GW2 Twitchcon Designing Raids in Heart of Thorns

GW2 Twitchcon panel on designing raids in Heart of Thorns. It is a basically a Q&A with some key info on the upcoming raids,.


Q&A Transcript

  • Where is the first raid?
    • North of Verdant Brink, NE corner, east of Itzel village, kind of corner of Silverwastes
  • How do you get in?
    • Similar to how you enter a dungeon but you get into a squad first. You get a popup like dungeons and it will ask you which wing of the raid you want to enter.
  • What if you don’t have a commander tag?
    • You can form a leaderless squad on the fly. It is capped to 10 players but you don’t have much control over it. It is similar to party functions (vote to kick, no ownership).
  • Are masteries just attunements?
    • Attunements are hard gates that prevent you access to the raids. There is nothing to prevent you from getting to the raid. If we didn’t have leaderless squads it would have been attunement but you don’t need a commander tag.
  • Can you PUG these?
    • Mike Z: if you are really really good PUG group. Maybe? Maybe for the first 1-2 bosses. We want these to be a true challenge.
    • Crystal Reid: You are being really generous. The first boss is really hard YO!
  • Raid Progress
    • First person that enter the instance will set the raid instance. Their progress will determine the raid group’s progress.
    • You can only get the loot once from a boss per week.
  • Raid Loot
    • Personal loot like rest of GW2.
    • You will not 2 blues and a green. You will get stuff like Ascended Rewards. All the bosses have new loot tables and the % to get them is way higher because of the weekly lockout (like 10% chance).
    • Ascended Gear, Tomes of Experience (huge chunk of XP towards masteries), exclusive skins (exclusive to raids). Tongue boss has a pretty cool shield. One of the boss has a pretty cool flamethrower that is a rifle skin and a Napalm backpack.
    • Bosses will drop precursors for the legendary armor. The cost it takes to get a full legendary weapon is similar to the cost for a set of legendary armor.


  • What if I go in with a full guild group? Do I get anything extra?
    • Reward chest will drop trophies players can get and show off in their guild hall.
    • Each boss have an unique trophy.


  • How do raid wings work?
    • Wings are released one at a time. 1st wing released sometime after HoT ship (before Holidays). The first wing will give you some background story that is continued in wing 2 and wing 3 etc
    • Second wing will have a huge awesome mega reveal and will be released in early 2016.
    • Once all the wings are released, you can raid in any wing you want by picking them at the entrance popup.
  • How many raids can you crank out per year?
    • Tricky question, we are trying to find our pace. We can look at 6 wings per year maybe. A full raid is probably like 3 wings but we can do raids with just 1 wing if we have a specific story to tell.
  • Timeline of the raid story?
    • After the Heart of Thorns main story, it is the next big challenge in the shadows.
  • Can we use slaying potions etc?
    • We don’t want these to become BiS and requirement to raid. They are equivalent to something else and if you had this something else you would use that.
  • Skill and Balance?
    • The skill and balance guys are already testing the raids and can find out overpowered specs etc
  • Waypoints and revival orbs
    • None of that. Checkpoint system like fractals.
  • Player buffs and stuff in 10 man
    • We are against increasing the buff cap from 5 to 10 since it will promote these super groups and blow out balance really really fast. We don’t want to balance around this superground and it is really limiting us as designers.
    • It is also bad for raid leaders if they can’t raid because they are missing a key profession etc.
    • It will negatively impact WvW
  • Special mini pets as raid rewards
    • It has alot of tongues!
  • Solomon darkfury

    Wow… so no raid at HoT launch?! Laaaaaaaaammmme! Main reason I preordered!

    • Pockets

      I think they want to give people time to unlock stuff before we head in there.

    • chaser

      Sounds Meh

    • ITIarathon

      They have said that they wanted to make sure that everyone has time to train up their masteries, elite specs and gear up for raids.

      And they will be doing profession balance before releasing the raid, I believe they said a few weeks after HoT launch.

