GW2 A Crack in the Ice Developers Reddit AMA

GW2 A Crack in the Ice Developers Reddit AMA and summary.

Summary

Economy

  • We tracked the various items used in the new recipes and found one that seemed to be involved in insider trading. We’re investigating the trades that led to the price spike, and in the meantime, we removed the recipes that would have used this item from today’s launch. We’ll reintroduce them when we can, using different ingredients.
  • We’ll have to fix Auric Basin multi-looting in a future release. This one is exploity and is trashing the ecto market.
  • We’ll introduce a way to farm leather in a future release.
  • We’re keeping an eye on mystic coins. They’ve experienced the second-most significant run-up in prices, and like hardened leather, they’re not particularly farmable. We’re watching them closely but not taking action at this time
  • BLC chests – We’ve received a great deal of feedback internally and on our forums that were pointing to it needing to be revitalized.  Through those conversations there was a ton of ideas and you’ll be seeing some of them through the seasonal updates of the chest.

Fractals

  • Our focus right now is twofold: 1. We’re keeping an eye on the reception of the Nightmare Fractal. What worked, what didn’t work, where it can improve. We want to use this information to shape the decisions we make going forward. 2. Continuing work on new fractals, as well as existing fractal reworks, to bring them to the quality bar we have created with our recent releases.
  • The Raids and Fractals teams are seperate entities, but we both deal with instanced encounter design so we are working at lot closer now than, for instance, a year back.
  • Yes you will see more revamps. We wanted to get one in for this release, but unfortunately we had to postpone it to spend more time on Nightmare after a designer left the team.
  • We have recently implemented /gg in our dev builds and do plan to release it eventually, but we need to do more testing. As for a party ready check, my team probably does not have the bandwidth to implement something like that any time soon I am afraid.
  • Complete revamp? Not for all of them. The goal is to just to bring up the overall quality and fun factor for them, which could really mean anything.
  • I don’t think we would ever want to do massive revamps to the old dungeons. With the way they are structured and scripted (old scripts are pretty jank. Tools have since improved), it would be way too much work for too little gain, work better spent on new content.

Raids

  • Next raid – We’re in the final phases of testing and balancing the encounters. About half of it is ready to ship right now, but the other half still requires some additional work.
  • If you like getting knocked off platforms then have we got a boss for you!
  • There are only 7 bosses in game to date so we have a long ways to go when it comes to exploring new and different mechanics.
  • With the upcoming release it didn’t make sense to have an event style encounter so we just built 4 large bosses instead.
  • Legendary Armor -  I don’t have anything to predict about release date, other than just to say we’re working on it and it’s coming along.

Misc

  • Would love to see the ability to follow your teammates with our camera once we are dead
  • Material storage additions – There is a lot, especially in scribing, that ideally I think we would add but we do still need to be careful about size and organizational constraints so there is room in the future to add new materials as they are released. I’ll update everyone when I have a plan, but please do be patient as this is not my primary work and we have the holidays imminent.
  • It’s very unlikely that we will add combat tonics of races that don’t share animations with the player races, like Skritt or Quaggan.
  • One of the design goals for a new mastery is to create it in such a way that it can be reasonably utilized in other future content drops, particularly within the same system. What you’re seeing with the thermal tubes is an active effort to reward you guys for playing earlier episodes.
  • Koda’s Flame is generalized enough to be used in the future, but it’s hard to know exactly how well it will work with new designs
  • All of the maps we have done and are in progress for LW are brand new. We built these from scratch for the LW content. Each LW team gets a 6 month development cycle, from concepting to release, though the first two episodes ended up getting a little longer since we were still working out kinks in the process, staffing issues, and figuring out how we wanted to structure everything.
  • Thanks for the suggestion on having more hair accessory dye colors available, we’ll have some internal conversations on this.

General Announcements

Insider Trading

This episode introduces new uses for 23 existing items. We tracked their prices prior to launch. One item, an ingredient used in two new recipes, experienced a price spike over the weekend that looks suspiciously like insider trading. We’re investigating the trades that led to the price spike, and in the meantime, we removed the recipes that would have used this item from today’s launch. We’ll reintroduce them when we can, using different ingredients.

AB Multiloot

A couple notes about farming.

