colin johanson

Former ArenaNet Game Director Colin Johanson lands at Amazon Game Studios

In a move that will shock no one, Amazon Game Studios has apparently hired former ArenaNet director Colin Johanson in an unspecified role. That or someone's hacked his Linkedin to say that he's been employed there since April.

Johanson left the Guild Wars 2 team in March, telling fans he'd taken an opportunity that allowed him to better support his wife's career, see his family more, and cut his commute to nothing.

Amazon has been scooping up MMORPG developers all year, particularly from Seattle-based ArenaNet, prompting speculation about the type of games it's working on. It's announced it'll release more information on one of those later this month.

Your favorite Colin memes go in the comments below.

Source: Linkedin via Reddit. Thanks, Mark.

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Colin Johanson says farewell to the Guild Wars 2 community

Last week's big surprise on Friday was the departure of longtime Guild Wars 2 game director Colin Johanson from ArenaNet. Rumors and surprise swirled around the unexpected departure, but if you were worried that he had been forced out or that something untoward had happened, you can rest easy now; Johanson took to Reddit to give a farewell to the game's community.

Johanson's letter covers his time working for the company and the trip that he had personally taken from the early days of the original Guild Wars, stressing that his departure is a chance for new developers to take on new roles and distinguish themselves. It's an emotional and heartfelt farewell, and well worth a read if you're a part of the game's community.

Source: Reddit; thanks to Pete for the tip!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Hands-on with Slothasor and the Guild Wars 2 AMA breakdown

It's been a bit of a whirlwind week for ArenaNet, especially with a jam-packed Reddit AMA that contained the announcement that Colin Johanson has opted to leave the company for a new opportunity that allows him to spend more time with his family and less time commuting. This has, of course, left a bit of a smiley-shaped hole in the top ranks of ArenaNet that Mike O'Brien is temporarily filling, but the Game Director role cannot be held by the busy President forever.

Aside from the workload that's usually associated with a busy studio in the midst of major feature redevelopment, expansion development, and a director handover, the team added to that pile by inviting me to playtest the new Slothasor raid encounter that goes live today. In this edition of Flamseeker Chronicles, I'll share my thoughts on the new raid wing and will also unpack the key takeaways from the Reddit AMA.

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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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Flameseeker Chronicles: Examining Guild Wars 2's winter 2016 update plans

Guild Wars 2 Game Director Colin Johanson dropped a massive amount of information about the direction development will take in the first quarter of 2016 and beyond in his Q1 state of the game update yesterday. This is the second of this sort of update since the launch of Heart of Thorns and it most definitely hasn't disappointed in its scope and breadth of information. General comments on ArenaNet's development rationale paired up with plenty of welcome Q1 improvements that will begin rolling out as soon as January 26th as well as more far-reaching outlines for the rest of 2016 that cover future expansion development, more fractals, a major overhaul of WvW, and the commencement of the Living World Season 3. With so much ground covered in one dev post, I thought it'd be helpful to summarise that information and add my thoughts for this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles.

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Guild Wars 2 winter 2016 update, gliding confirmed for Central Tyria

As part of Game Director Colin Johanson's Q1 state of play update, ArenaNet has confirmed that gliding is coming to the Guild Wars 2 zones that we know as Central Tyria after being warmly received as part of the Heart of Thorns zone-specific mastery system last October. Switched-on, eagle-eyed fans had already guessed that Central Tyria gliding was on the cards after a little teaser clip was shown during a recent livestream, but those whispers have now been solidly confirmed as a part of the 2016 Winter update additions coming on January 26.

Central Tyria gliding was far from the only news to come out of the state of play update: 2016 is set to be the year of balance and depth, promises Johanson, with regular seasonal game updates with "a focus on new content and polish for our existing, successful parts of the game." In two weeks, we'll see the first of these seasonal updates that will bring gliding to Central Tyria, improvements to the Shatterer boss fight including a new achievement category, a new PvP Mist Champion, quality-of-life improvements for fractals, better event recognition for healer and support builds, new marker and promotion tools for the squad UI, and much more.

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Guild Wars 2 hints at WvW overhaul as WvW dev departs studio

A big revamp of Guild Wars 2's world vs. world mode is in the works according to a Reddit post by Lead Developer Colin Johanson.

Johanson was responding to a query about possible Engineer legendaries, to which he said that the team has had bigger projects on its plate: "The reality is we need the bulk of our own internal engineers (coders!) to continue to focus on stuff like our major WvW overhaul right now we've been working on for over a year that's much higher priority for the game overall."

World vs. world has seen significant changes with Heart of Thorns, including a new map and a restructuring of its guild objectives system.

