Guild Wars 2 interview, part one

What will Guild Wars 2 offer above and beyond World of Warcraft?

Jeff Strain:
Well, I don't think I can even give a meaningful answer to that question, because our goal is not to offer things above and beyond World of Warcraft. Guild Wars is a very different kind of game to World of Warcraft, and Guild Wars 2 will be a very different kind of game to World of Warcraft.

We're pursuing a design mechanic that's unique to the Guild Wars franchise. It's certainly not our intention to go and chase after any other MMO on the market. We think that those players that enjoy those kinds of games are probably going to enjoy World of Warcraft and we think that Guild Wars will continue to be a unique experience. So it'll stand up on its own and have its own set of features and own design direction.

In what major ways does the experience you plan to offer with Guild Wars 2 differ from what you've offered with Guild Wars?

Jeff Strain:
I think, first and foremost, one of the biggest differences that people will perceive in the world between Guild Wars 2 and the first campaigns is that it's much more of a living, breathing world. In Guild Wars, we were able to tell very specific and very grand stories through the use of our instancing technology and the way we structured the campaigns. Each campaign had a big epic story and we were really able to cast you as the hero of that story.

In Guild Wars 2, we want to retain our ability to do that, but rather than telling one big monolithic story our goal is to pursue story arcs and story bubbles - that players can choose to take their characters into a story arc and maybe there a several missions and persistent areas that'll tie that together. And there's going to be numerous of these story arcs throughout the world. What we want to do is adopt more of a sandbox mentality, that players can direct their own play and pace to a much greater degree than they could in Guild Wars 1.

So, the way we kind of say it is that in Guild Wars 2 we're building a world and all the mechanics that go along with that world and then we will tell stories within that world, whereas in the original Guild Wars it was more that we were telling this big story and developing the world to fit that story.

How much of the sequel will be instance-based, and how much persistent? There's been talk that the whole thing is persistent, but that's not the case then...?

Jeff Strain:
No, the foremost goal of Guild Wars 2 is to make it the ultimate Guild Wars for Guild Wars fans. Guild Wars charted new territory, not only with its business model but with a very innovative design, and a large part of that innovative design was the way we utilized instancing technology to tell this more direct story.

We're not going to let that go, it's one of the most powerful features of Guild Wars 1 and one of the features we think really makes it stand out. So that will still be a core foundation of Guild Wars 2. But we want to use the addition of persistent world to also explore other types of gameplay.

So no, it's absolutely not the case that we're dropping instancing technology, we'll continue to carry that forward because we think it's one of the foundational pillars of Guild Wars.