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Royal Rumble: Johanson talks Guild Wars 2 PvP

Thursday, 6 October 2011 12:00 GMT By Stace Harman

Going hands-on at Eurogamer Expo 2011, a level 80 Stace Harman tackled Guild Wars 2′s PVP and chatted with ArenaNet’s lead content designer.

Guild Wars 2: PvP fact sheet

PvP will come in two flavours: competitive PvP – featuring point-capture maps with a minimum team size of five and character levels locked at 80 – and world vs. world PvP – a halfway point between PvE and full-on PvP in which you’ll develop your PvE character in battles involving thousands of players.

Competitive PvP will feature hot-joinable games – with a maximum team size of ten – and tournament matches for which the team size will be fixed at five.

The number of competitive PvP maps available at launch is yet to be decided but will likely be no more than ten. Each will have a unique feature, such as a trebuchet, destructible environment or even a dragon.

ArenaNet is intending Guild Wars 2’s competitive PvP to rival that not just of other MMOs but other genres, such as shooters and RTS’.

Guild Wars 2 is being developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft.

“Guild Wars 1 had a really interesting stereotype,” ArenaNet’s lead content designer Colin Johanson muses after my four versus four, player versus player hands-on at Eurogamer Expo.

“A lot of people that hadn’t played it thought that it was a PvP-only game; it’s amazing how many people have spoken to us over the years and said that if Guild Wars had PvE they’d play it – whenever that’s happened we’re like ‘we have a thousand hours of PvE storyline, you need to check this out!’”

This slightly baffling, misconception perhaps goes a long way to explaining why we’re only now seeing PvP in action having previously been shown a good amount of the PvE, including a long pleasant afternoon spent with the game back in June. In fact, Eurogamer Expo marked the first opportunity for the European press to go hands-on with PvP and I was all over it like a cheap suit.

Our four versus four PvP had been specially set up to work within the confines of the networked machines on the expo show floor, with Johanson explaining that the minimum game size in the finished article will be five versus five.

Small and mighty
Before our first round starts we create a character from scratch, and I plump for an Asura Warrior. This is partly because it’s the first time I’ve been able to get my hands on the diminutive race since the spotlight fell on them earlier this month and partly because they are described as being small of stature but intellectual giants, and at least one of those traits perfectly describes me.

And so, skills chosen, abilities attributed and weapon sets locked, my Asura warrior, Bobby, enters the fray of a base-capture map with three distinct capture points, two at opposite corners of the map and one central clock tower.

Points are scored for each capture point that is held, scores rising more quickly when more capture points are held. While the concept is a simple one, unique map features ensure solid tactics and team work wins out over spamming the numerous attack keys. Furthermore, on this map each team has a stationary trebuchet that prevents camping at any of the capture points for any significant length of time.

The Asura: It’s not the size, it’s how you use it.

“The map you saw was the Battle of Kyhlo,” Johanson explains. “That map focuses on having destroyable terrain and the main feature is the trebuchet. You can use that to cause a whole bunch of damage but you can also destroy terrain and create new paths for your team to get to the capture points with.

“All of our competitive PvP maps are going to be these capture-point based maps, but all of them will have special game mechanics in them. The first one we’ve shown has the trebuchet and destroyable terrain – we’re also looking at potentially doing a map with a dragon that flies over breathing fire and you have to dodge the dragon’s attacks in between attacking and defending capture points.

“We haven’t figured out exactly how many maps we’re going to have yet but each one will have a unique feature that defines it alongside the capture points.”

“We’re looking at doing a map with a dragon that flies over breathing fire and you have to dodge the dragon’s attacks in between attacking and defending.”

In our game, each team’s trebuchet can be knocked out of commission, requiring tools to be located around the map to return it to service – this renders a team member unavailable for base capture as they scamper to collect the repair kit. When operational, the trebuchets help keep people moving lest fiery death rain down from above if they hang around one spot for too long, but not once in our three-round bout did it feel like it bestowed too great an advantage to either side.

Power up
One bold design choice for the competitive PvP is that your PvE character level is entirely irrelevant. Indeed, you can choose to play an entirely different character class or profession to your PvE character, or even, forget PvE altogether and play competitive PvP exclusively, should you so wish.

“For competitive PvP you’re automatically set to level 80 and all skills, weapons and armour is unlocked and set to max levels,” Johanson tells me. “Plus, you get a max number of trait points and then you set your build any way you like it.

“In fact, you don’t ever have to play the PvE if you don’t want to. So, if you love PvP games you can play Guild Wars 2 entirely as PvP and by unlocking everything for everyone when they enter this mode we make it about skill, not about what you’ve unlocked.

