Thursday, July 1

Guild Wars 2: Killing Time Without Killing

IGN have just published a small article on non combat activities in the game, there are also two more interviews: and

The gamereactor article is a lot more interesting and touches on reaching an RP audience and having sanbox elements amongst directed gameplay, well worth the read.

It seems to me they've taken their experience from designing the fun activities for festivals in GW and run with it to make permanent features for GW2. These activities do have their bonuses, while they won't be crucial for story progression and character progression they will reward with aesthetic items and epeen boosters such as titles, in GW2 titles are account rather than character based, in GW titles go towards your HoM (Hall of Monuments) which will give you bonuses (aesthetic only) in GW2.

Very few activities were discussed but include:
  • Bar brawl
  • Something musical (not expanded on but instruments are mentioned)
  • Shooting Gallery
I have no doubt, thinking of things like rollerbeatle racing from current GW festivities that these activities will be pretty varied and fun, I liked the idea of toxic spew in the bar brawls.

From :

Activities don't have a level requirement. Do you have any plans for rewards for them, and if so - how do you balance those rewards?

John: We are going to have rewards come out of the activities. An example that I've given is like for the bar brawl, while you are in there, you're knocking out people, you might get a tooth as a drop. And then we might have an NPC that is a collector that is associated with the activity and you're turning in teeth to him because it just so happens that he is the local dentist and you're basically sending business to him. So you can turn those items in for rewards. In terms of making them balanced, it's more about getting an aesthetic reward, like a weapon or an armor kind of thing, it's like a skin for that activity, you won't be able to get it anywhere else.

How many of these activities do you have planned?

John: About 30-ish, I believe is what we're looking at.

You guys mentioned being able to break the game, and change the rules. How far can you go when it comes to these activities?

John: As far as it takes to make it fun.

But can you give any other example when you "break the game"?

John: Some examples that we can know, we talk about so much of the game that is built on co-operation and working together and in activities we can take a break from that. Because sometimes you're just in the mood to do something different. The bar brawl is built around that chaotic, free-for-all feeling of the moment you're seeing in movies, when someone gets a chair to the back of the head from out of nowhere, even though he is fighting someone else. We can change those kinds of rules for scoring and stuff like that. Or in the case of one of the other activities in Divinity's Reach, imagine that you're playing polo, but polo had pitfalls and bombs and traps going off. Things that are completely off the wall that we can get in there.

The activities are going to split across locations, giving you more reason to explore and find them.

A few other things are touched on :

Which sound like a series of progressively harder daily events that will provide experience, designed so that casual players have something to jump in with and achieve


One of the things you are talking about now are "feats". Can you give some solid examples of what these feats will look like?

Curtis Johnson: Feats are kind of our answer to rest experience and daily rewards. Feats are things that the game is tracking about your playtime, they layer on top of everything you're doing. Like how many things you've killed, and at certain levels you get rewards for that. We keep track of how many things you've killed simultaneously, what variety of enemies you are encountering, and all this are specific areas that as you meet certain levels in them you get bonus rewards for that day.

You say that this is a way for casual players to keep up with the more hardcore players. Only like through rest experience, or any other forum of bonuses?

Curtis: It's experience point bonuses, it's gold bonuses, there might be specific items or buffs that you get through feats. Basically they help to make your initial playtime, like the first hour or two, be more efficient. And so a casual player that plays for a short time, compared to someone who plays three or four times as long, might get up to about half as much experience points. Those first hours are more efficient, and give you a larger reward.

Choices made by your character will affect how NPC's react to you, without affecting gameplay, seems to be there purely for the RP side of character development.

More on Personality from

Personality (formerly called diplomacy)
The personality system allows players who want to roleplay the personality of their character a method for doing so. We measure three major personality categories; ferocity, dignity, and charm. Whenever a character talks to an NPC they may have a chance to say something that corresponds to one of these categories. As they speak to NPC’s the game keeps track of what they’ve said and assigns them a personality based on the mix of responses that they’ve given. For example someone who tends to use both charm and ferocity a lot would have the personality of “scoundrel”. Depending on a character’s personality certain NPC’s in the game will react to them differently and they will also be able to take certain actions that would otherwise have been unavailable. For example a “barbaric” who is trying to get information from someone may have the option to “punch them in the face”.

