Guild Wars 2 “Extended Experience”. Missus.

By Kieron Gillen on September 21st, 2010 at 2:00 pm.

Extended experience makes us think that Guild Wars had, in the words of Scott Pilgrim, a sexy phase. But the lingering question of Guild Wars 2’s bi-curiosity isn’t what Arenanet are revealing today. It’s actually more details on how you’ll be able to play Guild Wars 2 when you’re not playing Guild Wars 2. As in, they’re releasing apps for the – deep breath – iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android smart phones that’ll allow you to interact with the world. We’re not looking at the ability to play the whole game on – say – the Ipad (but never say never, they say), but be able to “do” stuff when you’re not available to play. Oh – and the same functionality will be available via a web-interface for those without a poncy phone thing. More details and a brief interview with Rick Ellis, Arenanet Technical Director follows…

The demo for iPhone and iPad was shown at PAX this year, showing basically the real-time world-map display, where you can follow your friends around and watch as the dynamic events kick off. Also, chat with everyone on the friends list, so you can just shoot the proverbial and share information. So, if you scroll around the map, you can find locations and then give the knowledge back to people in game – eventually via ping! sort of thing. In other words, this opens a brave new world where you’re being bullied by your Guild Mates for your knowledge 24-7. Hurrah! They’re working on adding the ability to browse characters in a hero view, revealing their stats and equipment, including the source of the artefact. Basically, to start with, it’s a program that allows you to interact with the mass of information in the game and watch events play out, live.

RPS: Top level – the motivation for trying to do this?

Rick Ellis: Our motivation and goal is to allow gamers to progress and socialize outside the confines of the PC gaming rig. People have real lives, and when they can’t play their favorite game, they still find ways of “staying in touch” with it on forums, websites, IM with guildies, etc. The Guild Wars 2 Extended Experience not only gives gamers better tools for staying in touch, it actually allows them to participate in the game in a relatable and meaningful way. Why not actively participate in the game instead of just participating on forums?

RPS: Could you give some examples of how the functionality has altered the play experience internally at ArenaNet?

Rick Ellis: What we’ve shown so far are more social tools which don’t yet have a large impact on the player experience. As our features flesh out, they will definitely have an impact, and we’ll try to share these with the community as they happen.

RPS: You can watch your friends in game, playing live… is this actually a larger thing, so you can spectate on “the big matches” live? So, as a website, could we say “We’re going on an adventure… you can use your client to watch?”

Rick Ellis: Yes, the world map application can track any number of players; we just were showing off friends. It currently shows a single game area at one time, so if you are tracking players that have left the area, you’ll have to specifically zoom to them. Otherwise, the app will follow whichever player you desire.

RPS: From what you’re talking about so far, it’s basically information sharing, seeing the world and chat. Can you give any hints about what sort of interactive-possibilities you can see from the extended apps?

Rick Ellis: Ultimately, our plan is to provide as much of the PC experience as we can on mobile devices. Of course, it won’t be the same experience until mobile platform hardware reaches parity with gaming PCs, but there are already a lot of incredible games and features on mobile devices right now. The technology is evolving very quickly, and we plan on fully exploiting advances in mobile hardware to create a compelling overall gameplay experience.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

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49 Comments »

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  1. Ian says:

    Interesting idea. The potential for being hassled by obnoxious guild mates/friends who know you have one of the things that run it is of course ever-present but it’ll be interesting to see where they’re planning on taking it.

  2. Mashakosha says:

    Interesting. A MMORPG that allows players to have somewhat of a life and still play the game? Take note, Blizzard.

    • Rii says:

      (1) Blizzard have been moving in this direction themselves for ages now.
      (2) How is extending the tendrils of the game into every orifice of your life a boon for casual play?

    • Wulf says:

      @Rii

      In answer to 2: So you won’t have to be at your computer, logged into the game in order to do so? You can take care of some of that stuff on boring train rides instead? Then you won’t have to come home and log into the game to take care of certain things, seems like a casual boon to me, and rather obvious. Perhaps you have to be a casual gamer though to understand the appeal.

      As for Blizzard’s tendrils, well… Guild Wars has always been casual friendly from day 1, everything they do they do with that in mind. The whole completely optional grind (for those who don’t have a life and choose to do it), for example, is something that Blizzard could really stand to learn from.

  3. Archonsod says:

    It’s about time. I’ve been waiting for someone to do something like this for years.

  4. SpinalJack says:

    I can see this being used in EVE.. a lot

    • Koozer says:

      There are already a few apps on Android systems that allow you to check your skill progression, plan a schedule etc. like their PC counterparts. Haven’t played EVE for months, can’t remember the name of the big PC one…

    • user@example.com says:

      EVEMon. It’s pretty useful.

    • Nallen says:

      And Capsuleer on the iPhone.

      What’s the android version?

