ArenaNet Look Back On Their Decade

Courtesy of BigDownload we get to see a little of the history behind Guild Wars in a 15-minute video (below) produced by its creators, ArenaNet. Various members of company talk about their beginnings, their inspiration, motivation, the changes required to become a major studio, and so on. During the talking head interviews they claim to not be a videogame company, but a “community-building company, we just have one of the coolest ways to build a community.” Bold words. There’s a bit of back patting going on, clearly, but it’s worth a watch.


  1. Feet says:

    Could be worse, there could be a bit of pack batting instead.

  2. Wulf says:

    They’re not lying with those bold words, though, I have to admit. There are two reasons for this:

    1.) Their dev studio is partly an art college, they bring people in and train them, people have visited ArenaNet and said that they weren’t sure whether it was an art college or a game developer, because apparently it has that feel to it. They have more fun than they seem to be allowed to have with this.

    2.) Guild Wars 2 Guru has one of the strongest, most kind, and generally open-minded communities I’ve ever experienced. There are a few absolutely overbearing, narcissistic, and wholly unprofessional moderators, but aren’t there always? (I am so banned.) But the people there are frankly some of the nicest and most open-minded people I’ve met outside of the otherkin/furry communities (which I tend to pretty much hang with for the low ‘hate-filled and jaded’ quotient they have, which is extremely low).

    So if ArenaNet are saying that, I’m buying it.

    • Chalky says:

      You are so totally banned. ;)

      Seriously though, I hope you don’t dislike the way we moderate too much, the site was acquired by Curse some months ago and ensuring that the mods are of the highest quality is top of are agenda. I’m under the impression that at the moment, most of the bad apples are gone.

      (This is the point where you let me know that you simply cannot stand that Chalky fellow :( )

    • Wulf says:

      It was pretty much a tease due to my headbutting with the lore masters, and not meant to be taken too seriously. I wouldn’t read too much into it. I was essentially saying, if you read it again, that the moderators are just people, just like everyone else. :P

      (I probably should’ve tossed in an emoticon, I suck when it comes to emoticon use.)

    • psycho7005 says:

      Yeh all the guys over there really are great, that Chalky though… :P

      Edit: Please don’t ban me!! :P

  3. DrGonzo says:

    Father Gregori was in there.

    • Wulf says:

      He so totally is.

      For those who aren’t aware, Father Grigori was actually visually designed after Daniel Docio.

      Docio… whose art should be on clothes, walls, and all kinds of paper that that aren’t toilet paper. Then again, I feel that way about Kekai Kotaki (THESE NAMES… so hard to remember) too.

      I worship them both as artists.

    • Spinoza says:

      Thanks for introducing me to Dociu Wulf. I’m sure you will love Beksinski.

  4. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    This is where I would like to work :).
    [edit] In the hallway, I mean.

  5. HexagonalBolts says:

    I always feel awkward when women are given major parts in these sorts of videos, when (although I’m sure this stereotype is changing) such a large proportion of company’s games developers will be male – it’s as if women are shoved to the front solely for the purpose of showing off the fact there are women there rather than for any individual merit. But then I guess it would also be misogynistic if there weren’t any woman at all. What a paradoxical dilemma. I’m probably worrying about it too much… I’m worrying about it too much.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      *also this comment is not really aimed at this particular video, it just struck me as slightly odd when they had a women talking about the offices juxtaposed with pictures male-dominated offices. But for all I know she could be an integral part.

      Ah I don’t know anymore.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      *Some* studios are male dominated, but I’ve visited plenty where the ratio is entirely less worrying.

    • Wulf says:

      It must be said at this point that Ree Soesbee is as much a part of Guild Wars as any other developer. Not to mention that I’m actually quite familiar with her, since she has posted around the forums, she’s done wiki edits and comments, and she’s been in a bunch of Guild Wars videos already. It wouldn’t be the same without Ree, really. An ArenaNet without Ree would be like an ArenaNet without Colin, so much so that they’ve become the two stars of so many comics and memes on the Guild Wars 2 Guru forums.

