By Regina Buenaobra June 16th, 2010 We recently announced the warrior, the hard-hitting frontline combatant of Guild Wars 2, and designer Ben Miller discussed how the all-important traits system affects gameplay in dramatic ways. You had questions, and now we have answers. We scoured the web for the most commonly asked questions about the warrior and traits and grabbed Ben and Lead Designer Eric Flannum between meetings for a quick chat. Here we go! Combat Q: Are the cool one-hit kills in the skill videos just done for dramatic effect, or is that how easily you can expect to dispatch a monster? Eric: Actually, the one-hit kills in the video are done for dramatic effect. They represent a higher level character attacking a lower level monster. Q: Is there any taunting mechanism, similarly to what other MMOs have? Will there be “tanks” in GW2? Eric: No, there is no taunting mechanism. There will be “tanks” in the same way that there were tanks in Guild Wars. That is to say, a tank in Guild Wars 2 is a character that can take a lot of damage and has some way to protect allies. A warrior fits that description since he has high health, heavy armor, and several defensive skills that can protect allies from harm. Q: Is it still possible to body-block? In combat, will body direction be important; e.g., players being more vulnerable on the sides and the back? Eric: Because of many issues with collision in a persistent world, players will not be able to collide with one another in Guild Wars 2. That being said, many skills affect the movement of a target (knockbacks, knockdowns, etc…), which allows players to replicate some of the same body blocking tactics that they used in Guild Wars. Body direction is very important indeed, as there are skills that have a greater effect (more damage, stunning, etc…) when used from the side or behind an enemy. Skill chains Q: Don’t skill chains limit team play? Some of the skill combinations used in recent examples seem like they would limit the options available to team players. Eric: Remember that this is a brand new game and that although we may use some of the same skill names, they often have quite a different function. For example, in Guild Wars, the skill Gash applied a condition called deep wound (which does not exist in Guild Wars 2) if it hit a target that was bleeding. In Guild Wars 2, Gash bleeds the target and inflicts heavy damage. Because bleeds stack in Guild Wars 2, this makes it a great skill to use after Sever Artery which also applies a bleed. Q: Can a skill chain be interrupted and, if so, what happens? Eric: Yes, a character in the middle of the skill chain that is knocked down, stunned, or otherwise interrupted will have their skill chain reset. Traits Q: Can I get all the traits for my chosen profession but only select the traits I want for an upcoming adventure, or are my trait selection options limited? Ben: If you have earned a trait, you’ll have it available to slot outside of combat. The more trait challenges you complete, the more options become available to you. Q: How do I acquire traits? Are there some traits that can only be “unlocked” after acquiring other traits first? Will trait acquisition be solo or will there be incentives for players to group together to help each other obtain more traits? Ben: Traits are acquired through challenges that are specific to each profession. We don’t have traits that require other traits first. Traits are a way for you to develop your character, so it’s important that you be able to acquire them solo. With that being said, earning them certainly doesn’t have to be a solo activity and players are free to help each other as they see fit. Q: Do traits in Guild Wars 2 replace attributes in Guild Wars? Ben: Traits partially replace attributes in that they allow a player to customize their character beyond the choices they make with their skill bar. However, we do have a set of attributes that more directly replace those that we had in Guild Wars. Instead of being heavily profession oriented, these attributes are more general, much like those you’d find in other RPGs. Q: Can a trait be improved once achieved? Eric: Nope, players can’t enhance traits. Trait UI Q: Can you change the trait user interface as you change the skill bar? When can you change your traits? Ben: Traits live in a separate area on your user interface from skills. You can change them freely – outside of combat. Q: How is the trait user interface organized? Are there a fixed or variable number of slots? Are we free to organize the interface as we like? Ben: Traits are organized by line. Each profession has a number of lines available to them. Each line has its own number of Major and Minor slots associated with it. All you as a player need to do is make interesting, clever choices about what traits to slot. Trait types Q: Are traits limited to the line? Can I slot all Swordsmanship traits if I wanted to? Do I have to choose one trait for each line? Ben: Yes, traits are limited by line. Each weapon you can wield has its own line. That means you get to slot hammer traits in the hammer mastery line, sword traits in the sword mastery line, and axe traits in the axe mastery line, etc. Q: Are major traits rather offensive, defensive or a bit of both? Ben: Major traits offer a mix of offensive and defensive capabilities. Q: How are minor traits different from major ones? Are major traits more powerful or do they have a special effect? Ben: The main differentiating factor between major and minor traits is how powerful they are in the overall balance of the game. General Gameplay Q: Given how you want to encourage build experimentation, will there be an easy way to save and load build information in Guild Wars 2? Eric: This is an issue that we’re looking at, but it isn’t as simple as it might seem. We don’t want to encourage people to feel that the way they need to play is to constantly switch their builds. That’s a pretty advanced sort of mentality and we can’t balance our game around it. We want easy experimentation, but we don’t want constant build switching. Our trait and weapon swapping systems are both designed with this in mind, so any build saving and loading tools we provide will also have to take this into account. Q: With skills, traits and attributes, won’t the game mechanics be too difficult to grasp for casual players? Eric: One of our primary goals is to make Guild Wars 2 as accessible and fun as possible for more casual players. We are constantly working on our UI to make sure that all of these things are as understandable as possible. We also introduce advanced elements pretty gradually in the game and have a very robust help system. Q: Is there going to be blood in Guild Wars 2? How will this affect ratings? If so, will there be the ability to disable it? Eric: There really isn’t blood in the game. The effect that people keep referring to as blood isn’t meant to literally be blood but rather a red colored hit effect. We are trying for a Teen rating with Guild Wars 2 and will do everything we need to do to ensure that it stays that way. Q: You mention that the skill On My Mark, which calls out a target. Does this mean that this system present in Guild Wars is no longer available via control+action? Eric: We still intend to have our Guild Wars target calling system in place. Think of the skill On My Mark as a shortcut to calling the target, with some cool additional benefits. Q: How many traits can you equip at a time? Eric: It varies slightly by profession, but each character can have several dozen traits equipped in various categories. Not all of these traits will be active at a given time, of course. A warrior will have axe traits equipped in axe mastery, but if he isn’t wielding an axe, then those traits aren’t active. Thanks Ben and Eric for taking the time to answer these questions!