GW2 Path of Fire Reddit Developer AMA Summary

GW2 Path of Fire Reddit Developer Ask Me Anything Summary.

General

  • Crystal Oasis night sky texture is low res and doesn’t scale with resolution. Any plan to fix?  – We are already using very large textures for the sky and making them larger could reduce perf or cause other issues
  • Amnoon was a lot larger initially but had to be downsized due to performance and to add more content to the other parts of the map. The noble quarter for example hadn’t been devastated by a sandstorm!
  • We did many weeks worth of performance tuning. A lot of it was just changing scripts to be more performant, but the engineers also did a lot of small improvements on the code side to things such as AI in order to make these massive maps playable when filled with players.
  • We’re closely looking at the outputs of the expansion, paying particular attention to the metas. We don’t have anything to announce at this time, but will make changes as necessary to make the investment in conquering the metas be rewarding.
  • The focus of the maps for Path of Fire was around deep and meaningful exploration, and reconnecting with the pure sense of discovery. Map wide metas didn’t have a place in this expansion but I wouldn’t say they are gone from future releases.
  • Palawa Joko had a big musical number that got cut.
  • Weather effects – It was something we’ve always wanted to do but didn’t have time before. We wanted to add them into this expansion to give areas more moods from just day/night. You’ll notice the rainstorm from the south of Riverlands will be on at the same time as the one in the north of Desolation too! You may also notice some content changes that accompany the weather
  • It’s likely that we won’t be adding new weapons to core professions (baseline). Elite specializations allow us to implement weapons with more direct themes and flavor, and ensure a more modular (within the elite spec) way to balance weapons.
  • What determines how many Elegy Mosaics you get from a specific boss? It’s pretty random, you’re right. There are the once-a-day cooldowns for some, but drops overall are “the luck of the draw… drop.”
  • You can expect recipes and updates for ascended crafting for the desert coming in a future update.
  • Bounties in future/old maps – That’s going to be up to those content teams. I can say that my intention was for it to be easy to plug into future content, I’ll have to leave you in suspense if things worked out as planned!
  • Any updates on the progress of high DPI support for the UI – Soon
  • Skins not previewable in collections until they are unlocked – This was a bug left over from the Demo build. Should be fixed in a future update
  • what happened to the health bar feature becoming yellow for a brief moment when u deal damage? – This is a feature that we’ve been working on in our dev environment but hasn’t gone through all of our gates yet, thus not released.
  • They had an open world PvP event in Vabbi but had to cut it due to performance reasons.
  • For our environments we took a lot of inspiration from real life! From Turkey, Egypt, Africa to even closer locations like Bryce Canyon and high desert type landscapes.
  • Bounties difficulty – We’ve been making minor changes to some that we saw were outside the difficulty we had planned
  • Guild Content – We don’t have a guild content team, so as to the “will we ever…” questions, we have no official plans there. We do have passionate devs who sometimes work in their spare time. But again, nothing currently in development.
  • Town Clothes – Town clothes provided non-combat appearance, and tonics provide non-combat appearance, so that’s why they got translated that way back in the day. I agree it’s weird. It’s one of those things that I’d love to improve, but probably won’t, because it’s not worth derailing a team that could otherwise be making great new content.

