ArenaNet is turning its eyes to the future and focusing its attention on bringing MMO Guild Wars 2 to the professional gaming scene, game director Colin Johanson confirmed and detailed in a blog post on the game's official website.
Earlier in the year, Johanson told Polygon of the studio's plans to push the game's PvP development to the eSports community - ArenaNet plans to turn Guild Wars 2's PvP content into as popular a title in pro-gaming circles as StarCraft 2, he said at the time.
"Our goal is for Guild Wars 2 to be the number one PvP game in MMOs and we feel there is a really open space right now for PvP within eSports, in particular for MMOs," Johanson told us. "There really isn't anyone filling the place for PvP in the eSports genre. we're constantly getting bombarded by League of Legends and StarCraft players saying they want to play the game competitively, but only once it has the required features in place that are necessary for eSports to thrive. We're seeing a ton of response from the PvP community, we just need to get those last bits in place and then we're really going to dive in and try to become a big part of eSports."
Now, Johansson says, the studio plans to expand the competitive options for gameplay to help this become a reality.
According to Johansson, the PvP team is working to improve competitive play for the second half of the year by "providing a queue and leaderboards for solo rated play separate from team rated play, adding new map types, adding the ability to gain legendary weapon skins in PvP, providing additional rewards and growth to our major competitive PvP tournaments, hosting our own Year One PvP Championship at PAX, and more."
The ArenaNet PvP team plans to improve the sense of reward in competitive play. Players will be rewarded for their time in PvP arenas through a system designed to encourage users to achieve particular PvP goals. This is something the team is still working on and will announce in detail at a later date.
"The addition of new skills and traits on a regular basis will of course mean expanded variety of abilities, builds, and tactics in PvP as well. As these additional skills and traits are added, they'll be automatically unlocked and available for competitive PvP just like all existing skills/traits work today," says Johansson.
More effort is also being put into the Guild Wars 2 PvE content with the growth of ArenaNet's Living World teams. Earlier in the year the studio introduced a single team to turn-around new narrative-based content for the game; now, in the second half of the year, ArenaNet will feature four Living World teams working to continually grow the game and expand its content with the addition of improvements to existing world bosses, an expansion to the number of dynamic events across the world, new updates to dungeons and world events with bigger and more permanent impact on the game.
The studio will also introduce new skills and traits in the next half of the year, as well as rewards for completing dungeons, killing champion characters and crafting materials.
Johansson added that the studio is also currently working toward the release of the game across China, having finished its first limited beta test of the game throughout the country. The team is planning future tests to prepare the release of Guild Wars 2 with the help of distributor Kong Zhong and preparing a new optional tutorial that will help teach the basic mechanics to players, including a better hints system and a new level-up messaging system for both Eastern and Western players.
Check out our recent interview with ArenaNet design director Chris Whiteside on how the studio is turning Guild Wars 2 into a living world.