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Exclusive Interview with Colin Johanson - Part Two

by Balandar on 12 Jul 2012

The second part of guildwars2hub.com's interview with Colin Johanson.


[b]Lewis B:[/b] One particular criticism I saw leveled at “renown” and “heart chasing” was that their grandeur changed so heavily. One minute you could be battling dozens upon dozens of centaur, the next picking apples. Was this always the intention?

[b]Colin:[/b] This is indeed intentional! We want to give folks a sense of pacing and a real diversity of content and experiences in the game. When everything is an over-the-top, epic war against centaurs, for example, it can get old and feels like you’re doing the same thing, even if it’s large in scale. We want to provide a real range of content and experiences to folks in the game. In real life we’re not all intense 24/7—and people who are, aren’t much fun—and we don’t want the game to be either. It’s worth noting that as you progress through the game, the event chains get much more involved and intricate, and in Orr—since there are no apple trees—things like the more relaxing, fun minigame-type stuff is left behind to help set the tone of the epic nature of the end of the game.

One of the things we’ll be focusing on as we continue to polish and prepare the game for release is identifying the renown regions that feel like they are dull, or repeating nearby content, and redesigning those to really be more unique and fun. Internal and beta-weekend tester survey scores help us find these, so thank you!

The renown regions are the closest thing we have to traditional MMO quests, and though they play more of a supporting role in the game (there are hundreds of hearts while there are thousands of events), we want to make sure they are fun as well. Generally, they are either minigames of some sort to help break up the pace, or they provide you a list of objectives to pick from, so you can do a single activity from the list or a mix of them depending on what you actually feel like doing at the time. Going forward, if anything, you’ll probably see more of the renown regions that feel a little generic changed over to become more minigame-like to help provide a better change of pace and variety in gameplay.

[b]Lewis B:[/b] Some of the content I experienced during the first Beta Weekend Event I thought was incredibly difficult, and it felt like the difficulty had been ramped up significantly from previous phases. (I could barely solo some content!) How is the process of fine-tuning difficulty working out? It must be difficult finding that line between playability but not wishing for people to walk through content...

[b]Colin:[/b] We’re constantly testing and tweaking everything in the game to try and find those sweet spots we’re really happy with. As I mentioned earlier, the level 1-5 areas were oftentimes too difficult for new players back in the first beta event, and we did a lot of work to make those a little easier for the second beta event. Another change we made between beta event one and two is we raised the level that mobs start to learn various abilities. Other than bosses, things like mobs using AoE skills now occur a little later in the game, and mobs using various conditions have been pushed back based on the condition they used. All of this was to provide a slightly better learning progression in the game, so when you get to the point where creatures are using their full sets of abilities, you are far enough along playtime-wise to better understand how to deal with those situations.

Some things were just straight-up balanced wrong, too—hello, flame shaman!—and we’ve been identifying and trying to address those as well. That’s another area where the beta surveys are a huge help to us, as well as our own internal data mining, which gives us stats on how often people die in various areas of the game—the anomalies are clear, and we’re able to find and fix those easily using those data metrics (hello, Avatar of Balthazar story boss!).

[url="http://www.guildwars2hub.com/features/interviews/exclusive-interview-colin-johanson-part-two"]Read the rest of the article here.[/url]

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