Dynamic Mobs of Guild Wars 2

June 7, 2010 at 4:17 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 14 Comments
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Yeah he seems like the peaceful type

EDIT: Shaun in the comments insists that arenanet has said monsters will not use player skills. We’ll see about that shaun!

I was thinking about the mobs of Guild Wars 2. Something in the latest GuildCast sort of clicked with something I had been mulling over in Guild Wars 1.

In that Slovenian interview from a few days ago it mentions that when you’re fighting a boss and it scales up to reflect the number of people fighting it, it’s not as simple as just adding reinforcements. Skills get unlocked, damage gets increased, passive abilities, and yeah, reinforcements get called in. I’m sure other factors will be in play, area effects on the players, environmental weapons, and other clever uses of game mechanics to make boss fights more interesting.

It was Ravious (I think?), referring to all of this, who said something to the effect of “Bosses won’t be static”. I think that goes for mobs too, and I think that’s clearly underlined by evidence from the War in Kryta.

War in Kryta has been kind of fitful in releasing content, but the first real addition were Peacekeepers. New enemies in old areas. They’re the most recent example of Arenanets work, and while probably not a perfect example of what to expect, I don’t exactly have a whole lot else to go on.

One of the first things I noticed was, each type of Peacekeeper has 3 or 4 random builds. The necromancer Grim Peacekeepers can be blood, curses, or death. Divine Peacekeepers can be Smite, a ritualist, or 2 different kinds of Healing Prayers monks.

I’ve mentioned all this before but this is a completely different take on mobs in most MMOs I’ve played, and bares repeating.

Your standard MMO, including GW, has one set of skills for one type of mob. If you level up and come across a slightly different but higher level mob it’s skill bar will be reasonably similar to the previous skill bar. This extends through many levels in many games.

I should point out a couple of early examples of Arenanet at work with varying skill bars. Even in Prophecies some classes occasionally had different weapons and therefore different builds, like the Maguuma Warrior. The introduction of Hard Mode also meant an increase in attributes and some classes had skills added to their builds to make them more difficult in HM, usually an unlocked Elite skill. The best example is probably the Chromatic Drake, which had a monster skill, that allowed it to switch between a build for each element.

Another interesting aspect of Peacekeepers that most likely won’t make it to GW2, is that these mobs often use skills from other professions. Take for instance the Peacekeeper Goon with a few different builds using other non warrior skills. Outside of Jungle Trolls that’s a fairly rare occurrence for your average mob in GW. Unfortunately there are no secondary professions in GW2, which probably means no combination of that sort.

One other thing I’ll note about Guild Wars that could be of consequence is that as time passed, Anet began using more and more monster skills. By the time Eye of the North rolled around, it almost seemed as if each monster had it’s own monster skill, passive or not.

What do I take from all this? Obviously the rest is just speculation but here goes.

    In early levels monsters will probably have simplistic skills and weapon sets. By the time you reach max level and endgame things will become much more complicated.

    Mobs won’t be confined to spawning as one profession, most likely we’ll have to watch for visual cues.

    I think mobs will have varied skill bars based on the weapon they spawn with.

    I think weapons will be random but profession appropriate, or at least build appropriate.

    Mobs will scale in events just as a boss will, unlocking skills, passive abilities, etc.

    Monster skills for bosses or difficult end game instances will be prevalent.

    Groups of enemies will more than likely be able to use the same skill combinations that have been described to players against us. The AI knowledge developed for GW won’t go to waste.

Lots of speculation there, I could easily be wrong about all of this. War in Kryta does not GW2 make. But if Guild Wars itself seems to be moving in that direction why wouldn’t Guild Wars 2.



  1. Yeah I agree. It would definetly make combat more interesting to see various builds within the same types of enemies.
    It would also be a good way to combat botting I think if they dont know exactly what they are going up against.
    There is also the possibility that enemies will be able to switch weapon sets just like players and thus change their build on the fly.
    Hmmm could this spell the end of the gimick builds that are so prevalent in Guildwars? Dont get me wrong I use them too, mostly if im feeling lazy or need to make some cash, hell I was doing the 55 UW smite run back before AoE scatter when the main offensive skill was Balthazars Aura and the Prophets Path wamo griffon farm made me rich lol (ah the good ol days).

  2. ArenaNet have said that monsters do not use player skills.

    • really, where is that?

      • Yeah I must have missed that one too. But regardless of wether they are player skills or monster skills, a skill is a skill. Giving them variable dynamic builds instead of static builds sounds like a good idea to me.

        • http://gw2.luna-atra.fr/interview-etape-avec-arenanet?start=2

          Fourth question down:
          “Eric Flannum: Skills are purchased from a trainer or can be handed out as content rewards, much like they were in Guild Wars. We won’t see a return of the signet of capture system in Guild Wars 2, as not all monsters use player skills. We made this choice for many reasons. The primary reason was that it placed an undue burden on our creature spawning team to have to spawn creatures according to a skill progression chart instead of placing them where they would logically fit into the world. We also have a lot fewer skills in Guild Wars 2, many of which are very specific to certain profession mechanics. We didn’t want every monster to have to fit into a profession archetype. With our new creature system we have a lot more freedom to give each monster a unique and fun mechanic with abilities that really fit their character. “

          • ok well. I guess that settles that for now. thanks tiger. now that i read that i do remember it.

  3. It only stated that Monsters will have special skills, like the monster skills they have now. Though it has not been said that monsters will not use the skills a human/charr/etc has.

    • I could have sworn I read it somewhere. About it being too hard and unnecessary to balance enemies using the same skills as players, especially given the way the skills are designed to be switched and interact with one another, and that they’ve given monsters unique skills to suit each monsters’ style/culture.

      I coulda sworn…

      • That might be true, but they never ruled out the use of human/charr/etc skills as a whole..

        I know which interview you’re talking about.

        • Okay so yeah. both right. It’s just a matter of how many monster skilled monsters vs monsters with player skills.

          i did say monster skills would be prevalent.

          • I imagine it will be non humanoid creatures such as Skales and devourers and the like that have only monster skills. While things like centaurs and Grawl and the undead would most likely have builds with player skills.

            • i’m thinking endgame monsters have access to all skills, but, hard to say without playing the game.

  4. Just found this blog via SWUT. Good point with the Peacekeepers. They are still dynamic mobs, but you won’t know which type they are until they start spamming skills. I do think though that even though Linsey denies it, a lot of GW2 game design theory bleeds over to GW1. Back to catching up on this blog. 🙂

    • in a corporate culture like that you’re just plain going to have similarities in projects. The way I figure it anyway.

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