Guild Wars: Eye of the North - interview

GR: Speaking of keeping the balance, we see that there will still be 150 new skills added. Was it challenging with there being so many skills already?

Miller: Well there's already a ton of skills and the people that we have balancing them are very, very, very adept at doing that. So certainly this time around, it's been a lot easier because actually only a hundred of those skills are PvP legal. The other fifty are… "PvE-only" skills. But they're more akin to what players have seen with the Sunspear and Lightbringer skills, where they're tied specifically to a group of NPCs in the world. So you get sort of a cool immersion factor out of them. They're a little bit different, and a little bit more dynamic, and a little bit cooler from a role-playing perspective than the PvP-legal skills are to some degree.

GR: Could you give us some examples of these PvE-only skills?

Miller: So the example that I've been publicly giving a lot is the skill we're calling The Light of Deldrimor. A dwarf teaches it to you via a quest… and then it kind of has two uses. It has an affect in battle and outside of battle. When you use it, it does a large blast of [Area of Effect] light energy, and it also helps you find secrets within the dungeon. And that's kind of a theme we've been trying to do with these PvE-only skills is to kind of break the rules a little bit on what we've previously done with skills because we don't necessarily have to worry about the player versus player balance. And that also means we can invest the time and energy to make them do cool things in and outside of battle.

Miller: Another example would be… It's another dwarf skill. It's basically this dwarf priest who has been researching a way to combat the Destroyers, who are the main nemesis in Eye of the North. And basically through that research, he's developed an acidic grenade-bomb kind of thing that you essentially chuck at the Destroyers and it cracks their armor. So you're able to do more damage to them and it's kind of something that we could've done as a regular skill. But it's set in the context of the world, and it has a cool narrative flavor, and it helps you against one of the largest armies that you're going to be battling over the whole time that you're playing Eye of the North.

Lye: And when Ben was talking about the Light of Deldrimor earlier, one of the abilities is the ability to uncover secrets. That's really important because it's actually a skill that is really well-geared for basically dungeon crawling. And so to be explicit about the types of secrets the Light will reveal are things like hidden doors, secret passages, that kind of thing.

GR: Thanks. We were going to ask you about what sorts of "secrets" the Light of Deldrimor skill would reveal. Also, with these PvE-only skills, will they get stronger as you improve your standing with the factions they're associated?

Miller: Yup. That's exactly how they work… For all [intents] and purposes, it functions like an extra attribute that we use to gauge the skills' power.