On this week’s Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer invited members of the Guild Wars 2 raid team to delve into the design for Forsaken Thicket’s third raid wing, Stronghold of the Faithful. She was joined by Narrative Lead Bobby Stein, Game Designer Teddy Nguyen, and Game Designer Jason Reynolds.
Bobby and Teddy clarified that they want to strike a balance in which there are no core Guild Wars 2 storylines gated behind raids, while also ensuring that raids don’t lack flavor. If any lore teased in raids happens to be necessary to understand the core Guild Wars 2 story going forward, it’ll be presented to non-raiders in such a way that it’s easy for them to get caught up.
Teddy talked about the Twisted Castle, a mazelike structure that players must navigate to reach Xera. She explained the debilitating effect that slowly accrues as players are exposed to Xera’s magic, and the disorienting effect of the shattered architecture. She also gleefully described watching as players entered Stronghold of the Faithful for the first time, ran over the invisible flooring in the Twisted Castle, and plummeted to their deaths.
Jason discussed Xera, the final boss of Stronghold of the Faithful. Xera is a White Mantle leader and powerful mesmer who summons massive phantasms during the ultimate battle. He revealed that her name was originally pronounced in a slightly different way, but when Bobby added pronunciation guides to the script for the voice actors, he accidentally changed it.
Next up was a video of members of the audio team swinging various flaming objects in Sound Designer Drew Cady’s yard to create sound effects for the Phoenix Glider. Unless you’re a member of the audio team, don’t try this at home! By swinging a fireball in a pendulum motion, they created the sounds of the glider’s wings opening and closing, and Drew even burned his belt to capture the sound of embers falling away.
Drew talked about how contextual dialogue and player voices are used to bring the raid to life. Different professions will sometimes have different comments to make on their surroundings and events—for example, player mesmers are especially unimpressed with Xera’s skills. If you listen carefully throughout Stronghold of the Faithful, you may discover where Drew layered Xera’s screams into the background to foreshadow the final battle.
Catch up on this week’s Guild Chat with the video below!