      Destiny pretty much did the same thing with their raids, releasing them a while after launch.

    • Solomon Darkfury

      Ummmm why not just make the first wing NOT require any masteries to complete… boom problem solved…

      • ITIarathon

        They have already said that not having masteries won’t prevent you access to the raid. And I assume that masteries will only make certain parts of the raid easier.

        And, I don’t know, maybe they want people to prepare themselves first? And they want to do profession balance, so that they can adjust builds that would have been overpowered in the raid, or certain skills and traits that would have broken the raids.

        • Solomon Darkfury

          Soooo they assume people know nothing about their classes and have the learning curve of a monkey… got it… anyone serious about raiding has theorycrafted every elite Specialization already… and play tested most of them for their mechanics…. this is more of anet Dragging out content. And releasing the wings every couple months as a Story arc? Seriously?! It’s like they said hey we know our living story failed but You know what would be a great idea? Lets do living story raids!!! O swear I think the WvW team was put in charge of HoT development.

          • ITIarathon

            Well, go read the blog post about raids on their website.

            They do a far better explanation than me.

          • ITIarathon

            Also… I did not say that ANet thinks that no one knows their classes, what I was saying that they want as many people to be ready for the raid, be it earning enough hero points for elite specs or gearing up their main classes with the best gear.

            And what I meant was, ANet wants to do some further profession/class balancing post-launch to ensure that nothing is broken.

            As for elite spec theory crafting, remember, the elite spec functionalities are not final, everything is still subjected to change. We will see how much will change after BWE 3.

          • Sashera

            em… if you had been listening, they have already said that the first boss requires you to utilise the glide function as part of its mechanics. But if you wanna jump right into raiding without it, im sure we’ll all get a laugh at you leaping off the edge and falling to your doom.

    • Pink Popstar Ahri

      There is likely enough content at the start you know.

      • Solomon Darkfury

        Most people (at least the hardcore gamers) will power through the maps in a couple of weeks… hell in the beta there were people that had gotten the next to last tier of glider mastery… that took what? 6 days of beta in only partial maps? Yeah there will be alot of content but when they SAY that raids will be coming WITH HoT then say it won’t it’s called bait and switch advertising and believe it or not it’s illegal. There are a TON of people who preordered based on belief of getting raids when HoT HITS. Hell like me there is another in these comments…

        • Eolirin

          Then apparently neither of you were paying attention at all; from the moment raids were revealed it has been clearly stated that the first wing would not be available for a few weeks post launch. And that the later wings would roll out some time after that. This is not news.

    • Andrew Thurman

      There’s tons of content to do first, the raid plays a part in the story which more than likely will take you a few weeks to do anyway so quit your bitching.

      • Solomon Darkfury

        oooooo so sorry… didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion regarding how they are trying to hide more living story concept (that failed) inside a raid… and not only that… when they announced Raids they said it WOULD COME with HoT… again the reason I preordered… but please tell me again how I’m not allowed to have an opinion 🙂

        • Rayti

          Actually, they already said at the first raid announcement that raids will be opened later AFTER HoT launch (you need to unlock several masteries you need inside anyway – they mentioned that as one of the reasons). If the raid reveal was the main reason for your preorder, maybe you should have watched the whole announcement or at least read one of the many blog posts.

  • wut?

    So if I use Retreat random 5 people will get the Aegis and the rest won’t get anything?

    • Olian04

      You can create “sub-groups” within the squad/raid-group. And then your skills will primarily target your “sub-group-members”.
      Go read the post about WvW and Squads for more 🙂

      • Akuni

        Correction: You can do that as a commander. Leaderless squads are random, so yeah I imagine that could be frustrating for some…

    • George Smith

      could increase the importance of positioning

  • Damonwex

    no raids at the launch! they advertise raids as a main feature of HOT and then wont even bother to release it at the launch WTF anet? sure they promised new raids every 2 months but we were given similar promises with LS content but look where it got us 9 months in a content draught and the only content they bothered to release was that pathetic excuse for an event few weeks back. Dosent realy fill me with confidence for the expac.

