After the announcement of Guild Wars 2 and the expansion Eye of the North there was a lot of excitement within the Guild Wars community. But more than that there were a lot of questions. So we picked up the phone and called everyone at who could give us the answers.

And here we go: Jeff Strain (Co-Founder of and Programmer), Mike O'Brien (Co-Founder of and Programmer), Ben Miller (Game Designer) and Christopher Lye (Director of Marketing NCSoft) gave us a lot of insights into Guild Wars 2.

For the German version of the interview please click here.

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gamona: Rumors about Guild Wars not being profitable are still alive, although you sold an impressive number of copies. Is it really possible to run an MMO just out of box sales income? If you sell 3 million of anything, nearly every business model is profitable (laughs). Serious: Guild Wars has been designed from base to support a no cost model. Not having a monthly fee is something we're going to keep in any circumstance.

Jeff Strain, Co-Founder and Programmer, currently leads the production and art teams for Guild Wars. Prior to the founding of ArenaNet, Jeff was the team lead and lead programmer of Blizzard's massively multiplayer role-playing game, World of Warcraft. He was also a senior programmer on both Warcraft III and StarCraft, and a programmer on Diablo. Jeff was the creator of the StarCraft Campaign Editor and was employed at Blizzard for four years.

Guild Wars is a huge success for us and introducing a monthly fee would be a complete breach with our philosophy. Of course an MMO produces more costs than a standard offline game, which you just have to sell and then can nearly forget about follow up costs. But on the other hand, it's not really THAT expensive - even if this is common belief.

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And as you can probably imagine, companies running MMO which have to be paid for on a regular basis are quite happy if everyone thinks they have huge costs. (laughs) Having a no cost model gives us the additional advantage of not having to implement new content by all means just to keep people playing (and paying) to remain profitable.

If someone wants you take a break (and possibly come back again at a later date) that's perfectly fine for us and we don't have to worry about losing a paying customer.

gamona: You already announced some of the new races in Guild Wars 2 (Humans, Charr, Norn, Asura, Sylvari). What other races will we be able to play?

Mike O'Brien, Co-Founder and Programmercurrently leads the design and content teams for Guild Wars. Previously, he was a company director of Blizzard, where he worked for more than four years. He was most recently the team lead and lead programmer of Warcraft III, for which he personally developed the game's 3D rendering engine. Mike was the original creator and architect of and was lead programmer on that project. He was also a senior programmer on StarCraft and Diablo, as well as the author of the network code for both games, and was a programmer on Warcraft II. Mike was featured as one of the 25 most influential people in the game industry in PC Gamer's September 1999 cover story, "Game Gods". Sorry, but that's super-duper-secret. I can't tell you anything about that, not even when we're going to announce new details. What I can tell you is that the new playable races are even shown or shadowed in Eye of the North (EotN, announced for summer 2007). By introducing the new races and their stories, EotN will act as a "bridge" between GW 1 and GW 2.

gamona: With Guild Wars 2 you're going to introduce a persistent world. How many people will be able to play on one server/shard at a time? That's not finalized yet but it's more a design decision than a technical restriction, because our technology is able to handle quite large numbers of players. So we will have to put the player cap in a way which avoids both abandoned and overcrowded areas. Eventually, the maximum number of concurrent players is a secondary thing, because of our global player database which allows players to join any server/world they want to. This is a key feature to us, because it gives our players much greater freedom of choice than in other MMO's.

gamona: In Guild Wars 2 characters will be able to jump and swim for the first time. What was the reason for integrating these features and how will it affect gameplay? In the first place, players get much more freedom and the world feels much more free and explorable. In Guild Wars 1 a character's actions were quite tightly tied to the story and our world did not feel very "living". The ability to jump and swim will inspire players to explore the world more deeply. Of course, there will be a strong story again, but it's more surrounding the world than defining it. So it'll rather be a story inside a world than a world build upon a story.

