Ahead of the next expansion to Guild Wars 2, the fantasy MMO is receiving DirectX11 support to help plan for the game’s future.
As outlined in a blog post on the Guild Wars 2 website (and spotted by Eurogamer), DirectX11 support is being added to “help the game continue to look beautiful over time”. Testing for DirectX11 support will begin with an open beta starting next Tuesday (September 21).
As explained by James Fulop, senior engine programmer for Guild Wars 2, DirectX11 “offers some modern technology options that aren’t available in DirectX9”, and implementing DirectX11 support “is the first step toward being able to do more shiny things” in Guild Wars 2.
Fulop also adds that ArenaNet has chosen to use DirectX11 instead of more modern upgrades like DirectX12 or Vulkan because the older version “is very stable and has already been used by thousands of games for nearly a decade at this point”, and still supports Windows Vista – while Vulkan and DirectX12 only offer support from Windows 7 and Windows 10 respectively.
As DirectX11 support offers “plenty of options for adding interesting features to the engine for years to come”, Fulop explains that choosing a newer backend “would balloon QA [Quality Assurance] work for little tangible benefits”.
For a more specific explanation on how DirectX11’s rendering is more resource-efficient, Fulop goes into a detailed description of how the system works behind the scenes and why the change should fix issues where “the game could stall waiting for rendering work to complete” with DirectX9.
The upgrade comes ahead of Guild Wars 2‘s End Of Dragons expansion, which will launch in February 2022. In our hands-on preview of the new specialisations, we found that the expansion looks “incredibly promising” so far.