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ArenaNet Streaming Schedule for the Week of June 27

We’ve partnered up with some our fans to showcase their creative and exciting Guild Wars 2-inspired content on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel. Check out next week’s schedule below!
Streams for the Week of June 27

Wednesday, June 29

Guildnews Podcast (by Sputti) (German)
10:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7)
The week in review with the Guildnews crew.
Thursday, June 30

The Guild Wars 2 Art Show (by Rin Elenika) (English)
Noon Pacific Time (UTC-7)
This week’s creative guest on the Guild Wars 2 Art Show is Synsinsyn. Watch him reinterpret the world of Tyria in his unique style.
If you need help converting times into your own time zone, you can use this tool.
Thank you for watching!

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Predicting the Finals: Pro League Season 2

The stage is set, and the teams are ready to battle. Tomorrow, the world’s top four teams in Guild Wars 2 will collide and test their might to determine who is the best team in the world.
Event Time: Saturday, June 25, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7)

Who will come out on top? The commentators for the event will give you a breakdown of who they think will take home the grand prize in the ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Season 2 Finals.
Joe “Storm” Nowasell

I’m expecting some fairly close series at the season finals, particularly in the semifinals. I think North American and European talent match up quite well and will give us some four to five game series. I would be shocked if any of the semifinals matches ended up as 3–0. Team PZ matches up well against The Civilized Gentlemen on paper, but this is Helseth’s chance for redemption, given his squad is yet to grab first at a live event. They’ll be out for blood, and I’m giving this very close series to The Civilized Gentlemen at 3–2.
Heading to the other side of the bracket, world champions Rank Fifty Five Dragons face off against Astral Authroity, who dropped their first series to a North American team just a few short weeks ago. Astral also previously lost to Rank Fifty Five Dragons at the Season 1 finals, all of which contributes to my decision to pick Rank Fifty Five Dragons to grab this series 3–1. I’m expecting an all-European finals where Rank Fifty Five Dragons will claim a 3–1 win and continue to reign dominant in the PvP scene.
Hans “Supcutie” Onsum

Team PZ has really stepped up this season in terms of cohesiveness and skill with the classes they play. They ended this Pro League season with a win over Astral Authority, which shows that improvement first hand. Muffins in particular has proven to be an extremely proficient mesmer player, considering he started playing it this season. PZ is very good at coming up with strategies and snowballing hard. Now more than ever, PZ has the ability to upset Europe. The Civilized Gentlemen (TCG), however, just went through with some pretty extensive roster changes this season. Despite having played together in the past, it’s possible that lack of synergy could be a weakness for them. Overall though, TCG has more experience in a competitive environment as well as in a LAN environment, and I think this might give them the edge.
In terms of strategy and adaptation, I would have to say PZ edges out. In terms of experience and tournament capability, I think TCG edges out. Overall I’m going to have to say my prediction for this matchup is 3–2, TCG.
Astral Authority has really struggled this season. They weren’t able to bring out a mesmer that was able to consistently win matchups, and they have had to fall back on comfort picks to compete. In all of their toughest matchups, they weren’t able to 2–0, and they even lost to PZ at the end of the season. Astral still has arguably the best synergy of any team, but they’re currently struggling to adapt to composition changes. Rank Fifty Five Dragons have done a great job this season. They struggled against Vermillion last season, but have improved and definitely are Europe’s top contender right now.
If Astral chooses to run thief, they will have to rely on choosing when to outnumber and be outnumbered in order to get a snowball rolling. This strategy is actually where they fell short against PZ, and it won’t be any easier vs. Rank Fifty Five. Not having a mesmer to deal with the enemy mesmer will have to be a very deliberate decision that Astral needs to consider carefully. Both of these teams are very experienced, and I don’t think they will be hindered in this area. That said, Astral struggled putting up a mesmer this last season, and lost to PZ with a thief. My prediction for this matchup will be 3–1 for Rank Fifty Five.
Christian “Heurix” Thomasser

This is going to be the closest finals series that we have ever seen in the history of Guild Wars 2. With Team PZ coming up and surprising the North American scene with a level of talent on par with frontrunners Astral Authority, the NA scene has shown that they finally have a true second contender from the region, something they haven’t been able to produce in quite a long time.
Since the changes mid-season to the The Civilized Gentlemen roster, they have bolstered themselves and seem stronger than they’ve ever been in their team history, but I am going to call for what I assume to be an unpopular choice, and favor Astral to come away with this finals win. While Rank Fifty Five is looking as strong as ever, and it is likely that they are more heavily favored due to their unreal levels of consistency and the arguably higher level play that captivated us in the Season 1 finals, I foresee an upset that the Americans will push into a final against TCG for a very close series win over the other European juggernaut. It’s a tough call; I expect this finals in Burbank to be filled with surprises.
Daniel “Jebro” Littleton

Rank Fifty Five Dragons is the most consistent team over season one and two, and I wouldn’t bet against them. Their rotations are strong, and player-wise they have some legendary carries such as Zan. The Civilized Gentlemen have superior rotations and I feel will win out versus Team PZ, but having formed late in season, they may lack a synergy to push them to win the finals. We will have to see. Either way, I see an all-European finals.

