Devs on WvW, Dungeon Rewards, and Mobile App

Since my last red post round up there have been a couple more good posts in the forums that I thought I would quickly catch you up on. There is some good stuff about WvW, dungeon rewards, and the GW2 mobile app.

Habib Loew on WvW's respawn timer, siege despawns, and loot drops

Another, real picture of Habib Loew Gameplay Programmer
Firstly, Habib Loew and Matt Witter took to the forums to continue answering questions in the thread Mike Ferguson was answering questions in last week with regards to WvW. They have officially turned this WvW thread into a real Q&A session, and it is great. Lots of interesting stuff coming out of this thread. Here are some highlights starting with Habib Loew's comments,
We haven’t settled all the details yet but we’re working on a forced respawn timer. It’s a good thing that your allies can revive you but I think the game will be better off without corpse scouts, etc.
Basically what I think he is saying is that once you have been stomped, in WvW, there will be a timer to prevent you from immediately being rezzed and getting right back into the fight. This will be a nice change, as right now it tends to be the larger zerg will win, simply because they will be more likely to be able to rez their fallen allies. This should fix it so that tactics are more impacting, but I wonder how you will be able to see other peoples respawn timers and how that will change tactics. Will it be a debuff that you see when selecting a player? Will the enemy be able to see it? I suppose these are the details they still have to settle.
One thing I’d like to see, for example, is a visible indicator of how much time is left before the siege despawns. That will make it easier for everyone to know the state of the siege and it should help us eliminate some false positives from the bug reports (siege got destroyed/used when the reporting playing wasn't looking, etc.) which should, in turn, help us hone in on the specific bug that’s happening. And while we’re in there adding a timer we’ll also spend some time robustifying (it’s a word!) the system. There’s no timeline on these changes yet but we are working on it.
This would be a great change. I often do not really want to build siege on a tower or keep because I know it will just despawn after I leave because no one is using it, however, if there were a timer above every siege telling how long it had until it despawned people would just use the weapon as they pass to make sure the timer resets. I think this would be fair to those that built the defences in the first place.
I've been loot'n bags since my buddy
Liam's 4th birthday party
In the beginning players killed NPCs and found loot on the NPC corpses. That setup is nice because it makes sense (gruesome sense, but still sense). If you kill a dude where is his stuff? In his pockets of course (see also: The Hobbit). If the corpse decayed then a bag was left behind so players would have one last chance to pick it up (it doesn’t hurt that rendering a bag is cheaper than rendering a high-poly character model.
Then WvW was born and players started killing players. At first we left the loot on the corpses as before but then a thousand player voices rang out and said “WTF man? I can’t jump down off this wall to get my loot because there’s like a hojillion enemy guys down there waiting to plant me like a tulip bulb!” or “WTF man? I can’t get up on top of that wall to get my loot because the whole point of a castle is that people can’t do that stuff!” We heard those pleas and, after some internal arguments (er, design discussions) we decided that realism could go suck it because getting loot is awesome. 
So why did we put the bags at your feet rather than just dumping the items into your inventory? Part of the answer is that it was the smallest possible change that could work (programmers like stuff like that). We already had the bag spawning system so we could just reuse it. Another part of the answer is that picking up loot can be a bit like unwrapping a present and we didn’t want to ruin the unwrapping for everybody. Finally, if we just start putting loot into player inventory then we need to deal with a bunch of edge cases and at the time we had more pressing issues to work on. For example, when your inventory fills up items you receive go into inventory overflow and your character becomes encumbered. That makes you move really slowly and that didn’t seem like a nice thing to do to people in the middle of a fight. There were some others that I don’t recall off the top of my head, but suffice it to say there were some thorny design questions about the best way to handle it. 
We have tossed around some ideas for ways to improve the system but it’s relatively low priority so nobody is actively working on it right now.
A nice long post, but if it is too long and you didn't read it all then let me summarize for you. Basically, in WvW loot is placed in a bag at your feet because, a) a bag is easier to render than a player model, b) getting loot is awesome, so they put it at your feet as opposed to the enemies corpse so you could get your loot, c) putting the loot directly into someones bag has development issues around edge cases (ie what to do when bag is full) d) changing the system to anything else is low priority.

Personally, I do not really feel like the bags dropping at my feet is a huge issue. Yes, if there was infinite number of people working for Anet I would love to see a better system in place, but I would not waste someones time fixing something that really is not broke. Plus, I find it fun to go back to a battlefield and hunt down my loots and see what I got.

Matt Witter on siege projectiles, PvE meets WvW, "invader/defender" names, and way points

Matt Witter
Game Designer
That is where Habib Loew's Q/A ends, and Matt Witter's begins,
[Players destroying siege projectiles] is intended! We actually had issues in early testing because players were able to reflect trebuchet shots.
Cool, I didn't even know you could do that. I will have to make sure I use my Thief's Smoke Screen or my Elementalist's Swirling Winds next time I need to defend against siege. I could see a well coordinated team laying down abilities like this constantly to protect a wall or gate.
There are no plans currently [for having large PVE style events (think dragon taking over Stonemist) in WvW]. However, this is something that is not off the table for the future and is often day dreamed about. I’m sure everyone would love to see a large size event start and destroy something. as long as they didn't own it. 
The question we ask when building content is “can this be fun for all three teams involved?” This question is a large part of the design process, and often leads to changes or cancellation of content.
Perfect answer. Like really, who wouldn't want to see a dragon take over Stonemist Castle knowing that the other evil server is getting eaten alive by a dragon. Then, when you actually think about doing this and realize that hey maybe those people in Stonemist wouldn't be having fun getting eaten alive by a dragon that you notice that it isn't really a good idea, but we can dream!
Some of the reasons behind enemies appearing as ‘Server-name Invader’ where to avoid harassment issues, let other servers identify what server you are from, and to help establish server rivalry. The way your server name reads is something we would love to adjust, and I am hopeful that we will!
I think this is an excellent design decision. I am not really sure how the naming system could be adjusted to make it any better. I wouldn't really want to get PMs from people I have pwn'd telling me I hack and that they just reported me. That does not sound fun at all. That is, I like things exactly how they are.

