Friday, July 30, 2004

Guild Wars Interview

IGN has an Interview with one of the Guild Wars developers.

I' am actually stoked about Guild Wars because it is so tantalisingly revolutionary. Let me take you through my E3 experience.

The install file was like 258Kb, I started the game (no patching screens, just started up there-and-then when I clicked the shortcut), I entered in my account details, created my character and started playing. Normally with MMO games I download a 1.2GB install file and then spend the next three hours (or even 12 hours in the case of Lineage2) updating the game I just installed, before I can play, but with Guild Wars it was seamless. There is sometimes a delay when you load a level for the first time, but that's only a couple of MB.

The first thing that struck me while paying was that I couldn't see any other players. Normally the start area has a terrible amount of lag because so many people are connecting and then changing control settings or going through their inventory after connecting, but here I was alone. I now know that's because GW is both a combination of single and multiplayer gameplay. I was in my singleplayer sandbox area.

There where some monsters in-front of me so I told my guy to kill them (and the bot mapping is excellent so you can tell your guy to kill something a mile away and he will find his way there and do it all by himself). After I had killed the monsters I walked towards what looked like a market outside of a gigantic gate, but then this guy came running out of the market (an NPC) calling my character's name and telling me to follow him.

I followed this guy and as I was running behind him he was telling me about some elemental monsters that had gone berserk, and he wanted me to kill them. I didn't formally accept the quest or anything I just did it.

The gigantic gate with the market outside was actually an area connector where I later connected to a player populated area. The first thing I noticed when first stepping into this area was the lack of any lag. Everybody was running around, talking and trading without anybody jumping around in the distance. It was all very smooth, as if I was playing a singleplayer game, but these where all actual players just like me.

On the final day for the E3 trial a guy was added to the city with a group quest. Now I hadn't been playing the game much because I was too busy with all the other E3 stuff, but I talked to this NPC in the player city and he told me of this big dragon and asked me if I would kill it. I accepted the quest and whet to the place he said to goto. Now let me just tell you something, until this point I had never had a group MMO experience. Maybe on Planetside, but certainly not on anything like Asheron's Call call 2 where you accept a quest and then have to go find a group to do the quest with.

When I got to the area I found it to be a small village themed surrounded by mountains. This was just a player meeting area designed so that people wanting to go and do this specific quest could create a group here first before doing the quest. I was invited to join a group by someone I hadn't even spoken to and when we had enough players we all teleported to the quest area (the person that starts the group does this). Creating a group in this manor and getting into a quest that everyone wants to do is dead easy and quite frankly I am surprised more MMOs don't do something similar.

We all then had a great time going through this private (quest exclusive) areas of ours and at the end we killed this dragon. Afterwards I went back to the guy that gave me the quest and he gave me my reward (some gold or something), but the fact remains my first MMORPG group experience with GW was easy to setup and the most fun I had with the game over those three days. Setting up a group in other games is long and tiresum, but in GW it's quick and temporary. And it works wonderfully.

I am stoked about GW and since it's free we are all going to be able to enjoy it together.