Guild Wars 1 Development To Be Halted, Automated

By Nathan Grayson on May 21st, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

Rare is the MMO that continues to thrive alongside its direct successor – or, for that matter, get a direct successor at all. By all accounts, the original Guild Wars lived a good, long life. It loved, it lost, it learned violin, it saw the ocean one last time. Also, I don’t know why I’m talking about it in the past tense, because it’s not dead yet. True, ArenaNet’s already itsy bitsy GW1 live team is moving on to bigger, less eight-year-old things, but unlike NCsoft stablemate City of Heroes, these guilds will war on. How? Robots. Find out more about your imminent ice-cold oppression after the break.

OK, it’s not actually oppression. All things considered, Guild Wars’ new fully automated infrastructure sounds quite nice. Sure beats a screeching, community cratering shutdown – something NCsoft definitely hasn’t been shy about in the past. GW1, however, will live to fight another day, and it won’t even end up that far removed from its current state in the process.

In short, the stuff that’s currently being handled by the live team will mostly keep churning away, just with algorithms’ tick-tocking gears in the background instead of people’s fleshy keystrokes. Automated tournaments (which weren’t actually fully automated), map rotations, weekend events, festivals, and even birthdays will continue, albeit with some minor changes. For example:

“We’ll be making some changes to our weekend events. Specifically, these won’t just be weekend events anymore, they’ll run for an entire week on a completely automated schedule. This will be an incredible boon to folks who are still working on finishing out titles for their Hall of Monuments, as they’ll no longer be constrained to packing as much play time as possible into just the weekend. Now everyone will have five extra days to take advantage of these bonuses.”

Obviously, new content is out of the question, but this doesn’t sound like too terrible of a place to leave the bits and pieces that are already there. Hopefully, as more MMOs reach the end of the line, we’ll see developers and publishers adopt this kind of approach as an alternative to pulling the plug. I’m not getting my hopes up (servers cost money, and out-of-touch Business Laws dictate that even the smallest scrap of cash is more valuable than goodwill), but it’d certainly be nice.

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34 Comments »

  1. smiddy says:

    This is good to hear. I played GW1 for about a year when it was released and it remains the mmo I’ve played the most, just something about that world that I love and the music is beautiful.

    I just started playing GW2 and can see it taking up a lot of my time. So to know that GW1 is probably going to be around for quite a time to come is nice to know, because at some point I can definitely see myself going back and exploring all that content they added since I stopped playing.

  2. Delusibeta says:

    Wot? No reference to TF2′s Electric Boogaloo?

    But seriously, this is a good thing, since now the game will continue to run while reducing the time (and subsequently the money) invested in maintaining the game.

  3. welverin says:

    IT would have been nice if Bioware had done this with the weekend events for ME3.

  4. frightlever says:

    “out-of-touch Business Laws dictate that even the smallest scrap of cash is more valuable than goodwill”

    Shameless pandering. RPS is a business. Most people are engaged in business. Business is good.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Sweeping generalisations, the scourge of the modern age.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        No, not at all. The bottom line is sacrosanct in a business otherwise it will cease to exist! This is an across the board constant, look charity up in the dictionary and spot the differences!

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”Business is good” is a sweeping generalisation. I did not say that business is not good. That would be another sweeping generalisation.

          Misinterpretation, the second scourge of the modern age.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            We live in a ‘market economy’, there is no central planning in relation to the market, local laws, duties and tariffs apart. Business is neither good nor bad, it is the way that resources are distributed through the global populus. Sweeping generalisations, mmmm, business has no good or bad it just is, if you are talking about its implementation then that is a different matter but you weren’t!

          • Vorphalack says:

            Block buttons, the saving grace of the modern age.

          • Deadly Sinner says:

            You talk as though businesses are automated with no input from humans and that there is only one way to do business. Valve, for example, do things that EA and other large corporations would find illogical, yet Valve makes money hand over fist.

        • malkav11 says:

          Making enough money to pay the bills must be priority one for a business, absolutely. There comes a point, however, where your business is financially secure and it becomes possible to have other priorities. That many businesses do not proceed to take advantage of this possibility is one of the great evils of our time. But when we structure our businesses around providing maximum possible value to external stockholders, that’s pretty much built in.

