one of the tools that we use to help us iterate on our ideas and bring them to life. The team works side by side for months to bring about the final product you get to see.

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