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Stronghold of the Faithful on Guild Chat: A Summary

On this week’s Guild Chat, host Rubi Bayer invited members of the Guild Wars 2 raid team to delve into the design for Forsaken Thicket’s third raid wing, Stronghold of the Faithful. She was joined by Narrative Lead Bobby Stein, Game Designer Teddy Nguyen, and Game Designer Jason Reynolds.
Bobby and Teddy clarified that they want to strike a balance in which there are no core Guild Wars 2 storylines gated behind raids, while also ensuring that raids don’t lack flavor. If any lore teased in raids happens to be necessary to understand the core Guild Wars 2 story going forward, it’ll be presented to non-raiders in such a way that it’s easy for them to get caught up.
Teddy talked about the Twisted Castle, a mazelike structure that players must navigate to reach Xera. She explained the debilitating effect that slowly accrues as players are exposed to Xera’s magic, and the disorienting effect of the shattered architecture. She also gleefully described watching as players entered Stronghold of the Faithful for the first time, ran over the invisible flooring in the Twisted Castle, and plummeted to their deaths.
Jason discussed Xera, the final boss of Stronghold of the Faithful. Xera is a White Mantle leader and powerful mesmer who summons massive phantasms during the ultimate battle. He revealed that her name was originally pronounced in a slightly different way, but when Bobby added pronunciation guides to the script for the voice actors, he accidentally changed it.
Next up was a video of members of the audio team swinging various flaming objects in Sound Designer Drew Cady’s yard to create sound effects for the Phoenix Glider. Unless you’re a member of the audio team, don’t try this at home! By swinging a fireball in a pendulum motion, they created the sounds of the glider’s wings opening and closing, and Drew even burned his belt to capture the sound of embers falling away.
Drew talked about how contextual dialogue and player voices are used to bring the raid to life. Different professions will sometimes have different comments to make on their surroundings and events—for example, player mesmers are especially unimpressed with Xera’s skills. If you listen carefully throughout Stronghold of the Faithful, you may discover where Drew layered Xera’s screams into the background to foreshadow the final battle.
Catch up on this week’s Guild Chat with the video below!

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Announcing the Guild Wars 2 World Championship

Shortly before the launch of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™, we revealed the full schedule of competitive events for 2016, which included two seasons of Pro League and a World Championship. Since that announcement, we’ve crowned our Season 1 champions, and we’re just a few days away from crowning our Season 2 champions. This leaves only one major milestone left in the calendar—the Guild Wars 2 World Championship.
The Guild Wars 2 World Championship

It is our pleasure to announce that ArenaNet is partnering with ESL, the world’s largest esports company, to host the Guild Wars 2 World Championship on September 17, 2016, at ESL Studios in Burbank, California. This single-elimination event will bring together three teams from North America and three teams from Europe to battle for a $200,000 USD prize pool—the largest in Guild Wars® franchise history.
To earn a spot at the World Championship, teams must first emerge victorious in the double-elimination qualifiers on August 6 and 7. There’s more on the line than the prize money; seeding in the qualifier event will be determined by overall regular-season placement in Season 2 of Pro League, as well as the final results of this weekend’s Season 2 Finals event. The qualifier will be open to existing Pro League teams. Tickets to the World Championship will be available for purchase a few months prior to the event for those interested in attending in person, and the event will be livestreamed on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel.
Keep an eye on the official Guild Wars 2 site and the Guild Wars 2 Pro League site in the upcoming weeks for more details on upcoming events, and don’t miss the Pro League Season 2 Finals, live on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel on Saturday, June 25, beginning at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-7).
We’ll see you in the Mists!