Class Balance

  • Scourge being unable to maintain 3 shades at once was a design choice. Keeping 3 shades up at once is intended to be a temporary boost to coverage before returning to 1 or 2 shades for a time. Shorter periods of increased coverage allows us to put a little more power into the skills themselves.
  • Sorry – it is NOT intended that stacking multiple shades compounds their effects. We’re going to make changes while keeping a close eye on the power of the Scourge across game modes and adjust it over time accordingly. Frankly, the Sand Shades were one of the most controversial (and dangerous!) mechanics we added with the Path of Fire Elite Specs.
  • There are a few changes being looked into for the Weaver, to improve some damage numbers with Sword. Barrier numbers overall have been balanced So that it’s a boost of survivability, but not the primary source of it. We’ve experienced periods of godlike weaver survivability (internally) due to barriers being too strong, so we’ll be careful with any increases. We’ll continue to monitor the numbers, analytics and feedback, but for right now we’re holding them where they are until the sword damage numbers shake out.
  • We’re planning some changes for weapons we feel are undertuned, definitely
  • Sand shark pet – It was something a lot of us wanted to do, internally, but there were technical issues that arose from it.
    One of the biggest factors was how it gets treated when you’re not on a ground that really supports it. Picture something like a thin wooden platform. You’d literally see a floating shark embedded in the wood. Or stone. Or steel. It’d be pretty awkward and is not the kind of visual we’re okay with putting into the game.
  • What is the long-term goal for power vs. condi balance in PvE – Power is intended to be more spike damage-centric. Condi more ramping sustained damage. Currently there are some issues with how quickly condition damage can be spiked up, negating the benefits of power damage. If I presented you with a power skill that dealt 1,000 damage instantaneously and a condition one that dealt 1,000 damage over 4 seconds there wouldn’t be a question about what build to choose; you’d go with the instant option every time. Not counting other effects, condition skills must inflict more damage over their duration in order to make power vs. condi into a real choice. Moving forward we’ll be aiming changes to bring a bit more parity between the options through the ramp time and using that to emphasize some of the differences. That said, a fundamental issue is that foes whose health pools allow them to survive a significant amount of time (beyond the point of condition stack ramping) are going to favor condition builds unless they specifically have mechanics which deal with conditions.
  • Kalla being chosed as the new Rev legend – We chose Kalla because she’s a huge figure in charr history and partly responsible for a major cultural shift that made the charr nation more unified and more powerful. And we also wanted to achieve a better gender and racial parity among the Revenant legends, so a charr female fit the bill perfectly
  • Will the DPS be pushed up from the older classes to be more in-line with the newer ones or will the newer ones be pushed downwards to be in-line with HoT classes – We’re going to try to bring them together bit more, but we don’t want them to be the same. That’ll require some combination of up and down changes based on what each spec is aimed at – for some it is more damage, for others more utility, movement, support, etc. We tend to be more critical of the things we work on – at the moment Scourge is an outlier with high value both defensively and offensively. I’d like to separate those options a bit more.

Mounts

  • Mastery point in tomb of primeval kings is intended for griffon mount.
  • There are no plans right now for a legendary mount. We don’t have different quality tiers of mounts, just different ways to acquire them like griffon vs the other mounts.
  • Instant cross-mounting while already on a mount – This was considered during development but there were significant concerns from animation. However, we’re looking into ways to streamline this process a bit
  • In terms of technical challenges: huge amounts of the tech that went into mounts are wrapped around the effort to make them feel responsive on the client. We had to build an entirely new scripting-style system to handle all the things they could do, and then those functions are all mirrored between client and server; keeping the two properly in sync, though, has been a ferocious (and ongoing) challenge.
  • Currently you can’t use mounts while being transformed – This will likely stay. We currently don’t really really have different classifications of transforms(they are used in all sorts of ways across the game) and a lot of them that would be cause issues or balance concerns if we let you mount and remove the transform.
  • Originally, you could interact with many things while mounted. However, there were a lot of cases where things would completely break if you interacted while mounted, especially in core Tyria. With the number of different kinds of things that can happen on interact, with some of them being quite complicated, it’s a lot safer to dismount the player before taking those actions. We removed this to prevent those things from breaking while still maintaining consistency with behavior for the mount interactions in general.
  • Radial Mount menu – we actually did look into a radial menu. Early in expansion development we explored several options for quick mount-selection, including a radial menu, and we went with the skill-select style menu because it would be the most familiar/friendly way to introduce mount selection. That said, a radial may not be available in the game now, but if there were enough player requests for it… 😉

