Today we hit an internal milestone: we locked down all content and feature development for Path of Fire. We now move the game to our staging servers and start final preparations for launch.
This expansion is all about content, and today’s milestone marks the completion of eighteen months of content creation. It’s been a labor of love for the team. We hope we’ve brought each story chapter, each open-world zone, and each mount up to the level of what you experienced in the demos last month.
Thanks to everyone who joined the demos and the stress tests. We used those tests to inform our final balance tweaks, and to squash some bizarre bugs that we could only reproduce under heavy load, like the one where Raptors would randomly show up in non-demo maps.
We’re in the home stretch. Eleven days to launch! We can’t wait to play Path of Fire with you!
Showing Posts For Mike O Brien:
We’re currently putting the finishing touches on episode five. It’s an important episode and we’re taking the time to get it right. I wanted to let you know that this episode will release closer to the three-month side of our two-to-three-month cadence. We’ll make the formal announcement when everything’s locked down. In the meantime, just hang tight a little while longer.
Daniel Dociu will be leaving ArenaNet. Daniel has been defining the art direction for ArenaNet since 2003, before the launch of Guild Wars, and the impact he’s made on the studio and industry will be seen for years to come. It’s been a pleasure to work with him. Daniel, thank you for thirteen wonderful years creating worlds together. We’ll miss you. We look forward to your continued success.
Horia Dociu now takes over as the art director of Guild Wars 2. Horia also first joined the Guild Wars art team in 2003. He loves the game, he lives and breathes the art, and he continues our tradition of putting art at the forefront, never settling, relentlessly pushing ourselves to new heights. With Horia as art director, the game is in great hands.
Sadly we’re not going to be able to launch the new episode “The Head of the Snake” on its intended release date today.
We were hit hard by the Seattle area storm and resulting power outage. We’ve been working to bring everything back online as quickly as possible, but after a series of setbacks, it’s become clear that it won’t be today.
Please accept our apology. We’re going to keep at it through the night and hope to be able to launch tomorrow, but obviously we can’t promise anything.
We’re wrapping up work on Episode 4 of Living World Season 3 and expect to launch it in February, hitting our normal cadence of a new episode every 2~3 months. I want to give a quick heads-up here on a few topics that I know the community is anticipating, things that will and won’t be bundled with this episode.
This release will include the promised fix to AB multi-looting. The fix is simple: you can loot each of the great and grand chests once each time you complete the meta, once per map cycle.
This release will also include a new, challenging group-farming spot for leather.
This release won’t include legendary armor. We’re getting close to completion, though, and may be able to ship legendary armor with the Ep5 release.
This release won’t include a skill balance update. As we did last time, we’ll ship the next skill balance update off-cycle from Living World releases.
You’ve probably noticed that the champions in the labyrinth haven’t felt as challenging this year as they did in previous years. The only actual change to them was a bug fix to the lich to keep him from summoning unlimited minions at high event scaling. But they all felt easier because they hadn’t kept up with the power growth of the player base. We gave them all quick buffs today.
Additionally, with this map being as profitable as it is, a lot of players have started triggering diminishing rewards. That’s just not cool. So we disabled diminishing rewards on this map.
The trading post is back up. All services are now restored.
Anyone experiencing an error trying to access the game or trading post, give it a few minutes for timeouts to clear, and contact us if there’s still a problem.
Thank you all for your patience today!
As we previously posted, today’s release unfortunately contained a bug that damaged character records, and in response we’ve taken down the game servers and are in the process of rolling back the state of the game to where it was before the release.
We shut down the game servers at approximately 11:30 am PDT (18:30 GMT), and we’re rolling back the game state to 9:10 am PDT (16:10 GMT), so there’s a 2h 20m window where all changes to the game are being rolled back. Here are the details for what will happen to various changes made during that window.
If you created a new account during that time period, you’ll have to create it again. If you changed an account, for example changing your password or applying two-factor authentication, you’ll have to redo that change. If the customer support team changed your account for you, for example restoring it to you, they’ll redo that change over the next 24 hours.
