Foostival 2014: Interview with Ramon

Foostival_Interview with Ramon

Update: Check out the corresponding gem cards giveaway (EU-only). Open until March 31! This is the interview from Foostival with Ramon Domke, the German community manager of Guild Wars 2 (click this link for the Guildnews version and this link for the Wartower one – the videos are identical!). It was done completely in German and even though nothing spectacular was revealed, it is still fun to listen to it and we thought it may be a good idea to translate it and share it with the rest of the community!

On the left, you see Johannes (Lord Walek) from Wartower. The guy on the right is Alex (Sputti) from Guildnews. The one in the middle with the pretty pink shirt is Ramon. Prior to Foostival, they had asked their communities to give them questions they can ask Ramon Domke, who is the German community manager for Guild Wars 2. Alex asked his community for more personal questions, so most of those below are from him.

I decided not to translate everything they said literally. The video is more than one hour long, so I assume you can understand why I didn’t do that. ;) I tried to stay as close as possible to the answers Ramon gave while summarizing and translating them. Sometimes, they are closer to what was said literally. I’ve also added a few comments in ((brackets)) where necessary (like the changes of the reveal dates for the features pack or when I wasn’t sure I got the correct translation).

Ramon starts with the warning that there will be one sentence in three variations that you will be hearing in his replies pretty often (and he assures us, he hates it as much as we do):
1) I can’t say anything about that.
2) We’re not talking about this yet.
3) Nothing is ever off the table.

He tries to answer the questions as best as he can.

1. Loot and reward system: Will there be changes e.g. in dungeons and fractals? Champion runs get better rewards than other things in the game.

He can’t promise which direction the changes will take, but there will be changes. Different content should be rewarded similarly. There is a “loots and rewards” team looking at how different things are rewarded, so changes will definitely come. He can’t say if they’ll be viewed positively or negatively in the beginning.

2. Will there be changes in the skill system or how the enemies behave? So far, damage is more important than anything. Support is more of a burden to the group.

Ramon knows this feedback. They have just released the first information about the features pack and those are the first steps towards this direction where eventually different builds should be equal. On the other hand, with the open world content, they try to implement different game mechanics to make different builds strong.

3. What does Ramon think about the professions’ balance?

He’s not too keen on speed runs or getting the most gold per hour played. He most often plays with friends and can play with less effective builds, but he can understand that there are issues, especially with PUGs where they say “You either have this build or you can’t come!”

4. Are they still working on a solution to limited condition stacks?

There are lots of developers and are trying to find a solution, but the last things they tried out resulted in the server infrastructure to go down. There was too much tracking of e.g. stacks of different lengths. It’s not off the table.

5. New profession/weapon combinations: Are they planning this?

He wouldn’t exclude the possibility of this, but nothing will come in the next weeks or months. There will be the features patch next and then they will continue the living story.

Or more skills per weapon? E.g. switching between/choosing skills?

That is an interesting idea. If they can implement this reasonably, then why not. Either through a different weapon or by giving one weapon more skills. It would maybe be easier to just put in a new weapon.

6. What was the reason for only now giving free retraiting?

They looked at different systems – not only about retraiting. And they thought: Who is disadvantaged the most? When retraiting, then it is the beginners, who don’t have that much gold yet. They need to travel to a city, then retrait and travel back. That’s 10 silvers which is a lot for a beginner. Or you want to try out something. You’re out in the world fighting a veteran, you die and think: What can I do? You can now try different things without having to travel. It’s a much more interesting game now. The answer is: because they want to make the game better and because they grow together with the community.
He gives the example of Guild Wars 1. On the back of the Prophecies box was an example build with a warrior. It was completely ineffective. Developers had put it there as an example build, but the players who brought in new build ideas every day developed the game along.

7. What does he think about the upcoming warrior trait where you get more attack speed with two one-handed weapons ((dual-wield agility)) and if he knows how it stacks with quickness?

He does not know if it stacks. But he is also “such a boring warrior” with two one-handed axes, so he doesn’t haven an issue with this new trait.

8. Is more group-content planned?

Definitely, but it depends on how you define “group-content”. 5-party instanced content? Or “raid-like” in instances with e.g. 20 people. GW2 tries to have lots of content in the open world. Yes, they try to put group content in there. They try not to have it “too zergy”, so that even with a huge group with 150, players can interact and fight together.