  5. somnolentsurfer says:

    So now you can stalk your “friends” in virtual reality?

  6. Okami says:

    I’m wondering how long it will take for Blizzard to implement this into WoW…

  7. Torgen says:

    Been wondering for years while there hasn’t been a chat interface where you could talk to guildmates or friends while you were busy with other things and couldnt log into the game proper.

    • malkav11 says:

      Seriously. If they’d implemented something along those lines for WoW back at launch, I’d still have several (internet) friends that I lost to WoW. I mean, I was playing WoW pretty heavily myself, but they turned off IMs and MUDs and MUCKs and such that I had previously used to contact them in favor of playing WoW, yet weren’t on the same server I was. So I couldn’t talk to them and poof. Friendship gone.

  8. Ignorant Texan says:

    I’m glad I have a Pre. There’s something to be said for having an odd-man-out device. I’d be lying if I said I have the discipline to not be obsessively checking on GW2 when at work, on the bus, at a movie, etc…. But, at some point, being away from the game has to be healthy. Right? I guess there’s the away time when one is a asleep, although I’m sure they’re working on ‘an app for that’.

  9. Rii says:

    First GW2 news that doesn’t fill my heart with joy.

  10. bleeters says:

    Now they just need an app that allows me to play in my sleep and I’m all set.

  11. Alphager says:

    So GW2 will suck even more time out of your life than WoW? This, the release of Civ5 and Minecraft will destroy my marriage!

  12. Plectophera says:

    EVEMon or EVEHQ for the PC, Aura for the Android and Capsuleer for iPhone.

    • Plectophera says:

      Amending my post, that was directed towards the EVE fellas up in comments. :s

  13. Tei says:

    Sounds good.

    I am looking forward for fun comments like “the raid will be controlled by the guild leader via iphone”.

    How fast you can type MOAR DOTS in a iPhone?

  14. neolith says:

    Will there be an opt out option for those who play the game so that they cannot be tracked while playing?

    • Ignorant Texan says:

      From the ArenaNet blog:

      Q: All this social stuff sounds cool, but what if I don’t want my guild messaging me at work?

      A: Rest assured, we will not be doing anything that allows personal or private information to be shared, and we will provide functionality that allows you to determine who can contact you and when.

    • neolith says:

      Thanks for the info! Now I just have to hope that they define personal information the same way I do… ;)

    • John Peat says:

      I disagree with the idea that you should be able to play ‘anonymously’ – these are social games and the idea of playing in that way just feeds into this “the other players are just there to help ME” mentality.

      Clearly if you’re playing the game on your phone/the web – you’re playing the game. It’s not like this is a permanent connection/you cannot escape it – you just sign out or ‘stop playing’

      I realise that last concept will be alien to most of the people who see these games as “them them them”

    • neolith says:

      While I don’t like players that think everyone is only supposed to help them (and not the other way round) I really don’t think this advocates making their every moves and all their data ingame available to everyone currently not playing.

      If people choose to play for themselves and don’t want to be contacted at all and don’t want their stats to be tracked – so let them. If they choose to have all the info about their chars on the web and want to be chat with someone not even playing the game – so let them do this as well.
      The thing is: Everyone should be able to choose for themselves which and how much information about them or their chars is available outside of the game. Everyone should be able to make up their mind about this on their own. It’s about freedom of choice.

      Just because it’s an MMO with certain social components that doesn’t mean that you should be able to track everyone in the game without their consent.

    • perilisk says:

      An NPC in your home instance will sell a special head armor piece called “tinfoil hat” which prevents THEM from tracking you.

    • Dominic White says:

      “While I don’t like players that think everyone is only supposed to help them (and not the other way round) I really don’t think this advocates making their every moves and all their data ingame available to everyone currently not playing.”

      Even when I’m not actively playing TF2, I can look up who is playing on any Source-engine game servers, and see how many kills they have, how long they’ve been playing and more. Nobody can opt out, but nobody needs to opt out, because all it tells you is ‘this person is playing a game’.

    • neolith says:

      The need to opt out lies in the eye of the beholder. And while I agree that TF2 stats don’t do any harm, not everyone might think the same about them.

      I’ll also have to say that TF2 stats are a rather bad example in this case, as they are quite something different than what we are looking at here – for example the ability to watch a chars movement in realtime while not playing the game.

      But let me puit it another way – an opt out wouldn’t hurt the game at all. Why not implement it?

    • Dean says:

      Information about ‘you': absolutely, should be all sorts of toggles for keeping that private. Information about your character, not so much. Why bother? The app only gives you the same info you could get by going and logging in to the game itself so I don’t see any problem.

      This happened when Blizzard first launched the armoury without an opt-out feature, and everyone was decrying the idea that people would be able to find out all about their character. No-one ever asked why anyone would want to do that.

