In the latest episode of Ten Ton Hammer Live!, Jesse Cox sits down
andtalks with Linsey Murdock, lead designer of style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars Live,
Eric Flannum, lead
designer of Guild Wars 2,
Chris Lye, the marketing guy, about the upcoming release of style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. No
Wammos please!

Jesse Cox: Get ready.
Tonight, we have
three incredible guests coming on the show, all from the
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars style="font-weight: bold;"> franchise. All of them far more
than I am. Tonight, I’d like to welcome, not one, not two, but
three of the folks from style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars style="font-weight: bold;"> coming to enlighten us about
what could be
the most knock-your-socks-off gaming experience that you will ever
play, and you should have already played. Tonight, we’re joined
by lead designer for style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars
Live, Linsey
Murdock, lead game designer for
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;">, Eric Flannum, and, of course,
the one and
only, some say that he’s a legend, others only a myth, Chris Lye
aka the marketing guy. Welcome to the show, guys.

All: Hello.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 595px; height: 335px;"
alt="guild wars 2 picture"

Jesse Cox: First off, let
me wish you
a happy anniversary. I know that we’re a few days late, but
apparently, the
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars style="font-weight: bold;"> anniversary just passed and I
saw that
there were all sorts of fun stuff to do in the game and everyone was
having a good time. Did you guys get everything you wanted? I guess
this is for Linsey; did you get everything you wanted into the game for
those players who have been in the game for five years?

Linsey Murdock:
No, actually,
because we’re not done yet. We’ve been running builds over
the past month or so leading up to the anniversary and we’ve got
probably another month to go before you’ll see everything that
we’ve got to celebrate the fifth anniversary.

Chris Lye:
We decided this year
that the fifth anniversary was so important, that we wanted to spread
it out over a longer period of time rather than just a few days.

Jesse Cox: That’s
from a gamer standpoint. It’s not one of those it’s-a-day
holiday with some free junk. You guys are actually making it into a
legit event. That’s really impressive. Whenever something is
posted about
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;">, and it doesn’t matter what it
like “they give out style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;"> in the shower,” and fans will
jump on that. Anything that we post gets devoured by the readers; they
just can’t get enough. What makes the title so incredibly
exciting for gamers?

Eric Flannum:
I think the first
thing is Guild Wars 1
makes Guild Wars 2
exciting because
you’re talking about the fifth anniversary, and we us being a
start-up company, the game has been wildly more successful than we
thought it would be. It’s super cool. I think that people see
that we tried to do something different and bring something new to the
genre with Guild Wars 1,
I think we succeeded in a lot of ways. I think that lately, especially,
they hear about Guild
Wars 2

and they can see that we’re not content to kind of make a style="font-style: italic;">WoW clone or to
make the same game
over and over again. We keep trying to do new things, and that’s
really important for us at the studio that we get to work on new
things, we get to bring new stuff to the fans. Any success that we have
with Guild Wars 2
has to come
from the fact that Guild
Wars 1

was so great.

Jesse Cox: Speaking of style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 1 style="font-weight: bold;">, what is style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars
Beyond in
relation to
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 1 style="font-weight: bold;">, as you would call it at this
point or style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars

Linsey Murdock:
Well, I guess
it comes down to being a rabid fan of style="font-style: italic;">Guild
Wars myself. When we were thinking about what to do next,
I, as
a fan, wanted to see more and know more about style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. I
want to know what
happens to my characters; I want to know what happens to all these npcs
in the game that I’ve become invested in and what happens next.
So, Guild Wars Beyond
taking the story beyond the original series and we’re doing that
using major historical events leading into style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2.

Jesse Cox: Do you have
any sense of
how many different types of events or major changes or major battles,
or things along those lines, will be in
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Beyond style="font-weight: bold;"> before you reach style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;"> and what impact they would have
on the style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;"> landscape?

Linsey Murdock:
We are taking
lore that has been in development for style="font-style: italic;">Guild
Wars 2 as the history of the setting for the world, and
we’re using that as a base. Everything that we do in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars,
everything, of course
led to Guild Wars 2.
We know
that we’ll be doing multiple events; we’ve committed to
doing multiple events, but I can’t say anything beyond that.

Jesse Cox: Can you then
tell us how,
for example, getting more specific to what players actually care about,
their own character, how will this change affect them specifically?

Chris Lye: I
don’t think
that we can reveal that either.

Linsey Murdock:
That’s a
tough question. Everything in the world affects their character as a
part of the world, and we’re telling a story of the world. In
that respect, it will affect you.