9. Will there be more world bosses like Tequatl?

He definitely does not want to exclude that possibility.

10. Are they thinking about putting the bigger bosses that need lots of coordination onto special maps? So that those who do this content don’t disturb those who want to level in that zone.

He refers to the last few bullet points on the April 2014 Feature Pack release and tells us to wait for those to be revealed ((Facilitating Friendly Play Parts 1, 2 and 3 which will be shown April 2 – April 4)). This question will be answered in detail in there.

11. What does Ramon think of the ending of Season 1?

He looks at it like it was a TV series. He doesn’t have a problem with the ending. It’s like a cliffhanger: Lots of the questions that appeared with Flame & Frost have been answered so far, but more and more loose parts appeared and not all of those have been answered. He saw a planning document for season 2 and there are answers to all open questions. In this document, you can also clearly read: “E. is… (name of a person)“. What they learned is that it is important that players can see there is a common thread throughout all parts.

12. In general, how did he like Scarlet?

Scarlet was a bit of a crazy kale. She fulfilled her purpose and even if she wasn’t liked, she still caused emotions.

13. What does ArenaNet think about dungeons with more than 5 players? Maybe making dungeons scalable?

Nothing is off the table, but they’re trying to bring big and interesting encounters to the open world. They want to design this content in a way that people who are just passing by can form a group and do it, but it should also be challenging enough, so players aren’t standing there hitting “1” repeatedly.

14. Will there be more content on Southsun Cove?

He can’t say anything about this ((I assume because he doesn’t know.))

15. There is one armor set ((“Rüstungsset der Genesung” in German which I believe are the Mending gauntlets, greaves, helm in English)) you get as rewards from the personal storyline, but the leggings are missing.

He has no idea!

16. Will there be more possibilities to get ascended armor? E.g. dungeon tokens, karma.

He doesn’t know exactly how, but they are looking at ways to make items available through different means, so players with different playstyles (like people who do WvW or dungeons, …) can also get them. He compares it to the changes in the trait system where new traits can be unlocked by doing specific content or by paying gold. He also refers to the design philosophy they had in mind for Guild Wars 2 that they do not want to force players to play a certain way.

17. Will there be new legendary weapons? And if so, will they be available in the same way than the current legendaries?

They’re thinking about how to handle legendary weapons. They had originally planned to implement the feature of crafting a precursor or doing a scavenger hunt with the feature release. But since they’re now rethinking the whole system with their “loots and rewards” team, they postponed it. But they are looking for ways to reasonably put them in and give players the feeling that they’re slowly but surely working towards their legendary weapon and aren’t dependant on the loot luck from the Mystic Forge. Of course, they are also thinking of possible new legendary weapons. This does not mean there will be new ones, but that they are of course thinking about them.

18. There was also the question if there will be more skins from Guild Wars 1?

He thinks this is possible, especially when it’s about very popular ones. But he doesn’t know if it’s being done.

19. What is Ramon’s favourite zone in Guild Wars 1 and which zone die he like in Guild Wars 1 which doesn’t exist in Guild Wars 2 yet.

He generally likes barren land in MMOs. In Guild Wars 1, he liked the desert areas. For example, the Crystal Desert which looked like a huge desert, even though it wasn’t. He talks about an abandoned temple there and that it looks like there is a statue, but the closer you get, the more it looks like a mirage. Also, the area before you go to Maguuma Jungle, that looks like a desert: He thinks this is beautiful. And in Eye of the North, he says “Longeye’s Ledge” was just great with the atmosphere, the autumny look, the warm sunlight.

20. What is going to happen with Lion’s Arch now?

Lion’s Arch is currently destroyed. It won’t be rebuilt within a day. He doesn’t say what or how it’s going to change.

21. Which update of the Living Story was his favourite?

When it comes to gameplay, Bazaar of the Four Winds. It was fun and he loves Sanctum Sprint. He is also sad that the Aspect Arena is not part of the daily activities. He would also love to see this one again.

22. How far developed is Season 2 of the Living Story?

It’s all planned.

23. Ellen Kiel or Evon Gnashblade?

Ellen Kiel. His bet was on her winning because while the hardcore and Guild Wars 1 players wanted to see the Abaddon fractal, he was sure that the bigger crowd would go with the reduced waypoint costs.

24. Would Scarlet have appeared in the Abaddon fractal as well?

He doesn’t reply to that question.

