Guild Wars 2’s Colin Johanson leaves ArenaNet; Mike O’Brien takes over as game director

Game director Colin Johanson has been with ArenaNet on Guild Wars 2 for quite some time now, but nothing lasts forever. New game director (and ArenaNet president) Mike O’Brien announced via Reddit that Johanson was leaving the company as a prelude to the game’s AMA:

The news is that I’m taking over as the game director of Guild Wars 2 for a while. Colin will be leaving us. Colin is a personal friend, leaving on good terms, and I wish him all the best.

O’Brien made it clear that he will eventually be hiring someone else to fill the role that Johanson has vacated, stating that it takes a lot of work to run a company and he’s unable to do both jobs forever. No word from Johanson yet regarding his own future trajectory or other career plans, although based on recent history it may involve Amazon.

Source: Reddit; thanks to everyone who sent this in!
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148 Comments on "Guild Wars 2’s Colin Johanson leaves ArenaNet; Mike O’Brien takes over as game director"

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szspagna
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szspagna

tobascodagama kgptzac I liked the direction of Guild Wars 1. GW2 was a Farmville aberration that turned the game into a virtual casino of RNG and incentives via RNG manufactured scarcity and immense gold grinds to drive up gem to gold exchange.

So, yeah, not fond of the direction GW2 took shortly after release as it abandoned its guaranteed loot with token system in favor of RNG and most new armor/weapons being tied to RNG gamble boxes on the gem store that were turned into high cost gold items in the auction house.

The auction house should never be the best way to acquire items in a game, but in GW2 it’s all centered around the economy because the economy is the way they heavily monetize their game by creating great scarcity to drive up gold prices far beyond what normal gaming activities will give in profit so people are auction house barons or convert cash to gold.

Especially since dungeon tours for gold were murdered and the supposed fractal/raid taking their place in rewards was a total farce.

tobascodagama
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tobascodagama

kgptzac Well, did you like the original direction of the game? ‘Cause that was Colin as well. He’s been around since the beginning.

BringDaAmblamps
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BringDaAmblamps

Line with more hugs BringDaAmblamps BritoBruno Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam 
Normally, I would agree w/you, Line with more hugs.  You’re reasoning to relegating costumes to the cash shop as not a big deal because of lack of stats works in other MMOs.  However, for the many reasons a few posters have already stated, I believe your reasoning ignores the importance of costumes in GW2.

kgptzac
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kgptzac

Since I don’t like the direction this game has taken for the past year or two… this should come as a good news for me, no?

Restark
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Restark

Matso Lmao. “I don’t have a twitter, thats how you know its the real me”

ColdinT
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ColdinT

arktourosx Seriously. Maybe class devs are the most hated, but Karl is just lazy when it comes to design.  My poor thief…

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

BringDaAmblamps BritoBruno Line with more hugs Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam
Outfits are outfits. Sure you get them in the cash shops, but not armor sets.
It was exactly the same in Guild Wars 1 more than a decade ago. Outfits in the cash shop, armors IG, new skills/classes as paid DLC.

If you’re surprised by that, well, that’s too bad that you did not make an informed purchase.

Line with more hugs
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Line with more hugs

BritoBruno Line with more hugs Mortam
But that has nothing to do with your amount of HP.
GW2’s raids work with skills. If you can avoid damage with timed skills, how is that a bad thing? That means that the challenge lies in the mechanics, not in the ever growing stats.

And no, you can’t beat the raid with 5 players. You can beat one boss in an unusual way. It can also be defeated with a full healer team (also the perfect proof against all that ” everyone is the same” garbage), in about 39 minutes.
It’s a terrible idea, but the mechanics can be toyed with instead of having a checklist of classes and dance moves to follow.

Veldan
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Veldan

BritoBruno I am a GW1 (meh should be GW not GW1)  fan and didn’t like GW2 much, but if we look at numbers, I think far more people play GW2. So there has to be a large chunk of players that prefers it over the original game.

