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|PS2 Beta info announced!|
First off, we're really all insanely excited about getting everyone in and playing the game as soon as possible. This has been a long road and it feels like we've all been in it together, having this next phase getting kicked off is a huge thrill for us.
I wanted to come by and give you guys some info about our beta plans and have there be one source of info from the dev team about what we're doing with beta rather than having a bunch of speculation based on tweets. Most of this info has been out there, but in various disconnected posts, so here it is all in one easy to reference spot.
Here is some general info about our current beta plans, what you should expect and when. I'll be sure to update this with more info and answers to more questions as I see them.
1 - Our external testing will be kicking off sometime this week (to be totally clear, I mean the week of July 9th - July 15th) with the technical test that we've been talking a lot about. This test will let us make sure the game runs across a variety of hardware configurations and the people invited will be hand picked based on the requirements in our hardware matrix. We're currently internally evaluating the build we expect to be used for this test and those players who have been selected will be receiving invites as soon as we're ready.
2 - We will be opening up the test in multiple phases or stages, inviting more and more players for each phase. Our priority invitees are those of you who are PlanetSide vets, and those who have priority beta keys (i.e. keys from the PC Gamer magazines), as well as those who received keys from members of the dev teams or at E3. Just so I'm 100% clear, we're not going to be opening the floodgates by inviting all of the thousands of PlanetSide veterans on day 1, but you are still the highest priority to get invites as we expand the testing circle out.
3 - Beta testing will begin with specific pre-determined times, and eventually will open up to being available more often. These testing times will be communicated through email to players who have been flagged for access.
4 - PlanetSide vets do not need a beta key, their accounts will be flagged for beta and they will receive an email letting them know – if you are a PlanetSide veteran, make sure your station account email is up to date.
5 - While we’re making every effort to communicate accurate times & dates to you guys, and get the beta going as soon as possible, if unforeseen circumstances occur and we’re forced to delay testing then we will.
6 - Beta testing is a critically important part of our development cycle on this project, we may be asking you to only play on tanks for a play session, or only play aircraft. We are doing true beta testing, not just a game demo and we implore those of you who are invited to understand and respect that. Things will break, the server will be unavailable sometimes, we will cancel scheduled tests when we find something that breaks before the test starts. All of this will help us make a better final game.
Looking forward to shooting you in the face and / or shooting other people in the face alongside you.
|PlanetSide Command Center -- Episode 1|
|PlanetSide 2 video from last nights stream!|
Freezing a bit but was not the best feed.
|Play Asura and Sylvari in the July 20-22 Beta Weekend Event!|
For our final Beta Weekend Event (July 20-22), we’re making the asura and sylvari races available to beta players for the first time. Players will be able to create characters from any of the five main races of Tyria—human, norn, charr, asura, and sylvari—and begin their Guild Wars 2 experience in any of the five radically different home regions.
For asura players, this means beginning your tale in Metrica Province, a vivid, exotic jungle area full of high-tech laboratories, quirky golems, and competing krewes of mad scientists. Nearby, the massive monoliths of the asuran capital Rata Sum hum with technomagical power. These diminutive geniuses may seem cute at first glance, but never underestimate an asura…
Sylvari players begin their story in the Grove, a luminous living city nestled in the shade of the Pale Tree, the “mother” of every member of this young race of plant humanoids. The sylvari are an enigmatic race of chivalrous explorers who are driven by an insatiable curiosity and guided by a collective Dream.
If you’ve played in previous beta events, you know that each playable race has its own distinct regions, signature city, and personal storyline options. But above all, each race in Guild Wars 2 has its own identity, and the asura and sylvari perfectly illustrate this.
We can’t wait to see players drinking in the mystical atmosphere of the Grove or stopping alchemagical experiments running amok in Metrica Province during our last Beta Weekend Event before launch. If you want to reserve a spot in the beta, pre-purchase your copy of Guild Wars 2 today.
|PlanetSide Interviews: Wayback Thursday with PlanetSide Devs|
June was a busy month for Wayback Wednesday, so much in fact that we had to go forth and create a special edition Wayback Wednesday Thursday to fit all the games in. Last week’s bonus episode showcased Planetside and I was joined by special guests Tramell Isaac and Matt Higby from Sony Online Entertainment. Tramell was the original art director for Planetside and is currently the senior art director for Planetside 2. Matt is currently the creative director for Planetside 2 and in the past has worked on other SOE titles such as Everquest II.
Planetside is the most successful MMOFPS to date. It also features the holy grail of MMORPG PvP: 3 faction persistent warfare. We showed off each of the three factions at the beginning of the stream before we converted to black ops. Matt was in disguise as the New Conglomerate, Tramell represented the Vanu Sovereignty, and I dressed up as a member of the Terran Republic. We decided in advance of the show to be black ops members and take on the entire server. We did this because while it is fun for players to fight alongside the developers it is infinitely more fun for the players to kill the developers. In the end we may have bit off more than we could chew. Tramell challenged the server to “bring it” and the server quickly responded. An adventurous group of players managed to find us before we even began our journey.
