The Head of the Snake on Guild Chat: A Summary

by The Guild Wars 2 Team on 24th February, 2017

On the latest episode of Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer was joined by Living World Team Lead Andrew Gray and Game Designer Kirk Williford to talk about the fourth episode of Living World Season 3, The Head of the Snake.

Kirk said that it was a lot of fun creating the episode and the Lake Doric map because there’s a lot of history to draw from and many members of the team are fans of the original Guild Wars. Lake Doric is under siege by Caudecus Beetlestone’s White Mantle faction, and players must fight for control of three areas on the map with the help of Queen Jennah’s loyal Seraph. The battle lines move back and forth, giving players a reason to split up and fight in different events across the map. Andrew said that it was important for the Seraph patrols to be powerful so it would feel like players can assist and fight alongside a real army. They originally dropped Seraph NPCs from the core game into Lake Doric to let them try to fight it out. It didn’t end well.

The designers make a lot of events expecting players to approach them cautiously, but Andrew said they’ve found that players simply roll through, smashing everything. With that in mind, they developed the centaur camp as an area for players to smash to their hearts’ content. Centaurs have been hearing far too many players say that they can outrun them, Kirk said—now they have their revenge. The further players progress in the camp, the more likely they are to be stampeded by the ruthless herd.

Lake Doric still contains pockets of peace, which Andrew said was an intentional choice to underscore the need for normalcy in the midst of war and remind people what they’re fighting for. Kirk said that making the map feel “lived in” was important, because when war breaks out somewhere, it’s likely that people’s homes and lives are still there. The team wanted players to learn the story of Lake Doric beyond the conflict, and to have places to rest, because war is exhausting.

Queen Jennah showed some of her true strength in this episode, shielding Divinity’s Reach beneath a giant dome. She was determined not to be caught off guard like she was when Scarlet attacked the city. She has the capacity for ruthless efficiency, but Kirk said she hesitates to show it because she doesn’t want to be feared as a ruler.

Caudecus’s spinning room was created by Josh Foreman, and it has been in the game but inaccessible since the Guild Wars 2 launch. Andrew said that anything with Caudecus’s face on it is likely Josh’s “labor of love,” because Caudecus bears an uncanny resemblance to Environmental Art Lead Dave Beetlestone. Dave asked that they at least refrain from making a mask that looked like his face as a reward, which they promptly did anyway.

If you missed the episode, you can watch a recording below!