Guild Wars 2 has been around for four whole months now, and - in gaming industry time - that means it's become A Man. So it's time to grow up or go home, and ArenaNet has no intention of doing the latter. Last year was about experimentation - nervously fumbling around in the dark, fondling at things it couldn't quite fully grasp - but now it's older and wiser. Multiple events have come and gone, but more are on the way. They'll just be bigger and better, apparently, as will daily achievements and other rewards, World vs World PvP, various progression paths, and heaps more. Don't believe me? Well then, perhaps having a different man tell you the exact same things will do the trick. He's trapped inside a tiny, HTML-powered rectangle after the break.
Game director Colin Johanson briefly escaped from the rectangle to elaborate on ArenaNet's 2013 plans in a massive blog post. Events, he explained, will be both more larger and more numerous - with smaller persistent events complementing larger spectacles akin to last year's Halloween, Lost Shores, and Wintersday events. The goal, as he put it, is to create an "ever-evolving open world" that feels like it's actually alive.
Rewards and progression, meanwhile, is another big area of focus, but not in the traditional level/gear treadmill sense. Instead, special long-term, reward-unlocking achievement paths and variable daily quests will take center stage. Johanson explained:
"As we look at developing new types of rewards further into 2013, we want to develop systems that are uniquely Guild Wars 2. Our reward systems need to be exciting, and include things you want to earn over time, but we don’t want to force our players on endless gear treadmills for new tiers of gear we add every 6 months. You won’t see another tier between Ascended and Legendary in 2013 for example. Our goal will be to use our existing reward systems and build new ones that are fun and exciting that step away from the stale gear grind reward systems you see elsewhere."
Last but not least (and kind of not even last) is World vs World PvP, which will see two major changes: 1) The option for paid server transfers and guesting, so people have multiple options that allow them to play with whomever they want, and 2) the elimination of culling, which sees players render incorrectly at certain ranges, hamstringing strategic options by a wide margin.
Lastly (for real this time), smaller tweaks and changes will include leaderboards, redesigned encounters for many bosses, a better new player experience, better security, and an improved looking for group tool.
So yes, that's quite a few things - though none of it's particularly ground-breaking. I'm interested to see how alternative late-game progression methods work out, though. Guild Wars 2's greatest strength, after all, was in changing up fundamental MMO leveling/questing dynamics just enough that they felt fast and fresh again. Here's hoping for a repeat performance this year.