25. Will there also be something to vote on in Season 2 like the vote between Ellen and Evon?

He doesn’t know that.

26. Will Season 2 see content that is closer to an “expansion”? For example, new regions, new professions, new races.

He says that the question is what you call “something like expansion content”. He says yes, at least, it will go into that direction.

27. Are they working on a continuation of the personal story? And is it possible to combine the personal and the living story?

They are thinking about different possibilities of the personal character progression/story and revisions of current systems, but he can’t say what they are going to do.

28. Will there be more blending of story and game events? As in having more cut scenes in between.

They extended their cinematics department. So he won’t say “no” to this. The recent updates also showed some more cut scenes. They do not plan to use those cut scenes anymore where your character and one other character can be seen on the screen – like in the personal story – and will concentrate more on scenic cut scenes.

29. Are they working on a way to let the player repeat living story? E.g. through fractals?

He would not say “no” and they do hear this feedback very often: Why do you make temporary content that will be lost forever once it’s over? He thinks they are probably looking at how to make replaying it possible.

30. Will we see World 3 of the Super Adventure Box on April 1 and if so, will the story be continued?

Ramon’s reply: “And who would benefit from an April 1 spoiler?”

31. What does Ramon think of the SAB?

He thinks the idea is interesting. He shook his head when he first heard about this. But it’s such an ingenious idea that it works. In general, he is just too bad to do jumping puzzles.

32. What does Ramon think of the tribulation mode of the SAB?

He doesn’t like going from full life to zero without understanding why, so he doesn’t like this mode. But there are different players and everybody likes different content. He is happy that there are people who love the tribulation mode.

33. The next topic is datamining: What do they think about dataminers?

He personally hates dataminers. They destroy the fun for the players and the result is that developers have to think about how to deploy a build, so that hardly no datamining can be done. So, building something over a longer course of time is difficult.

34. There was an “alternative ending sequence” to season 1 of the living story which got revealed by dataminers. Does something like this happen more often at ArenaNet that there are different endings or that different endings are done and the “right” one will be chosen at a later time?

In general, if you look at filmmakers, game developers, authors, this happens frequently to test out different endings: How would this ending affect the rest of my story, etc.? This happens especially when you’re working with several authors. The ending they did is the ending they need.

35. Some complained that almost no new town clothes have been implemented. Will this change?

He refers to the announcements for the feature patch and that some questions will be answered there: Monday. ((Note: This was changed and the date on the website now says “March 25”, so today, the correct answer is “Tuesday”))

36. Could it be implemented that regular armor could be changed to town clothes?

He again refers to their website and the feature patch: Monday. ((Tuesday!))

37. How about a crafting profession that lets you create town clothes?

Monday! ((Tuesday!))

38. Will there be new emotes? Or animations for some existing emotes?

He doesn’t know the answer. It’s currently not talked about, but as usual, nothing is off the table.

39. Would he like more vistas to see more of the world?

He would love to see a “filmmakers kit” where he could basically dock the camera of his character and then make his own vista/film.

40. How many screenshots has he taken?

His screenshots usually tell a story, as he never deletes them. He has no idea how many he has.

41. ((The question if Ramon plays GW2 in his free time is obsolete: Yes, he does!)). So on to the next one: How often/regularly does he play?

He has almost 6000 achievement points. It’s not that much, but not bad either.

42. What is Ramon’s favourite profession and what is his favourite profession/race combination?

He plays sylvari. He would love to play asura, but there is no “change sylvari to asura kit” and he doesn’t want to do everything again. But he really likes asura. He plays all 8 professions. His favourite is engineer. He hasn’t played it that often recently, as he’s playing his necromancer in PvP and WvW more often.

43. Is there a general trend towards one race or profession at ArenaNet?

No. It’s mixed. Everybody has their own favourites.

44. What is his favourite in-game dye for armor?

Thanks to having sylvari, he has a lot of choices when it comes to skin colours and he tries to choose dyes that support that colour. His guardian has an armor that has metal colours (gold, silver, dark bronze). His necro has a very dark green and around the dark green, he has light golden borders and a white shirt below.

45. Are they working on solving some cosmetic issues, especially the warrior shouting of gaining adrenaline when it’s slowly decaying?

He can’t say that. Since it’s not a critical bug, it’s probably low on the list of priorities. More critical things are worked on first.

