GW2 Chris Whiteside AMA on Reddit

Chris Whiteside, the Studio Design Director at ArenaNet, recently posted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. Here is a summary of that AMA in a Q &A format for ease of reading.

Lost Shores Event

1. I really enjoy the idea of one-time events to reveal new content… but when it’s major stuff like a new map, I would prefer to see those events drawn out over quite a few days, so I have some hope of participating. This presents its own kinds of challenges, of course. What’s the team’s thoughts on how to go forward with introducing new map areas?

Thanks for your question. We are very aware over the concerns raised over the timing and one time nature of the Karka event. Moving forward we will be paying special attention to how we design these events to be as inclusive as possible.

1b. I was one of the people who participated in the one time Karka event and ended up missing the end chest. Needless to say I was pretty disappointed. I know your team has mentioned plans to reward users who ran into these issues but I haven’t heard anything for a while on this. Do you have any update you could share?

We are still working on getting the Karka event reward out to those players who participated but missed out.

1c. How will future events be handled in regards to timing? Oceanic players are upset that the one-time-only events were skewed to arguably unfavorable times for them, and that many didn’t get to participate.

Moving forward we are going to do our best to design events that are accessible to the community as possible. We really should have thought about some of the ramifications of the design of the Karka event in more detail. In short its not something we wanted to happen and we will be rethinking how we do 1 time events moving forward.

2. What is your intention with Southsun Cove moving forward in terms of content and it counting towards map completion. also when is that fix for fractals coming?

Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. We will be evolving and building on all or our content in the game and do plan to build on Southsun Cove in the near future. In regard to the fractal fix, we are working on a fix right now and i would like to take this opportunity to apologies for the issue.

Ascended Gear/Gear progression/FOTM

3. I’ll put my hat in the ring for an ascended gear question: Ascended gear clearly goes against a lot of the expectations of the game’s oldest following; long-time fans of the original Guild Wars series who truly bought into the belief that you could make an MMO last without forcing players to log on every day to grind. Whatever people’s beliefs are about whether ascended gear is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s a different thing. On behalf of those of us who are quite put off by the introduction of ascended quality gear to the game, I have a few quick questions.

  1. Will ascended by the last new gear level we see? Your statement on the forum said you aren’t interested in adding a new gear tier every three months, but a lot of people were unsatisfied with that answer.

  2. Will it become easier to obtain ascended gear in the future? Many people are unwilling to grind FoTM to obtain gear that they consider necessary to keep up with other aspects of PvE, especially considering what many now are considering the advent of gear grouping in GW2 (ie, people are only accepting players into parties if they meet a required level/gear level/etc, something that didn’t really exist before).

Thanks for taking the time to send in some questions. We do not believe we have gone against any of our principals, but we do understand the concern regarding potential grind. We absolutely design everything we do with minimal grind and will continue with this principal moving forward.

1: I would prefer that we never say never but our intention is that in terms of ‘Named Tier (Rarity) of Loot’ Ascended will be with us for a long time and we will not introduce a higher tier of loot for the foreseeable future. There will be loot with different stats and new infusions within the current tier that will be spread over long periods of time (for example Ascended gear will be deployed over the whole of next year). 2: Ascended gear will be obtainable throughout the whole of the game aside from sPvP and in retrospect it would have been better to have rolled different acquisition methods out at the smae time os the FotM.

3b. With regard to minimal Grind, how is going from 5 Ectos to 50 Ectos for a piece of gear minimal? 5 T6 items to 250 T6 items,

Good point Nacho. We are currently discussing these particular items and it is fair to say that we don’t want have such big hikes in requirements moving forward.

3c. Thanks Chris, although I don’t agree with your answer it’s nice of you to have addressed it. Saying that you design everything you do with minimal grind is obviously very subjective. 1800+ FoTM tokens or 250 T6 materials/50 Globs of Ectoplasm for 1 piece of equipment is a huge grind (in my humble opinion, of course).

Progression through tokens and mats is something we are having a good look at currently. Please keep the feedback coming as we move forward.

3d. We absolutely design everything we do with minimal grind and will continue with this principal moving forward. How can you even say this with a straight face? I’m not even joking. That is a serious question. How can you say that with a straight face? It requires 300 ectos and a TON of other materials to make a single fully-upgraded Ascended piece. That is not "minimal grind".THIS TYPE OF RESPONSE IS NOT HELPING YOUR CREDIBILITY!

The requirements for some of these items are currently under review as are certain items/areas that were released on launch. Personally i feel that aspects of the game ARE too grindy and we are working through these areas to correct our overall direction moving forward as well as taking some of our current progression systems and rewiring them for want of a better term for example different methods of acquisition related to the way different players like to play their content.

To be frank the ascended gear was designed to be earn able outside of the FotM and unfortunately we were unable to deploy this prior to the update. This (i hope) will not happen again.

