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Author Topic: Dev answers questions in-game during WPE  (Read 4511 times)
Sobelius
Terracotta Army
Posts: 761


on: November 03, 2004, 01:10:22 PM

Thought you all might be interested.

Originally posted here.

(I copied text here in case anyone had difficulty connecting to the original site.)

++++++++++++++++++
During the last 2 and a half hours of Guild Wars, while everyone was having a beach party down in District 28, I (Cinther Chiaus) was in District 81 having an interview with Jeff Strain and Cynn of Ascalon - Two very nice Developers of Guild wars. I, aswell as a bunch of others, had a chance to bomberd them with questions. I took screenshots (300 of them) of all the questions and answers and have spent most of my time since the end of WPE typing them out and getting rid of the spam for all to see. Soo without further ado, here it is, all two and a half hours worth. (I know its long)

"Q" is someone asking a question and "A" is either Jeff or Cynn answering it:

Q: I got the pre-order, what does it really get me?
A: It gets you into every Beta Weekend Event, first weekend of every month until ship, starting next weekend.
Q: Are you responsible for all this?
A: No, no – there is a huge team of 80 very talented people responsible for this – I am but one part.
Q: Is this game going to have more depth to it?
A: This is still Alpha – its all content from here
Q: What more can we expect to see on release of this game?
A: More missions, more quests, more monsters, more features (e.g. observer mode, guild ladder)
Q: Like more types of weapons and armor appearances too?
A: Actually lots more – like I said, it’s all content from here.
Q: Why can’t I create a guild?
A: You can create a guild – see the guild vendor in town.
Q: Can people who didn’t pre-order still get in on the beta weekends?
A: No, they can’t play – people who preorder get the goodies
Q: Will the characters, loot, and missions I have done stay during the Beta Weekends as l as long as I have the pre-order and will the logins stay the same?
A: We have not decided yet – we will post the info on our site soon
Q: Any mass emails going around too? It might be easier that way.
A: No email – we have a –very- strict policy about unsolicited email – never from us, for any reason
Q: I thought when we signed up for our account and we gave you our email that was for emailing us info.
A: Ick – no.
Q: Could you put an anti spam filter to prevent people from super spamming our chat window?
A: That’s coming soon – believe me
Q: For the spells like “rotting flesh” that have a description, but no real school (like death magic, etc) what determines their effectiveness?
A: Right now rotting flesh is “fixed” effectiveness, but will eventually have a school.
Q: Any plan to remove the “invisible walls” on the areas? That has been a great concern for new people.
A: We have received a lot of feedback about pathing and “walls” – on the to-do list for sure.
Q: Will there be more types of weapons in the final, like maces, spears, lances, etc?
A: Tons More
Q: I can’t buy skills, is that because I have too many?
A: Yes, you are given “Skill points” which are used every time that you buy a skill. You can get more skill points by completing quests, leveling, and doing bonus missions. But there is a cap so choose them carefully.
Q: So then it isn’t possible to get all the skills?
A: Theoretically you can, once you run our of skill points you will have to use class specific rings to learn the rest of the skills, however we encourage specialization, not “Jacks of all trades”
Q: What was your part in the game? (Programming, designer, etc?
A: I have been programming for three years, now I am a producer and the “interview guy”.
Q: Will there be a printed map included with the retail box?
A: Of course there will be a map, plus much more in the box.
Q: Are there any plans on including unarmed combat (for monks please?) or dual wielding?
A: Unarmed combat - Probably not in the release but a strong possibility for the first expansion. Remember, each expansion will have content on scale with first release.
Q: Will I get to keep my Character?
A: We are still deciding on what to do about retaining characters and Guilds – will announce soon.
Q: What about guilds? Will they still be registered?
A: Cant say for sure – we will make an announcement about it soon.
Q: Jeff could you elaborate on “Chapters”?
A: Chapters are the expansions, every chapter has new professions, skills, missions, quests, towns, explorable areas, monsters, etc.
Q: Are chapters downloadable or expansions have to be bought?
A: Either – We will stream it to you automatically so you can purchase directly, or you can go to the store and buy it.
Q: Will the drop rate issues for cloth bolt and hide salvaging be brought into balance with that of the other classes?
A: Drop rates, loot, crafting etc. will all get major rebalancing after WPE
Q: What will the chapters cost?
A: No pricing Details yet.
(After Multiple Flamings about “clogging up the chat window with questions”)
A: Yes, about those chat filters – Coming very soon. Smile
Q: Will guilds be able to house things? Like equipment that you can’t carry because of space limitations?
