Posted Mon, Jun 27, 2011 by Martuk
One thing the devs didn't want underwater combat to feel like was a lot of work. In many games, when you dive underwater, you're constantly fighting to achieve your goal while fighting with an air meter and trying to avoid drowning. In Guild Wars 2, however, this is not the case. the devs want more of a focus on gameplay and achieving objectives while enjoying the lush environments that an underwater scene can provide, so rather than trying to force the player to swim up for air every few minutes, the devs have included a breathing apparatus that automatically equips as a character dives under water to help players along the way during their underwater journey.
While underwater, you don't need to worry about breathing until your health reaches zero. This allows players to explore and maybe even find more neat stuff to keep their underwater journey going. When players dive, they can engage in combat if necessary and explore the depths of the ocean. Players can also skim the top of a body of water to simply cross over to another area, but without diving, those players can't fight. So it might be worth taking a dive even for a small crossing.
The transition from swimming to not-swimming is something we’ve really focused on. We want the transition to be seamless and immersive, so we’ve put a lot of effort into giving the player control over swimming. If you just need to cross a body of water to get to the other side, you can swim at the top of the water without diving below. Be careful though! While swimming on the surface you can’t fight and are fair game for any enemies lurking below the surface.
The dev blog also gives an overview of some weapons that will work underwater. Head over and check out the full blog for all the underwater combat goodness.