As you all know, we had a chance to sit down with Colin this week. It just so happened that it took place in London, so our very own shanaeri rynale got to attend along with other community members from other fansites.
First, we want to thank you for all the questions you guys submitted across all of the fansites. Because of you, we had a vast assortment of questions to ask Colin. Secondly, we'd like to thank ArenaNet and Colin for the invitation and the opportunity to make this all happen!
Now that that's said, I received a lot of files from shan yesterday so I've decided to post the Q&A in chunks as I write them out. Also, I'd like to go ahead and apologize for the issues I had with the questions. It was really hard to hear (and sometimes understand) what other people were asking Colin so I just summarized them as best as I could.
Without further ado, here's the first bit of the Q&A:
Colin: It's giving you a chance to decide when the guild gets to do stuff together. The guild leader and their officers can kick off [...] for everybody.
It's really spread out all over the game and it depends on what type of mission you're doing. There's actually five completely different types of missions and based on which one it actually is. So like, bounty hunters is the really basic one. It's the one you get right off the bat when the release first goes out. You actually have to unlock all the other mission types. It's literally going to take months for your guild to build up enough influence to unlock all of them. So it's really a progression here. You're moving [...] to [...]. It's on the whole unlock tree like any of the other guild abilities so you work your way down all of that stuff and you use that to kick off missions as well. So finally you have a use for that giant pile of influence. Some guilds are probably going to tear through it pretty quick because they have huge piles of it, but it's going to take a while. With bounty hunts, you can pick which tier of bounty hunts you go on and it randomly generates bosses in different zones that get spawned because the bounty hunt started and it spreads your guild out all over the place. If you do a really big bounty hunt it will actually spread your guild out in about five different zones where there's a boss in each and you have, say, 15 minutes to kill all five of them. So you actually have to split your guild into five different groups and send them to all of the maps [...].
Are you going to add any other features for guilds? (Had trouble catching what features were mentioned.)
Colin: That's all stuff we'd like to add. We're not doing it in this one, but in the long run, we need to get all that stuff in for sure. If you look at what features are available in the game, there's a lot of stuff for small groups to do, but there's not a lot of really compelling stuff for larger groups - in particular for guilds other than WvW. We're really trying to head down that list and get a lot more of that stuff in. For building a good community, that's a really key component that we have to add and that's a big focus for us this year - it's just trying to get more of that "what can my guild do together," "how do we interact together," "how do we maintain a strong guild," and "what's the content we can do?"
Question about the guild UI.
Colin: That's the type of stuff that we're not building yet but I think that'd be included in the list of stuff that we're looking at with other guild upgrades. We need to get to the point where we're able to just sit down and start getting people working on it. We're always leveraged by how many engineers we have. That's our biggest issue at any given time - how many programmers do we have that can actually code anything. I always get a kick out of it because the feedback all the time is, "why aren't you building X, Y and Z when you're building this instead?" There's a bunch of stuff that we build that takes designers and artists to do. We have a ton of designers and artists and there's then there's certain things that takes programmers to do and we only have so many of them. It's always managing what they're doing on their lists, which is huge, versus content that's easy for us to do. But yeah, I think it'd be great for us to go at some point as well. Just anything that playing in a community easier.
Question about smaller guilds.
Colin: Our hope would be that will dynamically come out of this emergent game-play. Like the bounties have different tiers so there's a small tier that small guilds can do, so where it's say, three bosses in three zones. Ten or fifteen people can do that as a small guild. You can pick which tier you want to kick off on based on how many people you have online. But maybe one of the things that will come out of that is, "well, our guild's going to do a tier 3 bounty and it takes a lot more people to do, so let's get three guilds together and our guild will kick one off and you help us do ours and then we'll help you do yours," so each of the three guilds all work together to accomplish it. I think that kind of emergent game-play will hopefully come out of that, for sure. We don't really know what to expect just because it's so hard to test internally to see what guilds are going to do when this goes live. So some of this is - we're going to put it out and we're just going to see how guilds interact with it and what they do. That'll help us determine what other features and additions [...].
Question about custom chat channels.
Colin: Anything that we can do that will help communication across communities is really important.
Question about addition functionality with the commander book.
Colin: Certainly there will be. That's on the list of stuff that we're not working on currently, but down the road that's we absolutely want to make that more involved, more stuff that you can do as a commander. That's the type of stuff that's really anything you guys can think of that is really strong community supporting tools - those are the types of things that we really want to do this year to make it easier to play with other people, coordinate with other people. The more of that we can do, it's just better for the game.
So you'd like to get as much as that done this year as possible?
Colin: Yeah, if we really can I think that blog post I did earlier this year was kind of trying to set the table for expectations of what we're going to do this year. It's a lot less of opening new zones and things like that and a lot more of, let's take the core of the game and try to make that as solid as we possibly can and build on that and make that a lot better because there's a lot room for improvement in that and I think that we want to focus on that.
Question on the commander book being character bound instead of account bound. Any possibility of that changing?
Colin: I don't actually know. I asked the WvW team about that and they had some good reasons why [...], for getting to know who the commander is and they don't want that concept where if you've got 20 characters on your account and you login with each one as a different commander - they really want people to get to know and recognize a specific commander. That was the reason why they made them character specific. If that were to change, if it became less important for a commander to be a known name that people recognize and follow, that could be different, but I think that's the primary reason behind that - so that you really get to know someone and know that name.
It's a shame that you have to buy it. It's a shame that there's no prerequisite like a certain amount of kills.
Colin: Or a voting system where people on your server vote you up. It'd be really interesting in the long run, but it would be hard for us to take it away from people [...].
Perhaps the additional functionality that you're hoping to add could be based around competence and time spent rather than gold. Then you wouldn't have a problem taking it away from people that have already gained it. Kills, badges, objectives met, [...] Stonemist. (Basically mentions a bunch of different ways for commander book prereq's.)
Colin: It's hard to gauge because that's not necessarily a sign of a great player. But some sort of system that allows them to be rewarded based on people recognizing that they're a commander worth having. Something like that would be really cool.
There's also a PvE use for the commander as well. (Group talks about events and how it's useful to corral people to certain areas.)