A: Guild storage is coming soon.
Q: Any plans to implement some sort of a “dueling arena”? For 1v1 PvP challenges?
A: Its Under construction – Much requested.
Q: Will Character naming be reviewed? I saw a guy named SodaCan McPepsi earlier.
A: SodaCan McPepsi will not be filtered – we don’t want to be police – if its offensive, yes, but if it is just out of character, no.
Q: Any chance of dungeon delving adventures?
A: Full indoor environments will be a major part of an upcoming chapter – first release will be outdoors.
Q: Will there be more control over pets because my pet just runs in and gets itself killed.
A: Yes you will have more control over pats, and henchmen too.
Q: Will there be any statistic views, i.e. player death totals, etc?
A: Yes, for sure, many stats coming soon.
Q: I’ve noticed that in PvP, and PvE, my charmed pet would die and I would suffer Death Penalty for that. Any Plans for this?
A: Yes, we will probably just get rid of that.
Q: Will you be doing something about all this sell-spamming everywhere? Maybe a district for selling only and then extreme flood protection on all non-trade channels.
A: Yes, we will do something about it – our goal is that each public area is very task specific.
Q: Any plans on adding other classes maybe in additional chapters?
A: You bet – every chapter will have new professions
Q: I’ve noticed that there are multiple pets available to be charmed at the moment (Moa Bird and Lynx) but no ability to uncharm.
A: This was a bug in WPE and is being fixed. There might be a trader, like the dye trader or the item crafter, who could take your pet from you
Q: The downloadable chapters, what format will they be in? If I had to redo my system I’d hate to lose it.
A: It doesn’t matter what’s on your system, just how your account is flagged, once you own it, you own it, so you would be able to reinstall it if you need to.
Q: SO you would be able to play your account with your chapters on anyone’s computer that has it?
A: Yes!
Q: Will Ranger pet buffs be made less of a burden in later patches? Right now they take up the whole skill bar.
A: No answer for you, but the design team does actively review forums, so please post it there.
Q: How many accounts can someone make with 1 CD key?
A: Once account, four Characters.
Q: What about beta testers from around the world, can we pre order?
A: We have just solved Europe via magazine distribution, but Australia and new Zealand are still in the works. We WILL find a way to get it to you, but I have nothing definitive right now.
Q: Will all my characters be forced to belong to the same guild? Because my brothers also use my PC.
A: Number of players per PC does not matter – each player needs an accound, and guild membership is account based.
Q: What will be done about necro pets? They seem kinda useless right now with their constant health degeneration.
Player: No they aren’t. Ever seen 20 necro pets swarm Justicar Hablion? It’s a massacre. Sure necro pets suck by themselves but when you get 10 they are amazing, plus blood of the master heals ALL of them up to 60hp so that’s 600hp you are healing if you just have 10 pets.
A: That is not a universal opinion so I don’t have an answer for you right now.
Q: What will be the max level in full retail?
A: Max level is 20, by very specific design.
Q: Will there be a character wipe or can we keep our characters though to release?
A: There will most likely be a character wipe but you will probably be able to preserve your characters (Name and Appearance) You will start at level 1 in retail, and probably as soon as the first beta weekend event.
Q: Has the dev team utilized the clients bandwidth to transfer the world data in addition to the game server’s trans?
A: No, this is nothing like Bittorrent – we have plenty of Horsepower (now)
Q: I read that with the streaming technology the server would never have to go down, yet it went down the first night.
A: We needed to bring on some extra capacity the first night – the usage was…extreme.
Q: Was it a joke to put a scary looking shark in the water that can’t attack you?
A: No, its just ambient life Smile
Q: Will there be day/night cycles in retail?
A: Day/night stormy/sunny can all cycle in a mission, but there will be no fixed day/night cycle. A night mission will be a night mission regardless of the real time.
Q: As of now, the ‘stealth’ element in the game is small, if existent at all…any plans?
A: I think there are plans to enhance stealth element.
Q: Will there be 1v1 duels? The could be handy to settle grudges or what not.
A: We are talking about an option that would et you practice against other guild members in your guild hall.
Q: When is this slated for retain?
A: Early next year, we have quite a bit of balancing tasks ahead of us.
Q: Will all the assets of the final game be in CDs, or will they have to be streamed (56K question)
A: CDs will have most of the early content, but advanced content may stream
Q: Are there plans to balance warriors heal? They shouldn’t be able to heal so often like they can right now.
A: There is going to be major rebalancing based on WPE feedback – trust me
Q: Will there be character voices?
