Guild Wars 2 Game Director Mike Z promises ArenaNet is ‘still committed’ to Guild Wars 2 with ‘long-term plans’

    
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In the wake of the massive ArenaNet layoffs that we’ve been covering since last week, Guild Wars 2 players have been – let’s be honest – positively freaking out on Reddit and on the official forums, especially once they realized the list of those leaving the company included names of very prominent Guild Wars 2 developers in key departments.

Game Director Mike Zadorojny has now addressed the playerbase, reassuring fans that efforts on Guild Wars 2 itself continue on.

“The Guild Wars 2 team is still committed to bringing content and feature updates to the game,” he writes. “The next episodes of Living World are already in development, Swiss tournament support is coming to PvP, we’re looking at more WvW events coming soon, and the return of the Super Adventure Festival is imminent. Our long-term plans for the game like World Restructuring and large-scale improvements to quality of life are still in the works.”

It also sounds as if the company staffing rearrangement will including buffing the team back up with people who’d been pulled off previously.

“The studio has recently been affected by layoffs, which is going to take some time to process. There’s no easy way for any team to adjust to that. We’ve had to say goodbye to friends and colleagues that we’ve worked alongside for years. We’re welcoming back some familiar faces to the Guild Wars 2 team that had been working on unannounced projects. After all is said and done, it’s going to take some time for us to adjust to our staffing changes. As the proverbial dust settles in the next few days we’re going to re-evaluate our schedules to make sure that our releases are realistic and allow us the time to make sure they hit our internal quality bar. This means that some updates are going to see delays, like the recent Warclaw, as we regain our focus.”

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Source: Official forums. Thanks to everyone who tipped this!
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Thomas

I have played out GW2 for the time being; the game isn’t adding enough, often enough to retain my interest. The Living Story content is generated too slowly and is (in my opinion) too punishing to play through more than once or twice.

I’d return to GW2 if they produced a new expansion (Cantha?), however.

I *would* be VERY interested in a GW3, however, particularly if GW3 was more of a throwback to the (much) better “old days” of GW1-style game design and playstyle options.

WrathOfMogg
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WrathOfMogg

It’s a shame because I feel like the studio has tons of talent and I’d love to see them go outside of their comfort zone and produce an MMO with a different IP, but that dream is dead.

I don’t think we’re going to see Guild Wars 3 for 8 to 10 years, and Guild Wars 2 basically has the audience that it has and no more, for sooo many reasons. So I don’t know what Anet can even do at this point to get profitable again.

I don’t know what would bring me back to GW2 at this point, but Living Story ain’t it.

Veldara
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Veldara

I understand everyone being concerned for the game and company but I’m seeing a lot of hyperbole online. Just give them some time to regroup and we’ll see how things go there.

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Fenrir Wolf

I’d agree with you but that’s exactly what was said before Free Realms pretty much suddenly decided to sunset. I feel that the hyperbole and pessimism is okay as it might inspire people to start gathering what they’d need from the game in case of a doomsday scenario.

Pessimism is useful to that end. It means you’re prepared. We’ve been unprepared for too many MMO deaths and some will never be recovered. In this case, I feel we’re being given a chance and it’s worthwhile to assume the worst because then we’ll be ready if that does come to pass.

If we opt for flowery optimism and don’t bother to get a server emulation project underway, when the game does sunset there’ll be no time to properly harvest everything that’s needed.

That’s why I don’t mind the hyperbole. To me, handled properly, it’s rational caution.

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Emmanuel Carabott

Prepair how exactly? sell your home instance in Gw2 in order to use the money to buy a house in FFXIV just in case you’re forced to move if Gw2 closes?

Sure Free Realms didnt have a happy ending how about ESO, Swtor, FFXIV, Rift and the countless others that after people said the end is nigh after a switch to free to play or poor reception they went on for years and are still going strong?

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Nathan Aldana

Thats the thing though. Its not magic, its not mystical unknowlables. Its that business works a certain way and that is usually to pripritize profits over people. And when they start laying off huge parts of a company and insist nothing will change, theyre lying.

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Emmanuel Carabott

No one is claiming nothing will change, of course things are going to change, even laying off just the cleaner will have an impact, be it moral, someone loosing a friend or simply an increase in anxiety as some employees will believe this is but the beginning.

Something like this will have massive repercussions, no doubt, moral will definitely be at an all time low as will anxiety and that’s not considering some areas need to essentially start from scratch as new people learn how systems work before they can become productive.

