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.