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The ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Returns Today

Four weeks of matches are in the books and just three remain in regular season play. Teams across both regions aspire to be one of the four total teams that will play for $100,000 at the season finals in Leicester, UK on February 20. In North America first place is all but guaranteed to reigning World Champions the Abjured, but the fight for second place is still quite fierce and largely unpredictable, with Spoookie and Team PZ appearing to be fan favorites to take it. Over in the European league things are a little less cut and dry, with Vermillion, Rank Fifty Five Dragons, and the Civilized Gentlemen all having some of their most important matches of the season coming up over the course of the next three weeks.
You can catch a write up on the first half of the season over at
Week five kicks off today, January 11, on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel. The European Pro League broadcast begins at 10:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-8) and is followed by North America at 5:00 PM Pacific Time (UTC-8).ESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Week Five Matchups—EUMatch #1Chaotic Contingency (0–4) vs. Purple Noise (0–4)Match #2More Guns Than Roses (2–2) vs. Car Crashed (1–3)Match #3Orange Logo(2–2) vs. Rank Fifty Five Dragons (4–0)Match #4The Civilized Gentlemen (3–1) vs. Vermillion (4–0)BroadcastEnglish:
Chinese: AM Pacific Time (UTC-8)Map Rotation:Forest of Niflhel, Legacy of the Foefire, Battle of KhyloESL Guild Wars 2 Pro League Week Five Matchups—NAMatch #1Apex Prime (2–2) vs. Ez Pz Lemon Squeezy (2–2)Match #2Never Lucky (1–3) vs. Zero Counterplay (0–4)Match #3Team Pz (2–2) vs. Final Form (2–2)Match #4Spoookie (3–1) vs. The Abjured (4–0)BroadcastEnglish:
Chinese: PM Pacific Time (UTC-8)Map Rotation:Forest of Niflhel, Legacy of the Foefire, Battle of Khylo

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Profession Balance Goals for the Winter 2016 Update

Hello, and welcome to the first quarterly balance update of 2016! I’m Karl McLain, and we’re here today to talk about some high-level changes that’ll be coming to each profession this month.
With the release of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™ and the unlocking of elite specializations, we’ve seen a decent shift in play styles and power throughout the game. While we’ll still make minor adjustments in between as needed, each of our quarterly seasonal releases will include a major balance update to adjust how professions are performing and rein in outliers.
In this first quarterly update, we’ve got a few goals we’re pushing toward. Our main goal will be to reduce some of the highest-level effectiveness in both defense and offense that have occurred since the release of Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, while also increasing the effectiveness of less used options. Secondarily, we’ll be looking at slightly changing the theme of a couple of professions so that they’ll have a strong place in each game type.
In an effort to normalize gameplay around downstate, we’ll be making death and resurrection more absolute; while resurrecting allies or stomping enemies, the effects of quickness and slow will no longer have an effect. We’ll also be making a change to slow to bring it more in line with its quickness counterpart, slightly reducing its overall effectiveness. With that said, let’s talk about the professions.

This profession has seen a lot of defensive additions through recent updates and the addition of the tempest. In this iteration, we’ll be fine-tuning the defensive nature of the elementalist a little more and improving its offensive side a bit. To that end, Diamond Skin will see its first change in a long while, moving to condition removal (as is more thematic with the elementalist) rather than condition avoidance. In the effort to improve offense, Air grandmaster traits will be getting usability and damage improvements, while the scepter and focus will be receiving some positive quality-of-life modifications.

We’ve been enjoying watching all of the scrapper gyros buzzing around in the jungle, helping allies and clearing the way for Pact forces. Our focus for the engineer has been to improve less used traits and to rework some functionality for scrapper traits. For the core specializations, trait improvement efforts have been made toward creating impactful choices and making each build choice more distinctive. With that said, we’re still monitoring the defensive nature of the scrapper and may look to implement a reduction in survivability.

In keeping with the general theme of improving less used options, we’ve been updating both traits and abilities to be more useful and to have a meaningful impact when you equip them. The dragonhunter elite specialization has proven to have a very solid impact in many areas of the game, but they’ve been a tad too effective in the areas of burst and disruption, and we’ll be looking to make slight adjustments in those areas.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns has seen many a chronomancer survive a killing blow and seize victory. Alacrity has improved the mesmer’s party support game-wide, but we’ll be bringing alacrity a bit more in line and making it easier to balance while keeping it a staple of the chronomancer elite specialization. Additionally, we’ll be improving upon the scepter, which will be receiving updates through skills, functionality, and traits.

The necromancer and its reaper elite specialization have been trundling (slow-moving, nefarious) through the battlefield, cleaving foes down in style. During this quarterly update, we’ll be looking at improving a couple of elite specialization traits and working with the baseline shroud to give it a bit more functionality. Leeching Bolts (comboing a projectile in a dark field) will now also heal through your shroud form.

