2014-03-19 14:07:47 神评论

17173:During the China CBT3, players found that there are some differences with the US version. From developers view, what changes and differences of GW2 China version in your opinion compared to the west version?

Mike O’Brien, president and co-founder, ArenaNet: The largest set of improvements we made was to the new player experience. We used our experience launching the game in NA/EU to identify what players found confusing as they joined GW2, and made sure to fix those things before launching in China.

In the NA/EU launch version, the game only properly introduced a few systems, but mostly it provided everything with no introduction at levels one and two: downed state, profession abilities, off-hand weapons, underwater, crafting, gathering, map completion, fast travel, banking, trading post, PvP, and WvW. In the China version we spread out more of these so we could provide a proper introduction of each. Note though that advanced players can still skip ahead: they can work on various aspects of map completion, travel with Asura Gates, and join PvP or WvW, before the level at which these features are introduced.

In the NA/EU launch version, the game introduced a new personal story step every few levels, so after completing each story step the player was expected to do some leveling up before attempting the next. In the China version story steps are grouped together so that players can complete an entire section of the story at once.

In the NA/EU launch version, the game provided a skill point, a trait point, and some attribute points on each level up. These were very incremental changes that were difficult to notice or appreciate. In the China version the game provides rewards in bigger batches so that players can immediately notice and appreciate the difference. For example, one level you get five skill points at once, another level you get a big boost to your attributes.

In addition to improving the new player experience, we also made changes that we think are right for the long-term play experience. The biggest of those must be the change to the dye system. In the NA/EU launch version dyes were character unlocks, whereas in the China version they're account unlocks. With this new system you only need to collect a dye once and you can use it on any character. This is more convenient, but it means demand for dye will go down, so we're also reducing supply. Dye unlocks now come only from crafting and from the gem store.

Actually NA/EU players have been asking for dyes to be account unlocks for a long time and we'll want to make essentially this same change for NA/EU. The differences will be in phrasing. In the NA/EU version players purchase dye packs from the gem store; in China players purchase dye identifiers from the gem store. Either way you purchase something and it gives you random dye, permanently unlocked for all characters on your account.

Getting back to the question, I have provided a sampling of changes we made for the China version but this list is by no means exhaustive. A lot of our work went into changes that seem detailed or hard to notice, but to us, those details matter a lot. We re-implemented every hint in the game. We made the game teach itself and removed the old ineffective help system. We added a content direction system so that the game always points you to something you can do next. We even made behind-the-scenes changes, like changing the way the game stores its data on disk, and rewriting critical back-end servers to prepare for launch capacity.

17173:GW2 China announced will sync with the global version previously but we found actually there are a lot things that do not synchronized. For instance, in the US version, the weapon skills unlock by battles but in China server this is by level. What is the reason here?

Mike O’Brien: We think that unlocking weapon skills by level is a better system. It's simpler, it gives players more time to learn their first weapon, and then it means that they have all skills unlocked immediately when they find new weapon types later in the game.

To answer your question more generally, when we talk about keeping the versions synchronized, our core concern is to ensure that players can experience every new Living World episode and every new Feature Pack when we release them at about the same time in each territory. Thus it's important to us that the territories shares common core systems so that new content we introduce works the same everywhere in the world.

Going back to the example of weapon skill unlocks, it doesn't particularly matter to a player's enjoyment of Living World episodes or of a new Feature Pack release whether he had originally unlocked his weapon skills through combat or through leveling. Either way, the skills are unlocked. So we made that change for China because we think it's right for China, and we have plenty of time to decide later whether we should bring that change back to NA/EU too.

In some cases we have allowed the versions to diverge because there's a change we can make for China that would be very difficult to bring back to NA/EU. I'll give an example. In GW2, guilds can exist across multiple worlds. In the NA/EU version, guilds earn influence separately and spend it separately on each world that their members play on. In the China version, guilds have a single pool of influence, and the upgrades they purchase with influence benefit members on all worlds. Obviously the China system is better, but it's not easy to take a system like that back to NA/EU where guilds already have different unlocks on different worlds.

In some cases we couldn't allow even a temporary divergence without threatening our ability to ship new Living World releases and Feature Packs globally. I'll give an example. At launch in NA/EU we had long queue times for WvW, and WvW is only getting more popular over time, so we expected very long queue times in China. It was important for us to fix the WvW queuing situation before launching in China. But this was not something we could allow to diverge, so we ensured that we released the new WvW map, Edge of the Mists, in all territories prior to the launch in China.

Keep in mind, we'll be releasing a Feature Pack after CBT3 but before the launch of the game in China, so you'll see more of that type of global change then.

17173:Besides the above questions, others like WvW, in the US server, a new player can directly enter WvW at level 2 through the WvW icon; but on China Server this needs level 35 without WvW icon and playeres have to run in it. What’s your consideration here?

Mike O’Brien: In China also, players can enter WvW at level 2. We don't think that's a very good experience, but it's there for advanced players.

You're seeing a partially implemented system in CBT3. Here's how it will work: the WvW button will appear at level 35 or when any character on your account has earned a single rank in WvW. So if you want early access, you can use an Asura gate to travel there at level 2, earn a single rank, and all of your characters will get the WvW button.

17173:KongZhong once said there will be no VIP system in game, but in the CBT3 that the Royal Title system caused big controversy here as players basically regard this indeed is the VIP system. As a GW2 developer, how do you think about the situation here?

Mike O’Brien: As developers, the important thing to us is that we hold true to our standards of what should be and what shouldn't be purchasable. You may have read my 2012 blog post on this subject. For those of you who haven't, I'll summarize. We think it's right that players can spend money on items to provide visual distinction or customization, and can spend money on account services and time-saving conveniences. We think it's right that players can trade gems for gold and vice-versa, such that players can keep up with other players and be on a level playing field, whether they use their time or money to do so. But we think it's never ok for players to buy a game and not be able to enjoy what they paid for without additional purchases. And we think it's never ok for players who spend money to have an unfair advantage over players who spend time.

These are our guiding principles. They're obviously different from what you see other developers doing. Particularly in China it seems common for games to have VIP systems that make characters more powerful than they could ever be without VIP. That's not a level playing field; that's "pay to win".

We believe the royal title system in GW2 is absolutely not a “pay to win” system. It certainly is a loyalty system: it gives you a reusable package of convenience items, plus gifts, plus discounts on everything else in the gem store, and the more you play the game the more convenience items you get. But the things it gives you are almost all things you could purchase with gems anyway. And they're convenience items, not power. There's no "pay to win" here.

I know that players everywhere are skeptical of microtransactions after having seen them abused in other games. So I wouldn't ask you to take my word for it; I ask you to see for yourself. In talks with KongZhong we've decided to expand CBT3 and allow players to experience the game soon without a CD key. I hope to see you there.


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