Mike O’Brien announces Mike Zadorojny as lead designer for the second Guild Wars 2 expansion

We’ve reached the end of the third season of Guild Wars 2’s story, and now… what comes next? A new expansion, we all know that. If you’ve forgotten, that’s being announced on August 1st, so you have a bit longer until you find out about it; until then, you can rest with some assurance knowing that Mike Zadorojny is the lead designer on the second expansion. This was announced as part of a lengthy letter from current director Mike O’Brien recapping the game up to this point and where the studio sees it heading in the future.

O’Brien’s letter is largely positive, expressing a sentiment that the game has hit a good balance with this season of the Living World and its content releases. Others are slightly less positive, pointing to Heart of Thorns as something of a blunder and the game subsequently struggling to find its footing and deliver the sort of content players were expecting. So it remains to be seen what sort of reveal will be coming on August 1st, but we can bet money that it’ll be significant. (And will probably line up perfectly with the mountain of leaks about masteries, areas, titles, and everything else, but we’ll just pretend those don’t exist.)

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30 Comments on "Mike O’Brien announces Mike Zadorojny as lead designer for the second Guild Wars 2 expansion"

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Toy Clown

The good thing about when devs let the playerbase down is that in an attempt to get their attention back, they include highly-requested features with upcoming content. I remember the early days when lots of people were asking for mounts. Maybe we’ll get that player housing one day tooo, then the game will be perfect.

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Sally Bowls

HoT was announced in Jan ’15 and in the investor’s earnings calls later that year they said HoT did not live up to their expectations and they said they were going to get a new expansion out soon. Announcing 2Y7M isn’t the end of the world or “a slap in the face” but I was expecting them to be a tad more responsive with the replacement. But the proof of the pudding is in the the tasting and we will know more in 4 days. For my personal tastes, I hope they don’t continue to think things like raids and esports are amongst the highly requested features.

Line
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Line

I can only hope to see more work done on the reward structure.
It has always been the massive weakness of GW2 (and many others, in other ways).

When the game started adding new events with Flame&Frost back in Living World 1, and even before that in Southsun Cove; the biggest issue was the lack of engaging replayability.
Think of the Tower of Nightmares, it was a cool idea. Kessex Hills was different (and still is, uglier than ever). Rush through it in 10 minutes, do the awful instanced boss fight, never come back.
Great.
The very fast releases only meant short story content and a few events with very little point (and most were just shit, like the Sky Pirates ones).

Now that the game has found its pace, it still suffers from lack of reasons to replay the maps after getting the cosmetics (which is pretty fast… though at 200 tokens/piece in the last one.. maybe less so).
I still think that getting mats more reliably would be the way to add more value to the content. hell, even rotating merchant rewards would be a positive. Come each X week to this map to get your lodestones, instead of more green trash.

And… with what’s coming next expansion, it’s the best moment to change the loot tables.
Add some of those “things” unlocked by the expansion masteries, and see players come back to grind like there’s no tomorrow. After all, shitty drop rates on “those” is an industry staple.

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Bhima Jenkins

You are correct. GW2 does so many things right, but I still think they FUBAR’d gear progression. The game just isn’t as sticky without it, except for the occasional bouts of WvW. I’ll likely buy the expansion regardless, but I’m sure it won’t last me very long. Once the story has been played, and you already have a bunch of ascended gear, you realize there isn’t much consequence to playing PvE in this game. Luckily the new specializations will likely keep WvW/PvP sticky for awhile, but the PvE won’t be.

TRU?H
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TRU?H

S3 maps are probably the most replayable because they give you guaranteed ways to earn ascended stat selectable gear so you can gear up your main and your alts.

Line
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Line

The problem with gear is the same as with other games: I’m already fully decked out on more characters than I want to play.
Actually, if you could buy ascended armor (hella harder to find otherwise for the casual player) with a different skin, it would be pretty good.

But ascended trinkets?
I dump rings every day to merchants, recycle amulets and accessories for mats… and I have a good dozen backpacks waiting in my bank for their turn to become dark matter, really.

Gearing up through open world would be great, but right now, it’s just stacking up more of the useless pieces that offer no visual change.
And beyond that, you do that by grinding tokens.
Not a single interesting loot in the 6 whole maps.

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Bryan Turner

Finally a commentor with a clue to the current game, most of the commentators above^^^^^^ are way out of touch.