A: The problem with voices is that they have to stream and they are large – we want to change the content constantly to reflect things that happen in the world – guild victories etc – and having npc dialog change to reflect that aswell. Using voice acting burns it forever statically, since the files would be too large to download every time they change. I know a lot of people want voice so we are looking for a middle ground.
Q: Perhaps voices like Help! or Charge! Might be added? (Like Shortcut keys)
A: Stuff like that is more likely than full dialog
Q: Will there be more than 8 people from the same guild in GvG?
A: No, only 8 people on a team at a time but you will be able to have more than one team.
Q: You said that you will be changing the content regularly, can you give me an example of what would constantly change?
A: The hunting grounds will have events that will change on a regular basis. Our intent is to create a living breathing world where new things happen all the time.
Server: And Now for a public service announcement
Q: Here it comes…
Server: The preview event is now over
Server: But wait, you say, isn’t it only 11 pm in Seattle?
Server: Well lucky you; daylight savings time started today, so the World Preview Event runs for another hour…
Q: Are there any employment opportunities for ArenaNet?
A: Not at this time – we are fully staffed – check our company site (www.arena.net) for tips on how to break into the biz.
Q: Are those of us that are beta testers at least going to keep our characters?
A: Probably but expect a wipe at some point since the beta weekend events start at level 1
Q: What ever happened to the Charr aspect of the game? Did they get canned?
A: No, the Charr will be back (in force) next weekend (Nov. 6th)
Q: Do Charr taste like chicken?
A: Yes, they do.
Q: Do you prefer chicken or beef?
A: Bundaegi *(I am not sure what this means)
Q: I explored every inch on the map with a guildmate and ran across some lvl 30 nps, they were too easy. Anything being done about that?
A: We’re still working on large parts of tha balance, don’t worry, next time you see a level 30. he’ll have you for lunch
Q: If you were a tree what kind would you be?
A: A money tree of course
Q: What is the guild Cap if there is one?
A: The Guild cap is 50 members as of now.
Q: Any chance of raising the Cap?
A: We are still working on the final numbers for the guilds. We don’t want huge guilds – we want everyone to know each other – having said that the number is always tunable. We will evaluate the WPE feedback, so make sure to post your thoughts on it.
Q: That is true but considering not everyone in the guild will be online at the same time, it can make it hard sometimes to play GvG.
A: We will take those sorts of things into consideration when tuning the GvG
Q: Can you shoot lasers from your eyes?
A: My kids think so, yes.
(After some guy asked if there were any other guys out there that would like to...well…you know…)
A: /squelch…no, um, /ignore…no, hmmm, /filter.../don’t listen…
Q: I noticed that you can only mix three dyes. Is that going to continue being a max for custom colors?
A: No! Certainly not – I don’t know why it prevented you from mixing further
Q: Will there be secret areas?
A: There will be secret areas in almost every map, stuff that will take you some time to find and discover. There will also be maps that unlock based on how well your “world” is doing in the international tournament.
Q: Will there be an arena where teams are arranged but on the same map every time?
A: That was the intent behind GvG and the guild hall.
Q: Will the map have names of regions after you explore them? Like the village in North Kryta?
A: Yes, it will
Q: Is there some way of determining what district we land in when traveling?
A: No, but we will try to place friends and guild mates in the same district automatically.
Q: Will the GvG offer 4v4 such as arena?
A: 4v4 guild combat is something we haven’t talked much about. Could happen
Q: Will we ever have to worry about weekly server maintenance or will there be “server transfers”?
A: No, our plan is for zero downtime – the server infrastructure is built for hot swapping of system components. For instance, our server can run multiple copies of the game simultaneously.
Q: I found an item, enchanted stone, and tried to salvage it but it wouldn’t…are those not implemented yet?
A: Some item drops aren’t salvageable; they are just raw material like that stone. Salvage armor you can use to get the raw materials out of using a salvaging kit then craft new items using those materials.
Q: Are the weekend events going to start a day earlier like with the WPE?
A: The question is, would I tell you if I knew? Wink But in all seriousness, probably not.
Q: Have you started any work on the next expansion?
A: Nope, still a lot of work to do on this puppy.
Q: Do you have anything you personally are really excited about adding in the furure?
A: yeah, observer mode.
Q: Can you make everyone naked?
A: No, as much as I have tried throughout my life…
Server: Thanks for playing, we really appreciate your participation and hope you hade a great time.
A: Well, we had a good event, but it’s not perfect…yet. But we will throw every once of our energy, passion, and talent into. This weekend was honestly the most fun I have had on guild wars.
/kick all
WPE over

