E3 '07: Guild Wars: Eye of the North Impressions

The first true expansion pack for the Guild Wars franchise will serve as a bridge to the upcoming Guild Wars 2.

With a little over two years since the original Guild Wars shipped, ArenaNet has few reasons to complain. According to co-founder Jeff Strain, the series has sold more than 3.5 million copies since release, a figure that he attributes to the non-subscription nature of Guild Wars. Since you don't have to pay a monthly fee to play the game online, you can come and go into the game as you please. In addition to the original Guild Wars, ArenaNet has released additional "chapters" to the series, and these are stand-alone games that offer complete experiences on their own. Now ArenaNet has two Guild Wars games in production. One is Guild Wars 2, the full-blown successor to the franchise, and the other is Guild Wars: Eye of the North, which is being geared as both an expansion pack and a bridge to the upcoming sequel.

Eye of the North is the first true expansion pack for the series. The chapters, such as Guild Wars: Nightfall, were separate games unto themselves. Eye of the North will require you to have an existing Guild Wars character. If you do, you can explore the relatively high-level content in Eye of the North. It's set on the continent of Tyria, the continent featured in the inaugural Guild Wars, and in many ways it will bring that storyline to a close.

Click to enlarge!

Strain showed off several of the new environments in Eye of the North, and these are arguably the prettiest and most imaginative yet. We saw huge caverns adorned with glowing crystals, a fire raging in a massive forest, and the lost continent of Orr, a magical place where even rocks hang suspended in the air. Orr serves an important role in the game, as the presence of so much magic helps to introduce the Asura, one of the two new playable races. The Asura look a bit like gremlins or goblins; they're a short, gray-skinned race that hails from the underworld. However, the mysterious Destroyers are pushing the Asura out of their underground home, so they have come to Orr to harvest the magic to build an army of golems to fight back. The other new playable race is the Charr, which was the enemy race in the original Guild Wars. The Charr are tall, humanoid wolves.

The major function of Eye of the North is to provide a wide range of adventures that you can take your existing Guild Wars characters on. There are many dungeon crawls that you can partake in, and we saw fearsome opponents ranging from giant scorpions to fire elementals. One of the boss battles sounds like a mix of both action and slapstick, as the boss (a fire elemental) rolls giant balls of fire at you. So you must battle his minions while at the same time trying to avoid getting bowled over. Since there's more of an emphasis on quests and adventuring, Eye of the North introduces 50 player-versus-environment skills. These can't be used in player-versus-player combat, but they should help against computer-driven opponents. There are also 40 complete armor sets and 10 new heroes to unlock.

There will be around 18 dungeons in the game, along with all the other areas that you can explore. It's not just dungeon-crawling and high-level combat in Eye of the North, either. There are minigames, such as polymock, a variant on chess that's also influenced by Pokémon. It also reminded us a bit of the classic PC game Archon.

Finally, Strain showed off the Hall of Monuments for the first time. Since Guild Wars 2 will require you to create a whole new character, ArenaNet wanted a way to cushion the blow to its biggest fans. After all, if you spent hundreds or even thousands of hours creating an awesome Guild Wars character and learn that you can't play them anymore, it could be a bit distressing. The nice thing about the Hall of Monuments is that it displays all your major accomplishments: weapons, armor, heroes, and more. These are represented by virtual display pieces on your many mantles. Each will also be tied to a unique item in Guild Wars 2, so when you create a Guild Wars 2 character, you can basically "inherit" a lot of cool stuff from the previous games. It's an elegant workaround to an otherwise ugly problem.

Eye of the North looks like a fitting cap to the original Guild Wars series. It'll be released on August 31.

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Discussion

61 comments
soysauceman2
soysauceman2

I wish I can catch back up with this game. I had 4 lvl 20's, was in a top 100 guild or something, made a friendly guild, and went through almost everywhere in the games. Right before Nightfall came out, I kinda started playing some HL2, CS:S, DOD:S and kinda gotten took over by it.

divinelegend
divinelegend

yea i pre-ordered the game aswell.... i hope they make this one CE version aswell... kinda dun want to screw up my account with a Non-CE version of the game :P

Ian_Michael
Ian_Michael

This series is so much fun to play, already pre-ordered and that bonus sword the glacial blade is pretty sweet. Very helpful for me since I just got into guild wars a month ago so I'm not very far into the game yet.

SedeoInedus
SedeoInedus

I have yet to buy any GW, as soon as I heard about Guild Wars2 I thought I should wait for a, hopefully, altogether more polished and slightly better game to buy. This installment looks pretty good, I hope that GW2 sells well!

