colin johanson

Guild Wars 2 designer on how subscriptions influence design - and the importance of fun

Chris Thursten at

In a blog post on the ArenaNet website, Guild Wars 2 designer Colin Johanson has described how the studio's design culture meshes with the game's subscription-free payment model.

"Designers of traditional MMOs create content systems that take more time to keep people playing longer" he explains. "When your game systems are designed to achieve the prime motivation of a subscription-based MMO, you run the risk of sacrificing quality to get as much content in as possible to fill that time."


Guild Wars 2 designer talks post-launch content and getting the community to play together

Chris Thursten at

As thousands of players are currently discovering in the beta, Guild Wars 2's content isn't structured like other MMOs. Rather than following every quest chain to its conclusion before moving to the next zone, you're encouraged to wander and see what events you encounter. You're your limited by your level, and as you gain power the amount of ground you can cover increases. You're also levelled down to the area you're in, limiting the degree to which content becomes irrelevant to you as time goes on. As well as the impact this has on the game's feel, it also has an effect on the way post-launch content will work. I spoke to game designer Colin Johanson about ArenaNet's plan for Guild Wars 2 in the months and years ahead.

"We have a live team of designers and artists and gameplay programmers who are going to be flying over the game constantly, dropping content everywhere” Johanson says. “Our goal is that every time you make a new character, you might go back through a map that you played six months ago and you're going to find completely different content.” New content, he says, will be spread across the whole game rather than concentrated in specific areas. As this happens, the events already in place will be altered to accommodate it.