One of the first things I noticed upon logging into Planetside after an extended hiatus was that for a game that is over 9 years old (released May 20, 2003) the graphics have held up very well. While the game is obviously not using Unreal 3 engine technology Tramell and his art team do not have us running around shooting it out as stick figures. Besides the art there are also a number of RPG elements to this first person shooter that stand out. You gain experience through combat and completing objects, such as capturing enemy bases, which allow you to gain ranks and develop your character. One example of character progression is the ability to unlock upgraded weapons and to earn licenses to operate vehicles. Matt did say, however, that licenses for vehicles would be removed for Planetside 2. Everyone will be able to drive all of vehicles in the game right out of the box, and this is just the beginning of the improvements. While we played Planetside the conversation quickly shifted focus to Planetside 2 and Matt along with Tramell fielded questions for almost an hour on what players could expect to find in this reincarnation of Planetside.
-This is a reimagining of Planetside and not a direct sequel
-No longer need certifications to use vehicles
-The environment will directly impact game play
-Huge amount of cosmetic and short cut items in cash shop
-74 degree FOV
-Planetside will not shut down when PS2 launches
-Team is aiming for the game to be playable on 4 to 5 year old computers
-to many to list… check out the video!
One of the most interesting things we talked about was the impact that the environment would have on the player in the game. A day night cycle will appear in Planetside 2. To use the night cycle to their advantage players will have the ability to obtain night vision optics. You can imagine the tactical advantage this will give players in the dark. Players will also be able to find creative ways to hide when is not dark outside. Tramell told a story how aerial vehicles could take advantage of the sunrise and hide their approach on the horizon by keeping the sun at their back. Aerial vehicles will also be affected by sandstorms. While they do not have to worry about sucking sand into their turbines and crashing they do have to worry about line of sight issues created by the storm. They can also figure out ways to use the storm to camouflage their approach.
This episode featuring Planetside was a lot of fun and the in game event was highly attended. We managed to crash the server twice from too many players in the zone at once. Some of the more ridiculous items that we discovered are: Tramell cannot fly vehicles, friends do not let friends drive under the influence of pizza, trees and rocks need to get out of the way while I’m driving, Matt uses Head and Shoulders. SOE is currently running a welcome back promotion and anyone that has ever had a subscription to Planetside can log back into their account and have access to the game for the next 30 days. Currently the population has sky rocketed back to peak levels that have not been seen since 2003. If you want to reminisce on the old action there is no time like the present, also if you are a Planetside noob and want to find out what all the fuss is about this is the perfect time to jump into the game. There will be no lack of people willing support or kill you depending on the faction you pick
|The Golden Rules of Guild Wars 2|
Every company has its secrets: secret recipes, secret codes, secret programs, and secret ways of doing things. Some secrets are kept for important spy reasons, and some are kept simply because no one bothers sharing them. The secrets I’m sharing in this blog post are equal parts both.
Some developers might wish there was a secret recipe book for designing an online world—some big ol’ Betty Crocker-style book with chapters like “Combat System” and “Interactive Story Telling,” containing recipes for “Melee Weapons” and “Compelling Main Characters.” And they’d wish all you had to do was add in the particulars specified and work on each bit for the required amount of time.
The truth is that designing an online world is a lot like the real world. It’s messy business. It’s organic. It’s chaotic. The mental space in which you are creating is different from moment to moment with assumptions and extrapolations piling into a confusing tangle that only your gut has time to sort out. It’s like a turbulent ocean storm of ideas, processes, people, and collaboration.
At ArenaNet there aren’t really recipes, nor are there secrets, but there are the high-level design principles that have guided our design process of Guild Wars 2. They have been the stars in the night sky that have kept this ship from running aground on more than one occasion. You can see them reflected in the combat, in the story, in the event system, even in the world map. Every aspect of the game has been touched and shaped by one or more of these “golden rules.”
Make the world come alive
I list this one first, as it’s probably the principle that is most integrated into everything we design into Guild Wars 2—we are making an online world after all. It basically means that the world of Tyria acts as a metaphor for a real world with its own self-enforcing rules. In terms of story and lore, we had to establish things like geopolitical dynamics. There are nations, and those nations have relationships with each other. Those relationships are based on history, on the personalities of individual leaders, on geographical realities. In our environment design we add caves for creatures to live in and nests for things to lay eggs in. We establish some semblance of an ecosystem by the choices of creatures we place in certain areas and how they biologically relate to one another. Then, so players get a sense for all this, we have events where you get to interact with those nests, and quests that allow you to explore the impact of those geopolitical conflicts through the plot of your personal story.
Purpose: It’s a litmus test we use to determine if something doesn’t feel right in the world of Tyria. Normally, it’s used with content or story. It provides the foundation and starting point for characters, plots, and environments.
Cooperation is key
Every time we implement a new system, there are about 1,000 decisions that need to get made right away, and another 1,000 that you don’t get to the first time around.
