Date: 8 April 2005
Question: In the past month we have seen an increase in Guild Wars ladders, leagues and battle planners throughout the Guild Wars community. These are all great ideas that will enhance the longevity and playability of the PvP aspect of the game. We have also recently seen the Korean Tournament kick off. With a major focus on PvP, Guild Wars has the capability to be a fantastic spectator sport. The ability to watch epic PvP battles would be almost as heart pounding and adrenaline pumping as taking part.
Is ArenaNet looking at incorporating any of the following functions into the retail release?
- Spectator Mode
- Replay Mode
- Record Mode
Answer: When a team is developing a game, the members come up with a long "wish list" of everything that they'd like to include in the title. You know the sort of brainstorming I mean: "Wouldn’t it be great to have such-and-such?" or "Let's add (this) as a feature." As the time gets closer to launch, it becomes necessary to focus on what is feasible in the overall scheme of things, to make sure that the game has the best possible content while meeting its release timing objectives. I know at one point our team talked about wanting to offer Spectator Mode. (I call it Observer Mode, but same difference.) Offering Spectator or Observer Mode is still something we're going to do. But it won't be in the release version of Guild Wars, but instead will likely come with one of our frequent content updates.
I'd predict that the update that adds this feature to Guild Wars will come sooner rather than later. Talking to Designer James Phinney, it’s clear he really likes the idea of our adding Observer Mode. As he points out, "The ability to review combat later, and of course to witness it live, is an important part of developing as a player. Plus, it's just fun!"
Our first objective, though, is to make sure that Guild Wars offers and supports the very best possible gameplay. Adding valuable features and bonuses is something we're excited about doing later on. I honestly don't remember if we’ve actively discussed replays or recordings except in vague terms of "That might be nice." But yep, both also should make their way into the game in the not-too-distant future.
Question: Are there any plans for cooperative PvPs / PvE where several teams can group together and fight large scale battles versus other teams of players or groups of "epic?" monsters. Are there any plans for the ability to play in a relatively larger battle that involves several teams working together trying to achieve the same objective on the same map?
Answer: At this time, the focus of Guild Wars is on battles that involve direct head-to-head combat on a level that allows a great deal of strategic depth. As you know, we believe playing in a team of eight players offers you the best opportunity to develop and use complex and refined gameplay strategies. We don’t support 50- or 100-member warring parties, because for the most part, a whole lot of strategy and skill flies out the window at high numbers. The loss of those key game elements would be one reason why we might hesitate to support allied team play that involves a large number of players.
I’ve taken part in large-scale combat, and I have to say it was so un-fun that I left before the battle was finished. Now I’ll be the first to admit that this is just one player’s opinion, and that I didn’t care for it because the sort of hectic, disorganized onslaught combat I experienced just wasn’t my cup of tea. It might appeal to any number of other players, though.
I guess what I want to say is that as a player, I believe that large-group combat can surely be better conceptualized than what I’ve experienced. If the Guild Wars design team takes on the challenge of allowing wide-scale team alliances, I feel sure that the outcome and the experience will be altogether superior to the large-scale battles players have been offered in other games. After all, Guild Wars is and will remain a game that is centered on player skill. So in designing for this type of large-scale combat and for team alliances, the Guild Wars team will be careful to assure that the promise of rewarding players for their skill is upheld, even when there are a large number of players involved.
Question: Controllability of Henchmen, Pets and Minions has always been an issue. Last BWE weekend we saw DP re-introduced for Ranger Pets at 5% thus increasing the need for a Ranger to be able to effectively control their pet. Will ArenaNet be introducing abilities to control both Henchmen and Pets in the retail game and if so can you expand a little on the level of control?
Answer: It’s our goal to make management of the pets, minions and henchmen a more refined process, and something that can be adapted to each player’s gaming style. For instance, some players want to be more hands on, and some want to just let the minions or pets do their own thing, without too much involvement by the player. The Guild Wars skills system helps in this regard; you can be as involved or as hands off as you want to be. However, it’s clear that pet-minding and NPC-tending could use more adjustments. Some players consider the NPC’s (of whatever type) as rather "disposable" commodities. Certainly minions fall into that category; they're not intended to last long enough for you to form an emotional bond. :) Some players don’t get too fussed with a few pet or henchie deaths, either. But we do want to offer improved controls for minions, pets, and hirelings. And particularly with the return of death penalty for pet deaths, keeping the critters alive has a special significance.
The good news is that pets will be getting some improvements before launch. We could jokingly call the changes "a boost in smarts." In the near future, pets will be better wiser not foolishly charging into battle on their own. They will attack your target, rather than taking on the local creature to which they have the strongest dislike. We’ve all seen it: You: "Attack that Rift Lord." Pet: "I don’t like the looks of that wolf over there, I’m going to go show him who’s boss." The result? One dead pet and a DP marker on your previously-unblemished self. Now, the further issue isn’t just more brains for pets and henchmen, but more player controls for them, right? In that case, it’s my understanding that more control options for pets and henchmen are definitely on the design and programming list. Where it will fall remains to be seen. There are 21 days until Guild Wars is released. If in that 21 days we are able to work on controls for these NPC’s, we’ll definitely do it. If we cannot implement control changes before month’s end, you can rest assured that our streaming technology will make it possible for us to include such improvements in one of our free Guild Wars updates.
Question: There has been much discussion about the number of character slots (four) per account. With Guild Wars being promoted as being both heavily focused on an RPG and PvP style game play; it seems that there is very little room to move when it comes to being able to fully explore all character classes. It has been stated that there will be additional races in future expansions, it would seem the ability to explore them will be limited unless buying an expansion packs opens up further character slots. Is ArenaNet looking at increasing character slots either in retail or Expansion packs?
Answer: I cannot speak for the design team, but I very much anticipate that any new chapter of Guild Wars will include, in addition to new characters, the ability to have an additional character or two on your account. Now, this is not an official statement. It is merely a personal prediction, based on my fervent belief in the generosity of spirit of the sterling members of the Guild Wars Design Team. (How was that for discreet begging? ;) )
Thanks to the entire Australian & New Zealand Guild Wars Community – and to the fansite of the same name – for your great support of Guild Wars. Oh, and we hope to have more formal news about distribution/retail in your part of the world very, very soon!