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire
"A world without Vin Diesel is sad." -- me
Dren
Terracotta Army
Posts: 2419


Reply #1 on: November 03, 2004, 01:45:06 PM

Nice, thanks.
MrHat
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7334

Out of the frying pan, into the fire.


Reply #2 on: November 03, 2004, 01:45:29 PM

Quote
Q: Has the dev team utilized the clients bandwidth to transfer the world data in addition to the game server’s trans?

A: No, this is nothing like Bittorrent – we have plenty of Horsepower (now)


Oh, a burn on Blizzard?

Cool, thanks for the post.
Threash
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7717


Reply #3 on: November 03, 2004, 04:52:42 PM

You know it really is nothing but content from now on, i notice no mayor bugs or problems whatsoever while playing.

I am the .00000001428%
Sobelius
Terracotta Army
Posts: 761


Reply #4 on: November 03, 2004, 05:00:23 PM

Quote from: Threash
You know it really is nothing but content from now on, i notice no mayor bugs or problems whatsoever while playing.


Largely true, but they are already making a few changes. I read that they are removing the guild bibs and replacing them with "samurai type" flags (I don't know the historical term for these -- they are flags that fly from a small pole mounted on your back). Personally, I don't mind the bibs in PvP -- I just wish you could toggle them off in all non-PvP areas.

When a group I was in finished the Bloodstone Fen mission, we tried to go to the Auria Glade mission and got a connection error -- so I assumed that no more missions were implemented for the WPE. Doh! Wrong. There were 3 more missions -- and apparently a higher end skill trainer at the end of the final mission!

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire
"A world without Vin Diesel is sad." -- me
schild
Administrator
Posts: 55857


WWW
Reply #5 on: November 03, 2004, 05:17:32 PM

Quote
Q: What will be the max level in full retail?
A: Max level is 20, by very specific design.


This is clever. Clever to the point I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up. Instead of trying to fill content for 40-60 levels. It was probably a lot easier to add 30-40 levels of shit into 20 levels. Kudos Arena.net.
Threash
Terracotta Army
Posts: 7717


Reply #6 on: November 03, 2004, 05:42:30 PM

Quote from: Sobelius
Quote from: Threash
You know it really is nothing but content from now on, i notice no mayor bugs or problems whatsoever while playing.


