Guild Chat - Episode 62

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Guild Chat - Episode 62

Underwater Combat
Rubi Bayer
Karl McLain
Jessica Teddy Croft
Irenio Calmon-Huang
May 11, 2018
Official video

The following is an unofficial, player-written transcript of the episode. The accuracy of this transcription has not been verified by ArenaNet.

The episode of Guild Chat aired on May 11, 2018. Join Rubi with guests Karl McLain, Jessica Croft and Irenio Calmon-Huang as they discuss the recent changes to underwater combat.

hi guys happy Friday and welcome to
guilt chat
I'm your host Ruby and we're here with
some of our devs to talk about the
latest update to Guild Wars 2 so I will
let you guys introduce yourselves and
talk about what you do here and what you
did for this last update all right there
my name is Cara McLean I am a game
designer I'm working on the skills and
balanced side of things and for this
update did a bunch of the reworks and
balance changes to underwater skills I'm
Jessica I am a systems designer working
with Carl and already here spoilers
stole your thunder please like that
please don't leave and I primarily
worked on the underwater reward loop so
this one speed infusions all that good
yeah I'm a renewal Kalman Quang I'm a
systems designer I worked as Carl did on
a bunch of the underwater skill changes
as well as vetting some of the stuff
that Jessica was doing with the
underwater world loop listen alright
well let's talk first about kind of the
overall goals about why we decided to go
back and revisit underwater well
underwater hadn't been touched in ages
so it was something that we frequently
try and go back to update stuff that has
not had a good pass to bring it up to
speed like our design standards have
changed over time you can see this
through like part of thorns and path of
fire we've gotten better about designing
many things and if you don't revisit
things they lag significantly behind and
underwater was kind of one of those
things that we thought we could really
like update a significant amount I doing
so it's kind of a natural design process
for an MMO to try and keep everything up
to date as much as you can yeah yeah
because it'll it's never done you always
go back you look at something and think
well you know our standards have changed
in the last few years let's try and
bring that up to date make it good with
the current standards yeah we've been
looking at underwater for quite some
time and saying is now the
time can we do it now like and just say
like because we as as things come out
like the hearth or no fire we're like we
have so much cool new tech here we have
you know these these this new
functionality and we want we would I'd
love to be able to update this your
combat underwater and additionally it
was in the initial design of it it was
it was expected to be a little bit
slower and the end it was supposed to be
you know cuz like you're underwater
you're in this 3d space it's gonna be
you know underwater was like slow we're
gonna be slow swinging kind of doing a
little bit less damage and so that was
that was sort of the initial design
behind it and looking back on and we
were like it probably shouldn't be
slower like slower time to kill or just
have that that yeah we try to under some
of the the kind of floaty feeling that
you get underwater you know there's just
water has resistance it's mm-hmm super
strong and doing so and like we wanted
initially with Guild Wars to launch to
have that kind of feeling of resistance
in water so things were slower and kind
of felt a little floaty to rep to like
call back to reality um but in this case
some of that resistance and floaty
floatiness played into the your time to
kill as Carl called out your your speed
of movement and things like that and
that actively pushed against a lot of
the feeling of Guild Wars to combat
where things are a bit more fast-paced
where you you know what what you do
moment to moment matters significantly
more and so this was an opportunity to
kind of bring those two pieces together
where the fast-paced nosov standard
combat and underwater were out of
alignment so we tried to make underwater
combat a bit more fast a bit more
furious in this room at all and what's
happening we've got to get our feet wet
with the conversation you said you
weren't gonna call this out I was saving
it for the camera oh so thank you chat
for starting
the underwater puns before we went live
because we were watching and now we
can't stop making this we're gonna have
a great time
we're already we thought was the perfect
time to dive right in
alright everybody got one you can have
another one in ten minutes
how's that timer start synchronize our
watches like a little pun counter mark
write that down okay
so one of the things you were saying was
we're looking very serious right now
one of the things you're talking about I
can't look at you right is that we were
going back and asking is now the time is
now the time and I mean when Guild Wars
2 launched underwater combat was great
the first time I saw it I didn't work
here yet but I was I remember thinking
it's one of the games that finally got
it right
but time has also passed the tech has
gotten better we can do more and your
time is also very limited I told you to
turn your phone off so it is it's nice
