ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2 PvP scouting, aquatic combat, and polling the playerbase

    
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If you thought there was a lot of story in the recent Guild Wars 2 living world season 3 reveal, you’re not alone. I had been champing at the bit to learn about new features and ask some questions at E3 as revealed on Tuesday, but story ate up most of my time. While a few questions were answered and woven into my reveal, I also asked some followups after the show.

Now, ArenaNet wasn’t ready to answer everything I asked — I had quizzed the devs on the relationship between legendaries and NCSoft’s Q4 earnings, the potential for feature creep and its affect on updates, and the logistics of the Super Adventure Box nerf — but the answers we did get are worth a read. So read on!

MassivelyOP: In WvW, you added the role of “scout,” something that a lot of instanced PvP could make use of in theory. How do you feel about the way it’s been used in game thus far? Is it working well enough to encourage other types of indirect PvP gameplay?

McKenna Berdrow, ArenaNet Game Designer: The changes we made for scouting were a positive improvement, especially from a player perception standpoint, even though only a small amount of players make use of it. WvW scouts usually weren’t earning enough rewards for their work before the change, but almost all other types of gameplay are fairly rewarding, so for that reason we haven’t looked at including it anywhere else in the game.

As someone with research experience, I know that sometimes there can be a big difference between what people say on a poll or survey and the reality of the situation, ranging from anything from a disconnection between what they do and how they perceive themselves to simply not understanding a question or answer. Does the team hope that the majority of the participating players won’t make errors, or do you consider other additional factors in polled decision making processes?

John Smith, Studio Economic lead: Right now our polls are pretty transparent. We aren’t including other factors because we want the player base to know exactly what we’re doing. That being said, we do check to make sure our polling tactics are working on all levels. We run a series of analytics against who’s answering to make sure there aren’t disconnects between players’ choices and how they play. For example, we compare the time spent in WvW to the responses to see if players who spend more time in WvW agree with those who spend less or none. So far, all of the decisions driven by polls have had that quality where the more time spent in WvW, the more of the population agrees (or doesn’t agree) on the change. If we start seeing the kind of statistical errors you’re asking about we’ll have to consider new strategies or tactics.

You guys redid Raid on the Capricorn to get rid of the aquatic PvP, which was something I really loved about that map. Why was there a need to remove this feature and what was the thought process behind the new map design?

Erik Waananen, Game Designer: We certainly appreciate that there were fans of aquatic combat in PvP maps (and you can still get your underwater fix in other areas of Guild Wars 2), but ultimately we decided to double-down on terrestrial combat for PvP and focus on making it the best experience possible.

For Capricorn, we wanted to deliver a map that had all of the familiar keystrokes of a competitive Conquest map, but one that also offered a new take on the secondary mechanic. The legacy of Raid on the Capricorn was important to us when building the new design, hence why tried to reincorporate several elements of the original Capricorn map for the new version (the ships, cannons, etc.), but we also wanted to pay homage in a way that made the redesign more competitive than the original version of the map, as well play and feel unique.

Thanks for sharing with us!