Guild Wars 2 interview, part one

World versus World combat sounds an intriguing feature - can you elaborate are that part of Guild Wars 2?

Jeff Strain:
I'll start by talking about how the PvP combat works in Guild Wars and then how we're changing that for Guild Wars 2...

Guild Wars 1 has what we call structured PvP, more of an e-sport - its design is such that it's a very balanced playing field and people who really enjoy hardcore PvP can enjoy the e-sport nature of the game. It's something that's been a very popular component of the game.

We're going to maintain that for Guild Wars 2, we're still going to have this form of e-sport, but we're going to take it one step further by doing away with the unlocking mechanisms we have in Guild Wars 1. If players want to go straight in to the pure e-sport PvP style of play in Guild Wars 2, they'll be able to take their existing character - and there's no difference between a role-playing character and a PvP character - into this e-sport arena area and immediately have access to all of the skills and weapons and items in the game without having to unlock them.

So for the people who really enjoy that e-sport component, it's going to be even easier and accessible to them in Guild Wars 2.

But the other part of what we're looking at is that there's a lot of people who we think would really enjoy a more casual style of PvP, one that's more integrated with the role-playing element of the game and the world of Guild Wars 2. And so for those players we're introducing a new form of PvP that is called World versus World.

The idea here is that this is a much more casual form of PvP, there's no restriction on the number of people who are fighting on your side or on the other people's side. It takes place in what we call The Mists, which is areas between worlds so everybody in your world is fighting on the same side. And you'll be matched up with a few other worlds and we'll rotate those matches around every couple of weeks.

The idea is that it's this big open-structure PvP battlefield, and depending on your personal play style, you can choose to either be a tank and go up into the front lines and enter direct player-versus-player combat, or you can play more of a support role. Perhaps you want to protect a supply train that's bringing supplies to ballistas on the castle walls, or perhaps you want to man the ballistas and shoot the ballistas at the enemy. Or maybe you want to man a watchtower way out in the forest so that you can give your team early warning that the enemy is trying to flank around the side.

One of the core elements of this is that you can't be detrimental to your team. It's not like the e-sports style of PvP where you have to worry about people yelling about you if you make a mistake or you're too much of a noob and you're not justifying the slot you're holding in your team. Everybody is valuable, no matter what they're doing, no matter their contribution. Every single person who joins in the fight is perceived as a positive contributor. We think it's going to be a lot more accessible to a large number of people.

Is any character advancement/development linked in the World versus World PvP, or is character advancement still done purely through PvE?

Jeff Strain:
It is certainly not that case that you ever need to participate in this World versus World PvP. It is strictly there for people that enjoy it. Role-players can strictly stay on the role-playing track.

But yes, you can choose to gain experience and progress your character in the World versus World PvP.

Ben Miller: One of the other aspects of World versus World PvP that makes it more accessible is that 'I have an extremely low level character and you have an extremely high level character' - we're going to integrate a side-kicking system that allows my play experience to be more on par with say your power level.

So instead of me going out there and getting absolutely owned and trying to keep up with higher level characters, the side-kicking system will kind of equalize my character to yours. So we'll both have a fun, competitive time without a lot of the necessary grinding that I would have to do to get high level armor and stuff.

Check back soon for the second and concluding part of our interview with ArenaNet, where we continue to chat about Guild Wars 2, ask about the future of Guild Wars 1 and the developer gives opinions on MMORPGs on console.