If you purchased the game on an existing account, we’ll restore your purchase. If you purchased the game on a newly created account, you’ll need to recreate your account. We’ll contact you so we can restore your purchase after you have recreated your account.
If you purchased gems, we’ll restore the gems. If you purchased an item using gems, that purchase will be rolled back, and you’ll have your gems back. You can purchase again. If you purchased a sale item that’s no longer on sale, you can purchase again, then contact customer support for a refund of the difference between the current price and the sale price.
All in-game transactions are being rolled back, including transactions through the currency exchange, trading post, guild bank, and in-game mail. The trading post will come back online after the rest of the game does, and with buy and sell offers back where they were prior to this morning’s release.
Character progress made during the affected time period is being rolled back. If you had an extreme situation, for example you got a precursor from the mystic forge and then had that rolled back, contact our customer support team and we’ll try to help you.
Thank you for bearing with us through this process. We’ll be back online soon.
This is an update to the situation where soulbound items have been incorrectly soulbound to the wrong characters. After further investigation we’ve determined that there is damage to almost all character records that were played this morning, not just to those who transferred soulbound items to or from a bank. To repair the damage, we will have to roll back the state of the game and characters to prior to this morning’s release.
No one wants to lose a play session’s progress. We apologize for this. I’m sure you’ll also have questions about exactly what a rollback means to you. The general answer is that everything about the game state, including things like trading post transactions, will be restored to how it was prior to this morning’s release. The only unusual case will be that if you purchased the game or purchased gems this morning, you’ll still get your purchase.
The process of rolling back and then validating everything to bring the game back up will take hours. We’ll keep you updated. There will be a period of time when these forums will be unavailable, but we’ll post updates through other channels.
There’s a bug in today’s release that can cause soulbound items in an inventory bag other than your first bag to become soulbound to a different character on your account. We can fix the bug with no damage done, except we can’t straightforwardly fix it if you’ve moved one of those incorrectly soulbound items into bank storage. We’ll have to work on a solution for characters in that state. To prevent additional players from getting into this state, we’re going to shut down the game servers until we can fix this bug. We apologize for this inconvenience.
Last night a hacker socially engineered one of our CS agents to gain control of Gaile’s account, and accessed GW1 using it. Gaile of course has two-factor auth on her account, and despite the social engineering, the two-factor auth worked and protected her, so the hacker had no access to her forum or GW2 accounts. Only GW1 pre-dates our 2FA/SMS system.
To socially engineer the CS agent, the hacker provided a variety of personal details about Gaile. But we don’t accept personal details as primary proof of account ownership. We require things like verifying billing info, two-factor auth, access to the account’s primary phone number, or access to its primary IP address in cases where IP address ownership is clearly established. When we can’t verify, we decline access, knowing that incorrectly declining is an unfortunate but better outcome than incorrectly granting access. These are all established and documented policies. We have a great team of customer support agents who follow these policies, and the hacker tried a bunch of times and found one agent who didn’t.
We want to protect all accounts as much as we want to protect our own. Some of you were particularly concerned about the impact to the game of hacking a GM account. You should know that we don’t give GM accounts or any accounts the ability to cheat progress, synthesize items, or manipulate the game’s economy. We play the game the same way you play the game. The hacker was able to use Gaile’s GM access to manipulate guild trims, but mostly he handed out Gaile’s personal items that she had collected from years of playing GW1.
We take your account security seriously and will continue to do everything we can to ensure that our support team consistently applies this security policy and prioritizes protecting you from account hackers.
(edited by Moderator)
I signed off on the first episode of Living World Season 3, and we’re getting ready to announce the episode and its release date. I’m super proud of the team for hitting this milestone. Over the past few weeks the team has been processing up to a hundred pieces of feedback each day, working to get all the details right.
Reaching sign-off on an episode doesn’t mean we’re done. Now we integrate the episode content with the other updates that ship in this release, and with localized text and voice-over, and we do final testing of all that. To give a sense of the scope of this process, this update has about 1,500 distinct lines of new voice dialog, each of which must be recorded, integrated, and tested in each supported language. For the player character’s voice, we separately record each race/sex combination in each language, so that means 40 actors for each line.