Too much to be true? Heres another quoute from

"One of the things I can say is that we tend to, you know, we were pretty tight-lipped about the game for a long time and we tend not to talk about things unless they are actually in the game. So when we talk about activities, like when we talk about the bar brawl, or the shooting gallery, because they are actually in the game you can go in and experience them right now. And so there is actually very little chance that most things we talk about are not going to make it into the game just because we run out of time or anything like that. Because, as I said, we tend not to talk about things unless we're very, very certain that we can do them. Certain as in they are in already"

Anets policy of not talking unless they are confident it will be in the game, which it likely is already, is something a lot of publishers could learn from. The hype increases as does the weight on them to make it all true, let's hope they succeed. I tend to believe their words.


  1. I'm guessing more in-depth information will be revealed over on their official site in the very near future, I have my f5 button armed and ready :)

  2. There's also a nice little blog article about language and lore, giving us a new mini game within the world to decipher ancient text.

  3. Just edited my original post as more sources have become available

  4. Gonna read all that during night shift :-)

  5. I think I mentioned this before but let me resay it just this onec.
    I'm a little worried that what's coming out of ArenaNet after so long a silence is the kind of proof-of-concept stuff, and sometiems Still-just-an-idea you would normally hear about during the first two years of development, with the latter two focsuing more on those thigns that actually make it in the game. Unless of course you take a leaf from Mythic and keep talking about your cool new features that aren't going to make it, as if they're going to make it, until about a week after Open Beta shows they're not going to be in.

    To compare it with SW:TOR, that game shows working gameplay and talks about features that are being implemented. Bioware of course has hte advantage of using a prebuilt Hero's Engine so it's easier to shwocase working content. But ArenaNet hasn't put their money where their mouth is at all. Even the combat elements video's view more like choreografed cutscenes using a U3-esque engine rather than ingame footage.

    Simply put, they should have been talking this talk a lot sooner and showing they can walk the walk around now. Unless they're going for a 6 rather than 4 year development cycle and launch somewhere in 2012-13

  6. They won't show us any more until after gamescom, they are keeping things low key until then. Gamescom will be when they showcase the game proper and attendees get to have hands on (I'll let you know about that when I get back). Gameplay could have come at E3 like ToR but they simply don't like E3. When they say it's in the game, it IS in the game, they don't like talking about stuff until it's ready.

    You may think they should have walked the walk sooner but that's not their style and it's better to have the hype based on solid foundations than it being missplaced on stuff that doesn't make it in to the game, like AoC, who suddenly announce the possibility of putting the bar room brawls into the game, which they should have been at launch.

    Read any of the buzz on any of the general mmorpg sites, they are definately doing the right thing. Being a dark horse for this long hasn't lost them any interest at all.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the game didn't release until 3rd or 4th quarter in 2011 but then I wouldn't be surprised if it released earlier.

    I know I'm sounding like a fan boy but this game is far more exciting than any other upcoming titles and I kinda trust Anet

  7. Yep. Fanboy :)

    However, besides Secret World, this is the game I am looking forward to the most as well.

    But... based on my experience from all the MMOs in the past I think Lani's vision is closer to the truth. Maybe ArenaNet will surprise us and deliver all that they seem to promise. I hope they will. That would be awesome. But I doubt it.

    In the meantime I am just reading, actually more glancing over, the snippets of info they give out. It looks promising enough that I will continue reading, eh glancing over, the news as it comes in.

    Which is kind of boring of me. Not much of a discussion if all I say is 'meh'. On the next update I'll be all opinionated :)

  8. Your a pair of old cynics :)

    What I liked about this news is the ever increasing RP possibilities, while personality isn't anything new or radical it adds to the possibilities that have already been mentioned.

  9. Im Waldorf, Phè's Steadler :-)

    I have to agree wtih Phè. Sigil/MacQuaid had a similar reputation to ArenaNet. So did Destiny Games/Richard Garriot and Cryptic/Jack Emmet.
    All companies and names of people who could be trusted. Untill it turned out their hubris caused them to aim too high and not deliver their promises. There's two differences between ArenaNet and those examples:
    1) ArenaNet no longer has their flagship figures, those got promoted to NC West then fired a half year later
    2) Unlike these other ventures they didn't strat sprouting their idea's of what they were going to put into the game during the first two years of developing (usually the planning/proofing stage) but only after that stage would presumably be over.
    So maybe they're closer to SOE psot EQ1 doing EQ-2 and SWG? Let's hope not, though EQ-2 became a solid game eventually.

    Keep in mind that ArenaNet doesn't have the monthly revenue stream coming in to subsidize new development which other teams have.
    They do have the funding of NCSoft to back them up and were always one of the leading parties in hiring Chinese Goldfarmers into Chinese Coding Sweatshops and did so with noticably more success than Gameamp :-)
    GW2 should really have a "Manufactured in China" on the box.

