[Interview] Guild Wars 2: The Game, The Players, And How They've Changed Each Other
How have world events (like the upcoming battle for Lion's Arch March 4th) and multi-guild options changed Guild Wars 2 player experiences?
GameSkinny recently had the opportunity to talk with Regina Buenaobra, North American Community Team Lead for Guild Wars 2. She filled us in on the rewards and challenges of navigating launch, and how things have changed in the most recent installment of the Guild Wars story.
Regina also shared stories and advice for aspiring community managers, check out that interview here.
Were there any early challenges that had to be addressed?
Regina: "Like any other company that launches a live service, there were challenges to overcome when the game launched, and much of it tied to demand. This initially affected the forums. We didn’t want forum login activity to affect the ability for players to login to the game—they share the same login information. Keeping the game service up and running was the top priority, so we decided not to open the forums. As soon as pressure eased up on the login servers, we opened up the forums.
"Keeping the game service up and running was the top priority, so we decided not to open the forums."
"This situation meant that we had to move to alternate forms of communication, namely social media. We relied heavily on our official Facebook and Twitter accounts to convey information. We also used the Official Guild Wars 2 Wiki to convey more detailed information, such as patch notes and steps we were taking to improve service."
What do you think makes the GW2 community different from other games?
"Players tell us that the Guild Wars 2 community in general is much nicer, friendlier, better behaved, and more welcoming than what they’ve experienced in communities for other online games."
Regina: "Players tell us that the Guild Wars 2 community in general is much nicer, friendlier, better behaved, and more welcoming than what they’ve experienced in communities for other online games. I think a part of this is due to the in-game systems that support cooperation over competition in PvE.
"In other games, mob-tagging, kill-stealing, and non-consensual PvP/player-killing are big pain points for me personally, and those systems really interrupted the flow of how I want to experience the game. I’m sure these systems also affect the play experience for others, and in turn how they behave towards others they meet in-game. If game systems train you to see other players as detrimental to your experience by default when you’re out adventuring, you might be less inclined to be immediately friendly. In Guild Wars 2, the systems support people working together, so you tend to see others as benign or even friendly by default. That may be what contributes to a friendlier community."
What has been your favorite moment with the GW2 community thus far?
"We have families get together to play Guild Wars 2 as their group activity of choice and people who have met their spouse or made close friends through the game"
Regina: "I don’t really have a singular moment I can say is my favorite because we have a lot of good times working here and interacting with players. I will say that I enjoy moments when I get to speak to our fans in-person. I enjoy listening to them talk about what they like and dislike about the game and all the great moments they playing alongside their friends. I also like hearing our fans talk about how Guild Wars 2 has changed their lives. We have families get together to play Guild Wars 2 as their group activity of choice and people who have met their spouse or made close friends through the game and the community surrounding it."
How do you think the players have changed between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2?
Regina: "...With the types of gameplay available in Guild Wars 2, we’ve got an even more diverse player base who have come from different gaming backgrounds, from console games to other MMO games.
"It’s been great to have those perspectives integrated into our community, especially those coming from different MMO game backgrounds who have settled in and found a home in Guild Wars 2. I feel that diversity of background and perspectives creates a richer community."
Have you seen a decrease in close-knit guilds since releasing multi-guild options?
"Multiple guilds gives a player more options and choices... It also challenges guilds to adapt and add more value to what they’re offering members"
Regina: "I don’t feel that we have. I think close-knit guilds continue to be a big part of the community. I think the ability to be a part of multiple guilds gives a player more options and choices when it comes to who they’d like to play with. It also challenges guilds to adapt and add more value to what they’re offering members. Because of that, there’s more incentive to make a guild more attractive to members.
"Whether it’s to become more specialized and target specific interests, such as a WvW-specific guild, to offer more social activities or opportunities to make friends, or to provide a more welcoming environment with rules that protect it, and so on, guilds are incentivized to stand out and provide a close-knit community feel that should be appealing to many players."
How has the event system in GW2 changed the way players work together, as compared to the instanced experiences in Guild Wars?
"Guild Wars 2, in terms of implementation of built-in game systems that enable this, is just smoother in general than in the original Guild Wars"
Regina: "With events in Guild Wars 2, interaction with others comes about a lot more naturally and organically. You can wander around, doing events, and other people will join and leave in a really frictionless way with very few starts and stops in the action. You don’t need to form parties to participate in the same event. If you participate in the event, you get rewarded for your efforts. There’s no kill-stealing or mob-tagging, like you find in many other MMO games.
"It’s really, really smooth compared to instanced content in the original Guild Wars, where you had to create or join a party just to tackle an instance. After the instance, there’d be a discussion about whether people wanted to stick around to do another one, and if not, people would have to find new people for a party. It’s actually similar to doing dungeons in Guild Wars 2, since that’s also instanced, but most of the instances in the original Guild Wars didn’t have the same difficulty of a Guild Wars 2 dungeon. So you’d be forming and disbanding parties to tackle content that was of lower difficulty.
"...I’d say that cooperation in Guild Wars 2, in terms of implementation of built-in game systems that enable this, is just smoother in general than in the original Guild Wars game."
What do you think is the number one reason players like to call GW2 home?
"one of the biggest reasons I gravitated to the original Guild Wars—I wanted to play a high-quality AAA online game without paying a fee every month"
Regina: "I think a big draw for players is the ability to play in a rich online fantasy world without being committed to a monthly subscription. This was certainly one of the biggest reasons I gravitated to the original Guild Wars—I wanted to play a high-quality AAA online game without paying a fee every month. I think that freedom from monthly fees combined with the desire to have rich online gaming experiences resonates with a lot of people. You get the best of both worlds."
Many thanks to Regina for sharing her time and insights with GameSkinny!
Guild Wars 2 has just released teasers for an epic battle for Lions Arch, check out the info and eye candy here.