Largely true, but they are already making a few changes. I read that they are removing the guild bibs and replacing them with "samurai type" flags (I don't know the historical term for these -- they are flags that fly from a small pole mounted on your back). Personally, I don't mind the bibs in PvP -- I just wish you could toggle them off in all non-PvP areas.

When a group I was in finished the Bloodstone Fen mission, we tried to go to the Auria Glade mission and got a connection error -- so I assumed that no more missions were implemented for the WPE. Doh! Wrong. There were 3 more missions -- and apparently a higher end skill trainer at the end of the final mission!



Hmm i think they are called standards? anyways, thats a cosmetic change not a bug and the fact that they are bothering to change it shows that all thats left to do for this game is polishing.

I am the .00000001428%
Xilren's Twin
Moderator
Posts: 1648


Reply #7 on: November 03, 2004, 07:01:48 PM

Quote from: Threash
Hmm i think they are called standards? anyways, thats a cosmetic change not a bug and the fact that they are bothering to change it shows that all thats left to do for this game is polishing.


Well, I wouldn't go quite that far.  The dev mentioned quite a few ancilliary systems to insert like a better chat system, quildhall storage, ranking and ladder systems, locking areas, a variety of skills/spells/equipment, other races, pet systems, etc etc.

IMHO, the main issue they still need to work on is plain old balance, and considering the variety of template and skill combinations to bring to the table, that will be quite a challenge.  But, since no immediately broken combo's were reported during the preview (that i know of), I think they are off to a good start.  If you treat it like a set of skills is a mini mtg expansion, it's not impossible to have a veriety of useable combo that are all viable.

Looking forward to starting a character at lvl 1 for this weekend and see that plays out.

Xilren

"..but I'm by no means normal." - Schild
Sobelius
Terracotta Army
Posts: 761


Reply #8 on: November 03, 2004, 08:04:50 PM

I think what I love most about this PvP system is that, unlike DAOC, there doesn't seem to be an "I win" button. There is no mezz or rooting or stunning to the point of being unable to act/react for a long time -- being knocked down or interrupted is the worst of it. I was *never* taken out of the action for whole battles like I used to be in DAOC, which always soured me on the RvR experience in DAOC. (I also hated that low/zero endurance was essentially an automatic root.)

Cool disabling things that don't take people out of the action but cause signifcant problems:

- Signet of Midnight: Blindness, causing attacks to miss
- Illusionary Burden -- only slows movement 33%, enough to harm but not stop someone outright
- any Crippling skill -- again, harmful but not overly so

Also in favor of balancing:
- all PvP is instanced so the number of players per side is controlled, preventing simple zerg overruns or 8-on-4 ganking, etc.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the limitation on the number of skills you can take, especially the limit of 1 Elite skill, means that no one can dominate purely by having more skills available during the fight.

While I do think that certain combos will surface over time and be seen as FOTM combos, I am willing to bet that the incredible possibilities of skill combinations available to any character under this system will mitigate this, especially given that:
- everyone gets two skills sets to choose from
- everyone can take any one skill from any profession for 24 hours
- equipment helps but does not seem to overly ruin the skill balance

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire
"A world without Vin Diesel is sad." -- me
Sobelius
Terracotta Army
Posts: 761


Reply #9 on: November 04, 2004, 12:36:34 AM

And now I just read that the alpha players are seeing folks with guild capes/cloaks, similar to the Justicars, instead of standards or tabards....

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire
"A world without Vin Diesel is sad." -- me
Phred
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Posts: 2025


Reply #10 on: November 04, 2004, 05:00:08 AM

My experience in the PvP was that a well played war/mo was virtually unkillable. With enough healing and possibly the ward that limits damage to 10% one team I was on had 3 or 4 people beating on a war/mo and couldn't get him dead dispite the rest of his team being dead.

Did anyone like the change of the random arena to 8vs8 mid way through the event? I didn't particularly. Found it laggy and much more prone to getting zerg rushed than 4x4.
Threash
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Posts: 7717


Reply #11 on: November 04, 2004, 09:41:09 AM

Quote from: Phred
My experience in the PvP was that a well played war/mo was virtually unkillable. With enough healing and possibly the ward that limits damage to 10% one team I was on had 3 or 4 people beating on a war/mo and couldn't get him dead dispite the rest of his team being dead.