We’ll have to fix Auric Basin multi-looting in a future release. Shocking, I know. It’s a fun farming spot, but there are lots of fun farming spots, and this one is exploity and is trashing the ecto market. So consider this fair warning. 🙂

We’re trying to be as hands-off as possible with item prices, recognizing that players ultimately drive item prices by hoarding things they perceive as cheap and by unloading or farming things they perceive as expensive. On the other hand, it’s kind of unfair for us to say that about hardened leather, because there’s not a good way to farm hardened leather. So we also want to give this early warning that we’ll introduce a way to farm leather in a future release.

Mac Client

  • We have new build servers coming online.
  • We are beginning to expand the client to internal teams to increase testing.

We will release an alpha version of the client for experimental use (like we did with the 64-bit Windows client) when it’s building and running internally on a consistent basis. It will probably require a bit of Mac smarts to install it so it will be for hardened explorers only.

Fractals

I’ll also have to ask, what’s the team focus on fractals ? Do you want to keep rolling new fractals once in a while (when they are ready?) and what’s the future of this content (expands, more levels, other than new islands).

Our focus right now is twofold: 1. We’re keeping an eye on the reception of the Nightmare Fractal. What worked, what didn’t work, where it can improve. We want to use this information to shape the decisions we make going forward. 2. Continuing work on new fractals, as well as existing fractal reworks, to bring them to the quality bar we have created with our recent releases.

Ultimately, you can expect more of the kinds of content we delivered this year. Hope you look forward to it. 🙂

Question on Fractals: With the tower of nightmare being added is there a chance that we can see a attack on Lion Arch Fractal? Also if you can design a fractal based on any event in guild wars 1 or 2 what would it be?

We have plans for our next fractal, but I won’t spoil anything. For now, we hope you enjoy Nightmare!

Did the raid team help at with creating/balancing the new fractal?

So, yes and no. Spoiler Alert: Nightmare started as a pet project of mine while I was QA Embed for the Raids Team. I took the lessons learned from developing Raids alongside those amazing designers, and focused on creating something that matched that level of quality.

The Raids and Fractals teams are seperate entities, but we both deal with instanced encounter design so we are working at lot closer now than, for instance, a year back. Both teams look at and build off what the other is doing in their development, and what lessons they learn in their release.

What is the reason behind adding new daily for research pages except bringing more life to T3 LFG? Because right now there are no rational ways to spend those pages. Is something like converting them to relics or new skins coming in future?

The daily recommended Tier 3 was added to solve a couple problems. We wanted to get more players back into Tier 3 fractals, and we also wanted to speed up the timegate portion of obtaining ascended gear from Fractals.

Will we see more fractal revamps? I am pretty sad that the last 2 patches had 0 revamps.

Yes you will see more revamps. We wanted to get one in for this release, but unfortunately we had to postpone it to spend more time on Nightmare after a designer left the team.

Can we get /gg and ready check on Fractals?

We have recently implemented /gg in our dev builds and do plan to release it eventually, but we need to do more testing. The ability to wipe your party whenever you want can allow you to break old fractals in ways that the original designers did not expect, and we have to be sure we do not introduce exploits or stalls with this change.

As for a party ready check, my team probably does not have the bandwidth to implement something like that any time soon I am afraid.

Another thing, do you guys see yourself completely revamping or adding new tech to ALL old fractals ?

Complete revamp? Not for all of them. The goal is to just to bring up the overall quality and fun factor for them, which could really mean anything. We still have to assess exactly what changes we want to make for each fractal, and when to make them.

Do you think after all old fractals got a quality update that there is a chance for the fractal team to maybe look at dungeons if there won’t be a dungeon team?

I don’t think we would ever want to do massive revamps to the old dungeons. With the way they are structured and scripted (old scripts are pretty jank. Tools have since improved), it would be way too much work for too little gain, work better spent on new content. However if any team is going to bugfix dungeons, it’s going to be us… sigh

Raids

Is the next raid almost done??

Yes. We’re in the final phases of testing and balancing the encounters. About half of it is ready to ship right now, but the other half still requires some additional work.

I do immensely enjoy the current raids, but I also raid in other games. There are certain mechanics that are quite common (almost staple) in other MMOs that doesn’t show up at all in GW2. Like sharing aoe damage with a certain number of people, divebombs and stuff that knocks you of platform (well you could count the odd adds at sab and gorse). Any particular reason for that?

If you like getting knocked off platforms then have we got a boss for you! But really, I don’t think there’s any particular reason why you haven’t seen every mechanic you’ve encountered in other games before. There are only 7 bosses in game to date so we have a long ways to go when it comes to exploring new and different mechanics.

Any new info you’re willing to share on the new raid wing?

