Guild Wars this month so we decided to sit down an chat with Community Manager Regina Buenaobra about the games success and it's beginnings.
How did Guild Wars come about?
When the ArenaNet founders (Jeff Strain, Mike O'Brien, and Pat Wyatt) were still working at Blizzard, they had a lot of discussions about the design underpinnings of World of Warcraft, which Jeff Strain was working on, and Warcraft III, which Mike O'Brien was working on. They thought that it might be cool to mix the two genres, since there was already a lot of overlap between them. Strategy games are more fun when you've got an emotional connection to not just your character but also the game world, and when roleplaying games are infused with a bit of a competitive dimension, that's exciting for players.
What were you looking to achieve when you first launched the game?
Even before Guild Wars was launched, the team aimed to do something different from what other online roleplaying games were doing. This uniqueness is at the very core of many of the design decisions-for example, the focus on player skill rather than time spent playing. The team wanted Guild Wars to deliver something different from what was already out there on the market, and have it be a success. At the time, it was a risk to diverge from the route that other online games were taking, both in terms of game design and business model. And of course, the goal was to give players a really fun and enjoyable game.
Why do you think gamers have been so attracted to the game?
I think there are a lot of reasons for the enduring draw of Guild Wars. Guild Wars provides a skill-based gameplay experience that includes a brilliant solo campaign. Here, a player feels immersed in a game world through fantastic storytelling and questing. The player feels powerful, in control of their destiny and their ability to influence events. Guild Wars also includes a deep profession and skill system which is really compelling from a strategic sense. The business model-buy the box and play online without subscription fees-presents great value for the money, especially in the current economic climate. These are all reasons for why Guild Wars is still really popular.