“We want to get not just people who love PvP in MMOs, but that play PvP in competitive shooters and RTS’ – we’re aiming to push the message that if you love PvP, GW2 should be one of the top games that you think of.”

It’s an interesting choice and aims to provide something of a level playing field. That said, it’s possible that new players will find the sheer number of customisation options available somewhat daunting, a problem Johanson claims will be avoided by the choice to make the PvP easy to get into but with enough depth to keep the more adept or experienced player happy.

“We’ve made the game approachable and easy to understand and then really layered the complexity on top of that,” Johanson says. “So, I talked before about swapping weapon sets in combat to change skills but you don’t have to do that, you could play the entire game with just one weapon set, if you like.

“But, as you get better at the game you’re going to learn that you become more effective and a better skilled player by swapping weapon sets to match the situation that you’re in.

“We’ve made the game approachable and easy to understand and then really layered the complexity on top of that.”

“Initially though, PvP is relatively easy to approach and learn – as you saw this morning, you played three games and by the end of those you all had a fairly good idea about what you were doing and using more of the weapon skills etc.”

A viable alternative would have perhaps been to introduce this level playing field on a more staggered basis. With different tiers of competitive PvP locked at, say, levels 20, 50 and 80 thus allowing players to choose a PvP entry point and still leave room for progression to a higher stratum as they progressed through PvE and learn to juggle a greater number of abilities and traits.

That said, ArenaNet clearly knows its players and appears to be implementing several fully featured modes of play at launch. It understands that, regardless of lineage and track record, nothing short of a stable, polished and feature-rich MMO is going to steal players away from competitors, tempt in players that have never played a MMO before and cater to Guild Wars 1 veterans.

War of the worlds
The final element of PvP that Johanson sheds light on is the world versus world PvP.

“World vs. world PvP sees your server matched up against two other servers in a two-week long Battle Royale,” he enthuses. “It will feature thousands of players fighting for control of castles and keeps and using siege weapons.

:There’ll be small objectives and major objectives to accomplish within that time period and at the end of the two weeks the server with the most points will get a bunch of bonuses for their server for the next two weeks. Then they’re matched up against another two servers to fight against.

The Sylvari.

“Our hope is that you’ll be playing in PvE and then somebody’s going to pop-up from your server and alert everyone to the fact that the main keep is under attack. Then everyone has to rally to protect it and some of those may stay in world vs. world PvP to push on and claim new areas and others will go back to play PvE.

“We want these battles to be a real point of server pride so you’re fighting for the pride of your server in world vs. world PvP and you’re beating up other servers to prove your superiority.

“In this mode you’ll be using your PvE character, along with all your abilities and equipment, plus you’ll level up like you can in PvE. For the world vs. world PvP you can basically bounce back and forth between that and PvE and develop the same character as you progress.”

Having now seen both the PvE and competitive PvP in action I can say that I’m genuinely more excited at the prospect of a new MMO than I have been for a long time. Ultimately, just one thing continues to frustrate about Guild Wars 2: no one connected to the project, neither at ArenaNet nor NCsoft, will let slip exactly when we can all get stuck into it.

Guild Wars 2 is a PC exclusive and launches at some point in 2012. A closed beta is expected before the end of the year.

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2 Comments

  1. viralshag

    Sounds great. World vs World sounds awesome but I’m not sure I get why they switch the idea of fully unlocked level 80 stuff to just you PvE character. I like the idea of pure skill based, no gear/skill unlocked excuse PvP; so I’m not sure why they go back on it for this mode.

    And while I just said I like the idea of everything being fully unlocked, I would quite like to have seen some form of a staggered approach. A lot of the time, I enjoy low level “basic” PVP fights.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. blackdreamhunk

    can’t wait can’t wait I have already pre ordered guild wars 2 CE.

    #2 3 years ago

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    Notes for upcoming Patch 5 for Dragon Age: Inquisition have been posted, noting improvements to gameplay and stability, and the new features outlined back in early February. Along with the new party storage system added to the Undercroft at Skyhold, players also have the ability to adjust the size of subtitles. Below you will find […]

  • Game of Thrones, Mortal Kombat X, Batman mobile games on the way

    Warner Bros. has announced free-to-play mobile titles spanning its DC Comics, Mortal Kombat and Game of Thrones properties. The following five new games under development are: Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios: The game blends fighting and card collection with cinematic gameplay and Fatalities. Play as both classic and fighters, and if you own the […]

