Guild Wars Fansite Friday #54
5 August 2005
This week's Fansite Friday interview is a change in format. Lead Designer James Phinney answers a several fan questions that were gathered by Guild Wars fansites from around the globe. The questions were combined into subject areas: Guild Halls, PvP, as well as the game interface and functionality. There is also a bonus question that asks James his personal choices for "tweaks" to the game.
There are a lot of questions in the community about guild halls. Nearly every Guild Wars fansite had a question about this topic. They asked about customization, about functionality, about a timeline for upgrades and a whole lot more. What can you tell us about Guild Halls?
James: We are planning a full round of improvements to Guild features and guild halls, some of which are intended for the near future and some of which are going to be seen in Chapter 2. There will be additional cooperative content experienced as a guild that will be accessible directly from within the guild hall. There will also be a whole lot of services available to you and your guild mates inside the hall itself. I'm sure you'll see guild practice areas and ways to upgrade your guild and guild hall in the future, but the next major guild feature to be added will most likely be the guild vault. I'm optimistic that we'll be able to make that available before the release of Chapter 2.
Oh and by the way, I see that one of the questions asked about the ability to change guild halls. Any guild can change its guild hall now by acquiring a celestial sigil and visiting the Canthan Ferry Captain in Lion's Arch. He will then take you to the guild halls and you can make your selection at that time.
PvP was another popular topic for questions from a global selection of fansites. They asked about new PvP features, about old PvP maps and about the ladder and ladder seasons. And of course they asked about "grind" and how we plan to reduce it.
James: We are currently improving our infrastructure to allow for much more extensive tracking and display of stats and various kinds of ladder rankings. We want to display these both in game and on the website. Also, as time goes on, we will continue to increase the diversity of maps and the types of PvP offered. I think, when we are able to do so in a better way, we'll start to see more scenarios like the old Siege of Fort Koga map, which gave each side different objectives.
The ladder will be set up with three-month seasons. Between ladder resets, we want to minimize balance changes, in order to keep things fair for those who are active in ladder play. Our policy will be to give people sufficient warning of changes. We will not do major changes in the middle of the tournament, and we will give at least a week or two of notice before we implement changes. We're currently testing a number of tweaks here and there and we expect to be able to make an announcement about them in the next few weeks.
And as I mentioned in my letter from earlier this week, we mean to speed up the acquisition of items and skills. I expect the changes to be rather significant, but I probably shouldn't get into specifics until we've tested a few more things. (Sorry!)
Another major question was about improvements to the functionality of the interface. We asked James what was coming up in the form of improvements or changes that would address concerns from players.
James: We think of interface and the basic features in GW as something we are going to improve and update, for free, for anyone who has ever bought any chapter of GW. We won't make buying a new chapter a requirement to get such upgrades. (New chapters are for getting new content.) Things like saving character builds, a mail system to get in touch with people who are off-line, more player statistics and much, much, much better ways to trade goods are all planned for the future. Other popular requests are having a way to communicate that you are ready to go, to show that you are AFK, or to give some sort of sign that you are looking for a party. All three of these things are also going to be addressed and will be included at some point in the future.
Bonus Question: What is the one area of GW *you* would like tweak?
James: "One" area? You must be kidding. As a game designer, you have to be incredibly foolish or incredibly egotistical to not see a ton of things to improve in any game you've worked on. The way I see it, every game you make is a learning experience. Usually, you just have to take the lessons with you and try to apply them to your next game, but with Guild Wars we have the opportunity to keep making the game better.
There's a lot of passion for Guild Wars on the team. We like to play the game. We experience a lot of the same things everyone else does. We know that at its best, Guild Wars offers experiences that are unique and insanely fun. We're going to keep working to make every part of the game live up to those moments. The user interface guys are always looking to make improvements where and when they can. The mission and quest design guys are really looking forward to taking the lessons we learned in Chapter 1 (oh so many lessons) and making Chapter 2 that much better. We're currently reviewing balance on all the Chapter 1 skills in preparation for the first official ladder season. The artists are doing amazing things for Sorrow's Furnace and for Chapter 2. And, of course, we're always looking at the economy and rate of character advancement.
Many thanks to James Phinney and the following fansites for their contributions to the questions: