Machinima is a great form of expression for a gaming community and Guild Wars 2 Machinima is something I’ve been interested in for some time now. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, Machinima is simply player-made videos made entirely from in-game footage. This includes, but it not limited to; PvP videos, Let’s Plays, comedy skits, music parodies, and raiding montages. If you’ve recently become bored with end-game and made a Guild Wars 2 video to post on YouTube, you are what is called a “machinimator”.
I had the pleasure of making my first ever Guild Wars 2 machinima just recently, and I’d like to share with you what ArenaNet has done, and what they have yet to do, to help Guild Wars 2 machinima makers like you and I record what we love to do, which is playing their game.
I hope you enjoy it, because the end product you see above wasn’t the easiest or quickest thing I’ve ever put together; partly because it was the first time I have ever tried a machinima of this kind, but mainly do to ArenaNet’s lack of tools.
Why Should ArenaNet Make it Easy to Create Machinima in Their Game?
Two words- Free Marketing. It’s something every game developer should know by now. Allowing your fans to make videos about YOUR game only helps grow your audience. A perfect example of this would be Minecraft, who themselves attribute much of their success to their massive Machinima community. As a business owner myself I look at that and see dollar signs. See, when fans of your product are willing to make videos about them enjoying your product- that’s word of mouth to the greatest degree! Should ArenaNet be fostering an active Guild Wars 2 Machinima making community? Go to YouTube and do a search for Skyrim machinima, or Minecraft, and then compare it with Guild Wars 2. I’ll let you be the judge.
What Has ArenaNet Done to Help Us Make Videos?
Really only one thing comes to mind- the ability to hide player UI. This is really the only feature ArenaNet currently offers you to assist in your recording. As important as disabling your UI is, it is a very standard feature with every MMO, and is not something I’m tipping my hat to them for.
What Else Should ArenaNet Do to Help Us Make Videos?
Well, let me think about that for a second. OH I KNOW! How about FIRST PERSON MODE!
First Person Mode: The fact that Anet launched their game without a first person mode astonishes me. You would think something so simple would have come in the box, but no. Instead when I filmed the scenes you see in the video above I was forced to limit myself greatly. I can’t tell you how many good sketches I wasn’t able to use because of this limitation.
Camera Unlock: This alone would unlock a whole new world of video opportunities (pun intended). Imagine unlocking your camera and taking it to the sky to enjoy Tyria’s amazing views from a birds eye view.
Spectator Mode: This would make watching and filming PvP tournaments a hobby within itself.
Personal Environment: While filming GW2 Racial Stereotypes I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop on a count of rain. Particularly at nighttime when the darker colors don’t come across well on camera. I realize this would be a taller order.
More Player Emotes: Guild Wars 1 was known for having a large variety of emotes for your character. Each profession had its own unique dance for goodness sake! Now enter Guild Wars 2; no /talk emote?!? Wtf? Do you know how much harder my machinima was to film when I could not even make my characters look like they were talking to each other?
Model Viewer: You’ll notice in the very first scene of my video that there were a lot of people slaying monsters behind us while we were filming. Although in this case it did fit the scene, we had a lot of instances where players got in the way of our filming. A model viewer tool would completely eliminate this and allow machinimators complete control over character models and their environments. Imagine the possibilities!
What else? If you could add a tool to help you capture awesome gameplay footage what would it be? Do you personally think ArenaNet dropped the ball and might have hindered their great potential for more fan-made content? In this day in age do you think game trailers and ads are more important when advertising a game, or do you think that word of mouth through things like fan-made videos are more important?