Guild Wars Development and Automation
It’s hard to believe that there’s been more than eight years of Guild Wars. So much has happened since our release in April of 2005: two additional campaigns, an expansion, two major live story arcs, new festivals, new content, countless new features, and quality-of-life improvements have been added to the game. The change has happened so naturally over time, it’s hard to believe how stark the difference is between when the game first launched and how it stands on the live servers now.
Over time, our focus has shifted to updates that not only help maintain Guild Wars but help the game maintain itself. With this focus in mind, we’ll no longer be releasing any new content for the live game except in support of automation. Our goal is to get the game to a place where it can continue to run and be available to all of our fans. We have a lot of love for Guild Wars - it’s the game that made us what we are today-and we want to continue sharing it with everyone!
I want to make sure that players correctly understand our intentions behind these changes and the overall push for automation. As I’ve said, we want the game to be in a place where it’s able to take care of itself. While we will not be producing new content, the Live Team will still be around to perform critical fixes for crashes or other serious issues. We want to support the players who made us successful by ensuring the game provides the best service possible without constant supervision and attention. Reducing the need for manual intervention makes it easier for us to keep Guild Wars running in the years to come.
The first change is to our Automated Tournament System. Contrary to what the name might lead you to expect, it has not, in fact, been entirely automated. Guilds that won or placed in the Monthly Automated Tournaments would have to wait for one of the Live Team staff members to sync up with them in game, temporarily join their guild, assign the proper cape trim, and move on. The same held true for removing temporary trims that were only available for one month.
Recently, we amended distribution so that only the top guild participating in the MAT received the permanent gold trim, and other trims (including several new colors) could be purchased by saving up your winnings from placing in tournaments. There are two reasons that we made this change: the first was to adjust to the number of rewards being distributed relative to the number of players taking advantage of the ATs. Handing out many trims when there are fewer guilds in attendance ultimately devalues the trims themselves, and there isn’t as much drive to be number one. The second reason is that this lets us better automate the system; the number one guild will automatically get their trim, without having to wait.
While we’re on the subject of the Automated Tournaments, we’ll also be adding another feature to help it live up to its namesake: map rotation will now also be automated. As with cape trims, this means you’ll no longer have to wait for the new map selections to be decided upon and implemented. As soon as the list is needed, it will already be there. The selection of maps for the entire year’s rotation will be created using the same algorithm that we’ve run by hand up until this point. That rotation will then be used for the years to come. Because the process to get to this point was largely the same, there should be no noticeable difference from a player’s perspective except for improved timeliness of the rotation.
Next, we’ll be making some changes to our weekend events. Specifically, these won’t just be weekend events anymore, they’ll run for an entire week on a completely automated schedule. This will be an incredible boon to folks who are still working on finishing out titles for their Hall of Monuments, as they’ll no longer be constrained to packing as much play time as possible into just the weekend. Now everyone will have five extra days to take advantage of these bonuses.
You’ve already seen changes to support automation rolled out to our festival content, but to recap, major festivals now use tokens that players can redeem for one of the special items the event offers. Players are only allowed to choose one, but the choice allows newer players a chance to get items they otherwise never would have been able to and allows longtime players the opportunity to complete their collections. We’ll be making changes along these lines to our remaining celebrations, so that the entire year’s worth of festivals will run seamlessly.
In conjunction with this, we’ve also changed the distribution of birthday presents. Characters celebrating eight or more years in Tyria now get a token that they can then trade in for one of the gift boxes from any of the previous years. The distribution rates for the miniatures remain the same, but players can now target their favorite era every time a new year rolls around.
With these changes, Guild Wars will be more streamlined and self-supporting than ever, traits that will enable the game to be enjoyed for years to come.