GW2Hub: Hey Dragon Season! You’re the first of our community websites we’ll be interviewing. For anyone who doesn’t know about you, can you let them know what Dragon Season is all about?
Tilion: Hey there! It’s an honour for us sitting down with you folks for this interview. Let’s hope that our presence here will kick off this new project of yours in the most pleasant of ways. You are aware of how much we care about Guild Wars 2’s community, so we’ll definitely keep an eye out for what comes up next.< When it comes to your question now, Nick, would you like to elaborate? theValliant: Yes, of course Chris. Actually, Dragon Season is both a community website and a guild in the game! This often causes confusion, as people more often than not think that our site is a guild site. It’s not! Well, it is, but that is not its primary function. The site was created almost a year before the game (i.e. GW2) launched and it was meant as a meeting point and information kiosk if you like for all those who loved the game even back then and yearned for news about it. The guild is our cruiser for any of them who care to take the trip with us. Tilion: That’s right. Dragon Season is what we like to call, a family. A group of people working together towards a common goal: fun. Be it in game or out of it, it is our passion to care about every single member of the general population of the game. We try to be fairly informative, while keeping aside anything that would turn us into professionals. Besides, we are nothing more than common players ourselves, a fact that we cannot do without.
GW2Hub: How has Dragon Season progressed since you first started your website? You’ve a big following…
Tilion: It has been a long way, right Nick?
theValliant: That is so true!
Tilion: You know what, this is it: a journey. I’ll never ever forget in my life the moment when I decided to embark on this epic journey to meet people from all over the world. Nick for example is one of those people. We met each other back in the days when the original staff behind the initial idea, now called Dragon Season, was on the lookout for people that share the same dream. Then there are those that we got to meet in game. Isn’t it incredible that you can call someone that you haven’t even met in person, your one and only true friend?
So, yes, without everyone’s constant support we would be for nothing. All this hard work that every single individual put into this project is what led us to our current status.
theValliant: One of the first articles on the site was Chris’s amazing guide on how to get those treasured achievement points for the Hall of Monuments in Guild Wars 1. It still remains up to this day one of the most read articles in our ever-expanding archive. I believe it was one of its kind back then, globally! Anyway, as more people jumped on the train with time, our capacity to get more articles out grew. This, combined with Chris’s unparalleled ability to get the latest and hottest info out lightning-fast and the fact that we’re still to this day one of the few multi-lingual community sites, made us quite popular very quickly. There were a lot of people who contributed to this of course and I cannot take your time to name them all, so I’ll just say that they are commemorated on our Staff page.
Tilion: Oh, I’m sure that our staff page cannot not do enough to credit all those people that have contributed to our cause. Dragon Season is not about what a single entity did or does. It’s a group effort we are talking about. Our website serves as a meeting point, a place where everybody is free to write his/her own opinion regarding the game, on the front page, without any restrictions or limitations. And yes, I may be blushing by what Nick just mentioned, but I’m not the one responsible for the way things came out to be. Those who read this interview, at this very moment, are.
GW2Hub: Did you imagine your site would have stood the test of time since Guild Wars 2’s launch? Many fan sites have fallen by the wayside since the game launched and yet you’re stronger than ever. What do you think makes Dragon Season so special?
theValliant: I will never forget the day we hit our half million visitors mark! It was just a few days after the site’s first birthday. To answer your question though: I don’t think any of us imagined back when we started the site that we’d be so popular. But we were all convinced we’d still be around after one year and then one more, because what we provide is unbiased and continuous information about the game which springs from our endless love for it. So yeah, personally I am not surprised at all. However I think there’s an additional contributing factor for our endurance, as you called it. Since the game launched people, players, begun to get to know us in the game as well – as real people who demonstrated our love for the game on every chance we had. This brought more people to the site, to discuss the game on the forum or read our guides. It’s a self-powered process.
Tilion: To be honest, yes, deep inside me I knew that we could manage to do so. That is because there is nothing else than raw passion that drives us forward. We are not obliged to follow any deadlines or anything. Our only rule is “write an article or a post when you feel up to it”, and that is when you find something interesting in game that you want to talk about. This way, there’s not a single thing to dispute about among the team. We co-exist together in harmony, each filling in for the other’s weak points.