    • Solomon Darkfury

      Not new raids every couple months… new wings… of one raid lololol

      • Damonwex

        New wing= new boss, new mechanics so basically its a new raid

        • Solomon Darkfury

          No… What they are introducing is a series of connected difficult dungeons… A raid is ONE massive instance broken into wings and released all at once… they are using this trashy ass idea to continue with their stupid living story concept. As they said timeline it is post HoT and leading to the next big bad… Lame AF if you ask me…

    • The primary reason they aren’t, I think, is to ensure that we play through the story content and get some masteries first.

      • Damonwex

        Yes but different people pre ordered for different reasons and one of the main reasons I pre ordered cuz of raids so just forcing us to wade through the story to do raids was just stupid.I mean there is no reason here at all to integrate LS into raids at all cuz raids are all about gameplay and team coordination not story .yes I understand there should be some back story but that’s all it really many people just skip though the dungeon cutscenes? Cuz the reason ppl do dungeons is to get loot not story and its gonna be the same with raids. just wasted effort that could have gone to some other area of the game.

        • Solomon Darkfury

          can’t agree more…

        • Suz

          You still have to earn the masteries to complete the raids. It’s supposed to be high level end game content, not something you get to do the first day. Then people would continue complaining about the lack of high level end game content.

          • Damonwex

            weren’t you paying attention at the discussion? masteries aren’t required to complete a raid, they just makes your life a bit easier at the raid .

  • The Malkavian Villain of Tyria

    I am always more of a “show don’t tell” kind of person. I appreciate that I am informed about how Raids are designed, but a sample of said Raid would be welcome. Oh well, gonna check it out when the beta hits. 🙂

  • Raz

    So what’s the point of the legendary armor other than the skins and selectable stats? Selectable stats don’t mean shit if you’re still gonna have the same power runes on them when you want to go from zerk to dire or carrion. I’ll stick to my ascended stuff.

    • Alot

      One assumes they look nice.

      • Raz

        I didn’t buy ascended armors because they looked nice. I needed the stats.

        • lmaonade

          Then it’s the same as weapons, you get ascended for the stats, and a legendary for the looks.

          Seriously, this is such a minor point.

        • Alot

          Apologies. Unless you changed your post, it appears I misread it. Congrats on the lvl 50 fractal runs though, as those are one of the only two places in the game where ascended stats are needed.

          I agree on the runes though. Seeing as we add “legendary inscriptions” into the new precursor weapons crafting system, it wouldn’t be a far leap to assume that legendary armour pieces should be able to change their runes at will.

          • Eolirin

            Runes and Sigils really need to be an unlock system that you can swap in and out at will, like skins.

            • Alot

              Nah, nothing that drastic. It would be nice if we eventually got legendary runes however – special runes that could only be inserted into legendary armor (and permanently fused to them) but could be freely changed to any rune type. Preferably with a gold coefficient less then twenty pieces.

              • Eolirin

                Runes and sigils are central to build experimentation, and the popular ones are really expensive. So you end up limiting the ability to test new concepts and force people to spend gems on upgrade extractors. The gear system, until they put in the ability to swap Ascended stats via forge and even more with legendary armor, was bad enough in that respect, but the need to spend significant resources just to change builds around cuts against the entire point of the build system functioning the way it does. It’s also one of the worst anti-alt mechanics remaining in the game, as your costs scale with the number of characters you need to outfit. Every other pain point around that kind of thing has been removed, with them making legendaries, ascended gear, and dyes account bound.

              • Alot

                The only point that I feel needs challenging is the idea that any computer game system is fundamentally at odds with any other system housed in the same game. Different systems may contrast with each other, they may promote completely different philosophies but this does not invalidate different systems housed within the same game. Having different speccing systems with different levels of convenience and grinding is not an inherent design issue, it merely defines the game’s design space and the player’s interaction space.

