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Exclusive Interview with Chris Whiteside on the CDIs! (part 3)

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January 7, 2014 - 11:07am -- Lee B.

GW2Hub: Last question on the CDIs. How about a CDI on Charr Armour, huh?

Chris: Oh. Yeah yeah! Someone awhile ago mentioned if it is possible to have  CDIs from Engineering CDI, Art CDI. I said that I would talk to Mister Daniel Dociu about that. Because we're so busy, and despite seeing him every day, I forgot. So I am going to have that chat with him to see what he thinks, and Dave B about their thoughts about it as well. I'm sure they would love to do it.

GW2Hub: I'm pretty the community is about explode and be all behind me and I'm happy about this. People want to talk about the Charr Armour. It's.... It's something.

Chris: Oh. Okay. So long as it's positive. By the way, when I say "positive" - and this is something that is good for those who are excited about the CDI and want to get into it - I don't mean everything you say has to be a comment praising what we do. What I mean is productive criticism. Anything a member of staff can read and basically see the passion and criticism behind it. What I don't want is members of the staff, they are only human, to be berated and shouted at. Then be scared away from wanting to engage with the community.

Problem with the CDI is that only a few of us are posting on it currently. There is a lot of team members getting more confident about posting themselves. In 2014 you might see more developers, some you've never heard of possibly. Coming to test the waters to see if they confident or comfortable enough talking in a hostile environment. I think positive is the wrong word, I think productive is the right word.

My dream one day is that I can step away from the CDI. Really, the idea behind is if the community and developers come together it becomes it's own area of mind share. An area of it's own day-to-day discussions at lunch at work, let alone at meetings. My dream is that there is this truly synergistic relationship where we're truly tapped into how the community feels and we're working together to pioneer moving forward; and maybe even one day being able to step away from being one of the major posters and just being able to read it like a fan. 

We have to have a proper relationship. We need to really get to know the community, and the community really needs to get to know us as individuals and get to know our design philosophy and the individual's design philosophy is. Then, hopefully, we'll be able to synergize.  It'll never be perfect,  but at least we'll speak the same language and problem solve together.

You asked me what my favorite thing about CDIs this year. The Vertical Progression thread was unbelievable professional and mature. The speed in which the community went from "Just do this it's easy." to "Oh. Actually now I understand why doing that would have adverse reactions to other parts of the game". That is when things get interesting. When one player comes and says "Why don't you just do this?" and another player comes to say "Well don't you understand how this would effect the economy in this way; or effect player psychology or player habit in another way." and that is when we start cooking with gas.

We definitely need to do more in terms of getting better accessibility on it. On the actual technology. I would rather do work of every minute of every day and have a proper conversation on proper discussion and logical reasoning than just use a poll.

GW2Hub: I thoroughly enjoyed that response. While I was joking a bit, you took it much further than I ever imagined. I really appreciated that and I hope the community does as well.

On to my last question: In regards to Tequatl how do you feel that came out in the end? After all of this has been said and done, and the standard of how people react with it, and how often people are going to it. How do you feel of it?

Chris: I am so massively proud of the team for being able to do this. It's a 100+ open world encounter on a boss that is non-trivial. Just the metrics, algorithms, balancing. Just the core of that by itself is a unbelievable accomplishment. I know Mike O'Brien, who is our Studio Head, was utterly blown away of the balancing. He was jut blown away. A number of times he said he said he was surprised that we got the balance the way it was on the release of it. Also to note we haven't changed it since we released it.

It's one of my top five favorite fights. The logistics behind just creating something like that in the open world and have it work well and not be trivial is just crazy. Tequatl and the Mega-Bosses, and the new ones that we are doing, are designed specifically for a certain type of player. Guilds an players who like banging their head on the wall until they win and the reward for them is the completion and not necessarily the loot. It's very much designed for a certain type of player and guild. 

On to the more critical aspects of it. We obviously want to make it as accessible as possible. One of the big complaints, and I don't disagree with, is to have the fight be more accessible and to kick it off easier. We are definitely aware of that. Aside from the accessibility, for me, I am really, really happy with it. 

