Guild Wars - Interview with Gaile Gray (Community Manager)

On April, 28th, Guild Wars will be released in Europe. We had the chance to talk with Gaile Gray, Community Manager of Guild Wars and No.1 source when it comes to detailed information about the game. Read on for all the cool information Gaile gave us about specials events,

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gamona: Are you planning to organize special ingame events regularly?

Gaile Gray: Oh, yes, special in-game events are going to be a regular feature of Guild Wars. In addition to our world tournament, which will be ongoing 24/7, we will be offering other special events on a frequent basis. The fan community has taken the website competitions to their hearts, with incredible participation in our battle report and guild emblem contests.

In-game events will offer another level of opportunity for players, and we've been talking about a lot of fun things coming up. I look forward to seasonal events, perhaps opportunities to get special in-game items at certain times of the year, or short-term competitions constructed with a holiday theme. The sky's the limit, really, since with streaming technology, we can add elements of an event quite easily.

gamona: Will there be a solution for the problem with aborting players in the quests?

Gaile Gray: We are investigating options that would allow players to rejoin a mission while assuring that such a system does not also invite exploitation. There would need to be specific ways in which a player could rejoin, and we must consider the many aspects of this matter before we simply forge ahead with implementing the ability to rejoin. Some items of consideration would include:

  • Is there a way to detect a real disconnection or drop from a faked one?
  • If things get difficult, could a person intentionally leave and come back after the fighting was over?
  • To prevent players from leaving when the going gets tough, do they come back with Death Penalty?
  • How do we prevent players from abusing the system by starting a mission, leaving, and then rejoining right at the end to get full credit for mission completion?
  • If we allow rejoins, is there a limitation on the number? Are players allowed to change the skills in their skill belt before they rejoin a mission?
  • What mechanism would prevent a team from having players strategically leave and rejoin in an effort to tip the scales in battle?
  • Is there a timer, so that players cannot rejoin after "X" amount of time?
  • What about voluntary departures? Could we allow replacement players to join, if someone on the team has to leave?

We're very aware that unintentional disconnections do take place. At this point, the many facets of the problem are still being examined and the best answer from the dozens of possible answers will be selected and implemented in the game. We are adamant about keeping Guild Wars free of cheats and exploits, and will make choices that protect the integrity of the game while accommodating the individual situations that can arise.

gamona: Will there be new classes or races in the future?

Gaile Gray: In a word, yes, to both.

gamona: How many worlds can we expect and will there be the possibility to change between them?

Gaile Gray: There is one world for Guild Wars. So if you mean how many regions, or even how many continents, well… time will tell. ;)

Now if you mean "worlds" in the context of where your character lives or on which server your account is created, then the answer is that at present there are three: Europe, Korea, and North America.

There will be additional worlds in the future as Guild Wars is released around the globe. Do keep in mind that players can join with anyone from anywhere in the International Districts, and can find a world full of eager opponents in the Tombs of Primeval Kings or the Guild challenges. Changing one's world may be made possible, but such a move wouldmost likely be allowed only on a very limited basis. There's simply no reason to switch worlds often, because through the International Districts there is a mechanism for players to meet friends from other parts of the world any time they desire.

gamona: Will the chat be configurable?

Gaile Gray: The chat has undergone a tremendous change in the last week or two. There are great improvements in functionality. Players will definitely see a positive change in the upcoming Beta Weekend Event! Recently implemented is one of the most requested features, the ability to filter chat and in-town interactions. We'll have more details on this soon, but the chat setup is becoming more customizable and more adaptable as we near release.

gamona: What are the main tasks of a community manager?

Gaile Gray: The tasks of a CRM (Community Relations Manager) vary from company to company, but

usually primary amongst them is interacting directly with the fans. This can take place in many ways: Through one-on-one communication via emails, through meeting players at shows such as E3 or trade shows, or through in-game events.

And of course most CRM's are active in forums, as well. Interviews such as this one are another way to participate with the community. Beyond that, there are other things that a CRM might do. For instance, I'm also involved with our websites, Alpha Test, online Knowledge Base, Support Team, and asset coordination, such as screenshots, in-game movies, and so forth. It's a dream job! :)

The entire Guild Wars team values our relationship with our fans very deeply. The importance that we place on those who play our game is proved by the fact that ArenaNet started the Community Team nearly four years ago. You see, most companies build a game and worry about community as it nears release. The founders of our company decided to build a community right along with our game,and I think it's to the benefit of both that they did.

gamona: Will there be community managers for other-speaking countries, too (Germany, France e.g.)?

Gaile Gray: There most likely will be community coordinators for each of the languages in which Guild Wars is offered. They'll be part of my team, and we'll work together to help support the players of Guild Wars and to continue our policy of developer/community interaction and openness to the best of our ability.

gamona: Gaile, thanks a lot for your time! We're really looking forward to April, 28th and wish you the very best!