Since the February layoffs that reduced ArenaNet’s headcount by about 1/3, the company’s been mostly silent regarding its internal goings-on and the general morale in the studio. Today, Eurogamer published an interview with two employees who survived the purge, getting their takes on how things have gone over the past month-plus and what it means for the future of both ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2.

Along with the expected tales of losing friends and co-workers, lead Living World designer Linsey Murdock said that the team “had to make some adjustments.” That’s understandable from a general manpower perspective, but Murdock also said that the content of GW2 could also shift, due in part to a reassessment of how the game has been updated in recent years:

“This is an opportunity for us to assess whether we’re just doing this because we always have – or because this has been the pattern for the past two seasons – or shall we refresh things a bit and do something a bit different? Our fans have been asking for that – for us to do things a little bit differently and not be formulaic, so we took this as an opportunity to do that, to assess and make the right decisions for the game.”

Personally, I grew a little tired of what appeared to be stale and repetitive — though punctual — content in GW2 the past couple of years, so it’s refreshing to hear Murdock admit that things have been “formulaic” and that a change in that formula could be forthcoming.

Murdock and an unnamed PR rep stated that, while there have been some changes in the GW2 dev team, several who were working on other projects have returned to the MMORPG. While those projects are currently “shelved,” according to Murdock, the PR rep stated that “we’re always working on some other stuff.”

Senior Game Designer Andrew Gray also insisted that crunch wasn’t, and never has been, an issue at ArenaNet, even with the reduced staff. “Never even like, ‘OK we’re not saying you have to, but you see everybody who doesn’t, gets in trouble’ — none of that.” Murdock added, “Nobody’s ever asked me to work overtime.”

Overall, Murdock said that the game is “still bringing in great revenue” and “not going anywhere,” which might put anxious players at ease. Or it might not, because developers will always say that, even if their game is tanking. That said, the financials from NCSoft have, in recent quarters, painted it as doing OK, so I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere any time soon.

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.


  1. Other ideas to renew GW2 can be:
    – Add fishing, from a shore or into a river. Many people have asked for this in the forums.
    – Add a new ocean area with islands.
    – Add the use of boats, for fishing or combat sea monsters. This can also be done in groups, like in BDO.
    – Add a trading system like in BDO. Even if there is no node system, you can have different prices for things in different places, making it worthwhile to transport stuff from one corner of the map to another. And trading goods like “crates” cannot pass waypoints or Asura gates, of course.

  2. Totally agree. I was a faithful and regular GW2 fan for years, finished several Living World and other storylines, till a year or so ago it got repetitive and boring for my taste. I changed to Black Desert, which is original in several aspects and has beautiful but not very diverse landscapes, and ESO which has awesome storytelling but way less spectacular graphics.
    In BDO you have to invest a lot of hours grinding or lifeskilling after a certain level, and that is also getting boring after a while. So if GW2 is getting in original content, I don’t mind to go back. Arenanet could take a look at the strong points of the competition: the huge lore of the Elder Scrolls world, the different lighting settings of BDO, the crafting and workers system of BDO, the character custimization and costumes in BDO, just to name a few.

  3. Everything about GW2 just screams microtransaction and funnel you to the Gem Shop. Ya, its optional and its mostly cosmetic stuff. But basically thats all there is to do in the game… grind 109029102901920910 different currencies. And its just kinda very easy.

    GW2 art team, however, are true gods of the industry. Fucking awesome animators and artists. But the game designers are just mediocre – or at least their corporate masters demanded a very mediocre experience to milk the masses. In any case, GW2 has always been a very bland experience.

  4. Glad to hear it’s not just me that hasn’t touched gw2 since forever due to it being boring and stale (and we got, and lopsided classes). The fan Bois there are blind and brainless


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