Guild Wars 2: The Status Quo

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Guild Wars 2: The Status Quo - 10 facts at a glance + interview[edit]

Five combatant races and one common enemy who is fighting against all of them at once: Tyria at 1325 AE. We have gathered all important facts about Guild Wars 2...

1. Open and persistent world[edit]

The most important change in Guild Wars 2 concerns the world, which is shared with all other players for the first time - exactly the same as in other (non-free!) online roleplaying games! This means that you will also meet other players outside of outposts and be able to form groups and do quests together. Areas will only be instanced when doing certain quests and missions. Nevertheless, and it is very important to the developers, Guild Wars 2 won't imitate any other online roleplaying game. Mindless monster camping, generic "collect this and get that"-quests and loot stealing will be avoided. Traveling through the whole world can be avoided as well due to the same map travel concept as utilized in Guild Wars.

2. Worlds instead of servers[edit]

So that people won't step on others' feet, characters will be assigned to "worlds". Unlike competitive products with fixed server setups, the character data of Guild Wars 2 characters will be managed globally and stored in a large central database. Because of this you will be able to move your character from one world to another whenever you want - you'll never be separated from your friends. There will also be PvP battles between the worlds (more on this in fact 5).

3. Mobility and faster combat[edit]

It's about time: Guild Wars 2 offers more direct character control! You will swim, jump and climb to explore the new world. The default camera position will be closer to your character1 so that combat will be more dramatic. The new combat system will keep the tactical depth of the original Guild Wars but will do so with fewer skills so it will be easier for beginners. With easily recognizable effects you will be able to understand abilities even in the heat of the battle and without the need to read through a description. All in all the battles will seem more thrilling.

4. Tremendous events[edit]

Quests and instanced missions already existed in the original, but along with these Guild Wars 2 adds a new type of task: "events". An event is a dynamic quest chain and can begin at any time, in any zone of the persistent world. For example (simplified), a dragon attempts to destroy the important town bridge. All players within the zone, regardless of being in a group or not, can now fight the beast. If the assault on the dragon fails and the bridge is destroyed, NPCs from the town will try to reconstruct the bridge after the dragon has left. During that time you will have to guard them from bandits. At the end all players that participated in the event will receive a reward just as with normal quests. These dynamic events will run on an immense scale, with the possibility for multiple events to overlap. Jeff Strain described it in brief as "all over the world there will be something happening!" Normal quests are designed with scaling difficulty suitable initially for solo players and adjusting their degree of difficulty as soon as you are in a group.

5. Player vs. player (PvP)[edit]

Player versus player battles (PvP) are an important element of Guild Wars 2. Pure PvP characters won't exist any more - you will only play with roleplaying characters. Brand new: PvP battles between the various worlds (read more about worlds in fact 2)! There will be special, open PvP areas in which the players from different worlds will fight against each other and battle for specific strategic positions. The emerging battles will be colossal, as any player will be able to participate without commitment. Due to their love of e-sport and as an alternative to the relaxed World PvP, guild battles (GvG) will be present in Guild Wars 2 as well. To keep GvG fair, all participating players will have their characters temporarily modified to a set level, so all abilities, skills and equipment items will be the same as anyone else participating in the battle.

6. Ample character development[edit]

The original Guild Wars only had 20 character levels - not enough for many players. Because of this, the level cap will be raised drastically; according to Jeff Strain, they are even thinking about completely leaving out a level cap. It is certain that there will be hundreds of hours worth of leveling available to characters. Whether or not classic attributes like strength, mobility, and vitality will be used? "We don't know yet", replies Strain. Also he doesn't want to comment on the possibility of mounts yet. However, he can confirm that Guild Wars 2 will feature a "robust" crafting system. In addition, equipment like weapons and armor will play a more important role than before and won't be bound to the profession - unlike the original Guild Wars.

7. Companions and "Side-Kicks"[edit]

The heroes and henchmen from Guild Wars will no longer be utilized. Instead every player will be able to have one companion who won't take up a slot within the group. The developers will give you the alternative to invest part of your power into your companion instead of your character - similar to a pet or a hero. In addition Guild Wars 2 will feature a side-kick system similar to the one from City of Heroes. Using this, the attributes of the character with a lower level will be boosted by the player with the highest level in the group. This is helpful when questing together or when participating in World PvP (more in fact 5) early in the game.

8. Revised graphic engine[edit]

Even among those who obsess over graphics, Guild Wars has a good reputation: ArenaNet's self-developed graphic engine shines with a vast landscape, low hardware requirements, and very short loading times. The developers of Guild Wars 2 will remain true to this principle! As the graphics will be improved to utilize new technologies, a big part of the engine will be rewritten from the ground up, adding new features such as lighting effects, a higher polygon count, and highly improved textures. DirectX 10 will be supported, but is not required for game play.

