Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 approaches. This time, it seems like there really will be a game which turns our view of MMORPGs upside-down. Whether this is a good thing or not depends on your perspective.

GW2 is going to be a game which focuses on PvP and PvE in equal shares, according to Guild Wars developers ArenaNet. We won't know how accurate this statement is until the game is released, so let's not waste any time discussing this just yet. What we do know, however, is that an extensive PvP system is in the works which includes two main features:

Structured PvP
In Warcraft terms, this is a form of competitive PvP which ressembles a mix between Arena Pass and Battlegrounds. All characters receive the best available gear and the highest level (80), and you're able to either participate in 5v5 tournaments of different kinds or so-called "Pick-up play" where you queue for 1v1-10v10 battles. High rankings may result in aesthetic upgrades. It seems that the battlefields in general are rather advanced as they include destructible environments, trebuchets and dragons.

World vs World vs World
Also sometimes incorrectly called World PvP. These battles last two weeks and occur constantly in an instanced area called "the Mists". Three servers fight each others in huge battles competing for resources enabling them to build siege weapons, repair buildings and what have you. It all reminds of something we grew tired of long ago, doesn't it? In either case, you are able to level solely by participating in WvWvW (although when you enter you gain an artificial top level while retaining your current gear), and you can gain gear by defeating opponents. Depending on your server's success in the Mists, you may benefit from things such as an increased rate of experience gain and higher drop rates.

Wait, that's it?
I'm afraid so. In Guild Wars, there is only one faction (or rather, no factions at all), and the five races co-exist peacefully and partake in conflicts with other worlds only (WvWvW). As such, there is no wpvp of the kind that we're used to. It's a shame because it seems that ArenaNet has done almost everything else right, which I will go into now; I just wanted to give you the bad news first.

While certainly not unprecedented, the combat in GW2 is a step above your average MMORPG. You are able to dodge incoming attacks and projectiles manually, lift a shield to block a spray of fire from an enemy elementalist, and then shoot arrows through the flames to set them ablaze. Additionally, there is no auto-attack. All in all, this adds some extra skill and tactics to fights, something which is much appreciated.

When your health has been depleted, you don't die immediately. Your combat bars change and you are able to use a few abilities that may help you get back in the action. Certain professions (classes) have abilities that are intended to help allies who are in this state, also known as the 'downed mode'. 

Interestingly, there are no healers in Guild Wars 2. Instead there are, according to ArenaNet, support roles. So far I haven't heard of any groundbreaking developments when it comes to the supporter role, so I won't mention it further. All professions have some abilities which serve as minor healing.

Content scaling
As mentioned, in PvP modes your level scales to 80. This also happens if you want to do quests with a friend whose level is above yours - you can 'sidekick' up to their level while retaining current skills and equipment - and it also works the other way around if you want to visit an area which is below your own level. This would be excellent for World PvP if it existed, as it would mean that you could find opponents everywhere to fight and not be limited to those of your own level.

Payment model
Guild Wars 2 will, similarly to its predecessor, not have a subscription fee. Instead they will likely release numerous expansions as well as put aesthetic items on sale. If this will have any negative impacts on the development of the game post-release remains to be seen - and the positive implications hardly need mentioning.

A crucial factor in any MMORPG in my opinion. While great graphics aren't always necessary, I find that a lively and atmospheric world is important; Guild Wars 2 has both. The scenery is stunning and the cities immense. 

It's easy for those of us who are World PvP enthusiasts to some extent to feel disheartened by the apparent lack of it in Guild Wars 2. On the whole however, the game seems very interesting, and maybe the server battles will prove entertaining and dynamic. There's still quite some time to go before this game is released (no one knows exactly when, but I'd guess about 6 months from now), and much can happen in that time. 

Above is one of the few gameplay videos with somewhat decent quality. It shows a nice-looking human town and a charr (a cat with a Tauren's physique) participating in an open boss encounter. It also hints at a feature which role players might find annoying, which is that when you create a character you may choose personality traits which will not only shape your quests, but also govern your character's supposed past (having been a member of some gang or similar), but it's easily ignored for those who want their own background of course.

There are tons of videos out there, and be sure to check out ArenaNet's trailer found on their website.


  1. I can not wait to fight along side you once more zyl.

  2. It's looking bright for Guild Wars 2 so far. We'll see in a couple of months for sure, but at the moment I'd say we're looking at an MMO that will entertain a couple of million players for at least half a year. It might depend on the success of MoP as well; if people are disappointed with it there's a chance they'll want to try GW2. You guys will have to fill me in on the ups and downs of ArenaNet's latest however, as I won't play - at least not yet - since I am saving up for something else and as such not in a position to buy a new computer.

    Hit me up on skype people, don't be strangers.