With this release, we’re bundling a Living World episode with additional content for other areas of the game. You’ve seen that we’ve been following a pattern of releasing a bundled update each quarter; this is a content-focused continuation of that kind of thing. Of course, we’ll give this release a name, not “July Quarterly Update”. And we may be able to increase the pace, ramping from four bundled releases per year towards six, so we’ll move away from calling these “quarterly”.
Some of you may look back nostalgically at 2013 when we shipped updates every two weeks. That year we shipped a wide variety of things: nine or ten releases that we’d today call a Living World episode, plus updates to systems and content for other parts of the game, plus festivals. So it was the extreme unbundled version of this. It was nice that there was always something new, but I’m personally not wistful of that cadence, because we sacrificed so much to be able to ship that frequently. With Season 3 our goal is to deliver content sustainably, at quality, establishing a pattern we don’t have to take breaks from.
It feels great to be shipping Living World again. Thanks for your patience through the recent content draught. Having been through it, I’m sure you understand why I’m focused on sustainability.
Stay tuned for a more formal announcement, and for more details from ArenaNet and our partners.
Thanks for voting and commenting. We’ve read through everything you’ve posted here.
Among people who expressed a clear preference for one of the options, about 230 people prefer to make the change, versus about 40 who prefer to leave it as is. We’ll make the change.
We’re also going to work on cleaning up the Charr tail clipping. And then our focus has to be on shipping the full legendary set.
Yesterday we released the precursor of ascended armor. For the Charr and Asura female armor we adapted the female-variant breastplate, flattened out, but still with cups. You’ve rightly pointed out that it looks incongruent with Charr and Asura female anatomy.
We sometimes adapt male-variant and sometimes female-variant armor to use with female Charr and Asura, depending on what looks right for the armor in question. In this case it looks like a male-variant precursor breastplate, which would lead to the male-variant legendary breastplate, would be more in line with what we all expect for Charr and Asura female armor.
Today is one day after release; you’re presumably not that attached to your Charr and Asura female precursor armor yet. Would you like us to swap out the female-variant breastplate for a male-variant one?
Two weeks ago I posted that we were starting integration and final testing for the Spring Quarterly Update. It’s been two busy weeks. The quarterly update is through QA and looking good. We’re going to announce the release date tomorrow.
As we prep for release, you’ll notice that we’re not doing the series of advance blog posts that we had done for some prior releases. Hopefully that’s not too surprising; I’ve written a few times since taking this role that I think our job is to delight you with what we ship, not with talk and promises.
With everything prepped now, let’s have some fun together and see some hints of what’s coming, and then we’ll see you in the game on release day.
This week we’re completing dev work and starting integration for the upcoming Spring Quarterly Update, which we’re preparing to launch in mid- to late April. It’s a busy week making sure everything comes together right and hits our quality bar.
I know that the discussion around legendary weapons is still fresh on everyone’s mind. But as we’re locking in the contents of the quarterly update, there are some specific things I should tell you about today.
The quarterly update will include changes to Fractals, and among those will be changes to the tiering structure. We’ll have to retire two of the current achievements, Casual Fractal Hero and Core Fractal Hero. While we’ll introduce new achievements to replace the ones we’re retiring, any progress made toward the old achievements will not count toward the new ones. If you’ve been working toward the old achievements, you have a few weeks or so left to wrap them up.
With the quarterly update we’ll also reduce scribing costs across-the-board. Here are some of the ways that will happen. We’ll reduce material costs on recipes: for example the Basic Ink Set will no longer require a Simple Ink Set, and each Sandpaper recipe will now require less Sand. Reducing the demand for basic materials will reduce their prices. We’ll add significant new supplies of Resonating Slivers, so that they no longer serve as a barrier to scribes who don’t have a guild supporting them. And we’ll increase drop rates of certain other components. These are going to be impactful changes, so we want to give you this advance notice, and encourage you to consider pausing here and waiting for the quarterly update before doing a lot of new scribing.