GW2Hub: What do you think Dragon Seasons niche is and what do you feel you offer the Guild Wars 2 community? Where do you feel you fit amongst the fan sites?
theValliant: I would say our love for the game? Yeah, that would be it. We strive to throw out valid information as fast as possible on a 24/7 schedule. There are other sites that host a multitude of articlers or ‘researchers’ that get tons of valuable information out there – and we love and read them ourselves too of course. We do not strive to compete with anyone in terms of output volume or even pace; we simply post something when we feel like saying something that matters and which, probably or hopefully, one cannot find it somewhere else. We prefer originality to quantity.
If it’s ‘hot’ and fresh out of the oven, you’ll find it on Tilion’s tweets first and then, possibly, extensively discussed on our front page or in the forum!
Tilion: Don’t look at me now, I’ve got nothing more to add. *laughs* I could say I guess that I’m in love with every little thing that Guild Wars 2’s community comes up with and I give my best to promote all that effort.
Did you know that Tyrians tend to be extremely creative? I mean REALLY creative. I may even pass out on my desk sometimes from all the work that I put myself into, trying to read through articles or browse through pictures and posts. Yeah, they can be creative! *groans*
GW2Hub: How do you and those who run Dragon Season feel about Guild Wars 2? Has your opinion of it changed since you first began covering it?
theValliant: You’re shown photos of a brand new car – all sides of it, plus the salon inside. You absolutely LOVE it and can’t wait to drive it. You write about it, ranting. But you cannot truly appreciate or even evaluate it until you step your foot on the pedals or try to fit a couple of traveller’s suitcases in the trunk. You know what I mean? Surely our opinion of it changed since we first begun writing about it. Some aspects of it we came to love and think as indispensable now, to the point of no return to other MMOs. Some other sides of the game... well, let’s say we will not let it rest until they (i.e. ArenaNet) make them as good as they can be! We like to remind ArenaNet every now and again that they made a promise: to make this a game by the players for the players. We play, so we will keep telling them and everyone listening or reading what we think about it.
Tilion: Let’s just say that it’s admittedly impossible to judge a book by its cover. Inevitably some things will look odd, while others will shine bright in your eyes. When I got my hands on Guild Wars 2 for the first time, I knew that the idea behind it was a step forward from the status of the MMO industry at the time. The question is, was that towards the right direction?
A year later I can only say that the game has definitely gone through several stages of iteration, making the whole experience even more pleasant than it was. As for the future, I would like to see more challenging group activities in PvE, new game types in sPvP and guild oriented missions in WvW. Such additions would enrich its content furthermore.
GW2Hub: What do you think is the worst and the best the game has to offer?
theValliant: Now this is truly objective! Alright, personally I’m a fool for lore. I love a good story, or two, and I thoroughly enjoyed my personal story – at least up to the point where Vegg-man comes in and steals my sunshine. Then came the Living Story episodes and I was totally sold! But for a couple of months now we haven’t seen any progress there and I’m thinking maybe it’s the scriptwriter’s summer break :P Apart from that, I love the sense of exploration and free roaming you get in GW2 – you don’t *have* to go after the quests, they come your way and you either do them or pass them by. Also the fact that you don’t have to compete with other players but are rewarded for collaborating with them on every aspect of the game, this is absolutely outstanding! There’s so much beautiful scenery (I have 4 full folders with screenshots already, that’s roughly 4k pics!) with interesting NPCs and very well-written dialogues. Not-so-favourite? Hmm... I’d have to say I don’t like account-bound consumables, grind (thank god it’s not so mandatory in GW2, as opposed to... well, the rule) and a couple of explorable dungeon paths. I also dislike Hyleks’ poison darts!
Tilion: Well, what can I say myself? I’m a huge sucker for dungeons. I would trade anything in Tyria for a couple of dungeon runs with my guildies. Apart from that I plainly adore the open world. It’s so well designed that part of me wishes that it could see those places up close, if they were real. As for what I dislike, I would say World vs World. That is mostly because I don’t find any interest in defence due to the lack of rewards. But, here goes Season 1! Who knows? I may enter the Eternal Battlegrounds and stay there forever.