The biggest decisions get arbitrated by the player, i.e., YOU! We want everyone that’s on the same team in Guild Wars 2 to really be on the same team—not fighting for resources, not having tangentially conflicting motivations, not minimizing each other’s experiences. This led us to things like the combo system, which gives you reason to get excited to fight alongside others because you can combine your attacks with theirs in all kinds of tactical ways. Every player can gather from all nodes because we didn’t want tension to build up in a group of people trying to adventure around a map together. Events themselves exist because they are a content type that benefits from more players being in the world. Even the way we reward event participation makes it so your contributions matter, but not at the expense of someone else’s.
Purpose: This has helped guide a lot of our content types and reward systems. It helps us evaluate whether we are motivating players to play together or unintentionally creating conflicts between players.
Play the game, not the UI
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, game designer! That’s about the stupidest thing ever typed.” And it kind of is. How else are you going to play the game? The way we mean it is: Since we are creating a living online world in which you heroically spend your time, we want you to viscerally experience that world. We don’t want the world to be hidden behind stacks of menus, buttons, charts, graphs, or whatever else it is we could conceive to put between you and Tyria.
The UI of Guild Wars 2 is a balance of the information you need right now, the information you need sometimes, and the information you are getting contextually based on what is going on. Because the information I need in those categories differs from what you need at any given moment, the one common thing we both need out of the experience is for it to be visceral and intuitive. And that isn’t achieved by covering your screen with more screens.
Purpose: Being mindful of the way the player will interact with a game system from the beginning helps guide its scope and creates a synergy between its mechanics and how the player experiences it. It helps us reduce visual clutter and acts as a catalyst for those hard-to-make decisions, such as no red dots on the minimap.
“Let’s try it.” You hope to hear that phrase at the end of a meeting, especially if that meeting was contentious, or if the idea discussed is new and radical.
Imagine a playground full of kids playing. At its best, playing is making mistakes in a safe environment and learning from those mistakes in a way that encourages growth. Trying out new ideas or making drastic changes is the way we as designers get to play with the game. It’s where we slip and fall, scrape our knees, and otherwise monkey around on the jungle gym. While we don’t try out every idea, we use our collective experience to get a sense for what has promise—what we should follow down the rabbit hole. We look at where our ideas break, how they break, and why they break. You can see this in how we redesigned the sylvari, or in how we have developed the professions. They’ve all undergone quite a bit of transformation over the last few years as we have tried out different approaches and learned from those very playful experiences.
Purpose: To reinforce our general design culture of iteration. You can’t innovate in an environment that is averse to failure. You must embrace the risk of making mistakes. At the end of the day, if something doesn’t quite turn out the way you wanted, it’s not failing, it’s playing—and you grow for having done it.
Do it well or don’t do it at all
With a game as big as an online world, you need to pick your battles very carefully. Every feature you choose to invest resources in something means some other element gets less attention in one way or another. Hopefully, at some point, you get a good idea of what it takes to make a profession, a skill for that profession, or whatever the feature or set of features at hand may be. You get a sense for the overall resource cost of any particular element. When that happens, you start seeing how parts contribute to the whole, and you are able to see where some features would drain resources away from more important core areas. With Guild Wars 2, we tried to err on the side of doing a few things great, rather than doing everything less than great. What does that mean? It means that we focused on the core of the experience instead of the unnecessary trappings. It also means we chose to cut features. If you make the wrong decisions about what you focus your development resources on, you may create an aberrant experience. But when that focus is applied correctly, you end up with the superior level of polish that is only possible through the devotion of sufficient time, energy and talent.
Purpose: This enables us to focus our resources on the most important game elements we want to make great. The result is a game that has a consistent quality bar, and thus a consistent feel. If any feature isn’t going to be able to meet that bar without hurting something else, then it needs to go for the sake of the greater whole. It’s a vicious jungle those little features live and die in.
Respect the player
We respect you—as a player, as a human being. This game we’re making may end up competing with your real life. It might fight for your free time alongside your friends, your family, your work, and whatever else you might be doing. Because of that, we want to give you a meaningful experience, not one that is a vapid waste of your time. Whatever your reasons for spending time in Tyria, we don’t want to waste it by doing stuff that isn’t fun.
That’s why we make our content epic. That’s why we have giant nightmare demons to fight, global allegiances to form, immense keeps to siege, and giant catapults to fire. Tyria is a place that will foster relationships with new friends, and provide you a rich experience to share with old ones. It’s our version of a playground on the grandest of scales.
Finally, we are building an online world, but we are always careful to leave space for its most important element, the one we designers would like to step out of the spotlight for: its heroes—you.
Purpose: To keep us honest.
I hope you enjoyed exploring the now not-so-secret herbs and spices that help us make Guild Wars 2 such a delicious experience.
|Planetside 2 : Factions Walkthrough and Analysis|
|Immortality is not a gift, Immortality is an achievement; And only those who strive mightily Shall possess it! >Link<|