Guild Wars 2 – Exclusive Ranger Interview Transcription
Our Exclusive Guild Wars 2 Ranger Interview Podcast revealed a couple of interesting new tidbits of information about this upcoming game. For those of you who prefer reading over listening, here is the full interview transcribed for your reading pleasure. The interview was held by Jonathan (Ardua) Doyle from OnRPG and the questions were answered by Lead Game Designer Eric Flannun and Game Designer Jon Peters.
OnRPG: Hello guys, nice to meet you!
Anet: [Eric]Hello! [Jon]Hi!
OnRPG: The coverage on Guild Wars 2 is looking very good. I was interested in the waypoint system, is this auto-path, eh, would I be driving from waypoint to waypoint, or is it a teleport?
Anet: [Eric]It’s a teleport, so um, in Guild Wars 1 we had a system that we just called map travel, which, you know Guild Wars 1 was a more heavily instanced game. So what we had [were] these areas that were non-instanced areas where players could meet up called outposts, and you’d bring up your map and you would click on an outpost and travel to that outpost, so we had very quick access to different areas.
When we started making Guild Wars 2 we really wanted to, sort of, preserve that freedom of travel and ease of travel for people, and so that resulted in our waypoint system. Our waypoint system, basically, is, a series of asura devices, I think would be the best term for them, that are scattered around the world and whenever you get close enough to one you sort of unlock the ability to travel to that, and at any time you can hit M, bring up your map, and click on a previously discovered waypoint and travel to it. So that includes when you’re dead, that’s kind of how you resurrect yourself so to speak.
OnRPG: And of course you want everybody to get off the beaten path so a bunch of us scattered around [Anet: [Eric] Yeah.], and the downed system, downed mode, sounds fantastic, I have to say. And there was a Ranger specific question of, will your pets help in if you’re down?
Anet: [All Jon here, I think, I distinctly remember the way he said comes and revives you, like he was thinking of one of the animals slobbering on you] Yes, there are some things that your pet will do for you. So we talked about how if you are downed, but you manage to finish off an enemy, you will rally and come back. If you’re downed and your pet finishes off an enemy, you will also rally.
So it definitely [OnRPG: Oh!] has a pretty big play in there. Yes, there’s actually, you know, one of the Ranger downed skills that we haven’t talked about yet obviously until now, is a skill where you can tell your pet to come to you, it’s currently called Lick Wound, and basically what he does is comes up to you and revives you. It’s one of the four effective ways to come back from being downed is to have your Ranger pet alive.
OnRPG: Well I know what I’m going to play. How many more classes as sadly I don’t know an awful lot about Guild Wars 1, one of my friends always wanted me to play it…How many classes are..?
Anet: [Eric]There are going to be eight professions total in Guild Wars 2. So there’s the three, counting Ranger, we’ve announced three of them. We’ve got some returning classes, professions, we’ve got some professions that are, I would call them variations on professions that we had before, but they’re not quite the same, and we’ve got some completely new professions [to add] to our sort of world. So there’s kind of a nice mix of old and new in there for Guild Wars 1 fans.
OnRPG: For somebody who’s never played Guild Wars at all, and, I do have to ask the horrible question of, how easy do you think it would be to pick up? Is the leveling curve going to make me cry?
Anet: [Eric]Well it depends upon what you like in your leveling curves. Our leveling curve is designed, in Guild Wars 1 it was designed this way, and I think, this is also our philosophy in Guild Wars 2, which is, we don’t want people to have to feel like they’re grinding.
Let me define grind as a point at which you don’t make measurable progress in a decent amount of time. So we want you to always feel like you can make some sort of progress in a reasonable amount of time, and then, we also want you to feel like you can be reasonably equipped for whatever level you’re at with a reasonable amount of effort. Raiding and going through twenty dungeons looking for a rare drop that you have to fight with other players over and hours and hours and hours of trying to get gear that makes you competitive with people your level. We want a reasonable amount of playtime to make you competitive with people your level.
OnRPG: We have aquatic pets with us, does that mean there’s a lot of aquatic to play in Guild Wars 2?
Anet: [Eric] Yeah, there’s actually going to be a lot of aquatic play. Yeah, pet shark was too irresistible for us. One of the things that we wanted to do, you know, some of the maps in Guild Wars 2 have at least half, if not more, of their playspace dedicated to sort of underwater play. We’re not talking about too many details about how we’re doing underwater, but we’ve got a lot of, I think, cool surprises in store in that area.
We thought that there are certainly going to be players who are going to really love the sort of underwater adventuring aspect of things, and we wanted to give those players an option to have a cool, flavorful underwater pet like a shark, for example. We couldn’t really rationalize how a player could get a shark to do anything, you know, on land, and so that’s why we sort of categorize our pets in sort of aquatic, terrestrial, and amphibian. We do put the majority of pets into the amphibious category, so even though it doesn’t necessarily make sense that a, you know, bear, is amphibious, we put them in that category because we think that they’re, you know, bear’s going to be a very, very popular pet, and we think people are going to grow attached to their bear, and cat, and wolf, just the kind of more popular sort of pets are in the [garbled] amphibians category.
