Questions to Ree Soesbee (Lore and Continuity Designer) from LiveJournal's GuildWars Community
1. Has the development team ironed out the minimum system requirements for GW2? Christmas
is approaching and computer upgrades are on the horizon for some.
We haven’t said specifically what the requirements will be, but we are committed to keeping the game
playable on mid-range gaming machines. We don’t want anyone to be forced to upgrade.
2. Could the idea of using terrain to impact combat be fleshed out any? How intuitive will this be?
I’m not entirely sure what the question intends? Will terrain impact combat? Sure – what you can see
and not see; distance, items on the map such as props that explode, traps, or trebuchets will all be part
of combat. Our PVP maps show this best, and if you look at some of the PVP videos from Gamescom,
you’ll see the two PVP teams using terrain, buildings, and movement as part of their combat strategies.
3. What was the inspiration behind GW/GW2? What ideas and thoughts were the impetus
behind the storyline and game style?
ArenaNet really loves the world of Tyria, and has put a lot of effort into making it feel very ‘real’ from
the beginning. One of our goals was to allow Tyria, from the maps to the races, to change over the
course of history – but not to let it feel as if we’d created a new world, or were somehow disconnected
to the lore already in the game. Our inspiration, really, was Guild Wars – everything else just built off
from the incredibly detailed and complex world that we already had to work with.
3b. How much of the changes from GW to GW2 were due to things that were not liked in the
original as opposed to the team going "it'd be neat if we annihilated X (cue Ree's maniacal laughter
Very little, actually! We were very happy with Tyria, from its lore to its professions. We wanted to
challenge the game industry; come up with ideas that had never been tried before – like getting rid
of the ‘trinity’ and allowing every class to be soloable and also viable in a group. We were far more
influenced by how we thought MMOs should be, and what great ideas we had toward revitalizing the
genre, than we were influenced by the thought of changing our own game lore.
4. Is there a fixed number of people required to enter some of the "dungeons"?
4b. Can dungeons be repeatable?
Dungeons require a party to be successful; they’re very tough places! They are repeatable – you can
repeat the ‘story’ version of the dungeon with individuals doing the story, or you can do the ‘explorable’
version of the dungeon as many times as you wish.
5. How did the Sound FX team come up with the sounds for spells?
Sadly, I don’t know – I don’t do sound! So, I asked James Ackley, one of our sound designers. Here’s
what he has to say:
That is a great question but could be a rather long answer, so I'll try and keep it short enough not to bore
As a whole we are trying to design the sounds in Guild Wars 2 to be as "realistic" as possible so you really
feel like you are in a world that could exist. Or at least believe that all the sounds you are hearing are the
sounds that would come from these very fantastic visuals if they existed. So we tend to start with a lot of
real world sounds since those already sound like something you'd believe. Sometimes the visuals are too
much and we end up using synthesis to add some more depth, but it's a very fine line to make sure we
don't come off sounding to Scifi.
We've recorded all kinds of sounds like Tesla's, balls of fire, Animals, Jets, Guns, and yes, even smashing
TV's. Starting with these we cut, edit, layer, pitch shift, reverse, and all kinds of other sound fx plug in
foolery to combine sometimes 20+ sounds to create a single Cast sound.
After we've created multiple versions of each sound we use our implementing tools to make sure each
sound is playing exactly when it is supposed to and even add some more features like additional layering,
random pitch, volume, etc.
6. There has been some talk of government "throttling" the internet bandwidth in some
countries. Is there anything in the works to combat this possibility so gameplay is not impacted too
I turned this one over to Stephen Clarke-Willson, our GW2 Server Team Lead, and his response was:
Guild Wars 1 uses very little bandwidth compared to other MMO’s and we plan on continuing that
tradition with Guild Wars 2 in order to keep the game accessible to as many people as possible.”
7. Will there be any preview events involving the character creation module before GW2's
All of our convention demos have had the character creation area open, and at Gamescom and PAX,
people could make characters of all five playable races. If you go on Youtube, I know you can see details
8. With regards to allies receiving benefits collectively, if there is some type of buff placed on my
character, do I have the option to remove it if I choose?
I asked Jon Peters, of our Skills Team, and he said:
Our game doesn’t do that. There isn’t a reason you would want to remove a buff – they don’t interfere
with one another or with your skills, and they don’t prevent you from having multiple buffs on your PC.
9. What brought on the desire to create water based areas? Does these have to be navigated
in order to progress in any meaningful way? Some people hated other MMOs water realms due to
difficulty in maneuvering, and at least one LJer is actually phobic of water.
You don’t have to go into the water if you don’t want to. =) Yes, there are a few story areas that are in the water, but for the most part, you can avoid it entirely if you genuinely aren’t enjoying (or are phobic of!) such things. I’ve done a lot of playtesting in water areas lately, and I’m a player that dislikes some of the hassle involved in water-based play in other games. I find Guild Wars 2’s underwater material to be a lot of fun – we make it easier to explore, and don’t put a lot of emphasis on ‘breathing management’ or figuring out weird motion. It’s simple, and the underwater areas are really quite beautiful.
10. Do you have something for those of us who are competitive PvPers?
Have you seen the awesome PVP videos from Gamescom? They’re really great, and the PVP we had
playable there was absolutely amazing. I think you’re going to really enjoy the PVP we’re putting into the game. Beyond that, I can’t answer in too much detail – if you search the web for interviews with Isaiah Cartwright or John Peters, they can tell you more, as that’s the area they design!
11. What is to become of Guilds from both a PvE and PvP standpoint? Do they exist? What are the
reasons that it would beneficial to even join one?
Guilds definitely exist. They are groups of adventurers who bond together to face the world. Guilds are a big part of Tyria’s history, and are treated as respected organizations. Destiny’s Edge was one such guild, and it is their story that interacts with the player character’s own.
We are not going to be restricting guilds via race, class, profession or anything else. We want to
encourage people to play with their friends! From a roleplay sense, guilds comprised of different races
simply have their own personal reasons to work together – whether that is a shared understanding that
the Elder Dragons must be faced by all, or whether that is as simple as a desire for renown in PVP.
Lore-wise, it’s beneficial to join a guild because of the shared security, the camaraderie, and the prestige
involved in being part of such an organization. Play-wise, it’s always fun to be with your friends, share
stories, and work together as a team.
Have fun out there!