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 Interview of the developers of Arenanet from IGNpc.com

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Merzhin
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Merzhin

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Join date : 2008-12-19
Age : 37
Location : State College PA (USA)

PostSubject: Interview of the developers of Arenanet from IGNpc.com   Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:45 am

Is the basic structure of the game similar to Guild Wars? Will players still meet in public spaces then exit through portals into instanced spaces where only the player and their party exist?


August 20, 2009 - Ever since Guild Wars: Eye of the North shipped almost two years ago we've eagerly waited for news on Guild Wars 2, the next big step in ArenaNet's popular franchise. While Guild Wars 2's existence was no secret, the company kept a tight lid on the game, and ArenaNet all but disappeared from sight last year. However, at Gamescom in Cologne today, the wraps came off of Guild Wars 2 for the very first time. This promises to be a bigger, more epic game than its predecessor, and we've got some of the very first details, as we were able to ask ArenaNet about the sequel. Answering our questions is Mike O'Brien, ArenaNet studio head and co-founder; Eric Flannum, lead designer; and Ree Soesbee, world designer and writer.

First, some details. Guild Wars 2 is set about 250 years after the events of the original games, and this is a world in upheaval and conflict. While there have always been dragons in the world, the Elder Dragons have emerged, and they're much more powerful than the first type of dragon. To battle these Elder Dragons will require new heroes. The Elder Dragon of Orr raised an entire landmass from the ocean. You and others will have to challenge these Elder Dragons and learn more secrets about the world.



IGN: Well, here we are at Guild Wars 2. This is a game that's been in development a while, but could you give us an overview of what's new? What makes this worthy of the "2" after the title?

Mike O'Brien: The original Guild Wars was ArenaNet's first game and was an enormous breakout success for us, with more than six million sales and more than a billion hours played. Its unique gameplay mechanics offered players a fresh take on online role-playing games, and its no-monthly-fee business model set it apart from all its competitors. We think of the Guild Wars franchise as the un-MMO, with all of the depth and social features you'd expect from an MMO but without the grind or the mandatory time commitments, and without the monthly fees.

After releasing Guild Wars, we continued to grow it through two additional campaigns and an expansion, adding an array of new character professions, new skills, new continents to explore, and new gameplay mechanics. Eventually we reached a ceiling of how much we thought we should add to the game without undertaking a radical revamp. So two years ago we announced our intention to stop developing additional campaigns and instead turn our company's attention to developing a sequel. Developing a sequel allows us to start again with a clean slate and build a new Guild Wars from the ground up to be the game we always knew it could be.

Guild Wars 2 takes the instanced gameplay that allowed us to tell stories so effectively in the original and supplements it with a fully persistent world that provides easy opportunities to find existing friends and make new ones. It takes the flexible and customizable character progression from the original and adds new options, new playable races, and new personalized storylines. It takes the optional competitive aspect of the original and splits it in two, so that it's both more approachable for casual players and more of an e-sport for the hard core. It takes the unique skill deck system of the original and makes it more comprehensible, with a focus on quality of skills instead of quantity.

During the past two years of development we made huge advances to our game engine, adding a persistent world with free-form movement and exploration, day/night cycles, cutting edge support for dungeons and interior environments, numerous graphical advancements including support for more detailed environments and models, better lighting and shadows, new animation and effects systems, plus new audio and cinematics engines, a more flexible combat and skill-casting system, and so on. We also built an array of new content creation tools, enabling us to build a larger and grander world, bring it to life with a wide variety of events always taking place, create more unique and interesting adversaries, and tell stories more compellingly than we ever did before.

And to take advantage of all that technology, we have the best artists and designers in the industry, creating a rich, epic world for you to explore. One of the themes of Guild Wars 2 is hand-crafted beauty, and we try to permeate this through everything we do. All of the art in the preview video was created in-house by our team and all the game footage was captured real-time from the Guild Wars 2 game client, no trickery involved. And because we create beauty through the expressiveness of our art, not simply by pushing more polygons than our competitors, Guild Wars 2 runs great on mainstream PCs, just like the original Guild Wars does.

Guild Wars 2 is an approachable, action-oriented online role-playing game with all the depth of an MMO. It's easy to get into, and lets you play when you want and how you want, without making huge demands on your time. It has an enormous, living world to explore, and a rich story that's very personal to your character and reflects the choices you make. Our goal with Guild Wars 2 is to create nothing less than the definitive online role-playing game of all time.



IGN: Is the basic structure of the game similar to Guild Wars? Will players still meet in public spaces then exit through portals into instanced spaces where only the player and their party exist?

Eric Flannum: The basic structure of the game is very different from what players saw in Guild Wars. While we will still make use of instancing (e.g. for quests and dungeons) players will find Guild Wars 2 to be a large open and persistent world where they can meet up with old friends or make new ones while out adventuring. At the same time we have taken a lot of steps to avoid the griefing and player conflict that can so often arise in a persistent world. For example, our event system is designed to give players shared goals, so they should always feel that working together on a problem is the best option available to them.

