16 January 2018

Guild Wars 2: Velocity

WildStar has a lot of ups and downs, especially the European servers. Additionally, some people are looking around the MMORPG market seeking an alternative or an additional game for between the raids. So I asked some people to give Guild Wars 2 a try. There's one statement I hear very often from people who started to play Guild Wars 2 and that's that the character is so slow.

The Character Is Slow?

Guild Wars 2, has the normal running, aside from that no sprint though and you get your first mount in the end-game. Some buffs increase your movement speed like the swiftness buff for example, but how fast is the character actually? That's the question I was wondering after hearing this statement several times.

How To Determine?

Okay, to answer this question we actually need to figure out how fast the character moves. Watching your characters go and saying "yeah, he's slow" is not really the option here. Let's take a look at how this is solved in physics. If we want to determine the speed of something we need a distance given in some kind of unit. The other information we need is the time it took to move from start to end of the distance. Having data for these both we can calculate the speed or velocity.

Getting the Time

This is the easier one of the two values we need. Using a stopwatch or your mobile phone is already more than enough. We just need some kind of device to reliably count the time it takes our object to move the distance. The start time and end time or the time that passed between both points is all we need here. I've used my mobile phone for this with the basic clock app, though, any stopwatch will do.

Getting the Distance

This is the more difficult one. For this, we need a fixed distance. Two reliable positions that do not change. If we find two static positions we just need to figure out the actual distance between those two positions. There are no meters or feet in Guild Wars 2. We just have data on the range of skills but we don't even know what these units are. There is no metric or dimension on it. Looking at the Guild Wars 2 wiki we can find some information on this actually. In a question and answer thread from the ArenaNet (the developer of Guild Wars 2), we can read a specific question with the answer to our problem. The question asked about the distance between Mesmer portals. The developer mentioned that the portal distance equals the radar's or minimap's range which is 2500 units, so 208.333 ft or 63 meters.

A simple calculation gets us the value of one unit: 63m / 2500 = 0.0252m or 2.52cm. In feet it's 208.333ft / 2500 = 0.083ft.  

Now we just have to find two fixed points in-game. Since I wanted to know the movement speed of Dolyaks as well, I looked for a good place in World vs World. Searching there I came across the southbridge in the alpine borderlands. I used the stone posts that are part of the bridge as the start and endpoints. Now we just need to know the width. I've been on the necromancer specialized as a scourge and used the maximum range of my Manifest Sand Shade class ability. The maximum range of this ability is 900 units. I could use it four times. To determine the last few units I used the staff skills which have a 240 unit radius. So if you place a mark of the staff and another one on the circles end you will be able to place a third that cuts the middle between the two. This spot is half the radius so 120 units. Continuing this I was able to assume the distance of the bridge covers about 3660 units. Keep in mind this was the best approximation I could get so far.

Since we know the conversion between units and cm or feet we can do the following calculation to get the distance in a more commonly known unit:

3660 * 2.52cm = 9223.2cm or 92.23m
3660 * 0.083ft = 303.78ft

Let the Experiment Begin!

It's research time. Our experiment is ready to go so here's the next step. We prepare our stopwatch and get ready to measure the time a respective object takes to get over the bridge from our first point to the second point. We start the stopwatch when the first point is reached and stop it again when the second spot is reached.

Here are the times I've got:

Simply running over it took me 12.41s.
Next, I put in a movement speed signet that increased my speed by 25%, the time was 10.07s.
Giving myself swiftness (a 33% speed bonus) gave me a time of 9.56s.
I also checked my mini pet, which was harder than I thought, but its time is 15.60s.
The Dolyaks walking normally without any buffs got a cool time of 22.72s.
If you speed them up with swiftness they achieve 16.83s.
Later I checked the slow walking (a.k.a. RP walk), it increased the player's time to 45.89s.

Calculating Velocity

If you didn't sleep during physics lessons you should know there's a formula to calculate the movement speed of something. To do this we needed the distance and time. The exact formula is:
v = d / t
v stands for the velocity, d for the distance and t for the time it took;
The distance was kept constant in all cases at 92.23m or 303.78ft. The only variable we changed was the time it took the observed objects and creatures. In our first example, it was 12.41s. We just have to insert this into our formula:

v = 92.23m / 12.41s = 7.43m/s or 303.78ft / 12.41s = 24.48ft/s

Converting the feet per second to miles per hour we do the following steps:
  • 5280 feet is one mile. 
  • So we have 24.48ft/s / 5280 = 0.0046 miles/s.
  • We want per hour so we need 60 * 60 = 3600 seconds.
  • We have 0.0046 miles every second, so we need to accumulate the distance over 3600 seconds.
  • 3600 * 0.0046 miles/s = 16.56mph
For the rest of our times we get this table:

Description Time in s v in m/s v in mph
Player run 12.41 7.43 16.56
Player run +25% 10.07 9.16 20.57
Player run +33% 9.56 9.65 21.67
Minipet 15.60 5.91 13.28
Dolyak walk 22.72 4.06 9.12
Dolyak walk +25% 16.83 5.48 12.31
Player (RP) walk 45.89 2.01 4.51

More Data in the Future

I had planned to put in a lot more data here, especially about the velocity of mounts but this feels like more than enough already so I have to split that for a future post. Especially since I can't use the World vs World bridge for mounts since they don't work in World vs World. So that data has to wait, for now.

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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.