On the latest episode of Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer and her developer guests discussed Guild Wars 2’s Spring Quarterly Update. The overall goals for the update were to get players to the fun faster, make gameplay feel more rewarding, and put the fun back into gameplay.
Lead Designer Mike Zadorojny explained that the team working on the second Guild Wars 2 expansion pack paused development to work on the Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ maps, where they took another look at reward systems and how the events worked together. The team is paying close attention to player feedback, which is helping them design the second expansion.
Game Designer Byron Miller talked about the Lion’s Arch Aerodrome raid lobby. He said that raiding requires players to engage in harder content, but Guild Wars 2 didn’t provide a good source of feedback for new raiders, or for experienced players who want to optimize their skills. The update provided a good opportunity to add the Special Forces Training Area, which is useful not only to raiders but also to players who want to improve how they play in all parts of the game. Byron gave a demonstration of the training area’s features, and said that it’s a good place to get comfortable hitting the right buttons at the right time without the pressure of a raid encounter.
Next, Game Designer McKenna Berdrow discussed changes to the scribing crafting discipline. She said that scribing was originally meant to be a guild-wide effort, but in practice it often ended up as the work of a single player. The goal then became making scribing viable for an individual. Recipes that required many steps to create the finished product were designed to keep lower tier materials profitable, but as a result they became far more expensive than they should have been. Those recipes were largely pared down, drop rates were adjusted on some items, and the availability of charged slivers was increased.
Content Programmer Ben Arnold talked about the overhaul to the Cliffside fractal. Before the update, daily achievements required a number of Fractals of the Mists runs, so players mostly gravitated to Swampland and Molten Furnace, the shortest fractals. Ben said that the best course of action was to incentivize running different fractals and give better rewards to fractal runners. The pacing of the Cliffside fractal was adjusted because it was too long and slow, and changes are planned for other fractals in the future.
The Spring Quarterly Update included adjustments to core World vs. World issues, such as rewards and population imbalance. Game Designer Tyler Bearce said that WvW players had requested reward tracks, and that world linking will help less populated worlds. The WvW team will poll players to find out what they feel the next priority should be for WvW development, and McKenna added that the Alpine borderlands maps will be returning.
Game Designer Karl McLain discussed the design of the new level-of-detail system for effects, and he described how the artists iterated on several designs to create effects that wouldn’t cover large bosses completely, obscuring their animations.
Last but not least, PvP Designer Hugh Norfolk talked about changes to the Spirit Watch and Skyhammer PvP maps. He said that players felt Spirit Watch was very close to being a competitive map, but its two map mechanics were in conflict and players weren’t sure which tactic to use when playing. Hugh requested that players continue to give feedback on the official Guild Wars 2 forums.
If you missed this episode of Guild Chat, you can check out a recording below!