In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, I will dig into what we know about the delay to the next episode’s release and will consider if this is the start of a worrisome pattern or a justified blip on the radar. I’ll also consider why even small delays cause the degree of frustration they do, giving some ideas for how to minimise the impact of cadence shifts in future.
“The Living World Team currently is hard at work preparing Episode 3 of Living World Season 4,” ArenaNet’s Mike Zadorojny writes through the community team on the official forums. “We’re excited about how it’s shaping up, but wanted to give you a heads up that the release date will be a little outside our normal release cadence.” If that looks like a fancy way of saying the episode is late, welp, have a gold star. But there’s a reason:
“Our key focus while creating the Living World experience is the quality bar we’ve set for ourselves for each episode. With the amount of gameplay and breadth of content in Living World, we noticed that we had an opportunity to make some adjustments to how we approach developing each episode that will help us hit our quality standards more consistently. This logistical change has had some short-term ‘cost’ in time, but will provide benefits to all Living World episodes moving forward. We’ll be announcing Episode 3 as the date gets closer, and everyone on the team is looking forward to playing this new content with you!”
Which makes sense, since according to the game director, Mike Zadorojny, the focus of what the expansion was meant to be about was radically different between the two expansions, and Path of Fire was closer to an expansion of the base game.
I had the chance to sit with Zadorojny and chat about various issues of both current development ant future direction, although we did not have that chat on the back of the griffon. (There were people waiting in line.) But considering the nature of the griffon and the talk, it might have been appropriate.
“We are fast approaching the end of our 2-3 month cadence window for Living World Episodes and this morning we were hoping to unveil the Episode 2 Trailer along with the announcement of its release date,” says ArenaNet’s Mike Zadorojny. “However, as we were preparing the episode for launch we discovered issues that we want to take additional time to address, to make sure it lives up to our standards. Once we have nailed down the last few details, started the process for moving the build to Live, and are confident when the episode will launch, we will release the trailer. Thank you for patience and bearing with us as we put the finishing touches on Episode 2. We look forward to playing the next chapter of Living World with all of you once it is released.”
Maybe next week?
ArenaNet’s Mike O’Brien actually answered one player’s Reddit thread on the topic, arguing that even if you don’t want to buy a thing or it’s not aesthetically pleasing, metrics point the way for the studio, and we should be happy if cosmetics like the peacock can manage to support development.
It’s a unique experience to be able to sit down and watch developers play the very game they made. Even if it gives you only a different perspective, sometimes it is worth the time to watch and learn a few new tricks.
Guild Wars 2’s development team recently took an hour out of its schedule to send a few members on a trek through Path of Fire and record the proceedings. Community Manager Rubi Bayer, Lead Designer Mike Zadorojny, and Game Designer Clayton Kisko sit down in front of the camera to get a little silly and subsequently explore the gorgeous new lands of the expansion.
Check it out after the break, and then get caught up on our own impressions a week in!
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.)
If you’re unfamiliar with the patch content, know that this is a long-awaited, largely reparative update that seeks to quell the most pressing issues the community is currently voicing. Zadorojny described the goals for the update as “reducing the perception of grind the players had with HoT, increasing the overall rewards and payouts the players get for playing the content, and getting to the fun faster.” Prepare for a long but worthwhile read: I’m hoping that this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles will help you figure out how valuable the patch will be for you and your guildmates, especially those of you who aren’t active right now. I’ve divided the information into handy content-specific sections, so feel free to scroll to the parts that are most relevant to you if you’re pressed for time.
Last September, a Guild Wars 2 player shared a story about his departed wife. She died from complications during the birth of the couple’s son, and she had been a fellow GW2 player who enjoyed picking up rabbits and wielding a hammer on her character, Hiralyn. It’s a tragic story we’ve all sadly heard before if we’ve played online games for a while: a fellow player, a person, a life cut short unexpectedly with a shared memory of a game.
Now, Hiralyn stands in Cragstead. According to the official posting, design lead Mike Zadorojny put in the time necessary to add a memorial to the departed player, placing her character surrounded by rabbits with a few lines of dialogue about creating a legacy for her son, even if she couldn’t be there. It’s as touching a tribute as you could hope to see to a player lost.
We’ve added some screenshots below for those of you who can’t make the journey to meet Hiralyn.