Ben Miller, Game Designergraduated from the Art Institute of Phoenix with a degree in Game Art and Design. He got his start in the industry as a project manager for ARUSH Entertainment where he worked on Playboy: The Mansion, and various other titles.

gamona: Are you going to keep the "8 skill system" from Guild Wars in Guild Wars 2 or at least use a similar one? The skill system used in Guild Wars gives us great possibilities to make our game exciting and tactically challenging in the long run. The limitation to eight skills at a time stresses the tactical component and makes it possible to discover and try out new stuff constantly, even for high level characters. For this reasons, we will definitely have a similar system in Guild Wars 2. Unfortunately, I can't give you any further details on this. But one thing is for sure: The basic mechanisms of the Guild Wars 8-skill-system will also be in Guild Wars 2.

gamona: Will there still be teleporters in Guild Wars 2 or will players have to rely on mounts or similar means of transportation? We think having teleports in the game is a very cool feature, especially when you're playing with your friends. Instead running through the world endlessly, you can jump to any important location by just "pressing a button". We always try to avoid artificial bottlenecks in our games, so there will be no radical changes to the teleport/transportation system in Guild Wars 2.

gamona: We heard some rumors about the level cap, which is said to be much higher in Guild Wars 2 than in Guild Wars (150 instead of 20). Why did you decide to raise the level cap that drastically and how is character development going to look like after reaching the cap?

Christopher Lye, Director of Marketingspearheads the global marketing for ArenaNet and its products. Previously he was a Senior Global Product Manager for RPGs and MMOs at Microsoft Game Studios and worked on such award-winning franchises as Asheron's Call, Dungeon Siege and Jade Empire, as well as the original Xbox proposal. Chris is an avid fan of all things online and spent his early years at Microsoft as the online promotions manager for Internet Explorer. Recently he enjoyed some notoriety in the popular press for having met his wife through Asheron's Call. We know that there are some quite "precise" numbers ("Level 150") floating around. First of all, I'd like to say that there has been no final decision about the level cap yet. The numbers you heard should rather illustrate the fundamental idea of the "new" level system. What is sure by now is that we will have a much higher level cap in Guild Wars 2 than in Guild Wars or even won't have a cap at all. The reason for this is that in Guild Wars, the game does not really start until level 20. But after reaching the level cap - although there are so many ways in developing your character - Guild Wars is lacking public recognition of character development, because the level does not increase any more. That's what we're going to change in Guild Wars 2 by rising the level cap a lot. At the same time, we're flattening the power curve, so the difference between a level 50 and a level 100 character would be much bigger than between a level 100 and 150 char. This increases freedom in character development without making Max-Lvl-Characters too strong.

gamona: Just some words on Guild Wars 1 and its upcoming add-on Eye of the North. After the announcement of Guild Wars 2 there were some fears in the community that Guild Wars 1 would suffer a content draught till the release of part 2. Please stop the panic! :)

The Norn will be introduced in Eye of the North. First of all - no reason for any fears. We got a huge player base in Guild Wars, and the last thing we would want to happen is to dry things up. However, you have to distinguish the periods before and after the launch of Guild Wars 2. While we will firstly focus on Guild Wars and the add-on EotN - which will serve as a bridge between GW1 and GW2 - focus will shift over to Guild Wars 2 after its release. Of course, we will not shut down Guild Wars as long as there are players who want to play it. For example, there will still be holiday events or similar stuff.

gamona: When you talk about EotN, you often call it a "bridge" between Guild Wars 1 and Guild Wars 2. Does this mean that there will not be any further add-on or campaign for Guild Wars after the release of EotN? You know, that would be the "bridge of the bridge", then. (laughs) That's a good point. We don't have a definitive plan right now.

gamona: Last question: Will you be at Games Convention with EotN and Guild Wars 2 this year? We're just finalizing the details - but if EotN will hit shelves in summer, there would be no reason for not showing it at GC.

gamona: Jeff, Mike, Ben, Christopher - thanks a lot for your time and all the best for your future projects!