Guild Chat - Episode 8

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Guild Chat - Episode 8

@TwitchCon, Raids
Rubi Bayer
Crystal Reid
Mike Zadorojny
September 26, 2015
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 8th episode of Guild Chat aired on September 26, 2015. Host Rubi Bayer interviews two developers about the then-forthcoming Raids feature.

At TwitchCon[edit]

Crystal Reid: Ten-player instance challenging content. It's something that we've been wanting to do for a while, and we felt that when players hit the level cap and they got to 80, y'know, if you really like doing something like World versus World, there's a lot of that there for you. If you like doing structured PvP, there's a lot of that. And on the PvE aspect, there wasn't enough there to really hold you, and this is what we really love to do with Raids, is give you that repeatable content. You do it every week, you form a guild, you meet new friends, and you go and you do it every week together.

Crystal, Mike Z., and Rubi

Mike Zadorojny: The main thing, though, is we really wanted to raise that level of challenge. We wanted a force that was going to bring people together, and have to come up with really crazy, or intricate strats to overcome these things in ways that even we haven't been able to foresee yet.

Rubi Bayer: Yeah, and you've been working on this for a long time. How good did it feel to finally get to talk about it?

Crystal: It was pretty crazy because, I mean, I know a lot of raiders, and I've gotten a lot of friends that I've met throughout the years in other games, and so, like, knowing that I was working on this content, it was, like, "Oh man you guys. It had me so excited, but I can't tell you." So I mean we sat on it for a really, really long time.

Rubi: Yeah. It's been a long time coming. I'm glad this is finally... we're almost there. We are 27 days out from Heart of Thorns.

Mike: Part of the reason for the secrecy, though, is we just want to make sure that this was the thing that we wanted to do and that we were going to do it right. So, it was a lot of, "Okay let's build the bosses, let's actually play it. Can we actually pull this off? Can we bring out what we really want out of it?" and the stuff that Crystal and the rest of the team back in Bellevue have done is just phenomenal. Just countless hours. We knew we were on to something when, like, devs were giving up their Monday nights because they wanted to come and try these things, and be better than some of the internal test groups that we've had. So just that level of enthusiasm that just brought everything together, just knew this was the time to do it.

Rubi: Yeah. So, what we did for today, since we had some time to talk about Raids, is gather up things that Guild Wars 2 players have been asking about Raids and things they've wanted to know. So, Crystal, why don't you start and tell us where the first Raid is? Where are we going to find this?

Crystal: Okay so, first Raid is going to be located north of Verdant Brink. I know WoodenPotatoes is going crazy right now and going, "Oh, what's up there?"

Rubi: Hahaha! WoodenPotatoes is like, "Oh no."

Crystal: And so you enter in off of north, it's north of Verdant Brink. You'll enter in somewhere in the northeast corner, just east of the Itzel village that's there.

Rubi: Yeah.

Crystal: Just off the corner of the Silverwastes.

Rubi: All right so do you just—

Mike: One of the important things to realize is that during next weekend's Beta Weekend 3 test, you'll be able to play the first boss that's in there so, it's good to know where that is.

Rubi: That's right. Yeah.

Crystal: Yes.

Rubi: Get ready. So, how do you get in? Do you just walk in and you're all good to go?

Crystal: Sort of. It's kind of similar to how you walk— you enter in a dungeon, except instead of getting into a party, you get into a squad, because those are our new large group party systems.

Rubi: Yeah. We talked about that a little bit yesterday.

Crystal: We did. We have a new squad UI. It's pretty, pretty sweet. And so you basically just get into your squad once you've got ten other players, and you don't have to have the full squad to start, you walk up to the entry and we've got this awesome portal that you walk into, it's really scary, and you'll get the same little pop up that you get when you go into dungeons, and it'll ask you, like, which wing section you want to go into. So for Beta Weekend 3, you'll just have the one option, and then once our second release comes out it'll populate that list with more options.

Rubi: Nice. Okay, so, the cool thing about this, though, since—!

Raid portal [3:37]

Crystal: That's the portal!

Rubi: Hahaha! I was sitting here thinking, "Oh are we... we're not showing that yet. Where is it? They look amazing. We should show them." So, the cool thing about this though, you talked about being in a squad is that you don't have to go shell out 300 gold for a Commander tag.