No one that I am aware, much less me is implying this nothing. This is huge, no doubt! But the options aren’t just this is nothing and total doom! You can have major shakeups like this and still be okay! Worst yet there is this thing called self fulfilling prophecy, if we give in to the hysteria and decide the game is dead and stop investing in it then guess what? Eventually the game will most certainly die!

Mewmew
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Mewmew

“the list of those leaving the company included names of very prominent Guild Wars 2 developers in key departments.”

So it’s not just the side projects. That sucks. For the game to continue to make the money it’s been making, you can’t get rid of the people working on it. You have fewer updates over a longer period of time, people start to leave and not spend as much. I get that it’s coming down through NCSoft, so the blame should go where the blame is due, but this isn’t a good long term decision for the company at all.

They may show a short term boost because they’re not paying those salaries, but when they take in less money in the future because of less or much slower content updates? Is it just me? This seems pretty obvious right?

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Jeromai _

It’s not like the updates hadn’t already slowed in the last year or so. The disinterest (or lack of manpower put on GW2 related tasks) was already showing through the cracks, just never explicitly specified. I would not be surprised if the player population had been quietly dropping as well.

In the short term, now there is at least some understandable rationale to why content updates will be slowed/delayed/nonexistent. Can’t expect productivity when teams have been broken up and re-orgs have to happen.

(A good question might be:could more productivity have been expected pre-layoffs, and/or made visible to the public? For all we know, there was plenty of work being done on those super secret unannounced projects… that may or may not have been some kind of future planning for where to go beyond GW2, but somewhere along the way, some executive decision was made to not go through with them and cancel the projects. Maybe economic, lack of funding, lack of confidence, lack of foreseen future profit in whatever was being attempted, who knows.)

The bigger question going forward is long-term. Will the company learn from this painful lesson and improve communication, plus include and actually meet targets on a roadmap? Or will they just continue their radio silence strategy until “it’s done” – which in this case, may mean until the game is done for, when the players are done with the game.

Pundits may predict hope or doom, but ultimately, it’s up to the passage of time and the remaining staff to demonstrate what they’re capable of. Player attention span has always been finite, we’ll see what their plans are to (re)capture some part of that soon enough, or not at all.

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Fenrir Wolf

I think it’s more that Heart of Thorns hurt them so much, and they lost so many paying players (which they wrote an apology letter for), that now they’re just scrambling and trying to figure out what they can do to attract them back and keep the game afloat.

Every MMO goes through this cycle. In the beta, attract the people with money incidentally by not having too much grind or punishing balance issues as you aren’t being paid a subscription yet.

Land a day one patch that destroys concept builds and layers on the grind because now people are paying you by the month and you have to keep them invested by making the game so much more difficult to play. This is irrational, yes, but it’s how it always goes. The pattern is invariable.

Introduce a cash shop as just subscriptions alone aren’t enough to keep the game afloat.

Add in confusion over how the cash shop seems to be doing worse with each patch. Incorrectly assume that players are leaving because your MMO isn’t hardcore, punishing, and grindy enough.

Land a balance patch to rectify this, once again destroying concept builds. Observe another dip in profits, then land another balance patch to see if that fixes it.

At this point, a self aware group of people would realise that there’s an incredibly distinct correlation between these balance patches and their loss of profits.

Sadly, though, this realisation often comes too late to actually save the game. You’ve already alienated most of your paying customers, who’re the people who like to roleplay with wild concept builds that buck the cookie cutter trends.

The thing is? Path of Fire is bringing paying customers (like myself) back into the fold rather than losing them, but the influx of those who’ll share their money isn’t big enough to justify the continued funding of the game.

If MMO developers would realise that their paying customers don’t stick around because of grind, or punishing balancing, but rather because we have altitis and concept builds are fun, they’d be successful! The sad truth is that none of them have yet been able to wrap their minds around this despite seeing the evidence.

What I personally hope is that after the very public Heart of Thorns apology, if another developer ever does put together a new themepark MMO, they’ll take note of where things fell apart for ArenaNet.

Levels don’t keep us. Grind doesn’t keep us. Fun keeps us.

