Unknown Unknowns

August 21, 2014 at 1:14 am | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, PvE | 7 Comments
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I was talking with my good friend Spirit, found on Twitter and the Relics of Orr podcast and she happened to mention something offhand about the living world team. She had said the size of the team was actually only about 20 people. I immediately waterboarded her for more information and she provided a link.

I am just one small member on a very large team that creates the Living World content. Our team changes in size, but there are just a little over twenty people on it at any given time. This includes artists, designers, QA people, project managers, audio engineers, composers, leadership, programmers, and writers. The Living World is very much a team effort. We have a series of meetings as we’re developing each release that start big picture and gradually hone in on exactly what we want to do. We all have our areas of expertise that we bring to the table, but everyone is invited to give opinions and ideas.

My responsibility as narrative designer for the team is to keep the lore in check, to ensure the dialogue for the iconic characters is in voice, and to guide us through the overarching storyline, so that each release keeps us moving toward our final story goals.

We’ve made a lot of changes for Season 2. We’re continually improving our processes with each new release. The most notable being that we no longer have 4 Living World teams, each making their own content; we have 1. This has allowed us to create much more cohesive releases, and I think you’ll find that our story hangs together quite well in Season 2.

Now I guess I missed this when it was first posted a month ago, or I completely forgot about it, but I thought it was worth drawing attention to. A little over 20 people, to me, is a very impressive number of people for the amount of content they’re pushing out, especially when Angel goes on to stipulate the depth of the team right down to Quality Assurance.

Not to mention the fact that there is now one living story team and not four. Which certainly seems to explain a great deal of the much stronger narrative direction.

But what I guess is most intriguing to me is that Arenanet employs something like 300 people.

What are the other 250ish people working on exactly? I mean we have information on upcoming features up until about September 9th. Beyond that we can guess at 3 things. Halloween, Wintersday, and the remaining episodes of season 2. And all of that just follows from logic, not any actual information. And will the living story team handle Halloween and Wintersday or is that worked on by other teams?

I get the feeling that a little of the ill will towards Arenanet recently stems from a lack of long term information. Yet they’re obviously working on… something? I think they’ve even said as much in vague comments here and there. That’s not going to satisfy the average MMO player unfortunately.

People want long term goals to work towards. That ranges from in game goals like precursors and stacks of ectos to out of game goals like expansion rainbows and unicorn mounts on the horizon.

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7 Comments

  1. Agree, 100% with your post. How often does that happen!?

  2. Just to add a little insight —

    Leif Chappelle, on of the LW designers/composers, recently mentioned that he essentially did all of the scripting for all of the story instances for The Dragon’s Reach part 2. That’s just one person handling all of the scripting for the instanced content for the episode. (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9DYDb2b8Wk)

    I was really surprised when we said that because I thought that many more people were required for all of that work; for example, one person per story instance, and maybe one last person to script the boss fight. But no, it was basically all Leif.

    So that begs the question (that you’re asking here) — what is everyone else working on? Of course there are many design decisions that have to be ironed out, but it really seems that one individual dev can handle a seemingly huge amount of work.

    • I’m sure there are a lot of people who work on the administrative end, tech support for both staff and players, server teams, the pvp team, the wvw team, community, marketing, but for me that still leaves quite a few people working at anet and we don’t know what they’re working on.

  3. Ok let’s work on it.
    http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Game_credits

    1/ scratch employees who no longer work for ANet.
    2/ By any possible (and personal) means, try to reform the LS Team
    3/ Make your own conclusions

    Easy ?

    • Uhhhh I doubt that is a good way to work on it because people from that list could have worked at arenanet in 2010 and still been given credit not to mention contract workers etc.there are way too many variables to just go by the game credits. not to mention we aren’t informed when every single person comes and goes from anet.

      • Of course ! ;o)
        It was just a “caricature/satire” on the difficulty is to guess what a company is working without being inside. 😉

  4. […] Hunter’s Insight — Unknown Unknowns. “I was talking with my good friend Spirit, found on Twitter and the Relics of Orr podcast and she happened to mention something offhand about the living world team. She had said the size of the team was actually only about 20 people. I immediately waterboarded her for more information and she provided a link.” […]


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