Crystal: Right. So, if you already have a Commander squad unlocked on your account, you can just form it and you can have access to all the features of the Wuv Wuv Commander squad to use in your raid. And so, that's something that, y'know, a lot of people already have unlocked, but what if you don't have them unlocked? And I'm sure some people are sitting at home going, "Oh man, I got to go farm up 300 gold to go buy this book so I can raid?" No. So, along with the World versus World squad system and all the updates that we're introducing, we're also introducing a form of a leaderless squad. So technically anyone will be able to form up a leaderless squad on the fly. It is capped at ten players, and you don't really have a ton of control over it though, because you're not a Commander. So you'll be able to get in groups of ten, you will be able to raid without owning the Commander book, and it uses more similar to party functions. So it has a vote to kick, and there's no owner or anything of the group. If a Commander does join, they can take over ownership and unlock those commander squad features that we've introduced, but otherwise it'll allow you to raid.

Rubi: So even if you don't have the Commander tag, even if you haven't purchased it, you're still covered, we can still get you in there and make you do everything you want to.

Crystal: Yeah, and if it's something where you start raiding and you really like it, and you're like, "Okay guys, we want to keep doing this every week. Let's pool our money together and get a Commander book unlocked so we can get some of these extra features, like moving the squad part members around."

Rubi: Yeah, that would be fantastic. So, all right this one is one that I particularly love because I didn't think of it until I saw some people asking about it, and then went, "Oh. Right. So, this came up after the announcement, are Masteries just Attunements?

Crystal: So, we consider Attunements to be a hard gate that prevents you from getting into the raid in the first place. So, yes, if we hadn't introduced leaderless squads, the Commander book would've been something of an attunement, because we would be forcing you to go grind out 300 gold, and then that's what would get you in. There's nothing that's going to prevent you from getting into the Raid at all, and that's what we consider to be an attunement. Just some sort of blocker or gate that prevents you from getting in. And I know it came up, like, "Oh now I need gliding, and it's for this one boss". And gliding is so cool, we just shove it in your face as soon as you get into the-

Rubi: You guys really, really ... it's going to be amazing.

Crystal: Yeah, it is basically something that is so essential to playing in the jungle that we kind of just make you take it as the first one as soon as you get out of that story instance, so that you're not going to feel like, "Oh God, this is really difficult to navigate this area. I wish I had gliding." You got gliding.

Rubi: Yeah, we've got that, and we're going to talk a lot more about gliding later today. We're going to talk about maps in Heart of Thorns, and that's going to cover that quite a bit.

Crystal: Yeah.

Rubi: Yeah. So, all right so can we pug these. That's kind of a gimme question, but let's talk about that.

Mike: I mean, if you're a really, really good group of players, maybe. But for the most part, we are trying to design these around the idea that you are really, like, a coordinated group of people who are spending the time to kinda come up with these strategies that are talking about what builds and traits you're bringing to these things, and how you're going to play off of each other. So, if it's a really good solid group of people, maybe. But, maybe for the first one or two bosses, but we really want these... we want this to be a true challenge.

Crystal: You're being a little generous. That first boss is real hard, y'know.

Mike: It is.

Rubi: Crystal's like, "Excuse me."

Mike: It is.

Crystal: It's kind of rough.

Rubi: I've seen him. I've seen him.

Crystal: I'm really excited for Beta Weekend 3 to see what happens.

Rubi: So if you've been following, you've seen Colin talking a lot with a lot of happiness about people coming in and getting their faces smashed in. So, yeah, if you're amazing and luck into nine amazing pugs... maybe.

Crystal: I'm amazing.

Rubi: Crystal's like, "This isn't going to happen."

Crystal: You can recruit me for your group on Beta Weekend.

Rubi: Awesome. All right, so, you've got your nine friends, you're in your squad, and you enter the raid. How does the raid instance... How do we get together? How does it determine what state we're in?

Crystal: Okay. So, this is something we want to talk about here and kinda clear up some of this stuff ahead of time because it's a little technical and we don't actually have a way to display this to you in game.

Mike: Yet.