Two weeks ago we polled the WvW community about Desert versus Alpine borderlands. The majority of players asked us to bring Alpine back. We’ll do that. It actually takes quite a bit of time to dust off old content and bring it up to the current game state, so it won’t happen in time for the quarterly release. Instead we’ll launch the quarterly update with improvements to Desert, use that as an opportunity to get the community’s feedback on those changes, then we’ll swap to Alpine when it’s ready. Changing borderlands maps like this will disrupt matches in progress, but we think that making changes on live servers, where everyone can test, is worth the cost.
I wanted to give this early heads-up about these areas. You already know quite a bit more about the things we’re working on for the April Quarterly Update, but I’ll stop here for now. I think our jobs are to delight you with what we ship, not with big talk or big promises. So hang tight. Release day will be here soon enough.
Thanks for all the comments. I know there’s nothing I’m going to say that will make you feel better, but I’ll share some final thoughts for the night.
I said three weeks ago I’d focus on sustainability and quality. I want to reiterate the part about sustainability. Be angry about legendary weapons, sure, but how about the recent drought of content? That kind of thing happens when we spread ourselves too thin, and when we let the content development pipeline empty out so we can fight fires. What I think we actually owe you is sustainable, predictable, high-quality content. I’m making a decision that’s painful in the short-term so we can position ourselves to deliver that.
Consider this… HoT currently has: 3 new maps (which are still buggy looking at DS) which are grindy as hell, Elite Specs which are heavy powercreep (pay to win in PvP…), a Story which is short but at least good (if you ignore the myriad of bugs f.e. in the Mordi battle), Guild halls, 2 Raids with 5 1/2 bosses, a new PvP map (which is quite unbalanced) and now only 4 legy weaps (3/4 being rarely used thanks to being underpowered or buggy)… That’s it?
I previously addressed the “half an expansion” thing, and I can point you to pages like this one and this one (https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Guild_Wars_2:_Heart_of_Thorns), but that doesn’t matter because it’s just arguing. My job is to entertain you, not to argue with you.
I strongly believe that we will in fact entertain you. We’re a team of people who love the game that you love, and are working on things we’re confident you’ll love. But I’m not here to convince you of that, and I wouldn’t expect you to take my word for it. You can make that judgment in April, and each subsequent time we ship. I will work to make you happy, and I’ll do it by making you happy with what we ship, not with what we promise to ship.
(edited by Mike O Brien.4613)
Obviously I go into this knowing that some players will be very upset. That’s why it’s such a tough decision.
Ankdarkwolf, Darkmikau, Ballads, Spira, Caerbannog, Cysgod, you each posted a variant of an accusation I’ve seen many times over the past few months on the forums, something along the lines of, “AN shipped half an expansion with HoT.” I take issue with that. We shipped a new region full of content, a new mastery system, gliding, guild halls, a new profession, nine new elite specializations for existing professions, and more. Then we shipped precursor journeys for existing legendaries, and said, “We’ve been working hard on new legendary weapons, the first handful of which will be introduced in Heart of Thorns, with more to come in subsequent updates.” While I fully get that you’re disappointed today, this is not about us shipping half an expansion pack.
Nero and Onevstheworld, you asked if this means that LW can come sooner than July.
Full story episodes have a long lead-time. But I don’t think LW content has to be all about the episodes. So… maybe.
But I’m not here today to make predictions or promises. I’d rather we start by shipping, then talk about what we shipped.
In the upcoming Spring 2016 Quarterly Update, we’ll launch the new legendary short bow, Chuka and Champawat. The team outdid themselves on this one. This new precursor journey takes you through a memorable experience inspired by a real-world story, and the bow you craft at the end is the perfect commemoration of that journey. I hope you all check it out.
Last year we talked about plans to gradually build out a second set of legendary weapons through live content updates. That’s a big responsibility. We have a team of six developers working on that, who could work on it for years to come.
