A while ago Jon Peters said something that has been taken out of context. He said that only two people were working on the things he was working on (which was true – but he meant it differently than how it was received) and people have taken that to mean that we only have 2 people working on balance, or PvP, or both (at this point it’s morphed into different things in different threads).
Based on what was said, I understand how it could have been construed, so I wanted to be as transparent as I can be, so that you know what’s happening inside the studio.
On the PvP team we have programmers, designers, QA and an environment artist (Darrin Claypool – he’s the guy who just finished making Temple of the Silent Storm). Many PvP features need all members of the team, but some are programmer intensive, or art intensive. For example, while we’re still working on custom arenas and other core features (which involve server programmers, UI programmers and gameplay programmers), designers and artists were able to build the recently released “Temple of the Silent Storm”. Because the map required no code, we simply worked with art, design and sound in order to support this map’s needs. Work on custom arenas requires zero environment art, so those two features (custom arenas and a new map) don’t impact one another greatly, as far as work flow goes.
For WvW, we have a similar setup. We have designers, QA, programmers and environment artists. WvW is a massive piece of the GW2 pie, and the WvW team is able to focus on WvW needs. While many of us in the company may give feedback/ideas/suggestions to the WvW team, they are the ones who actually implement and carry out those changes.
When it comes to balance, we have multiple people who give feedback/guidance/suggestions, even though a smaller subset actually implement those changes (which is what Jon was saying in his post). After we have balance meetings, a few of the designers implement the changes. If it’s a WvW change, the WvW designer will implement that change. If it’s a PvP change, one of the PvP designers implements it (again, this is what Jon was saying). If it’s strictly a balance change, then we have a designer do it that has the bandwidth (sometimes it’s me, sometime it’s even Izzy, but usually it’s Karl or Peters). Currently, when we have balance meetings, the following people are present in various combinations, depending on the topic:
- Jon Peters – game designer
- Karl McLain – game designer
- Representatives from the WvW team, including QA and design
- Representatives from the dungeon teams, including another game designer
- Representatives from the live response team, including QA guys who play ALL aspects of the game A LOT
- Other representatives from the PvP team, like Tyler Bearce (designer) and Roy Cronacher (QA)
- Izzy – lead designer
- Myself – game designer
When we’re in those meetings, we’ll talk about hot topics, and issues that are currently a big issue for a certain piece of content. We also listen to high level players, we read the forums (sometimes we even take the best-written posts, print out 10 copies, and bring them to a balance meeting), and we play the game to get a feel for ourselves. Just because you don’t see a change that YOU want, keep in mind that someone else may disagree. Just because we don’t do every single change YOU want, doesn’t mean we don’t care about you or the game. We just try to make the best changes for the greatest number of players.
I just wanted to clear this up to let you guys know a little bit more of what happens here inside the studio so you understand more of what Peters was trying to say. He’s just as busy as we all are, and with a lot of us gone for Thanksgiving (he’s not here right now), I just took it upon myself to try to clear this up a little.
Thank you so much for this post. I’ve seen that “two developers” comment taken so far as to have people claim that only two people in total work on all of PvP.
It’s ok, given what was said, and the way human communication works, it’s understandable why players were saying that. I just wanted to clear it up a little.
I definitely appreciate this level of openness. It is refreshing. I still think that some of the fixes take an odd amount of time (which gave legs to the whole 2 people argument). Again, these kinds of posts are a delight. It’s nice to get a feel for what’s going on. We may not agree with some of the directions but at least there is transparency. I, for one, welcome that. I do however realize that you all are incredibly busy and posting is not always possible. I wish there were just someone actively on the SPvP boards whose entire job was to post here. He could speak for you guys more often and quell the fear of the masses and update us on things going on.
That’s what I’m trying to do. We can’t spend our ENTIRE days on the forums, but we try to make an effort to take a break from development as much as we can to address your questions/ideas/comments/concerns.
And the reality is, you guys go for stretches of time without seeing anything new from us (patch to patch)….so even though we’re making a ton of progress, we can’t show it until it’s ready. Which means there can be long gaps of communication if we’re not careful. But things are still happening, features are being added. We just can’t talk about them until they’re ready.
I’m getting the impression (that I hope you’ll correct) there is no developer champion for PvE (hearts, dungeons, dynamic events, general open world veteran and champion mob encounters, etc).
I raise this concern because, and as I’ve already repeatedly mentioned in the Mesmer forums, certain balance changes to the Mesmer due to PvP are impacting PvE gameplay. I don’t do PvP on Mesmer so I really have no idea how “OP” the class is that it will merit nerf upon nerf every patch, but it’s disheartening to see this because as I was leveling the Mesmer, I was struggling with it more than other classes (necro, engineer, ranger) until about level 40-ish, and continue to struggle with it when it comes to loot tagging for DE encounters that are AoE centric.
This is something that I can comment on! We absolutely have PvE in mind when balance changes are made. Our designers, while having certain projects they work on (PvP, WvW, dungeons, etc.), are invested in the overall feel of combat in the game. It is a delicate balance, no doubt, but one we take very seriously.
Thank you for your constructive feedback, and feel free to make suggestions where you think changes could be made.