Introducing Custom PvP Arenas and Spectator Mode Beta

by Jonathan Sharp on April 23, 2013

Let’s say you’re an sPvP guild who wants to scrimmage a friendly guild so you can both work on your strategies. Or maybe you want to be able to watch one of your friends play so that you can see what they’re doing and how they’re using their skills. Perhaps you’re playing in a hot-join game and you just got destroyed by someone, and you want to look at how they’re playing and what skills their using. Or, better yet, let’s say I just want to set up one-on-one duels inside my guild, pitting two players against each other, while the rest of the guild watches. Or maybe all I want to do is find a place where only my friends and I can play where we can’t be interrupted by other players.

I’m happy to say that, beginning April 30, you’ll be able to do all that in Guild Wars 2.

This month, we’re introducing two beta features for testing on our live servers: custom arenas and spectator mode. To help explain these new features and what to expect from them, I’m being joined by two of the people who programmed these systems, Steve Bikun and Evan Lesh.

Custom Arenas

Hey guys, I’m Steve Bikun, and I’m a server programmer here at ANet!

We’re really excited about custom arenas because they put so much power in the player’s hands. With custom arenas, you can make your own place to play, you can organize private tournaments with friends, and you can challenge other teams to scrimmage.

Since this is a beta, we’re limiting the number of participants. We’re giving the top 50 QP ladder players in both North America and Europe a custom arena! We’ll also be giving custom arena kits to select media sites.

When the beta period is finished and we release custom arenas, all players will be able to purchase custom arena kits from the gem store! You’ll also be able to get custom arena time tokens, which you can use to add rental time to your own custom arena, or you can go to someone else’s custom arena, and add time there.

As we do our beta test, we’ll be paying close attention to player feedback on custom arena options. But for now, here are the things you can adjust on a custom arena:

Custom Arena Options

  • Custom Arena Name
  • Password
  • Message of the Day
  • Team Size
  • Score Limit
  • Time Limit
  • Respawn Time
  • Respawn Type: (Wave vs. individual)
  • Minimum players
  • Reserved Slots
  • Spectators: Y/N
  • Ready Button
  • Auto Balance
  • Lock Gear
  • Lock Skills
  • No Stats
  • Map selection
  • Member players
  • Member Guilds
  • Banned Players

I can’t wait to see what the community does with custom arenas! From setting up one-on-one duels while others players watch, to organizing player-run tournaments, I think it’s going to be great! If you see me in game as “The Norngineer,” don’t be afraid to say hi!

-Steve Bikun

Spectator Mode

Hey guys! I’m Evan “Bluxgore” Lesh, and I’m one of the gameplay programmers here at Anet!

With spectator mode, our goal is to allow you to sit out of a match and just learn from the players in the arena! Spectator mode is a great way for new PvP players to learn from more experienced players, and it will allow expert players to watch each other in order to refine their skill. It will also be an amazing tool for shoutcasting games between high-level teams!

We’ll make spectator mode available as soon as we begin the custom arena beta. Anyone in a hot-join game or a custom arena game (as long as spectator is enabled in the arena’s settings) can use spectator mode.

For games that impact the leaderboard, we won’t be allowing players to spectate directly, for a few reasons. One is due to cheating – we want to be sure that the game is fair for the combatants. Another reason is to help foster the PvP shoutcasting community. Later, down the road, select shoutcasters will be able to jump into high-level ladder games and spectate, which will allow them to cover all the action at the top of our leaderboards. This will also allow the player community to learn from high-level players as well as the shoutcasters, who help to explain the skills and tactics required to play sPvP at the top levels.

-Evan Lesh

How Spectator Mode Works

When you start a game with spectator enabled, you are given a choice as to which team you want to join:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Spectator

One you’ve decided to spectate a game, you can then click on a player’s name in order to follow them, or you can click on one of the camera icons on the mini-map.

When you’re following a player, you can click on the icon next to their name to see their template, which lists their amulet, their traits, their slotted skills and their weapons!

I’m really excited to see what spectator mode will do for the community and streaming. I can’t wait to see player-run tournaments shoutcasted to the entire world, and I’m looking forward to seeing top level teams duking it out as sanctioned streamers report the action to the masses! It also means new players can sit on the sidelines in a hot-join game or a custom arena, watch how others are playing, and then jump into the fray once they’re ready!

BTW, come pay a visit to my custom arena—Bluxgore’s House of Paincakes.

-Evan Lesh

In Closing…

So there you go; needless to say we’re really excited about these features! We’ll be watching for player feedback and reactions, so let us know what you think. And as always, we’ll keep adding more features to our competitive PvP landscape, so keep those ideas coming!

See you in game!  Feel free to swing by my custom arena —Chaplan’s Existential Enclave.