In the E3 demo event we saw several types of event areas, but one that was missing was a large hunting area for teams (similar to the
solo areas). Will we see the inclusion of more traditional MMORPG hunting areas (e.g. expansive, non-linear areas populated with mobs
and NPCs)? What other types of areas (aside from those presented in the E3 demo) can players expect to see?
It's interesting that you would ask that. As you can imagine, we received a lot of feedback as a result of the E3 for Everyone Demo Event.
One of the first changes that occurred as a result of that player input was a change in those large solo areas you mention. So now, instead
of going into the areas alone, you can form a party in town and then venture into those extensive areas as a group. At present, you can
access those areas with up to 8 players. Sometimes, the larger party size is a really good thing, because there are a few areas that
definitely need all the firepower and the strategic thinking that an 8-player team can bring. I'm thinking of one particular area where
you look over a rise and see a veritable sea of unfriendly faces. I've died there many a time, but oh, wow, what a rush when you
successfully beat back the Charr hordes!
Other areas of the region are a bit less intense, so they are a good place to get familiar with the interface and learn the game
controls while still acquiring a little in the way of experience points, items or gold. The one question I need to ask about these
areas is, "What do we call them, now?" I mean, "The Areas Formerly Known as Solo" is a bit of a mouthful.
Given that ArenaNet plans to regularly make new content available to players, will input from the player community impact
and/or help determine the content of expansion packs? To what extent will player input be considered by the development team?
Well, the player community is already impacting Guild Wars in a number of positive ways. After all, we're the first developer to involve its
community in an alpha test. The alpha testers provide feedback on a daily basis, make bug reports, offer suggestions, answer our questions
about possible upcoming changes, participate in assigned builds to test balance, and much more. With a few hundred external testers in the
game on a regular basis, you can be sure the community is having a great deal of influence on the development.
But I suspect that with this question you're also thinking of the community at large, beyond the alpha test. Yes, you can be sure there is
definite influence by gamers on our game's development! Those who played the Guild Wars demo during E3, who commented in fan forums,
within the demo, or via email, have given us a lot of great feedback. Just about every developer on our staff reads our fan forums every
single day, and the suggestions that are made there can and do have a significant influence on every chapter of the Guild Wars story.
How extensive will the tradeskill system be? Will user-created or user-enhanced items be preferable to items dropped in the game?
The tradeskill system is designed to be fun, but of course in a skill based game, it's important that items not have an overpowering
influence on the balance of the game. For instance, I doubt that you will be able to craft a sword that is 400% better than an item
that someone else finds in the game. But significant improvements via crafting? You bet! At this time, there are several types of
items available: First, there are items drops that come from slaying a monster. These have normal stats, or can come in a "rare"
form. (And rares are pretty darn rare, making them much sought after and very fun to acquire.) Then there is the option to customize
an item, something that can be done in town for a modest amount of gold. Customized items are bound to a particular character, but in
exchange for that binding, the item acquires increased stats. Lastly, there are upgraded items. Upgrades are still in the early stages,
but currently you can find components for upgrades in the game and then use them to improve an item. For instance, you might find a better
handgrip for a bow. By taking it to the town crafter, that handgrip will be merged with your existing bow and the bow will become better
in one of several ways: Perhaps it will acquire greater range, or it might become more accurate. The fun comes when you find a rare item,
customize it and then upgrade it still further.
Thanks a bunch to MMORPG.com for the excellent questions and for your continued support of Guild Wars!