Shatter Enchantment (Spell) Remove an Enchantment from target foe. If an Enchantment is removed, that foe takes 14..50 damage.

That gets rid of most of the monk part of the warrior, usually they keep those two annoying enchantments that heal them and give them energy while they are being attacked that makes them unkillable.  A good mesmer can shut down a warrior monk fairly easily.

I am the .00000001428%
HaemishM
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Posts: 38284

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and other troops you control.


WWW
Reply #12 on: November 04, 2004, 11:11:15 AM

Quote from: Sobelius
Largely true, but they are already making a few changes. I read that they are removing the guild bibs and replacing them with "samurai type" flags (I don't know the historical term for these -- they are flags that fly from a small pole mounted on your back).


Historical term was "Sashimino." A flag or banner on a pole and strapped to the samurai's back.

Phred
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Posts: 2025


Reply #13 on: November 04, 2004, 01:10:16 PM

Quote from: Threash
That gets rid of most of the monk part of the warrior, usually they keep those two annoying enchantments that heal them and give them energy while they are being attacked that makes them unkillable.  A good mesmer can shut down a warrior monk fairly easily.


Ya but unfortunately in the random draw arena you dont always get a mesmer on your team. heh
trias_e
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Posts: 1296


Reply #14 on: November 04, 2004, 01:38:36 PM

As a mesmer I didn't even have shatter enchantment or hex on my bar.  They just weren't useful enough of the time in the WPE pvp, although in real pvp against organized teams they would be a necessity.
Rasix
Moderator
Posts: 14185

I am the harbinger of your doom!


Reply #15 on: November 04, 2004, 02:21:43 PM

A sword/shield based warrior has many tricks to keep them alive.  Even more so if it's combined with a monk.  First of all, sword warriors have an ability that allows them to parry 75% of incoming attacks. Each paried attack will add 5 energy.  Warriors with a shield, have an ability that allows them to block 75% of all incoming attacks while slowing them down by 33%.   Combine this with a variety of heal-when-self-hit, heal-when-hit-other, heal-over-time, and orison of healing and you have someone that can make themselves damn near unkillable over a short period of time.  

Plus they can cripple, bleed, and have a good AOE attack.  It's somewhat grossly imbalanced when compared to hammer which does arguable more damage and has a couple knockdowns.  Axe has an AOE, deep wound, and weaken (or is this hammer, I can't remember).  Sword right now is just ridiculously superior in most situations that I've seen.

A mesmer, alpha strike, or just keeping them tied up and saving them for last is probably the best way to deal with them.  But hell, that's what I like about this game, for whatever uber build is out there, there's logial counters that are easily thought up.

-Rasix
Shannow
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Reply #16 on: November 04, 2004, 04:19:06 PM

Quote from: schild
Quote
Q: What will be the max level in full retail?
A: Max level is 20, by very specific design.


This is clever. Clever to the point I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up. Instead of trying to fill content for 40-60 levels. It was probably a lot easier to add 30-40 levels of shit into 20 levels. Kudos Arena.net.


Question though, is levelling going to be way slow or are we simply meant to be PVPing? 2nd question will arena PVP be fun enough to do away with the carrot? Or in other words what carrot will there be to PVPing?

Someone liked something? Who the fuzzy fuck was this heretic? You don't come to this website and enjoy something. Fuck that. ~ The Walrus
Sobelius
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Posts: 761


Reply #17 on: November 04, 2004, 04:32:16 PM

Quote from: Shannow
Question though, is levelling going to be way slow or are we simply meant to be PVPing? 2nd question will arena PVP be fun enough to do away with the carrot? Or in other words what carrot will there be to PVPing?


This interview, posted here, may answer some of your questions...

