Guild Wars 2 developer ArenaNet is planning to expand its current PvP development in an attempt to push its fantasy MMO into the big leagues of eSports gaming.
The Washington-based studio aims to turn the Guild Wars sequel into the most popular PvP game within the MMO genre, game director Colin Johanson told Polygon; however, more work is required before they make their next move.
"From launch we really just didn't have the things in place required to make PvP really successful," said Johanson. "But we're getting to the point right now where that stuff is really coming in fully. As a result of the time needed to spend working on this aspect of the game, we haven't had a whole lot of an opportunity to grow that into the major eSport scene."
'From launch we really just didn't have the things in place required to make PvP really successful.'
Guild Wars 2 released last September, however it wasn't until January 2013 that the studio saw major growth in the number of users competing in PvP matches, he said.
"In January we started making changes related to accessibility and to make PvP more open for competitive players. We made a patch and the number of people playing PvP literally doubled within one day."
ArenaNet is developing its PvP in three phases. The first, seen earlier in the year, introduced matchmaking and allowed users to see their rank on worldwide leaderboards that would eventually be used to qualify players for tournaments and enter them into championships, Johanson explained.
'PvP literally doubled within one day.'
"The next feature is custom arenas, which will let people own their own servers for PvP. It will allow them to set their own goals for how PvP is played, to make it password protected, and they can set up tournaments on those for competitive eSports tournaments or have team practices to get ready for tournaments.
"The final piece will be spectator mode and we will have dedicated shoutcasters who are focused on watching major PvP matches, recording them, teleporting around with a camera and commentating live. once we have those major pieces then we can really arm it into what it's going to be."
'Our goal is for Guild Wars 2 to be the number one PvP game in MMOs...'
The studio introduced beta versions of custom arenas and spectator mode to the game in April, with custom arenas featuring up to 120 customizable options, ranging from respawn type to member guilds to lock skills.
"Our goal is for Guild Wars 2 to be the number one PvP game in MMOs and we feel there is a really open space right now for PvP within eSports, in particular for MMOs. There really isn't anyone filling the place for PvP in the eSports genre. we're constantly getting bombarded by League of Legends and StarCraft players saying they want to play the game competitively, but only once it has the required features in place that are necessary for eSports to thrive. We're seeing a ton of response from the PvPcommunity, we just need to get those last bits in place and then we're really going to dive in and try to become a big part of eSports."
ArenaNet is currently working to create the first expansion for Guild Wars 2. No release date has been announced as of yet.