Story

  • Ree Soesbee no longer works for Anet.
  • The Narrative team for PoF had specific assignments, but there was a ton of overlap and virtually every Narrative person contributed to both open world and story steps.
  • Regarding the humor in Season 3 – Season 3 went for a lighter tone, but Path of Fire is a bit darker, more serious. That stated, there are moments of levity to balance out the grim subject matter. Rytlock and Canach have a chemistry, so it’s in character for them to banter back and forth. We hear the comments, though, and have been adjusting future content to be more serious when warranted. It’s all in striking a balance.
  • Vlast – Vlast was always intended to be something of a tragic character, and from the beginning we wanted our Commander to have to pick up the pieces of his life. In large part one of the things we consistently strive to champion is player agency, and having a dragon lead us through the desert is much less impactful than leading the way ourselves.
  • Storytelling in PoF – We tried to tell a simpler story with fewer characters so that we could devote more time to presenting it more effectively. We also looked at how we were using Cinematics and decided that the more we could keep the player in control (via in game action instead of a cutscene), the stronger the player’s narrative experience would be. Every time we had the player make a difficult decision or encounter a major event, we tried to give space for all the allies to chime in. I think this helped a lot in tying Kasmeer, Rytlock, & Canach to the various conflicts, and giving moments to show how they were evolving. This was definitely easier with less characters.
  • At what point did you want one of the human gods to go bad? – We talked about it during very early planning for Season 3 of Living World
  • As for Joko, he wasn’t the focus of this expansion, and with a character as rich as he is, giving him an expanded role in Path of Fire would only have served to randomize our story. Have no fear though, you’ve not seen the last of Palawa Joko!
  • One way story development changed from HoT to PoF was that in HoT, we started with a stable list of locations we wanted to visit, in the order we wanted to visit them. For PoF, we gave ourselves a lot more leeway to pick and choose the places we would go to support the story as it unfolded. And it’s not like there was a shortage of awesome places to consider in the desert region..
  • Also, we looked at our story plan, considered it carefully, and then added a whole lot of Canach to it.

Raid/Fractals/Dungeons

  • Regarding raid difficulty – we’re not working on different difficulty tiers. We’re focused on making great content and don’t want to slow that down by multiplying the amount of work. We’re hard at work on the next raid and development is going well; no announcements today
  • The raids released during Season 4 may use both Path of Fire and Heart of Thorns masteries
  • Any plans to better-reward boon stripping as mechanic in any/all PvE – I can speak for fractals team in that we are trying to lean less on instabilities to provide boonplay in encounters. Building them directly into the content is preferrable.
  • There was no dungeon team associated with Path of Fire

WvW

  • Max number of players in a wvw map is fixed and same for all worlds on a map ( can’t give out numbers). Players have already figured its in the ballpark of 100 per team. This isn’t far off.
  • Wall Health in WvW – We recently did a pass on all the walls and they should all be the same health. If you have found a specific wall that is different then report it using “/bug” in game please 🙂
  • Regarding closed WvW servers – We weekly monitor world populations and adjust them as WvW players move around
  • We’re looking at the condition damage issues that are inherent to the scaling number of players in WvW. Major mode-centric changes are a major part of balance patches and we’ll be iterating through several potential changes specifically for WvW. I wouldn’t expect huge mode-specific balance changes before the first post-PoF balance patch.
  • We calculate a Worlds “fullness” based on the amount of WvW playhours over a period of time. Specific details about world populations is something we don’t discuss externally. Both JQ and FA are within 10% of BGs playtime stat. Many of the hosts with links have a larger total population play time then BG.
  • Distinguishable Winds of Disenchantment, ie different colors for friendly and enemy bubbles – Looking into it.

PvP

  • Could you explain the thought process in allowing the new elite specializations from Path of Fire to be used mid-season in Ranked PvP?we gave it quite a lot of thought. In the end, we felt it was better than either having a shortened season or having a really long off-season.
  • Mental

    Can they explain WTH is up with gem to gold prices…. it’s been out of control since they expansion came out.

    • Teraphas

      It is largely player driven. If the gold cost of gems is going up it means more people are converting gold into gems than are using their gems to buy gold.