At the end of the day we want to make fun content for all of our different player types to enjoy, in which they can earn the same rewards as other types of players, through activities they enjoy playing the most. This is not PR this is a fact. It is an extremely complex and exciting design goal that we aim to achieve with the help of our community.

4. You stated there was a gap between Legendary and Exotic progression. There was no stat gap, so I can only assume you meant a time gap. But there was a filler — unique Exotics that were harder to get than the normal, base ones. Please clarify what you meant by that gap.

Ascended Gear is designed to fill the ‘Time’ gap in regard to the distance between exotic and Legendary in terms of progression and in retrospect would have been better to have been rolled out pre launch.

I would also like add that we have never said there would be no vertical progression. We do intent to focus on horizontal but we will have vertical progression moving forward with the focus on zero grind and a very low power curve.

Please understand that we see the community as a ‘whole’ and therefore are not intending to design again for one specific type of player over another. This is a misconception and one that is not promoted by the team. We will continue to develop the game for the community as a whole offering game play that caters to lots of different types of players in a unified approach that will evolve over time based on feedback and the direction the team as a whole wants to take.

5. The recent patch highlighted a split in two significant communities within GW2 – I won’t claim which side represents what % of the total player base – just that each seems significant. One wants more vertical progression and ways the hardestcore can show off their accomplishments, and the other wants more horizontal progression and less hierarchy. Does Anet really think they can satisfy both? I know the main philosophy of the Devs is to find a balance that makes the most happy, but I don’t see this is possible when you have groups whose expectations are in such opposition.

Really interesting question. Our intention is to deploy ascended components and gear across the whole of the game rather than focus it in one particular location. This was a a mistake and one that we will not be making moving forward. We do hope to find a balance and ensure that the world of Guild Wars 2 is as accessible and populated as possible and moving forward you will be able to see how we intend to execute on this goal.

I think with the support of the community we can continue building a world that does satisfy lots of different types of players in a fashion where everyone feels part of the same community and whose activities impact and interplay with those of differing player types.

6. As an MMO, you are trying to please a huge player base. Some play a few hours a month while others stop playing to sleep for a few hours every day. Reward rates seem to be balanced for those who play constantly. This disparagy causes casual players to play a very different game from the hardcore. What are some ideas to keep the player base from fracturing?

This is an extremely interesting question and as you know the path down the road for a solution is highly complex. In fact myself and Mo were discussing this this morning. So please forgive me if my answer is somewhat lite or comes across as deflective but i would prefer the surroundings of a pub or meeting room to really get into this one.


I think online worlds are amazing in that they house different societies or player types if you like. I think it is only natural for players to gravitate to those who they feel are like minded, and i think it is also only natural and in some ways quite healthy to have a macro society or community that doesn’t always agree with one another. I think that diversity is exciting but it can also fragment so a method in which different groups of players work with others in synergy each enjoying their own diverse game play that is rewarding because of the game play is certainly a step in the right direction. Reading this statement you will no doubt be thinking that the FotM doesn’t utilize this philosophy and you would be correct. Moving forward progression and rewards will be inter woven appropriately into the core systems and social aspects of the game, allowing the diverse societies or player types to work together by playing the content that they love.

So in short something that is universally enjoyable as a progression system or a reward should be as accessible as possible and cater to the different ways our players consume the game but in a manner in which the Community of the world as a whole is contributing to each others overall experience.

If you would like to talk further then pm me and we can discuss in game.

7. Could we have a clear answer on where vertical progression is headed in the future of GW2. What prompted the change in philosophy from launch to the Lost Shores update with regard to end game gear and will there be an amendment to the game’s design manifesto from here out?

I will try to be as clear as possible:

  • We do not intend to deploy another tier/rarity of loot such as Rare>Exotic. However we also do not intend to make promises that can be misinterpreted moving forward.
  • Ascended Gear will be introduced throughout next year,and accessible through many game play activities rather than just on. -Through infusions and existing Tiers there will be the opportunity to increase stats or abilities on a low power curve through multiple types of gameplay in GW2.
  • The opportunity to enhance existing tiers of loot will not be through a regular cadence of monthly updates instead it is more likely to come from expansions or very big drops of content.
  • In retrospect Ascended should have been deployed pre launch and earn able throughout most activities in the game (which is how we are moving forward).

I believe there has been no change to our philosophy regarding end game gear. We have learnt lessons for sure which is one of the main advantages of a live game and no doubt we will learn lessons moving forward. This does not however dilute our commitment to create a pioneering, accessible and fun world for players as we continue to build out GW2. And we very much rely on your and the communities feedback as we execute on these philosophy.

7b. Can we get a direct, on-the-record answer on where vertical progression will be headed? Specifically as it applies to gear-checks, gated content, and the addition of gear tiers? Will there be an amendment to the manifesto, or plans to retro-actively align with the manifesto again?