Chris Lye: I
think what we can
say is that we understand that Guild
customers, Guild

players, have been really patient with us. Based on stuff that
we’ve done in the last week, we’re definitely ready to
unveil a lot more about the lore and game mechanics of style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. We
want the Guild Wars Live
game to be one of
the best ways to find out about this stuff. That’s pretty much
the intent behind all of this.

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alt="guild wars 2 picture"

Jesse Cox: That’s an
answer that
I can accept. Not like I had any choice really. You said in the last
week, which brings up an excellent topic, in the last week, I’ve
been reading a lot of interesting things, you can say. One that I liked
the most was the reveal of the elementalist. Any hints, besides on
what’s been released, or you know what? Before we talk about
special stuff, based on what’s been released so far, can you tell
us for our listeners, who haven’t seen that article yet, about
what is coming up? If I’m not mistaken, Eric, I think you wrote
some of the stuff about the new combat mechanics and the elementalist.

Eric Flannum:
Yeah, I wrote
some of that stuff. So, basically, for people who haven’t seen
that stuff, they can come to our website and check it out, We started releasing a bunch of new information about
the mechanics and the elementalist. The big thing that everybody has
been talking about is the skill bar changes, and how we are at a
basically 10 plot skill bar and a 7, 8 plot skill bar and how the first
five slots are sort of packaged together, based upon the weapon you
have equipped, and the last five are slotted similar to the way they
are in Guild Wars 1,
with the
restriction that at least one of them needs to be in the category of
healing skills. This applies to a lot of people, they hear
“restriction” and you don’t get the first five
skills, and they get really worried that we’ve somehow abandoned
the principles behind Guild
Wars 1

What we’ve really done is, basically, just create a safety net
for both ourselves and a lot of people who aren’t skilled at
making builds or who aren’t even interested in making builds and
people like that. What we’ve tried not to do is to restrict the
upper end; the people who are really good at making builds are still
going to have plenty of meat to sink their teeth into and make some
really cool builds. For example, if you just do the math, one of our
designers, John Peters, was doing the math on the total number of
combinations of possible different builds that the elementalist has,
for example. He wanted me to say that it’s over nine thousand,
but it’s actually in the millions to be honest. Mathematically,
it’s just in the millions as for the number of different builds. style="font-style: italic;">Guilds Wars 1 was
also up there in
that, and all we’ve really done is try to, with all the changes
we’ve done, is try to make it so that it’s a game that we
can balance and keep balanced. That’s been one of the biggest
challenges for us with Guild
Wars 1
We have such an open game that it became kind of difficult for us to
keep up with, and I know that Linsey has had to deal with that a ton.
The thing that I like to say is that we used a collectable card game
paradigm with how our skill bar is, and basically all we’ve
really done is gone from a collectable card game with a sort of no
build restrictions to a collectable card game that has some sane build
restrictions. Instead of there being ten million combinations, most of
which aren’t probably great anyway, there’s a lot less than
that. It’s just going to mean that the combinations that are
there are going to be more meaningful and they’re going to be
cooler and we’re going to be able to balance the skills better.
They’re going to be fewer worthless skills and there are going to
be fewer skills that you go, “wow, I would never use that sort of
thing,” which there definitely were in the first one. We look at
these restrictions; they’re really just a means for us to make
the game better, even for all of the people who are complaining, and I
hope that people will start understanding that. The other thing is that
these aren’t theoretical things that we’re talking about;
we’re playing the game all the time. We get to see how it plays
and we get to figure out how it is, and it’s pretty cool. I think
people are going to be pleasantly surprised when they do get to play it.

Linsey Murdock:
It’s kind
of like the difference between the vintage format and standard format
from Magic: the
With vintage, you have every single card in the arsenal from the decade
plus that Magic: the

has been around, but standard narrows it down to something that’s
a little bit more manageable.

Jesse Cox: This is what I
interesting about everything that you have done, basically making the
game as customizable, I think that’s the word, to the player as
possible. Is there a limit? Do you have a cap on what you want the
player to be able to do or do you just want them to run the gambit with
what they can achieve with their character?

Eric Flannum:
definitely a limit to what we want. If we didn’t put limits on
it, the game would become trivially easy, because someone would figure
out as how we saw with Guild
Wars 1

with certain builds, someone would figure out a build and everybody
would go copy that build and then, suddenly, the game loses all
challenge. So we want to keep parameters. One of the examples that we
gave was that if you rate build effectiveness between one through ten
or zero through ten or something like that, I think in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 1, you
could run the
entire gambit with zero through ten. I could bring Gash without
bringing Sever Artery or any way to cause bleeding or even a sword,
right? Then I just have a dead skill on my bar.

