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Welcome one and all!

If you're already familiar with the world of Guild Wars 2, you can skip this post and go straight to the discussion or check on the official VGChartz guild in the game. For those who aren't familiar with Guild Wars 2 however, these next few posts will provide everything you need to get started!

 

What is Guild Wars 2?

Guild Wars 2 is the highly anticicpated sequel to the original Guild Wars games, Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall, as well as the expansion pack, Eye of the North, all developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSoft. Guild Wars 2 is a fully fledged MMORPG, seeking to bring innovation to the genre in several different ways, on top of keeping with many of the ideas from the original games.

ArenaNet have already created a video manifesto that will explain some of what they're doing and why it's different from the industry standards. It's a very nice way of getting an overview of some parts of the game, while getting a look at a bunch of in game footage. I'll describe the same elements as the video does here, and continue with the elements not described in the video afterwards. So if you want this information in text (and with more details), you can keep reading, otherwise I recommend skipping ahead to the manifesto video.

Now, like the original Guild Wars games, Guild Wars 2 does not have a monthly subscription fee. When you buy the game, it's yours to play as much as you wish regardless of what you payed for it and how much you intend to pay in the future. The game will feature DLC and micro transactions, but ArenaNet have assured fans that there won't be items for sale that can give some players an advantage over other players.

The gameplay is where Guild Wars 2 wants to change MMORPGs most of all however. ArenaNet are touting several key elements as the elements that will set Guild Wars 2 apart from the competition more than anything else. The first of these elements is the dynamic event system.

What are dynamic events you say? They're what's replacing the traditional quests in Guild Wars 2! For a long time, MMORPGs have been using a quest model, where everyone is questing for themselves, and dynamic events are here to change that by making the quests happen around you. Normally in MMORPGs, you would ask an NPC for a quest, get some objectives, complete them and return for your reward, but that doesn't make sense in a world inhabited by thousands of players. Every player will get a quest to save some village, and that exact village will have been saved from the exact same enemy millions of times over the years.

Dynamic events change that, because now you can visit that village many times without anything happening in it, but all of a sudden it might be attacked by a group of bandits. And this is something every player in the area sees. There's no NPC with an exclamation point over their heads, this group of bandits just attack and you can either choose to try and save the village or ignore it and be on your way. If the bandits manage to take over the village, that village will stay under bandit control until it is liberated by players. Then the players might see a new event about destroying the bandits' camp, which could be the next event in the event chain. If the camp is destroyed, the bandits won't be back for a long time, but if the camp is not destroyed, they might launch another attack on the village soon.

Now, if you're familiar with MMOs, that might sound like what Warhammer Online and Rift have been doing, and they do indeed have much in common. The difference with Guild Wars 2 is that every quest that isn't directly related to your personal story, which I'll get back to, is a dynamic event, where in Rift and Warhammer Online only a small selection of content works this way.

The next element ArenaNet is touting is the personal storyline. But what about Star Wars: The Old Republic, didn't it already put the stories of MMORPGs on par with those we know from offline RPGs? It certainly was a big improvement over what we've been used to, so the personal storyline in Guild Wars 2 shouldn't be anything revolutionary, but a worthy inclusion none the less. Guild Wars 2 does however take a different approach to storytelling than The Old Republic does.

In Guild Wars 2, everything that is related to your personal storyline is contained in instanced areas, and you will be making decisions that affect how those areas are changed. When you create a new character, you are asked to fill out a few questions about the background of your character, that will have meaningful impact on the story, and you will also continue to make interesting choices throughout the game. This means your actions in the story will have permanent effects, but these will only be visible to other players if you invite them along. 

Every character you meet will be voiced, but there won't be a conversation system in the vain of what The Old Republic has, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. Here's an example of a conversation you might encounter though:

If you've been reading along this far, the manifesto below won't hold much new information for you, but it's a good watch none the less. But feel free to skip it.

Be aware that this video is from 2010, so nothing in it is final!

