Train2Game News: ArenaNet on the importance of testing in making Guild Wars 2 fun

QA testing and beta tests are hugely important when it comes to designing Guild Wars 2 to be as fun as possible.  That’s according to a huge blog post by ArenaNet, which discusses how they’re determining what will make their upcoming MMO – which isn’t based on a subscription model – successful and fun.

“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?” writes Guild Wars 2 lead content designer Colin Johanson, in a highly informative piece.

He says QA Testers play a large role in development at ArenaNet.

“We ask our QA team to ask this question when they test everything that goes into the game. When they play an event, they don’t just file bugs, they write suggestions and ideas for how to make it better.

“I’ve never heard of a game company where the QA team is so integrated into the development process, where they can enact and impact change on a daily basis in the game. They aren’t just testers, they are developers who help make every part of the game better” said Johanson, adding that many Guild Wars 2 designers started in QA.

“As a result of allowing our QA team to be so involved in the development process, it helps us find people with amazing minds for design based on their feedback and suggestions. Many of our current content designers on GW2 originally started their careers in our QA department” he said.

The Guild Wars 2 lead content designer also discusses how important beta tests and player feedback are to development.

“We added surveys to the game that occur after you finish story steps, renown regions, events, and dungeons. Each of these asks players a few simple questions, but the most important question we always ask? “On a scale of 1 to 5, how much fun was what you just did?”

“From this, we print out giant reports of survey information, then meet as subteams and target the content that isn’t scoring well on “the fun factor” before brainstorming, together, on how to make that content more fun and exciting.”

There’s much, much more on how ArenaNet judge fun when designing Guild Wars 2 in the blog post, which should make interesting reading for anyone on a Train2Game course.

There’s more on Guild Wars 2 here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on how ArenaNet determine what’s fun? Is the fact that a number of their QA Testers have moved into design roles encouraging for you?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

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