                The only thing that an in game system could be fundamentally at odds with is the advertised intent of the producing company – and Anet has been extremely transparent about the why, when and what of all in game’s grinds.

                As for the other points (besides the runes), they are all more or less true. That said, they are all less true for GW2 then any other mmorpg I can think of. There are certain grinds which are inherent with any game in the mmorpg genre. that said, GW2 has gone further to alleviate those issues then any other mmorpg I know of – which makes faulting them on those issues seem a bit silly.

                Changing runes regularly could become expensive (if you cycling through the expensive ones anyway), that does not mean that runes should be degraded to a second set of traits though. Given the design space already defined for equipment acquisition in GW2 though, I do think that legendary runes (for legendary armor only) would be a good match to the gearing systems which GW2 already clearly follows in game.

              • Eolirin

                GW1 has no conflict between gear and build switching. So it’s a step back from their own property. You’re right though, it’s way worse in other MMOs. But other MMOs typically don’t provide build experimentation and diversity either.
                And designs absolutely can be in conflict with each other; mechanics create incentive and behaviors and even aesthetic and when one thing pushes one way and another pushes another it creates dissonance. If that dissonance serves a purpose, creates a contrast as you say, that’s one thing, but if there’s no actual benefit to the negative interactions it’s simply poor design. There’s a reason they added a recipe to change Ascended gear stats (and they pretty much implied that they would’ve made it so that runes were preserved except for technical limitations). There’s a reason why Ascended gear boxes were a terrible reward system before they made that change. And the fact that current content invalidates the vast majority of gear stat sets is a design flaw between two separate systems, the content and itemization design. Hopefully HoT fixes this, but having gear that serves no purpose at best and provides a trap for inexperienced players at worst isn’t properly functioning design.
                Also, to be clear, I think legendary runes/sigils are fine too as a solution, at least for raiding. It’s just more exclusive of a solution than I’d like to see. It really should be easier for more casual players to be able to experiment than it is, and making Legendaries the key to doing that excludes most of the player base.

              • Alot

                A quick note on technical limitations. A short time after Tequatl was revamped, some people asked why world bosses couldn’t be critically hit and a dev responded (devs responded back then) that world bosses couldn’t be critted due to technical limitations. About 12 hours after the condition damage revamp a dev said world bosses were dying too fast so hp was being doubled – and two hours later the no-crit-world-boss-limitation was miraculously overcome. So excuse me if I don’t buy the technical limitations argument.

                – deleted a large swath of post here, I was getting off topic -.-

          • Raz

            Thank you, sucks to hear that you’re still rocking those exotics but oh well. I like to have BiS gear, so that’s another reason why I went for them almost 2 years ago.

            • Alot

              Interesting conclusions you drew there. You must explain the thought process to me some time.

              • Raz

                Your passive aggressive hostility made it evident that something was bothering you.

      • thatdamnrat

        Based on the preexisting legendary weapons I’m going to call that a baseless assumption.

        • Damonwex

          toataly agree

  • Majmo Mendez

    Unpuggable raids? I don’t think that will end up very well.

    • Sinic

      It wouldn’t be challenging otherwise.

    • sebi

      I don’t think you wont be able to run raids with pugs after a few month when everyone has figured out how a specific Boss works. You can easily run fractals lvl 50 or very hard dungeon paths with randoms (only if you get a decent Group). So it should be possible! though very hard with randoms. What i imagine could be difficult is the coordination of all the 10 Players.

  • Alot

    The second boss wields a flamethrower? That brings up an interesting point. What sort of humanoid sized character constitutes a 10 person raid boss? The only person sized boss I can think of which could have taken on 10 people would have been that inquest asura who infused himself with the essences of all the elder dragons.

  • Colosso

    Armors have 6 pieces so do we need 3 world completion to make legendary armors?

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