The next raid wing structurally will be a bit different than previous releases. Both Jason Reynolds and I had tackled Spirit Vale together, but we split off to make Salvation Pass and Stronghold of the Faithful at the same time (with the assistance of our awesome content programmers Ben Newell and Charlie Engleherd) which is why those releases only had 2 large bosses instead of the 3 from SV. With the upcoming release it didn’t make sense to have an event style encounter so we just built 4 large bosses instead.

What are chances of getting more challenge moots in the current raids? To keep content more fresh and for groups to push themselves to be better?

Pretty high. We prefer to design new mechanics for them rather than just make them artificially harder, or at least come up with clever achievements. For example: There could have been an achievement in Spirit Vale to kill Sabetha while Karde is still alive. Achievements like that are interesting since it forces you to rethink the encounter a little. Things like "Do we burn Karde to 25% to trigger Sabetha to come back sooner, or do we wait out the timer so that we don’t accidentally kill him in the last phase?"

How is Legendary Armor coming along?

We posted the update and preview a month ago, and since then, we’re working every week to get the details right. I’m not trying to hold us to any particular schedule for releasing it, because I think it’s more important to get it right than to get it out quickly. So, sorry, I don’t have anything to predict about release date, other than just to say we’re working on it and it’s coming along.

Another question I’d have is if you’re going to incooperate raid masteries in the next wing. When I first went into wing 2, I didnt have nuhoch stealth detection and couldn’t see the saboteurs. My raidgroup told me to focus the big red crosses that didn’t show up. Will there be similar mastery locks in the feature?

It’s really all going to depend on what ideas the designer comes up with. With Gorseval, we knew we had access to updrafts and gliding and Jason came up with a really compelling mechanic that utilized a mastery that fit the encounter nicely.

To the raid team, bosses are obviously tuned up and down during development. Did any of you ever came up with such an rage-inducing mechanic that you had to stop it from shipping?I might like hard bosses

The entire original design of the Vale Guardian was pretty rage inducing. If you used any soft CC (Chill, Cripple), it would throw off the entire flow of the encounter and it would escalate very quickly leading to a wipe. It basically just made us all yell at each other in the play test and spend all our time trying to figure out who was applying Cripple. (Spoilers it was Chris Cleary)

In the end we were looking at this (the first boss we designed) and comparing it to Gorseval/Sabetha. We had already learned so much about what makes a good encounter in GW2 that we just scrapped the whole thing and the result is what’s currently on Live.

Economy

Thank you. Mystic coins are interesting as well, but definitely more of a niche item than leather…That stuff is used in EVERY exotic gear recipe in the game in large quantities…

We’re keeping an eye on mystic coins. They’ve experienced the second-most significant run-up in prices, and like hardened leather, they’re not particularly farmable. But on the other hand, they’ve spiked less hard than leather, the spike appears to be more due to hoarding, and the uses for mystic coins are more aspirational/optional than the uses for hardened leather. So we’re watching them closely but not taking action at this time

What was the design choice behind the revamped Black lion chests? I feel rather sad after spending 20 dollars and just getting a few semi good items instead of the outfit i really wanted.

We’ve received a great deal of feedback internally and on our forums that were pointing to it needing to be revitalized. Through those conversations there was a ton of ideas and you’ll be seeing some of them through the seasonal updates of the chest. As for the Braham’s Wolfblood Outfit this specific outfit is available through the chest and through the Gem Store, and internally at least one person received it on their second roll making it cheaper than it would have been if they had purchased it through the gem store. FWIW, I had similar luck with the Grasping Phantom Glider, I must have used 60 keys before I received it as an unlock and I was getting other rare items. The nice thing about the chest revamp is that you still do receive a guaranteed item, a convenience item, and an account progression item and the chance for other rare items.

So we also want to give this early warning that we’ll introduce a way to farm leather in a future release.

Just curious, why is this the route you’re taking rather than reducing the amount needed in crafting to match T6 cloth? Gossamer is just as hard to farm as T6 leather at the moment, but it’s price isn’t ridiculous because you don’t need obscene amounts of it to craft anything.

I’ll post an answer, but understand that this is an open discussion, and this is just my current thought. My thought is that we should as much as possible give players the tools to balance prices themselves. When items are consciously farmable through a specific activity, players get to choose whether they’re worth farming, and that choice is a vote on the market price – Mo

Mainly because changing crafting prices has a HUGE impact in supply vs demand. Where as creating a place where people can farm x item creates a resistance which can keep a price in check. This creates a more self balancing system where reduces the amount used in a recipe is a static drop in demand which doesn’t often balance itself out – Isaiah

Misc

Can we ever expect the ability to follow our Teammates with our Camera once we are dead. I Really liked to do that in GW1 and learn to do certain mechanics etc if i died instead of just lying at the ground

I can’t answer this with a yes or no, but I personally would love to have this feature as well.

