by Byron Miller on July 16, 2015
Hi, I’m Byron Miller, and I’m here to showcase Adventures, a brand-new style of content coming in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™. Adventures are small, fast-paced, single-adventurer events that challenge you to master a wide variety of skills in a race against the clock. What’s more, adventures are custom-built with leaderboards that allow you to compete against your friends and guildmates for bragging rights.
Where We Were
In the early, conceptual phases of Adventures design, we examined some of our more static content types—things like skill challenges, jumping puzzles, and renown regions—in an effort to determine where they were successful and where we thought they could be improved. We felt that these types of content lacked replay value, had limited ties to the game world and its story, and didn’t do enough to encourage social interaction. Our open-world event structure didn’t make it clear which activities were available to participate in when events weren’t running, which frequently left our world in a state where there were either active events to do or seemingly nothing to do.
Adventures are our answer to these problems. Each Adventure showcases a seemingly simple path to victory that requires strategy, practice, and mastery in order to excel and ultimately achieve success.
Where We Want to Be
Adventures are an avenue for you to hone a variety of different skills. Participation in Adventures utilizes our Mastery systems, alongside player skills and transformations, to provide diverse experiences and challenges. A great example of this is our Shooting Gallery Adventure in Verdant Brink.
A Pact ship carrying many human nobles has crashed in the Maguuma Jungle. Survivors, frightened by the thought of being stranded in the jungle, have made makeshift target dummies out of their spare clothes and are practicing their accuracy using discarded Pact rifles. Grab a gun, and show these nobles a thing or two about marksmanship!
The premise of this Adventure is simple—you have a short amount of time to shoot as many targets as you can before the nobles’ shoddy craftsmanship begins to show and the target dummies degrade. You’re given a rifle with a few shots left, and you can collect additional ammunition that’s strewn about the area. Additionally, the nobles will give you ammunition as a reward for accuracy and prowess.
However, the area isn’t exactly easy to navigate, and there are target dummies all over the place. Not only will you have to recognize the pattern in which they appear, but as your score increases, more and more dummies activate, forcing you to make split-second decisions about which targets to shoot and which targets to leave behind.
Knowing where and when to pick up ammo, where the speed-boosting mushrooms are located, where your next target is likely to be, and even when you can take several shots in a row without having to move will all help you earn a gold rating in this Adventure. We’ve designed every Adventure around learning the skills necessary to perfect them, building replay into the core of the activity.
There are certain design concepts that are critical to the Adventure experience. Most importantly, when you’re participating in an Adventure, you should be the master of your own destiny. This means that no other player should have a direct impact on your success or failure. Any Adventure that involves combat with monsters has been instanced, and where there are Adventures in the open world, we’ve ensured that you will never have to compete with other players for resources or objectives.
Additionally, we’ve been keen on reducing unpredictable randomness in our Adventures. Where something may seem random at first, we encourage you to pay closer attention to the underlying patterns and systems with which you are engaging.
Finally, we believe that rapid iteration, including the ability to quit and restart quickly, is another key aspect of the Adventure experience. If, for whatever reason, you want to restart an Adventure early, you can close out your Adventure and hit the restart button to be teleported back to the beginning of the Adventure. We understand that if you’re trying to earn a place on the leaderboard where execution is key and every second counts, the downtime between attempts should be as short as possible.
As you progress through outposts and event content in the world, more Adventures will open up. This means that when you or other players clean up events in an area, there will still be readily available, on-demand content to experience, regardless of the current state of the open world.
Because Adventures are about mastering the game, it was natural to allow you to showcase your skill through a competitive system. Each and every Adventure in the world has its own leaderboard, allowing you to compare your performance with those of your friends and your guildmates and encouraging social interaction.
In addition to bragging rights, leaderboards will also provide you with sweet rewards. Each leaderboard can yield a daily participation reward, but the meat of the loot is at the top. Each board has three tiers—think gold, silver, and bronze—that require a certain minimum score or maximum time to enter. Upon entry in those prestigious tiers, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.