Guild Wars 2 Updated Impressions

We cast off the burden of convention and get +5 to world boss with a look at Guild Wars 2.

Let’s face it, every game developer and his dog has a massively multiplayer online project in the works, or at the very least an idea for one kicking around in their collective consciousness. They’re a dime a dozen already, but as World of Warcraft has proven, if you can nail the formula, you can name your price. At Gamescom 2010 we got a fresh look at Guild Wars 2, a game that hopes to cast off many of the legacy encumbrances of its competition by building an MMO experience with significantly more personality, and one that encourages true social play.

Ironically while the first game deliberately set a low level cap with hopes of achieving more accessible endgame content, community response has given developer ArenaNet something to reconsider. As a result of feedback, the game will now give you the chance to continue to play beyond level 20. Another core area of differentiation between Guild Wars 2 and its competition is the way it handles social play. In many MMO titles, starting and questing areas become juvenile verbal slinging zones as players battle to control quest items and targets to kill. Guild Wars’ mantra is to encourage cooperative play without requiring groups. Rather than force players to party up to complete goals, where inevitably one player is ahead on the quest chain, or another isn’t part of the posse, any players who are near and involved in a quest will receive credit for participation. This also extends to world bosses, which dynamically scale in difficulty and in many cases unlock additional offensive and defensive abilities in line with the number of people involved.

The two examples of this we saw were world bosses Drake Broodmother, a midsized beast with a nasty tail swipe that came into play when enough people were attacking her, and a level-40 dragon who provided a communal loot chest players could grab items from once it had been defeated. This social interaction design philosophy continues on to resurrection, and while many games require a dedicated class to heal and bring players back from the netherworld, anyone can lend a hand in Guild Wars 2 by clicking a fallen stranger on the battlefield and returning him to the fight.

Naturally, if you’re going to spend any time in a virtual world, you will want to present your avatar in a way that best aligns with your own (or your role-playing character’s) personality and aesthetics. Beyond the usual swag of character customisation options like skin colour, hair type, and race, Guild Wars 2 introduces a unique way to bring players a step further into the world. During creation, you will be able to select your toon’s social standing (commoner, nobility, or street kid), choose your biggest life regret (being passed on for the chance to be great, failing to recover your sister’s body, or never joining the circus), and even get the chance to pick which god you believe in. While they may sound like gimmicky additions, each faction has its own race-specific kit-out, adapting the story and putting you and your choices into cutscenes rather than the same old slab of generic text about someone else’s problems.

The sequel may make some assumptions on the capabilities of its first-timers, but the tutorial zone of Shaemoor throws you straight into the action as a centaur attack rages. After saving a handful of local villagers, we're told that the nearby garrison has fallen and is in want of a hero. News comes through a voiced cutscene, and we're told that the final game will include in excess of 60 feature films' worth of narration. Running over with our elementalist mage archetypal character we started cracking skulls. An ability called "elemental attunement" allowed us to switch between our fire and water elemental skills on the fly, changing our action bar and letting us dish out fiery pain or control targets more readily with ice. You don't just stand around watching bars fill to make fireballs; instead, combat is active, requiring you to move your character to avoid enemy strikes and dodge away with steps and rolls.

Guild Wars 2 hopes to turn what it believes is currently a very insular online role-playing experience into a much more free-form and communicative universe. Taking a page out of its biggest competitor's book, ArenaNet says the game will ship on the PC when it’s ready, and we’ll be following its lofty goals with interest.

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Discussion

84 comments
jthunder2525
jthunder2525

However I don't want them to rush the release because that's how they make mistakes. Look at Fallout New Vegas, that was rushed and all the glitches prove that. I'd rather Arena Net take their time and make it great rather than rush it.

simon1812
simon1812

This game is not being developed fast enough.

saxlax
saxlax

so when is it coming out?

EyeAreRandom
EyeAreRandom

This "building an MMO experience with significantly more personality, and one that encourages true social play. "

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

what's the deal with the release date on this game? did it get pushed back again? i thought it was supposed to come out around mid year 2011...

saxlax
saxlax

can't wait... when is it coming out???

darkblazer101
darkblazer101

If this turns out to be a let down...I will be soooo freakin' pissed

Godspelll001
Godspelll001

THis sounds great :D I really hope this can be something fresh and not jsut another mmo-game...

Master_M2K
Master_M2K

@TisGameTime - From what I know the game will have 2 PvP systems. Structered PvP where 5 v 5 teams form up to fight in a balanced match, where they are all maxed levels and have all their skills unlocked. World PvP is the major one. Basically 3 servers a randomly pitted against each other in epic weekly battles. Here's a link and I'm so looking forward to World PvP... - http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/World_PvP

TisGameTime
TisGameTime

To be honest, I think GuildWars 2 has a beautiful story line, and beautiful graphics. I like the fact thats it's an open world, and is a persistent one. What i'm worried about is that this might have to have a P2P system BECAUSE it's an open world.