    • Focksbot says:

      “Shameless pandering. RPS is a business. Most people are engaged in business. Business is good.”

      Business would be better if so many of its practitioners didn’t operate according to chronically short-sighted dogma.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      That’s not an anti-business statement. It’s an anti-shortsightedness statement. Let’s math:

      Smallest scrap of cash = smallest scrap of cash now and NOTHING from that source ever again because you just killed the last Goose That Lays The Golden Eggs.

      Goodwill = Keep the last one or two Golden Geese happy, and even if the egg supply has slowed, you’ll still get more money per time in the long run than murdering them to bump up your quarterly report.

      That’s the point he’s trying to make. Problem is there are too many damn publically owned companies, and being beholden to shareholders on a relatively fast timescale means customer relations needs to be sacrificed and long-term fans are an anathema to the business model.

      EA, for example, gleefully throws multiple franchises, studios, and fan communities into the furnace whenever they need to bump up a quarterly report. This is because the people in charge understand quarterly reports and keeping shareholders happy, but are unable to correctly identify what a videogame is when it’s put in front of them. So EA gets voted “most evil company ever” when it’s really more like “most ham-fisted clumsy ignorant jackass executives who don’t understand their product ever”. They aren’t aware the Golden Geese even exist.

    • Dominic White says:

      Apparently City of Heroes was still turning a respectable profit when they shut it down, so they lost both money AND goodwill. Explain how that was good business, please.

  5. Ice-Fyre says:

    Is GW2 worth getting? I did about 3000 hours on GW1, but worry GW2 just won’t live up to the first one. I gave up playing when they said they was making the new one, didn’t see much point in playing if the updates stopped

    • Thurgret says:

      I sunk hundreds of hours into the first one, doing nothing more than questing and seeing the world. Granted, I was in my teens, but even now, when I load it up again, there’s something awesome about it. If you’re like me, you won’t get quite the same amount of time out of #2, unless they stop their silly focus on gear or whatever and get back to huge new continents in their expansions. I found going round the world with my Charr Engineer, exploring places and whatnot to be pretty satisfying. The quests, such as they are, could get kind of dull, but the world’s much more open than in GW1, which I liked. Some of the dynamic events are cool, too. You’ll see a lot of familiar places, too, just 200 years on.

    • Nick says:

      its nothing at all like gw1, make of that what you will.

    • dE says:

      If you loved the first one… that’s entirely irrelevant sadly. Well in my case, I too enjoyed the first one (not as many hours but still enough). I smashed into Guildwars 2 at negative hype level, didn’t expect much and was disappointed nonetheless.

      They tried their hardest to make Guildwars 2 appealing to the lowest common denominator. I’m not exagerating when I say that it can be played really quite succesfully by randomly smashing keys on your keyboard. Your build doesn’t matter – not that you really have any meaningful control over it due to skills tied to weapons, chosen skills don’t matter, partycomposition doesn’t matter, everyone plays the same role, adaption to the environment doesn’t matter, planning and preparing doesn’t matter. All it boils down to is a quite simple thing: Dodge the red circle.
      Gameplay wise your first minute after character creation is equivalent to your last minute of playing. You do the same quests, same style events, you’ll be using the same silly weaponskills til the end of time. What GW2 is good for, is the joy of jumping puzzles, some of which can be quite hard and exploration – the first time around.It’s also good for jumping into for 10 to 20 minutes, bash some things over the head and be done with it. It works for that. And some really appreciate that. Given that you mentioned over 3000 hours in GW1, you’re probably not of that crowd.

      It’s really not in any remote way, shape or form good for anything that would require the brain to do anything but loop in idle. Even PVP is a mindless zergfest. Both World versus World with 5 people fighting off 50 (not exagerated) or Team Arenas, which balance teams on odd internal mechanics and thus thinks its fair to toss 1 person against 4, simply because that one person played some PVP before.
      Last but not least, perhaps the most important part for me: It’s 98% estimated Solo Play. Although admittedly with NPC heroes, GW1 turned into that as well in later years.