The fight is very much about communication and collaboration. Certainly communication. Once you understand the fight it's not that hard. I'm that kind of player, though, right? I love WvW, I love challenging PvE content and I don't mind failing.

GW2Hub: You say communication is a big part of Tequatl and I wholeheartedly agree. Does that raise the question that there isn't enough ways to communicate within the guild by itself?

Chris:  It's interesting because that relates back to the CDI regarding the Commander tag. The answer is yes. I think we definitely need more ways of supporting collaborative open world content. I think that CDI thread, for me anyways, was very important for that point of view.

GW2Hub: There is a need for more communication and you guys are addressing that through the Commander tag CDI.

Chris: As a player who commands the forward group on Tequatl I would love more ways of clearly communicating with my group of players than the mechanics of the game currently afford. I definitely agree with the point you made, but in that nature of this conversation I am not making any promises on the way that would manifest or when it would.

GW2Hub: I appreciate you guys are even discussing it. In the gaming industry there is typically a lot of talking that is happening that a not a lot of people are hearing. That's the biggest issue people tend to have. They aren't hearing the talks, so they assume it isn't happening.  That's why I love these CDIs. People are talking and people can see it.

Chris: It's easy to go into ArenaNet every day to talk to everyone and see what it's going on. Sometimes you don't see the wood through the trees. You, as a developer, are like "Of course we are or aren't working on this kind of thing" and it must be difficult for the players. If part of the CDI is informational in that regard then that's great and I really appreciate it. It's not, to me, the goal. The process is actually problem solving and getting a better understanding. I really do appreciate the fact that a lot of people really read these threads and never comment and are just interested in reading them. I think the Living World thread had 60,000 views or something. 

It just goes to show what you're saying is 100% true. People are coming and reading, and hopefully enjoying what they are reading. I get a lot of private messages from members of the community who say they are afraid to comment on the forum and just want to send me their info. So I was talking about Developers being human and they just need to get the confidence to post and not get upset by the environment they are posting in.

i wonder how many people just don't get involved because they are afraid of someone making light of them or that they feel they are not as astute as someone else. In the spirit of the CDI people shouldn't worry about that. Every idea and every process of problem solving could be the seed of an idea that could be the next big thing in Guild Wars 2.

My promise to them - the team and the community - is that I spend a lot of time sheparding conversation and behavior towards the conversation. I will do my very best to champion and protect the interest of those people who have the interests of the Guild Wars 2 community and Tyria at heart. It's why sometimes I lose my cool a little bit; but I am trying to get better at that.

GW2Hub: This has been a great discussion, I think. It gives a lot of insight to what you're thinking, to what the community needs to be thinking, what the community needs to be seeing... Just a lot of different aspects going on here. I'm really thankful you took the time for this.

Chris: I really, really appreciate the conversation. I hope I didn't say anything I shouldn't have done. It's difficult to be overly restrained when you're trying to be as collaborative and passionate as you can be. I really appreciate everything the community has done for us in 2013 and I'm really excited about 2014.

I'm certainly looking forward to the Living World and CDI. 

GW2Hub: I certainly cannot wait. Alright. Have a good one. Thank you again!

Chris: No, thank you! I really, really appreciate it. Let me know if you ever want to chat about anything again.


mirta's picture
Submitted by mirta (not verified) on

"It's one of my top five favorite fights. The logistics behind just creating something like that in the open world and have it work well and not be trivial is just crazy. Tequatl and the Mega-Bosses, and the new ones that we are doing, are designed specifically for a certain type of player. Guilds an players who like banging their head on the wall until they win and the reward for them is the completion and not necessarily the loot. It's very much designed for a certain type of player and guild."

This essentially translates to "most worlds can not do it anymore", I'm on underworld and I feel sour about losing a boss that we could do previously. Maybe the harder versions should have been instanced and easier ones should have been left in the open world. Now all I see it as is content taken away from many many servers.