, Lead Content Designer for Guild Wars 2
, has just posted an update to the ArenaNet blog
. In it, he discusses some of the company's philosophy regarding measuring the success of Guild Wars 2
and how best to achieve that success. A big part of that philosophy is to constantly evaluate how fun the game is and whether that fun makes the content compelling enough to stand on its own.
To that end, he relates that the fairly standard gear treadmill has been more or less removed from the game. While there is item progression through levels, rare items are made desirable by visual, not statistical, distinction. Dungeons, rather than having a tiny chance of dropping high-demand items, reward players with tokens that can be traded for items. Within those dungeons, variations have been made possible so that players can choose different routes to explore rather than be forced to do the same exact run again and again.
Dynamic events and personal storylines, Johanson says, are created to be varied so that players can have distinct and separate experiences whenever they decide to start afresh or revisit an area with a character. Finally, group dynamics have been altered for maximum approachability. Separate loot and XP tables for each character, scalable content to ensure there is ostensibly enough for everyone to do, universal revival capabilities, and separate resource node tracking are all created to encourage players to cooperate and share experiences.
After pointing out these pretty well-known features, Johanson laid out the role of QA at ArenaNet, explaining how testers are more embedded within the iterative development structure and how their feedback is as focused on bugs and fixes as suggestions and ideas. After QA tests, company play-throughs, and internal testing, it's the public's turn to get a chance to measure the fun of the game, so make sure you respond to those (admittedly pesky) questionnaires that pop up during the next beta weekend event