Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns was getting shown off at Rezzed and I got a chance to talk to two of the Developers behind the game and it’s PVP side. Developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSOFT, Guild Wars 2 is one of the few great free-to-play MMORPGs and with the latest Expansion on its way to the public there has been a lot of interest in the new systems and mechanics behind the game.
The first question on most people’s mind is what the level cap will be raised too and the answer to that is it isn’t getting raised at all. Level’s will reach 80 with a new mechanic coming into play with the later levels, Masteries, which will give new abilities and bonuses to your characters, both from regions and experience. Masteries will get expanded through later patches and possible expansions, with new trees and points being added as time goes by. Mastery points are earned from learning the Lore, facing the environment they are set in and experience.
The one Mastery on show at Rezzed was the Glide ability, which when in mid-air if you press Space then the character will pull out some wings from their back and be able to slowly fall in any direction they want, with wind currents pushing them higher. Other masteries hinted at are resistances to certain attacks and region effects, the Group Event Boss has a mastery specific to its wing attack that pushes players back, and if you get the mastery that suits that attack you won’t get pushed back.
The game as a whole, and the later dungeons and events are going to be harder, by improving the bosses themselves in their stats and abilities but also their AI with better reactions to situations and player strategies. The areas you will fight in are also getting condensed somewhat, with boss areas having a small fighting arena to make players develop new formations and movement patterns to effectively fight the bosses of the game.
I didn’t get to try the PVP out but I did get a look at the map they currently have and their new Game Type, Strongholds with the map Champion’s Dusk. This map is rather large with several key points that players will need to interact with and defend to help them win the match, with the main Base containing a Lord who is the main target to win. Strongholds uses machines of war, troops, and supplies to dictate the flow of battle.
In Stronghold you have the Lords, which are guarded by several Gates that need to be broken down beforehand with the Doorbreaker units or Archer units at a much slower rate. Archers are the main attacking unit that deal a lot of damage to NPC’s and are spawned in the bases with Supply. Guards defend pivotal points on the map and once they are defeated they won’t respawn. Trebuchet’s are for stopping or slowing player advance to your bases, with wide area of attack these can push back raiding parties but leaves the user open to sneak attacks.
To get Supply, players can sneak into or break into the supply camps to carry 2 of the supply back to their base or to spend on units. It takes about 2 seconds to channel the supply, but once a player is killed their supply is dropped on the floor and can be picked up instantly, encouraging skirmishes and ambushes for supply. Supply is used to spawn new units, repair bases and Trebuchets.
Heroes also make their mark in these matches, being spawned by either side after a battle at their spawn point to determine which side gets to summon the Hero. After a 10 second channel the Hero is summoned and they will make their way to the furthest point the team has breached into and work towards the Lord, either by killing NPC’s or breaking down gates. Once at the Lord, the Hero will then activate their special ability or attack, enhancing the players in the room and damaging the NPC’s that protect the Lord. Both sides can have a Hero at the same time, so teams will need to wager their chances of winning before their own Lord is attacked. Heroes come in different shapes and sizes, from a Pirate with a cannon with slow attack but high damage to a knight with a fast sword and shield.
Whilst talking with the Dev’s I asked if players could use only the Heroes and the answer was “That would take a very long time, but it is possible”, as well they said all types of play are supported so no one will feel left out of the match. Masteries take a bit of a backstep in PvP and the Dev’s said that they were mainly aimed at PvE areas and wouldn’t provide much of a bonus in the PvP Game Types. With the Endless amount of supply and units the matches could be very long or very quick depending on the tactics used by the teams.
With only 1 map for the Game Type so far we won’t know much else about how to go about winning the games effectively or if there are any faults but it does seem like a fun new match type for the game. With both the Maps and Masteries being expanded with time and patches I can be assured that the Expansion is well worth it in the end.