  • Win! Beta access to new MMORPG Skyforge and DLC worth $70

    We have ten Wrath of the Gods Founders Packs to giveaway for new RPG Skyforge, worth over $70. All you need to do to win a Wrath of the Gods pack is enter your details in the form below and we’ll pick 10 winners at random on Thursday, March 5, after 3pm GMT. Skyforge is […]

  • PC gaming expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018

    PC gaming is alive and well. In fact, it’s expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018. According to game-business group Open Gaming Alliance, the PC gaming industry is expected to grow beyond its current $26 billion worth and to a massive $35 billion by the year 2018. The information is based on data collected […]

  • Advanced Warfare: new patch adds new weapon, Master Prestige ranks, more

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has received a new patch that gives season pass holders early access to a new weapon and everyone else a myriad of fixes and additions. The patch went live today on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, without any official notes. CharlieIntel reports that among the new additions is the new […]

  • Destiny’s end game and raids explained

    Destiny’s end game can be a bit obtuse to those not used to MMO games. Fear not, we’ve got a few quick tips on how to crack it. Arekkz Gaming has a video for new players of Destiny or those who are looking to brush up on their knowledge of the game. Today’s theme is […]

  • Capcom adds local co-op to Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PC

    Following fan outrage over lack of local co-op support for the PC version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom has now added it. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 now officially supports split-screen local co-op in both campaign and raid mode. The update is currently in beta on Steam, but anyone can opt-in to try it. Capcom […]

  • New Destiny glitch spawns infinite Thralls on Earth

    Destiny’s latest glitch spawns infinite Thralls to help fuel your bounty hunting and loot lust. The glitch is simple to replicate. You’ll need to start The Dark Within mission on Earth, on any difficulty. Then follow the steps in the video below (Via DualShockers) to get to an area out of the map. You’ll then […]

  • Battlefield 4 Winter Patch is here with new game mode, netcode improvements and more

    DICE has released the Winter Patch for Battlefield 4. The patch brings an eSports focus with new game mode Squad Obliteration and plenty more. Battlefield 4 Winter Patch is now live on all platforms. It’s just over 400MB on PC and 1.34GB on consoles. The patch adds new game mode Squad Obliteration and more customisation […]

  • HTC hopes to see Half-Life on VR headset Vive

    Vive manufacturer HTC said that it hopes to see Valve games, including Half-Life, on the virtual reality headset. Speaking to the BBC, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said that Valve is keen on having its games available on the VR headset. “I think Valve’s best game is Dota, right, and Portal and [Team Fortress] and I […]

  • Make money easily in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

    If you’re looking to buy a fell set of armour for your character in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate but keep falling short on Zenny, this video will show you an easy way to make lots of it. Arekkz Gaming has a very handy tip for all Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate players: how to make Zenny […]

  • This is how you claim free Xbox One games from your Xbox 360

    Microsoft is giving everyone the ability to claim their free Xbox One Games with Gold titles from their Xbox 360 console, even without owning an Xbox One. If you don’t yet own an Xbox One and want to make sure you don’t miss out on all those free Games with Gold games, you’ll be pleased […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for March 3: Heroic and Nightfall detailed

    Bungie has reset the weekly cap of Crucible and Vanguard marks and added new Heroic and Nightfall strikes, now with burn. From now until next Tuesday, the weekly Heroic strike will be The Devil’s Lair with Heroic and Lightswitch modifiers. As for the Nightfall, you’ll be fighting Sepiks Prime with the help of Arc burn. […]

  • Few Mass Effect FemShep cosplays are as elaborate as this one

    The internet is full of Female Commander Shepard cosplay from Mass Effect, but very few are as terrific as this one. Visual artist Freya Willia has spent over two years painstakingly creating the perfect suit of armour and the best weapons to make her cosplay of Female Shepard as authentic as possible, Omni tool and […]

  • Deals with Gold: Assassin’s Creed Unity, Red Dead Redemption and more discounted

    This week’s Deals with Gold titles for Xbox Live subscribers is a good mix of modern games and old favourites. The list of discounted games through this week’s Deals with Gold is live with discounts on Assassin’s Creed Unity, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, and more. The deals are live now […]

  • Destiny guide: how to maximise your Grimoire Points

    Destiny players regularly compare the size of their Grimoire Points. Learn how to make yours the biggest. Destiny guide: how to earn Grimoire Points In Destiny, earning most Grimoire cards is just a matter of playing the game, maybe a little more attentively than usual. You’ll either need to complete a certain number of actions […]

  • Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows will let you play as a baddie

    Shovel Knight owners will benefit from the generosity of Kickstarter backers quite soon. Because Shovel Knight was overfunded during its Kickstarter campaign, developer Yacht Club Games committed to releasing free content updates. The first of these, Plague of Shadows, has now been detailed. The expansion stars baddy Plague Knight, who turns on his former allies, […]