In fact, this is a great time to talk a little bit about our event system. One of the things that we spoke about when we first announced Guild Wars 2 was our dynamic event system. Back when we announced this feature it was little more than an idea and some design specifications. Now that we've been able to play with it for a while I think we are beginning to see how cool it really is in action.

Imagine for a second that you're strolling through the local military garrison when you hear a scout start shouting about a centaur column that has been sighted approaching. The soldiers are quick to action, shutting the gates and ordering archers up onto the walls. You and some of your fellow players watch as the centaurs batter at the gates with axes while their archers clear defenders from the walls and shots from their catapults arc overhead. It's a tense moment until the gate falls, and as you rush into the gap to fend off the centaurs you are joined by other players and guards who are all intent on saving the garrison. If you succeed, the garrison will hold and may launch a counterattack on the trading post where the centaurs came from. If you fail, it's a desperate fight as soldiers pour from the nearby town and attempt to retake their fortress. Scenarios like this are exactly the sort of thing that allows our event system to shine and we think players will be really pleased with how it has turned out.



IGN: How does Guild Wars 2 fit into the overall Guild Wars fiction?

Ree Soesbee: When we designed Guild Wars, our goal was to look at standard fantasy settings and then take a sharp left turn to create a unique world with a completely distinct history and lore. It is important that fans of fantasy recognize and feel comfortable within the world, but at the same time, we wanted Tyria to be an extraordinary place to explore and discover. We do a lot of historical research before we create new lore for the Guild Wars game, and within that research, we ask "What is it about this myth (or culture) that makes it truly unique and exceptional?" From that starting point, we take a new approach and build unparalleled fantasy settings that nevertheless feel inviting and intriguing to any fan of fantasy.

For an existing Guild Wars player the story of Guild Wars 2 uses familiar locales, races, and themes, but shaped in an entirely new manner. 250 years have passed in Tyria; not everything is as a returning player would expect it. Lion's Arch is no longer part of Kryta; Ascalon belongs to the charr; a new race, the sylvari, now walk in the Maguuma forests. We plan to build on the familiar locations as well as incorporating surprises that will further reveal the lore of Tyria as a world. We want to show players the new lore--like the sylvari and their mysterious past--but also expand on what we've built, and explain secrets of lore that we didn't get to reveal in Guild Wars due to time or location constraints.



IGN: What can you tell us about the new races and classes?

Ree Soesbee: Well, we're not releasing mechanics right now, so I can't tell you much about the classes. The people of Tyria and their technology--both magical and physical engineering--have advanced. I can tell you a little bit about the races, and there's a lot of really great stuff to tell. So much, we could probably write a whole article just on the races, their backgrounds, their perspectives and their history! But I'll try to be brief.
The five playable races in the initial release of Guild Wars 2 are the asura, charr, humans, norn, and sylvari. Although they begin in different areas, and have slightly different storylines, all the races must come together in order to defeat the Elder Dragons, because no single race is powerful enough to do so alone.

The humans are the most well known race to our players, but they're also the ones who have suffered the most changes. Ascalon has been taken by the charr. Elona and Cantha are lost, unreachable, and Lion's Arch is no longer beholden to the human throne. Only the nation of Kryta, led by its Queen Jennah, stands as a bastion of human civilization. Their last great city, Divinity's Reach, shelters humanity from total destruction. They still worship the Six Gods, but the human gods are less active in the world, perhaps reflecting the decline of their followers.

The charr are the conquerors of the human kingdom Ascalon, a land they claim is their homeland. They are ferocious, warmongering creatures--the foes of humanity for hundreds of years, as violent and cruel as they are cunning. They have led the revolution of physical technology--guns, explosives, and war machines. Ascalon thrives under its charr masters, and the three Legions--Ash, Iron and Blood--march inexorably onward toward their goal of conquest.

Forced by the ice dragon to leave their homes in the far north, the norn have settled in the Shiverpeaks, building new homesteads and totem lodges on the high peaks and in snowy valleys. The greatest of these settlements, Hoelbrak, provides a central meeting point for these rugged, individualistic hunters, but none would dare call the norn a people. They worship the Spirits of the Wild--Bear, Snow Leopard, Wolf, and Raven--and can shapeshift into mighty bestial forms.

Once, the asura ruled the caverns and tunnels below Tyria, contemptuously calling the races above them "primitive" and "unintelligent." The rise of the Elder Dragon, Primordus, drove the asura to the surface--but they have not only survived there, they have prospered. Their great intellect and incredible ability with magic has given them an advantage the other races do not have: an innate mathematical understanding of the magical nature of Tyria, and how best to control and wield it. Now that they have settled into their new homeland and capital city of Rata Sum, the asura aim to rule the surface world with their powerful golems and ingenious plans.

The sylvari are the youngest of the races. Their Firstborn blossomed from the Pale Tree only 25 years ago, and since then, they have attempted to explore the world and understand the strange call within their souls that drives their Wyld Hunts. They are a mystical, naturally curious race, searching for their purpose in the world. Their society is shaped by the proverbs on the Ventari Tablet, the wellspring of sylvari honor and chivalry, as well as the Inner Dream that guides them toward their destiny.



IGN: Thanks, guys.
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