Crystal: Yet. Yet. Good point. So how it's going to work is the first person that walks into the instance, the raid instance is basically going to look at that person's progress bits and then say, "Okay what state do I set myself in?" So the first person walks in, they haven't been in for the raid week, it's going to start at the first boss, and you can just progress as normal. But then let's say you kill the first boss, and you return on day two: the first person walks in, it looks at their progress, and it says, "Okay, you killed the first boss, now you start the second boss." You're gonna load in, get teleported a little bit closer to the area so you don't have this massive run to get towards the end, and you'll start at the second boss. If you brought a new player with you on day two, they would start with you at the second boss unless they ran in first. You could start and you could kill the first boss over again for them, and then they would get their loot. And otherwise, that person isn't going to get locked to the first boss just because it wasn't spawned. They could still go in another day and kill that boss, and get their loot.

Rubi: Nice.

Mike: So.

Crystal: But, but.

Mike: Yes. Basically, if you were there the first day, you're only going to get the loot once. So, if you kill the first raid boss, that's the only time you're going to get it until the lockout timer resets.

Rubi: All right. So that was part of my next question. How does loot work, just in general, because I really like to get stuff at the end.

Mike: Well, we really wanted to base it around what we're doing on the rest of Guild Wars. So, it is personal loot. There is kind of no one set pool that is allocated for the entire raid, it's hey-

Rubi: Thank you.

Mike: You have your own personal allotment of it. But the other aspect of it is, is because we do realize this is on the weekly lockout timer, we wanted to make sure that it was a little more fair and respecting in terms of the achievement that players are going to have for completing these bosses.

Rubi: So, how are the drop rates then?

Crystal: They're actually— Yeah, so that's something we've been talking about a ton with the Rewards teams because I think the worst thing that would happen to us is that you go and you kill a raid boss, you're like, "Oh, I got two blues and a green. This is awful." You will not get that. The rewards are actually really cool.

Rubi: Again, thank you.

Crystal: So, you'll be getting stuff like ascended rewards, and the loot tables we've created for each of the bosses, they're all... they all have brand new loot tables and the percentage chance of getting something is way higher than anything in the game because of the one week lockout timer. So if you're killing like a world boss, like Tequatl, and he's got say a one percent drop rate on his ascended loot cache, it would probably be more like a ten or possibly higher percent chance on each of these bosses. So everyone's going to get something.

Rubi: Can you tell us some hints on what we're going to get?

Crystal: Uh, yes...

Rubi: Tell me good stuff.

Crystal: Okay, okay. Uh, so...

Rubi: Make this worth my time.

Crystal: Worth your time. All right, what are you going to get? You're going to get ascended gear, you're going to get tomes of experience that will auto-consume, and they will give you a huge chunk of experience towards whatever Mastery you're currently unlocking. You will get exclusive skins, and they will only ever be available through... exclusive to raids, because they're basically tailored and themed after, like, stylized after the bosses. So, the tongue boss—going to just go and spoil it—he's got a really cool shield and it kinda of looks like a big... we took a big chunk of the model off, and we're like there's the shield, you just slap it on the arm and go.

Rubi: What?

Crystal: Yeah. They're pretty cool. There was a screenshot somewhere of this crazy, crazy lady with a flamethrower. Her flamethrower is a-

Rubi: I love her.

Crystal: Yeah. Her flamethrower is like a rifle skin you can get, and she's got this really cool napalm-looking backpack. I have to kill her, because I just want her skins.

Mike: That sounds a little creepy just so you know.

Rubi: We've already gone down the road of, "Hey, we're salvaging their corpses. So-

Mike: That's true.

Rubi: So it's totally cool.

Mike: I feel like you're missing one aspect of the rewards, and it might be a legendary one.

Crystal: Oh, Legendary armor. So yeah, there will be Legendary armor. They'll be part of the rewards, and so the bosses will drop basically precursors that you need to start your journey. And it'll work similar to the current Legendary journey that we're working on, though, like, it ... figure it to be more like the cost it would take you to get your... There's the flamethrower skin in that screenshot!