EvilJesse
EvilJesse

as a Guild Wars player..and as a MMORPG player-I just cant wait anymore! I bet this game gonna make real noise like WOW did just ten times better..(well, the first GW kick wow's ass anyway)

Shinkada
Shinkada

So much potential. I currently hate the graphics - I'm sorry but it's just ugly - but hopefully some messing about with graphics settings can make it look better, like it did for Champions (even though that game blew).

Matezza
Matezza

Sooooo looking forward to this game. everything ive read bout it sounds absolutely awesome

the_wet_mop
the_wet_mop

This looks like an incredibly improvement over GW1. I can't wait to play it

Rryant
Rryant

gonna be pretty rad uh it uses up 100% internet :P (bad choice of wording bud)

coolee67
coolee67

I want it. but im not allowed to get mmo's. How much internet does it use up?

sirenlore
sirenlore

It looks so cool! I can't wait to get my hands on it...

nameaprice
nameaprice

Damn i guess its time to build a new rig ;)

Thathanka
Thathanka

I really think they need more than 5 races in the game to ensure enough diversity but what I have seen so far is extremely promising. The videos of the spells/classes on the official site look pretty damn epic.

Subject18
Subject18

ArenaNet showing you can create quality games without treating you fanbase like cashcattle

Subject18
Subject18

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

It wont have a monthly fee it will be free zamelion they already confirmed that. I can't wait for this game, this and diablo 3 I just can't wait for them!

zamelion
zamelion

i just hope its not too expensive and doesn't have a monthly fee

ThePurpleBubble
ThePurpleBubble

It's offical. Game developers are all part of an alliance to ensure that my social life turns Chernobyl in 2011...

hand4hire
hand4hire

im stoked for this guy to come out

Peach100
Peach100

Guild Wars 2, Fable 3, Diablo 3, and more awesome games are coming out soon. I wanna play them all! Heh, good bye real social life. LOL.

r3fl3kT0r
r3fl3kT0r

waitin only for this game and Earthrise... ll be great games :)

Jex9
Jex9

This game and TOR will make me fail all my classes....curse you awesome, addicting games!!!

NiteX
NiteX

@dwithrow, not anytime soon. Maybe in about 5 years when WoW won't have 11 million players anymore. Doesn't mean you can't play both games however. I'm looking forward to this and Cata greatly.

khimeron13
khimeron13

for me, my next mmo is either this or DOW dark millennium, but they dont have any gamplay for that, so i would expect this first. but still it depends on if they are F2P also. Oh, and DCUO looks fun also.

dwithrow
dwithrow

I believe that this is going to pass WoW, its time for a new titan of the MMO world and this game is going to rock!!!

ExplosiveChorro
ExplosiveChorro

@ Shadowhawk000 And yes, I ment 2011 typo Waiting another year would be torture

Maddv1lla1n
Maddv1lla1n

@ emperiox your not alone buddy i stalk gw2 official web site for updates on classes every day to >_

Uthar_Wynn
Uthar_Wynn

@ iloveyourface Honestly, I'm hardly even paying attention to TOR anymore. It's just a WoW clone, and the much touted writing and voice acting are nowhere near what I consider normal BioWare standards. I'm a big KOTOR fan obviously, but even I can see GW2 is the better game. I really wish BioWare would have just made a single player KOTOR 3.

DeadDorf
DeadDorf

I think it's time we stopped using the term "toon" now. Can everyone agree on that?

Shadowhawk000
Shadowhawk000

@ EsplosiveChorro Don't you mean Early 2011? Waiting for another year would be terrible :P

ExplosiveChorro
ExplosiveChorro

GAAAHHH! Early 2011 release please!!!!! I don't know if i can wait much longer..... I might have to freeze myself....

Vanchmeister
Vanchmeister

I like the way it looks as of now! I sincerely hope they have managed to maintain the fine balance in PvP that GW had. If they have, then this could be an MMO that could compete with WoW better than any other previous game!

jpsaply
jpsaply

"Taking a page out of its biggest competitor's book, ArenaNet says the game will ship on the PC when it’s ready," Thats not surprising since the founders of ArenaNet is former employees of Blizzard. Just in that alone I look forward to a well polished game and so far it looks like they are heading that way.

emperiox
emperiox

Yes, call me a "nerd" for following their blogs...but I check EVERY day for a new profession preview. That right there proves how excited I am for this game! :)

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Played the heck out of GW. Looking forward to seeing this one.

Renegade_3
Renegade_3

@ Evilnator & DarkPoltergeist I only played the original GW for a few months back when it was first released and got side-tracked so the story elements are a bit fuzzy, and I'm sure there's been a lot of developments since, looking to get back into the original and a few expansions now though so I can at least understand the historical elements of GW2. I wasn't really serious in my complaint anyway, I just love playing Dwarves in any game.

iloveyourface
iloveyourface

runes of magic is my favorite MMO as of now.. i'll see what the rest of my guild wants, but it's either GW2 or Star Wars.