For this next one I am also going to quote the question asked by the player to give you some context,
Q: They are only inactive when the defense quest is active, are you guys planning on disabling them slightly longer than the defense quest to allow attackers to keep the defenders from spawning there just as the defense quest lapses? 
For example under the current system I can count down on voip the defense quest and spawn in everyone right as it hits zero and before attackers can reflag the keep.
A: This is definitely a bug. I’ll see about leaving the rally points disabled for a few extra seconds after the event has completed. That way it just stays disabled if the event starts back up. 
After providing that quick answer and the forums going NUTS, Matt Witter then came back on the forums to add this in
Just to calm nerves I wanted to bring this up again. This is something that we would like to adjust, but doing so could remove one of the larger advantages of having the waypoint upgrade. With my mentioned adjustment it would also mean that one player would be able to lock down a location indefinitely. Changes to how this system works will need to be thoroughly designed and tested and as such will require time. I would not expect to see changes to how this works soon.
I agree that the system does need some fixes. I do not play enough WvW to fully understand the mechanics behind the way point system, but it seems, if I am reading the thread right, that when a keep is under attack the way point is disabled, but when the "defend the keep" event ends and before the next one starts the way point opens for a brief period of time allowing defenders into the keep. In my opinion, this seems like a good reward for having defended the attackers for a given period of time. It also prevents a single person from locking an entire server out of using the way point. I am not sure what the fix to this is. Personally, I do not see anything wrong with the current system, but again, I do not play WvW a lot nor do I play on a big WvW server to truly know if this is a problem.

Robert Hrouda on Dungeon Rewards

I think this is one of the more interesting posts a developer has made on the forums in the last while, which is why I will just quote the entire thing for you, than provide some summary afterwards. To give you some context he is responding to a question that asks if the new updates will prevent skipping of content in dungeons.
It’s one of those human things to do something with the path of least resistance and danger, especially when there is a reward at the end. I could make enemies never drop their aggro on players and force them to fight every single mob, but I don’t see that as a viable solution right now. 
I think the better solution is to look at why people are skipping things, and approach from a different angle. Trash mobs have too much HP, and can’t be counted on for lucrative drops from a Risk/Time vs Reward, so people interested in making money (most groups) aren't incentivized to do it, whereas the end chest/boss are more guaranteed and accountable returns on time and risk. I also think there is something to be said about interesting trash mob mechanics making them more enjoyable of a fight. 
I can’t make the rewards from trash mobs so lucrative though that people just farm the first couple trash mobs/boss in a dungeon and then rinse/repeat. We encountered this when people just farmed the first boss in an instance and then restarted it (earlier around launch time), and we had to adjust the content as a result. It’s a fine line you have to walk to encourage players to get to the end, but make the process of getting there rewarding enough as well. 
I don’t imagine this next update will resolve all the skipping behavior. The path of least resistance is engrained in people, and even if I do everything I could to incentivize people, there will still be those who skip stuff. I have been fixing exploits that will require players to complete more of the events in dungeons, but I am sure people will still skip what they can to get to their end goal.
Alright, so the TL:DR version is this. People are going to take the path of least resistance. Devs could be mean and prevent agro from dropping, but he realizes this is the mean option and not ideal. He acknowledges that there are other approaches such as adjusting fight length, and rewards. He also mentions the time vs reward thing that is always in the backs of our heads. Most importantly though he says that making trash mob fights actually interesting would address half the problem. There is a flip side to this though. If trash mobs are too easy to kill and provide to much of a reward people will just farm these mobs instead of playing the dungeon. Robert, assures us that this is being worked on, but says that we shouldn't expect this problem to go away over night.

My personal feelings are that ideally a group would finish all the content in a dungeon in order to get the full reward. My solution would be to implement a "grading" system for peoples dungeon runs. Count the number of mobs that the group defeated as a percentage of the total and count the number of events completed as a percentage of the total. Then assign the dungeon run a "grade" from A-F and make the final rewards payout on a scale based on your group grade. This could allow for people to speed run to get a quick C or D, but would also reward those that took the time to complete the entire dungeon in a longer period of time with and A or B. It would also prevent people from farming the lucrative individual encounters in a dungeon, although, I personally do not see this as being a problem.

Colin Johanson on the Smart Phone App

The stock photo returns, again!
Not much to say about this post since I do not personally own a smart phone and could care less about there being a smart phone app. I know some people are eagerly awaiting this and unfortunately Colin continues his job as the barer of bad news,
This project was delayed in favor of having the specific folks required to build it skill-set wise working on solidifying the core of the game. You'll hear more about our ecosystem in the future, but we're not actively working on this project, in favor of making sure the core game itself is as fun and rewarding as possible. 
Edited to add: We'll discuss what sort of projects we're doing instead in more detail in the blog post later this week, and even in more detail as the Jan/Feb/March releases get closer.
Personally, I think this is the right choice, but then again I am biased not having a smart phone. Some of the users in this thread showed some disappointment and I can't help but feel some agreement with this users comment,
This was one of the features I thought would put GW2 squarely in the “next-gen” category, with support for external channels right out of the box… very disappointing.
I wouldn't say, "very disappointing," but I do agree that this would be something that help set GW2 up as something "next-gen" and help it become more than the other MMOs that exist in the market.


  1. A lot of free to play games I've played has that grading system. Can't really see any problems with that.

  2. Another great wrap up =) Ty