Guild Wars 2 Apps

This morning ArenaNet dropped a nice article expanding on the mobile app for Guild Wars 2.  In conjunction with a brief interview at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, we finally get some screenshots of this app-in-production.  News of the app has been known since the Curse announcement over PAX Prime, and there are some other really good interviews about the feature.  I think some of the apps are going to be pretty cool, but I am dubious as to how much of the Guild Wars 2 experience they will carry to the small screen. (ArenaNet says that there will be similar functionality for web users, instead of app users.)

The primary purpose of the Extended Experience is to remain connected both to the game and to friends when the actual game cannot be played.  ArenaNet says that they will have a “Marketplace” and “Hero Viewer” functionality for mobile apps, but that they do not really consider that an Extended Experience.  In the article, Rick Ellis (Tech Director) says:

While we’ll be providing mobile and web apps for our Marketplace and Hero Viewer, along with functionality you’ve already seen in other MMOs, these are not what we refer to as extended experience components. Why, you ask? These applications, while useful, don’t really allow players to participate in the game world. The auction functionality of the Marketplace gets close, but it’s essentially a solo activity that has little to do with the actual gameplay experience.

The solidly announced Extended Experience features surround mostly chat capabilities and a map view of the game in action.  The map view allows a voyeuristic viewpoint of the activities of some of the guildies.  I imagine that guildies can shroud themselves in game from prying eyes should they choose.

This is where I get a little confused.  For me a Marketplace (i.e., Auction House), albeit a solo activity, is a piece of gameplay that impacts the game world.  Skill queues from EVE Online and crafting queues from Fallen Earth represent a solid piece of gameplay.  Chatting and watching a map do not seem to be much greater for an “actual gameplay experience.”  How do they impact the game world? How will they impact me when I log on later?

Don’t get me wrong.  I love that we will get information.  Information about the guild, information about current events, extensive item information, and information about the players throughout the day will be fun, but I think I will get the reminder that I am not playing.  I am not experiencing Guild Wars 2.  I am merely watching, and I don’t play MMOs to watch.

There is a bright point, and I hope the Extended Experience team focuses on capabilities like this.  An app user can “ping” a location to guildies on the map.  In other words, the app user can act as some sort of commander to marshal guild forces.  If they allow this capability in World vs. World, the app might become necessary.  This is the impact, the “extended experience,” that I feel represents the goal of ArenaNet.

Looking ahead, I would like something like Wizard 101’s app that lets me accumulate stuff when I can’t play Guild Wars 2.  Getting stuff is one of the absolute cores to MMO gameplay.  I would also love a monster viewer.  Yes, this is more an information thing than an “extended experience” thing, but the monster models are beautiful and should be open for examination outside of the quick combat in game.  Heck, combine the two and turn the monster viewer into some sort of collection game.  Watch a friend kill a monster, and add it to your app’s monster book.  From this interview overview it seems like they have a lot of ideas in mind.

I do have one warning bell.   The app sounds like an awesome source of information.  Information that would be highly useful when I was actually playing Guild Wars 2.  Hopefully there won’t be any glaring differences in in-game information and app information.  It would be pretty silly if the app (and similar functionality on the web) allowed for extensive item information, and that capability was not available in game.  In other words, I hope the full experience does not include me playing Guild Wars 2 on one monitor, one app on my iPad, and the web functionality on a second monitor.

Last I heard, some apps will be available prior to Guild Wars 2’s launch, and they are looking at Guild Wars functionality as well. I will be watching the development of this service with great interest.

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11 thoughts on “Guild Wars 2 Apps”

  1. Mr. Negative here: I guess all these extra premium value services will cost me $.

    This said, I already use an instant messenger (Pidgin) to talk to people in Star Trek Online while being offline, so this can actually be a good thing.

    One could debate if it is a good thing that more and more things that could or maybe should be done ingame can be done while being offline, just surfing the web from work or someone else.

    I have no idea how this will turn out in the end, it is interesting news for sure.

  2. It’s an interesting development, though I have to also agree that I hope it doesn’t become compulsory in terms of the culture. “Must have mic” “Must have Ventrilo/Teamspeak” and now “Must have iPhone or iPad?”

    Especially since I seem to be one of the few digging in my heels resisting Apple’s world domination.

    That said, there is no denying the addictive appeal of staying connected, anytime and anywhere.

    My guild in AOC set up some kind of bot<=>web system that displayed guildchat online in irc-like format. It turned me into some kind of crazy socialite.

    I’d access it at work and let the guildchat scroll down, tabbing back to read it every so often to hear what guildies were up to, and without the distractions of navigating an avatar in AoC melee combat every 5 seconds, it was ridiculously easy to fill up guildchat with my walls-of-text just chatting.

    Seductively, dangerously, easy. Gonna be a lot more fired from work cases in the near future at the rate game apps are overtaking the social and mobile media scenes.

  3. Not to be negative, but I can honestly say in 10+ years of online gaming I only had a need to check a map while I wasn’t in game once, probably twice.

    Out of game communication with in-game peeps is good, though.

  4. Funnily enough I just read an article by Prof. Dr. Dr. Manfred Spitzer (who is sort of an authority here in Germany, but may be not too well-known in other parts of the world) about how much multi-tasking damages your brain when done frequently. And this app sounds pretty much like multi-tasking at work, at school, at home…

    For me, I don’t see any danger, as I will simply ignore that stuff and just play the game when I want to. But I don’t know if the mass of those ‘prototype gamer kids’ will also see the risk. I fear that, should this idea turn out to become a general trend, within a few years youths will not only pass their free time in front of the computer, but also their time at school in front of the iPhone.


  5. I don’t understand why the writer would even worry that some of the game’s functionality would be limited to the IPad. It doesn’t make sense from any business perspective, let alone from ArenaNet’s since they want to make the game accessible to as many people as possible. They wouldn’t make the IPad necessary for people to fully experience the game. It’s just not their style.

    Just sounds like they want to appeal to tech junkies, but I don’t see them doing it at everyone else’s expense.

    1. Lots of things don’t make sense and are done in MMOs anyway. Better to put all concerns on the table, and I believe it’s a reasonable one.

  6. I only just got around to reading this, but I’m so glad you want a bestiary too Ravious. I don’t think most people get into the critter visuals so much, and I’d say your opinion probably carries more weight than mine! =D

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