First of all in retrospect it would have been better to have included Ascended Gear at launch. It is designed to give users a progression path that is between Exotic and Legendary (Legendary Items will be at the same power level as Ascended) and the gap between them in terms of time is very large.

So to the question of vertical progression. So as we know there is already vertical progression in the game and we do intend to keep moving forward with this philosophy. However we have no intention of adding a new Rarity of Gear such as Ascended. Instead and as we evolve the game existing Rarity’s will evolve over time. However these will not be common occurrences, for example full Ascended gear will be introduced over a long period of time and will be earn able through lots of different parts/activities of the game. We had intended for example for the first release of acsended items come from other parts of the game but sadly it did not work out this way. Moving forward this is how it will work however.

In regard to gear checks specifically all increases in the power curve will be minimal and therefore there should be no straying from the intended power curve that you see in the game now, in terms of trajectory.

In regard to gated content via gear then i think that this is something we are going to give more thought to. Specifically if the reward at the end of the activity applies to players that are not just looking to do a specific type of content. Note that this statement is somewhat contradictory to the philosophy laid out above if the required items do not drop elsewhere or the ultimate rewards don’t either. This is something we are going to fix.

Personally i do not feel that the latest changes are against what we said in the manifesto. I do however feel that we do have to be very careful in regard to progression design turning into grind and i believe there are some instances of this kind of grind that predate the launch of the game. It is for this reason that we are looking to revamp some aspects of the game whilst connecting other parts increase the overall experience of fun in our progression mechanics.

ok so there is one answer (-: I am going to head over to another question and then come back. Thanks for your patience and any typos.

To sum up for anyone that doesn’t understand this awesome answer:

  1. Ascended gears should have existed at launch, and should have been in the place of what Exotics used to stand for (i.e. equal to legendary, the pinnacle of power), not exotics.

  2. They will not add any other tiers if they can help it.

  3. Ascended gears will be obtainable via different methods in the future, but their application being severely limited (such as resisting FOTM only debuffs) is being considered as it doesn’t apply to anyone wanting to do other content with the same gears (WvW will not benefit from agony resistance as an example)

  4. Gear checks/gated content is being evaluated (they see something fishy about it too)

  5. The Manifesto is still the constitution of the game, and since this ascended gears were a post-launch "fix" to an issue, there are no further foreseeable infractions to the manifesto, which destroys the argument that ANet is implementing a "gear treadmill".

8. Ascended gears are making a lot of people worry about an ever-increasing gear treadmill. Many players did not want the exotic/legendary system to change, and they don’t like ascended gears. Was this expected? Can this be something fixed in a painless way? Can it happen?

Yes the response was definitively expected. We did not intent for the information to come out this way. Going back to my previous answer the issue is that we believe in the vertical progression system we had pre launch and that the introduction of an element into the system post launch was going to cause concern but something we believe in. That is why there is no plan for new Rarity Tiers of loot but there are plans to enhance or gain items within the existing rarity design whose properties continue on a shallow power curve. This said we certainly don’t want to create a system where itemization blocks progression in the game globally and we also need to be careful of this in areas such as FotM if the primary reward isn’t available elsewhere in the game. So in short its an exciting problem but one that has been poorly communicated and handled.

And for this i take responsibility and apologies. However the future of this philosophy and the design challenges it throws up are going to lead to a pioneering world and one that we are very excited about.

So anyway i kind of went of topic here so in short. We don’t intend to have an item rarity gear treadmill, we intend for the progression for gaining these rewards to have lots of different avenues for different types of player and where possible lower no fun grind within the whole of the game.

8b. In regards to this quote that you made around an hour ago Chris: "That is why there is no plan for new Rarity Tiers of loot but there are plans to enhance or gain items within the existing rarity design whose properties continue on a shallow power curve." People on the forums are quickly becoming alarmed by this statement, and I think we would heavily benefit from a bit of clarification. For example, some people are construing this statement as that there will be ascended "tier 1", which is the stuff we have now, and ascended "tier 2" will come in later, which has higher stats. Can you please clarify this statement? Will there be better statted gear with the same rarity level? Or just different combinations? Will it be like that ascended ring that has 31 to each stat (and the exotic version) compared to current rings which has less accumulative stats, or… what?

There will certainly be different combinations and potentially new types of stats added to a specific rarity with no overall % power increase.

However Ascended and Legendary will be infuse able.

Infusions will become the vertical progression earn able in PVE and WvW and accessible through a wide variety of different player activities thus catering to lots of different types of players and gained from all across the world of Tyria.

Should we add new player levels to the game then new items within the current rarities with a shallow power increase would be viable, however we would look at doing a new system rather than defaulting to this initially.

9. Was ascended gear actually conceptualized before launch? The blog post that introduced it made it sound like something that you guys came up with just recently.

It was not specifically designed before launch. However the concept of progression rewards with a shallow curve bridging other rewards was. Hope that makes sense.

