Building a MMORPG Bridge

Ten Ton Hammer Interviews
Ben Miller, Design Lead for Guild Wars: Eye of the North

by Cody “Micajah” Bye

For all intents and purposes, the MMOG industry was shocked
when ArenaNet, the team that developed style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars and all
subsequent expansions, href="">announced that
they were going to be creating a full-blown sequel to style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars that
would be a persistent-world MMORPG. In contrast, the original
Guild Wars
tried to separate itself from the trappings of MMOGs and
held a focus on PvP and solo-friendly content rather than typical PvE
scenarios. ArenaNet’s sequel, style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2, will
be as
persistent as modern day MMOGs, but will still be free-to-play (once
the game is purchased) and the ArenaNet team is striving for
ground-breaking new gameplay options for its players.

Before a sequel could be produced, however, the ArenaNet team
determined that they would need to combine the lore of the original
Guild Wars
with its sequel, as the upcoming MMORPG will feature four
additional playable races and a host of new encounters that would be
totally abstract to the original Guild Wars combatants. Enter style="font-style: italic;">Guild
Wars: Eye of the North, the first
“true” expansion
for the series. In order to pin down our information concerning style="font-style: italic;">Guild
Wars: Eye of the North, we contacted Ben Miller, Design
Lead for GW: EN
and asked him a trove of questions. His answers are enlightening and
entertaining, so sit back and read away!

href=""> src=""
alt="Ben Miller" title="Ben Miller" name="photo_j"
border="0" height="150" width="100">
Ben Miller, Design Lead for style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars: Eye of the North

Ten Ton Hammer: style="font-style: italic;">
Guild Wars: Eye of the North has been described as the
prologue for
Guild Wars 2,
and that the ArenaNet team is trying to tie-up loose ends
with various characters and introduce the races that are going to be a
fundamental part of Guild
Wars 2
. Is this a fair assessment? Besides
the areas I’ve just described, how are you making style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars:
Eye of the North the prologue for style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars 2?

style="font-weight: bold;">Ben Miller: That is
a fair assessment, and you pretty much covered on everything I've
previously said so now it’s time for something new!

will get to experience a much more vibrant, living world where there is
always something going on, and something to do regardless of who is
online. We are really focusing on making questing unique and rewarding,
and just overall making it the most polished style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars experience

terms of moving the franchise forward, style="font-style: italic;">Guild Wars: Eye of the North
(GW:EN) pushes it to its limits, and in some cases beyond. So as
designers we are already getting in the mindset of where we are going
with Guild Wars 2
and I think overall you will see that in GW:EN with
us pulling out the stops and just going for the cool.

href=""> src=""
alt="A drawing of the brawny Norn."
title="A drawing of the brawny Norn." name="photo_j"
border="0" height="150" width="105">
The Norn are one of the four new races introduced in

Ten Ton Hammer:
Concerning the four races being introduced in the game – the
Norn, Asura, Charr, and Sylvari – how were these races
developed in the minds of the ArenaNet team? Were they considered for
Guild Wars 2
first, then added to GW: EotN? Or did you consider both
products individually and develop the races from their?

style="font-weight: bold;">Ben: A little bit of
everything you mentioned and then some, actually. The Charr are by far
the oldest race conceptually, and one that people here are VERY, VERY,
VERY passionate about. There was a lot of back on forth to find just
the right tone with which to portray them in GW:EN. For the other races
it’s more of a parallel development. It’s a
juggling act with needing to flesh them out and lay a concrete
foundation lore-wise, while at the same time not backing us into any
corners if we feel we need change something in the future. I would have
to say we consider both GW:EN and Guild
Wars 2
collectively when we
talk about any of the races, even humans. At the end of the day
it’s the same world and it's important that elements in that
world be consistent and reinforce one another.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016