For those of you who haven’t been following any of the information and news surrounding GW2, I’m here to give you an update of everything that has been announced up until now. I’m only going to lightly touch on each subject however there is a lot of exciting info so far!
First off, why do you care?
Well, I’ll start off with a statement along the lines of something that ArenaNet and others have said themselves: “If you love MMOs then you’ll want to try out Guild Wars 2, if you hate MMOs then you’ll definitely want to try out Guild Wars 2”. This game is pushing boundaries of the MMO genre and even if you are frustrated with ANet right now (i.e. Aion, etc.) you really need to give this game a look.
Why do a look into this game now?
GW2 was announced all the way back in 2007 but only in the past year or so has the game begun to be introduced to the consumer. With there being a playable demo at Gamescom 2010 in Europe and at Penny Arcade Expo September 3-5th, we now have feedback of the game beyond what ArenaNet tells us. This way we can look at what actual gamers and reviewers have to say.
The little things
This is mostly for those of us who have played the first Guild Wars, but it’s an awesome announcement of a vastly improved physics system which means…characters can jump! A small feat perhaps, but that was definitely exciting news to me. There will also being swimming with the inclusion of an underwater area in the game. Another thing in the huge jump from the structure of the first GW is that this will not be a completely instanced experience. This will be a persistent world with smaller instances like most MMOs on the market. Also and very important to me, no subscription fees just like the first Guild Wars.
The ever important class system will be in this game just like any other MMO. However, ANet has gone beyond the simple click, customize and go with your character. With eight starting classes; the ones currently announced being Necromancer, Warrior, Ranger and Elementalist, you also have your races; the Sylvari, Norn, Charr, Asura and Human. This is already a step beyond the first Guild Wars but still nothing beyond a mainstream MMO. To add to the character creation process and make it more unique, ANet has added a questionnaire to the process. The survey will assess various perspectives about your character and shape your storyline differently than from someone else or even if you had picked different responses. This addition will be so that the game is more replayable. This way, if you choose to make more than one character, the story will never be completely identical between characters and make the whole experience more in depth.
There’s lots they say they’re changing about combat and one thing ANet says they are doing to mainstream MMO combat is eliminating the traditional DPS/tank/heal groups. It’s hard to say how exactly this will be done, but for starters they are introducing some healing abilities to all classes. This is so a team can be more self reliant without the use of a heal class. What about the heal class you say? Some people do like playing the healing class and ArenaNet says they aren’t completely ridding the game of one. Rather the class will have more protective spells than healing ones because they said they were tired of people needing to be reactive instead of proactive. Another interesting aspect to combat is the fact that you can help people fight in a battle without being in a party. If you see someone in need you simply can run in and help out. For those of you worried, ANet says that there will be no kill stealing, quest camping and everyone will get rewarded for participating in battles and quests. Just like in the first GW there is also no loot stealing. Though they haven’t said how it will work exactly, I imagine it will be something like assigned loot like in the first GW. Now on to the topic of quests!
Possibly one of the biggest things that ArenaNet plans to do is introduce the dynamic event and quest system. Typically in an MMO you’re faced with quests where you speak with someone, scroll down the wall of text and accept the quest. Using an example from the Guild Wars 2 website, let’s say the quest you accepted says that you need to kill ten ogres because the farmer’s life and well being is being threatened by them. You then accept and you either kill them all or you don’t and try again but that’s that. Nothing really happens whether you win or lose the ogre battle but at least you get those precious experience points? Well, what ANet is doing to this scenario is let’s say you lose this quest. Rather than nothing happening, the ogres would literally kill the farmer and he would remain dead. Seriously. This event system is supposed to make every action and every event change the world. If an army of enemies storm a village and you can’t stop them, then that village will remain occupied by enemies. If you destroy the enemies, then the villagers will talk about you and your team and how you saved them. Having this dynamic sort of system promises that the world will constantly be evolving and changing and every single thing you or anyone else does will have a visible impact to the world you live in. This is one of the few things that I need to see for myself. It’s hard to grasp something that will be as effective as it claims and also there is the issue of people who are simply out to ruin the fun of others. By this I mean people who will go out and let negative things happen simply to mess up the world so speak. The people that will let the farmer die and let the town become overtaken simply to ruin it for other who wouldn’t want that. I don’t know how ArenaNet is going to handle this and this is one of the largest reasons I think the game needs a beta.
Any carry over?
Unfortunately if you do play the first Guild Wars, it’s not possible to carry over any characters or anything from the first game into the second game. This is rather obvious considering how different the two games are but they have said there will be little benefits to having played the first game. If you have played the first GW and own the expansion Eye of the North, your achievements displayed in your Hall of Monuments will unlock special items and other treats in the second game. Also, your character name becomes locked so you can keep your name in the second game. Small benefits perhaps but still neat and better than nothing!
Overall, I know that I’m excited for this game! I play the first Guild Wars but I am definitely ready for a new, innovative change. Don’t let me loving the first game lead you to think that my positive review is simply because I’m predisposed to liking the second one; I know lots of World of Warcraft and other MMO players just as excited as I am for GW2. Anyway, I didn’t include a lot of details in this look at the game and I encourage you to go to the main website to learn more. They are updating it periodically and will be adding stuff slowly but surely:
Also, read a few reviews of people that have played the game at recent conventions so you know I’m not just the only one with amazingly high hopes. Here’s some links to some reputable sites that have posted their opinions after trying out the demo:
Also notable news, at Gamescom it won best online game and at PAX Prime 2010 it won one of two Machinima’s best in show awards!