      To me, it just seems entirely natural for Ree to have as notable a part in this video as anyone else. In fact, I’d much more notice the absence of Ree. And this just shows how in touch with their community they are, since I actually know the names and faces of a large bunch of developers within that development house, and I really can’t say that with very many other developers at all.

    • HexagonalBolts says:


      That’s why I posted the sort-of-disclaimer comment

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, I really stink at thought/emotion conveyance.

      I didn’t mean that as a slight, HB. It was more that I was saying that once you’ve been familiar with all of these people for such a long period of time, you stop caring how other development houses work, and that even some of them might be male dominant, because that’s not how ArenaNet works. It’s never been how they’ve worked, not since Prophecies, and certainly not now.

      Ree is in the video because she’s an important part of ArenaNet, and that’s all there is to it, to me. As is Colin, and Daniel, and so on. Maybe other development houses might only allow men to be the mouthpieces, to actually express their passions, but that’s not ArenaNet. And I’m glad. To be honest, considering how passionate Ree always comes across (especially in the Manifesto video), they’d just be shooting themselves in the foot to not let her speak, she’s infectious.

      But ArenaNet are egalitarian like that. What the rest of the games industry does does not matter in the least. ArenaNet are ArenaNet, and I’m glad they exist, I’m glad their games exist.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Community Liaisons/Manager is generally not so much computers and programming, and more social skills type things… Stuff that’s much more “equal opportunity” than programming and stuff. So you generally find the position is much more likely to be filled by a woman, than one of the backroom jobs, even if it seems juxtaposed.

      Of course, since it’s the Community Manager’s job to talk to the fans and show off the things, they usually turn up in this sort of video tour.

    • Wulf says:


      1.) I pointed out that Ree actually does post on the community forums, makes wiki edits, and comments on the wiki, answers questions, and so on.

      2.) Check out Ree’s position in the video. It’s not ‘community manager’.

      And many of them are like that. But I picked out Ree because we’re specifically talking about women, here.

    • DrazharLn says:

      I am a Computer Science undergraduate. About a third of my colleagues are female. Programming and computer science are (in my experience) not nearly as male dominated as some people seem to believe. Nor is there any reason for them to be.

  6. Spinoza says:

    The Office 2 : ArenaNet ?

  7. Ganj says:

    Oh, oh, oh, I get to break my commenting cherry! Less time making cock-waggling videos, more getting the game out please.

    • durns says:

      You broke your cherry for that? Less fun, more work! The consumers demand it!

    • Wulf says:

      Yes, because a developer shouldn’t show that they’re staffed by personable, pleasant people who have fun doing what they do – they should be silent, they should only be mouthpieces when accompanied by in-game videos, and they should absolutely not have fun with any part of game development at any point – ever. And they should then release sterile mainstream games for the masses to lap up. :P

      As I said before, I’m glad that ArenaNet exists, and that they are who they are.

    • Kryopsis says:

      Yeah, I’ll suppress my sarcasm and just state plainly that you give morons a bad name, Ganj.

    • Starky says:

      Indeed we do, we want all game industry people to have the mentality and work atmosphere of the packaged goods industry.
      if anyone has “fun” developing a game they should be fired immediately as they are clearly not working hard enough.

    • Crescend says:

      IMO they deserve all the hype they can get and personally I love to hear something new from them from time to time to not get overly depressed while waiting.

  8. Wulf says:

    So… much… Charr… love…

    Bwhahahahaha! Yay! I, of course, will play the Charr. As if there was ever any bloody doubt. (But there was a point where I was giving the Norn some serious consideration, but the Charr just beat me over the head with the bat of winning me over plus three thousand, or something).

    The Charr are simply wonderful though, there’s so much depth to them, and they’re pretty much the only race in the game which as sort of kind of undergone their own Crusades, religiously brainwashed to the point of genocide, and then pulling back from that and finding a new way, a better way. I love those fuzzy buggers. Also: Charr fall under the umbrella of doombeasts.

    …still, wow, I am VERY surprised by the Charr love from the developers in that video. Very. Even Ree likes the Charr! *happy.*

  9. strange headache says:

    I miss Gaile Gray :(

  10. Asskicker says:

    Video not available?