By Martin Kerstein July 9th, 2010 Guild Wars 2 designers John Stumme and Ben Miller answer player questions about the newly revealed activities, maps, and travel. Will GW2 activities have balls? Will the game of Polymock return? How big are those racial capital cities, anyway? Read on for answers to these questions and more! Mini-games Q: Will some of the mini-games you’ve created use balls; for example in polo? John: Only the manliest games! There, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can say with a straight face that the answer to this question is yes, we have activities that use balls (you’ve actually already seen the art for one of those activities) and the equivalent of balls. For example, we’ve got an activity in Hoelbrak that’s basically a norn interpretation of basketball, so you’ve got passing, shooting, etc. The only difference is that the ball in this case is a heavy keg of ale. Norn are such lovable scamps. Q: In there a chance that the Guild Wars holiday events (e.g., Wintersday, Halloween) will return in Guild Wars 2 as mini-games? John: We aren’t planning on abandoning our old holiday traditions; it’s something we’ll definitely carry forward into Guild Wars 2. As you might expect, there are going to be some differences in our holidays – for example, the snowball fight is a year round activity, not just one that will be available during the Wintersday event. We’ll also be updating the holiday festivities to take advantage of the new tools we have at our disposal, so I hope you’ll be looking forward to them. Personally, as a fan of Halloween, I’m hoping that the Mad King will make a triumphant return to Tyria – and that after 250 years, his jokes will have managed to get even worse. Q: Will Polymock come back as an activity in Guild Wars 2? John: The original version of Polymock was one of those instances where we had something that we really wanted to be able to do, but we weren’t able to see it fully realized in Guild Wars. Polymock was one of Colin Johanson’s side projects during Eye of the North. He envisioned it as something that was fully turn-based, a very different game unto itself. It would have played up the collectible element, and the meaning to bringing different pieces into the game. Unfortunately, that wasn’t something we were able to do at the time with the resources we had, but it is something we can do with Guild Wars 2. So if you see Polymock making its return, it will be in a more robust implementation, to reflect what we had always wanted it to be. Q: How developed is the player-created music system you mentioned, and how far will we be able to go with it? John: I believe that this question is in reference to the One-Man Band that we have in Divinity’s Reach, the human capital. The One-Man Band isn’t a system for players to create their own music per se – it’s more like a giant festive jukebox. Players can select songs from it and have them playing within the square, and it’s pretty entertaining to watch. I’m not sure how musical instruments that large are able to shoot out that much confetti, but I’m happy that they do, because it’s a great bit of ambiance to absorb while you’re walking through Divinity’s crowded streets. As for a system of generating music, it isn’t something that we’ve discussed, and I’m not sure that you’ll be seeing it in Guild Wars 2. The fact that I would personally use it to spam people with “ ” might have something to do with that. Maps and Travel Q: Since you mention the fee for waypoint travel is small, why have one in the first place? Ben: It allows us to establish a balance between exploration and convenience. It also provides a minor, but highly repeatable way to drain money out of the economy. You don’t HAVE to use them, and in some cases it’s better to save your cash and just enjoy the run through the countryside. Q: How many waypoints and asura gates will the map have? Ben: The real answer would be “As many waypoints as it takes to make the map awesome.” Currently any normal map has between 10 to 20 waypoints. Asura gates are in the major cities and some other story-specific areas. Right now that feels about right. Q: Cities seem to be big since you mention travelling inside cities. Are cities divided into multiple zones? Ben: Yes. All of our cities are quite large and divided into different thematic areas, with some special places you can instance into. The actual Divinity’s Reach map has different sections that reflect the different social groups, sections devoted to the six human gods, a large carnival area, and several instanced areas like the Queen’s Palace or the headquarters of the Seraph that are their own smaller maps. Q: Do you know how big (in km^2) the GW2 map is? Ben: This is always an interesting question in terms of big open world games, and MMOs in specific. In most cases it’s not a very cool number. You’d be surprised at how small most game worlds literally are when compared to how big they “feel.” We haven’t sat down and calculated the literal land mass for Guild Wars 2 yet, but on average the maps are larger than Guild Wars maps, so the game world you experience is much larger. Thanks John and Ben! Reading this just makes us want to hop through an asura gate into Hoelbrak to shoot some hoops with the norn! We’re collecting player questions about our recently released article, A New Way of Looking at Healing and Death, so watch this space next week for more answers and info!