46. Will there be an expansion of the API that can be used?

They are currently reworking a lot of systems which will render the API useless in some areas at first. Then they will definitely need to rework things to keep the API useable.

47. Has ArenaNet thought about implementing a region lock because people from different time zones could get an advantage over night on EU servers?

They discussed this, but decided against it, because there are players who travel a lot, etc. Or when players from Oceania are on European data centers, etc. They would not want to dictate players where and when to play the game.

48. How did Ramon get to ArenaNet?

He applied. They did not want him back then. 1,5 years later, they called him and asked if he was still interested. And obviously, he was.

49. What is a typical day of a community manager?

A normal day doesn’t exist. As community manager, he is talking to different departments and sits in between everything and tries to coordinate everything. He has to know what’s going on inside the studio and what’s happening outside of the studio. Then he tries to combine this. He gave an example of how they wanted to name something which, unfortunately, was a nazi parole when translated to German. So it is his job to know what will and won’t work in his community.

50. When Ramon sees a suggestion on the forum, does he have to tell the lead community manager about this first or can he tell that to the developers? What’s the hierarchy like?

He is the highest rank for the German-speaking area. He decides what to report to the developers. He also has people who report to him. But he is the one representing the German community. He can forward feedback directly, but they are communicating between the teams and if there is an issue in one region, it’s very often an issue in other regions as well. He gives the example of the Zodiak armor and that in the UK, it was a big issue that it was seen as too sexualized on female characters whereas in other regions, it was mainly seen as too similar to a smurf with the blue colours. ((Also notable in this aspect is that he knows what was being discussed on the Wartower forums – a German fansite)). A lot of his time is spent looking for feedback and reporting about this. He also tries to figure out if, for example, negative feedback comes from a lot of different people or maybe there are a lot of negative postings, but they are from just a handful of people. In the latter case, he still doesn’t disregard the feedback and it is still being added to the list of feedback. Additionally, the communities (on fansites, etc.) differ. Something that’s being discussed in the Wartower forums may not be an issue elsewhere or discussed differently (e.g. the other German fansites, Twitter, Facebook, …). His job is to find out what the whole of the German community thinks and not just parts of it.

51. Do community managers get unlimited gems?

Ramon would love that. They get a certain amount of gems every month, though. He’s saving them currently. But he has also bought gems and says he spent about 80 – 90€ for gems since the game’s release. He tries to stay in the range of what he would pay for a subscription game… around 5 to 10€ for the game.

52. Which Elder Dragon is the most interesting for him?

He doesn’t think he has a ranking. Kralkatorrik is funny, because of his dragon breath and how he corrupted everything with it. Mordremoth and how he influences nature and everything… he generally likes the idea that each Elder Dragon is more or less able to manipulate different elements.

53. Does the Deep Sea dragon, lovingly called Bubbles by the community, have a real name internally?

He thinks he saw the name “Bubbles” on a document. He doesn’t know anything about an official name.

54. If you could tell a part of the Living Story yourself, what would happen in it and which characters would definitely make an appearance?

His reply: “Children are watching.” He mentions Caithe… and adds a “maybe”. Then he stops, laughs and the next question is asked.

55. Somebody said that in the last 1,5 years, there wasn’t much lasting content and an expansion hasn’t been announced yet. What is your position about that?

He would also wish for more content that stays in the world, but he also understands the idea behind the progressing story. He believes that ArenaNet can do it a lot better in season 2. Players should also understand that this is the first time ArenaNet has developed a real open world MMORPG and they are experimenting a lot. Some things don’t work, sometimes they learn a lot and he thinks that they are on a good path and that season 2 will be better.

56. XBox One, PS4, Wii U or PC?

PC and PS4. And Oculus Rift – he really wants one!

57. Are you a fan of Game of Thrones?


58. What did you think about “Red Wedding”?

It was not very surprising for him. He is one of the people who read the books. He really liked the atmosphere created by the music, though!

59. ((Here was a spoilery question about Game of Thrones – I deleted it, just to be safe. Also, be careful when watching the video!))

((Here was the spoilery answer to the spoilery question above.))

60. What happened with the Guild Wars 2 ComChat ((it was a chat between people from fansites and Ramon to talk about the game))?

He did not have enough time to do those. He did them when he had time left. They restructured and he has more time now and in fact, after this very interview, they had planned to do another ComChat. He will also try to do it regularly again. Maybe once a month.