9. Races and professions[edit]

In Guild Wars 2 you can choose from other races besides just humans. Two of them, the Asura and Norn, are already known from their initial appearance in Eye of the North, another is the Sylvari. Interesting for fans of the original Guild Wars: even the Charr, formerly enemies of the humans, are now a playable race! As all nations unify against the new threat, there are neither factions nor divisions into good and evil. Races will not only define the appearance of the character but also their abilities. The Norn, for example, are able to transform into bear-form with totally new properties and abilities. There are no words about the professions, but ArenaNet will - according to Jeff Strain - use the original Guild Wars professions as inspiration.
Here are the races in an overview:

The Norn[edit]

The three meter tall Norn are able to transform into bears and prefer to do things on their own. Team partners are witness to their heroic deeds. They dominate the Shiverpeaks but continue to fight with Dredge for control of the area. They have small conflicts with the Charr, but are friendly or unconcerned with the humans. An ice dragon in the north concerns them though.
[Translation note: Removed a part about the humans as it is already explained below.]

The Humans[edit]

Three kingdoms of the humans have been destroyed, contact with one lost. Kryta is the only remaining kingdom of the humans. Tactically in a tight spot between of all other races and various dragon strongholds, it is faced with internal troubles as well. The White Mantle, a religion adoring the assumed-dead magical beings2, wants to overthrow the Queen and those who follow the Five Gods.

The Charr[edit]

The feline Charr have been fighting with humans for over 1,700 years. While known to the world as the force that destroyed the Kingdom of Ascalon, internally they are divided into four discordant legions: the blood legion, the ash legion, the iron legion and the flame legion. The last is unpopular because of its religious views.

The Asura[edit]

Once living underground, the small Asura are now making themselves comfortable on the surface. Asuran portals allow comfortable traveling and their magical items are of the highest quality. Modesty is not an Asura virtue: they think of themselves as the most intelligent creatures in Tyria. An Asura would rather give commands than receive them. You should be careful to not become a pawn to be sacrificed in an Asuran plan.

The Sylvari[edit]

Only 25 years before the story of Guild Wars 2 the first adult Sylvari hatched out of their cocoons which grow at a magical oak tree in the Arbor Bay. Their knowledge is exchanged in the "Dream of dreams", a collective subconscious mind. The wisdom of the centaur Ventari is the base of their community which so far has been untroubled by wars. Sylvari are curious, skillful and magically gifted.

10. No fees[edit]

A huge persistent world. Hundreds of hours of pure play time just for character development. Open World PvP. Zone-overlapping events. Modern graphics and a lot more... what is missing? Monthly fees! ArenaNet promises to continue the trend for Guild Wars 2: buy the game once, activate it once - and play as much as you want without having to pay again. Competitors: Prepare yourselves!

Interview with Jeff Strain, founding member of ArenaNet[edit]

PC Games: "How do you plan to do this? Building such a complex world which is shared by all players without having monthly fees?"
Strain: (laughing) "A very good question! Interestingly many people believe that the completely instantiated world was the reason for Guild Wars 1 to not need monthly fees. This is completely wrong! The existence or lack of a persistent world is totally unrelated to the running expenses which are needed to maintain an online roleplaying game."
PC Games: "What do you mean by that?"
Strain: "Really important are the innovative technologies which we developed for Guild Wars 1. They allow us to keep the running costs very low which then results in the huge advantage for the player: the absence of fees. We continue with that principle for Guild Wars 2: as soon as the game is available, we will begin our work on new content. Such content for which the player is free to decide if he wants to have it or not. Maybe that will be add-ons or complete campaigns or online-extensions with costs, we don't know. But one thing is very certain: we will again have in Guild Wars 2 the comprehensive support our fans are already familiar with!"
PC Games: "We always had the feeling that equipment isn't very important in Guild Wars so that PvP is always fair. How is that with the new game?"
Strain: "Equipment is a lot more important in Guild Wars 2. You will be able find a lot of cool items that will help with character development. Why that was different in Guild Wars 1 is because we designed PvP to be focused on player skill. Nobody should have an advantage just because they played longer than others. This same problem will be resolved in Guild Wars 2 in a different way: in World PvP all players will have different levels and equipment - and that is okay. In GvG all character properties including the abilities and the equipment are adjusted so that all players are on equal ground. That way, the e-sport standard is assured for elaborate tournaments, while still allowing us to go crazy with item design."

Notes on Translation[edit]

  1. The wording of this phrase makes it unclear whether it refers to a constantly-closer camera view in GW2 as opposed to that of GW1, or a dynamic camera movement for the duration of combat activity only. Update: This has since been clarified via email request to Jeff Strain; the intended meaning is that the default camera position will be closer to the character.
  2. All existing knowledge regarding the White Mantle strongly suggests that the referenced "magical beings" are the Mursaat. It is unknown whether this was the original meaning as produced by ArenaNet and simply lost in the translation to German, or if ArenaNet is being deliberately vague for some unknown purpose.