      Basically, I struggle with the idea that anyone would want to stalk a Guild Wars character, and I struggle further with the idea that anyone that was dedicated enough to want to do that, wouldn’t be dedicated enough to arrange to be in-game to do it all the time anyway.

    • Rinox says:

      @ Dean:

      I’ve seen it happen more than once, people stalking a character. It mostly happens to female friends of mine, and usually it’s some creep who keeps bombarding them with vulgarity and sexual/violent threats. So don’t be too surprised when it happens. :-(

  15. orangedragon10 says:

    “you can get this fun app for only an extra 4.99/month!”

    • John Peat says:

      It can’t be an ‘extra’ £4.99 because this is GW and you aren’t paying a subs…

      Hard to see it being entirely free but you never know…

    • Bobby Bubbles says:

      It’s free.

  16. John Peat says:

    I’m actually astonished Blizzard haven’t done this – it’s such an obvious/relatively easy thing to do and with the greedy twats at Activision squeezing every other possible avenue of revenue (Orc Ringtone anyone?)…

    On the flipside – whilst I enjoyed my time raiding in WoW, the idea that my Nazi-inspired GM could contact me when I wasn’t actually at the PC is kinda scary.

    “Are you making good use of your time away from the PC – are you reading strategies and watching videos – WE MUST HAVE PROGRESS!!!” ;)

  17. Guildenstern says:

    Blizzard did implement auction app. And they charge monthly fee for it.

  18. Radiant says:

    Probably inventory management or the the ability to look at your char stats or whatever you do ancillary to the game I have never played. :|

    Oh btw !

    Games on Android!
    Recommendations please! GO!

    • Wildcard says:

      @Radiant

      So far Angry Birds has a beta (demo basically) and is worth a look. Played Doodlejump on a friend’s iPhone and it’s great though the Android version seems to be less developed and about 5 times the price.

      That’s about all I’ve found worth trying so far. It’s pretty weak but apparently Android 3.0 is going to see a big gaming push. Here’s hoping they don’t balls that up!

      I eagerly await other’s suggestions!

    • Radiant says:

      So do I.
      I mean I’m on 2.1 and so far I’ve got SlitherlinkDroid, Sudoku [by saurabh singh it’s the only one that generates it’s own infinite puzzles] and Robodefence [which is poor compared to PvZ].
      Is that really it?
      Angry Birds doesn’t play on my handset or 2.1 :(

    • BennyLava says:

      There’s also the wide world of emulators if you like that sort of thing. I’ve been having a lot of fun with super international cricket on snesoid lately.

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    Schaulustiger says:

    Not a bad idea in my opinion. Most of the time I just have a smartphone and an iPad at hand, so being able to do a bit of mobile MMO’ing sounds promising.

  20. manveruppd says:

    Yeah, interesting idea, but, as others have said, I could see it being more “useful” (by which I mean life-sucking) in more traditional MMOs than in GW2. I mean if it’s anything like GW1 it won’t be very grindy so I don’t see much “need” (by which I mean “compulsive obsession”) to regularly check in or to use your downtime moments such as commutes or lunchtimes to further your game progression.

    It would be really cool if they could make a scaled-down version of the game engine that could run on a phone so you could watch a pvp match on observer mode, but the downside to that is that it’d suck the battery of most phones dry… Of course they could make a more tactical view of it: 2-D topdown relief map of the playfield rather than 3-D, where you just watch the movements of the players as icons or sprites. Or maybe even just the rosters of the 2 teams and the skill builds of each player.

    I suppose there’s the social aspect of it. They could tie it into forums (although ANet has so far not had official forums for their games, so that could be difficult) or allow you to use in-game chat through it, or let people upload their interviews/podcasts/etc onto it. Might be an adequate substitute for observer mode listening to a podcast doing a live commentary on a GvG match.

  21. Jeremy says:

    I love Techsploitation. It makes this sound so morally ambiguous.

  22. HarrietTubgirl says:

    I just don’t see the reason for your concern about someone being able to see you. They already said you will be able to limit who can contact you when, otherwise you are on the internet, playing a social game.

  23. squirrelfanatic says:

    For instance, you could track a known person’s farming or running tactics (which is rather cool in my opinion), something some MMO players can become mental about. Apart from that, it might be uncomfortable to know that somebody might be watching you playing. One thing the developers could do is make it blockable or selective, like allowing people on your friends list to watch you.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      That was supposed to be an answer to neolith’s post above.

  24. Rodes says:

    I still don’t understand. What will you be able to do on Guild Wars via the iphone, ipad, etc…?

    • Verix says:

      Rodes, there’s been a lot of things mentioned on here. Things like keeping track of friends, events, auction, etc and these are just the basic things. You’d be able to not only keep track of friends but help them (or your guild) out by pinging on the map of where an event is taking place. So it’s like an extra feature simply for those that want to still be with the game yet can be away from the computer.

      Though it’s more of a greater appeal for casual gamers rather than to the hardcore ones.