Any new developments/thoughts on the material storage additions?

Like I said on the forums, it’s going to take me a little while to assess all of the suggestions for validity and design a plan. In my initial post, I mentioned that we may need to look at priorities if there are a lot of materials we want to add and I do believe that is the case. There is a lot, especially in scribing, that ideally I think we would add but we do still need to be careful about size and organizational constraints so there is room in the future to add new materials as they are released. I’ll update everyone when I have a plan, but please do be patient as this is not my primary work and we have the holidays imminent. Thanks!

Are we going to start seeing more tonics like the Endless Kodan tonic to play as races/creatures that are too minor to become a fully playable race?

It’s very unlikely that we will add combat tonics of races that don’t share animations with the player races, like Skritt or Quaggan. Those creatures don’t have a large number of animations that are needed for player combat. However, both Linsey and I are big fans of combat tonics, so we’ll likely have more in the future where we can fit them in.

I was pleasantly surprised to see thermal tubes make a comback in the new map. Does this mean that we can expect thermal tubes and even the new mastery (kodan’s flames?) to be on each new map that is released with LWS3? If so it really makes the masteries much more meaningful as they aren’t one off things that we use once and never again (cough exalted mastery line cough)

One of the design goals for a new mastery is to create it in such a way that it can be reasonably utilized in other future content drops, particularly within the same system. What you’re seeing with the thermal tubes is an active effort to reward you guys for playing earlier episodes.

That said, as a designer I know how easy it is for them to get passed up especially as we continue to add more and more abilities. I can easily imagine spending a lot of time working in the older masteries. So it’s a balancing act, really, between make sure we touch on the old ones while creating new masteries for you to unlock (and make them interesting). I think Koda’s Flame is generalized enough to be used in the future, but it’s hard to know exactly how well it will work with new designs.

How long have the maps for the Living World season 3 been in development for? So far I’ve enjoyed all of them immensely due to their rich detail, and overall cool aesthetics. Were they more recent creations, something the team has kept to the side for the right moment, or a combination of both?

All of the maps we have done and are in progress for LW are brand new. We built these from scratch for the LW content. Each LW team gets a 6 month development cycle, from concepting to release, though the first two episodes ended up getting a little longer since we were still working out kinks in the process, staffing issues, and figuring out how we wanted to structure everything.

TL;DR these teams are busting their butts to bring you all brand new, handcrafted content.

Is there any chance of dyeable hair accessories by user from their unlocked dye pool? So many hairstyles unused because of limited dyes for that specific use (at least by me with my need for matchy matchy colors)

Thanks for the suggestion on having more hair accessory dye colors available, we’ll have some internal conversations on this.

With the setup of the different working groups such as living world, fractals, raids, xpac, and etc. How has this Implementation worked out for the company? Has it created more stability towards your goals or have you had to tweak it over the months.

I think it would be impossible to work with a team this large without subdivisions. AreaNet isn’t static. Our current system is working well but I’m sure that we’ll come up with something more efficient in the future. We reorganize ourselves regularly.

  • Shaggy

    it always makes me happy to see them keeping an eye on the small stuff, especially when it comes to economy.

  • arenanetishit

    This is just ridicilous, “we are not going to actively maintain the economy” oh, really? like all price ups / downs theyve been there to “readjust” them…. Not like the community has ever had a chance to dictate the economy.

  • arenanetishit

    and the AB multiloot “exploity” / crashing ecto market, uhhh… what the fuck? how has it even affected the ecto price? the price drop has been quite marginal, from 40s – 32s which is not all that “crashed” i would understand if the price drop was like 20s – 25s, then it would more or less affect it, but come on… Anet, get your head out of your asses

    • adrenner

      Avg. price of ecto was 28s before this news came out and had been dropping by 1-2s for months leading up to this. In fact, the max price hasn’t hit 32s for 2 months, so… maybe you’re the one that needs to get your head out of your ass. Only an idiot could look at the ecto market and say that AB multiloot hasn’t had a major impact. Sorry they’re taking your farm away. 🙂

  • Alastor999

    In other words… HOARD YOUR ECTOS!!

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