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Community Day 2


 

ArenaNet Office

The day started in the morning where we all met down in the café for breakfast. We then were able to talk some more about the first day and what we were looking forward too most. We all stayed at the café until Gaile showed up with Lisa the Office Manager for ArenaNet. We then piled into their cars and were taken over to the ArenaNet office.

So as we pulled up to the secluded ArenaNet offices my first impressions of their office is that it is in a very nice area. They have lots of trees and it has a very Seattle feel. As many of you may know the Seattle is known for rain and we were not disappointed as it drizzled for a bit which made the feel of all the foliage and trees feel like a great atmosphere to create games. I have a picture of the outside of the office and will pop it up once I get back with my camera.

So we entered the hallowed halls of the ArenaNet offices and the first thing you notice is the GIANT Guild Wars mural that they have on the wall. It is from E3 and they were able to get it set up on their lobby wall. The image is amazing and is awe inspiring especially as the first thing you see. We then started to meet the staff and Gaile began introducing us to all the developers and showing us around.

Look, art!

After you walk into the lobby you then move into a large room where they have a really cool silver metal looking wall with two more giant Guild Wars banners. You also then look to the left and notice some amazing concept art posted on the walls all divided up by area. If there is any doubt as to the sheer artistic ability of the Guild Wars artist I assure you they are absolutely astounding. So after a few pictures we moved past the wall and a look to the right displays the most amazing wall of concept art you could imagine. Gaile was kind enough to let us take general pictures of these walls so when you see these pictures you will absolutely understand how cool this wall looks.

After a few more pictures we then began our introductions with all the developers. The first few offices we walked into were artist offices where they were busily cranking out new art for that evenings all call mission. Each office had its own focus. Also there are a number of different duties that these artists work at. They have character artists who are working on the character animations, they have item designers, monster designers, you name it these guys are busily creating the art for Guild Wars and as all of you can see every week in the screenshots this game looks beautiful.

I wish I loved my job as much as him!

As we traversed our way through the office we began to meet the programmers who busily sit in front of their dos screens looking at lots of 0's and 1's. Just kidding they are very busy working on everything from the streaming technology to coding the game. We kept weaving our way through the office to Gaile's CR office. We then moved into The content offices where they actually design the levels and place the monsters and content into the game. Later on in the day we would be back there to see a demo of the World Builder.

So after we met most everyone who was in the office we made our way to the kitchen for a beverage which we took to the meeting room. There we waited for the arrival of Patrick Wyatt one of the founding members of ArenaNet. He showed up and we all went through the introductions. We then slammed him with a number of questions. I am going to post a Question and Answer with him so I won't spoil the info however remember it was more of a round table discussion so as you browse the content of the other sites we all will have similar questions and answers but I will do my best to post up the important information. Look for that soon.

Pat Wyatt

We met with Patrick until about 12:15 then Gaile gathered us up as well as Patrick Wyatt, Jess Lebow, Curtis Johnson, and Tami Foote. We all piled into the Limo which was a tight fit with the 10 of us. We also had no idea where we were going for lunch. The limo weaved its way through the Washington countryside until we reached Seattle where we were soon facing the Space Needle. We piled out of the limo and were quickly heading up the elevator to the rotating restaurant. I was very excited as I had never been to Seattle before and had always heard of the Space Needle and to have lunch there after arriving in a Limo truly made for a great lunch. Of course the best part of the meal was having the time to get to meet and talk to the guys who create so much of the game.

They were all extremely kind and generous and were more than willing to share information about the game and the design. They also were just a lot of fun to hang out with. After lunch we then went up to the observation deck and took some more pictures then headed back down the elevator. We all piled back in the limo and were on our way back to the offices.

Some devs!

Once back at the offices Curtis, Jess, and Mark Meier joined us in the Conference room for another round robin session. They are the guys who add the content and I am planning on adding a lot of the information that we got from them in the next question and answer session. They were eager to answer any and all questions, and they also were listening to all of us as to some of the ideas that we had for different aspects of the game. About an hour into the questions James Phinney also joined us in the round table. Like I said look for this section in the Q&A.

At about 5:15 we all went over to Darrin Claypool's office where he showed us the World editor. The world editor is an amazing tool. He showed us how easily the team can build new terrain, add in effects, put in items rotate and tweak different aspects of the game. We continued asking them questions until dinner was brought in. What was great about dinner was that we got to eat with the entire development team. We got to meet some of the other guys and gals that work their. What was even more amazing for me was that Patrick Wyatt sat next to Joe, Frank, and I. We then asked him about his time at Blizzard and he was more than willing to discuss this time. I actually have been a Blizzard and now ArenaNet fan boy since Diablo and Warcraft II. So to hear about all the details was one of the coolest experiences and how the ideas about Guild Wars came to be.

After dinner it was time to join the all call. For those of you who are asking what is an all call it is an aspect of the alpha test where the developers and all alpha testers are asked to join certain areas for testing currently these all calls happen on Wednesday's and Fridays. We all logged in and the trash talking began. The 5 of us joined a group and added 3 others and began battling in a Guild Team vs. Team map. We got beat in all three matches but we did have a lot of fun. After the three matches we meandered over to a Cooperative map and joined the mission. It was just four of us as MeatMan had joined his guild to help them out. So the four of us jumped into the map with our characters and we managed to blast our way through the map.

Character and item artists

It took us about an hour and a half so as we were finishing most of the developers were leaving yes that is right most of them work late into the evening. A lot of them also stayed and watched us finish the map. Luckily we were able to complete the mission and then it was time to go. Gaile presented us with some gifts which they took lots of pictures of which I am sure will be posted on their site and I am very grateful for. After that Gaile and Curtis drove us back to the hotel where I now sit ready to leave for the airport.
As I said earlier I am going to post up a Question and Answer as I still have to pile through all the notes I took so please be patient.

I would like to take this time to Thank everyone at ArenaNet for taking there time out and allowing us to invade their offices for the Day. I have worked at a ton of sites and this is the first time I have been treated to a Visit with a game company. Not only did they let us visit but they treated us Royally. Thank you ArenaNet, Gaile Gray, Patrick Wyatt, Curtis Johnson, Jess Lebow, Mark Meier, James Phinney, Darrin Claypool, and everyone else that works at Arena.Net.


Thanks ArenaNet

John "Warnock" Warson

Pat Wyatt Interview >>

 





















ArenaNet
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June 5, 2006