A crazy, crazy lady with a flamethrower [11:44]

Crystal: So the cost it would take you to get one legendary weapon, it would be ... that would be more similar to what it'd take you to get a full legendary armor set. So, figure it like each piece would be a sixth the cost. So, you'd be able to incrementally get your legendary set over time, as opposed to this really big huge thing that you do for your weapons, and then all right, I got my weapon.

Rubi: I'm loving the concept of earning these through the raids, and earning all of these cool new pieces through gameplay. So, thank you for setting that up. Thank you Rewards team.

Crystal: Yeah, actually that was Andy on the Rewards team. He's been busting his ass. My bad.

Rubi: Okay. I'm going to buy Andy a present.

Crystal: Buy him a present. No, he's been working his butt off on this over on the Rewards team and then working with Linsey on the precursor journey stuff. And he's doing all the rewards for Raids. So he's been... he knows that system really, really well, and was able to bring some of that over to us.

Rubi: I love it. All right, so what if I go in with my guild. All ten of us are guildies.

Crystal: Oh, what do you get?

Rubi: You looked... Yeah. You... She's like, I don't know. You have a good time? What?

Mike: Well, you do.

Crystal: I would have a good time.

Rubi: I want to know what I get. I'm very-

Crystal: What do you get?

Rubi: Just assume I'm focused on: What do I get?

Mike: So, one of the things that we're actually doing is the reward chest that you get for defeating these bosses is something that we're actually going to give as an item that players can put in and show off in their guild. So, having just almost monuments of their achievements for being able to complete these Raids and overcome these massive encounters.

Rubi: Yeah, like in their guild hall.

Crystal: There's a screenshot of it here, somewhere, rolling in this loop. I don't know where it is. There should be a screenshot of the chest.

Rubi: There's a huge statue in the guild hall.

Crystal: Yeah.

Rubi: And we talked about that a little bit last week with Irenio, and we just chatted about things that you can unlock for your guild hall. So, you can trick out your guild hall with this too.

Mike: Yeah.

Crystal: Yeah.

Rubi: I love it. All right so-

Crystal: There it is! We found it.

Raid boss chests can be obtained as guild decorations [13:56]

Rubi: Oh, thank you guys.

Crystal: Yeah, so that's basically all the boss chests will look something similar to this. That'll spawn only when you kill the boss. You will be able to earn these as rewards for your guild halls, and each of them are unique to every single boss. So you can go visit... if go visit your friend's guild hall, you can actually see their progress, and be like, "Oh man. They killed the tongue boss guy, yeah. Those guys are so good."

Rubi: I'm sticking with "the licking dragon", but that works too.

Crystal: The tongue boss.

Rubi: So can we get this to shoot flames?

Crystal: I'm going to go back and ask James[verification requested], but James can you make this one shoot some flames too?

Rubi: Do not tell him I requested it, please.

Crystal: He's not watching this one, I'm sure.

Rubi: Because he knows where I sit. All right, so we're going to start with the first wing when they're released, and how do these work?

Crystal: So, the wings are, kind of... we're doing it in smaller chunks, so picture a large raid release that has multiple wings. We're releasing the wings one at a time, and because part of it is, like, this is something that's really new for us. We want to make sure that we're really doing these bosses right. If I released, if we released the entire thing at once, and we weren't happy with the direction of something, we have no way to change it, we're stuck with that direction.

Rubi: Yeah, the die is cast, you're done.

Crystal: Exactly. So the first wing we'll release some time after HoT ship, and you'll have access to that wing, and that will give you some amount of story as to what's going on north of Verdant Brink. And you'll progress through there and you'll kill... you'll learn a bit more about what you were doing there, and by the end, you'll have learned, sort of, the first part of the story, or the first chapter. And you will basically be given some new questions, and then you'll get to experience those in the second wing, and then those are going to answer some of those questions. And there's a huge, awesome mega-reveal. No spoilers, because totally can't reveal that. And so you'll do that and the second one, and then that'll get concluded in the third wing when that gets released. And then so all three of these maps work together as one giant map on the world map.

Mike: But if I want to jump to wing two or wing three after the release, I don't have to do this in order right?