  • GTA controversies, from Hot Coffee to PR manipulation

    GTA has a long history of controversy. The latest Did You Know Gaming tells the full stories behind the sensational headlines. Grand Theft Auto is such a byword for controversy that it’s easy to forget the full context of what actually happened to bring mainstream press, politicians and interest group awareness to the Rockstar series. […]

  • Infamous 2 one of five new PlayStation Now additions for March

    PlayStation Now will expand to the tune of five new games this month. The March PS Now additions are Infamous 2, Twisted Metal, R-Type Dimensions, Alone in the Dark: Inferno and Operation Flashpoint: Red River. PS Now will set you back $20 per month or $45 for a three month subscription. It offers all you […]

  • Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster gets PS4 release date

    Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster hits PS4 in May. The PS4 release date for Final Fantasy 10/10-2 HD Remaster is May 12 in North America and May 15 in Europe. Gematsu reports a special pre-order bonus calendar with art by Yoshitaka Amano is available through the Square Enix Store and participating retailers. In Europe, pre-ordering […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare getting 15 new Prestige levels

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players can now aspire to the ranks of Grand Master Prestige. Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games will add 15 more Prestige levels to the latest Call of Duty, giving players at max XP a chance to grow even further. According to the Sledgehammer Games blog, when you enter Master level […]

  • Destiny: Crota’s End recreated in Minecraft

    Destiny’s toughest challenge gets even nastier if you throw Creepers into the mix. The ultimate Destiny challenge – for now – is the Crota’s End raid. Taking place in an alternate dimension accessed through the Hellmouth on the Moon, the Raid takes Guardians through a pit of darkness to the resting place of Crota himself. […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3D trailer introduces the Heir to the Monado

    Xenoblade Chronicles 3D protagonist Shulk is the Heir to the Monado, his distinctive red sword. Let this trailer fill you in on what that means. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D releases for New 3DS on April 2 in Europe and April 10 in North America. As well as all the content of the Wii original, it has […]

  • The Elder Scrolls: Total War mod covers Morrowind, Oblivion and more

    The Elder Scrolls: Total War is a terrific mod allowing you get get intimately involved with the history of Bethesda’s detailed fantasy universe. The first release of The Elder Scrolls: Total War dropped on the weekend, giving players their first chance to try out LoRdNazgu1‘s creation. This version runs from 3E 427 to 4E 45, […]

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 out now on Steam

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is out now. Yes, we’re surprised too. You can grab Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 on Steam for $8. Developer Scott Cawthon really doesn’t mess about; the game was only announced in early January. Here’s the blurb: Thirty years after Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza closed it’s doors, the events that took […]

  • EVE Online heister makes off with $13,000 worth of goods

    EVE Online is a hotbed of villainy, espionage and backstabbing, but one intrepid corporate thief has made waves even in this setting. The thing about EVE Online is that it’s a true sandbox: the game’s rules are very loose, and allow players to make careers out of theft, piracy, assassination and espionage in addition to […]

  • Marth Amiibo getting a stock refresh in North America

    Nintendo of America has announced a fresh supply of the difficult to find Marth Amiibo. The Marth Amiibo will be back in stock in the US in late April, the platform holder said on Twitter today. Planning to pick up Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and don’t have a Marth amiibo? More are headed to stores in […]

  • Skyrim beta update upgrades creation kit file size

    Skyrim has been granted a new beta update – more than three years after launch! – to improve the experience for modders and those who use them. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released in November 2011. I think that’s worth noting before we discuss the beta update that dropped today, even as Bethesda is working […]

  • Paradox’s next epic RPG is, uh, Knights of Pen & Paper 2

    Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is very serious business so please enjoy this very serious trailer. “Return to the dicey world of Knights of Pen & Paper for a new turn-based adventure, where players get to take on the role of players, and also of the game’s encounter-designing, rules-laywering GM in a fully customizable […]

  • Amplitude looks amazing in new gameplay trailer, has a team multiplayer mode

    Amplitude may have been delayed but we still get something this March: a fine new gameplay trailer. Amplitude is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 sometime in northern summer. It’s a reprisal of Harmonix’s classic rhythm action game, a forerunner to its later efforts with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and was crowdfunded. Update: Turns […]

  • DayZ creator’s “crazy”, “esoteric” next game developed with Improbable

    DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall has dropped the first vague details of his new game project. “I do not want to make safe games. I do not want to make games the way we have been making them. What if the most experienced video game staff in the world collaborated on the most esoteric and […]