Wednesday 05 October 2011 - 12:02

[NOWGAMER] Guild Wars 2: Beta, Release Date and Gameplay Interview

By: Dave Cook
Source: click here

It might be old news for some, but it’s still an exciting prospect, because after what feels like an eternity of development time, Guild Wars 2’s release date is drawing near.

We caught up with ArenaNet’s duo to discuss the studio’s expectations of the incoming beta, launch plans, and support for Guild Wars 2 after launch.

The Guild Wars 2 beta phase is about to kick off in a big way. How confident is ArenaNet that fans will respond positively to what they find in the beta?

Colin Johanson:
Well, we’re in closed alpha right now, and we’ve announced that we’re going to go into closed beta before the end of the year. Based on the outcome of the closed beta, this will determine when we go into open beta, and the outcome of the open beta will then determine the final release date.

We’re feeling really good about where we are right now. In the last few months we’ve showcased Guild Wars 2 at Gamescom, at PAX, and Comic-Con in the states. We do a lot of game shows, and we’ve brought a lot of the game to show to the people.

We’ve had a lot of cool stuff to show to people. All five races are playable now, a lot of the professions, and we’ve shown off competitive PvP. The response to everything we’ve shown has just been overwhelmingly positive across the board

That must really fill the studio with confidence ahead of launch.

That’s been really exciting to see, and everyone back at the studio has continued to work pretty hard on the game, because we believe we’re sitting on something really special.

It’s not often you get to say that in this industry about a game you’re working on. We’re all really, really excited about what we’re dealing with here.

How important is it to bring games like Guild Wars 2 to expos like PAX and Comic-Con, and to extract information from the feedback you receive?

Theo Nguyen:
We’re at all of those shows, and these players are our motivation and inspiration. We really love to show Guild Wars 2 off at shows because you get interact with fans, and that is always really exciting.

And what specific feedback have you received so far from newer reveals such as PvP? Are there any glaring imbalances or tweaks that will need addressed?

I’m sure there will have been tons of imbalances spotted already [laughs]. You know, we're constantly balancing Guild Wars 2, and because we’re only in closed alpha, there is a lot balancing still to do before release.

Feedback-wise, the biggest questions we’re looking to answer are, ‘Is the core gameplay fun?’ and ‘Does it feel like this is truly the next-gen of MMO PvP?’ The response we’ve had so far has been an overwhelming ‘Yes’.

At Gamescom, when we first showed off competitive PvP for the first time, we put the Guild Wars 2 booth in the competitive gaming area of the centre. We did that for various considered reasons.

First and foremost we wanted to be clear and send a message that said, ‘We want Guild Wars 2 PvP to be taken as seriously as any FPS online or RTS competitive game.’ We want to be number one.

We want Guild Wars 2 to be what you think of, when you think of competitive MMO gaming. We had a line around our Gamescom booth all weekend long that was full of people just playing constantly. The response was overwhelmingly positive; everyone really enjoyed it, and the feedback from the players was really cool to see.

During these shows, and indeed the closed beta, what key identifiers will you be looking out for? What areas will you most be looking out for in terms of potential tweaks and fixes for the final release?

Well we have forums full of players who are really honest, and they leave us tons of feedback on areas they would like to see tweaked, or fixed. We read them and we take a lot away from that.

Expos do that for us too. There’s a benefit where fans get to see the game more, and really get to experience it, but there’s a benefit for us too. For designer guys like me and Theo, we get to come out to events and just sit with fans and talk to them.

We make sure that we speak with every single player who walks away from our demo booths and say, ‘What did you think, what did you like, what did you experience?’ and of course, ‘What did you not like?’

You then start to develop trends in the feedback from everybody, and when you see trends regarding certain areas of the game, we say, ‘Hey this part looks like it might need a little extra work.’ This process is important to finding out what areas we need to focus out efforts on.


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