Well Saturday morning I met up with Malibu of G.W.E.N and went to ArenaNet’s Dynamic Event panel which was chuck-full of crazy amounts of information. We were given a great surprise when Eric Flannum said we’d be designing a dynamic event chain that would eventually be implemented into the game.
The first chunk of the panel was a brief rundown on Dynamic events. It was a lot of stuff we already knew, but the most interesting part was that they gave us a map with a dynamic event quest list, which I unfortunately didn’t get a good image of. We learned a few tidbits of gameplay and new info on races. Dynamic events are made to be successes: there’s no incentive to failing one. Furthermore, they are meant to promote teamwork. All other players are allies, not enemies, when in the persistent PvE world. They also discourage completionism in the events system: there’s no reason to go back and purposely fail an event.
The tengu are back! Ogres are beast-masters who usually have pets. The quaggan are a new, passive race that get bullied by the krait, who are vicious and slave-driving. Not all races are black and white; some will be allies or enemies depending on the situation. Others are always bad and others, always good. We learn that the Norn and Slyvari have a lot of interaction, as well, and the Norn like to mess with them by tricking them into doing weird things: “Go kick the hive over there!” “Ok!”
After the run-down, Eric starts with explaining how we’d create our event: first he gives us three locations, explains the terrain, races, and major hubs in the area. The group chooses Timberline Falls, a 50-60 zone, as the setting and the conflict between the Quaggan and Krait as a basis.
We cover a lot of ideas over the panel with Eric and Jeff Grubb explaining how and why they will work and won’t work. Some were silly (MEGASHARK > INSERT WALRUS), epic (Underwater Super Weapon), and downright wonky (Tricking the Slyvari into raiding the krait towers?). I started zoning out by the end, but we eventually got a solid basis that involved training the quaggan to fight and commissioning a super weapon. After the event chain is complete, the Vigil will likely step in to recruit and continue training the quaggan.
Right after the panel, which ran over by 20 minutes or so, we met up with a handful of people from Guild Wars 2 Guru. Sadly, JR, Neo, and a few others had bailed right after (jerks!) and we didn’t get a chance to say hi! Due to time and trivia contests, we split instead of going to lunch.
I met up with Jess and we ran around playing games, grabbing shirts, hitting up the LAN, sneaking in lunch, and relaxing at the hotel before heading out to the ArenaNet fan party at the Hard Rock Cafe.
The party was such an awesome experience. We got to mix and mingle with a slew of ArenaNet employees, from familiar faces to completely new ones. Malibu and I made the rounds taking pictures and introducing ourselves to whoever we didn’t know. Eventually, Jess and I got into a lengthy chat with Stephen Hwang, a level designer who was extremely awesome to talk to. We ran down a whole bunch of topics, starting out with introducing GuildMag (he hadn’t heard of us!), what it’s like working with A-Net, and the general reception of GW2 from old fans and new. It was really awesome hearing about the game from another designer. Likewise, he explained how seeing the game from the view of the fans puts things in perspective. We all know what it’s like when you stare at your own piece of work for so long, it’s difficult to see it objectively.
I think the most important information I got out of that conversation, though, was just the amount of passion about working on this game that Anet has. We always hear these guys say how much they are gamers like us and are doing this because they love it. But to hear it in person, and not him directly saying it but just the way he talked about being a part of this team, it’s really humbling. It’s easy to see why this game is shaping up to be as awesome as it has lately when the minds behind it believe so much in what they’re doing.
Stephen was nice enough to give me a better run-down on the other employees people might not hear about as often but are just as important to the success of the company. He also introduced us to a few of them who walked by, and I tried my hand at convincing everybody to go to Pax-East (rumor has it they are!) and learned they will be having a small presence at New York Comic-Con next month, which I’ll try to go to.
All-in-all…it was a great experience. The connection Anet has with their fans is undeniably a huge reason they are doing and will continue to do well in the future. Dorkishly enough, I am really proud to be a part of this community.
The full album is here, and a few of my favs down below: