Studio Update: September 2023

Greetings, Tyrians,

On August 28, we celebrated the 11th anniversary of Guild Wars 2‘s launch. Eleven years! And while any anniversary is cause for celebration, this year’s anniversary was made even more special by the launch of Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure™, our fourth expansion. It’s truly a privilege to be able to continue supporting Guild Wars 2 into its 11th year and beyond, and the strong support of our community makes that possible.

Not only did we launch Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure on August 22, but we also transitioned to a new approach for releasing expansion content that will help ensure we can deliver game updates more consistently, for more areas of the game. So far, things are going even better than expected. In fact, so many people turned up to play SotO on launch day that we had to quickly spin up more game servers than we’d anticipated needing to accommodate the influx of players!

The dust from the release has mostly settled, but we’re still focused on addressing lingering issues from the launch build and triaging feedback. We’ll have one more bug-fix build scheduled for September 26, then we’ll be turning our full attention to the next major quarterly release…which as of today is less than two months away.

But what happens between each major quarterly update?

A tengu enjoying a quiet moment in Amnytas

The Space Between

As outlined in our August 22 launch blog, each of our annual expansions will be broken down into four major releases. In addition to the story, systems updates, and other content added in those four releases, each one will introduce a fresh set of Wizard’s Vault rewards and objectives. In the months between each update, we’ll release a profession balance update and a festival (or two, depending on the time of year) and run bonus events. We might also make updates to the core game (i.e., content not related to the latest expansion) in this period, but that may not always be the case.

We’ve run week-long bonus events before, and we’re excited for them to make a return in the periods between expansion updates. We’ll be updating some of our existing bonus events to reduce the amount of manual developer effort required to run them, which will make it easier to deploy them more regularly. We’re also carving out some dev time to add entirely new bonus events to the rotation in the future, with the goal of having bonus events occur much more regularly. If you have a cool idea for a bonus event—whether it’s focused on PvE, PvP, or WvW—please drop a comment on our forums.

The Fractal Rush bonus event is running right now and will be available through this coming Tuesday, September 19. During this time, complete Fractals of the Mists to progress bonus achievements and earn rewards. As a reminder, bonus event information is displayed in the in-game UI on the right-hand side of your screen, so you’ll always know when one is running.

Warclaws riding into battle in World vs. World

World vs. World Restructuring and Alliances

Since 2021, the WvW team has spent most of their time working on the World Restructuring system, a WvW infrastructure overhaul intended to produce fairer and more engaging matchups for WvW. It’s a complicated system, which you can learn more about here.

Up until recently, we have been considering the Alliance management UI a required part of shipping the World Restructuring system, which means that players are not currently getting much value from all of the work we have already put in. Many of the backend functions for balance and matchmaking already work at the WvW guild level. It’s extremely valuable for us to get consistent live data from players about how it’s working for them, so getting that system permanently online is now our first priority.

With the reprioritizing, we will not be opening the Alliances system to beta testing this year. We will refocus on delivering an always-on version of World Restructuring to players as soon as possible. From there we want to evaluate the new player experience, collect your feature requests, and monitor live data to allow us to make World Restructuring the best system that it can be.

One major priority in the perpetually active version of World Restructuring is growing and tuning the various criteria we use for matchmaking to create our WvW teams. Our goal here is to build a system with enjoyable experiences across a variety of player types so matchups feel as rewarding as possible.

We don’t have a timeline to share now, but we’ll keep you updated.

Sealing a rift with Frode and Zojja

Until Next Time

We’ll share the dates for other bonus events as they draw near. The in-game Halloween festivities will run from October 17 to November 7. Sometime around then you can also expect to hear about the next major update for Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure.

On a closing note, for a few years now, we have been—and will continue to be—a hybrid office, with many of our employees working entirely from home. There’s a lot we love about that, but we also really like having the opportunity to get together in person to learn and work together. A significant number of our studio employees will be doing just that next week, so we’ll be a little quieter here on our official channels as we take advantage of that time.

We’ll see you in Tyria!

The Guild Wars 2 Team