than it was finally time and it was we
were finally able to find the time and
find the bandwidth to get in there and
do that I want to talk a little bit
about some specific things like the new
underwater legend mmm I have to go look
at a bit over that one
okay well the underwater legend is
it's the legendary dwarf it was one that
we wanted to include for a long time
because it felt really limited if you
were a revenant and you were underwater
and you only had two legends to choose
from when you have two legends you can
use at a time there's no there's no
choice there so we wanted to add some
real choice there for quite some time
and we have been unable to do so in part
for various reasons we have to be pretty
judicious with regards to our resources
and the like and jelous was one of the
natural options to go with because it it
is one of the first legends that you
so we're we tried to include him in
particular the thing that we were held
up by was inspiring reinforcement
because that's a ground targeted ability
and it's kind of hard to do that when
there's no ground right goes all the way
to the ocean floor yeah so we had to
rework the skills a little bit in order
to make it so that they can actually be
used underwater it helped that the
vengeful hammers was one of the
abilities that wouldn't have worked
before because they used to fire
multiple missiles around you and those
were missiles and they would stick to
the ground again same issue so you ever
tried to fire it we tried this in
testing times if you tried to use the
ability and you were underwater you
would have the pair of the missiles
appear and then they would just like
float down below you all the way to the
sea bottom and stick down there you know
you were up here so yeah there's a lot
there was all sorts of issues with at
first with getting the that legend
underwater yeah I would love to hear
more because these are fun for me would
you say it added a lot of depth it has
not been ten minutes
no I would not miss big splash I would
say it made things feel very fluid
things that happened in testing loved if
you like turned on jealous you just sunk
considered some stuff like you like you
were just constantly sinking in a little
bit if you started channeling jealous
but yeah other funds other about fun
stuff we've experimented with a lot of
like different trying to get the legends
to work underwater and you know I would
say that they are each of them has their
own unique issues as with many other
skills in the game that we haven't been
yet to haven't yet been able to
transition to underwater a lot of them
are that we have are there on land
skills they are ground decals I would
say like the effects they play they have
to play on a surface ground images so
anything the play is kind of on the
surface of something since we're in
water we're trying to transition it
water it doesn't there's no surface for
it to play on other than like directly
below where where it would be and it
really makes for a disconnect in in
combat and so you know like that's one
of those things we have to we have to
take the time we have to rework the
effects we have to rework the abilities
themselves usually yeah like that was
some of the with the things we were able
to get through on this underwater past
we worked out that was a some of the
ever that was made is to rework some
effects and make get usable underwater
trying to make like a significant chunk
of that in particular with jealous was
that inspiring reinforcement in addition
to the actual visual effect being
something that plays on the ground
having to fix that we had to make it so
that it felt like you were still firing
the same skill it still has much the
same feeling you're granting a bunch of
stability to your allies you're doing
some damage to your enemies in the
process and this is something that in on
land is in a path in front of you so
you're setting up this road for people
to gain that stability underwater it
there's no roads and you're working in a
3d space where you know a path on a 2d
space works just fine so we had to make
this into a bubble instead and it's
going to be around you this way there's
this extra tactical component of hey
look I want to have be near my allies
where my allies want to cluster near me
in order to get these benefits so
changing things to an underwater space
where you go from 2d to 3d allows us to
include those kinds of elements I mean a
really common question I hear is like
why don't you just take X skill and make
it work underwater
it's jealous but what yeah the answer
the answer issued if you've gathered
from this is because it would probably
look terrible in addition to playing
badly and one of the things that's
important to us and that I hope you guys
have noticed with our underwater combat
is we try to make things actually look
correct for that environment it's it's
interesting to note how much more is
involved under the hood than just we'll
just take the skill stick it underwater
it's fine it's the opposite of fine it
is very much not fine like you're
talking about the missiles just would
spin around and yeah oh they're gone
there's something says where like you'll
be underwater you
activate them these are in things we've
tested and then like this will be like
above above you on the surface and like
they would just they go directly above
