A couple of days ago I gave an interview on the Greek website Video-Games24.com. The subject was mainly focused on who’s behind Dragon Season and what we can expect from ArenaNet’s upcoming MMO, called Guild Wars 2.
I decided to repost the whole thing here so that it can be easily accessible to the International community. Lots of props to Hyperion who was kind enough to help with the translation.
1) For starters, could you tell us a few words about you? Who you are, how did you get started and what you stand for?
First of all, we’d like to thank you for the invitation. It looks like Guild Wars 2 is slowly making its first steps into the Greek gaming community. A lot of Greek websites that deal with Mainstream Gaming issues are beginning to feel Guild Wars 2’s future presence in the MMO industry. That’s a fact that could not leave us uninterested. On the contrary, our goal is to make the game known to as large an audience as possible, while at the same time creating a pleasant community.
We are a community of friends and that has been our philosophy from the very first moment. The core of our team was born about 4 years ago. During these years we have picked up several Online Multiplayer Games. We fought battles in many MOBA titles, exchanged fire in a series of FPS games and roamed the worlds of multiple MMOs.
What brought us all close, after all, was our love for a certain MMO: Guild Wars. That game was our first home. That’s where we set the foundations of our community, that answers to the name Dragon Season. Among other things, some months ago we set up our own website. Our goal was the creation of an International Fan Site dedicated to Guild Wars 2, that provided content both in English and in Greek.
2) How do you want to experience the game and what kind of players would you want by your side, while traveling around Tyria?
Our Guild is not focused on one specific play style. There are people that enjoy exploration and spend time discovering every nook and cranny. On the other hand, some are content with playing only PvP battles. We are here to support all efforts of having fun and any initiative that is brought on the table.
What we are looking for are friends. People with which we can spend some time together, both inside and outside of the game, with the sole purpose of having fun. Our community knows no bounds. On our side we have people from all over the world. Finally, we set absolutely no age requirement, always assuming proper behavior.
3) Knowing the philosophy of the game, what do you have to propose to all those looking for a Guild?
That’s a very interesting question and I’m glad you asked. I believe that in order to find the answer, it would suffice to look into the philosophy of the game itself. Guild Wars 2 bears no similarity whatsoever to the rest of the MMOs out there. Its gameplay is based on bringing players closer together. It doesn’t set them apart, nor does it distinguish them in rival camps. On the contrary, it rewards them for aiding their co-player and encourages them to act socially.
How could a guild mechanism not be included in such a philosophy? Every player here can belong in any number of Guilds he wants at the same time. The whole system resembles in many aspects that of a specialized Social Network. Imagine an In Game, incorporated Facebook, where Guilds are, in essence, Social Groups. You would know for example that a friend of yours belongs to the group called Dragon Season and if you want, you can join him too. At the same time, your choice doesn’t restrict you from being in another Guild with another of your friends.
So in my opinion, in order to have fun in a game, you need to first of all respect its rules. For example, I find it somewhat funny that, while a game like Guild Wars 2 shuns the existence of the hardcore Holy Trinity (Tank, Healer, DPS), there are – even now – guilds that promote their demand for specific classes. Even when it has been proven that a Dungeon can be completed just by using 5 elementalists. Thus, to all those looking for a Guild to join, I propose that they should follow their mood and instinct and not the commands of a fake leader. Because that’s the philosophy of the game itself.
I happen to be one of those people that like to wander, with every chance they get, into some sort of fairy-tale. Even if it’s the basis of MMos, I strongly believe that Lore is one of the areas where every game can cover sufficiently. Guild Wars 2’s uniqueness though, has to do with the way it presents the storyline.
PvE is split in two categories, Personal Story and Dynamic Events. The former is a linear presentation of the storyline and is basically the Main Quest Story Line that every game boasts. It takes place in Instance Based areas and through cinematic dialogs and regular battle scenes it unravels the essence of the story.
At the same time, straying from the path of the franchise’s first title, Guild Wars 2 offers a completely open world. Quest Givers have been replaced by Dynamic Events. So, without having to talk to anyone in order to get a quest, you just have to go out there and participate in whatever takes place around you. A fire, at a village somewhere in the distance could be the beginning of a whole new adventure.
