Posted Thu, Sep 09, 2010 by Sardu
Ten Ton Hammer: Speaking of the elite skills, will there be a wholly new system for obtaining them in Guild Wars 2?
Izzy: It’s definitely very different than Guild Wars 1. You obtain them in a lot of different ways. We really haven’t worked out an exact path for all of them, but here’s all the ways you can obtain them: You can obtain skills every way that you can obtain items in our game. We can give them from a vendor, as drops, as quests rewards, at events, and off of Karma vendors – we can give them in all of those different ways.
Now, we’re still working on exactly the path that we do give them, but we have a lot of available options. We’re still working through what is the best possible way to give them out; we don’t want you to have to go grind some monster a thousand times to get an elite, because that’s not cool. But there are fun, cool, interesting ways that we can do a lot of stuff so we will give out elites in interesting ways because we find them to be fun.
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you think you’ll keep some of the exploration aspects to the process though? I know for some players it was a lot of fun in GW1 figuring out which boss mobs you could track down for a specific elite for your profession.
Izzy: Another big system with skills is Traits, and traits have taken on that aspect. Every trait is given out in a very unique way. Like a sword mastery trait gives you plus bonus damage, you have to go defeat five sword masters around the world, and you’ll have to find rumors from different NPCs that tell you where they are. Killing a random sword master will give you an update to the progress to all of that.
So every trait becomes an interesting little task for you to go find or interact with. One of the traits in the game is to do more damage with environmental weapons, and that could involve killing different people with environmental weapons and stuff like that. There’s lots of interesting ways that we can give out these traits that kind of become a whole other type of content that you can do, and find some of that exploration thing that we did have with our Guild Wars 1 elites within the trait system.
And the trait system is a way to really interact with the skill system. A lot of people have been asking about character customization, and the traits system is a really big way to do that. Two characters with the exact same skill bar but different traits are two very different characters. A mace warrior that sets himself up to do a whole bunch of spike damage will do a lot more damage in a short period of time than a guy who sets himself up to apply Weakness every time he criticals. Those are two very different characters yet they can have the same skills. So traits interact with skills in a very different way.
Ten Ton Hammer: It sounds as though Traits interact quite a bit more, and in a much more detailed way than something like the Guild Wars 1 attributes do.
Izzy: Very much so. Attributes affected the overall power of things, where traits are almost like giving you the ability to add different bonuses to your skills. So you can reduce recharge to skills, or make a skill shoot fireballs out of it, or shoot two fireballs, or have bigger AoE ranges. You can take the skills that you really love and make them better. You can make all your signets recharge faster so that now you can have a strong signet build. It allows you to really manipulate your character in a lot of different ways, and you get that kind of “buildy” focused aspect of the game really through the trait system.
So I think the traits system brings out the character customization in a lot of ways. It’s something that you don’t immediately see, and it’s hard to see immediately in the demo but it’s a really deep system that allows for a lot of customization.
Ten Ton Hammer: So say you love the idea of playing something similar to the classic Minion Master as a necromancer – will traits have the ability to give you that option in Guild Wars 2?
Izzy: There are a ton of traits for that. You can make your minions do all sorts of different things. You can make them so they regenerate health where they normally didn’t. Instead of summoning 3 Bone Minions you can summon 5 Bone Minions. You can make it so that when your Bone Fiend blows up it gives you health, or even every time one blows up you could get some life force out of it. There are all sorts of different ways you can stack your traits up to make your character the best minion master that you can come up with.
Another thing you can do as a necromancer with traits is to make your Death Shroud ability way more interesting. We allow you to manipulate Death Shroud a lot of different ways through traits. For example, you could make it so it causes an explosion when you enter Death Shroud, so that when you enter it and exit it you do damage. We can make it so that you can’t be stunned or knocked down or pushed back in it, which is really awesome in PvP. So there are a lot of things like that that can make being in Death Shroud really cool in different ways.
The trait system really changes up the way a character plays. So in PvP you might come up against a minion master who can’t be crowd controlled while in Death Shroud, and then there are a lot of things to think about in terms of how you’re going to kill him. There are a lot of those kinds of things you have to think about when out on the field.