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ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien presents his company’s plans for Guild Wars

GuildWars 2 concept art
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GuildWars 2 concept art

Mike O'Brien, the co-founder and current president of ArenaNet, recently posted a manifesto in which he outlined the direction his company is taking with Guild Wars 2. According to the post, this is the first of many articles by various ArenaNet employees that we will be seeing over the next few months. Here are some of the highlights -

on the principles upon which ArenaNet was created:

We founded this company because we wanted to shake up a risk-averse industry, and show that game companies don’t have to just keep making the same games over and over again to be successful. We believe that gamers want to try new things, new experiences, and that they’ll reward the companies who can bring them something new.

on how he classifies Guild Wars 2:

The first thing you should know about Guild Wars 2 is that, this time around, there’s no question that it’s an MMORPG. It’s an enormous, persistent, living, social world, filled with a wide variety of combat and non-combat activities. There’s so much depth here that you’re never going to run out of new things to discover.

So if you love MMORPGs, you should check out Guild Wars 2. But if you hate traditional MMORPGs, then you should really check out Guild Wars 2. Because, like Guild Wars before it, GW2 doesn’t fall into the traps of traditional MMORPGs. It doesn’t suck your life away and force you onto a grinding treadmill; it doesn’t make you spend hours preparing to have fun rather than just having fun; and of course, it doesn’t have a monthly fee.

on how GW2 gives players a reason to read quest text:

Some games mostly tell story through quest text. But we’ve all clicked so many exclamation points and accepted so many quests in our lives that we’re pretty immune to quest text at this point. GW2 tells story by allowing the player to befriend and adventure with key characters, by presenting him with moral dilemmas that will impact the lives of the people around him, and by having him live through world-changing events and all the key moments of the storyline.

on improving the multiplayer experience:

With traditional MMOs you can choose to solo or you can find a good guild or party to play with. With GW2 there’s a third option too: you can just naturally play with all the people around you. I personally spend a big chunk of my time in traditional MMOs soloing, but when I play GW2 I always find myself naturally working with everyone around me to accomplish world objectives, and before long we find ourselves saying, “Hey, there’s a bunch of us here; let’s see if we can take down the swamp boss together,” without ever having bothered to form a party.

on ArenaNet's design philosophy:

Our games aren’t about preparing to have fun, or about grinding for a future fun reward. Our games are designed to be fun from moment to moment.

COMPLETE MANIFESTO Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto @ ArenaNet Blog
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