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The Guild Master: Ross Borden of NCsoft

By Arti Gupta

At GDC earlier this year, Arti Gupta talked to Ross Borden of NCsoft about City of Heroes, Guild Wars 2 and innovating in the world of massively multiplayer online games.

Arti Gupta: Tell us a bit about your role at NCsoft.

Ross Borden: At NCsoft, I am basically involved with overseeing the majority of our publishing efforts. That would include things like sales and marketing, community, corporate communications, billing-related activities -- all these sorts of things.

A.G.: Let’s talk about City of Heroes. Where are you going with that game?

R.B.: City of Heroes has been a great game for us. We launched it back in 2004, so it’s going on seven years. It is amazing how active and healthy the community is. We’re just about to release our 20th major content update, which we call “Issue 20.” And then we have some really exciting plans, which we haven’t announced publically, after that.

A.G.: Anything more you can tell us about that?

R.B.: I’m not sure I can give you the big scoop right now, but “Issue 20” in itself is going to be really exciting. It’s going to come with some amazing end-game content, things for high-level characters to do, giant bosses and opponents and a really fun, large-group type of gameplay. Our players are excited to have this coming.

A.G.: Another big title from NCsoft is Guild Wars. Anything you can share about when Guild Wars 2 is releasing?

R.B.: Yes! You mentioned Guild Wars first -- obviously Guild Wars is one of our games that is out there right now, also doing very, very well. It’s amazing how active that game is. We’ve actually sold over 7 million units, and every day we have a whole lot of people logging in and playing that game together. As you can imagine, we have a lot of people who are excited about Guild Wars 2.

Over the previous year, we’ve started to share Guild Wars 2 with people. Of course, we’re not going to release it until we are convinced it is absolutely top-notch, but we’re very excited about the progress of Guild Wars 2.

A.G.: What would the biggest features of the game be?

R.B.: Probably dynamic events are a really unique feature of the game. Obviously, this is a full-featured MMO, so there are a number of great systems and features in the game itself, but that is probably one of the more unique features.

Dynamic events are different from your typical MMO type of quests. The concept of dynamic events is that you can be walking through an environment and you will just come across some sort of event occurring throughout the world, and these are going to happening all over the place. It’s really up to you whether you want to join in and partake in this event. It might be defending a bridge that’s under attack, or jumping in to help one side or another. The thing that’s nice about it is that it encourages group behavior.

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