OnRPG: As far as I recall there is a length at twelve different types of pet you can get.
Anet: [Jon]There are twelve, kind of, families of pets. There are, I think six of those are amphibians, and then three are terrestrial, and three are aquatic, and then within that, within each family, there’s fairly large variety as well. So you know, within the bear family, there are black bears, brown bears, polar bears, kind of more beastly creatures that are like bears. Within the Drake family, I think there are six or seven different kinds of Drake.
OnRPG: That’s for hunting, and I suppose that also encourages explorers to get in there and wander around.
Anet: [Both, simultaneously] Yeah, definitely.
OnRPG: What can you tell me about traps for the Ranger?
Anet: [Jon]The traps for the Ranger are special skills that, and I don’t know how much you know about Guild Wars 2. There’s kind of two halfs of your skill bar, one half are your weapon skills, and the other half are skills you kind of select, there’s a heal skill and some utility skills. Traps are a utility skill that you can decide to bring if you get to that as a gameplay style you like.
[Eric]Every trap you bring you can place them out and then if an enemy walks through them they trigger, and their effects go off. You can have one of each of those traps out at any given time and they do things, like there’s a Spike Trap, that when an enemy walks over to it the spikes come out, knock him down and they kind of pierce into him and cripple and bleed him. There’s a trap that’s called Viper’s Nest that has, when it’s triggered, snakes come out and bite the guy and poison him. There’s just a lot of variety in the different kinds of traps that there are.
OnRPG: It sounds like they’re going to be absolutely painful to get near. How hard was it to balance Rangers with the world at large because they sound like they have a million different tools and it would be an awful thing to go near them.
Anet: [Eric]Oh yeah. They do, Rangers are really, really powerful, and the good news is that’s how we want all of our professions to feel. I mean, you’re a hero, every profession should feel like they can dish out a ton of, I don’t know what to call it…Have a lot of tools in their toolbox, I think you used the right word when you said tools. For example, the Elementalist which we, I think every successive profession that we release people are going to be like, “Oh wow, that specialty seems like it can do a ton of different things, how are the other professions going to stack up?”
Like when we released the Elementalist, they’re like, “Wow, you can have four different attunements, which means you can go into ice and slow people, you can go into earth and be resilient, fire you can do AoE damage.” Then we released the Warrior, and people were kind of like, “Wow the Warrior’s got a longbow and he can shoot fire arrows at range and then up close he’s got all these axes and he can do all kinds of area damage, like he can stun people with the shield. Wow, that looks really, really cool.” And then, you know, when we release Ranger, it’s going to be the same thing, “Oh he’s got traps, he’s got spirits, he can throw axes and make them ricochet and hit multiple people, and he can reflect projectiles back at people who are targeting him.” All of that stuff is, I think, exactly what we want, is sort of for everybody to feel like the profession that they’re sort of most interested in has got an amazing amount of sort of utility and tools and different things that it can bring to the table. Good that you kind of think that about the Ranger, because I think that’s what we intend.
OnRPG: Certainly I’ve seen a few comments amongst the various bloggers that I know that you seem to be breaking out of the tired old trinity of the Heal, DPS, tank, and I did see on one other blog that you have yourselves, I found, “Don’t say healer, there’s more to support than just healing.” So I am looking forward to the various tools that they can break out, it will be interesting to see. Some more questions about pets, I know you can have up to three, which I believe is in the blog you’re releasing, can they be all the same type? Could I have bear, bear, bear?
Anet: [Eric] If you really are into bears, you could definitely have three bears.
OnRPG: Bear cavalry!
Anet: [Eric]Yeah, yeah, see you just gave me an idea for a thing I want to try. [Jon]Oh God. [Eric] Yeah, that’s the attention, that they could let people do what they want with those three slots, and yeah.
OnRPG: And the pet evolution, will the pets change visually? Or will they just get a whole lot meaner?
Anet: [Jon]Right now they just kind of develop some passive and then some more active bonuses that you can kind of give to them and then that’s about as far as we’ve taken it right now.
[Eric, I think]So visually the differences that you’ll see will be mostly through skill usage and things like that, so for example the Drakes that Jon was talking about all have a different breath weapon and so depending on the type of Drake you get, your Drake might be breathing fire, it might be breathing noxious fumes, or it might be breathing lightning or that sort of thing. As a pet evolves and you equip different skills on it you’ll see it’s doing different animations, playing different backup sort of thing, but they don’t actively change in appearance other than that.
OnRPG: The pet command interface for Rangers, and I don’t know if any of you play City of Heroes, but you have Mastermind pets in there, and you can bind the game to make it a little bit easier to control them. Will there be bind options for the pet commands or are you happy with the interface you have?