GravityDs
GravityDs

This game is pretty awesome. Tried all the others but somthing about this one is just addicting (not the free price tag :) I can't wait to see what they offer for the future, looking forward so far to Guild Wars 2 and Eye of the North.

gunwar
gunwar

T_T I just bought the Night fall few months ago and now the new expension is out =+= i gotta speed up my game completion before every player leaves Nightfall for the Eye of the North T__T

ripflip187
ripflip187

they could leave out swimming and jumping for all I care c:o

pidow
pidow

good luck to you all and happy gaming.

beldeti
beldeti

Already preordered too, and had fun with the bonus items. Nice, my guild is currently making a team that will trailblaze GW:EN during Sneak Peek Weekend on August 24-26. swimming and jumping is still for GW2

Philip123456
Philip123456

I already preordered. I am very exited for this game. I own all the other campaign's.

Igac89
Igac89

Guild wars factions was booring for me...hope this one is better :)

lordoakwind
lordoakwind

Can you swim in the water ,jump with your space bar and jump off stuff yet?

rajh20
rajh20

NO MORE QUESTION. MUST BUY IY

DkzH
DkzH

Lol. The only reason i stopped playing GW, was because i thougt i was getting to old, but now i have read some comments here, and now i dont think i'm to old to play it anyway. -I'm 14 btw.. And i played in about 16 month now.

DkzH
DkzH

I will maybe start playing Guild Wars again when this expansion is realest. But I will wait a month or two before i pick it up. Wanna see the new skills and stuff first. I think the 3 other games was alright, completed them all with ease.

jazilla
jazilla

I can not wait. This game will be amazing, and its all high level content too!

igl
igl

Simultaneous world wide release dudes! =D Stream the goodness. Mesmer is not for PVE-Wammos. Preordered. Period!

Madrak_Arakeen
Madrak_Arakeen

Mesmers underpowered? I think not. I've had some really skilled mesmers give me a hard thrashing. They require a bit of finesse many simply don't have. Anyways, yes I've been looking forward to this since the initial announcement. My entire guild will be dedicating several days to exploring the great Northern expanses and labyrinthine dungeons. August 31? Better start saving. One for me and my wife. :)

Tuchaka
Tuchaka

le_casseur it is a third person view game, but you can make it first person view by rolling the mouse wheel, but its alot better with third person view Cant wait for guildwars 2 though

duckcleric
duckcleric

No, you can't play as the races, but you can get Charr/Asura heroes.

mutantpoptarts
mutantpoptarts

actually Gorge-a-Maniac, it looks like you can play as those races in GW:EN. the article is called Guild Wars: Eye of the North impressions after all. maybe im wrong but read the third paragraph. if anyone can confirm this info can they please messege me, thanks.

Gorge-a-Maniac
Gorge-a-Maniac

No, Mizuke.... Those races are playable in Guild Wars 2. Read it properly eh? The races in GW2 will be introduced and in the case of charr, expanded upon to get some grounding for the sequel.

Mizuke
Mizuke

Oh, so the Asura and Charr are playable races in this expansion? Nice.

lime04
lime04

FINALLY!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOO HOOO CANT WAIT!!!!! :) :) :) :)

PhantomFury_
PhantomFury_

Guess the money will not be transferred into Guildwars 2 (which also seems logical to me). But the workaround for weapons, titles etc is pretty good.

whiteharrier
whiteharrier

sweet can't wait until it arives in europe

Merl57
Merl57

CANT WAIT!!!!!!!

DARTH_TAVRIS
DARTH_TAVRIS

Nice, can´t wait until its out looks pretty promising as the 3 before it and those haven´t let me down yet!!!

le_casseur
le_casseur

is that a first person or a third person view game?

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

What about all the gold i have... I have over 1.7 mill... will it all go to waste?

jazilla
jazilla

The Hall is yet another great idea in GW that has kept me playing for two years and almost 2000 hours. Screen Name: Iason Evan.

snoopy248
snoopy248

Last paragraph is the best news. I was completely upset that all my past efforts would be wasted, but they fixed it with the "Hall of Monuments".

magicmo
magicmo

Sounds like good clean fun.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

Never played the original game but this may convince me to get it

radiocreed
radiocreed

What about PvP? I want more PvP.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

Good to see some good content heading towards GW.

Cerberussian
Cerberussian

Here comes my 4th adition to Guild Wars world! Come to papa!

Fadamsen
Fadamsen

GW:EN, hehe. Maybe we'll find out what happened to her...

Jerell_rast
Jerell_rast moderator

Gw is simply one of the best MMO's out there.

AngelB1ack
AngelB1ack

I am so happy I have chose to play this game since beta. The game continues to grow and really impresses me with content and quality. Arenanet will continue to blaze a new trail with Guild Wars 2! I can't wait! :D

D1rty_Dawg
D1rty_Dawg

I really like how NCSoft are marketing this game, not being too greedy but still producing large updates to keep the game fresh...