oh yeah it's like oh look that's not
that's not right if you were close
enough to yea ground level then instead
of you going down to the sea floor it
would go up to the water surface and
treat that as though it were a surface
it this is kind of awkward we run into
things like that frequently like a bunch
of other stuff that we have to change
them people generally don't think about
when they're like yeah I would love to
see the stability used underwater
oftentimes we would - it's that we have
to deal with things like there are
underwater animations we can't play
adjust the same animations that we do on
land because then it looks like you're
standing on ground and that's it looks
incredibly awkward so we have to time
and pair up and underwater animations
that we have with on land animations so
that I keep a similar kind of feeling if
we don't have those kinds of animations
then we have to tweak things pretty
heavily to get them to work and
sometimes we can't get them to work
without feeling really really pared down
it also provide it almost sounds like
you're having to rebuild every skill you
want to take underwater with just a
little guideline to start from on land
to the non that is accurate some of them
we have we're lucky with and they can
translate directly but if there's any
trouble at all in translating one of
them there's usually a lot of trouble
there's basically so did that kind of
hold true um with the Trident again just
just stick a trident in my hand and it's
so the revenant wielding a trident which
is its new underwater weapon which is
also baseline - any any remnant who
loads up we had you like get some code
support you'd be like hey can they use a
trident yeah nothing like we had to go
and basically give them a whole new set
of weapon or whole new set of skills and
sort of
you got we got shunned here tearing it
please chance and then like we were able
to luckily with this weapon said since
we knew we were that we're going to do a
complete underwater pass and we're going
to make brand new skills it was really
it was really cool we were able to get
lots of effects support from our art
team be able to you know take a lot of
the the ideas we've had for the revenant
and kind of put a lot of that technology
into it and there's there's some other
stuff we able to do actually utilize the
3d space so that the of of underwater
yeah I think this is probably one of the
most ambitious weapons that we've added
to the game yeah in that yeah it
utilizes a 3d space as Carl points out
it also has a lot more projectile
interplay like you can do some cooler
things with it
we set up combos with it and probably
the thing that I enjoyed the most while
we were developing it was the design to
have the weapon do something different
based upon what legend do you were
channeling it gives you a significant
amount of versatility on the fly it
means you're really dynamic and what
you're doing from moment to moment
because if you swap legends suddenly the
the left half of your of your skills
does something slightly different they
keep they keep the same feeling but they
achieve their goals in a different way
can you give some examples
well the Trident to skill 3 skill and 4
skill based on whether you're as shiro
applying vulnerability creating a
different type of combo field or
actually no or if you're jealous
applying weakness and again applying a
combo field that in this case is is
light that is more defensive it's like
weakness being applied to your enemies
reduces damage that's kind of in jealous
whereas applying vulnerability as Shero
increases the damage that your deal
that's more his kit
the combos that you play off of the
combo fields that you create with the 4
skill can be used really really heavily
Carles five skills yeah if I skill there
you wanna hang over that one just for
just for a second there yep
yeah yeah yeah the specialness no I'm
the ocean yes destroy it all so this is
this is one that you know does it fires
a bunch of projectiles and we're I'm
really happy about this one that we were
actually able to fire the missiles from
different vectors toward and make it
sort of do a rotation around the
character and so if you're firing oh
there's a big champion there isn't there
I can do it you can use that skill
I love the skill cuz it looks so anime
yeah completely around your character
and each one of them has a percent
chance to inflict the condition what
we're talking about with the rift of
pain is the three skill that one changes
your knees combo field that it creates
based on which which legend you're
currently in like Shiro it's lightning
it's gonna actually inflict any
projectile you launched through it's
gonna inflict more vulnerability
Malick's is gonna life steel because
Malick's needs more the the demon stance
seems more or health to them because
they're usually yeah under condition or
duress and then jealous is like got that
that light field means he's gonna heal
ashen cleansing can cleanse conditions
off allies and so yeah and we want to
make sure there's plenty of combo
potential with it with the projectiles
that are going on with this with this
weapon itself yeah so what are some of
the skill reworks underwater that you
were happiest with I can't tell if
you're be excited I've got a bottom call
me what would come be yeah exactly as
Jessica said uh bits of both us we went