We’ll be looking into some of the ranger’s less used traits and increasing both defensive and offensive options while giving a few specialized traits a bit more allure. In the first quarterly update, we’ll also be improving the ranger’s shout utility category, giving them more unique utility. In the future, we’ll continue to explore ways to improve on the ranger’s ties to both their pets and nature. We’re still looking at the druid’s viability in group scenarios and will continue to monitor its overall effectiveness, making changes where necessary.

Now that the revenant is out in the wild, we’ve been taking a hard look at it. The general goal for this profession is focused specialization through a variety of trait and legend choices. We’ll be continuing this in the future by assuring that each legend and core/elite specialization fulfills their respective roles. In this iteration, we’ll be looking to tone down the revenant’s sword damage in some areas and adjust the weapon’s abilities so that it’s less focused on autoattacking and better at singling out and attacking enemies. We’re also keeping a close eye on the revenant’s defensive capabilities.

In the recent history of thieves, their damage roles have been largely burst-based due to initiative, while their autoattacks do little to sustain their DPS. In addition, initiative often needs to be used defensively, which can take a toll on overall damage output. Our design for this profession tends to lean toward damage, mobility, and evasiveness. In the first quarter of this year, we’ll be looking to drastically improve thief melee autoattacks until their overall sustained damage when coupled with initiative use is extremely dangerous. In addition to the damage improvements, we’ve done a bit of reworking and improvements to the Acrobatics specialization line.

We’ve taken a look at the warrior’s baseline abilities, adjusting cooldowns, damage, and in some cases even functionality. Our goal for this iteration is to give you a bit more to play with in a single weapon set so that the cooldowns feel more active and fun to play around with. Rifle has also seen a bit of a rework, gaining a more defensive nature while retaining its overall purpose of kill-shotting every enemy of Tyria. We’ll also be taking another pass at improving the berserker elite specialization, focusing on increasing its usability in various game modes and promoting more active skill use in trait design. Lastly, we’ll improve the warrior’s ability to sustain themselves in combat.
Thanks for joining us today for this high-level look at what’s coming in the balance update this quarter. Make sure to tune in for the January 15 episode of Guild Chat over on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel for more in-depth discussion on the upcoming balance changes. If you’ve got feedback or ideas you’d like to give, feel free to post your thoughts, ideas, and constructive feedback on the official Guild Wars 2 forums. Until next time!

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Guild Chat Returns Friday!

Join host Rubi Bayer and guests Colin Johanson, Lena Chappelle, and Maclaine Diemer on the official Guild Wars 2 Twitch channel for this Friday’s Guild Chat!
We’ll be hosting Aurora_Peachy, Gladomer, and Bogotter starting at 10:30 AM Pacific Time (UTC-8) before the show, and after the show.
Guild Chat will air on January 8 at noon Pacific Time (UTC-8).

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Happy Holidays!

As the ArenaNet staff takes time to enjoy the holidays and spend time with loved ones, we’d like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season as well. Here are some tidbits to wrap up 2015—thanks for making it a great year!
Play Along With Partners

Members of the ArenaNet Partner Program are as busy as skritt throughout the month, so be sure to keep an eye on their Twitch, YouTube, and social media channels.

  • Reyana_ATac continues her series of World vs. World commander interviews. You can find schedules posted on her Twitter.
  • Richie “BogOtter” Procopio and AuroraPeachy are leveling their new revenant characters every week at 7:00 AM Pacific Time (UTC-8).
  • MMOINKS will be teaming up with Kit the Traveler for a story video and contest.
  • Choxie808 is running a 12-day streaming marathon with giveaways called “The Twelve Days of Choxmas,” starting December 12 at midnight Pacific Time (UTC-8) and running until December 24.
  • German fans can take part in an advent calendar hosted by [url="""][/url]. You can find the rules here.
Become the Revenant

If you haven’t met the Mist-walking [url="""]revenant[/url] yet, this new video is all the introduction you’ll need. The revenant is a heavily-armored profession capable of filling a variety of roles by channeling the power of legendary figures from Tyria’s past, and is available for play exclusively in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™.
Wintersday on Guild Chat and Community Showcase Live

If you missed the special Wintersday editions of the [url="""]Community Showcase Live[/url] and Guild Chat livestreams, check them out—along with all of our past episodes—on the official Guild Wars 2 YouTube channel.
The Wiki is Fan-Powered

Thank you to the community of wiki editors who created over 30,000 articles this year for the official Guild Wars 2 wiki across four languages, reaching an amazing total of 110,000 articles! We’d also like to extend our congratulations to the English Guild Wars 2 wiki for reaching the 50,000 article milestone.
We’ll see you next year!

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