To help team members from getting worn down or bored of the same routine, ArenaNet encourages them to switch teams based on their interests. "For example, if a member of a team is really good at dungeon work but wants to explore creature balance or script writing or work on another area of the game, then we as a design group and a game director group work that out for them and allow people to move between teams. The only exclusion to that is the people working in base camp."
Once ArenaNet figured out that they needed four teams in order to release content at a two-week cadence, they gave the teams a few months head start to develop their updates and get the cycle set up properly. "This is why it has taken so long to set up," he explained. "So basically, if a team takes two months to develop a piece of content, then we have to kick off the next team two weeks after them, and the next team two weeks after that team, and the next team two weeks after that. Now we have them all spinning up and functional."
This, Whiteside explains, allows ArenaNet to put out deep and meaningful updates every two weeks even though these teams have had a long time to develop each piece of content.
When I asked whether anyone on the team was worn out with such an aggressive schedule, Whiteside slightly chuckled and said, "There is absolutely no doubt that when we first started doing this, it was extremely tiring for the teams, and confusing." He went on to explain that the entire communication system that was set up before launch had to be restructured for the new system. However, things quickly started to look up, as the developers on the teams were extremely driven to bring their fans the best content possible.
The world of Guild Wars 2 is filled with thousands of dynamic events that constantly change based on the actions of players like you. Fast-paced, action-oriented combat lets you attack on the move, dodge and roll away from enemy blows, team up with other players, and take advantage of environmental weapons to dominate the battlefield! Competitive play in Guild Wars 2 is easy to learn, but offers challenges for new players and hardcore PvPers alike. Guild Wars 2 is your story - your choices determine how your personal story evolves, and with thousands of possible variations, no two players will have the exact same experience.
Since the content has been releasing on schedule, every two weeks players old and new can experience something fresh in Guild Wars 2. The constant releases have even had a positive impact on subscription numbers. "We're definitely at a growth period," said Whiteside. "We're very humbled just by how popular the game is and it's very exciting. Once the community gets a grasp on what we're doing, it's going to be even more exciting."
Whiteside explained that the development team decided not to talk to the community at all about their living world plans until they could prove it could be done. "I think that understandably there's been a disconnect between us and the community and that they might feel like we left them out in the cold." He goes on to explain however, that the developers have been watching everything the community does and that they were just fearful of making promises that they might not have been able to keep. Now that ArenaNet's sure they have the process down pact, they can't wait to begin heavily engaging with the community once more.
With this much content coming out, many players are ecstatic, while others might feel it's a bit too much. When I asked Whiteside about players getting burned out, he said, "If people feel compelled to be a part of every single event and do every single thing and they don't have the time to do it that might be problematic. It's a huge amount of content." Over the next few weeks, he explains that the teams will be monitoring the Guild Wars 2 forums to discover what the community thinks about how much content is being delivered and whether or not they think it's too overwhelming.
At the end of the day, it seems as though the whole restructuring was worth it for the ArenaNet team. "We've learned to develop very fast in a high pressure environment, and we've learned how to communicate better with one another. We've learned to get very good analytics from everything we're doing, and we've certainly learned the importance of variety. We've really learned in every area," said Whiteside.
"You can imagine that everday presents new challenges and opportunities when you do something that no one has ever done before. In many ways it's amazing because we have no choice but to go forward."
As ArenaNet continues to create a world infused with innovation, players can enjoy their hard work in the latest content update, The Bazaar of the Four Winds, which will be available on July 9.