Veldan
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Veldan

JeremiahWagner Same, how people enjoy GW2 combat is beyond me. I never could.

Wandris
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Wandris

SoMuchMass Wandris HoT was not an experiment, it was the culmination of them. What comes next will be more of what we have seen in HoT.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Btw, i extracted this from the ama:
“https://www.reddit.com/r/Guildwars2/comments/48zlyd/im_mike_obrien_here_with_gw2_dev_team_ama/d0o34v3?context=10000: Armor pieces take more effort to make than outfits”
Yeah…making a game takes a shitload of effort. Stop cutting corners. Specially when you goddamn game lacks so much the sweet progression outside farming for gems.
God, i know i’m sounding hateful, resentful and salty, but i really like this game, and the way they’re drifting this train is pissing me off terribly. How the hell did they mess up so much?

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

BringDaAmblamps BritoBruno Line with more hugs Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam I won’t say it’s P2W, since you can buy shit with ingame money ( i only bought my game when it launched, and never spent a dime since, and still got my top hat, got my engi a makeover, and my belinda’s sword )
The issue here, is that there isn’t anything particularly wishful from the world. Dungeons are a joke, and there are the reward tracks, so the sets are…welp. The world drops actually look good for someone who likes a common setup like me, but they aren’t hard to come by.
The issue with GW2 is that outside of Ascended and Legendary, you have no reason to play it. The game is not rewarding enough with new crap.

Draugris
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Draugris

Reihen Draugris Yeahh it´s really a pity, i played GW2 from launch and quit around 3 month ago, i played only WvW and GvG. I just couldn´t stand the disinterest of this company towards the WvW community anymore. HoT nailed it for me, during the WvW beta tests there were numerous complaints about the issues with the new maps, too big, less to do for small scale groups, too many freaking mobs, etc. etc. but no communication, no nothing. Instead complaints were deleted from the forums and there even got people infracted for complaining thanks to the retarded moderation in their forum. And now this guy who thinks WvW is PvE will do a WvW overhaul ? Arenanet is nowadays so distracted from their own game, they don´t have a clue what the players want or they don´t give a fuck, i don´t know.

They only pump money in their artificial e-sports thing which would barely exist without the Anet marketing budget. I don´t believe them anything anymore.

BringDaAmblamps
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BringDaAmblamps

BritoBruno Line with more hugs BringDaAmblamps Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam 
And I brought this fact up in their forums and was promptly ran out of town.  Essentially!, the end game to GW2 is costumes and how your character looks aka wardrobe.  Why?  There is no other progression in the game other than to customize your character.  There is no real gear progression, no real stat progression.  Your characters visual enhancement IS the “end game”.   ESSENTIALLY, you “win” by the cool factor of your character.  And where is all of the customization?  IN THE GEMSTORE.  So, ESSENTIALLY!, GW2 is P2W.  And no I am not mad, despite all the caps.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Line with more hugs BritoBruno scratches16 lorenleah Quincha I dont trust them with new weapons. Look the shitty job they did with Hammer Engi. It’s just too damn powerful, too damn consistent, too damn complete.
Pistol is a mess, Shotgun is actually decent, but Hammer overshadows it. Turrets are a joke, Flamethrower autoattack is STILL shitty, actually, scratch that. Except for Grenades and Bombs, KITS autos altogether are a piece of crap.
Why the hell you balance a class around a mechanic that makes the class so damn hard ( but also so damn rewarding ) in a game that it’s core philosophy would be “easy to pickup and play” and “You can be anything and be decent!”
God.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Line with more hugs BringDaAmblamps Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam I think the biggest issue was the gemstore.
Most of your progression in gw2 is visual-related, but most of the visual related crap can’t be obtained in-game, progressing. It must be bought in the gemstore. That requires farming ( grind, not progression ), or swiping a card.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Line with more hugs BritoBruno Mortam Doing a raid with tank thieves, or 5manning it clearly will require way more setting up but IT CAN BE DONE.
Which clearly shows that if you can beat the raid with 5 people, or with a tank that has 15k hp, you can do it in exotics with 10 other people.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Zoel Mike actually said they don’t have a WvW team.