[edit: for a PvP carrot, see bold stuff below]

Quote
HEAD OF THE GUILD - JEFF STRAIN ON GUILD WARS

Guild Wars producer spills the beans on a new breed of MMORPG

17:05 Jeff Strain from developer Arena Net tells us exactly what's wrong with the MMORPG - and how Guild Wars puts it right

When we sat down to watch a presentation of Guild Wars last week we were prepared for the worst. As much as we love a good bit of concentrated PC MMORPG dedication, sitting listening to some guy droning on about hit points, mage's magic levels, armour values and the splash damage of a fireball can freeze our note-taking hand like a +10 paralysis spell.

Guild Wars, however, is a very different kind of MMORPG, and developer Arena Net speaks about it in a very different way. Forget the l33t speak jargon and the image of overweight, smelly men spending 17 hours at a time in front of their screens.

The point of Guild Wars is that it's fun. Instant, accessible fun, that nevertheless provides gamers with enough depth to keep them coming back for more. Everything about the game has been designed to streamline the experience, making it less nerdy but equally as compelling.

We couldn't put it better than Jeff Strain, the game's producer at Arena Net, so we cornered him and got the lowdown on how Guild Wars will redefine the genre:

We were immediately surprised at how arcadey Guild Wars looks and plays, and Fable was an instant reference point for us. What are you trying to achieve with this less hardcore MMORPG style?

Jeff Strain: I'm really glad you had that impression, because that was something we were shooting for. One of the main reasons for the visual and gameplay style is that if you're not into the level-grinding mindset then what you're looking for is the minute-by-minute experience to be fun. We have a mantra: 'What am I doing right now?' It's not about 'what am I working for?' or 'what will I be doing when I finally get to level X?' Whatever the answer is, it should be fun.

We've designed the combat system to be very fast and quick and we wanted to strike a balance between twitch games or 3D fighting games and MMO games where you set a target, click a few buttons and see how it comes out. We wanted combat to be something you managed, something you felt like you were really doing. When you launch a really skilful Guild Wars player their hands are never still. They're continuously managing their health and magic and engaging in the act of combat. And that skill doesn't just come from sitting in front of your PC and level-grinding for hundreds of hours - in Guild Wars we've limited the effect of levelling up so players have to rely on their ability, not how much free time they have. It works: we've found that the speed and accessibility of the action and the animation really adds to the adrenaline and excitement of the experience.

Of course, there are financial reasons too. In general, even if you look at the most successful MMORPG games the total number of players is nowhere near the penetration of a hit console title or even a hit PC title that's not an MMO. While 400,000 people may subscribe to EverQuest, 3 or 4 million people played Diablo. We want to give as many gamers as possible the game they want.

How does the combat system actually work? Do mouse clicks activate sword swings and magic attacks and what's the balance between that and traditional MMO combat?

Jeff Strain: We wanted to ensure our combat system was accessible to casual players and not just designed for the hardcore. One thing we always wanted was that if you click the mouse, something should happen. That's true of Guild Wars. Every character has what we call a 'grunt attack', so if battle begins and you're not sure what to do you can just select a target, click the mouse, and your character will attack. You always have that satisfaction of something starting.

Then, as your skills increase, you have the added management of the eight skills you can choose before a mission or a player versus player contest. As you progress you'll develop skills that you open with, ones that you sustain with, ones you use in a pinch, ones you use when you're trying to escape and ones where all your team mates are dying and you've got to pull out a big nuke. Managing the energy cost is something that's constantly ongoing.

The other side of the combat system is that your movement is very important. You can also dodge attacks as you would in an arcade game, so if someone's shooting arrows or magic missiles at you, you can avoid them.

In what other ways have you pared back the features in other MMOs which require a lot of effort for very little payback?

Jeff Strain: If you read the box copy for a lot of MMORPGs they list things like 10,000 square miles of pre-rendered 3D terrain which takes eight hours to cross as a selling point. That sounds really cool, but what essentially is happening is that you're taking an hour of content and stretching it as far as you can. Richard Garriot from NCSoft Austin likes to say 'concentrated coolness', which is something we focus on.

