Eventually, however, the team wanted to expand the world itself. “You can’t go halfway on a world,” he argues. “A world is such a powerful thing. It’s where your friends are. It’s the relaxing place where you hang out in the quiet moments between challenges. It’s the home that you grow to love, and that you’re ready to fight to defend when the story asks you to. We came to realize that the world wasn’t the setting; the world was the game.”
And that led ArenaNet to Guild Wars 2, with its focus on horizontal progression, character customization, and social systems. In fact, O’Brien suggests megaservers amounted to crucial tech for the development of the game and its social emphasis.
“Before we had Megaservers there was a tradeoff between adding new open-world zones and keeping the existing zones full and active. Megaservers solved that. If players empty out of a certain open-world zone, Megaservers combine the remaining players so they have a great experience with plenty of other players. If you look back at our history of GW2 Live releases, you can see how this changed our content strategy. From launch until early 2014, we focused on adding new content to existing landmass. Then we introduced Megaservers. Since then, from mid-2014 on, we’ve been continuously extending the world, adding new landmass through three seasons of living world and our expansions.”
There’s a bit on Path of Fire, of course, a note about people pitching movies, and a fun stat: “About 90 percent play a lot of PvE content, about 40 percent play a lot of World vs. World or PvP content, and about 30 percent play a lot of both.”