* Collectables (god I loved those in Free Realms) and interesting goals which aren’t just a number getting bigger;

* Sideways progression to allow our characters to have greater depth without making grind a necessity so we can take things at our own pace and make our own choices;

* A compelling story with interesting characters to interact with, and a detailed world that’s worth immersing oneself in;

* Exploration that rewards us in ways both tangible and intangible (like the exploration path in Wildstar, or the charr garden in GW2);

* A varied amount of really fun activities we can try out, like the events in GW2 and the activities in Free Realms;

* Customisation so that we can really show off our individuality with both our characters and their homes.

That’s how you keep the paying customers. I didn’t play Champions Online for as long as I did because I like grind, I did so in spite of the grind because I found so much of the content to be quite fun.

I remember the day one patch of CO vividly and how many people it turned away from that game. Only to come back after CO had learned their lesson to find out that they were wrong about the game, but it took Cryptic realising who their paying customers are.

It’s a tale that repeats ad nauseum. It’s vexing to watch occur over and over again.

I really hope Heart of Thorns stands as the one very public example that’s needed for MMO developers to learn how to retain paying customers.

It’s not hard math at the end of the day, is it?

– I have money, not free time. I prefer games which respect my limited free time. I want to have fun and roleplay, not be forced into a cycle of grind.

– I have free time, not money. I prefer games which offer me loads of value for my subscription pittance. I want more grinds! More raids! Nerf X!

It’s not hard to figure out whom the most profitable group is, there. It’s the first one. They’ll spend less time stressing your servers, and they’ll give you more money.

It’s that easy.

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McGuffn

Whatever problems HoT had its (after the fixes) a better expansion than PoF.

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Frank White

I don’t know about all of that. A lot of this doesn’t have to do solely with Arenanet. NCSoft is bleeding out all over the place, and only some of that can be attributed to whatever Arenenet was doing. Arenanet might have been guilty of some snail-slow development when it came to GW2, but it’s not clear how much of that, or their focus on side projects, was of their own choosing and how much was dictated by their NCSoft overlords. However, ALL of NCSoft’s PC MMO’s having been losing money, except for Lineage 2. So yeah, definitely part of a bigger problem. Can probably blame some of it on mobile gaming. What revenue growth NCSoft has seen over the last couple of quarters has been with their mobile games, including mobile MMO games = blasphemy. ;)

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

The financial imperative is still the same for the studio. New cash cow required :)

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psytic

We need a,”Cantha is in the works”announcement soon.

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Barnoc N'Draak

Ninja greatsword elite spec for thief!

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Such a bummer. Hey ArenaNet, you put a GW3 out or preferably a new IP and I’ll pre-order it and I don’t ever pre-order stuff. More GW2 though? No thanks.

I think that’s part of the issue. They have a lot of talent there and that they continue to leave all their eggs in one basket isn’t doing them any favors.

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Matthäus Wey

How about a propper Roadmap then? We’ve heard to much PR stuff already and honestly, it’s hard to believe what they say anymore.

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Witches

You can’t fire 25% of your staff and claim everything is fine, also you can’t fire a quarter of the staff and claim that you now need more time because you have less people, you admit you fired people you still need and expect people to be confident in your product, fantastic PR…

Don’t you worry folks, just because we lost one of the wheels it doesn’t mean the car is done.

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Emmanuel Carabott

everything is relative… if you’re driving a 3 wheeled car and you loose a wheel, its a big deal, you’re going to crash. If you’re driving an 18 wheeler and you loose a wheel chances are you’ll be fine but that doesnt mean you dont stop and change the wheel which naturally is going to have you be a little late.

300 employees are more or less what Anet had at the time they released Gw2, if 300 employees were enough to create gw2 I am sure they’re enough to maintain it.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

From my understanding going through CDL school years back if you lose a wheel and you notice you better pull your and call some one to fix it, your cargo is your livelihood, and if you crash you and surrounding drivers are going to be rolling the chamber in Russian Roulette with a gun the Truck Driver was responsible for loading.

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Nathan Aldana

This. no sane 18 wheeler driverr is going to drive with 17 wheels if they can ever help it.

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Emmanuel Carabott

Where did I say otherwise? I said if they notice they blew up a tire or whatever they’re going to stop and change it and that’s going to affect their schedule. Naturally, if they don’t notice, they’re not going to stop, but none of that was the point of what I said, simply speaking as chances are loosing a single wheel is not going to affect the stability of the vehicle were as if it was a 3 wheel vehicle stability compromise is guaranteed.

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Eliandal

Glad to see them still looking forward for those who enjoy the game! As someone who left years ago because of their wvwvw ‘strategy’. more events is not enough (to bring me back anyways)