BritoBruno
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BritoBruno

Matso Draugris What…the? Wtf was that comment.

tominva2012
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tominva2012

I found GW2 to be a bit disappointing compared to how much I had enjoyed GW1, but I eventually learned to enjoy GW2 for what it was.

I found HoT, however, to be a very disappointing game expansion compared to even GW2 pre-HoT standards, and so I left GW2 altogether at that point. The game has simply strayed too far from what I enjoy playing.

I think some degree of “game evolution” is inevitable for any game, but GW2 appears to have wandered off in a very — VERY — different direction. It’s possible there may yet be a course correction for this game back to the principles that so wonderfully guided and shaped GW1, but at this point I am not particularly hopeful.

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

BringDaAmblamps Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam
But that was an assumed choice way back in 2004.
Guild Wars was founded on a model different from Everquest (and WoW during that same period).

Don’t see the link between immersion and progression though.
I mean, especially not with linear progression. Dark boars being stronger than the Lich King? Hmm. Not too sure about that.

Matso
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Matso

Draugris He makes a lot of sense in downsyndrome-land

Matso
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Matso

Collin got banned

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrQGtXhIyN4

Mortam
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Mortam

Kalamari Mortam It has nothing to do with being Lazy. I don’t play games I don’t enjoy, and GW2 just wasn’t fun anymore.

Reihen
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Reihen

Draugris The sad thing is, they never were commited to WvW in the first place. Every update was about “player story” instead of the DaoC-like combat we were initially promised.

Rozyn
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Rozyn

AnastashsKontostergios From what I’ve picked up on GW2 friends and comments, the people bitching about it being too casual were the ones also not playing it anyway. People who played it liked GW2 because it was casual. They should have developed for the audience they already had. This coming from someone who found GW2 boringly casual and yet is not going to buy HoT any time soon.

WandaClamshuckr
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WandaClamshuckr

Nate Woodard 
Right now I’m back playing ESO.  It really isn’t half bad.  I’m a big explorer/crafter at heart, and this game satisfies that itch.  I really like that you can open up just about any container you bump across (and there are tons of them), and stealing is utterly addictive.  The quests are engaging, and the stories you bump across are well written.  It’s different, and has a depth that many other games seem to lack.  It’s also gorgeous, which makes roaming around a joy.

BringDaAmblamps
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BringDaAmblamps

Karl_Hungus SoMuchMass Mortam My main gripe with Gw2 since day one: ZERO IMMERSION, ZERO REWARD.  Some
key elements of an (MMO)RPG is a consistent meaningful character
progression and immersive world.  Where is this in GW2?  Your character
and the world are both beautifully crafted- aesthetically – but there is
no meaningful progression and no immersion.  With GW2, progression (REWARD) was
substituted with “skins” costumes, sunglasses, backpacks, gliders etc
etc to which they conveniently and (not so) cleverly placed behind a pay
wall (cash shop).

JeremiahWagner
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JeremiahWagner

I tried very very hard to like GW2 after loving GW1. The combat just always felt shallow and I would get bored within a week every time I tried to get back into it.

BringDaAmblamps
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BringDaAmblamps

Telos_ You think 5 years is a long time?  I slept through the 10 years at my last job.

BringDaAmblamps
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BringDaAmblamps

I have to say, I really didn’t see this coming.  Did anyone else see this coming?

Sazri
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Sazri

Peregrine_Falcon Wow, you fail at translating. While I haven’t done the raid myself, I know that it is quite popular. And since you didn’t notice, the rest of the game remains quite casual-friendly. The addition of raids was in no way a “switch.”

Sazri
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Sazri

Esoteric Coyote Xephyr Quincha As disappointed as I am that we have to wait this long to see where the story goes next, I recognize that taking their time on it is a good thing.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

ManastuUtakata sonicblue31 
I don’t trust a god who’s never had sex. Virgins are awkward.

Karl_Hungus
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Karl_Hungus

SoMuchMass Mortam 
Nothing they do is ever going to work with that business model. They’ve never had incentive to make high quality content that’s immersive and rewarding. The Living Story ended up just being a shallow zerg fest aimed at driving up gem sales. If they were a true B2P game like ESO instead of relying heavily on the cash shop, the game wouldn’t be in the condition that it has been for years and will continue to be.

Esoteric Coyote
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Esoteric Coyote

Xephyr Quincha Esoteric Coyote I’ll believe it when it the patch pops up. But hoping for July, sure taking some sweet time, lets hope it’s awesome.

lorenleah
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lorenleah

scratches16 lorenleah He’s been the man ultimately at the helm for a lot of really bad decisions.  I don’t trust him.  It’s great that he was there for the founding of GW as a franchise, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best for it right *now*.  And I know gossip and rumor can’t be fully trusted but there’s been a lot of rumblings for years about how Anet’s administration is out of touch.  It doesn’t get more administration than Mo.

Nate Woodard
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Nate Woodard

WandaClamshuckr scratches16 Heh, far be it from me to defend GW2 here as Anet dug their own graves with that title, but what greener pastures are you playing in? For me the genre has become so stagnated that I just can’t muster up the energy to play that much these days. Maybe I’m getting older and losing interest, but more likely than not, the genre just sucks at the moment. And the games that I’d consider trying are too grand for me decade old rig. I’m working on parts for a new rig, but in the mean time, I’m sitting here twiddling my thumbs.

sarasvatri
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sarasvatri

Peregrine_Falcon There was no switch. They added raiding, along with all the other things they added. It was an addition. A game can add more than one thing without taking something else away.

Draugris
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Draugris

As far as i am concerned both could go, they introduced way to many things in GW which they promised will never happen. And now this guy takes over https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LhvuomaJaY I feel terribly sorry for the guys commited to wvw.

SoMuchMass
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SoMuchMass

Wandris SoMuchMass The “experimenting” and “finding the right path” was a cute excuse early on.  But after 3 years, it is not applicable.

SoMuchMass
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SoMuchMass

Mortam Give me a break, if their original game was working well they wouldn’t have switched direction.  Obviously whatever they were doing wasn’t working.  But at the same time, their change isn’t work either.

WandaClamshuckr
Guest
WandaClamshuckr

scratches16 If this happened 2 years ago, I would have been /dancing.  I’m still glad he’s gone, but the damage has been done, and I moved on to greener pastures.  It will be interesting to see if the culture over there improves, and their attitude towards their customers becomes less contemptuous.

AnastashsKontostergios
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AnastashsKontostergios

Oh please…people have been bitching about GW2 being too casual since day one and now everyone is bitching bout it going hardcore. Also devs leaving after 11 years in the same company isn’t “weird” or “bad”

McGuffn
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McGuffn

sonicblue31 What we need is a classic monoclegate or a game that is giving away a dolphin.

McGuffn
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McGuffn

Wandris Kalamari Mortam Sure there was always challenging content, but there was easier content too. If all you did before was follow a champ train around you might actually like HoT because that’s the way the maps run. The open world hot maps do require you to pretty much show up on a schedule or get lucky. That’s what’s hardcore about it. Then there are the adventures which are a mess. Point is if you just log in and play you’re kind of wasting your time. They’re supposedly changing that.

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

Good luck to him.
And no commute? That must be great. Can’t even imagine crunch time while living quite far… you sleep at your workplace I guess…

Line with more hugs
Guest
Line with more hugs

BritoBruno Mortam
Wow, let’s not talk about special cases… Theifs can tank pretty well because they have excellent dodge and block abilities (same reaso why Mesmers are the best tanks), it’s not like they can tank because it’s easy.
And the 5 players groups use group wide distorsion to survive on one boss… it’s not like you can make half a team and complete all encounters in a PUG just like that.

Kurogane335
Guest
Kurogane335

What ? But who will swing the sword now ?

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