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draugris

i.d.k. i am sceptical. The last expansion was a huge power creep in the pvp modes and i have 0 confidence that Anet have learned from their faults. If they have something interesting regarding wvw in this expansion i might be in but my hype o meter for this expansion is subzero.

April-Rain
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April-Rain

I have recently come back to gw2 which is currently my mmo of choice and I have finally leveled through HoT also completing the story, I am now going back and playing through S2 which I am enjoying (i wanted gliding), I will then complete s3.

I am super hyped for the expansion but I do hope the map area’s are like the original game, in Hot i think 2 are ok and 2 super frustrating to which my wife who really has never taken to any game except GW2 is now playing through and hating, she loved the big open maps of the original and HoT and it is starting to put her off the game which is super sad for me as we have had a great time playing together.

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

One of the main problems is what he said. They make too much stuff that doesn’t get released. They like something but it could be tonally different than what came before but they go ahead and release it anyways while the community thinks they are still on the same path as before.

They fail to tell people that things are changing and our mindset is to react negatively to the design shift.

Communication has always been that company’s weakness and he can be super passive aggressive. Take this quote for example: “At the start of this season, I said to the community that I wanted to delight you with what we’d ship, not with what we’d promise. It’s a game, after all, and I think the most memorable moments for a game should be moments of playing the game—not moments of reading about it. “ The issue people took with it wasn’t that the excitement came from reading about it. It’s that time and again you didn’t deliver on your promises, Mike.

I love the franchise and am hopeful they can win me back. I will watch that announcement and be hopeful, but I promised myself I wouldn’t buy another of their games until they were out and read reviews. They’ve lost my instant pre-order status for their games. HoT was an unmitigated trainwreck of a launch.

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kgptzac

No game should ever be “instant pre-order” on anyone’s list tbh. It’s not how you reward people who make good games, and would only encourage more more bad games and hubris from the people behind them.

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McGuffn

He’s actually right about everything that he said though. What we have now gets very little lead up time, and we suffer a bit with less hype but what we’re getting is much better than overpromising and underdelivering. And i think he’s right to be tight lipped. We just got a legendary trinket, and i think that was first mentioned years ago. And it just popped in, out of the blue. Compare that with the stuff that we were promised in some capacity, took years to deliver, and their implementation was simply terrible, like the precursor journey. They took hits when they paused the legendary rollout (and we still don’t have all of the HoT ones) but the new implementation is much better and faster to rollout. It isn’t explained as well in game however. but it is also far less aggravation.

That said, there are problems. Judging on quality alone, living story 2 was simply better. It had a much smaller scope, but it was better in terms story, gameplay, implementation. S3 probably has better rewards. Season 3 story is largely going the way I wanted and expected, but it has also jettisoned the gw2 story and is rapidly replacing it with gw1 story. That hasn’t gone so well at all. When this first started, people defended it because it was the raid only story. Now the raid story is becoming the story of the game proper, and so you have people that didn’t play gw1 or raid having little idea what is going on.

Right now however, the biggest time bomb for the game is something they dredged up from the launch. Ascended items aren’t valuable anymore. We needed ascended because they screwed up the time it takes to get exotic. And then they started giving away ascended like candy, first in fractals, then raids where you get a ton of them, and you can get all the trinkets you want from living story.

Line
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Line

Story wise, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for season 2 and 3. Boss fights are much better now, though.
But as for the implementation… I much rather keep the S3 update rate.
A small chunk of a new map every two weeks with one quest, then a 4 months wait for another map delivered in bite size morsels… followed by nearly a year of waiting the expansion?
Screw that model seriously, I much prefer a full new map with story quests every 3 months or so, with instanced content chugging along.

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McGuffn

Yeah, I prefer solid, repeatable content, and Silverwastes and Dry Top were fantastic at providing it. Plus, they were genuinely new experiences for the game. After HoT I think the game needs to step back from those kinds of all encompassing meta events, but at the same time the LS3 maps feel like a regression. They’re just new zones with a few events nobody really cares about mainly.

Line
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Line

I love the Silverwastes, but Dry Top?
It’s the worst map and the least popular in the entire game, even Southsun is better.

Looks great, has an entire weapon collection.
But it is the most annoying map to “explore”, as it was very much delivered in chunks where you straight up can’t move without TPs. And if you think that the events are ignored in the new maps, have you taken a look at the Sand Giant?

Not only is Dry Top deader than dead, a third of it is also ignored when you somehow find players in it.

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McGuffn

Dry Top is fun, but it is segmented and the rewards are certainly behind the times nowadays. I know people were making decent money with clay bricks, but I don’t know how exactly. They’re not exactly a hot commodity.