61. How does he get his bald head to shine this nicely?

Bloom effect! Go to your graphic cards settings, click on “bloom effect” and you can have such a shiny bald head, too!

62. Last question: The VIP feature in the Chinese version and our Western version.

There are usually content differences between the Western and the Eastern versions (or one being behind in versions). When they said that we would have the same “version”, they meant the content. Content updates will be simultaneously. The builds will not be identical! The Western version has the “buy to play” model where you buy the game and can play it as much as you like. This is the Western version and this will stay the Western version. The version in Asia is different. He ends his reply with: In the history of MMOs there hasn’t been an MMO that started as a free to play or buy to play and then added a subscription. It has always been the other way around.

Tweets from the Hamburg Community Lunch with Colin

1_GW2_LogoA few minutes ago, the community lunch with Colin that took place in Hamburg, ended. I’m pretty sure we’ll get more information from the interviews soon on the various fansites that were invited. But Ramon Domke already tweeted a few things. Those tweets are all in German, so I’m certain that there are people out there looking at the letters wondering if they’re missing out.

But don’t worry, here is the English translation (with the German original next to it). All original tweets can be found on the official German Guild Wars 2 twitter account.

German tweet English translation
Colin lernt gerade allerhand über Currywurst, während er Sushi bestellt. Colin learns a lot about “Currywurst” while ordering sushi.
Colin spricht über die neuen Gildenmissionen. Je nach Gildengröße kann man die Aufgaben skalieren – für Gruppen größer als 5 Colin speaks about the new guild missions. The tasks can be scaled according to guild size – for groups larger than 5.
Gildenhallen werden definitiv kommen, werden allerdings derzeit noch nicht entwickelt. Guild Halls will definitely come, but they’re currently not in development.
Gildenmissionen sind so gestaltet, dass auch nicht-Gildenmitglieder daran teilnehmen können um kleineren Gilden zu helfen. Guild missions are designed in a way that non-guild members can participate in order to help small guilds.
Politik Stufe 5 für Gilden wird sehr bald mehr nutzen haben. Politics Level 5 for guilds will soon be more useful.
Das Spiel wird in Zukunft mehr und mehr neue Events in alten Zonen erhalten um die Event-Dichte zu erhöhen. In the future, the game will have more and new events in old zones in order to increase the density of events.
Es gibt bereits jetzt zahlreiche Hinweise über den Verbleib von Evenia in GW2. Also haltet die Augen und Ohren offen. There are already numerous hints about the whereabouts of Evennia in GW2. Keep your eyes and ears open.
WvW Meta-Game: Orbs sollen in veränderter Form zurückkommen, Grenzlande sollen wichtiger werden. WvW Meta game: Orbs are to come back in a modified version, borderlands should become more important.
Colin würde sehr gerne einen Plüsh-Quaggan haben… Er will gleich 3 :) Colin would really love to have a quaggan plushie… he wants 3 :)
Auch am dritten Buch wird noch gearbeitet. der Release steht bald(tm) bevor. The third book is still being worked on. The release will be soon(tm).
Die persönliche Geschichte soll in Zukunft fortgesetzt werden. Derzeit wird allerdings an der lebenden Geschichte gearbeitet. The personal story will be continued in the future. At the moment, however, they are working on the living story.
Der nächste Drache wird NICHT der Untersee-Drache sein. The next dragon will NOT be the deep sea dragon.
Zhaitan könnte später eine Überarbeitung erfahren. derzeit werden alle “geringeren” Dungeon-Bosse überarbeitet. Zhaitan could probably be overhauled later. Currently, all “lesser” dungeon bosses are being overhauled.
Support-Charaktere sollen durch die neue Anpassung der Loot-Tabelle bessere Belohnungen erhalten. Support characters should get better loot thanks to adapting the loot table.
Colins Lieblingsbier ist Hefeweizen. damit ist er gerade zum Super-Liebling des #GW2 #ComLunch aufgestiegen! Colin’s favourite beer is Hefeweizen (beer brewed from wheat) which made him to the super-favourite of the #GW2 #ComLunch!
Das erste Halloween Event in GW1 war eine spontane Idee, die vom gesamten Team übers Wochenende gestemmt wurde. The first Halloween event in GW1 was a spontaneous idea, which had been done by the whole team over the course of a weekend.
Extended Experience: Sie wird kommen, hat aber leider eine geringere Priorität. Die API soll CommunityApps ermöglichen.  Extended Experience: This will come, but unfortunately, it has a low priority. The API should allow CommunityApps.
