Guild Wars




Guild Wars Fansite Friday #60
23 September 2005

Today I have Mike O'Brien, head of the Guild Wars Design Team, sitting with me helping to answer some PvP related questions from our fan sites.

Players crave variety. Two requests we've seen are additional tournaments like Tomb of Primeval Kings and a 4-player tournament. Will we see these offered in the future?

We are hard at work on the next chapter of Guild Wars, and will be introducing a new type of PvP play in that release, plus adding more variety within the existing forms of PvP now offered.

But I'd like to directly answer your question of why we don't duplicate the 8-player tournament and make a 4-player version. We're conservative about how many different types of PvP we add, because we don't want to fragment the community to the point where there aren't enough players in each type to keep it lively and fun. The fewer teams, the longer the wait to get a match and an even longer time taken to find the opponent who is truly "worthy."

As you may have noticed, there are times when there are not enough teams in the Tombs and GvG scenarios. This is why we removed six-team maps from Tombs and changed the GvG matching system to allow it to match high-level guilds against lower-level guilds if it can't find any other opponents. As more guilds become confident at PvP and as the ladder grows, the numbers will increase and we’ll have less need to have matches that involve teams that are far apart in their ladder rankings. In the meantime, we've heard and responded to the fan feedback that players would rather play than wait.

As we add new PvP types, we're careful to design all PvP as a cohesive unit so that the system has a natural progression. We want to provide a clear way for new players to get into PvP by giving well-defined choices, not a bewildering array of different options. As we continue to expand the PvP system, we work hard to make sure that PvP is understandable for new players but has enough variety to keep veteran players committed.

A feature that many of the fansites asked about in their questions this week was whether Guild Wars will have 1v1 and 2v2 battles and perhaps inter-guild battles that allow for practicing PvP strategy. So the question is, will you integrate this into Guild Wars? And are you at all hesitant because of the faction leveling repercussions that it may produce?

Yes, this is an important need. We do understand that at times it can be difficult to get four players together to form a team. And we know that Guilds would love to have a practice arena in their guild hall that they could use to test strategies and new builds. We're hopeful (no promises!) that we can address some of these concerns and get Guild practice arenas into the game in time for Chapter Two.

As to the concern about faction farming, there are easy answers to that problem, so it won't be a stumbling block that would prevent us from implementing these desired features.

Some top-ranked guilds engage in "smurfing," where they create a second, or even a third guild and then move up through the ranks again. Does the Guild Wars Team see smurfing as an issue and if so, what do you intend to do about it?

Yes, smurfing is an issue, because it's unfriendly to new players when the first GvG games they play are against some of the best guilds in the world. A new guild might head into the match hoping for a chance at victory, but with the smurf guild as their opponent, they’re soon mowed under. We need to keep PvP mechanics friendly to new players if we want more and more people to join PvP, and getting slaughtered by a top-ranked guild doesn't exactly qualify as a friendly mechanic.

We do try to create disincentives to smurfing by doing things such as scaling Faction rewards to make it much more profitable to play GvG in a high-ranked guild, and by giving only partial Faction rewards for the first 14 days after switching guilds.

There are more extreme things we could do, such as tracking on an account basis what types of guilds a player has been part of before. But we don't want to implement restrictions which penalize players unjustly. For instance, we don't want players to suffer negative consequences if a high-ranked guild invites them to join up, plays a few games with them, and then kicks them out. So we’ll continue to consider other means to reduce smurfing, and, as always, will be looking at your suggestions on the forums.

What do you, the devs, think Guild Wars needs the most right now? It’s known that you’re planning some cool new features like Observer Mode and some sort of improvement to the trade system, such as an auction house. But what else is on your TODO list for the current chapter?

One of the biggest things we think Guild Wars needs right now is the addition of new and expanded Guild features and activities, because those things encourage players to form and care about guild communities. A major focus of Chapter Two is making guilds matter more in the game, and creating alliances of guilds who can work together to accomplish large-scale game objectives.

We also focus on creating more replayability for cooperative gameplay. You’ve seen some of the direction we’re heading with the Sorrow’s Furnace Update. Players have noted and enjoyed the variances that come from player choices in the quests within Grenth’s Footprint and Sorrow’s Furnace. This is one step towards the larger picture of updating our PvM mechanics to ensure a high degree of replayability for Chapter Two.

The community outside the game is a very large part of Guild Wars. We specifically noticed this when The Frog recognized a player's name from an elite fansite (Crispie from TGH to be specific). Besides having ideas and feedback constantly relayed back to the devs, and of course Fansite Fridays, the fan community has been able to participate in events like the Guild Emblem Contest and the Brand the Bosses Contest. These contests, of course, create a lot of extra work for your team at ArenaNet, but are highly enjoyed by most fansite communities. Are any more specific events planned to further immerse fansite communities into the world of Guild Wars?

This is one for the Community Team, so I’m going to shoulder Mike out of the way to respond. :) Right now I have a few windows open on my computer. In this one, I’m writing up this FF; in another window I’m finalizing the wording on a new fan contest.

What more perfect way to celebrate the start of Autumn than by offering a new fan contest involving everybody’s favorite holiday? So yes, a new Halloween contest will be rolling out on Monday, and we expect a lot of interest because it’s one of those open-ended contests where if a fan comes up with a really cool idea that isn’t exactly on the list of things we suggest, we’re going to give it a good look and consider it for a prize, anyway.

At the same time, I’m working with Isaiah, our skill balancer, on another idea that we may roll out soon, as well. Players could do either or both of these contests. The second one isn’t a sure thing yet, but we’ve both been thinking about this one for a few weeks, and we’re definitely going to see if we can squeeze it in.

What's coming down the road? Let’s see… The Frog has made it known (Heavens, he has a big mouth!) that we’ll be holding another Guild Emblem Contest in a couple of months. Between the Halloween contest, that other possible contest that’s still in the formation stage, and the Guild Emblem Contest, we have a really fun idea up our sleeves for winter. After that, Horia, one of our artists, suggested a contest we're crazy about, so we’ll do that in the late winter. And lastly, well, who better to help us name boss monsters for the upcoming release than the fans? You can count on seeing Brand the Bosses, Part Deux in the future. I think it’ll be great to wait until we can show you a couple of tasty pieces of concept art, and then let you guys run amuck on naming those baddies.

One thing I might do is put out a call to our fansites to ask them to send us their ideas for contests, so that we can offer even more in the future. In fact, maybe we ought to do a contest to get your great ideas for contests, hmmm? ;)

Sincere thanks to the many participating Fansites: