Here at ArenaNet we don’t think breathing is fun. We figure that you have to breathe every day IRL (in real life), so why should you have to work to breathe in a game—even underwater?
There’s a huge amount of underwater content in Guild Wars 2, and we want you to be able to explore it all without stressing about drowning. When you dive underwater, a breathing apparatus is instantly put all up on your face. We provide you with a default breathing apparatus, but you can find all sorts of cool gear to help keep you exploring the depths of the ocean.
When you’re underwater, you don’t need to worry about breathing until your health goes to zero. When this happens you go into a drowning state, which functions like the downed state you experience when above water except with some small ability to move. When you are drowning, you have three ways to recover:
· You kill an opponent, which will cause you to rally.
· An ally can revive you, just as they can above water.
· You reach the surface of the water, where you will stop drowning and regain health. When your health bar fills all the way you’ll be revived.
Dive! Dive! Dive!
The transition from swimming to not-swimming is something we’ve really focused on. We want the transition to be seamless and immersive, so we’ve put a lot of effort into giving the player control over swimming. If you just need to cross a body of water to get to the other side, you can swim at the top of the water without diving below. Be careful though! While swimming on the surface you can’t fight and are fair game for any enemies lurking below the surface.
If you want to go full-on underwater, just tilt your camera down and keep moving forward—you will dive below the waves. When this happens, you will automagically switch to your underwater weapon set, your underwater skill setup, and your breathing device.
For the more adventurous among you, there are other ways to go straight into underwater combat. Imagine you’re running away from enemy mobs towards a cliff edge. They’re getting closer; arrows are flying by you, barely missing you. Spells explode behind you, singeing your clothes. Rifle and pistol bullets richochet past you, nearly taking out your legs. There’s nowhere to go…. until you jump off the cliff and land in the water far, far below. The second you hit water, you’re ready to go—you switch to underwater mode, pull out your underwater weapon, and start swimming while your pursuers yell and curse!
Swim Around a Little
The world of Tyria is a beautiful, dangerous place, with a ton of places to explore. We didn’t want the undersea zones to feel like a secondary experience compared to the land zones, so you’ll experience the full—ahem—depth ofGuild Wars 2 content underwater. In addition to a wide variety of dynamic events, most dungeons have underwater content, and your personal story will also occasionally take you under the sea.
You’ll discover spectacular sights, diverse challenges, and powerful enemies while underwater in Guild Wars 2. In a recent blog post Ree Soesbee described one of the many races you’ll encounter under the sea, the totally evil krait, but we’ve got a lot more up our proverbial wetsuit sleeves. Although the shark from Jaws was unable to make an appearance (conflicting schedules due to his current projects), we’ve enlisted a myriad of equally fearsome underwater dwellers, ill-tempered fish, and fantastic sea monsters to fill out our underwater world. From thundershrimp to icewater barracudas, we’ve got you covered for underwater mobs—which means you need to be able to fight.
Fighting in a 3D Space
From the beginning, we knew that if we wanted to do underwater right we couldn’t just graft our land-based combat directly into the undersea realm.
Above ground, you’re usually fighting an enemy on the same plane, even if they’re above you in a building or below you in a pit. Fighting underwater challenges the player by introducing the z-axis and throwing danger at them from any angle, but it also opens up a lot of tactical opportunities for players as well. Area of effect skills can be used to hit foes on top of one another. You can use skills to force enemies up to the surface, or drag them down to the ocean floor. We really wanted underwater skills to take advantage of the 3D space!
Weapons That Work While Wet
Time to talk about those underwater weapons I mentioned earlier. We really wanted fighting underwater to be a new experience for the player, so we created a bunch of new weapons that you use ONLY underwater. This opens up a whole new spectrum of skills and tactics that you can use underwater and really distinguishes the feel and pacing of underwater combat from land combat.
Let’s take a look at the pointy underwater weapons:
Spear: Close-quarters melee weapon
Trident: Long-range magical weapon
Harpoon gun: Long-range mechanical weapon
You’ve Got Underwater Skills
Of course, there is more to your skill bar in Guild Wars 2 than just your weapon skills. That’s why, we whenever you dive beneath the surface, the skills in slots 6 through 10 automatically change to underwater skills. As you might imagine, not all your land-based utility, heal, and elite skills work underwater, so we’ve come up with some really cool underwater equivalents of these skills.
We’re not kidding when we say that the underwater experience in Guild Wars 2 is going to be a vital, important part of the game. You can’t experience everything the game has to offer without getting wet, so grab a breathing device and a trident and hit the beach! Life is much better down where it’s wetter, under the sea.