ArenaNet Systems Designer Jonathan Sharp posted a short blog entry earlier this week showcasing the iceberg-shaped updates incoming to Guild Wars 2's PVP scene, including a paid-tournament seeding system using points accrued from matches and additional UI menus for quick access.
ArenaNet have been vocal about the way they're trying to redesign the MMO. Guild Wars 2's design manifesto is a confident statement of intent that has faced intense scrutiny of the course of the game's beta programme - and rightly so. MMOs have been the site of some of gaming's promises, and biggest disappointments. The manifesto promises a combat system that will do away with the "rote and repetitive" nature of most MMOs, replacing it with something "immediate, active, and visceral" that provides players with "limitless choices."
The way ArenaNet have chosen to go about achieving this, however, is couched within the existing structures of the MMO. Guild Wars 2 has action bars, cooldowns, and status effects. Its innovations - mechanics like the dodge move, and the more-or-less absence of a mana pool - occur among familiar ideas. It's also a relatively straightforward game to get to grips with, at least at first, and as such it can be a while before its purported depth becomes apparent.
I spoke to systems designer Jonathan Sharp about how ArenaNet have built the skill system, where the depth comes from, and the options available to help serious players speed up their progress.
During the final beta weekends, players jumping into Guild Wars 2's structured PvP maps may have noticed the first signs of its broader e-sports aspirations, like the tournament tickets granted as rank-up rewards. The first Guild Wars had a booming competitive scene - it is, after all, an MMO named after its PvP mode - and according to systems designer Jonathan Sharp, the sequel is going to take things much further.