June 9, 2007

Guild Wars game notes

I had the opportunity to interview Mike O’Brien and Pat Wyatt, founders and lead developers for ArenaNet, makers of Guild Wars. This led to two lengthy posts on the technology of Guild Wars (overview) and the database technology of Guild Wars. Those were really, as the titles suggest, tech-focused. This post, by way of contrast, is just to share interesting game-related tidbits with fellow Guild Wars players. I came away with three key notes:

  1. Don’t hold your breath for an auction house. (The reasons are spelled out near the end of the database post.)

  2. Cartographer titles really are calculated based on what fraction of the total possible pixels you’ve opened up, of course with a few grace percentage points so that you don’t need to really open EVERYTHING to get the 100% title. It’s that simple. (And it makes sense. They store the character’s map anyway; there’s little effort in also noting its size.)

  3. Persistence (non-instancing) isn’t as hard as they thought, and they didn’t think it would be all that hard anyway. So in Guild Wars 2 they will have “more sense of a world,” even as there are also plenty of instanced areas ala the current Guild Wars.

There also is tons of cool stuff in the tech posts, and I hope you have a chance to look at them!

June 9, 2007

The technology of Guild Wars (overview)

Being an analyst has its perks, the main one being that you get to have some really interesting conversations. And so I recently had the chance to interview Mike O’Brien and Pat Wyatt, two of the founders and lead programmers for ArenaNet, makers of the Guild Wars MMORPG (Massively MultiPlayer Online Role-Playing Game).

If you play games of this sort, it’s surely obvious to you why you should care. But if you don’t, maybe you should be interested anyway. After all, Guild Wars is a graphics-intensive SaaS offering that easily supports 100,000 simultaneous users, while managing a gig or so of fat client even over dial-up speeds. Every user is a potential hacker, whether for fun or actual real-world cash profit, although we didn’t actually talk about security very much. And ArenaNet provides all this on a relatively shoestring budget; in particular, Guild Wars subscription fees are precisely $0.

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