By Isaiah Cartwright July 29th, 2010 Hi, my name is Isaiah Cartwright (Izzy, as some like to call me), and I’m a Game Designer for Guild Wars 2. Today I’d like to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart: character progression in Guild Wars 2. You know that point in other MMOs when, after playing for a few hours, you look down at your experience bar and wonder, “WTF? Has my experience bar even moved at all?” Nobody enjoys feeling like they haven’t made any progress even though they’ve been playing their character all day. We hate it as much as you do; it drives us insane! Our goal with Guild Wars 2 is to flatten out the leveling curve, keeping progression simple and straightforward. We expect everyone to make a reasonable amount of progression with each play session. It shouldn’t take days of playing before you feel like you have made any progress, and you definitely shouldn’t have to kill a bunch of creatures or do a bunch of repetitive tasks just to see what’s over that next hill. We want our progression to keep up with your play style. If you’re a casual gamer who plays for a few hours here and there, why should you feel like it’s going to take you a decade to finish your character? If you’re a hardcore player, why shouldn’t you be able to blast through the game with skill and speed, trying to experience every last bit of content? So how did we accomplish our goals, you ask? Good question! First off, we set the level cap for the game at 80, but we made the time between levels rather short. Instead of taking longer and longer to reach each level, it takes about the same time to go through each level. It’s pretty simple; if we expect you to level up every few hours, then why shouldn’t it be that way all through the game? To better illustrate this, here’s a chart of a typical game’s leveling curve compared to the Guild Wars 2 leveling curve: (Update: We got a number of questions regarding our graph, so we’re updating it to make it a little more clear. It was not our intention to imply that the early levels of the game require the exact same time investment as later levels, but to show that the curve plateaus.) As you can see, our leveling curve is pretty simple. Now, keep in mind that we haven’t finished everything and we’re still working out a lot of the details, but progression in Guild Wars 2 is way more than just leveling. We have achievements, trait collection, crafting, dungeons, skill collection, items, and much more. Overall, we expect our content to be the driving force behind how long it takes to do things in-game. Anyone can increase the length of an experience bar and call it content, but our world is filled with an almost endless stream of things to do. We expect content—not long, grindy progression—to be the deciding factor that keeps people playing our game. We want everyone to stick with Guild Wars 2 because our content is fun and enjoyable, not out of some dogged determination to slowly, slowly advance. And because our world is ever-changing and dynamic, you can play our content again and again! Two characters journeying through the game will have two different experiences, which means the game will remain fresh for all you out there who enjoy making a million characters. So, if you’re tired of the size of your experience bar controlling the pace of your progression, and you’re looking for a simple, content-focused progression system with endless potential for enjoyment, Guild Wars 2 is for you. I hope you’re as excited about progression in Guild Wars 2 as I am; it’s just one of the many awesome ways this game will challenge conventional MMO thinking.