10. Ascended gear widens the time gap between exotic and Legendary weapons by making Legendary ingredients more expensive. Since Ascended gear is so expensive, the time gap between Ascended and Legendary looks to be larger than the pre-Lost Shores gap between exotic and Legendary.How does that make sense ?

I agree that the crafting materials required for Ascended Gear are to much of a grind and we are looking to balance the requirements in a manner that is fair for all involved and we had always intended for their to be multiple ways to get Ascended Gear it just didn’t make it the FotM build.

11. I’d like some clarification. I never understood what was meant by the "Legendary Wall," but after reading your answers, I somehow got an idea of what it is. To craft Legendaries, you would need to devote a lot of time in dungeons, exploration and WvW. Along with this is the RNG or the wealth you have accumulated. Basically, to have a Legendary, you must be a jack-of-all-trades in this game. With the Ascended tier introduced, players who do not want to be the jack-of-all-trades can acquire Legedanry-esque items, which are the Ascended gear. So if a players just wants to wander around Tyria and explore, they can get an Ascended gear. If a player just wants to WvWvW, they can get an Ascended gear. In short, Ascended gear is open to everyone who don’t want a Legendary, but want something that is equal to it. Am I understanding it correctly?

Yes like many other types/rarities of item in the game the players would be able to get the Ascended items by playing the aspects of the game they really enjoy doing. And in the interim keep working slowly but surely toward their Legendary.

12. Could you address the fractal lvling system? I have made my peace with ascended gear and only want to run fractals of the mists because it is so fun. But it is becoming harder and harder to find low level groups. I love fotm but soon i wont be able to run it at all due to lack of players. I just want to run the dungeon and have it get harder each time i do it. But i dont want to have to keep up with everyones fractal levels.

Yep there is no doubt that the fractal level system is causing fragmentation. We are currently looking at solutions, one of which is to set the levels into tiers whereby all those within that tier say 1-5 can participate. This has implications on reward and difficulty which is why we are still looking into it.

12b Do you stand behind the decision of having the levelling system in FOTM, essentially fracturing your player base into many, many, different portions, with players only looking for the specific level they need to advance through level difficulty? Will there be a fix for reconnecting to mid-fractal runs?

It was never a conscious decision to fracture the player base through the Dungeon. Honestly we were aware the dungeon was good but we didn’t know just how popular it would be. Nearly straight away we saw the issue and have been working on a fix since, we have explored multiple systems and will land on one this week. Suffice to say that Ascended should have been a global roll out and wasn’t.

In regard to disconnects we totally understand the frustration. It frustrates everyone in the studio because they have to suffer through it to. On top of this i never hear the end of it from my guild! Kidding aside though it is a big issue, we have a fix in our dev build and will test it thoroughly before deploying it. We will let you know when we intend to deploy.

13. What is your/ANet’s definition of grind?

Repetitive game play that is not fun.

14. Any plans to have high-end items feel more like adventure than grind/trading post? I like to go to zones and do cool things, battle through a DE chain I’ve never seen before, things like that. Piling up stacks of 250 high-end items and dumping them into the Mystic Forge really isn’t my thing.

Yes definitely. That is most certainly our intention, one that has been misrepresented in the itemization of the FotM.

15. when meeting about the ascended gear tier, did it ever occur to you that this decision could uproar the community and offend GW1 fans, or raise concerns about the direction of the game? or did this surprise you completely?

No we were acutely aware of the what the reaction was going to be.

It is also great to see all the feedback as it helps us to answer and navigate larger questions we have in terms of the direction of the game moving forward.

16. Why did you introduce a new item tier instead of kick-ass skins?

We did introduce new skins as well as the ascended gear (-:

17. Does the decision to add ascend gear, gating and vertical progression to the game came from Anet itself or from Nexon?

Anet we have no connection to Nexon in terms of development direction or at all as far as i know.

18. Fractals have become the end-all for making your character stronger. Players are vanishing from maps everywhere to grind grind grind for the now-strongest items they can get ahold of. It’s disruptive to the community, the fun, and the manifesto. What is being done about this?

This ties back to what i was saying earlier in which Ascended Gear and really any progression related reward mechanism that impacts the world globally should be introduced (Where possible) across the game and inside the different type of player’s activities specifically. Allowing players to continue doing the things they love without focusing player migration to a specific part of the world. The introduction of the Ascended reward in one part of the game was a mistake and one that i don’t want to make again.

Soon Ascended Gear will adhere to these rules.

19. The agony system (as well as any other monster-only conditions added in the future) seems to encourage grinding for hard-to-get gears as opposed to skill-based progression promised in the manifesto, will this be remedied in the future?

I think the amount of materials required to make some of the gear is disproportionate to the amount of time the player wants to put in before he/she starts feeling like the goal is a grind and this skews the overall experience of the dungeon and the perception of the gear within it. I would like us to correct this and we will start working to this shortly.

