Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet has decided to step up its planned schedule of releasing new content for the MMO by shifting to a twice-monthly scheme.
Massively multiplayer online games rely on fresh content updates to a degree not seen in any other genre. MMO fans are a rabid bunch who will tear through new content almost as quickly as developers can cobble it together, so any company hoping to be successful in the MMO space has to be prepared to create and roll out new distractions on a regular basis. How regular? Well, if you happen to work for Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet, the answer seems to be "every two weeks."
"We're doing three [week updates] currently, but now we're pushing to two weeks," Guild Wars 2 lead content designer Mike Zadorojny states in a recent interview with GamerZines.
"It's a marathon not a sprint and we've been getting better with each of our releases, in terms of how we budget, how we plan it out, how we manage personnel etc. Now we have four full 'Living World' teams that are building these content updates, so that we can stagger releases and make sure that [our developers] can decompress and get the quality time necessary to build a good design document before going back in and trying to implement it all over again."
That's a great idea, and should alleviate fan complaints about the lack of proper end-game content in Guild Wars 2 to some degree, but isn't there a fear that this update schedule might burn out ArenaNet's cadre of developers? Certainly, but Zadorojny claims that with time and practice the company has become much more adept at turning around new content in a short amount of time and the benefits of this speed should only increase as time rolls along.
"Our goal is that as we do this, we're getting better and better at it," Zadorojny states. "We're starting to catch the bigger mistakes that we would've missed earlier on. We're starting to build the infrastructure, the framework and the tools to help us do this because we really think that this is the longevity of the product."
"If we can push this, if we can add content every two weeks that is engaging to the players, then really it's almost like a TV show at that point. It's kind of stay tuned until next week for the thrilling conclusion of ..." he adds.
"That's where our goal is, and it's really fascinating when you have an entire studio dedicated to pulling off."
Can ArenaNet pull this off? We just don't know. We wish the developer the best of luck, but that's a very strenuous development schedule. If it succeeds, then they deserve full propers, but if the scheme crashes and burns you can expect us to report on the carnage tout de suite.