 Wenn die Hauptsysteme ausgereift sind, kann sich Colin vorstellen, dass neue Features für Machinima Macher kommen werden. When the main systems are polished, Colin thinks there could be coming new features for machinima makers.
PvP Ranglisten werde sehr bald kommen, als erster Schritt Richtung eSport. Danach Beobachtermodus für Shoutcaster. PvP ranking lists will come very soon, as first step towards e-sports. After that, observer mode for shoutcasters.
YouTube Monetarisierung verstößt technisch gegen die EULA, aber wir gehen nicht dagegen vor! Viel Spaß beim Casten!
shayaliz auf Twitter: Gilt dasselbe auch für und co?
@shayaliz Ja, generell für CommunityVideos und Berichterstattung. bitte haltet euch nur an die Quellen-Regeln (Fanseite Kit)
YouTube monetarization does technically violate the EULA, but they aren’t taking action against it. Have fun creating!
shayaliz on Twitter: Does this also apply for etc.?
@shayaliz: Yes, community videos and reporting in general. Please abide by the rules for sources (fansite kit)
Colin spielt privat gerne WvW, üblicherweise kommt er nach einer guten Sitzung zu spät zur Arbeit. *lacht* Colin likes playing WvW in his free time. After a good session, he’s usually late for work. *laughs*
Neues Daily System: Man kann aus 10 Dailies 5 pro Tag auswählen, die sehr spezifisch sein werden. New dailies system: You can choose 5 per day out of 10 dailies, which will be very specific.
Kneipenschlägerei wird das nächste Minispiel sein, dass in das Spiel integriert werden wird. Bar brawl will be the next mini game, which will get into the game.
Polymock: Irgendwann wird es ins Spiel kommen. Colin hatte Polymock für GW1 entwickelt und will es zurück. Polymock: It will come into the game eventually. Colin has developed Polymock for GW1 and he wants it back.
Gildenmissionen: kleinere Gildengruppen können Hilfe von Spielern in der Welt bekommen. Alle finden in offener Welt statt Guild missions: smaller guild groups can get help from other players in the open world. All missions will take place in the open world.
Die lebendige Geschichte (aktuell: Flamme und Frost) wird bleibende Inhalte zur Spielwelt hinzufügen. The living story (currently: Flame and Frost) will add content to the game world that’ll be permanent.
Chat Spam in Löwenstein wegen der Fraktale: Das neue LFG System soll Abhilfe schaffen. Entwicklung schreitet voran. Chat spam in Lion’s Arch because of fractals: The new LFG system should change this. Development is progressing.
Das neue LFG System soll Gruppen nicht de-personalisieren und entfremden, wie das manche Dungeonfinder Systeme tun. The new LFG system should not de-personalize and estrange, as happens with some dungeon-finder systems.
Colin will mehr langfristige Welt-Veränderungen und Zonenübergreifende Einflüsse durch Events im Spiel sehen. Colin wants to see more long-term changes to the world and cross-zone influences through events in the game.
Das Commander System: es soll robuster gestaltet werden und neue Funktionen hinzufügt werden. The commander system: it should be more robust and new functions should be added.
Ein System ähnlich dem Template-System von GW1 soll kommen um leichteres Umskillen zu ermöglichen. aber nicht allzu bald. A system similar to the template system in GW1 should come in order to enable easier re-skilling. But not in the near future.
Warum die Entscheidung, dass im WvW in Zukunft erst ab 25 Spieler orange Kreuze gibt?
Spieler in kleinen Gruppen sollen die Möglichkeiten haben taktische Commando-Einsätze durchzuführen.
Why the decision to only show orange crosses for WvW fights when there are more than 25 players?
Players in small groups should have the possibility to undertake tactical commando operations.

EuFanDay: The interview

Cross-posted from Talk Tyria. As always, please go there if you want to comment on the article. Thank you. :)

As I said in my last entry here on Talk Tyria, Nerdy Bookahs had been invited to the EUFanDay that took place this Monday and Tuesday in Brighton. I was the one representing our blog there (a first post about this went up on our blog. It includes a growing link collection for write-ups etc. from the EUFanDay). As part of this event, we got to talk with some of the developers about Guild Wars 2. Or rather, each of us (the invited fan sites) were allowed to ask one question. I’d collected a few more than just that, so that was a bit sad. Fortunately, I didn’t have as many questions as some others, so the disappointment from those who sent in their questions wasn’t that big on my site. ;)

Tasha Darke and Dutch Sunshine have just posted the transcription of the interview. You can find the first part on her blog and the second one on GuildMag.