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Bryan Turner

There’s no reason season 3 can’t provide that too, with the release of legendary trinkets they just made season 3 repeatable.

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Nater

This is my general consensus at the moment as well! I mean, essentially, they’re saying they waste time developing content that is never put into the game. This time could be spent developing the world.

The core game is boring at best in my opinion and at worst has absolutely no replay value at all. In the beginning it was quite grindy. Now, it still seems to be quite grindy. The content outside of personal story/living world simply feels like busy work. Thankfully, they learned that you can’t have temporary content.

I really want to love the game. I was a huge fan of GW1, but GW2 has failed to keep my interest so many times, that I have pretty much given up. I will always keep an eye on it hoping beyond hope we get a true predecessor to GW1 or at best a do-over, but that’s yet to be seen.

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Bryan Turner

I loved the core world, as a matter of fact I’m working on my 3RD World Completion.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

… reminds me of this! :P

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Bryan Turner

Yeah what ever dude, I never experienced this and I’ve been playing since 2013, KUDOS to you for digging up this VERY obscure relic as you are an excellent researcher for finding NOVELTIES how ever any researcher worth hiring finds RELEVANT research.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

The reason I posted this video was because:

(1) Everytime someone mentions Zadorojny (the actual person), my mind immediately makes the mental link to the NPC (https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/General_Zadorojny) who is actually named after him, and to that glitch.

(2) I ran into that glitch myself many times when I was running that SE path. Even if you do not try to provoke it, the NPC gets stuck and repeats that a few times (might have to do with the way my party was running the dungeon or the way the NPC is scripted, and not an actual bug per se)

(3) I find it funny in a good way. I would even go as far as to say that I would not like to have it fixed. It makes me smile. I wanted to share the sentiment with whoever has the same mental image.

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Greaterdivinity

Others are slightly less positive, pointing to Heart of Thorns as something of a blunder and the game subsequently struggling to find its footing and deliver the sort of content players were expecting.

I’m on this train. I think they managed to more or less find their footing once the LS kicked off, but hot damn if HoT wasn’t a super polarizing expansion that led to a decline in the games revenue as a result.

I’m actually super on board with everything in that blog post. It’s a bit salty, but I’m a bit salty, and it definitely delivers a lot of super relevant critiques of what happened with HoT and leading into the next expansion.

I can’t say I’m optimistic about the next expansion right now, but I am hopeful and doing my best to keep my mind open. Hopefully Zadorojny will deliver a fantastic expansion out of the gate, with a solid plan for post-launch content that they can start delivering on quickly after launch.

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McGuffn

I think the LS revealed glaring issues that they’re unwilling to fix. They keep putting in annoying garbage like jumping puzzles that are just a vast area with no idea where to go. Or the find 60 rocks in draconis mons achievement. That was fun. or the other hide and seek achievements that overlap it, so that if you miss one (and some are invisible) you have to go to the same out of the way area in the middle of nowhere you were at the first time. Or the practice of hiding these things in holes you can’t jump out of. or the events that are so overtuned or scale up from people not even doing the event that you can never complete them.

I look at the game and think all this stuff and more will be in the expansion so why bother. They aren’t going to change.

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Matthäus Wey

I love those Jumping Puzzles, they are one reason for me to play this game xd

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kgptzac

If you mean what you said literally, then a lot of games on Steam right now would make your day a lot better than keep playing GW2 tbh.

I’m firmly against making jumping puzzles more prominent than they already are. The game’s engine clearly does not really support this type of play, and camera bobbing up and down when closely hugging a wall is a very good way to give people motion sickness.

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McGuffn

I don’t mind the jumping puzzles really, and could defend just about anything they added. Until Sopor Titanum. It is too long. There’s no direction. Enemies attack you during it. About the only positive thing about it is there isn’t a timer on it. And you know they will make something even worse and add a timer to it.

The people that came up with that should be thrown into the nearest volcano .

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Castagere Shaikura

I agree here. When this game launched it was so much fun. Now it just isn’t. And its because of them adding junk that they think is fun. They over complicate things that should be fun. HOT proves they will never learn because they think they are not ever wrong in what they do.

Godnaz
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Godnaz

Pre-ordered HoT and while it had plenty of mechanics issues to speak of, I don’t regret it because of the amount of content we got in the end.

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Matthew Riddle

If you consider all 6 FREE maps + story we got after HoT, it was well worth it.

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