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Archive for May, 2010

Nearly two months ago, I was dipping my toes back into Everquest II in anticipation of the New Halas update, while simultaneously revisiting Guild Wars due to the 5th Anniversary celebrations and War in Kryta teaser updates. I was certain at the time that come May 25th, I would be re-subscribing to EQII with my better half to fill our time when our Star Trek Online playing has lapsed (which is has). I did not expect to spend much time in Guild Wars, as I was feeling largely burned out on repeating content in pursuit of various achievements.

Suddenly, today is the day, and Guild Wars has delivered a stunning upset. The War In Kryta storyline has begun unfolding in earnest, which has not only provided me with a reason to log in more often to keep up with the events (excellent observation by Ravious of KTR that this content is becoming more event-like), but which has brought in new and old players alike and enabled me to group more often for that same old content I was growing weary of doing by myself. Massively has started a new guild for the purpose of tackling the Prophecies campaign, and I have had the pleasure of grouping up with them for a couple of weeks. I even found two – two! – groups attempting the Dunes of Despair mission and bonus the other night (we failed, alas).

Since ArenaNet now seems determined to keep a Live Team dedicated to providing updates to Guild Wars for as long as its lifespan, and the Guild Wars Beyond campaign is slated to keep us advancing right up to the point that Guild Wars 2 is launched, I now foresee a year where Guild Wars can return to being my main MMO attraction, and I have no further need for diversions. The Peacekeeper bounties provide a satisfying daily goal that fits within my schedule – I don’t even get to these every day, but they’re there if I want to. Courier Falken is a quick and easy run for tokens. I can’t believe I’m advocating for a repeatable quest, but for some reason the good Courier is fun to chase around (it must be his special attack). And in between all of this, I’m getting mission bonuses completed and even taking up vanquishing again with some good advice from friends.

Guild Wars Beyond has truly breathed fresh life into the game from my perspective. It’s amazing how adding one new feature like this has made the entire experience seem new and exciting again, as though I was not there back when Thunderhead Keep existed as a brick wall to beat your head against.

As for my better half: he will join me when his Necromancer can finally jump.

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After the lastest flurry of information to come out of ArenaNet about Dynamic Events in Guild Wars 2 (some re-hashed and with some clarifying Q&A based on previous reveals), I am quite pleased to see news spreading among the blogosphere and news sites, with increasing numbers of commenters jumping on the GW2 anticipation bandwagon. As with new things, and people new to things, there are questions that old-timers like myself are very familiar with, but need to be asked nonetheless.

Still, it’s a bit bemusing to see three people ask the same question in Tobold’s post on Guild Wars 2′s Dymanic Events – two of them posted after I responded to the original inquiry.

If only there were a FAQ or or a Wiki or something to deal with these concerns!

So without further ado, I will add yet another redundant location to find answers to the three most oft-asked questions about Guild Wars 2.

1) Will Guild Wars 2 be instanced like Guild Wars?

No. From the Guild Wars 2 FAQ:

Guild Wars 2 provides a massive, online persistent world…. While Guild Wars 2 adds a persistent-world experience, it retains the unique characteristics of the original game, including strong narrative, extensive instanced gameplay, anti-grind design philosophy, and strong support for competitive play.”

If that wasn’t clear enough, here is more from the Wiki:

“There will be changes to the instancing system used. Persistent areas, similar to those traditionally used in other online multiplayer games, will be introduced to Guild Wars which may allow players to meet and interact while exploring. Instances will still be used to further storytelling within the game and for missions and dungeons.

A day/night cycle, faster than real-time, is being added to the game and some events will occur and monsters appear depending on the in-game time. There will be weather effects in-game. The interior of houses and buildings in the environment will be accessible to players.”

2) Can you jump in Guild Wars 2?

Yes. From the Guild Wars 2 Wiki:

“Guild Wars 2 will be a true 3D environment which will allow characters to jump over obstacles as well as swim and dive underwater.”

And finally,

3) Will Guild Wars 2 have a subscription fee?

No. From the FAQ:

“Nope. Like the original Guild Wars, there will be no subscription fee for Guild Wars 2. You just buy the game and play it online without paying a monthly fee.”

Any questions?

*Thanks to Hunter’s Insight for reminding me about the recurring subscription fee question!

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A Most Eventful Day

We seem to be back on information overload with Guild Wars 2 today, with a GW2 blog update, and two new English interviews (and one in Dutch!).

A little more information has been trickled to us about the so-called Dynamic Event System, providing some insight as to whether the world will be permanently changed due to our actions (it will), whether we can make life-or-death decisions (we can), or whether we will see events repeat over time (…inconclusive?). GW fans are busy on forums everywhere trying to wrap their minds around the idea, wondering if this is really possible, whether this is what gamers really want in the first place, and if ANet can actually make it happen. Most seem to agree, though: if GW2 launches with this content working as advertised, all other MMOs better look upon GW2 and despair. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic.

Will there be days when I log in to GW2 and my guildmates are happily discussing that dragon that they totally helped to annihilate, and that I missed witnessing because I was offline when the action went down? Almost certainly. But the next day I’ll get to fight a Cyclops or explore an underground cavern or something, and get to tell the tale to a rapt audience later, too, so I can hardly be too sad about a skipped opportunity or two. Others suggest this will be a real barrier for some people; that if everyone doesn’t get to kill that particular Big Boss, folks will be disappointed and leave. Will that be enough of a problem that it will relegate GW2 to niche status?

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I have always been fond of archer, hunter, and ranger classes in MMOs. Something about the aesthetic of arrow-shooting, taming a wild beast, and cavorting around the forests, at one with nature and poison and fire and all those wonderful things make those kinds of classes my second favorite right after the mages. However, bow-hunting classes have not always been as fond of me. When I was introduced to the Ranger class in Guild Wars as a lowly newb with no concept of skill synergy or “builds,” I could find no way to make a Ranger profession useful except as a secondary to my Warrior, because unlike my Elementalist who could at least dish out lethal amounts of damage from afar, my Necromancer, who could steal life, and my Warrior, who could take a beating, my unsubtle play-style fit into the Ranger circle rather like the square it was.

I later came to really enjoy the type of archer represented in games like LOTRO and Warhammer, who function more like less-flashy mages who are nonetheless equipped with a number of melee abilities for when dropping an enemy at your feet is unsuccessful. Both my LOTRO Hunter and my Warhammer Shadow Warrior became my favorite classes within each game, even with the more flashy Bright Wizards and Rune Keepers at my disposal. Unfortunately, every time I have tried to roll a Ranger in Guild Wars – and there have been multiple times – I have lacked the patience to get to a point where I have a strong poison or trap build, or a strong beastmastery bar.  I want, I admit, to be able to eat my cake and have it too – to be able to carry both a long bow and a big stick.

Guild Wars 2 has come to the rescue with its 10-skill bar, 5 of which are directly tied to the player’s weapon choice, which can be changed out on the fly. Finally, I foresee a day when I can strike down my foes with a bow from afar, then pull out a sword and carve them to pieces face to face. It will be a glorious day. I had previously staked my claim on a Norn Elementalist when the first caster videos hit the GW2 website, but upon review, and despite fans’ doubts about the new skill system, I now look forward to possibly creating my first Ranger main.

Or whatever their equivalent in Guild Wars 2 will be called, of course.

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