What we’re really trying to do is to eliminate zero through five,
and make it so, generally speaking, that people are going to be
effective. I saw some people’s responses on the boards who said,
“Well, doesn’t five then become the new one?” Well,
it kind of does and it kind of doesn’t. The gap between five and
ten is still smaller than the gap between zero and ten. Our real thing
is to make the low end of builds that you can make in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2 to be
a build that is
at least functional and you’re not going to get like, “Ok,
Wammo isn’t ending. I’m out of here.” You’re
not going to have that situation in style="font-style: italic;">Guild
Wars 2. People are going to bring at least functional
Ok, that’s not completely bad. A huge part of style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2, as it
was in Guild Wars 1,
is not just the
build, but how you play it. I think that in some ways in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2, it is
increased. We
were playing PvP earlier today, and somebody was saying, “I learn
a lot just be being attacked by Isiah.” He mentioned this combo
where he leaps behind the guy and then uses this skill called Stomp to
launch the guy off of a ledge that he was standing on. There’s a
lot of skill involved in how you execute a build, just like there was
in Guild Wars 1.
We want to
preserve all of those things. We haven’t gone back on any of the
philosophical reasons behind the way we did things in style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 1; we
just done them in
a kind of different way for Guild
Wars 2
. I think that it’s important for your people to
understand that it’s not like we set out the game to be like,
“You know what? MMOs make a lot of money. We should make an MMO
and make it just like all the rest of them.” That’s the
last thing that we wanted to do.

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alt="guild wars 2 picture"

Jesse Cox: Basically,
you’re telling me that there’s no plan from you guys in the
future to create some type of
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Pokemon style="font-weight: bold;"> MMO?

Eric Flannum: We
could make a
lot of money! [laughter] Actually, it is difficult for us to say what
we might make in the future. We hope that at ArenaNet, which
we’re a company that will keep surprising people with what we
come out with.

Linsey Murdock:
We like to

Jesse Cox: That’s a very
diplomatic answer. It’s like, “it’s not putting it
past us to make one, but, you know.” I guess then that you
clearly can not tell us any more professions. If I ask you, it would
be, “no comment.”

Eric Flannum:
Well, we actually
have talked about one of the other professions and named them in
interviews, and that’s the warrior, which is not the most
shocking thing in the world. They have a warrior. We have mentioned the
warrior, but I think the details on how the warrior is going to be
played are actually pretty cool. I saw someone else post that they
weren’t surprised that we had an elementalist, but when they out
the details on how he worked, they were, “that’s ok.
That’s cool.” We hope to elicit that kind of response with
the warrior as well, when we do reveal him. Other than that, I
can’t say anything.

Jesse Cox: Is that some
type of hint
that the holy trinity of MMO gaming will still be there: the healer,
the dps, and the tank?

Eric Flannum:
Well, no, not
really. If you think about Guild
Wars 1
, Guild
Wars 1

had it, but kind of not really. Our aggro system was so much different
than other games. In order to tank, you would have to reduce your
armor. If you had more armor, you would sort of de-taunt the creature,
which is not normally the case when tanking things. Because our AI was
doing what we thought it should do, which was figuring out who to kill

Linsey Murdock:
It was smart
enough to know that it wanted to kill your monk, and that means not
targeting what would be considered your tank. We certainly had some
non-traditional tanks as well. Casters have managed to be more
effective tanks than a warrior.

Eric Flannum:
We’ll talk
about it more in depth in the future, but I think that it’s
pretty safe to say that the holy trinity is not going to be a huge
factor for us in GW2.

Jesse Cox: I guess our
last question
then goes to Chris Lye, the marketing guy. Chris, is there anything you
can tell us, before we say goodbye, about what is in store in the
future? What can we expect down the pipeline from
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars style="font-weight: bold;">?

Chris Lye:
What I can say is
that the fans have been complaining that we’ve been torturing
them with how little marketing information there has been about style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2. I
think that they can
tell that we’re ready to take the gloves off. It’s going to
be a really busy summer. If you’re the kind of gamer that likes
to go to trade shows and conventions, then there’s a really good
chance that you’ll see us at some and you’ll probably have
some good stuff to look forward to.

Jesse Cox: I’m jealous.
Linsey Murdock, the lead designer for
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars
Live, lead
designer for
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;">, Eric Flannum, and, of course,
Chris Lye,
the marketing guy, thank you guys for coming on the show. It has been
an absolute pleasure. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing a lot more in
the coming weeks and months. Hopefully, this will be a great summer for
and those waiting for
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Guild Wars 2 style="font-weight: bold;">. Thank you, guys, a ton for
coming onto
the show.

All: Thank

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016