went through a significant bit of trial
and tribulation in order to get some of
them working in ways that felt smoother
like one of the things that felt a
little bit clunky early on with
underwater skills was the the engineers
kids they they had several toggle
and that that felt not particularly
great in a 3d space because if you have
to in particular the the to skill for
fires a series of minds and those would
just pass through foes kinda
antithetical II and then detonate when
you actually hit the button again which
was as an example changed so that as
soon as it just reached an enemy it
would blow up like my God would do I'm
pretty happy about that with a lot of
those skills that we that had detonates
that were kind of difficult to
understand like where am I when do I
really want to want to blow this thing
up I have to like tilt my camera yeah
figure out where it's at or be a really
reactionary it like as soon as it hits
opponent then I have to hit the skill
exactly it was required more to get that
it was required a lot more than I think
we wanted in order to get that at that
full payout swing a lot of those
detonates type abilities without judging
distance in 3d space is actually kind of
hard it can be in this space in
particular like it makes me feel good to
hear you say that because that was an
underwater thing that I struggled with
and never did really feel great with me
and I was I was just like well clearly
I'm terrible so thank you for
compensating for our pleasure
yes yeah on top of the the engineer
stuff I I like a lot of the stuff that
came out of that one there's a couple of
functionalities that came out of the
underwater stuff that I feel like we
would yes we wouldn't really do this
many other places but it felt really
good to do underwater which was there
are a few abilities that increase as you
spend more time charging your enemy it
it you're the what your the end results
like builds and builds and builds and
eventually you get to like if you hit
something at like maximum range for like
I think the example this one would be
the elementalists water trident is that
the big it's just cool I'm not sure what
exactly kill the scale is called right
now it's like if you get to the end of
that you have basically the one of the
highest single strike multipliers in the
game that you can possibly have yeah I
think Ranger and necromancer also got
similar treatment in that like they each
have movement based abilities that scale
with the amount of distance that you
travel you know you're building up
momentum and so when you actually strike
them it the damage is huge speaking of
which I think the one that I liked the
most of those was the necromancer one
which isn't actually just when you
strike them it's purely the amount of
damage that you
but while you're while you're traveling
towards them every moment that you're
traveling you're unleashing a small
piranha that's gonna collide with them
when you finally reach them and so it's
like you get there you smack them and
then this barrage of piranhas just just
kind of ours yet with that for that one
I like that I like that particular
weapon because we will - we took these
the number one skill
yeah it's called Crimson Tide and we
turned it from like this magic attack
single thing of like like which was not
really readable and it couldn't be very
powerful because it was like this
long-distance instant attack and we
turned it into a projectile yes and then
from that projectile we were able to
said like this is really cool to like
see it like floating toward your enemies
and like kind of nibbling on them yeah
and so all of the abilities yeah all of
the abilities on that weapon is we said
we like we like how this functions you
know and like I want to see how it will
we could put this particular skill and
make that the focus of all of these
other abilities yeah and so each ability
the fire on that trident will release
some little nibbling piranhas it kind of
bound the whole egg and tied tied toward
your yeah your enemies and like
eventually like you're just gonna
overwhelm them that was like with a
bunch of little hits well since you're
talking about rewards especially since
we were watching like things just pour
in while Chun was playing oh that was
so was it came about from the fact that
we know you guys you're not like we can
rework underwater combat to the end of
our days and make it the best thing ever
but she gets tough you know I can go
underwater so so the ruler the roared
loop was kind of made to address that to
make there be some benefit for actually
exploring the water again
because one of the things about our game
is you know pretty much where everything
is online if you site on land a lot of
things are online - yeah I know where
too many things are online but yeah on
land on land there's there's not a lot
of surprises left because you've
explored for which everything underwater
is a different story I mean just like in
real life on for most people the
underwater regions are unexplored other
than like maybe the PIO is for map
complete and we wanted to get people
actually go in and start exploring
underwater again which for me that is
one of the core fantasies of the idea of
like deep-sea diving
just going to places that seem kind of
alien to you and with the underwater
reward loop we wanted something that
