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Massively Exclusive: Eric Flannum talks Guild Wars 2 beta changes

There's no doubt that the folks over at ArenaNet have been busy with preparations for the upcoming Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event. The team has doubled the number of servers available for the beta and instituted a number of changes to the beta content itself, as detailed in a recent blog post. Despite the bustle, Lead Game Designer Eric Flannum took the time to answer a few of our questions regarding changes in the upcoming beta.

Massively: The Mystic Forge that players will now be able to find in Lion's Arch seems exciting. Will it be random, or will players be able to develop "recipes" of what to toss in in order to receive certain items?

Eric Flannum: The Mystic Forge uses a combination of random and non-random recipes. For example, if I throw four rare swords into the forge, it will return a random sword to me with a chance for that sword to be substantially better. There are also specific items that can be created by throwing four very specific items into the forge with no random involved at all. Players should look for clues hidden around the world and in items for what combinations might work. Another exciting aspect of the Mystic Forge is that it is very easy for us to add recipes, so post-launch, we can continue to add new things for players to discover.

We've seen key-binding customization added in as well as UI improvements -- is there hope for UI customization options (beyond overall size and minimap resizing) down the road, or should players try to get used to the idea of not being able to fiddle with the UI?

While we aren't going to allow players to mod their UI to extreme levels, we are always going to be looking at adding new options and UI improvements. If a feature is being requested by a large number of fans, we will always evaluate whether or not we can and should add that feature.

Guild Wars 2
Has Rank done away with cumulative Glory for structured PvP, or will that still be tracked in addition to Rank? It seems like decoupling the two would allow for more items like the Chalice of Glory to be used for purely aesthetic reasons without affecting players' standings for match placement and bragging rights -- will this open up new venues for players to acquire Glory?

Glory and Rank are tracked as two different things. Anytime you gain Glory, you will also gain Rank; however, some things will award Rank without awarding Glory. Part of the reason for this change was in fact to allow us to explore new ways to give players both Rank and Glory.

How will the new PvE elements feel like they're intersecting with WvW gameplay, rather than running parallel to it? Will they have any bearing on WvW? Might players find blueprints in treasure chests or anything else to help them feel like they're contributing to the greater fight?

The mini-dungeon we added to the WvW center map was added with PvP specifically in mind. This goes for how the area flows, how traps work, and what reward you get at the end. There are definitely blueprints in the chest as well as other things that WvW players will find valuable.

This will be the first time that we see five-person structured PvP tournaments outside of conventions. How many devs are planning to team up and crush players' hopes of victory?

There are a couple of teams forming, and I know that John Corpening and Jonathan Sharp will definitely be around playing, so make certain to say "hello" to them when you see them in the tournaments.

Thanks for your time, Eric!

Even a Bookah like you knows that Guild Wars 2 is on the way, but it takes an Asura's intellect, a Human's charm, a Sylvari's wisdom, a Charr's passion, and a Norn's love of strong mead to dive into beta and make sense of a game this complex. Fortunately, we have all five on the Massively staff. Enjoy our previews, guides, and our weekly GW2 column, Flameseeker Chronicles!

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