Eric Flannum and Colin Johanson Talk About Guild Wars 2 End Game

Today, Eric Flannum and Colin Johanson did what seems to be the first talk with the players about some topics of Guild Wars 2 in what I think they are calling “Ten Talk” (but hey, my English is not that awesome, so I can be completely wrong here). Today they were talking about “end game content”.

Now, we all know that there are no raids or required constant farming to be able to play the game at its fullest. So, what was left? Like, after you finished your personal story, so what will you do after that?

They don’t want you to play a completely different game at level 80. They don’t want to force you into dungeons.

One of the end game content is Orr — which, by the way, is the only level 80 zone. In Orr, you won’t find any renown hearts, just some friendly NPCs and some very large meta-events. Getting to Orr will require an attack that resembles pretty much “Storming the Normandy”: There will be Golems being fired at the beach and submarines and boats.

Also, moving around Orr won’t be an easy task. Because Zhaitan corrupted the whole city, the old gods temples and statues will reduce the players ability to move in the map, causing roots and/or preventing the use of the healing skill. To move more freely and without issues, players can take over the temples and defend it, allowing free passage to the dungeon at the end of the map.

Orr will also have the most complex dynamic events in the game — the zone will have twice more dynamic events than any other zone in the game. The reason is that there are “branching” events: Instead of moving like a pendulum, going from the fail state to the success state and back (with player interaction, obviously), completing some events (or some step of it, from what I understood of what Colin was saying), it will actually start more than a single new event. So Orr will, ultimately, become a “web of events” triggering things all around the place. This “branching” will be introduced around the other zones, so players will feel comfortable with them once reaching Orr, Colin said.

Now about end game rewards, players will have the dungeons and specific looking gear from all sources of content. One thing mentioned is that even at level 80, you still earn XP and when you would “level up”, you still earn a skill point (but no level). At some point, you’ll have more skill points than needed to unlock all your skills and, as a “sink” (my words, neither Colin or Eric said anything like that), there will be a vendor near the mystic forge — the sunspear who brought the Djinn who now powers the mystic forge — who will sell special materials which you will use in the forge to get things like exotic weapons, high level gear, fun consumables and transmutable materials. Oh, and legendary weapons.

Those legendary weapons will require some items sold by this NPC and some materials which any player can get around the game — but some can’t be sold by any players, you’ll need to get those yourself. Eric was adamant in mentioning that those legendaries provide absolute no advantage, they just look cool and Colin completed saying that those were the “Prestige gear”. Amongst the legendary weapons you can get, there is a short bow that fire arrows with a tailing rainbow, a hammer that looks like it have a ball of liquid metal that spreads to your character and makes you look like either the Terminator (as Eric said) or Iron man (as Colin said) and two great swords, one with looks like a piece of the day sky and another that looks like the night sky. You can then merge those two and have a single great sword that changes looks on the day/night cycle and, as Colin said, it’s the hardest item to get in game, as you have to do it twice, once for each great sword.

As all legendaries will require skill points, the whole game by itself becomes the source for them. You can do a low level dungeon and, with the sidekicking and the dynamic leveling system, earn XP, which will then give you the necessary skill points. You can just wander around and you will earn XP by completing dynamic events. You can do WvW and earn XP. You can go around gathering materials and earn XP. You can level your crafting and earn XP. And all that will translate, sooner or later, into skill points that you can then use to make those really cool looking weapons.

And it won’t be a matter of simply “find the event with most rewards”. There will be a large team just adding new events and rotating them. The team could add a whole new low level dungeon and, with the sidekicking, you will still earn XP from it. So you won’t need to roll a new character to get rewards from new content, whatever level it is (well, at least, after you reached level 80).

About dungeons, one weird thing that caught my ears was the fact that Colin mentioned that the game will have “dozens of dungeons” and then said that there are “8 story dungeons”. Now, we know this, but my paranoid in me said that, even if Colin rounded 8 to 12, it seems that there are dungeons that are not tied to your personal story and, thus, there are more than 8 dungeons in the game. But, again, that’s the paranoid in me bringing conspiracy theories to the table.

In a way, the whole “end game”, in my opinion after this talk, is now much more of a “meta end game”: There is no end game per se, the things you can do playing the game become the end game.

Answering questions, Colin said that making dynamic events are much more complicated than doing traditional quest, as you have to worry about how the event will restart, the clean up after the event completion (either success of failure), rules how the world changes after the event and then test. And that this is requiring a team that it is 5 times larger the they needed for Guild Wars 1. But both Colin and Eric agreed that the rewards of such system outweights its complications.

Still in the questions, Colin and Eric confirmed that holiday events are back. There are some twists as the holidays we know form Guild Wars 1 are from a human perspective and now you have 4 other races in the world — which was a cool thing to mention, in my opinion. They mentioned that Wintersday is surely back and the Mad King is back, this time fully voice.

There were other questions (including one about the event branching, which I mentioned above), like which elite skil was the coolest (Eric mentioned Charzooka and the Engineer Supply Drops and Colin said the current one was the Thief Basilisk Venom with a trait to give such venom to other party members, allowing them to, in turns, completely froze a dungeon boss) and another question about bosses that we shouldn’t miss (Eric brought the boss at the end of the Asura tutorial and Colin mentioned a Charr boss at the end of the Flame Citadel dungeon).

In general, it was a good, although short, talk. It gave a good insight on their design and goals for end game without revealing too much. And now we wait for more of those talks — in which Colin isn’t so nervous — or the final release in August 28th.

PS: If you want to listen to talk yourself or simply miss Colin smile, you can watch the whole thing in the Guild Wars 2 Twitch.tv account. Don’t worry about the messy sound at the beginning, it fixes itself before they say anything really important.