MMOG designer ArenaNet is transforming its popular Guild Wars 2 by opening up its code to be redeployed by users via APIs. Players can make their own iOS and Android apps as well as build tools to use in the game. The Guild Wars 2 API will likely become extremely popular among its huge user base for what Time Magazine called "#1 VideoGame of 2012."
According to Steve Hogarty at pcgamesn.com, lead content designer Mike Zadorojny made it clear what the longer term implications are of this kind of opening up to the community--and why they re doing it:
“Now we’re seriously looking at how the world changes based on player interaction. That’s why we’ve been moving towards this more frequent build structure. We’ve got four teams building content that will be coming out every two weeks, because we want to create a true living world that reacts to what the players are doing as much as possible.
“That’s kind of been the holy grail for MMOs. If you can have enough engaging content, you keep the player excited and challenged. They’re always going to have something new every time they log in. That’s really the impetus behind what we’re doing.”
What's even more interesting is that the creative team is, despite all the user input, moving toward a story goal--they have a rough idea of where the plot is headed. Will fans, through their efforts to change the game's world, make reaching that goal impossible? Stay tuned for a new kind of cliffhanger.