Monday, November 26, 2012

Reddit AMA

We were lucky enough to have several ArenaNet developers, most notably Chris Whiteside, join us on Reddit for an Ask Me Anything session.

What I thought was rather striking was that a Reddit user accumulated some of the most commonly asked questions on the forums and placed them in one large post. The user really tried to keep things organized, and I think the community is rather thankful.  However, initially, ArenaNet seemed to ignore/refuse to answer any of the questions listed, and would rather answer questions from multiple people, and not just a single user. As time went on, Reddit users flocked in reply to say that the user was a voice for them all, and that they would be happy if ArenaNet would take the time to answer them.  Chris is slowly working his way through them as we speak, and some of the answers are quite interesting.

Some of the biggest highlights:

  • ArenaNet has admitted to making several mistakes in Ascended gear design
    • Information detailing their release should not have been told to us by third party sites
    • The idea of Ascended gear was meant to be included in release ("the concept of progression rewards with a shallow curve bridging other rewards was")
    • They were meant to be included in all aspects of the game upon release, and were never intended to be soley from Fractals of the Mists.  Additions to several other areas of the game are coming very soon.
  • ArenaNet anticipated the backlash they would suffer from the news release on Ascended gear
  • ArenaNet has clarified that they believe there has been no change in their initial philosophy
  • Vertical Progression is indeed in Guild Wars 2, however, it is not supposed to be a gear treadmill, but represent a "very low power curve"
  • Ascended gear is intended to be bought with "zero" or "minimal" grind.
  • One Time Event Timing (specifically for Oceanic players) was not thought out properly, and moving forward they will be rethinking it
  • A fix for Fractals is coming soon, specifically the fractionating of players amongst different levels
  • WvW Additions are coming in the "near future" including "progression, reward, and beacon mechanics"
  • Expect big improvements on "bugs" soon.
  • Expect several big additions to the Trading Post in the "not so distant future"
  • Asura Weapon Size is currently being evaluated
  • ArenaNet is looking for ways to make cities other than Lion's Arch more populated
  • They are being extremely careful on gating content, and are currently evaluating their future plans
  • ArenaNet does plan to build on Southshore Cove in the near future
My Opinions:

I'm extremely pleased to see ArenaNet admit their mistakes.  As a person who vocally wrote about each one of those points, I'm glad to see they will not be making these errors again going forward.  I'm rather skeptical that ArenaNet knew of the impending backlash, and still went through with allowing third party sites tell us of this massive, controversial change to the game. Furthermore, if you intended to include Ascended gear in all aspects of the game before they were added, what was the rush to add them during the Lost Isles patch? I'm happy to see quality of life changes to world population distribution, ascended gear being added to other parts of the game, elimination of bugs, FoTM grouping changes, WvW additions, Southshore Cove additions, and improvement of the trading post.  All are common sense improvements that should greatly help the game over the long-term.  I have also felt very bad for Oceanics who have not been able to join one time events, and I'm glad to see ArenaNet address them directly.  

However, my biggest WTF moment was when Chris stated that ArenaNet's philosophy on Ascended gear currently requires very little grind.  The Final stage of the Fractal Capacitor costs 2870 tokens....How is that no grind at the moment?  A full set of exotic gear costs me roughly 20 gold, how can you justify a single piece of Ascended gear costing several times that? There just seems to be a giant black hole between ArenaNet and a substantial portion of the community.  If Ascended gear had very little grind to achieve it, I'm not sure many of us would have been so against it.  Are we playing the same game right now? Even if ArenaNet plans to fix the amount Ascended gear costs, that fix will have to be carefully implemented and will most likely need to include a refund for players with the gear.  It's all rather complicated, convoluted  and not entirely well answered by ArenaNet.

Once again, I'm torn between two very different impressions of ArenaNet.  They seem to design somethings very well, and are extremely well thought-out, other times I'm just left scratching my head.  


  1. Been following the AMA too and props to Chris for taking the time to answer all the questions and to the list compiler dude, sure makes it organized!

    Unfortunately I'm not hearing any of the answers I wanted, just the ones I expected. :P

  2. Not everybody felt like the user was a voice for them. Some objected to forums being used as a primary source. Others complained of bias. Don't get me wrong. I thought it was pretty comprehensive and well-organized list as well that pretty much did cover my own concerns, but I can understand ANet's desire to address multiple members of the community rather than allow one to monopolize the conversation, as well as the desire of other players to have their own concerns and opinions heard and addressed.

    My understanding of a Reddit QA is that it's meant to be more of a press conference rather than a single interview. That's also how I've seen it approached in the past, and how others have used it. You'd never see a single reporter dominating a press conference. Just playing devil's advocate.

    1. Fair enough, I did read two comments that did argue about him using the forums as a source. When I was reading his list, about half of them seemed redundant or previously explained, but I think the other half of the questions were fairly on point.

      At the end of the day, a good question is a good question. Though, I do see your point, and the comparison with a press conference is fairly accurate. I'm just glad that in the end, they did a mixed approach and decided to answer both the user's and other's questions. And however you judge Chris, you have to give him props for the (9, I think) hours he poured into this AMA.

  3. oh thank god someone brought up the asura weapon size thing, my asuran war/gaurs wielding 1H sword will no longer look like their holding a pinata stick, we can all rest easy now the AMA has served its purpose.