Still following? Good! Let's move on to the active combat! ArenaNet wishes to revolutionize MMORPG combat and break away from the mold that most MMORPGs are keen to sit in, where combat can be very static and everyone have predefined roles. In Guild Wars 2, positioning and flexibility is of the utmost importance, which is why everyone can make dodge rolls and everyone can revive eachother, with no need for skills that perform these actions.

You have ten skill slots available to put skills into, but the first five skills are decided by what weapons you choose to wield at any point. For example, a warrior wielding a two handed mace will have all five skills defined by the mace, but if he changes to a sword and shield, the sword decides his first three skills and the shield decides the other two. This gives the professions in the game great flexibility, because a necromancer can change weapons and go from being a support oriented character to a front line character in the blink of an eye, which also brings with it the death of the "holy trinity" of MMORPGs: The tank, the healer and the DPS.

Guild Wars 2 has no dedicated healer profession, choosing instead to focus on support (not just healing!) and letting every profession be good at it. That doesn't mean the professions are all the same though! While you can no longer have secondary professions as in Guild Wars 1 (which allowed you to use skills from a second profession in combination with those of your primary profession), the fact that each profession is now its own, yet so flexible at the same time have allowed ArenaNet to differentiate each profession, meaning that while each profession is good at dealing damage for example, they all go about it in very different ways.

And that's before you take cross profession combos into account, which allow characters of different professions to create unique combinations of skills. For example, a warrior stomping while inside a smoke screen will cloak nearby allies.

To top it off, when you run out of health you don't die immediatly but go into a downed state, where you get a last chance to fight and if you make a kill in that state, you're brought back to life. This also allows for more experimentation, because being defeated isn't that big a hindrance to your progress. Should you defeated again while you're in the downed state, you are killed and will either have to be resurrected by another player or choose to spawn at a way point for a small fee.

Now, the final key element ArenaNet is touting with Guild Wars 2 is the social aspect. You may think that socializing is something that is a natural part of any MMO, we have parties, raids, guilds and what have you after all. But it's not given, and traditional MMORPGs could easily be more socially oriented

To become a more social MMO, Guild Wars 2 does a number of things. For one, you no longer have to be in the same party as another player to be rewarded for work you've both done. So if one player is killing mobs, you can join that player and help without stealing the kill, the XP or the loot. In fact, you're both rewarded at the same level as if you had defeated the mobs alone.

You can't cheat though, for example by going to a dynamic event and not participating. If you do that, you are simply not rewarded anything. For dynamic events specifically though, there are actually three tiers of rewards that are used, depending on how much you've contributed. And, since anyone can join an ongoing event and help out, the dynamic events also scale in difficulty to keep things interesting.

The next thing Guild Wars 2 does to let players socialize more easily is called sidekicking, which basically means the player can have their level adjusted to the content they're playing. It works in both direction in that high level characters will have their level reduced when they play in lower level content, but a low level character needs a high level character to play with if they want their level sidekicked up.

To make sure things stay balanced, the sidekicking only affects your attributes (and weapons when being levelled down). This means that a level 40 character kicked down to level 10 will be stronger than a character that is level 10 because they keep the skills, traits and items they've collected underway.

All this helps make it easier for friends to play together as high level players joining a low level friend will find some challenge in low level content rather than just powering through it, and low level players can go exploring with their high level friends in areas they're not high enough level to deal with (though they still have to explore to get to these areas).

This introduction has covered some of the key ideas in Guild Wars 2, but there's a lot more to talk about, so I hope you will keep on reading or jump straight to interacting with the VGChartz Guild Wars 2 community! 

 

Important: The requirements may change over time as changes are made to the game, so you may need to upgrade your system if you wish to continue playing after such a change.

Minimum hardware requirements:

- Windows XP Service Pack 2 or better.

- Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Core i3, AMD Athlon 64 X2 or better.

- NVIDIA Geforce 7800, ATI Radeon X1800, Intel HD 3000 or better (256 MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or better).

- 25 GB available HDD space.

 

Official Guild Wars 2 Website

Official ArenaNet Website

Official Guild Wars 2 Wiki

Official Guild Wars 2 Facebook page

Official Guild Wars 2 Twitter

Offical NCSoft Website

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© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.