There will be a new World versus World (WvW) map. That came as quite a shock during the first 30 seconds of my teleconference with ArenaNet. Joined by Jon Peter and Chris Lye (as well as ZAM and Massively) Jon opened up by discussing the persistent problem of queuing during World versus World. As many players will know it's incredibly frustrating to want to participate in WvW only to have to wait upwards of twenty or thirty minutes before you get in. Luckily, the new map will change all that.
Called the Edge of the Mists, the map is designed as an overflow to ensure that players can participate in WvW while they're waiting in the queue. Sadly (though I'll expand on this shortly) the new WvW map won't contribute towards your servers “score” but you will undertake a variety of typical WvW activities and some unique to that borderland.
What makes ArenaNets approach to this borderlands incredibly exciting is the fact that they're opening it up, as a “beta” map, to the Guild Wars 2 community and more specifically – guilds in the community. Players and guilds will be able to sign up to be part of the initiative. Fundamentally, ArenaNet need thousands of willing play testers.
As is the game type, ArenaNet need to ensure that enough players login to the Edge of the Mists in order to fully test the three-way system that World versus World offers. Taking their pick of specific guilds who register (and no doubt expanding the numbers rapidly) ArenaNet are going to invite guilds to run tests of this new borderland with testing likely to start in early November.
Surprisingly, there isn't going to be an NDA on this new borderland making this one of the first publicly collaborative endeavours that ArenaNet have done.
In terms of the map itself (with much of this still subject to change) it will be much quicker than the existing borderlands. Resetting after around 24 hours, primarily based on the fact there will be multiple copies of the borderland, it creates things simple by having it on a short life-span. When it comes to the visuals, it's all about floating islands above the battlegrounds. Think Avatar with various themes: giant snow fortress, ruined temples, desert (bizarre).
Due to the varied landscapes and theme of the Edge of the Mists, ArenaNet are going to try to implement more unique features so they'll be looking taking objectives through other means. This borderlands is very much seen as an evolution of the core WvW gameplay.
Luckily, I managed to ask a question or two to Jon in order to find out a little more about the Edge of the Mists. For anyone who wants the full audio (including questions asked by other press sites) you can hit the audio below or read the transcript from ourselves (transcribed to the best of my abilities!)
GW2Hub: So the size of the map, how does it compare to EB or other Borderlands?
Jon: Everything I say is subject to change and we're going to test his map in a pretty open environment, but right now it's smaller than EB but technically speaking – it plays bigger. The islands, when you're on them, have concentrated fights but to go from island to island there are bridges and different routes as you work your way down. There are a lot of small skirmishes that are going to happen
GW2Hub: If you don't earn score, what do you feel the purpose of this map is besides easing the burden on queuing?
Jon: We have some things only in this map that you earn, that you can use in the other borderlands. The other reason is that we're trying to make this map extraordinarily compelling because we know – especially as we expand into other regions, we want players who want to play WvW even when the borderlands are full. That's where the unique gameplay will come from. We want situations where we want you to change your tactics at every objective.
GW2Hub: How are you planning on opening this up to guilds?
Chris: We're going to be promoted it. It'll be wide open to any players – to anybody, to apply. We will have a registration form where players will have to submit information and we're looking for one representative from a guild. Based on the application we'll invite you to the test – invitation only – and will likely cycle through multiple participants and we'll grow it over time.
Jon: All the guilds we allow in are going to need at least one member capable of compiling feedback. We expect we want to have European and mixed language guilds but they'll need to be able to compile their feedback into English for this process to work. This definitely isn't limited though to guilds that are currently playing or are in the top tiers or people who are even playing Guild Wars 2. We would like a variety of all these things.
GW2Hub: Do you think there's any risk it will be more popular than existing maps?
Jon: We know people care about the score and being top of the ladder and we know there are ways they can care about that, but as soon as we make them care more, more people are going to want to play. Everytime we talk about things we want to improve in WvW we go “ugh, the queues!”. In that way, it really doesn't matter if it's more popular because this needs to exist if we're going to make big improvements to the other borderlands. Some people are going to find this more fun, but some will always want to be part of the scoring. It'll be a safe mix.
GW2Hub: Can players expect any unique rewards?
Jon: I can almost certainly say yes because if we can't give you score for doing this map, but we have to give you things you can take out of this map, those are essentially going to be unique rewards. Some will be rewards for your guild, your server or you. I can't say what all three of those things will be as some of them will be developed during this whole process. We really wanted to do this, not just because we wanted to test the map, but also because we want players to have that sense of investment in what the benefits of this map will be. Real WvW players are going to play this, we'll see the problems they have and we'll try to address them before it gets released and impacting the rest of their gameplay.
GW2Hub and Ten Ton Hammer would like to thank Chris and Jon for inviting us to discuss the latest addition to World versus World...