Massively got to chat with ArenaNet's Colin Johanson about the Lion's Arch rescue effort, rewards for good behavior, and what L.A.'s feathery neighbors think about all of the screaming, dying, and carrying on. Click past the break to check it out, along with a brand-new teaser trailer!
Any doubts that ArenaNet meant business in razing GW2's most popular hub city were blown sky high when the February 18th release left Lion's Arch almost entirely in flaming ruins. The next -- and final -- chapter in season one of GW2's living world will begin with players and their allies standing in solidarity, ready to answer a call to arms to take back what's left of Lion's Arch.
Since Scarlet's endgame is still shrouded in mystery (as villainous plots so often are), we asked how ArenaNet's developers have been affected by the destruction of Lion's Arch. Johanson said that while they do feel a sense of loss, especially considering how much care went into building L.A., it's also a triumphant moment for ArenaNet. He explained that ArenaNet has had a vision of the sort of large-scale events and changes that might make a virtual world feel alive since development began on GW2, and the studio feels that recent updates have truly begun to reflect that vision.
While player impressions of the living world were more vocally critical earlier in 2013, Johanson said that reception of the latest chapters has improved greatly, particularly during and after the Tower of Nightmares release. Feedback on the difficulty of citizen rescues in the current release led ArenaNet to reduce the number needed to receive the highest tier rewards; according to Johanson, the full event was intended to require roughly as much coordination as the Twisted Marionette encounter but ended up slightly overtuned.
After the release went live and players were able to enter the city, some adventurous Tengu enthusiasts made an immediate beeline for the gate that divides Lion's Arch from the Dominion of Winds. If they were hoping for a warm welcome and a neighborly helping hand from the usually politely standoffish bird people, though, the Tengu put a quick damper on that. Not only is the Dominion of Winds firmly closed against both Scarlet's troops and fleeing refugees, but they're not taking any chances: Anything or anyone approaching the gate is quickly wiped out by a rain of arrows. Ouch.
Understandably, this has caused some hurt feelings -- especially since many players have high hopes for the Tengu as a potential playable race. Johanson acknowledged that this seemingly heartless move was in character for the Tengu, and that it reflects the hard lessons they've learned throughout their history. While their reaction to L.A.'s destruction may not be heroic, Johanson described it as realistic and added that player reactions to this development have been "really cool" to watch.
Recent history at your fingertips
In addition to the teaser trailer, ArenaNet has launched a new website called the Living World Atlas to let players explore the lore of the living world, unlock media and even uncover story hints ahead of the next release. You won't have to explore far to find the trailer, though; check it out below!
We'd like to thank Colin Johanson for taking the time to chat with us! GW2 players will get their chance to stand united and serve Scarlet's Alliance with Tyria's biggest, angriest eviction notice on March 4th...but we're going to hazard a guess that it won't go smoothly.
When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!