Train2Game News: Guild Wars 2 designer on the importance of taking risks in development

ArenaNet have posted a huge blog exploring the game design of their upcoming MMO, which they call the golden rules of Guild Wars 2. The game is set for release on Tuesday 28th August.

Among the six golden rules, is an interesting piece about taking risks in game design which Train2Game students may find particularly fascinating.

“Let’s try it.” You hope to hear that phrase at the end of a meeting, especially if that meeting was contentious, or if the idea discussed is new and radical.” writes Guild Wars 2 game designer Ben Miller.

“Imagine a playground full of kids playing. At its best, playing is making mistakes in a safe environment and learning from those mistakes in a way that encourages growth. Trying out new ideas or making drastic changes is the way we as designers get to play with the game.”

Miller says it’s a collective experience that tells them which risks work and which don’t

“It’s where we slip and fall, scrape our knees, and otherwise monkey around on the jungle gym. While we don’t try out every idea, we use our collective experience to get a sense for what has promise—what we should follow down the rabbit hole.” he continues, adding that Guild Wars 2 changed through development as a result.

“We look at where our ideas break, how they break, and why they break. You can see this in how we redesigned the sylvari, or in how we have developed the professions. They’ve all undergone quite a bit of transformation over the last few years as we have tried out different approaches and learned from those very playful experiences.” said the Guild Wars 2 designer.

The full post is available to see over on the ArenaNet blog, and is great reading for Train2Game game designers. They recently posted a similar blog on the importance of making Guild Wars 2 fun.

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

What are your thoughts on the golden rules set out by ArenaNet?

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

Train2Game News: Guild Wars 2 release date and final beta weekend revealed

Guild Wars 2 will officially launch on Tuesday 28th August, with a final beta test taking place over the weekend of 20th July.  ArenaNet have made the announcement following a Guild Wars 2 server stress test earlier this week.

“This is an incredibly momentous day for the studio and for me personally.” said ArenaNet co-founder Mike O’Brien.

“ This journey began in 2007 when we first announced that we were beginning work on Guild Wars 2 and that you wouldn’t be hearing from us for a while. Then in 2010 we unveiled our manifesto for Guild Wars 2: a living breathing online world that challenges convention, that’s designed for fun instead of grind, and that brings social interaction to a new level in an online world.

“Through all the long hours and hard decisions, we were bolstered by the knowledge that we were not in this alone. All along you’ve been there for us, cheering us on, supporting us when we needed it, testing early versions of the game, and above all, giving us your honest feedback every step of the way. Guild Wars 2 is a better game for all of the work that our community has put in.” he continued, adding remaining development time will focus on QA Testing.

“Now that we’re just two months away from launch, we’ll spend our remaining time optimizing, polishing, and balancing the game, to ensure that we provide you with the best launch-day experience we possibly can.” O’Brien concluded.

ArenaNet recently posted an in-depth blog about the importance of testing in ensuring Guild Wars 2 is fun.

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

Have you been taking part in the beta weekends? How important do you feel they are to development?

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

Train2Game News: Guild Wars 2 holding server stress test next week

ArenaNet are holding a short beta test for Guild Wars 2 next week, as the MMO gears up for launch later this year.

The server stress test will take place on Wednesday 27th June from 6pm through to 10pm and is accessible for anyone who’s previously taken part in a Guild Wars 2 beta test.

Developers ArenaNet recently discussed the importance of testing in determining how fun their MMO sequel is.

There’s more beta testing news, and information on how it’s useful for developers and Train2Game students, here on The Train2Game Blog.  There’s more on Guild Wars 2 from ArenaNet and NCsoft  here

Will you be taking part in the Guild Wars 2 stress test? How important is this process in the development of MMOs?

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

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.

Train2Game News: Guild Wars 2 beta tests taken “very seriously in terms of development strategy”

Beta tests are very important when it comes to deciding development strategy for Guild Wars 2. So says ArenaNet lead producer Chris Whiteside on the announcement of a second beta test weekend for the upcoming MMO.

Guild Wars 2 beta weekend 2 takes place from Friday 8th June to Sunday 10th June for those who’ve pre-ordered the game.

“Your participation is even more important when you consider that we take our beta events very seriously in terms of our development strategy.” wrote Whiteside on the ArenaNet blog announcement, detailing the ways it helps game development.

“At ArenaNet, “beta event” means exactly that—it’s a development-centric event in which we test our systems, discover new and exciting bugs, and get pivotal feedback from our testers about what is going in the right direction and what isn’t.” he continued.

“We have listened intently to all of your feedback from our first Beta Weekend Event, and we’ve made great strides toward resolving many of the issues you’ve helped us identify. These include party movement into overflow servers, chat functionality, key bindings, server stability, performance, and many more that we will detail in the near future.” added the Guild Wars 2 lead producer.

There’s more about the next Guild Wars 2 beta event over on the ArenaNet blog.

There’s more beta testing news, and information on how it’s useful to developers and Train2Game students, here on The Train2Game Blog.

What are your thoughts on ArenaNet’s view on beta testing? Will you be taking part in the Guild Wars 2 beta weekend?

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

Train2Game news: Guild Wars 2 beta scheduled for March

Train2Game students will have the opportunity to take part in a Guild Wars 2 beta later this year. That’s at least if they successfully apply for a place in ArenaNet’s testing programme.

The news came as part of a blog post celebrating the new Chinese Year of the Dragon, and revealed that the MMO is on schedule for release later this year.

“Today is Lunar New Year’s Day, and according to the Asian zodiac system, the first day of the Year of the Dragon. It’s an auspicious omen for all of us at ArenaNet, as we get ready to make this our own Year of the Dragon.” wrote ArenaNet Founder and President Mike O’Brien.

“According to tradition, the dragon embodies passion, independence, and ambition. We think it’s a perfect analogy for what we’re trying to accomplish with Guild Wars 2. We’re a company full of MMO and RPG fans, and we’ve set out to fundamentally rethink how you deliver an RPG experience online. So this year, the Year of the Dragon, let’s usher out old thinking – the tired old quest model, stiff repetitive combat, and monthly fees – and usher in the new.”

And the ArenaNet President added they will be rolling out a huge Guild Wars 2 beta in order to test the MMO in action.

“We recently finished our first closed beta test, and we’re now ready to hold progressively larger events. In February we’ll invite select press to participate in beta testing, and in March and April we’ll aggressively ramp up the size of our beta test events so that many of you will have a chance to participate.” said O’Brien

“And of course, this all leads to the release of Guild Wars 2 later this year.” He concluded.

The Train2Game Blog will be sure to bring you the latest news on the Guild Wars 2 beta, but Train2Game students can also keep an eye on the ArenaNet blog.

Beta testing is an excellent way for Train2Game students, especially those on the Games QA Tester course to practice their bug hunting skills. Not only that, but in an interview with the Train2Game blog, Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars said that beta testing is potentially a way to get into the industry.

The Train2Game Blog will be sure to keep you up to date with the latest beta testing opportunities.

So Train2Game, are you looking forward to Guild Wars 2? Will you be attempting to get a place in beta later this year?

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