      • Thurgret says:

        The world does feel far more alive, when it comes to that exploration. I would give it that. As long as you don’t linger too long in an area to see how the dynamic events eventually loop in a somewhat silly fashion, it feels fairly organic, to boot. Otherwise, mostly spot on.

        … you know, I’d love to play a single player GW 2 with combat difficulty not set to cater to the lowest common denominator, and fewer random hostile mobs just standing around. That would be cool.

      • malkav11 says:

        I die all the damn time and it’s been enough to almost put me off the game, so I guarantee you cannot randomly mash buttons and succeed at Guild Wars 2. At least, not as an elementalist.

        • dE says:

          Congratulations, that means you’re making it worse by mashing buttons intentionally over just randomly hitting them. On a more serious note, if you die, you either pull too much or don’t dodge the red circles.

          • balente says:

            are u mad bro? if you even try to ramdomly mash buttons you’ll get screwed… stop being such a chicken shit and start realizing that gw2 its quite a great game, hidden treasures, a lot of events, yes it isnt like gw1 but it isnt has bad has you claim it to be…

  6. aliksy says:

    What? They didn’t raise the level cap and add a new tier of gear? How are they supposed to hold players’ interest, then? [/still pissed at gw2]

  7. Temple says:

    Fuckers could not do this for CoH? Something we actually paid for monthly?

  8. Fneb says:

    It’s probably worth mentioning – they didn’t call this an MMORPG, they called it a CORPG – cooperative online RPG. As I recall, the only ‘massive’ areas were the cities, everything else was an instance. As a result, it’s easy to imagine that the server load is significantly lower and therefore easier to maintain compared to a full-blown MMORPG, which would explain why they can do this rather than shut it down altogether.

    The wiki describes it as a CORPG and explains the distinction. I first saw this title on the official website’s FAQ.

  9. takfar says:

    I really hope they manage to make it playable in single-player mode when they finally decide to pull the plug on it. The gameplay infrastructure is all there (heroes, henchmen, etc), they would simply have to modify it so it could run on a local server. I haven’t really logged in in months, mind you, but it’d be recomforting to know i would always be able to go back to the characters and places i spent over a thousans hours with, over the years. Plus for those who like to play competitive multiplayer, it’s a really well fleshed out game that could still be the joy of many a lan party if local servrs weree to be allowed.

    • Samuelson says:

      Oh man, allowing local servers would be awesome. It would also quell my anxiety about losing Guild Wars 1 in the future (would love to see it on GoG :)).

  10. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    And how many of the players are bots? How long will it be before the game run by bots is played only by bots? Are robots going to have all the fun?

  11. nrvsNRG says:

    This is so weird, I literally JUST NOW was looking through my Steam library and noticed GW1 there, and wondered to myself ,1st of all i totally forgot that GW1 was available on Steam and 2nd, I wonder if peeps still play?

    • Thurgret says:

      I poked my head in a couple months ago. Numbers are vastly diminished from what you’d probably be used to, and you’ll have trouble putting together a full pick-up-group, but honestly? In the instances where I couldn’t find a group a few years back, I managed to solo everything with henchmen and heroes. Including Thunderhead Keep and the very last mission in Prophecies. I recall Factions giving me a spot of bother with certain Luxon missions. I haven’t played enough to even see much of Nightfall. Not quite finished Eye of the North, either.

      Damn, but that game had a lot of content. And while it doesn’t qualify as my favourite game ever (FreeSpace 2, though I’ve not put as much time into it as many others, oddly), I sunk hundreds of hours into it over the years. I want another one. Sad now.

  12. Bart Stewart says:

    Is it wrong that when I read:

    “[U]nlike NCsoft stablemate City of Heroes, these guilds will war on. How? Robots. Find out more about your imminent ice-cold oppression after the break.”

    I heard it in Cave Johnson’s voice?

  13. The Random One says:

    I, for one, welcome this chance to rehash a tired meme.

  14. Danda says:

    This is nice. Sure beats closing down the game.

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