Guild Wars 2 State of the Game May (Part 1)
Welcome back to the State of the Game for Guild Wars 2. This month we once again have Grouch hosting, with the other attendees being Jon Sharp and Evan Lesh from Arenanet as well as Zoose from SOAC Gaming and Phantaram from Team Paradigm.
Custom Arena Cheers
As an intro into the latest State of the Game, Sharp mentioned how the inclusion of custom arenas has created a way for player-run tournaments to occur and how Arenanet is going to be trying to find a middle ground between supporting and keeping their distance so as to support the player-run events without getting in their way.
Phantaram immediately piped up about how he has seen multiple tournaments in the short time the custom arenas have been up, showing a lot of promise for the fulfillment of the original concept of Guild Wars 2 as an e-sport.
Given the success of the custom arenas, Sharp also clarified they will be coming out of their beta phase soon, which will allow anyone who wants to pay for a server to host their own custom arena. They still have a few bugs, but the reports are getting rapidly fewer and farther apart.
This beta did display a lot of little problems with spectator mode, like life bars not showing up and issues changing spectate targets. These are all issues being rapidly addressed, along with consideration given to the ideas of the players on the forums. One example given was where Zoose suggested being able to hotkey certain players, letting spectators jump between either their favorites or between the people leading the different teams.
Arenanet has had its developers watching these spectated matches, usually watching behind a filter preventing others from knowing they are there in order to hear the honest commentary of the people watching.
Particles and PvP
One of the ongoing concerns with PvP is the number of particle effects flying around. While spectacular to look at, in the PvP of the game, both world vs world and structured PvP, there is a lot of information players need to have access to at any given point in time. As pretty as it is, it becomes rapidly impractical for players to have to try and mentally sort through so much graphical overload as what so many other players can throw around constantly.
Arenanet will be reducing the impact of the particle effects of the various abilities in both of Guild Wars 2's PvP modes. They are also looking at finding a way to make ground effects, such as the AoE of a Time Warp or a Sanctuary, distinguishable between teams so that players do not have to ask their teammates if a given AoE is friendly or not.
Zoose asked if players could expect to eventually receive a free camera mode in spectator mode. The initial constraint against such was an art constraint. The levels were simply not designed or coded to be visible from all angles. There were also issues with people being able to move their cameras outside of the map, and they adamantly wanted to avoid such bugs showing up on livestreams.
A possible workaround Arenanet is working on is revamping the set camera locations and simplifying the ability of spectators to be able to switch between players by allowing either a list of players to click and switch between or being able to click directly on a player to switch focus to them.
UI and Lobby
They are also looking at updating the spectator UI for capture points and other objectives to make it easier for the spectators to follow the actual action to avoid missing any really big plays that might be going on just out of view.
Another complaint the forums have been vocal about is the ability of spectators to spend the two minutes before a match starts looking over one team's build, then passing the build information along to the other team, allowing for some very aggressive counter-building.
Arenanet's response, as described by Sharp, is to hide the extra information of being able to look at builds and the like until the countdown to the match reaches ten seconds, long enough to look over the builds for curiosity's sake but too short a time to really relay the information to competitors.
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