Crystal: That is correct. You'll be able to actually start the wings in any order you want. So, it's the same thing when you go to the instance entry when you're doing dungeons and it says, "Do you want to do Catacombs? Story or explorable?" It'll be the same thing. That list will just get populated with more wings that are part of the same raid instance, and so you'll go, okay we want to do wing one toady. We can start that, and then you could even say, "Oh well, the second boss of wing one is too hard for us. Let's go try first boss of wing two." And you could move over there and do that.

Rubi: Yeah. So as far as story, it's going to make more sense if you do it in order, but you're not stuck with that. You don't have to?

Crystal: Yeah, correct.

Rubi: Okay. So we have the ability to go through all of these in whatever order we want. Are they all going to be available in 2015? Do we get them all this year?

Crystal: No, because that's crazy town. There's not many months left in this year.

Rubi: Crystal's just like "Why am I here if I have all this work to do?"

Crystal: Basically. No, so the first wing you will get sometime after Heart of Thorns ships. We haven't announced a date yet, but definitely long before the holidays, and then the second two wings are going to be available early next year. I mean, like, early, early. Don't think they're going to come out in May, and you're stuck with this one thing. They're going to come out as soon as they possibly can in 2016.

Rubi: Yeah, awesome. How many raids do you think you're gonaa to crank out per year?

Crystal: Uh, that is a more tricky question to answer simply because we're trying to find our stride in terms of, like, how long does it actually take us to build this stuff? Like, what can we actually build in a month or six months depending on who's on the team? I mean, if we're looking at these wings, early guess would be maybe six per year.

Rubi: Six wings?

Crystal: Six wings.

Rubi: Or full raids?

Crystal: Well, I mean, a full raid would be composed of multiple wings.

Rubi: I just, like, raised the bar so much.

Crystal: Rubi, the bar. I mean, a full a raid would probably be something like two... would be three wings, maybe more, it depends on the story. And there's nothing that says we can't do a one-off wing where we just have a very, very small isolated story we wanted to tell. And that could just go anywhere in the world we want.

Mike: Yeah.

Rubi: Sweet. So, going back to story for just a second, when in the storyline do they take place? Is this way from the past?

Mike: No, this will actually take place after the Heart of Thorns story has kind of calmed down a little bit, and it's: What is the next big challenge that we want to put players up against?

Rubi: All right.

Mike: Because there's always something lurking in the shadows.

Rubi: I've come to find that, and usually it's going to hurt me is the thing. It wants to shoot me with a flamethrower.

Mike: Especially if Crystal's designing it, it wants to hurt you.

Crystal: I like fire.

Rubi: Again, thank you. Wow that was... almost scary, but mostly just amusing.

Crystal: Well no, it's your idiot beacon. If they're standing in the fire, they're bad.

Rubi: Hahaha. Don't judge me.

Crystal: I won't.

Rubi: All right-

Crystal: Not too harshly.

Rubi: So, when we go in, what about... So we've got slaying potions in the game, and we have various sigils. How are these going to affect things? Can we just load up on all of these and make it better?

Crystal: So, when we first started testing that was... we made these custom loadouts so that we could just make all the stuff when we were making new characters, and it kind of sucked. We had... I look at my bags, and I would have, like a dozen different slaying potions, and a dozen different sigils, and we're constantly, like, swapping things out. And we get to a new boss, and they'd be like, all right. What is this? Is this a pirate? Is this an elemental? What is this thing? And-

Rubi: Yeah, nobody move while I go through all of these potions and figure out what I need.

Crystal: Yeah, so we were definitely worried that those would become this best-in-slot thing, where you're just constantly min-maxing and switching them out, and also become a really expensive requirement to Raid. So we're looking at ways to actually retune that system so that they're not the best things to use. They're not intended to use. I think we would probably go the route of something, like, they're equivalent to something else, but if you had the something else you would just use that instead.

Rubi: Okay, nice. Speaking of going in there with all of these buffs and everything, once the first wing goes... I'm going trying so hard to say the first Raid. I have stopped myself from saying that seven times.

Crystal: You can say that. I know what you're talking about.

Rubi: Yeah, the first wing goes live, and players get in there, what are you going to do about skills and balance? I mean, are you looking forward to them seeing what they can do with it?

Crystal: These guys have already seen it.

