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ArenaNet's Colin Johanson on Measuring Fun and Success in Guild Wars 2

Posted Wed, Jun 20, 2012 by Martuk

MMORPGs are popular for their leveling treadmills and gear grinds, something that ArenaNet is hoping to eliminate in Guild Wars 2. In a new developer blog, Lead Content Developer Colin Johanson discusses ArenaNet’s approach to designing Guild Wars 2 for fun without the kind of systems that many MMORPGs adopt to drag out subscription times by designing on a principle of fun vs time investment and utilizing player feedback to improve the fun factor.

When your game systems are designed to achieve the prime motivation of a subscription-based MMO, you run the risk of sacrificing quality to get as much content in as possible to fill that time. You get leveling systems that take insane amounts of grind to gain a level, loot drop systems that require doing a dungeon with a tiny chance the item you want can drop at the end, raid systems that need huge numbers of people online simultaneously to organize and play, thousands of wash/repeat item-collection or kill-mob quests or dailies with flavor text support, the best stat gear requiring crazy amounts of time to earn, etc.

But what if your business model isn’t based on a subscription? What if your content-design motivations aren’t driven by the need to create mechanics that keep people playing as long as possible? When looking at content design for Guild Wars 2, we’ve tried to ask the question: What if the development of the game was based on…wait for it…fun?

Find out more about the team’s approach to designing for fun and why your feedback matters in the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekends in Johanson’s full blog.

Source: Is it Fun? Colin Johanson on How ArenaNet Measures Success


Arenanet may think they have avoided the grind - but beta weekend play at low levels showed how leveling is much harder than in Guild Wars. Secondly the new interface, which is entirely foreign to us who only play Guild Wars, is not user friendly and is tailored only to elite PvP players. The beta weekends felt like we had just gone back to work rather than being at home playing for the enjoyment of the PvE experience, especially when compared with Guild Wars (Guild is 7 years old so no new comer to the franchise.) Truely the games have little in common, beside names on map locations and we, our guild, thinks Guild Wars 2 is a misnomer as this is an entirely different game - one that may not appeal to Guild Wars PvE players like our guild, who loved the franchise not only for its content, but the way it playes (not past tense as we still play the game.) For me and my guildies, and we know there will be alot of criticism, but we will stay in Guild Wars and will pass on Guild Wars 2.

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