As game director I have to make tough trade-offs. One thing I believe is that we have to focus on the core game first before taking on additional responsibilities. I wrote in the Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto in 2010 that our vision was to create a living, dynamic world, where there’s always something to do. Let’s ensure we succeed on that front.
So, after shipping Chuka and Champawat, I’ve asked that we indefinitely suspend work on new legendary weapons. This team of developers will instead shift their efforts back to Living World style content, building new journeys and events for everyone to participate in.
I know this will be a controversial decision. I’ll hang out with you here on the forums for a little while today to discuss it. And I’m always available by email.
This is a great thread. It’s constructive. We’re all reading it and referring to it in team discussions.
As we said in the AMA, our top internal priorities have been population balance and rewards. From this thread, your top five priorities are, in order:
1. Stability & skill balance
2. Fix or revert DBL
4. Population balance
Yes, we will take the feedback and make stability, general skill balance, and fixing/reverting DBL our top priorities. We’re not currently working on scoring and that has to be a longer-term project.
Karl is working specifically on WvW-focused skill balance. He’s looking for the wins for WvW that don’t screw the rest of the game.
We’re investigating whether to fix or revert DBL. They’re both a lot of work. These next couple days will be your last chance to give feedback before we make a decision, so speak now or forever hold your peace.
I want to reiterate that everything we work on either ships in April or starts beta-testing on Live servers in April. We’re locking down dev work for the April release soon — next up is localization, QA, integration and regression testing — but we’ll extend the deadline for WvW skill balance.
There is one thing that doesn’t need to get wrapped up into the April release: Friday night resets. That doesn’t require a Live build. We’ll do it.
I know some are concerned about whether ArenaNet is communicating with you and listening and responding to your feedback. As you saw with yesterday’s announcement, we do. All of us at ArenaNet play the game with you, chat with you and read your forum posts, and work on the things that we think will most delight and entertain you.
We’ve set a clear policy in the past year: we don’t talk speculatively about future development. We don’t want to string you along. Creating fun is an uncertain business: sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t; sometimes we go back to the drawing board over and over before we get something right. If we make optimistic promises and then can’t deliver on them, everyone suffers. So when we attend a trade show or give an interview, we’re there to talk about what we’re getting ready to ship, not to speculate on what we might ship someday.
Don’t read that as meaning that we don’t want to talk with you about the longer-term roadmap. The intention of the CDI threads is to talk with you about the roadmap. We want to talk design philosophy with you and hear how you want to see the game evolve. When those discussions trigger development, we’ll work internally until we have something we’re proud of before we’ll announce it.
A lot of the questions I’ve seen posted this week are as simple as this: does ArenaNet have an agenda to never do something? That’s almost never the case, and if it is the case you deserve to know and we’ll make sure we get more clear. In general the simple truth is this: when we’re not currently working on something, it’s because we’re working on something else instead that we think is more important for the game and community.
Our developers post on these forums on a voluntary basis, and in addition to developers, we have a community team who can clarify and be the bridge between players and developers. They’re ready to engage you on these topics. And I know it’s hard for the community team to engage players across all the forums and sites where these questions are being discussed, so I’m going to support the team in consolidating and focusing as necessary, so that we can be clear to the community where you can go to get a response.
See you in-game,
I’d like to add some detail to what Gaile wrote above.
It was not possible to perform this exploit with an unmodified game client. Those who performed it knew exactly what they were doing.
As a normal player of the game, you shouldn’t have to worry that you might get banned for doing something that you didn’t think was wrong. We know it’s a very serious action to ban an account, and we don’t want to take that action arbitrarily or subjectively. Our goal is to only ban when we’re sure that the account maliciously participated in the exploit, or was used for muling or distributing the proceeds.
In this case we made a mistake and banned some unrelated accounts. It was human error, and we apologize. We unbanned most of them in a batch last night. But, upon reviewing appeals, we can see that we missed some, so we’re going through and unbanning those too.
We review appeals thoroughly. Anyone who believes he or she was unfairly banned only has to write to us to get a clear answer.