[GW2] Nuts and Bolts and Beyond Interview at Tap

The guys over at Tap Repeatedly put up another great interview with ArenaNet developers Jon Peters and Jonathan Sharp. I interviewed Peters and Sharp at PAX East, and I had talked with Peters about skills and energy some time before. They are the nuts and bolts devs. Tap’s Lewis B does exactly the right thing by talking to them about the nuts and bolts instead of release dates, collector’s editions, and other stuff that will just get stonewalled. Lewis B goes for depth, and is rewarded handsomely. He also pulls in a few community questions, which I thought was a nice touch.

Hunter breaks parts of the interview down with his thoughts at Hunter’s Insight, but I wanted to mention one bit here as well. Peters talks a little about the importance of strong class design. He notes that professions in Guild Wars 2 are important because it gives players an automatic identity for what players will be doing. Peters brings up Team Fortress 2 giving his personal statistic of having played 295 hours with a soldier and 5 hours with the other 8 classes because he really doesn’t like to play the other classes. (I have about 1/5 of his hours played, but he does make me feel better for spending most of my time as a pyro.)

I think for Guild Wars 2 this design point is very important because there are no definitive roles (i.e., tank, healer, etc.). Like Team Fortress 2, the goal is to kill things dead, but manner in which it is done is the key. I would even argue that the class design for Guild Wars 2 has to be stronger than Team Fortress 2 because the PvE gameplay has little room for a chaos-inducing scout or a medic tied to a heavy. Instead of the gnat-like scout, we get the thief that can weave in and out of combat. The ball and chain combo in Team Fortress 2 gets merged in to the guardian who will be a centerpiece of the battlefield.

Mark Rosewater, god of Magic the Gathering, has a very interesting article up today on the fabled color wheel for the card game. This color wheel is supposed to define the 5 (+1 colorless) archetypes of spells that the mana produces. Blue should be about control and gets counterspells and boomerangs. Red is about direct damage and chaos. Yet, the collectible card game would be dead if the original developers insisted on strict adherence to a rigid power structure. Instead the colors have to bleed. It’s a very delicate and constantly moving dance.

ArenaNet will have to do a similar dance, but they need to have very strong design coming out of the launch gate. Their eight professions will have to feel each like an archetype. It would be poor design if the guardian were simply a mashup between a warrior and an earth elementalist. Instead the concept of a magic-wielding melee class has to be grown unto it’s own. With the little time I have played Guild Wars 2, I feel they are on the right track.

–Ravious

7 thoughts on “[GW2] Nuts and Bolts and Beyond Interview at Tap”

  1. Stronger class design and at the same time, apparently each class can serve multiple different roles. It’s almost hard to reconcile the two ideas, since normally you might associate a stronger class design with a very specific role.

  2. Well I believe that filling the important archetypes itself will naturally create strong class design, the hard part will be giving each archetype multiple roles. Thief is perfect example as it’s not built like typical Rogue archetype, yet it has the skills to serve a multitude of roles while remaining true to the Rogue theme.

  3. From game play I have seen where developers play they seem to work really well together. ArenaNet has really defined each profession and all of it’s many roles. Even though all professions can play any role they play them all differently. I think this is the key point where the system will excel magnificently. The only thing I think might be lacking is the profession combos, as a lot of those would be cool. And maybe even some secret ones you wouldn’t think about until put into practice :P

    Oh yeah and that interview by Lewis B was marvelous!

  4. I don’t see much of a connection between the MTG/GW color based gameology and GW2. The former play themselves out across a structured (however ‘bloody’ around the edges) cerebral space. The new game apparently wants to constrain the cerebral space available to each character into an archetype so that the larger game plays itself out in a more 3D visual space.
    That’s not a criticism, since both systems naturally have advantages and disadvantages. GW1 had a hard time ‘making itself understood’ to the novice viewer, since so much of the really important stuff was happening in a mental space to which only veteran players who were up to speed on the current meta had access. The GW2 decision space will be much more observable because xyz coords and gameworld objects are being given a prominent place on what would be the resource wheel.
    But in general, I don’t think the new game has such clear definitions of what is a resource as its predecessor. That absence of dogma will probably help it remain more flexible (in terms of not becoming locked into a particular meta).

    1. Sure, well I think that GW2 archetypes will have to bleed as well. For instance thieves and guardians both have a way to “warp”. Shadow Stepping in GW1 was an assassin monopoly except for IIRC one ele elite (and PvE skills?). Engineers in GW2 have turrets, but we say a wurm-type necro minion in recent GW2 demos that looked very turret like.

      So, like the MTG color wheel, I feel it’s still important to have a strong archetype. How does this class feel? But that does not necessarily equate to mechanical monopolies.

    2. I think it’s worth noting that in a few interviews the A-net staff has mentioned their affection for playing MTG. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take a few ideas from there and I think Ravious is on the right track in terms of archetypes with a level of flexibility.

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