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I got in touch with ArenaNet head honcho Mike O’Brien &  designer / writier Ree Soesbee to get some clarification on some of the new info about GW2 that’s come out of Gamescom in the last couple of days. They were kind enough to get back to us pretty quickly, despite being knee deep in the GC craziness… Is the events system that’s been discussed a scenario where the world “has a schedule” and NPCs have agendas or at least pre-dispositions to how they act / react in given circumstances, so almost more like how the worlds behave in RPG games like Oblivion / Fallout 3, in that an NPC or group of NPCs might, for instance, have a trade route they go on, and you could encounter them anywhere along that route. Or groups of bad guys might wander a particular region because they’re predisposed to not only fight their enemies, but take over enemy installations, and as the player, you might encounter them at any point along their “path” toward those goals.

Mike O’Brien: Events have a feeling similar to what you’re describing, but it’s not schedule-driven because we don’t want the world to have a fixed schedule. Instead, events respond to what the players are doing in the world. If the players raid the centaur camp and clear out the centaurs, then there won’t be a centaur attack on the garrison. But if the players let the centaur population get out of control, then the centaurs will become emboldened and start doing raids. What types of consequences might players encounter for acting (or not acting) at a given point along the timeline of an event? For instance, one of the examples you all gave is that a group of centaurs might attack a fortress, and you could join in with the guards in defending the fortress, or the centaurs might actually take it over. As such, are there things (loot, story elements) that players might never get to experience if they take out the centaurs before they ever get to the fortress, etc.? Or, if the centaurs take over the fortress and players help take them out to return the fortress to its rightful owners, is there any kind of “hero bonus” or anything like that that players will receive?

Mike O’Brien: We structure events so that players are never punished for playing the game, killing monsters, or winning events. We don’t want players to be saying, “hey everyone, please stop killing those centaurs; I need to participate in the event where we retake the garrison from the centaurs.” So there’s nothing you can get by losing to centaurs that you can’t get by winning. Finally, will NPCs such as guards at a fortress re-spawn if the centaurs have taken it over, or are NPCs just dead once they’re dead?

Mike O’Brien: If the centaurs take over the garrison, then they’ll hold it as a centaur garrison until the players can put together an attack force and successfully reclaim it. Once the players reclaim it, it becomes a human garrison again, and the NPCs move back in.

So there you go folks…the more I hear about this system, the more fun…and immersive…it sounds.

And just FYI, I asked about a few other things that ArenaNet couldn’t comment on yet, such as whether character creation will follow GW’s formula of picking pre-rendered faces for your character based on profession (and now, race) – something I’m hoping for since GW’s characters are arguably the best looking in any MMO to date; if Jeremy Soule will be composing the music for GW2 (he is…see note below), and if there was any more info they could share on how crafting will play into the Guild Wars 2 experience.

UPDATE: Sorry, didn’t mean to lump in the Jeremy Soule comment in there since Soule himself has said that he’s working on GW2’s music. Thanks to DarkWasp over at GuildWars2Guru for reminding me of that.

No…I didn’t bother asking about a release date.

We’ll keep you posted as more info is revealed.