Source: Reddit. Thanks to Moo Milkpants for the tip!
As Massively OP commenter Dystopiq has pointed out, Johanson's comments come just as ArenaNet's WvW design lead, Devon Carter, departs the studio. "It's generally the case that there will be no comments about internal stuff like this," Carter wrote on Reddit. "For a variety of reasons, but, that's just the reality of things. WvW will continue to be an important part of the game."

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Guild Wars 2 had a five-hour Heart of Thorns launch megastream

If you've got five-plus hours to kill and you're a fan of Guild Wars 2, you might enjoy checking in with the Heart of Thorns launch megastream. ArenaNet has published the lengthy session on YouTube, and it looks back at the past nine months of lead-up to the game's first expansion. The stream features developer guests including producer Tre Fitzgerald, producer Brian Cautrell, game director Colin Johanson, and host Rubi Bayer.

Take a look after the cut!

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Guild Wars 2 starts testing 64-bit client

Your Guild Wars 2 client could be getting an upgrade in the near future, particularly if you have the hardware to handle it.

ArenaNet Game Director Colin Johanson announced on Reddit today that the studio is testing out a new version of the game: "We are rolling out a beta version of a 64 bit client today if all goes well -- please give this a shot if you're having crash issues and let us know if that does the trick!"

If you want to test the new client, you can download it from your Guild Wars 2 account page. Commenters in the thread have already remarked that the game is running more efficiently and utilizing more resources with the 64-bit client. There's also an extensive 64-bit client FAQ for those looking for more information.

Source: FAQReddit. Thanks to Xephyr, Siphaed, Something, Balsbigbrother, and Twitticle for the tip!

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Johanson previews Guild Wars 2's road ahead

If you're wondering what's in store for Guild Wars 2 before the end of the year, Colin Johanson's latest post has the answers. Before he gets to those answers, though, he says that ArenaNet is seeing "massive player numbers" and that "the world of Tyria is filled to the brim."

Bug fixes, polish, balance, and performance head the list, as well as the game's first raid and the addition of new legendary armor sets. The new squad UI is coming, too, and ArenaNet continues to blow the Guild Wars 2 e-sports horn in the form of its first competitive pro league as well as additional PvP leagues, a guild challenger league, etc. The Wintersday festival will return, and Johanson says that the dev team will "double down" on things like combat visibility, spectating, and more.

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ArenaNet is tweaking Guild Wars 2's elite specialization system

ArenaNet's Colin Johanson says that the firm is updating Guild Wars 2 to reflect feedback received from players who are digging into the recent Heart of Thorns expansion.

He says that the new endgame mastery system has been well received, but that the elite specialization system will be tweaked to reduce the cost of unlocking every ability from 400 hero points to 250 hero points. Johanson says that players were excited to experience Heart of Thorns with the abilities unlocked, and ArenaNet failed to communicate its desire for the system to be part of character progression. "This means you will be able to access them much earlier in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns PvE or World vs. World and fully unlock them much earlier as well," he explains. "This also means you’ll be able to experience more of the expansion story as your elite specialization earlier on while still maintaining some of our core goal."

Adventure minigames are being tweaked as well, which you can read about by clicking the link below.

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Guild Wars 2 runs down last-minute expansion launch details

ArenaNet Game Director Colin Johanson had a few words to share today to prepare the Guild Wars 2 community for this week's Heart of Thorns launch.

In the post, Johanson covered four quick topics. The first was to inform the community that the expansion would launch with a mix of guild mission types, after which guilds could pick what type of missions they wanted to do the following week. Next was the news that the Engineer icon will be revised for battlefield clarity and that fractal dungeon leaderboards have more work to be done and will not make it for the expansion launch.

Finally, Johanson said that Guild Wars 2 is about to tone its battle visuals down a notch: "One change you’ll notice when the expansion goes live -- a number of FX for skills have changed. We’ve tried to cut back some of the visual noise of some of the 'noisiest' skills to make it easier to see what’s going on in combat with multiple players/mobs on screen."

Source: Official forum via Dulfy

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2 raiding factsheet

If you're anything like me, you'll have been bursting at the seams to find out what shape the promised "challenging group content" will take in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. We now know that raids are definitely coming to the game shortly after the expansion drops next month, giving us a new type of challenge to smash our toons against. The hype surrounding the PAX Prime raiding reveal has caused quite a stir in the MMO community, and we have seen a truckload of teaser-ific information surface over the last week or so.

In this week's edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I'm offering up a TL;DR factsheet guide to the new raid information that will fill you in if you missed the PAX presentation or haven't had time to trawl through the basics.

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