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Wyatt QA

Patrick Wyatt Q&A 7/9/04

So we first met Patrick sitting at his desk in with his group of programmers. For those of you who don't know who Patrick Wyatt is here is his brief bio from the ArenaNet site.

"He was previously Blizzard Entertainment's Vice President of Research and Development. He was most recently the team lead and lead programmer of Battle.net. Previously, Pat was a senior programmer on both StarCraft and Diablo, and wrote the multiplayer code for both games. He was also a producer and senior programmer on Warcraft II, for which he wrote both the networking and multiplayer code, and producer and lead programmer for Warcraft I. Pat also worked on Lost Vikings, Battle Chess, Rock and Roll Racing, Death and Return of Superman, and Justice League Task Force. Pat was employed at Blizzard more than eight years."

His current title is Founder and Programmer of Guild Wars. The other members of the fan site community day and I were able to sit with him and throw questions at him. We did not have recording devices other than our pen and paper. So what you will see over the next few days will be 5 representations of the same material. I am sure I will miss some things that others may have please feel free to tell me about it in the forums and I will try to clear it up. Below is a list of the five members as well Gaile Gray who was sitting in as "coordinator" and was handy in case anyone needed something answered.

Joe Lay (Meatman), The Guild Hall
Francois (Frank) Messier (Mesklinite), TheGuildWars.net
Gerry Toews (Chile), RPGStars
John Warson (Warnock), Guild Wars LQGaming
Richard Yale (Geograd), Guild Wars Warcry

After we all gathered and opened our refreshments we waited a few minutes while Patrick met with one of the other programmers. When he came in he told us about their Router issues which they currently share with other NCSoft games and their push to gain more access to their own bandwidth abilities. He then told us he has been working a lot more on the network structure and programming side of the game so he is not the final word on game design. Then we had our introductions and he opened the floor to discussion.

I did not write down who asked the questions so I will just number the questions and Answers. Remember everyone in the room was throwing questions and comments so what I have gathered are my best attempt to bring the information together in a cohesive format.

1) How many users do you expect the servers to be able to hold?
A) I see it as limitless. We don't want players to have any problems logging onto the servers at any time. If players do have problems then they will let ten of their friends no and the problems will increase. Soon word of the problems will be throughout the community. So our only concern is to guess to know how many users we will have to prepare for at launch. Using E3 for Everyone as an example we had 200,000 users log in. So we could use those numbers to prepare and purchase (He went through a list of the different servers I dare not try to repeat) for the 200,000 user in the U.S. and Korea. So currently we are purchasing enough hardware for what we perceive our need will be. Thus ensuring that we will have the ability to provide limitless connections to all who want to play guild Wars.

2) How are instances being implemented into the game? How has the streaming technology allowed you to develop the game?
A) The design model has allowed us to develop the game live. As we implement new information into the game we can instantly see how the game works around this new material. We can then fix any of the problems that may appear. As an example when he worked for Blizzard and they designed the Warcraft II chat interface it had problems. However the developers were able to use them so they didn't have the feedback on the problems the interface caused. Therefore they shipped it with that interface and players had to deal with the problems. With Guild Wars they are able to instantly get feedback from alpha testers as well as from playing the new builds.

3) Will there be guild forums for the game? Where will they be located?
A) We would like to have a built in forums system within the game. These forums would probably be located within the guild tab.

4) Will the game support Voice Chat?
A) Chat features would be possible but unlikely to be implemented. The problem with voice chat is the amount of bandwidth that voice chat requires. From our calculations the bandwidth for the voice chat feature would equal the total bandwidth usage for the rest of the game. They of course love the feature and voice chat is one of the main reasons we have implemented Windowed mode for Guild Wars so players can use third party applications.

5) Will there be shared storage between characters on the same account?
A) There will be shared storage space. We are still working on the implementation of this storage space in the game. (Side note - We also asked this question of Gaile earlier and she said the same.)

6) Will there be a guild storage, or guild money storage?
A) We are still deciding on guild storage space. We do have concerns about monetary storage. These concerns come from how guilds would be able to track their monetary inputs and withdrawals. How much did a player put in verse how much they take out of storage?

7) Will there be replays of the different missions that we undertake?
A) This is not an intended feature for the game however a little secret is that we currently save all mission data and are able to play back the data to find out where bugs may have occurred. The saved information is in data format so actually having game replays would mean storing where characters and things were at a certain time. There could also be problems with replays after new builds were implementing causing problems with the replays.

8) Can you be in multiple guilds at the same time?
A) No. There would be a number of problems that would occur with world incentives i.e. which guild flag would be held for the tournament winning teams if players belonged to multiple guilds. There also would be a number of problems dealing with communication if each of your characters belonged to more than one guild.

9) Guild creation limitations, how large will guilds have to be to create and will there be maximum guild sizes?
A) We want to make sure that Guild membership will mean something. We don't want players to join guilds and then find out that no one is ever online for that guild. Or maybe you can never find a large enough group out of your guild to field a team. However we also want to make joining and creating guilds fairly simple. To actually create a guild you only need one character and then there may be a nominal fee, like 1 gold piece or something very minimal. As far as a maximum number of guild members there will be an original maximum of say 16 members however you will be able to possibly purchase upgrades to your guild hall. With each guild upgrade you may be able to have more members of your guild.

10) Tell us more about how Guild halls will work? Will there be different styles of Guild Halls and will they be customizable?
A) Guild halls will be a place for congregation of guild members. They will also be integrated into some of the pvp or guild verse guild missions. For these battles you will be able to hire different NPC mercenaries like Guild thieves to protect your hall, while another guild may be able to buy some NPC mages to protect their guild hall. Once one of these mercenaries is dead they are dead. We also hope to have differences in the appearance of guild halls, although how much customizability still remains to be seen. We also plan on implementing a guild hall icon on the map so you can quickly warp to your guild hall. You will also be able to go to your guild tab and click on one of your guild mates and warp to where they are currently at. So if they happen to be in the guild hall you will warp there or if they are in a mission you will be able to possibly warp there as well. It is also important to us that all Guild verse Guild combat regarding the Guild halls is completely consensual. This means you will only be able to attack someone's guild hall in instanced missions where they have the ability to meet you in combat.

11) What type of trading market will there be?
A) The current system of having to drop items sucks. We will definitely be implementing a trade system into the game. We are planning something similar to the trade system of Diablo II but more complex. The system would require that both parties consent to the trade and that no quick switches occurred before the player has a chance to react. The trading players will have to agree before the trade is completed.

12) Will players be able to trade items to vendor merchants and then be able to purchase them back?
A) We may implement this however I am not sure better question to ask the content guys.

13) Will there be customizable guild logos? Will we be able to upload images as our guild logo?
A) There will be customizable Guild logos. However the customization of these logos will have to be done with internal game tools. We will most likely not allow uploading of guild logos for two main reasons. The first reason is having uploaded images would take a huge amount of bandwidth as we would have to download these images to all the players of the game taking up a large chunk of bandwidth. The second recent would be our inability to control the decency of uploaded images.

14) What other types of Player versus Player game types are under consideration?

A) Currently the game has three types of PvP game types.
1) Attacker Defender
2) Tournament
3) Single play FFA matches
We are looking into all kinds of match types and are looking for the types of matches that would be the most fun.

At this point we wrapped up and headed off to lunch. Look for the Second half of the Day Q&A with the content team soon. I would like to thank Gaile, the other 4 community day participants as well as Patrick Wyatt for all their time and dedication.

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June 5, 2006