    Just one thing. RP? I've not really read anything that tickled my RP fancy. I read about the kind of fluff side games to keep people from getting bored (a la WOW, Holiday events and Free Realms) in between gorup sessions. That's not RP. The reaction system of NPC's sounds more interesting but also so much like the kind of hot air feature we've been hearing about but never gettign over the last 10 years. Stuff like that sounds cool, costs a lot of development time and is the first thing to drop of the list when crunch-time hits. Things like that have been promised by all the above mentioned teams, as trustworthy as ArenaNet is today in their time. Oh wait, some of their people found new jobs with NCSoft and/or ArenaNet directly after their ships sank.

    Anyway, I do hope you're right Geek and even if you're wrong there's grades of wrongness you could achieve that could still lead to a good game. I'm still more hopefull about GW2 than Secret World to be honest.

  10. *grumble*
    If blog software says a comment is too long to post, it shouldn't stealth post it anyway, especially not twice...

  11. "They do have the funding of NCSoft to back them up and were always one of the leading parties in hiring Chinese Goldfarmers into Chinese Coding Sweatshops and did so with noticably more success than Gameamp :-)
    GW2 should really have a "Manufactured in China" on the box."

    Now this is a revelation, tell me more please, not of gameamp but Anet and gold farmers.

    As for RP we know about:

    *Character Creation includes setting up a biography that will affect your personal storyline

    *Personal storylines that progress according to how you approach it

    *Player housing

    *Personality - how you interact with NPC's affect how they will interact with you (without affecting gameplay)

    *Dynamic events give you the choice to participate, depending on how you RP your character.

    *Non combat activities allowing for social hubs and interaction

    *We also know items have skins and therefore can be customised (how flexible we don't know yet)

    Not a bad list so far IMHO

  12. I'd have to look way back into my blogroll for it but ArenaNet's been at the forefront of outsourcing and offshoring a lot of their coding development. That those jobs went to goldfarmers was a joke, which may or may not be true regardless.

    Sorry Geek, it's more of your half full glass versus my half empty one but that list reads to me like a summary of old things that used to be in MMORPG's but got thrown out somewhere along the way now returning, a lot of vaporware and another way of saying Free Realms mini-games.
    SOme of those features will give the MMO more life, but aren't spelling RPG to me either.
    Dialogue choices are a welcome addition to any MMO game, but at least Bioware has the honesty of calling it part of a Story pillar, not a Roleplaying one.

    Again, I hope you're right and I'm not, but untill ArenaNet shows these in working action, as Bioware has actually been doing, they're no different than any other MMO dev studio promising golden mountains with carefully cohoreografed video's that don't actually show the gameplay in action.

  13. RP tools are tricky. The items Geek are listing are promising, but RP is about making your own story. NPCs that give two (or five) responses in stead of one is not helping me. The dialogues in Tortage often worked counter productive to me since the game tried to put my character in a certain box.

    Making a game RP friendly comes from the details. Not from major features, since they will be overrun and twisted into something else by non-RP players. RP heavily depends on the community. If enough RP-ers show up it will work, if not than not.

    I'll be Staedler a bit longer :)

  14. At the risk of sounding ostentatious: Conversation choices add to the Story. Roleplaying isn't so much about designing your own background story as it's about the weabing of stories through interaction with other players.
    As such it's heavily dependent on the people, yes.
    True RP friendliness would be a truly sandbox game allowing the players to build their own stories. GW2 won't do that though. ArenaNet's been looking too closely at WOW, WAR, FR and SW:TOR for inspiration on what to do.

    Having said all that. I still firmly believe that ArenaNet, and Bioware for that matter, will soon bring out a game that'll provide me with tons of solid fun. But with neither game I can tell if that's going to last more than 3 months.

  15. Not really they haven't looked at any of those games for inspiration in fact they've done the opposite they've used those games as a guide line for what not to do if you've actually properly read what they said except for swtor which they haven't used at all since during the time they were making the game they knew nothing about that game so why would they take inspiration from it.

    On discussion of role play wouldn't giving you 10 different questions to producing your own personal backstory with 4 options be perfect for a RP'er to create there own background. Sure it will never be able to give all the options a RP'er wants since that's impossible but it does mean that those things affect their gameplay and give something more tangible for a RP'er to use plus the player created background can be expanded upon by the Rp'ers own imagination.

    I'm not sure about you but this game seems to give a fair amount more freedom than most upcoming mmo's since all these things are optional and certain choices don't give gameplay advantages over someone else forcing you to take those choices if you want to do other forms of pve *cough"swtor*cough*.