Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns -Guild Hall Arenas

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Hello, Tyria! You may recall that back in June we discussed the six design pillars of our guild hall system. We would like to talk to you about one way in which we are realizing pillar five—activating player creativity—and that is the arena.

A Combat Sandbox

As you progress through the restoration of your guild hall you will meet a colorful personality—a human named Castor Shoutsman—who will petition you to restore nearby ruins into a combat arena. Once restored, this structure features a large, circular arena platform overlooked by an elevated spectating ring. You can enter the arena by speaking with any of several NPCs, each of which represent a different team. Once on the platform you will find that those who were foolish enough to choose a different team appear as hostile and can be attacked. That is (mostly) all there is to it.

This freeform simplicity is quite intentional. Unlike other parts of the game the experiences you have in the arena will not be crafted by our talented designers, but rather by your own imagination and the collective imaginations of your guild and the larger Guild Wars 2 community. We provide the tools; you decide how you’ll use them. So let’s take a look at these tools, shall we?

Red versus Blue versus…

When you first gain access to the arena, there will be two teams: red and blue. A third green team can be unlocked via an upgrade. These are the three basic teams. They work as one would expect: you are friendly toward your team members but hostile toward members of the other two teams.

Positioned about the edge of the platform are teleport pads. One is used to exit the arena, and the others are the starting positions for the various teams.

Ring Out

Between the edge of the platform and the spectator ring is a treacherous gap. I am sure many players will enjoy the various opportunities this building code violation provides in combat; however, it is understood that at other times this may be an annoyance. Fortunately, Castor has your back. Provide him with the resource he requires, and he’ll happily erect an easy-to-toggle energy fence to provide protection for the less sure of foot.

Level Design 101

But what if you and your guild want something a bit more exciting than a flat arena? Perhaps some walls to provide you cover from those pesky ranged players? Some pillars to act as goal posts? Torches you can light to help keep score? A fear turret carefully positioned to keep players out of the center? What you need are arena obstacles. Once you have completed the requisite upgrade, an Arena Obstacles Coordinator NPC will appear. Speaking to this individual will allow you to teleport onto the platform as an arena decorator. This will place you on a special team that’s friendly to everyone, and replace your skills with those needed to select, place, and remove arena obstacles. You can do this at any time—even during the heat of battle—and it works the same as placing decorations in the guild hall proper. Note that normal guild hall decorations are not permitted in the Arena, and likewise, arena obstacles are not permitted outside of the platform.

Special Teams

Aside from the red, green, and blue teams, there are two additional teams you may unlock—the free-for-all team and the invincible team.

The free-for-all team is, as it sounds, one in which any player on the team is hostile to not only the other teams but also to their own team members. May the best player win!

The invincible team is an otherwise normal team, except that they cannot have their health reduced to zero. How you make use of this team is entirely up to you, of course.

Fighting Players in Other Guilds

Brawling among yourselves is fun for sure, but there comes a time when you may wish to take your competition up to the next level. Inviting another guild to fight with you is as simple as inviting them into your guild hall. You may enter any guild hall that either belongs to a guild you are a part of or that has a member of your party or squad currently in the map. To invite someone to your hall, first invite them to your party or squad, enter the map yourself, and then have the other player enter either via the in world portal or via a waypoint if they have it unlocked. Once in the map the guests may interact with the arena NPCs to join a team and teleport to the platform.

Please note that a single instance of a guild hall map has a specific maximum number of players it can support. If that number is surpassed more players can still enter, but the game will need to prepare a new, larger map for you. You will see a message on the left of your screen informing you that a new map is available and a grace period counting down. You may choose to travel immediately or wait and be teleported once the grace period expires. Normally this is no big deal (as you already have the assets for the map loaded, the required load is very short), but this can cause disruption if it happens in the middle of a competition in the arena. We recommend that you make sure all expected players are present before beginning your event.

We have tested the arena internally for teams up to 20 vs. 20 and more. While we had a ton of fun with it in our testing, for those who participate in the guild versus guild community in World vs. World, we wanted to make you aware that the arena is slightly smaller than the playable space in Obsidian Sanctum arena. It’s about 75% of the middle area without the stands. In our testing this worked out well, and while we had fun with it, we understand it is a little smaller than what the GvG community is used to in WvW. We think it’s going to get a ton of use for large-team guild battles, especially once players let their creativity fly in building their own arena configurations. For folks who want a little more space, we want to let you know that we already have an upgrade for a second, larger arena for bigger battles in the works.

In Closing

The arena gives players a space to let their creativity go wild in designing exciting and deadly encounters for a variety of team sizes and number of teams. You can shake out your build by dueling with guildies, make up your own competitive games, have a large team battle with another guild, or hold a free-for-all deadly disco. The possibilities are endless, and we can’t wait to see what your guild does with it!

 

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