Mike: Yeah, I mean that's... this goes back to a larger culture in terms of why we wanted to do Raids, and how we're supporting it, is we actually have the skills and balance guys coming to a lot of the play tests and seeing what's going on. And it's more exciting when they figure out what the overpowered build is and then the shock, kind of, sinks in that they have to now fix this. So, I mean it's a large support structure that we're going to have that's going to be able to play with this and get things so that the balance is there for not just one profession or two professions, but that it's there for the entire play session.

Crystal: Yeah, we spent a ton of time. We actually sync up with these guys biweekly, and we all sit down, and they're like, "All right, what's bugging you guys this week about creatures, or what's weird about Raids?" And we're like, "Okay, how do we deal with this thing?" And we're all educating each other on this. So, everyone's getting to understand all the professions even better than we did before, and especially I love when Karl does something crazy on his ele, and he goes, "Oh..."

Rubi: Oh, I have to fix this. I can't just pretend it's not there because I like it.

Mike: And vice versa, there's some times the Raids guys will come in and we'll be like, "Hey look, we've made this new thing." And then they just think of "How did you do that and why?"

Crystal: Yeah, no, we've definitely had some good conversations like that. We had a weird mechanic... I mean it wasn't a weird mechanic, it was just the way we built it, and it wasn't entirely working with all the professions. So I sat down and said, this is how the mechanic works. What can we do to make it so it feels good as a profession who can deal with that mechanic? And not feel like this should do a thing, but it's not. And so we came to a solution that it was just, it just works for all the professions if you can deal with that mechanic, that specific mechanic.

Rubi: Awesome. All right, so we're running short on time and I have more things that I want to know, so I'll try to—

Mike: Lighting round, go.

Rubi: Hurry. Lighting round, go.

Crystal: Real fast.

Rubi: How 'bout waypoints and Revive Orbs?

Crystal: There's none of those things. It has a checkpoint system just like Fractals.

Rubi: Oh yeah, okay thank you. What about player buffs in raids? Do they affect everybody, or is it still the five-player limit? I mean how much are we accommodating these ten people?

Crystal: That is a much, much larger question that came up in the lightning round that needs more time to talk about.

Rubi: Sorry.

Crystal: That is okay. So, for now, our stance is that we're against increasing the buff cap from five to ten. Simply because we think it's going to create this supergroup where you take one of every single profession, and you're running those really specific trait lines that passively increase damage on your party. And the problem with those things are is that, that damage is multiplicative, and it blows out balance really, really fast. And it also means that what we're going to start doing internally is we're going to balance everything around the supergroup and it's going to be very limiting to us as designers to make those. And you think from a design point, we have to say, okay we've got one of all these things, now we can't do this specific mechanic, because they're never going to be able to deal with this. They won't be able to have two of this. And then from a player standpoint, you're going to go in, it's not going to feel great for Raid leaders or recruiters who are constantly saying, "Oh, we can't raid. We have to have that elementalist." And it's also not going to feel great if someone can't show up for the night, and you're like, well, I guess there goes raids tonight. We don't have our X profession to fill in.

Mike: And the big thing is we want the player choice of what traits your bringing and kind of what weapons you're slotting with your utility skills, we want those to be the meaningful choices, not necessarily who you're slotting as what profession.

Crystal: And I think also the really big thing that comes down to it, there are performance implications that will negatively impact the game, especially in World versus World. And we don't want to... I'm not trying to step on anyone else's toes here.

Rubi: All right, so I will do this one last one, because it's ... good to wind up on a fun one. We mentioned special minipets as possible raid rewards, can we have a hint?

Crystal: It has a lot of tongues.

Rubi: Totally lost. No idea.

Crystal: It's the tongue—

Rubi: —That would be an amazing minipet. That would be the best mini pet. So, alright. Thank you guys very much for coming and talking to us about Raids. Thank you, Crystal, for all of your hard work, and your team over the past what feels like years, and years, and years on this.

Crystal: And we have to shout out to Jason who's working on the team with us, and he's amazing, and he actually made the tongue boss guy, not me.

Rubi: Thank you, Jason. All right, this has been episode one of Guild Chat for day two of TwitchCon. We will be back in a little bit. Thanks, guys.

Mike: Thank you.

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