As those two already transcribed the interview, I will refrain from doing the same. It’s a lot of work and time, after all (thank you for doing that, by the way!). Time which I rather want to spend on ranting and musing about which we got to know from the interview. ;)

I’ll assume that you’ve read the interview now. But I’ll try to write in a way that you know what I’m talking about even if you haven’t. ;) As I said, we had about 25 people (give or take 3) who all asked one question. So the questions were very mixed. We had a few about PvP and what we now know is that ArenaNet want to have structured PvP as an esport. We don’t know anything new about the observer mode but it’s probably a safe bet that they’ll do everything they can to include this as fast as possible post-launch because it’s needed if they want it to succeed as esport. Other than the observer mode, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t succeed here. Every character in structured PvP is the same level, has the same quality gear, access to all skills, etc. They also want their structured PvP (and WvW) to be easy to understand and get into. Overflow shards will also allow you to join structured PvP matches (but not WvW), so even if your server is crowded, you can still join those PvP matches. From the interview, I take it that we can expect some kind of announcement about additional PvP maps before release. They mentioned one that has lots of underwater combat and a pirate ship! Another one is supposedly going to make GW1 players feel nostalgic.

On to another area of the game, the community. It was stated again that there will be no restrictions or penalties for switching guilds. You’re supposed to be able to switch whenever you feel like it. How that works in the end remains to be seen. It requires us to let go of what we’ve gotten used to (it really shouldn’t surprise us anymore as it’s not the only thing that will work differently than in previous MMOs). Another thing that a lot of people are worried about is how the fansites will survive (I think there was a huge discussion about this on guildwars2guru) when Guild Wars 2 will have official forums. Regina said that while they will have less time, they’re still going to read the inofficial forums, fan sites etc. and that there will, of course, be people who’ll rather post on non-official sites than on the official ones out of fear of being censored on the official forums. If you ask me, I think it’ll be like we have it now: There isn’t just ONE fan site and ONE blog out there. We have so many different ones and so far, there’s space for all of them. Because people have different preferences and thus, will want to post on one site but not on the other. The official forum will just be “one more” site that you can go to but it won’t be necessary. If all you want is get news about the game and chat with a few friends, why not do that where you’re currently doing it already? There’s no need to move on to the official forums as ArenaNet won’t ask us to shut down our fan sites or blogs.

Something that disappointed me greatly were the answers about the customization for female humans mostly. ArenaNet want them to be idealized and beautiful. So no wrinkles, scars, etc. From what I have seen in pictures (or the customization videos from GamesCom), it looks like all female humans are dolls. I’d really like there to be the option to have different faces (I’m thinking of Warhammer Online here which made it possible to add scars. We’re fighting dragons here, after all! It’d make sense to have scars!). But oh well, it can’t be changed, I guess. And since I want to play Asura and Charr anyway, I don’t really need to worry about the humans. The thing that then made me squeal again was when they mentioned that there will be dances. I feared that we wouldn’t get those (again, like in Warhammer Online where I first realised that I really love fluff like that and I miss it when it’s not there… just like minipets, emotes,… – thankfully, Guild Wars 2 will have all of those!).

One last thing that I want to comment on is the question by about where to get the “good items” (that is, the high-level armor). ArenaNet’s philosophy about how we should be playing the game is “do what is fun for you”. In other words: If you enjoy WvW, you should be able to get the gear from WvW. If you enjoy crafting, you should be able to get similar gear with similar stats (in power) from crafting, and so on. However, certain looks will only be obtainable through WvW, crafting etc. So that when you see a player in a certain armor, you know they have done WvW a lot. But they’re not more powerful than you are when it comes to the stats they have on their armor. If you ask me, this is a great direction and one they’ve already done in Guild Wars 1. There’s nothing wrong with having bragging rights. But make them about the look/uniqueness of the gear and not about the stats on the gear! This will make the game much better than handing out gear with much better stats because it means that the whole game world remains open to you even if you decide to ignore a certain part.