would be something you really sink your
teeth into work at overtime so the
natural the natural thing that everybody
wants to do is go fast right so that
that's where the idea of doing that
water speed underwater movement speed
infusions came from and it it was a bit
of a happy coincidence but it also it
also works well that the faster nature
of movement underwater now after you
start getting a bunch of infusions plays
really well with the underwater skill
changes and makes it makes the fighting
underwater feel a lot more kinetic which
is kind of what we're going for a more
arcadey feel to underwater as opposed to
the floaty feel that we started with
yeah so what about so the underwater the
speed boost is awesome can we talk about
the rebreather the rebreather because I
love it there's a few things I really
love about the rebreather one is
rebreathers the issue of them is most of
them are only visible from the front of
your face because they're rebreather
they're like they go right here yeah I
do a Bane voice but I can't do a band
voice I'm sorry please the cool thing
about the bubble helm is you can see at
360 like it's actually something that is
completely visible and kind of
fitting in with the fantasy of being
underwater that you can see from behind
yourself from the perspective the most
players will play at it takes a while to
get not going to lie but again we're
going for rewards that you know you work
towards overtime and I think we hit a
really nice a really nice medium with
the underwater content and something
that one of you had mentioned to me the
other day was that we're we want players
to have a reason and have good stuff to
upgrade their underwater equipment
because mine is garbage and I know I'm
not the only one I like underwater
every time I go yeah every time I go
underwater it's like oh yeah underwater
oh crap my Spears basic as soon as as
soon as this came out I I immediately
went built a new try name for myself I'm
like I'm I will not be caught yeah it's
like Joel I made a chair it was like
okay this is this is actually usable
it's gonna has the sigils required and
yeah pretty pretty happy with it been
playing I've been playing kind of a
conditioned renegade and this really
helped this it fit it right in with my
build nice so he's pretty happy with
that yeah we've done a not fabulous job
in the past of rewarding you for
underwater content and again this was
kind of a way to update that and bring
it up to our good design specs by making
this this entire set of content a lot
more available like similar to Carl I
had basically my level up rewards as
some of my underwater geared up and this
has made me go and revisit it and now
I'm kind of excited every time I go and
do my daily crate kill get my key and
get some more infusions because I know
I'm actually gonna be able to use those
yeah and they're they're cumulative it's
a it's a long-term goal that I know have
I think we should also keep remind
people that this is a this movement
speed is additive no yes you what is
girl yeah yeah it stacks with like
swiftness and everything else because we
didn't want to like negate
like your ability to grant yourself
swiftness or anything like that so not
go fast yeah Irene you mentioned keys
let's talk about the keys and the
underwater reward chests a little bit
and how those work but you had a thing
to say nope
I had a thing to say it was Jessica can
totally cover this one all right cool
thing about the sunken treasure chests
is at least for me it really plays
towards what I feel the fantasy is
behind diving and treasure hunting
really involved like if you if you think
about it
like most treasure in real life is
actually it's actually in the sea
because like you know nations will
transport their goods by a ship and
ships ships tend to sink think about
next time another show just kidding
ships don't think that much he says so
much but yeah I mean who doesn't love
the idea of finding treasure like
finding that pirate treasure at the
bottom to see and like we when I when
I've been working on like reward stuff I
want to try and make every aspect of it
kind of fit in with this overall fantasy
to reinforce itself and that's why you
have characters like dive master Stora
who will who will give you her her crazy
plan for like finding all this sunken
treasure that someone's looking for
because everyone's looking for treasure
on land which is not where actual
treasure is euler's most times away yes
all silver but I see what you're saying
yeah also the loop is in some ways
designed not to be like super inclusive
like there's a daily to get a key and
then you can get keys through just
general like roll drops you might find
she's more often off of crate and it's
it's all like it's all intended to be
this this this process that you work at
over time not something that you Russia
I say this but I know how you guys are
it's not really a process
you've intended for you to just rush out
and like knock out in like five days or
something god help you that's what yeah
but the thing is we all play games and
they all play our game and we know
because sometimes we might do it too
that's true there's also the freebooter
title we should mention the hell yeah
I'm passing yeah there's a title for
doing all of the I mean if you looked at
a sheet and panel you've probably seen
