Fansite Friday/Stratics

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Fansite: Guild Wars Stratics

Date: 27 August 2004

Number: 12



Question: How large will the game world be at release compared to what we saw in E3 for Everyone?

Answer: E3 for Everyone was really just an appetizer for Guild Wars. There were four or five missions, a few hunting grounds, and two preview areas. As you know, we're offering our second public event on the weekend of October 29-31. During the Guild Wars World Preview Event, we will offer two new regions: The Kingdom of Kryta and The Wilds. We'll have five new maps and new and expanded hunting grounds as well as new tournament options. And like the E3 for Everyone Event, the World Preview Event is just scratching the surface of full-game content. I can't give you exact numbers; I can't say "The E3 for Everyone Event revealed precisely XX.X% of the Guild Wars experience," but I can say that it offered less than 10% of what the final game will offer, perhaps even significantly less than 10%.

In the release there will be several regions outside of the Kingdoms of Ascalon and Kryta and The Wilds with which you will be familiar. You may have noticed that E3 for Everyone had a "Snow Preview" area, so it's no secret that we'll have something frosty in the future. In addition to those mentioned, there are other regions, and of course each of them contains numerous outposts and mission areas, towns, and extensive hunting grounds.

Question: In E3 for Everyone we saw that you could easily add game content when you introduced a whole new mission on the last day. Unfortunately with that we saw a bug emerge in the mission allowing for players to more easily obtain a very powerful item. In other on-line games an exploit of this nature would likely sit around in game for weeks or even months before it was corrected. With your ability to easily modify content what is your goal turn-around time in addressing exploits?

Answer: Our goal for exploit closure? "As soon as possible, if not sooner." :)

I'm sure every gamer has a few unpleasant patch stories to tell. For instance, some of us still talk of the title that was released a few years ago and then required an 80 MB download in order to play. With most players using dial-up, this was a horrendous burden. I know many of us have waited for what seems an eternity for a patch to be released for a favourite title, all the while watching the in-game economy slide into ruins and the gameplay experience being irreparably harmed by unfixed exploits and rampant cheating.

The advantages of intelligent streaming technology are many, and primary amongst them is the ability to close loopholes, remove exploits, or solve issues that arise with the game or servers. There are other advantages, of course, like receiving content on the fly, so that you start downloading assets for the next mission even while you're playing, and experiencing new seasonal elements and temporary game events that can be added at any time. But the ability to offer a stable gameplay experience and to maintain a meaningful game economy is paramount, and in Guild Wars, streaming technology will allow us to address issues immediately and work quickly to bring about a resolution.

There's something I wanted to share with you about our streaming technology, something that I found utterly fascinating: With the patching system in most games, anything that has been changed at any time since the game was released needs to be included in every patch thereafter. For instance, if three files are patched one time, and another two files in the next patch, you will be required to download all five with every subsequent patch. This is because the files aren't "flagged" as efficiently as they might be, and the system doesn't know if you have the newer ones or not. Therefore, you are required to download materials that you may, indeed, have gotten earlier.

With the ArenaNet technology, you only download the files that have been altered since you last played. The system knows that you received those first three files, and only sends you the two that were newly modified. As someone who has connected to start a download and realized that due to the download size she can't play until the next day, I find this a great leap forward. Wouldn't we all rather play than download a patch?

Question: Previously you've mentioned that there will be other creatures for the Ranger to charm, besides the Lynx. Would you care to expand on what sort of pets we can look forward to having in Beta?

Answer: At this point, I don't know what the plans are for charm-able creatures in the Beta Weekend Events. I believe you will have the ability to charm a lynx during the event (and frankly I don't know that it'll ever get any better than having that particular pet. :) Which other creatures we may be able to charm in the World Preview Event, in the Beta Weekend Events or indeed in the release of the first chapter of Guild Wars is a question that may not have received a final answer at this point. In fact, when I think about the whole topic of charmed creatures, the Design Team has been a mighty quiet on this one. They clearly have something up their sleeves, but they're not talking quite yet. In the meantime, the list of minions for the Necromancer has grown to three, and the minions are mimicking their masters in looking suitably gruesome and in sharing the joys of death and decay.

Beyond charm-able creatures, there has been a real burgeoning of ambient life in Guild Wars. When you travel along the beaches of Kryta, look for a flock of seagulls wheeling overhead. Stroll to the end of a pier and see if you can spot the schools of fish circling in the Krytan sea. Look closely at the deeper waters of an inlet and perhaps you'll spot a creature that is even more breathtaking. When you visit the swamps, look for fireflies, and if you see a lamp, check to see if it has moths fluttering near its flame. Perhaps best of all, look for a hopping frog that splashes in front of you as you ford a shallow creek. Tyria is alive with creatures of all kinds, and not all of them are hostile!

Thanks to J.R. and the Stratics Crew for the questions. We're pleased to see the site making such nice strides forward!