Guilds can apply to be part of an upcoming beta test and help shape the development of this new addition as well. Following on the heels of recent WvW additions such as Borderlands Bloodlust and World Experience Points, ArenaNet plans for Edge of the Mists to be the gateway to even more improvements.
According to Peters, Edge of the Mists will inject variety into WvW. The map is slightly smaller than either Eternal Battlegrounds or the Borderlands in overall dimensions, but the environment is far more varied: Peters described it as a number of floating islands, conceptually set above the Eternal Battlegrounds and providing settings such as a snow fortress, a ruined jungle temple, and a desert with a "bizarre feel." Fights will be much quicker and more focused than they are in the main WvW maps, with matchups currently planned to complete and then reset within a day.
ArenaNet is working on ways to make World vs. World more compelling and rewarding, but the WvW team is faced with a challenge: The more popular WvW becomes, the more likely it is that high queue times will prevent players from being able to jump in and enjoy the improvements. In order to relieve some of that pressure, Edge of the Mists will always have an overflow copy available and will be accessible from the main WvW drop-down menu so that players can always head in to scratch the WvW itch. Far from being just a place to kick around while waiting for a place on the main maps, though, Edge of the Mists will provide unique gameplay objectives and an opportunity for ArenaNet to gauge the popularity of potential future additions to Eternal Battlegrounds and the Borderlands. Peters described the map as "foundational," as it was necessary for ArenaNet to ease the queue issue before moving forward with more sweeping changes.
Because of the overflow mechanic, fighting in Edge of the Mists won't affect the score in server matchups -- nobody wants to see a rival server's score go up because of player distribution mechanics outside of anyone's control. Players will be able to earn WXP, however, as well as rewards unique to the map. Those rewards are still in development, and player testing will help the WvW team decide what to implement. Will this tie in to the recently announced collaborative development initiative? "Maybe," Peters said, but the map test is a separate project. One of the challenges faced by the developers lies in the fact that players sometimes assume that their individual desires reflect popular opinion, but the WvW team's job is to make sure that the changes and features they implement will be truly welcomed and good for the game.
The Edge of the Mists beta test will be invite-only, and guilds will be asked to put in applications if they want to be part of the test. Peters stressed that since ArenaNet wants a great number and variety of players, the test will also be open to guilds that don't currently play GW2, and players from all around the world will be able to participate (although at least one member must be able to compile feedback in English for the developers to read). Testing of Edge of the Mists is slated to begin in November and continue into 2014.
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