In regard to future items the amount of work required to gain an item to allow players to experience content and continue having fun will be balanced appropriately.

20. There are no ways to repair inside of fractals aside from cash shop items, providing an inherent advantage to people who pay for advantages. Can this be fixed?

Well it certainly wasn’t designed to be a monetization resource, however i do see your point. We wanted to get rid of rez rushing and focus more on parties working together to not die and die less (-: We will continue to monitor the need for repair in the fractals and go from there.

Sorry if i am not giving more details here but this is something i would like to get metrics on.

21. With the growing empty-map-syndrome, are there processes in development to get players back into the non-80 maps?

I think i have answered E10 with the other answers? Please let me know if you would like more details?

In short we want all new progression systems to tie into the rest of the world where appropriate and synergize with existing player play styles and activities.

22. Please give a straight up answer instead of political question dodging: Will the mat costs of ascended items (50 ectos, 250 tier 6 mats) be reduced or not? If undecided, give an approximate probability of how likely you think the dev team is to reduce the material costs.

I am not trying to answer any questions politically but there are some answers which we haven’t decided upon internally yet and therefore it is pointless me giving an answer that hasn’t been agreed upon yet. However what i can say is that kind of mat requirement is not in keeping with playing fun activities in the game and whether we lower the required amount of mats or apply another fix your answer is that we don’t intend on keeping it the way it is.

Sorry i cant provide more detail, i just don’t have it.

23. If Ascended Gear and the Fractal of the Mist leveling system was not rolled out in the way you intended(being that theres only one way currently to obtain the gear, and the leveling system fragments the playerbase), why was it rolled out in the first place? I thought Arenanet was big on "When its ready", however this sounds like it was not ready but rushed out the door.

We had/have a plan to seed ascended through the game. It affects many many areas and systems and we wanted to essentially rewire aspects of reward progression. This is an ongoing priority. However this is a multi phase plan and during the creation of the FotM I wanted to roll out a subset of the plan to the community. The progression/reward system was not correctly deployed but the Dungeon was, at least in my opinion as i think the guys have done an amazing job. The reward system that was rolled out was also not ‘as designed’ due to some dependencies in other areas of the game. I made the decision to continue with the roll out and here we are today.

This is my responsibility, it was a bad call, but i have to say that whilst this could of been handled better i am still truly excited for what the future will bring and i wouldn’t be doing this job if i didn’t want to learn from extreme challenges and work with amazing people.

I very much appreciate the chance to connect with everyone not just in regard to this issue but the game as a whole. I am hoping to do this once a month with more team members and keep up more meaningful communication channels.

I hope this answers your question, going into anymore detail would take time away from answering other questions.

24. Chris, will the Ascended rings continue to be "double random"? What I mean is that not only do you have to beat the RNG in order to receive a ring, but you also have to beat the RNG to get a ring that is useful to your build. I have received 2 ascended rings, and both of them have the exact same stats (Berserker’s) whereas all of my other gear is Solider’s. Would it be possible to replace the ring drop with a ring token that could be used at an additional vendor? Or perhaps a mystic forge recipe that would convert rings into other stat packages?

We were talking about this this afternoon Red and we certainly believe that some method of meaningful replacement would be a good idea. we didn’t however come to a conclusion yet so there is no more detail.

25. How are runes/sigils going to be handled with ascended armor and weapons? While ascended accessories include the gem, it appears that that solution would not work very well for weapons or armor due to the massive variety of viable runes and sigils that are available for weapons and armor. Can you tell us: Will we be allowed to put in our own runes/sigils into ascended armor/weapons? Or will it be included in some manner like ascended accessories?

We are still finalizing the design on both your question and your suggestion. If we were to discuss it it would likely change and therefore be misleading info. I think that moving forward we should be more communicative about our design once we have a good idea of our plans before it is executed upon. This is just an off the cuff idea but i can certainly see its value.


26. Where’s the love for WvW? Since the game has launched there’s been tons of PvE changes/upgrades and same for sPvP. The only known changes/upgrades to WvW is the recent patch’s change to loot drop rate (for the better, thankfully). Why is this? What can we expect as WvWvW dedicated players.

We have a lot planned for WvW both in terms of current systems and new content and you can expect to hear a lot of new exciting details very soon. In short we have a lot of love for WvW and will continue to evolve it as we move forward.

27. Can we really expect the arrival of eSport?I am one of those players who came into this game because of a big plans for PvP. I even expected that the things like Ladder, Paid t., Spectator mode, Custom tournaments were supposed to be there at the beginning. But it seems to me that you are a lot more focused on PvE content. How long we have to wait for content that will allow us to play this game on the competitive level?

I understand your frustration regarding questions on PvP but i simply cant answer all the questions. We have a separate PvP team working on that section of the game and we are building toward the functionality you describe currently. There should be more news regarding PvP shortly.