GW2Hub: What are your thoughts on the direction the game is taking with the Living World? Do you have any thoughts on temporary content?
theValliant: It has always been my belief that temporary content is ArenaNet’s way of trying out various ways of introducing gameplay features and testing out different ‘launch pads’ for these, as well as specific mechanics. Let’s not forget we’ve just experienced the game’s freshman year, so a lot of experimentation and trial-and-error footsteps were expected and reasonable. It’s been a fantastic first year and we’ve seen things that other games, not just MMOs, fail to introduce even after a couple of years of being around. On the other hand, no developer likes to throw away assets they’ve worked so hard to create – and no producer will be OK with any developer who suggests they go that way either! This is why most of the temporary content is, in fact, returning content: we have the Mad King re-emerging, we’ve just been in the SAB again and we will sooner or later return to the incredible and my personal favourite Spirit Sanctum. So in my mind the only thing that’s truly temporary, in the sense that it expires and goes away and will never be seen again, is the lore that accompanies these Living World episodes. I’ve already told you what I think about that now, didn’t I?
GW2Hub: If you could give any advice to new players starting out, what would it be?
theValliant: Actually I have three! One, forget this is an MMO; this is *not* your typical MMO so do yourself a favor and don’t draw comparisons or try to play it wearing the shoes you crafted in another life. Two, get in a guild as fast as you can and ask them for hot tips and assistance! Exploring is half the fun, that’s true but there are life- and money-saving things to know and the sooner you learn these the more fun your overall experience will be. Number three: if you see another player facing impossible odds, or simply killing time and minor mobs, don’t hesitate to draw your sword and rush to their aid; this game is all about “thank you mate” and never about “you stole my kill Captain #$^%rd!”.
Tilion: Get in touch with other players! This is what an MMO is all about, especially Guild Wars 2. It is a game that cooperation is rewarded to a certain extend. Ress a fallen ally, help them out when they are in need, make friends. That would be my sole advice for them.
GW2Hub: Is the Dragon Season guild recruiting and are there any entry requirements?
theValliant: As far as I know we have not yet said ‘no’ to anyone who asked to join us! There is an application form and even a thread on our forum which people can fill or post in, if they care to join our misadventures in game. Of course, we do have rules of conduct. We do expect people to communicate in English on the guild chat and also on our Mumble sessions if there are non-Greek members present. And we demand mature behavior and non-offensive manners (verbal mainly) all around. We would not reject someone based on their age alone; as a matter of fact, we do have some very old people among us.
Tilion: That’s so nice of you to mention that Nick. I wouldn’t expect you to doing so, as it matches exactly with your individual profile. Correct me if I’m wrong.
theValliant: I don't think I could!
GW2Hub: Pink Day in LA (Lion’s Arch) is coming! How did this come about and what is the primary reason behind it?
Tilion: That is a great example of how gamers are supposed to care about the society that they live into. Gaming has evolved to such an extent that people nowadays are even able to organize in game events, in order to seek support in problems that they deal with in their real life. Pink Day in LA represents an event of that kind.
It is actually an event roots back in the days of the original Guild Wars. At some point its rights were passed down to Gamers Giving Back, which is an independent organization that roots for various charities. Pink Day in LA is about cancer awareness. It takes place every October, which is a month nationally dedicated to the cause. During the event gamers are able to join several in game activities, while getting informed about cancer and its effects and even raising money in order to further assist in the research of the Canadian Cancer Society.
GW2Hub: When is the next Pink Day in LA for anyone wanting to participate?
Tilion: What a coincidence! The next Pink Day in LA is going to take place coming Saturday (19/10/13) in selected European and North American servers of Guild Wars 2 as well as in Guild Wars 1. Dragon Season itself is going to host the event on Aurora Glade. Come hang by with us to learn more about this despicable disease that plagues our times. Help towards the cause and win unique prizes to remind you what this is all about. No matter what language they speak, no matter where they come from, gamers can indeed give back their own way.
GW2Hub would like to thank Dragon Season for taking the time out of their busy schedule to have a chat with us. You can find their official site here and follow Dragon Season under the handle @DragonSeasonCom
Most importantly, if you want to donate or learn more about Pink Day in LA, hit this link!