      • Mental

        I dont buy it. I think they are just getting greedy for money :-/

        • :3

          If you factor in the spike of players in POF and a lot of unused/stocked gold coming in from the last expansion……..its possible
          Don’t forget the ecto gamble at oasis, you are more likely to make more gold from it than ever

        • Adrian Larsson

          The gem/gold conversion ratios are (iirc confirmed) player-driven. Huge upsets have happened, where the gem cost per gold dropped by 80%.

    • Braghez

      Basically, lots of people buying gems makes the price skyrocket. And with PoF many players came back + quite some new players i guess.

  • Slowpoke

    Ree Soesbee no longer works for Anet

    Why? Her writing was the best of the three books.

    • wQnxy

      not sure if she was working on season3 ,but it was terribadness

      • Ares Zax

        I actually thought the writing for LS3 was pretty good, but the overall way they went about it could have been better.

        1. Locking major parts of the story behind raid content was a bad, BAD idea. There are lots of instances where your character encounters stuff in LS3 and behaves as if they’ve seen/met it, but if you’ve never done raids, you have no idea who the hell they are. Examples include Bennett in Bloodstone Fen and the Eye of Janthir. This was probably their most egregious error.

        2. I felt that the White Mantle and the Mursaat arc were dealt with too quickly. For something as major as Lazarus’ death and the extinction of the Mursaat, we needed something more drawn out than simply a one-instance cameo. The whole thing got overshadowed by Balthazar’s reveal and the build-up to PoF. It felt to me like ANet was just trying to tie up this loose end so they could move on to other parts of the story.

        3. While I accept it was ANet’s decision, I still disagree with the choice of Balthazar being the villain of PoF. Flipping an existing part of primary human lore has major repercussions for the game and for player’s characters, akin to how ANet nuked Ascalon at the end of the Searing. Following the events of PoF, it feels incredibly jarring to hear your Human Elementalist go “Feel the flames of Balthazar!” or summon Balthazar’s hounds, or just seeing Priests of Balthazar out and around in places like Divinity’s Reach.

        I still think the idea of having a 3-way fight in the Crystal Desert was a good one; I just think that ANet should have chosen a different antagonist than Balthazar.

        • Alot

          To 1) I feel the best part of having the drop in human god as the big bad in PoF is that it allows for the Elder dragon instance to be an actual raid (with insane difficulty) as it’s defeat is no longer required to progress the story.

          For 2), it probably was meant to be more drawn out. I heard some people say that the 6th living world episode was pushed forward because they still had time for it. If Abbadon’s reliquary had happened after the PoF story, things may have been paced differently.

          For 3), If we get a replacement Balthazaar at some point, his drop in may improve the overall story. This is the difference between books and short mmo stories – disagreeable events in books are small points of a larger plot while disagreeable events in mmos are the focus of the entire release. Things like Trahern being a Mary Sue or Eir’s death felt cheesy at the time, but as the story gets longer and they become legends of past times, their feats and personalities seem more and more plausible. We need Rytlock to take up the mantle of the human god of war at some point – but he can leave us his sword when he goes.

        • Verthiss

          To 1) Nobody locks you out of raids, you do it yourself. Raids are incredibly easy to get into, and I mean INCREDIBLY easy. Just find a friendly guild to help you, that’s it. You don’t need to be good, you don’t even need meta build, nothing. Friends can teach you or carry you.
          If you decide to start raiding, you will soon realize how easy it gets after some practice and how silly your comment is.

          • Ares Zax

            I’ve actually completed about half of the raid encounters so far, so #1 doesn’t really apply to me. But my main guild is full of PvE players who I would say 99% of them have not done raids, and the few times they did try a raid, they got absolutely thrashed. Yes, it’s true that raids are not that difficult IF you bring the right builds and comps, but therein lies the problem. Most PvE players want to play their own comfortable or RP build that they enjoy, and hate being forced into builds they don’t like. When just about every raiding guild out there goes “run this build and make sure you meet at least 75% of qt’s benchmarks”, you have a situation where the vast majority of PvE players are gonna hate it. It basically tells them “top tier people run these builds; if you don’t use it, you’re a scrub”, which I think is a very dangerous message to send.

