Gaming Insight’s Exclusive Interview with Lead Game Designer Eric Flannum

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Great interview by Gaming Insight with Eric Flannum discussing the upcoming BWE, skill challenges, level 80 content and more!

 

 

Guild Wars 2: Exklusives Interview mit Lead Game Designer Eric Flannum

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Wir freuen uns sehr, dass wir Eric Flannum, den Lead Game Designer von Guild Wars 2 exklusiv für ein Interview gewinnen konnten. Wir durften ihm einige Fragen zur Entwicklung des neuen MMORPGs aus dem Hause ArenaNet stellen und ihm Informationen zur Grafik, dem in Guild Wars 2 einzigartigen World-versus-World-versus-World und der Levelzeit entlocken.

Eric Flannum spricht darüber, wie sie sich auf den Ansturm zum Release vorbereiten, um einen reibungslosen Start von Guild Wars 2 gewährleisten zu können. Dieses finale Beta-Wochenende, das vom Freitag, dem 20. Juli bis zum Montag, dem 23. Juli 2012 stattfindet, wird die Generalprobe vor dem Release am 28. August 2012 sein. Neben den beiden Völkern der Asura und Sylvari, werdet ihr auch ein neues Gebiet, die „Brisban-Wildnis” betreten und das erste Minispiel „Fasskeilerei” ausprobieren können. Außerdem steht eine neue PvP-Karte „Vermächtnis des Feindfeuers” zur Auswahl, in der ihr sowohl NPC-Wächter, als auch Team-Gildenherren besiegen könnt.

We are pleased, that we got Eric Flannum, Lead Game Designer of Guild Wars 2, for an exclusive interview. We were able to ask him some questions about the development of the new MMORPG by ArenaNet and got some information about grafics, the unique WvWvW and the time to level in Guild Wars 2.

Eric Flannum talks about how they prepare for the rush at the release of the game, to ensure a smoothy start of Guild Wars 2. The Beta Weekend Event, that will take place from 20 until 22 July 2012, will be the final rehearsal before the release on August 28 2012. Beside the two races Asura and Sylvari, you can explore a new area “Brisban Wildlands” and for the first time you can try the minigame “Keg Brawl”. In addition, you can select the brand-new PvP-map “Legacy of the Foefire”, where you can battle against NPC guards and team “guild lords”, powerful NPCs.

Exclusive interview with Eric Flannum, Lead Game Designer

To start with, we’d like to give you a big thanks for taking the time to do this interview. We know that you are certainly very busy with the pre-beta and pre-release phases.
Gaming Insight: We were pleasantly surprised when the release date was announced as 28th August 2012. Most of us guessed that it would be released in the autumn or almost winter. Now there are just a few weeks to go until Guild Wars 2 will come online. Many game developers underestimated the rush at the release of a game and had to take a lot of flak afterward because they didn’t prepare themselves enough. Do you think that ArenaNet will face this demand and in that case, how will you prevent something similar from happening?

Eric: Having a lot more demand than you estimated is always a nice problem to have. In our case, I think we have a pretty decent handle on the demand that we’ll see for the game and are planning accordingly. Part of smart planning is, of course, having contingency plans in place in case of unexpected results. For example, while we have an estimate on the number of worlds we’ll need at launch, we also have the server capacity to bring more of them online or increase the maximum number of players per world, and we can do these things very quickly.

Gaming Insight: Some players criticize the graphics in Guild Wars 2. Are you continuing to polish the graphical quality ahead of launch?

Eric: We are quite happy with the look of the game and have no plans to make any dramatic changes. We’ve always been a company that wants our game to run on a broad base of hardware and tend to rely on art style over technology to make our game look fantastic. I think our art team has done an outstanding job of this.

Gaming Insight: There are as many computer setups as there are players out there. Some chose to play in 4:3, others spread their games over three monitors, while others alternate between the game in window-mode, their web browser, and an IMS. How do you keep Guild Wars 2 flexible enough on the technical side to pull this off?

Eric: First, we test the game in as many configurations as possible. When designing features that are heavily impacted by things like higher resolutions, windowed mode, and multiple monitors, we make certain that the solution works in as many situations as possible. It all comes down to the team placing a priority on making certain the game works for as many of our customers as possible.

Gaming Insight: Until now we couldn’t choose to play sylvari and asura in the beta tests. Will this be possible in the Beta Weekend Event taking place from 20 ’til 22 July 2012, or will you hold that content for the launch?

Eric: As you know by now, the next BWE will feature playable sylvari and asura. We’re very excited to let players try them out and we hope they enjoy playing them as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them.

Gaming Insight: Do you need to complete all the available skill point challenges in the game to be able to skill your character in PvE in every possible way, or are there skill points to spare?

Eric: It takes fewer than 200 skill points to unlock every skill for a single character. There are over 200 skill points available as skill challenges out in the world, and a player receives a skill point every time they level. Players will even continue to gain skill points as they “level” once they reach the cap of level 80. This is very similar to the way we did things in the first game where characters continued to earn skill points after reaching level 20. Players with excess skill points should visit the Mystic Forge and speak to Miyani. A refugee from Elona, she will take your skill points in exchange for items that can be used in the Mystic Forge.
Gaming Insight: While levelling, every player has enough activities to keep them busy. What options does a fully skilled level-80 character have after they have played through all the content on the road to max level, besides starting with twinks, which players tend to do in many other games?

Eric: I think the question to ask is what did that player do to reach level 80? Did they enjoy going through dungeons? Then there are three level-80 dungeons each with four different paths through them (one in story mode and at least three in explorable mode). Did they like to do personal story? They can find people to group up with and experience aspects of the story that they might have missed the first time through. Did they enjoy exploring and completing events in the open world? They can strive for 100% map completion and take on the very difficult meta-events that abound in Orr. Did they enjoy WvW? Then they can keep fighting for their world in the Mists. Do they enjoy structured PvP? They can compete in tournaments to win prizes and prove their skill.

Add to this that players never truly out level areas in the game; since players are adjusted downward in lower-level areas, they are constantly opening up more and more areas to explore and adventure in. We also plan to keep the world fresh with constant free content updates in the form of events that are added into existing areas of the world.

The important thing to take away from this is that in Guild Wars 2 you aren’t asked to do something that you didn’t enjoy once you hit max level. Keep doing the things you enjoy and those things will keep earning you XP and skill points (with the exception of structured PvP, of course), which you can then use to buy items to throw into the Mystic Forge. By using skill points in this way, players can create new equipment (with unique appearances you can’t get anywhere else) and fun consumables. What we’re really looking to do is give players fun things that they can do with the network of friends that they built playing the game, and to allow players to keep playing the game that they enjoyed while they were levelling.

Gaming Insight: What are the strengths of Guild Wars 2?

Eric: There are a lot of ways I could answer this question, but I’m going to go with a bit of a non-traditional answer. I think the major strength of Guild Wars 2 is the team that created it and the amount of energy and passion that they’ve put into it. I play through the game and am constantly surprised by the things I discover. In my mind, it’s the details that take a game from good to great and Guild Wars 2 is full of those great extra touches. The passion, skill, and dedication of the team is what has made the game what it is, and those same qualities are what will keep the game moving forward.

We would like to say a big thank to Eric Flannum and ArenaNet and we are all very excited about the upcoming time in Guild Wars 2.

Thanks go out to Gaming Insight and Eric Flannum for the great interview!

 

Posted By Bella GW2 Content Editor  GW2 Moderator

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