Fansite: TenTonHammer - Guild Wars
Date: 3 December 2004
Question: What is the team planning to do to keep PvE interesting for those who crave it after all the missions have been completed? What long term goals and challenges are being looked at to motivate people to continue to participate in PvE? What are the current goals of your designers when working the games PvE content?
Answer: Keeping the game lively and interesting for people over time is definitely in the cards for Guild Wars. While our game isn’t a traditional MMO, we will have the same sort of “live team” that traditional MMO’s have. The live team will be dedicated to creating a continuous stream of new content and in-game events. But in Guild Wars, you won’t have a massive download once a month and then wait weeks for more new content. Our unique streaming technology and the system of instanced missions means that our live team will have a tremendous amount of flexibility in the creation and inclusion of new quests, items, missions and global events. There will be a plenty of new content to keep dedicated PvE players very happy indeed.Something that we’ve only recently begun to discuss is our Worlds at War concept. This non-stop international tournament takes place in Tombs of the Primeval Kings. Teams from around the world will compete to capture and hold the top level of the tournament, called the Hall of Heroes. How it works is this: You will choose a home world when you create your account. Remember that you can always play with and against anyone from anywhere the world in the PvP areas. But with Worlds at War, there are special incentives and rewards for tournament play: The team that holds the Hall of Heroes for a certain amount of time will open bonus missions for all the players in the team’s home world, and the bonus missions will offer unique quests, creatures and loot!
Question: Are there any notable UI enhancements planned that you can share with us which will reduce the communication gap between pickup teams and those which are using voice communications, or make available more information to each player during a fight? Is there anything in the works to allow players to easily identify to their team some enemy players who may have their names written in foreign languages, especially foreign character sets such as Korean? This occurs quite frequently during the BWE's.
Answer: It’s our goal to make a lot of information available to players during a battle, even more than you presently see. As I mentioned in a previous Fansite Friday, the UI is currently undergoing review and modifications. One of the reasons we read the fansite forums is to learn what players would like to see and experience in the game. For any game, the UI is definitely a hot spot for discussion. We want you to know what’s being cast upon you, what sort of damage you’re suffering (poison, hex, debuff, etc). Have you been given a special benefit from your party member? You should know that, too, especially if you want to keep him alive to continue getting those benefits! We want you to know the state of your health and the level of your energy at all times, and to be able to strategize counters to whatever befalls you. “What hit me?” is a question we all ask when we’re dying, but in Guild Wars we intend to make it pretty easy for you to know “Oh, that is what dropped me so fast!” In specifically addressing voice chat versus typed communication, there may be advantages for some teams in using voice chat, sure. Lots of people use the various voice communications systems that are available, such as TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, etc. But the UI is configured in such a way that keyboard messaging is a very viable means of communication, as well. For instance, in-game (typed) chat offers four modes: open chat, guild chat, team chat, and whispers. Those not using voice chat will still be able to keep their communications private via that system. In addition, you can tell at a glance if the person talking to you is your friend or enemy and whether he is in the mission or outside based on the color of the speaker’s name. As for identifying the names of the combatants: The only reason I can think of for identifying the baddies is to take ‘em out. The Called Target system implemented in Guild Wars works very well indeed. I don’t believe that language or alphabet is too much of a factor here. For effective battling, if you call the target, your guild mates won’t care if he’s Matthew Marvelous, Presidente Pablo, or Boris Badinov. ;)
Question: One issue which affects all players that participate in both PvE and PvP is the unintentional disconnections while playing. There has been mention of consideration for a system where players may be able to reconnect and continue playing, or a system where disconnected players are replaced with additional people as you progress through the missions. Has there been any progress in this area or is it still in development?
Answer: That area is still under development. But let’s talk about it, it’s a great question! Genuine unintentional disconnects are the bane of gamers everywhere. And intentional “disconnects” are the boon of the unethical. J We will take steps to assure that connectivity problems don’t affect a player’s enjoyment of Guild Wars. But we also need to do our level best to keep Guild Wars cheat- and exploit-free. Back in the days of the StarCraft Beta Test, a few dishonorable players figured out that if they wanted to avoid a loss, they could force an “accidental disconnect” and avoid a black mark on their record. Others of us in the test caught on to that exploit, it was reported, and the programmers added a provision where you could track disconnects on a player’s score sheet. We learned to avoid the person with the unlikely 38 “disconnects.” Still, that provision failed to really prevent the abuse, so another change was made where those who recorded a disconnect were automatically given a loss on their record. This helped, but had an unfortunate outcome: Those who legitimately had technical difficulties (or who kicked the off switch like I did once in my excitement ;) ) would be tagged with an unearned loss. With no way of knowing who was cheating to save his/her record and who really had a technical problem that caused a blameless disconnection, the dev team ultimately had to settle for an imperfect but understandable solution.With Guild Wars, the designers are thinking about all the repercussions of allowing mid-mission rejoins. Here’s a list that I came up with, and I’m not on the design team whose members probably have a list ten times as long: Is there a way to detect a real disconnect from a faked one? Can we prevent people from abusing the system and simply joining right at the end of a mission to get credit (i.e., power leveling)? Do we set a cap on disconnects before someone suffers some sort of penalty? Can we and should we stop players from swapping out skills before they rejoin? If they spawn at a waypoint, is it a safe zone? Would that safe zone then be exploited by others within the game? What’s to prevent someone from bouncing in and out and using the rejoin system to some sort of strategic advantage or even to make a disconnect-related mock “portal” to get out of heated battle? How long should someone be allowed to rejoin? Do they incur death penalty for their disconnect? And with regard to the question of switching out team members, if in Guild Wars one of the key design elements is the fact that you cannot swap skills in the midst of a mission or tournament, why ever would you be allowed to swap a whole player?
We’re very aware, though, that it’s a shame that people suffer when they drop for reasons beyond their control; it’s unfortunate when their team is left one player down. At this point, the many facets of the problem are still being examined and the best answer from the dozens of possible answers will be selected and implemented in the game. Where do you find the middle ground of “fair, fun and unexploitable?” That is one of the major questions that the design team will be pursuing as the members come up with the final decision on this matter.