28. Any thoughts on these suggestions for WvW? Any hints on what upcoming changes may be in store for WvW? As someone who spends ~ 40 hours a week in WvW, (along with a large group of players) it’d be good to hear some upcoming changes.

These are all cool ideas for WvW and you can expect to see some significant content dropping in this area of the game in the near future.

I would like to be more precise but can’t be but rest assured we are working a lot on not just new content for this area of the game but also progression, reward and beacon mechanics.

29. With ascended gears only being available at FOTM – is it intended that players wishing to be at their best in WvW will have to first tune themselves with fractal rewards?

It is absolutely not intended that Ascended will make a discernible difference in WvW. However it is the certainly the perception. Again however we would have much preferred to have released Ascended Gear across the whole of the game than in one area.

Players in WvW will be able to acquire Ascended items within that area of the game soon.


30. Is there a patch in the works addressing the numerous bugs and broken events riddled throughout the game (in addition to much-needed class buffs/balances)? I am thoroughly enjoying myself with Guild Wars 2, I just hate to see so much hard work and potential wasted due to neglected bugs.

I totally get what you are saying and we are working very hard on not only addressing the bugs in the game, but building on new areas and trying to ensure that new content is as bug free as possible. This is very big ticket item for all of us, so in the same way as the work we did on bots you can expect to see big improvements soon.

31. What games do you like to play besides Guild Wars 2?

I like to play all kinds of games. My favorites are Online Worlds and RTS games and I am currently playing (sparingly as i don’t get much time) Forza Horizon, X- Com, Halo 4 and a lot of Guild Wars 2.

My favorite game of all time is Mario 64.

32. My question is about home instances and personal story. From your promo material prior to release I was led to believe these would be key features in pve. As of release, it seems like these, specifically home instances, have been largely ignored. The pitch on how awesome home instaces would be: pve progression via characters and things added to your personal world, was the reason I bought this game. Are there plans to bring these features in line with the marketing material or is your game focus going to be primarily dungeons and pvp (both things I don’t care for).

Thanks for taking the time to post your question. Both personal story and home instances are ares that i wish we had spent more time on already in terms of content since release. However we will be building on them as we move forward and would love to hear more of your thoughts in regard to the direction you would like to see them move in. In short you can expect to see big things.

33. As an Asura I feel that the weapon sizing is underwhelming, are there plans to look at this? Thank you!

There are certainly plans to have a look at that now and discuss it internally.

34. Are there any plans to standardize how information is disseminated to players?I think that a lot of the recent drama could have been abated somewhat by giving direct statements to the players, rather than leaking incomplete information to third-party sites.This AMA is great, but it’s a few weeks late.

I agree whole heatedly and this is something we have and are continuing to have multiple discussions about.

35. With the addition of the new Ascended gear, you have also created a massive shift in the demand for Ectoplasms (among other T6 materials.) The price has skyrocketed, both due to bots being banned as well as the new gear. Were you guys expecting this? Also, will you be doing anything to bring the prices back to a reasonable price?

This is a reply from John Smith, ArenaNet’s economist:

We did expect the change in price of Ectos and it was intended. Bots had artificially suppressed the prices of many high end items making late game farming for legitimate players less effective than we wanted. With the fractal dungeon we introduce available ways to earn Ectos and other high end items for use or profit to keep the price from going up too fast.

36. Hi Chris, my question is about the major cities. Are there any plans in the works for attracting people there? Since you decided to make LA the main city, we feel the other major cities are being left out: Divinitys Reach, Black Citadel, Rata Sum, The Grove and Hoelbrak. If you were to give each city an unique activity, do you honestly think that will fix the problem of ghost-capitals? In GW1 there were several poles of main cities, for several reasons, and that worked astounding! Lions arch, Ascalon city (where the new guys, lowlevels gathered) Great Temple of Balthazar, Hall of heroes, Temple of Ages, Domain of Anguish, Eye of the North, Kaineng City, Kamadan (the main commerce city). Perhaps moving the krytan dungeons to a waypoint in Divinitys reach and the ascalonian to Black Citadel, and so on? Having populated cities is always a strong factor in strenghtning bonds between people, and raising communities. Thank you for your time

We have been discussion this topic for a while. There are lots of things we have brainstormed but are not firmed up on a direction yet. However here are some ideas to wet your appetite or not:

Events and activities related to town clothes Cities as dungeons! Player created events and activities. Non confrontational material gathering for crafting.

These are just a few of the top of head.

37. As design director, how aware are you of the tweaks that go out in the patches that we get? Would you care to highlight any one change that you and proud of or enthusiastic about that is definitely going to be pushed to us in the next patch?

I am very proud of the balancing work we did as a team on the FotM and i will be spending a lot more time on balancing moving forward. I intend to work more closely with the rewards and itemization team and will also be helping with the new guild content. we have a fantastic team here, i just wish i had more time to work with everyone on everything, although i am sure the guys and gals may differ on that specific goal (-:

38. Hi Chris – Great game. Any chance we will be able to sort gear by type (Light, Med, Heavy) on the TP anytime soon?

I would certainly like this. But seriously we are going to be doing some quality of life improvements to the TP in the non to distant future so watch this space.