So in Guild Wars world travelling is done by opening up a map and clicking on a location. It's as simple as that. We're sticking in magic portals to make it more believable, but it's not something we're getting hung up on. The emphasis is on getting where you want to go and having fun. It's the same with getting into missions and forming parties - you go where you want and there should be people there who want to do the same thing. Even the item system is designed for ease of use. You don't get rewarded with a more powerful weapon for playing sixty hours, but you may have a very different sword because you've customised it with all the items and rewards you've collected. Again, it's not about how long you spend in the game but what you do with that time.

Does this increased accessibility apply to the social side of the game as well? Is it easier to meet people in the game and form friendships, teams and Guilds than in other MMOs?

Jeff Strain: Some aspects are a lot easier. We want to channel people by their immediate desires. There are persistent areas in the world like cities, towns and outposts and sometimes they're just there for socialising. Some of the towns are very working areas, the places you go when you need to see a trader or a craftsman, when you're ready to have items made for you or have a skill enhanced. The outposts are there strictly for the purposes of meeting people before you embark on a mission. We really tried to eliminate you having to wander around hundreds of nameless and faceless people before you find somebody who wants to do what you want to do.

We've also got a messenger-style system that lists all your friends in the game, tells you where they are in the world, lets you know when they come online, and allows you to talk to them instantly. We're channelling the community so you can experience it when you want to experience it and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.

How does the Guild system work?

Jeff Strain: You don't have to form a Guild, and you can quite happily operate a team of players without forming one. But if you want to make your Guild official someone has to go to the Guildmaster, pay him a fee, then select the Guild logo and the Guild tabard. He can then issue invitations to anyone to come and join the Guild. When you form a Guild you automatically get a Guild hall which is your own little world where members can hang out, meet up to embark on co-op missions, or challenge another Guild.

Guild Wars allows you to both play missions against NPCs in co-op multiplayer and indulge in player versus player gladiatorial combat. How do these two styles of play fit together?

Jeff Strain: When you create your character you place it within a certain world that corresponds to the real world, so you can decide to play with other Europeans or Americans, and so on. When you go to social areas and on missions in your world you'll be with people from the same world. You can challenge other Guilds from within your world, but the coolest thing is that we'll be running an International Guild Tournament between Guilds from the different worlds. If you have a team and that Guild fights its way to the top of the intra-world Tournament then your specific world will receive benefits like exclusive missions, items and special features that'll be unlocked. That's why we call it the International Tournament because you're always pulling for the team from your world to be in the top spot.

Is there a worry that hardcore MMORPG players might accuse Guild Wars of being dumbed-down and turn their backs on it?

Jeff Strain: There are definitely players who enjoy that hardcore level-grinding kind of game and I think there are some fantastic games out there that do that very well. Guild Wars isn't that kind of game. You're not going to be chopping wood for five hours so you can raise your wood chopping skill by one point so you can make a bench to sell to somebody. Guild Wars is designed to be a much more accessible, much faster action game. It's Diablo meets EverQuest rather than EverQuest with some Diablo in it.

So who is your target Guild Wars player?

Jeff Strain: I think the ideal Guild Wars player is probably the kind of person who has enjoyed online action-based RPGs like Diablo but who yearns for more infrastructure and support for social gaming, and who wants to feel more like they're party of a community and a vast world.

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire
"A world without Vin Diesel is sad." -- me
angry.bob
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Reply #18 on: November 05, 2004, 02:13:26 AM

Quote from: Sobelius
I read that they are removing the guild bibs and replacing them with "samurai type" flags (I don't know the historical term for these -- they are flags that fly from a small pole mounted on your back).  


The smaller ones are called nobori and the larger version is called a sashimono.

*edit - Doh, Haemmish already answered, but at least you know what both sizes are called now*

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.
Phred
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Reply #19 on: November 05, 2004, 06:34:52 AM

Another cool thing they have come up with is your friends list is account based, not player based, so if a friend is on a different character they still show up on your friends list. Hopefully the ignore list works the same way.
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