Last night, while trying to figure out why Premiere kept locking up and dying on me while editing video, I got an email from NCsoft's PR asking if we wanted to talk to ArenaNet's Colin Johanson about the recent March 26th Guild Wars 2 update: The Razing. Focused largely on world versus world upgrades, Living Story continuation, with other tasty nuggets in the periphery, it seems The Razing has made the game's WvW PVP action the talk of the town all over again. The Eternal Battlegrounds and their sister battlegrounds are seeing insanely high participation numbers which match and even exceed the activity initially seen at launch. It seems that the Razing is, for lack of a better word, a "hit" with the player-base. I spoke to Colin about the ingredients that made this so, and where we'll see WvW and the Living Story head in the future. Read on.
No More Culling's Effect on WvW
As stated above, the biggest portion of this patch was driven towards the World vs. World experience and polishing it up for players who crave that sort of large-scale epic battle game. In response to the update, after rectifying a pressing issue on Tuesday with a hotfix, the WvW experience has seen an incredible surge of activity that rivals and at times exceeds the game's early days and honeymoon period. Colin said it's become GW2's most successful event, even though they're just beginning to expand upon the WvW experience.
Even though Colin, by his words, "got crushed" by two different servers while participating in a tower defense, it was amazing to see hundreds of players on the screen at once charging the tower, attacking, and working like an army. While the new progression, titles, and rewards may be enough to lure people into WvW, Colin's confident that the fact it all feels much more massive now with the culling fixed and eradicated is likely the real factor in holding people's attention. Before, with culling an issue, it was hard to really see the size and scope of WvW... now? Not so much.
But on the subject of the new WvW progression, Colin said that the early numbers are showing lots of people picking up Damage Against Guards and Armor Against Guards as the leader in what people spend points on first. But he wants people to know that these few passive WvW abilities, though plenty to aim for, is not the end of what they plan on adding to the WvW progression system: "A big part of what [our World vs. World team] is going to do in the future is adding new abilities and stuff to this list. And we may not just do passive abilities." They really view this as a key component of the WvW experience, and it's just the beginning. They will be giving more and more reason to make you want to fight, not just at a personal character level, but also on a server-pride level.