Smartphone apps for MMOs are a fast-rising trend, so looking back it makes perfect sense for ArenaNet to plan something in that vein for Guild Wars 2. Tech Director Rick Ellis penned this blog entry with quite a bit to say regarding the thought process behind this development. The popularity of fansites, forums and even real-life meetups indicate the fans' desire to take the experience beyond just sitting at the computer.
For the vast majority of players, MMO gaming is about the social experience as it is anything else. The Extended Experience Team members seek a combination of functionality and the social appeal in these extensions, and so far they feel like they've hit upon a good balance. They've also had some fun, kept the fans in mind, and gone beyond what we've learned to expect from mobile apps along the way: "So, it's as simple as taking Guild Wars 2, adding water, and -- voilà! -- cool stuff happens, right? Almost. We can say that if we take a rabid fan base (all of you), add current mobile and web technologies, and mix with some magic ArenaNet dust, we do have some awesome ingredients for providing applications to our player base-applications that are very different from what's been seen in the MMO space in the past."
This sounds great, but as always, we Guild Wars 2 fans want details -- as many as we can get our hands on! We know from the PAX demo that you can participate in trading, view the map in real time, and chat with your friends, but Colin did say, "We're going to take this as far as we can."
Rick answered some of the basic questions we've been asking, and hinted at much more to come. He confirmed that we'll be able to run the apps on iPhone, Android, iPad, and iPod platforms and that a similar functionality will be available for web users.
How about a full version of Guild Wars 2
on the iPad? The answer to that question is full of possibilities: "Well, I'll never say never. However, the iPad is certainly not the same caliber of gaming machine as a PC... yet. Having said that, there are certainly aspects of gameplay, not far from the experience on the PC, that a mobile user might be able to enjoy."
Finally, if you want to sneak in some guild chat during coffee breaks or between classes but worry about receiving noisy messages during a performance review, you can breathe a sigh of relief. "We will provide functionality that allows you to determine who can contact you and when.
It's exciting to see ArenaNet putting so much into these apps at this stage of game development. With the team creating these extensions in tandem with the full game, it opens the door for much more in the future. Check out the ArenaNet blog
for all the latest details, and take a look at the gallery below for a view at what the Extended Experience Team has done so far.