39. Now seriously, how come you made GW1 when every form of farm or grind was constantly removed and blocked by you? You could explore solo to have better loot but oh boy you guys at Anet made sure you will need to take some henchmans. You removed griffons, tengu, ettins and so on. NO FARM, NO GRIND! Our precious economy! Now in GW2 word "farm" is so common and normal it makes me sick. Karma farm, dungeon farm, boss farm, farm farm farm. Thing is, grind evolved in this game to the point, that people aren’t playing it for entertainment and joy of playing the game they love. More like they are some sort of employees in chineese sweatshop grinding for gold to sell.

I think grind is repetitive game play leading to a goal where the activity of progression isn’t fun whether it not be fun initially or it suffers from diminishing returns over a period of time. Both the reward and the path have an impact on ‘The Perception of the Grind’ .

The one thing i do like about the ascended issue is that it allows us to talk about some of the deeper issues we see in our game,and the genre and for me to be able to recognize this and say it isn’t good enough and that we will do our very very best to correct existing issues and make darn sure that new content and progression is best of breed.

So with this in mind it is our intention to ensure that progression is fun and that whilst different type of players enjoy different type of activities they can all appreciate the journey to the reward in their own way and that the outcome/reward of the journey is balanced.

The method in which Ascended Gear was rolled out does not meet these criteria, however it was designed to, but it didn’t roll out the way we had originally intended.

40. Hiya, Chris! A lot of profession builds are not optiomal for general pve because of the lack of party-driven content, basic enemy AI or the little diversity in the enemies’ skills. Do you agree with this?

I think that’s a really interesting point and personally i think we should be adding more variety and diversity in encounters and creatures in PVE in order to better communicate just how individual and role centric our proffesions can be when items, skills and traits are set up in such a way that they compliment each other. This is why we will be working on Creatures and open world PVE content very soon to help expose just how deep the combat system is prior to learning it at 80 for example.

41. As someone who loves pretty much every map in PvE, do you have plans for making lower and middle levels attractive again for players who’ve reached the level cap? Many low- and mid-level zones are relatively "dead" at the moment, which is unfortunate because obviously so much work was put into them, and they’re fun! I am frequently soloing content that was meant for groups.

Thanks for taking the time to post your question. Well we already have a down leveling system and with it we intend to refresh content and reward/progression systems to make these areas constantly desirable. This is something we are working on for a release in the near future and will keep you posted as we get closer to the release date.

42. I noticed that a good portion of this AMA has been about some of the game mechanics involving the new content with FotM and Ascended gear and things of the sort, but I have a question, and I want an answer. HUNDREDS of people have been on the forums about the Arah bugs, a majority of people wonder how many have actually completed the story whether due to not wanting to deal with the overdrawn meta to get into Arah, or the fact it’s been bugged for months, and i’ve been through all of them and not seen a single response from Anet. People are saying that they don’t ever want to spend another cent on Anet, and some of these things have discouraged many people from buying the game. I am a Guild Wars Beta player who has been waiting for this since i bought Nightfall and there was a little postcard inside that simply said "Guild Wars 2". And I want to know why none of you are addressing this problem or at least talking to us as to why we can’t finish our personal stories. And dont give me the crap about this not being a support page, which is where the bug reports should go. This is a question for you, the Design Director because apparently your support team has their heads crammed in the dirt (explain that too why don’t ya). Why did we wait years, and pay 60 dollars, for a game we cannot even complete? Fix it, or refund it. because though you guys said "it’s be ready when it’s ready" it obviously wasn’t yet and you sold millions of people unfinished product.

It really is shame to see you so angry at a team of people who work extremely hard to provide the best experience we possibly can. Whilst i understand your frustration saying that the team isn’t listening to or working on bugs is just plain wrong and disrespectful. This is without doubt the best team i have worked and we will continue to give our heart and soul when it comes to making the very best game we can.

So with that out of the way let me address some of your concerns. A number of bugs that we see in game that relate to event progression or story progression are extremely complex and were not present before we launched. We have a team that works on just these kind of bugs and on a daily basis make fixes to very complex issues. Whilst i understand how frustrating this can be please understand this is a live game and one fix can cause a new issue. No matter how much we test for this variance we will miss issues.

We are doing everything humanly possible to fix issues that present themselves but it does take time.

43. I am L26, and it is reaaaally slow going, as the maps and events are deserted, and everything you designed for crowds in mind, I have to solo. Is there any chance of getting heroes/henchman to offset this, at least until L80?

I love the idea of henchmen and this is something we would discuss, however the problem you raise initially would be complemented by this feature rather than fixed. We are going to ensure full use of the world by not polarizing content. This has been a huge topic of conversation today. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and questions.

