Designer John Stumme Joins Live Team

Discussion in 'Game Discussion' started by Aspira, Nov 22, 2010.

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    Aspira Admin Officer


    By David Campbell July 23rd, 2010

    Here at ArenaNet, we’re constantly striving to improve the game and the way we do things. Positive change is something we embrace. With that in mind, some big changes are coming to the Live Team, those folks responsible for Guild Wars. Longtime Live Team Lead Linsey Murdock is moving on to a cool new position in the studio, and veteran designer John Stumme will be taking her place right away. We’re excited for both Linsey and John, and we thought we’d give them a chance to say goodbye and hello in their own words:

    Linsey Murdock

    Five years ago, I began playing a game that was destined to change my life in every way imaginable, a game that captured my heart in ways I never expected. This game challenged my mind, stretched my creativity, and provided me with lifelong friends. This game gave me my start as a game designer, allowing me to bridge the gap between player and developer. In turn, I dedicated my creativity, energy, and love to Guild Wars, hoping to nurture and enrich the game as much as it had nurtured and enriched me.

    But now, after four and a half years working on this labor of love, it’s time for me to say goodbye.

    This wasn’t an easy decision for me to make, but I have accepted an exciting new position here at ArenaNet; a position I can’t talk about for some time. Although it was a tough choice, this fantastic opportunity was too great to pass up.

    I take great comfort knowing that Guild Wars will be in good hands as John Stumme takes up the Lead Design role for Guild Wars. John and I were two thirds of Team Quest for Eye of the North. We worked on the BMP together, and he has even helped out with Live projects like the M.O.X. quests and developing Gwen’s character into the future. He is the only person I can imagine that could take this beast and love it and care for it as I have. Truth be told, I whooped with joy when he accepted the position. As a player, I can’t wait to see what John and the Live Team will come up with in the future.

    Guild Wars has changed my life for the better, and I want to thank this fantastic community for making this game and my experience working on it truly special. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to ride the beast this far, but now it’s time to hand over the reins.

    See you in-game.

    John Stumme

    When it came time to actually write this post, I stopped for a while, and thought about it. What was the proper way to kick this off? The part of me that is overwhelmed by enthusiasm said that I should begin with where the Live Team is going and the things that I want to accomplish. Then I realized that, in and of themselves, those words hold no value. The weight of a word comes from the person speaking it. Right now, I am likely an unknown to you, so how can you tell the worth of my words?

    Let’s fix that. Let’s make this personal—let me tell you who I am.

    Guild Wars was an unexpected surprise when I first learned of it during the E3 for Everyone event. I had never heard of it, but I decided I’d give the game a try—what did I have to lose? I made my first character—an elementalist with pink hair in twintails. Satisfied that a game had finally let me make a suitably appealing character, I set off into the world. I explored every corner of the ravaged countryside of Ascalon. I can still remember the layout of that map, which has long since been removed from the game. I can remember finding a ledge that let me kill the devourer boss in complete impunity and subsequently farming him for skill gems. Yes, bosses dropped skill gems back then.

    When the event closed down, I made my way into the fan community. If you’re still around from those days, you might remember me as Spooky. I remained active within the various forums and helped create Guild Wars Guru. I was eventually offered a job at ArenaNet working in community relations, a position that I took in 2005. While working on the community team, I ended up running our internal alpha test. A year later, I was offered a position as a designer.

    I’m not sure that I can adequately express what it feels like to go from being such a fan of something to being a person that is helping create it. I had a hard time getting my head around the fact that I was writing content that millions of players were going to be seeing and accepting as part of the world we’d made. In my first months as a designer, I bombarded Eric Flannum with e-mails full of the ideas I had and the stories I wanted to tell. He told me to stop doing that—it was OK to add things to the game.

    Getting over that initial hurdle of “This is my world now, too” allowed me to grow from writing small, inconsequential quests to larger chains that had a greater impact on the lore of the world. Shaping the story of Guild Wars was where I found my passion—not just telling the story, but controlling how it is told. I’d like to think that Gwen’s mission in the BMP is a good example of that: changing the mechanics to allow you to feel the story. She was outmatched and had nothing to rely on but her own wits. Why simply tell the player that, when we can let them experience it?

    The BMP was my first involvement with the Live Team. Since then, I’ve contributed other content, such as “Deactivating R.O.X.,” while continuing to work on Guild Wars 2. Now that I’m moving over to lead the Live Team, I’ll be able to dedicate the whole of my time to adding new and compelling experiences to Guild Wars—not only to help bridge the gap to Guild Wars 2, but to grow the game in its own way.

    We’ll continue to present you with new and evolving storylines. What has been going on in Cantha or Elona? Our world is a large one that is constantly growing, and there may be some pivotal developments on the horizon. In addition, I’d like to present the players with some interesting opportunities to experience important moments in this world, be they from the past of Guild Wars, or the past-that-is-yet-to-come for Guild Wars 2. We have some very exciting things planned, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

    For the competitive portion of our player base, fret not. The same members of the Live Team that have continued to work on skill balance will still be there, as dedicated as always to making our game an enjoyable experience. I solemnly promise not to mandate things like “If someone is hit by a meteor, it should instantly kill them. In both PvP and PvE, because really, it’s just more realistic. Come on. It’s a meteor.” But more than simply maintaining balance, we’ll continue to work on improvements to our competitive gameplay types, as well as building new types for special occasions.

    Now that I’ve said all of that, I hope you have a better understanding of who I am and how excited I am about the future of the game we all love. I hope you’re excited for it too.

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