it but if you do all of the underwater
chest and you accomplished a treatment
you'll get the nice freebooter title
yeah and then all the chests unlock and
you can do them all again to get more
loot and you can you can repeat that
that meta achievement as many time like
a whole bunch of times I think it was
worth like what 50 achievement points in
total 75 every time you do it it's set
up like that to to discourage some of
the more let's say aberrant play styles
where you're like people will camp a
chest or something because this way you
do actually have to do all the chests
before you can do the same chest so the
alternative would be a situation where
you've got someone that just is just
sitting with a key waiting for that
chest over and over and over
and ya know instead of playing the game
we know how you guys are again it's
through familiarity and we know I know
exactly what I would do if that were an
option well is there that was kind of
what I wanted to cover is there anything
else that you guys would like to address
the floor is yours we have a pawn in at
least like five minutes would you say
the sea floor is ours not to make waves
but like we have standards and our
standards start at the pond level
so I'm really having this incredible
sinking feeling I am - tell me your
favorite thing about this update well
for well not just you everybody's gonna
have to do the the puns have been fun
but yes my favorite thing I think it
would be is still the fact that we get
to go back and revisit something and
make it better and get to use all of our
knowledge it's like the new of the
things we've learned over the years - I
mean speaking of that I certainly hope
that our decisions in this latest update
reflects the fact that we've been
developing this game for a long time
we've we have picked up on things you
guys like and don't like for the most
part shocker
my favorite part about underwater is
just I like the idea of the underwater
and the underwater environment as a
mysterious place that you don't where
you don't know where everything is and
even though like water has been part of
the game since launch
I still feel for a lot of people it's
been an untapped experience and being
able to try and motivate layers - what
yeah no you wouldn't do that
did iPod yes that's not that's barely a
pun we're kind of region at this point
oh my god thank you a little bit sorry
but ya know the idea that we only we
have previously only gotten you to
explore like say maybe 75% of the game's
landmass and now like with with the
motivation go back underwater we get to
explore that other 25% completely
arbitrary numbers don't quote me on that
that's exciting to me I'm also also kind
of interested about the the
potential in terms of like real world
because these
for worse world as well and what's that
you stole the thing that I was most
excited for you explained your
excitement as well I mean this year no
no I'm gonna choose that yeah he's gonna
we're gonna double up yeah but the sheer
amount of possibilities for underwater
combat in world versus world I remember
back in the day where when I was running
world view world there were certain
avenues of attack for certain keeps in
certain maps where underwater combat
felt bad so people who were on land
would just be plinking into water to
take people out because you're on land
skills are so much more useful and now
it's gonna be potentially the reverse
where you're you're gonna be just trying
to jump into water to potentially wreck
people who are on land because that is
an option
the underwater combat is also going to
be potentially much bigger and more on
moss like you've got a thora of options
there suddenly I have a I have a theory
and that the I think the first the first
person in water yeah when your weight if
there's like if you're like doing like
an engagement you're like Oh trouble you
know get I got a retreat you know I you
know dive down into the water you might
have yourself an advantage oh yeah if
they try to follow you in because
they're they're not going to be
immediately they're not gonna have their
stuff immediately available to them well
you've got like plus 20 swim speed you
and they've got it's true none you're
most of your make a dash out of there
pretty pretty big advantage yeah also so
those people who actually play more
underwater during this this this fresh
period they're going to have an
advantage against people who haven't
touched underwater combat in quite some
time like this is one of those times
where oh look I've actually got some
experience everyone's suddenly a fresh
like player again so those who get on
with this are going to have it a huge
tactical advantage yeah get in there you
guys the water's fine I'm sorry now I'm
a little bit sorry now now we're just
trying to find time yeah
I regret that not much but that's one of
the things right as you should thank you
for admitting it thank you guys for your
time I know
as always everybody's really busy so I
appreciate you coming here hanging out
with us and hanging out with them for a
little bit it's great fun pleasure thank
you guys we do not have a show next week
but we will be back in two weeks to talk
to some of the devs behind the episode
to trailer so I will see you in two
thank you guys again

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