44. During the Karka finale, many players seemed unable (no matter how hard they tried) to get kill credit off the karka mobs spawning during the event. That means no XP, and no potential for a loot drops during the entire event. This seems to be a problem that occurs frequently during events where a large number of players are present. In fact, if players need to be responsible for at least 5% of the damage resulting in the death of a monster in order to receive credit, it seems like any time there are more than 20 players attacking the same monster there are going to be people who are left out no matter what. 25 people dealing 4% of the damage each would seem to create a situation where nobody receives kill credit on a target. And in the Karka finale the number of players participating in the battle was closer to 50+, creating a situation where a whole lot of people were consistently losing out.Participating in a 2+ hour event like this, wracking up repair debts, and receiving no credit for any karka kills was simply not fun because of this situation. Are you planning to address this problem?

Thanks for taking the time to post. This was a bug and was not intended. The bug will be fixed moving forward.

45. While we are on the topic of Character Progression, are there any plans for progression outside of items? One of my favorite parts of guildwars 1 was becoming "Closer to the Stars" and fighting my doppleganger to become Ascended. These kinds of things are really cool and fun, even if they didn’t really do much for you stat wise. Of course, I love infusion and the references you are making with Agony and whatnot, I’m just wondering if these oblique references will ever be acknowledged head on.

I would love us to try out completely new forms of progression and we thoroughly intend to. Sorry for not being able to give precise details but i think i answered your question in regard to our direction regarding new types of progression.

46. Are we going to see an increase to the regularity of community communications, like a weekly newsletter? Is it possible to have more direct involvement with fansites or non-commercial sites with this increase of information flow? A regular release of insights and info may help relieve some of the need to do a 10 hr AMA in the future. 🙂

i love the goal here and it is an area i have been thinking about a lot today. Specifically a more frequent conversation between the community and the team. Still brainstorming around it, so watch this space.

47. Longtime GW1 player here. A huge part of what made GW1 fun were builds. Constantly being able to tweak and modify your playstyle is what GW1 fun and long-lasting experience. My problem with the direction GW2 is going to has nothing to do with grind, but a lack of options. There more time I invest in making my character stronger, the more I am forced to specialize and only play one particular build. When I buy expensive time-sink armor, I’m forced to play whatever build that armor is made for. It is discouraging, because you end up losing all of the flexibility traits, weapons, and utility skills bring when you are pigeonholed by your armor.

Really interesting comment that i agree with. I love the fact that i can create a really good build and would love the ability to swap between builds (armor and all). This is something we will be paying more attention to. Thanks for the post and support.

More news to come.

48. 1. High level cotent such as FOTM and dungeons require a lot of time to finish, often in hours end including finding a group, is there a plan to design and implement content that needs shorter time to finish but equally challanging?  2. Any plans to implement content that does not need group to run and finish? (single player dungeon, instanced quest outside of personal story) As casual player I often does not have enough time to finish content that require a lot of time. Thank you in advance.

Forgive my shortness in the reply but the answers are easy but the information is not something we would be prepared to talk about yet.

1: Yes 2: Its an interesting design proposition.

Hope you aren’t to angry about the lack of info and thanks for taking the time to get involved in the conversation.

49. Magic find and just drops in general (with or without MF gear) seems to have been greatly altered to a minimum. Also, in the most recent patch it was noted that Veterans/Champions should always drop something at least, irregardless of what quality. Is the system working as you intended since the update or are there most definitely problems with it as it stands? Also, if it is ‘working as planned’ why the huge change in drops? Coupled with diminishing rewards it is hard to farm legitly and almost points the player to the Cash Shop instead of relying on self-reliance. Thanks in advance!

So yep you are right this is the question i have been likely dodging the most? The reason being is that it requires investigation. Vet and Champs should give good loot and there are a number of reports on perceived decrease in the frequency of drops. I will be discussing this in depth with the Production and Design team tomorrow and we will hopefully have more info soon

By Dulfy

MMO guide writer and blogger. Currently playing and covering SWTOR, GW2, and TSW.

9 replies on “GW2 Chris Whiteside AMA on Reddit”

Thank you, Dulfy, for getting this together. It was a bit of a headache trying to dig it all out of the Reddit format.

13. What is your/ANet’s definition of grind?

Repetitive game play that is not fun.

OhRly!? And if those guys from Anet hate grinding, why in the hell did they choose to force a player to run a dungeon so many times to get the armor/weapon? PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

John Smith’s answer seems to contradict Chris’s replies about wanting to remove grind. The reason T6 mats and ectos are so expensive right now is because of the terrible drop rate and the sheer number of mats(250) you need to craft the ascended gear.

If John really believes that the current price is correct, expected and healthy, it’s because of the current state of the grind needed to support the crafting of the new gear. If Chris believes that the grind should be removed or reduced, then the price of these mats will surely drop.

Who is right?

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