That system comes to greater heights with the writing talents behind the creation of the world of Tyria. Jeff Grubb and Ree Soesbee, leading the ArenaNet writing team at the moment, are top personalities in their field. They both have heavy portfolios, including Warcraft, Star Wars and Dragonlance. The American company knows that Lore is the game’s foundation and has seriously invested in it. There are already two books in the market that support the game’s universe, while a third is expected to hit the shelves during the upcoming months.
5) Could you explain in a few words the situation in which the player will face upon entering the world of Tyria?
Tyria is a world of constant change. In the first Guild Wars we experienced the clash between Gods, we faced the longtime rivals of the Humans, the Charr and we got a taste of what would come after 250 years, in the Sequel’s era. It is the Season of the Dragons. Five huge serpents have awoken from their deep slumber, their only purpose being to spread destruction.
All the Races are now united and focused on how to manage and suppress that new threat. The Humans have united under the authority of a Queen, while the Charr have cast aside their rivalries with their longtime enemies. The Norn, chased away from their homelands by one of the Dragons, are trying to re-group against it and the Asura are creating more and more inventions, in their efforts to be useful in the war to come. Finally, new Races keep making their appearance, like the Sylvari, who sprung from the seeds of a tree, ready to discover a world that is changing fast around them.
6) What’s the strong point of the game in your opinion? What’s going to set it apart from the competition?
It is true that every year, several new MMOs are released. Their majority though, fails to present us with something fresh. Guild Wars 2’s selling point is the innovation it brings. It doesn’t look like anything you have seen so far. Even if the developers of ArenaNet are using some aspects of other games in the industry, they know how to do it in a very creative way. That old boring Gameplay that has been the cornerstone of the industry is now changing, embracing a new era of dynamic play style.
The strong point of Guild Wars 2 seems to be its structured PvP. It is fast, competitive and full of all those little moments that can make your heart sing. It looks like the mix of a MOBA game with some FPS elements, presented in an MMO setting. It has the potential of reaching a position between the currently active e-sports and ArenaNet seems to be promoting it accordingly. Spotlights of tournaments with monetary rewards have already sprung up, as well as new guides on how to play each profession.
The game, at the moment, is at the phase of Beta Testing. With that in mind we can easily assume that several changes are going to happen until its final release. The important thing is that these changes and any suggestions of improvements are coming straight from the players. In part, the game is made by its own community, from the fans that frequent several forums and express their thoughts regarding even the smallest details of the title.
There is, although, a portion of the community that believes that Guild Wars 2 is stable and that the developer company shouldn’t delay it any longer. It is my opinion that ArenaNet should take their time and offer a fairly stable release when that is possible. All that considering the 2012 timeframe that, as we know after official statements, is the title’s release year.
8) We all know that a while ago you were invited to the offices of NCSoft, for the European Fan Day. Would you like to tell us a bit about your overall experience with people from ArenaNet, as well as all the other people that took part in it?
It was a dream come true. ArenaNet invited us along with another 24 European sites to take part in this year’s European Fan Day that it organized in collaboration with NCSoft. In some way that invitation was a way of rewarding us for the work that we have put in from the creation of our site and onwards. We were the only representatives of the Greek community and we believe that we stood up to our task.
The event took place in Brighton, England. The trip to the destination was by itself an incredible experience. The focal point of that little adventure was the people with whom we came in touch. ArenaNet’s European Community Managers stood by us like brothers and sisters, while the developers of Guild Wars 2 impressed us with their knowledge and their flair. At the same time, we got to meet in person our friends that represent Fan Sites from other countries. The warmth that a game’s community can generate is truly indescribable.
9) These days there are alliances forming, both in Greece and abroad. What is your take on the matter? Are you a part of a broader team or would you like to make your own independent community?
We are always open to suggestions. From the start, we wanted to address as many people as possible and that is why we chose to put together an international community. The boundaries we set in any level of collaboration are firm though, and relate to issues of philosophy. Dragon Season is, above all, its members. The people that support the community’s efforts on a daily basis. People who, with their suggestions, have shaped the culture and make up the foundation of Dragon Season’s existence.
Once more, we would like to thank you for having us. Your questions were very meaningful and thoughtful. We congratulate you on your hard work, and are look forward to meeting you in game.