            GW2 really needs better build diversity, and more than one way of overcoming challenges. With raids, it basically comes down to two things: know the mechanics, and have enough DPS. But you’re not allowed to go the other way, which is to have team comps that are just SO tanky/bunkery that the boss literally cannot kill you and you just whittle him down. (As an example, this actually crops up with Subject 6 in the Thaumanova fractal. The “meta” way of killing him is to just burn him down so fast that all the Vet oozes can’t even reach him. But the alternate way is to take your time and slowly DPS him down, stopping to kill the small and Vet oozes whenever they spawn.)

  • 조커

    So they do know that there’s a problem with WVW population, but not gonna do anything about it?, The only servers who might have more playtime than BG would be either Mag and/or YB rest of the servers have too many afkers or something .. JQ and FA has 10% playtime of BG and more guilds are leaving and more players are leaving wvw, still not gonna do anything Anet? zzz…

  • Answerer

    Radial Mount menu – we actually did look into a radial menu. Early in expansion development we explored several options for quick mount-selection, including a radial menu, and we went with the skill-select style menu because it would be the most familiar/friendly way to introduce mount selection. That said, a radial may not be available in the game now, but if there were enough player requests for it… 😉
    ———————-
    I dont get this reply. I mean, lots of players have suggested/requested it already, and while a skill button is much more familiar, its far from friendly. Skill buttons arent designed for agile toggling.
    Atm, while the game lacks a proper mount button I’m using AltGr+number (1-5 in order of mount acquisition)

  • Scutilla

    Any improvements they can make to streamlining swapping mounts or interacting with objects while mounted would be great- 80% of the time dismounting turns into a whole affair because some stray monster smacked you and you have to spend a couple minutes clearing the area until you can leave combat.

    It’s enough to make one want to just fly over the whole map with their godbird instead of staying on ground level and actually interacting with the map content.

  • Void

    There should be mention here that they outright stated that they have no guild team and nothing is happening with guild missions whatsoever.

  • Joko Follower

    Praise Joko !

  • meonthissite

    Sadly when it comes to Arenanet it almost never actually ends up being ask me anything it’s more like ask me what I approve to answer. There are several classes underperforming at this point, explosives engineer, Deadeye has been nerfed to the floor in PVE, Necro is still stuck in condi hell, Dragonhunter bow is so sad it’s pathetic. We need someone who’s actually going to tackle the real questions players have for the balance team and yes if there are only 2 people on the balance team you need to increase the size drastically!

    • Alot

      You may be confusing an AMA with a balance pass. Personally I found this to be the most meaty AMA I’ve seen them do – and i generally spend my time complaining about how bad they are.

  • Rick

    Can they explain WTH is up with gem to gold prices…. it’s been out of control since they expansion came out.

    • Alot

      People want to buy a 250 gold griffon. Thats about it.

    • Rick

      As someone who regularly buys gems with gold…I’m loving it!

  • Alot

    Thats pretty interesting. It sounds like the reason that more events couldn’t be put into the huge maps was that the maps were already at their content limit – if the amnoon point was anything to go by. Otherwise its nice to see someone actually outline the old intended difference between damage-over-time and direct damage.

    Bit worried about potential scourge nerfs, as i just converted all my my ascended reaper gear to scourge stuff but they probably have better numbers then me.

    Only thing which seemed like an obvious addition would be the ability for guilds to put their own race circuits around their guild. Just add a separate decoration menu which allows guild members to craft 40 unique race check points (numbered 1-39 and final), give a permission based flaregun to kick off the race and have the winner put down as the one who passed through the most check points (in order) and reached the finish line before the time limit.

    Ps. HoT story wasn’t complicated – it was half finished -.-

  • Trillium

    Y U NO say something about mount skins!
    That’s the whole point of goddamn expansion!

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