Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, known for it's action-focused combat and frequent Living World story updates.

Personal Learning Goals

• Live-Ops Development

• Open-World Design

• Boss Design

• Player Behavior

• Database Structures

Production Info

• Worked on a variety of different teams and updates for Guild Wars 2 over a 3-year period.

• Versatile development methodology allowed us to adapt to the changing needs and desires of players.

Flexible Development

Working in a live-ops environment was radically different from my other projects. We were able to interact closely with our playerbase, asking them about important features or bugs that they wanted to see take priority over others, while still working internally to keep on track with our production schedule and needs of the company. Joining ArenaNet well after Guild Wars 2 had already launched, I ended up transitioning between several different teams as needed to keep up with the changing demands of the playerbase.

Importance of Your Core Players

One of the game modes that players had been wanting updates for was our Fractal Dungeons. Introduced early on but then made lower priority to free up development resources, Fractals still had a devoted following of players who wanted to see more of them. Because of this, as soon as we finished up shipping the Heart of Thorns expansion pack, I moved onto the newly-created Fractals team. We immediately set about brainstorming ways to revitalize the game mode.

The first Fractals feature we started work on was Fractal Leaderboards, created to get competitive players more interested in playing Fractals with the introduction of a way to compete with other top teams. As we began working on this feature however, we discovered that a simple leaderboard would not work with the game content we currently had, and the scope of the feature grew and we identified more and more issues we would need to address to make Fractals into a competitive game mode.

After several months, we still didn't have anything we were happy with shipping, and took a step back to look at what we were building. We realized that while the work we had done on leaderboards didn't really provide anything to our current playerbase; while it may get new players interested in Fractals, the playerbase we already had was languishing. As a result, we cut the feature and immediately switched over to building new Fractal maps, adding quality-of-life changes, and making improvements to existing Fractals. This news was met with joy by our long-time players, who never cared much about competitive play; they simply wanted more of what they fell in love with in the first place.

While it was a tough decision to cut several months of work on our leaderboards, I know we made the right choice. While leaderboards may have attracted new players to the game mode, the Fractal updates we have since released have received tons of praise from our long-term players, who are the ones we really care about.

Contact Me:

sprhughes@gmail.com

© 2012-2017 by Sean Hughes, DigiPen Instutute of Technology (WA), ArenaNet LLC, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

Potoni the Massive

One of the Tangled Depths bosses, Potoni the Massive, stares down the player