Anet: [Jon]We definitely have an interface that’s kind of, for each profession they have their kind of unique mechanics, and the Ranger pets kind of live there in that part of the interface with the Ranger. The commands are already bindable in the game. We feel like it’s pretty important that if there’s something you can do by clicking with the mouse that you should probably be able to do that by pressing a button on the keyboard, for the most part.
[Eric here]Yeah, one of the things we’re definitely committed to here at ArenaNet is, we know that, I think this is something we’ve talked about before; we’re very aware that there are other MMOs that we are going to be directly compared to and competing with that have been out for years and have had time to refine themselves and have had time to fix bugs and all that, and we don’t get a free pass as far as that goes. The days of, you know, releasing an MMO sort of broken and then patching it up are sort of gone.
We don’t think that’s an option for us, we think we’ve got to get this game right at launch, and we can’t afford to have a lot of broken stuff. People can look at our game, and then go, wow, you know, that game’s really broken I could go play that and wait for them to fix it, or I could go play this other game that’s been out, you know, four or five years, hey, heck even Guild Wars 1, that has had all kinds of bug fixing and polishing done to it. We’re very aware that anyone who’s releasing an MMO these days, especially, you know, we have very high standards for ourselves, we’ve got to get it right; so yeah we’re going to do our best to break things now so that you don’t have to deal with them being broken when we launch.
OnRPG: Is there any continuity between Guild Wars 1 and 2? [I believe I missed a spot here, due to Eric saying, Yeah, yeah.] Again to kind of compare this, Everquest 1 and 2 are based about 500 odd years apart so we can’t just move from one to another.
Anet: [Eric]Yeah, so we’re similar to that, we’re in the same world, which is the world of Tyria, we’re about 250 years-um, half-of where Guild Wars was and a lot of things have happened sort of in that intervening time period. You mentioned the novel that we’ve got coming out, those are one of the things that we intend to bridge the gap in between the two games. one of the other things we’re doing is we have a thing in Guild Wars 1 right now called Guild Wars Beyond, that is a series of content that is in Guild Wars 1, that [is] sort of also trying to tell the story of what’s happening in those intervening 250 years. And so we got to see some of that stuff, but one of the things that’s really cool is we sort of took this as an opportunity to advance the technology of our world. We sort of went and looked logically, hey, 250 years have passed, happened, what happened in our planet in 250 years? Certainly we didn’t stay stagnant, a lot of advances are made, and so we kind of went and looked at our different races and we took a look at, well this is what has happened to them over the 250 years, what sorts of innovations, what sorts of technology, what might they have developed?
Some of them are not the sort of technological races, the Norn, you know, are kind of giant Viking guys, they haven’t developed a ton of tech in the intervening years. Their culture has evolved, somewhat, but they haven’t developed any new technology, whereas the charr, who were our bad guys in Guild Wars 1, who have seen their sort of gods get destroyed multiple times over the course of Guild Wars 1, have basically turned on their sort of priest caste and sort of gotten rid of them and are now embracing technology. They’ve turned into a really, really interesting, I think, race where they’ve got this bestial sort of appearance yet they are also the most technologically advanced, when it comes to Earth-sort of techno, real world technology, well, quote unquote real world technology; they’re still a little bit steampunky, but they have brought about the use of rifles, pistols, and cannons, and we did have some blackpowder weapons and things like that in Guild Wars 1, but not to the extent that we’re showing in Guild Wars 2, and so it was really cool to be able to take our world that we love so much and say, hey, let’s travel into the future of it and see what happens in 250 years instead of just making it sort of, it’s a second copy of what it was before and nothing has really changed and that sort of thing.
OnRPG: I knew there would be bows and things, but as you say the technology has advanced, so will they be more than pointy sticks on a string?
Anet: [Jon]The Ranger, one of the things we did with it in Guild Wars 2 is kind of go with a much more bestial and naturey feel and so because of that he kind of focuses on a lot weapons that are very natural. If he’s in melee combat he uses great swords and swords, and at range he throws axes, uses bows and short bows, long bows, and a lot of his spells, I got to mention the trap that [has] poison snakes, or he summons a nature spirit, and so we kind of embraced that naturey feel with him, kind of took him in that direction because we feel like that’s an archetype that people who play a Ranger really like and it gives us kind of an opportunity, you know in other places, to use the more advanced rifles and pistols with our [more earthly? doesn’t sound right..garbled..Sounded like it was a glitch or edited out intentionally..] professions.
[Eric]Yeah, I think we’d like to look at as the Ranger profession has evolved the same way that the world has evolved, and the Rangers have sort of gone anti-technology, they’ve gone into the wild, they’ve gone and embraced sort of spirit, and things like that. There are other professions in our, you know, five unye, as yet revealed, we mentioned Warriors for example have no problem using rifles. There are plenty of other professions remaining we’re going to use both rifles and pistols, and so for the Ranger it just didn’t feel right for them to be using firearms.
OnRPG: Righto, and I think that’s it, and certainly I want to say thank you very much for talking to me.
Anet: [Eric]Yeah, thank you.
Thanks to Gmr Leon over at the Guildwars2Guru forums for the full transcription!