19 Feb 2012 0
10 Things to expect in Guild Wars 2: A Guild Wars Perspective.

Please go to DragonSeason.com, I wrote this article for them. Any comments are appreciated here, but I would recommend posting anything there. Thank You!

My Name is Daniel, or in the Gaming World: Crimson342. I’ve played games as long as I can remember, From Crisis Mountain on the Apple II GS, Adventure on Atari, and thousands of games since the Nintendo Entertainment System. I used to play competitively in FPS games, and have always had a strong love for RPG games. I can’t count how many times I’ve played Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana or the Final Fantasy series. One game got me hooked to PC gaming however, Wizardry. My Dad played it, and in turn got me and my brother hooked on it, Meanwhile my Mom loved Mario and her all time favorite game to this day is Sonic The Hedgehog.

Granted.. I think Skyrim may be taking Sonic’s place now.. Wizardry was a different outlook on games compared to it’s console counterparts, by all means I never liked it nearly as much as I did other games, but it did open up the world of PC gaming to me in which I am truly grateful for. So much that I wrote a small game myself using Qbasic when I was 12. I had this obsession with killing dragons thanks to the Atari Game Adventure and all the fantasy and lore stories I grew up with. So the ending of my short game was a big dragon I just had to walk up to and shove a poorly animated sword in a poorly designed blocky dragon. But since then I’ve always wanted to slay dragons. Luckily for me, games fulfilled this desire. Notably I did so in World of Warcraft for a couple of years, so I discuss WoW often. However, WoW wasn’t the first MMORPG I played, Guild Wars was.

I was never meant to play Guild Wars.. I never enjoyed online gameplay, mainly because where I was from, high-speed internet was 56k when the rest of the world moved on from a dial-up connection. I also have no idea how to socialize with people online, even after playing MMO’s for years, I still find it awkward to initiate a conversation. Not to mention the money I spent playing new games.. I grew tired of spending $60 on a game I would finish in a weekend, so I searched for a game I wouldn’t beat in 24 hours of game time. Mind you, I am NOT a excellent gamer, and definitely not as good as I used to be. Work and the real world deprives me of getting as much game time as I would want. The first game I found was Guild Wars, and I picked it because it didn’t have a monthly subscription fee. Most of my gamer friends were playing WoW at that time, and I simply couldn’t fathom or afford $15 a month. Since then, I fell in love with Guild Wars as it filled my Dragon Slaying needs as well as my gaming needs. Eventually got into WoW and became sucked into it’s world, peer pressure.. I’m not saying that WoW is a bad game, I did enjoy it, but it felt like a second job after a while, whereas Guild Wars felt like a game. I was able to freely pick it up whenever I felt like it, I love this aspect. It’s because of this and the upcoming release of Guild Wars 2 that prompted me to write this. And by all means.. I am NOT a good writer, I would love to contribute my thoughts to the GW community more often but I tend to ramble on mindlessly. This is why I am writing a “10 Things” List. Because 10 List do well! They are short, to the point, informative, organized and easy! Unlike this incredibly long introduction! Besides, check out this awesome video made by Alexrediculous! It did well, hopefully this will do the same for people who don’t know what Guild Wars is all about. So without further ado, Here is “10 Things to Expect in Guild Wars 2: A Guild Wars Perspective.”

When it comes to making epic music, Jeremy Soule is a professional

1.  Music and Sound:
Music is incredibly important, not just to games but everything. Music can make a boring scenario an epic encounter. And Jeremy Soule is a professional when it comes to making epic music. He is the composer of the music in Guild Wars and has created some of the most astounding music in the gaming world. Take for example Skyrim.. That game is epic, the trailer alone is epic. Soule brought together a masterpiece that sling-shotted the already epic and highly anticipated game in a whole new level. Soule definitely knows how to make a game feel alive, he did so in the Guild Wars series and in every game he’s helped. I very much remember first playing Guild Wars how immediately attached I felt to simply because the beauty of the game matched the beauty in my ears. Take for example this song: Crystal Oasis. In my mind, this is a masterpiece, this is soothing, relaxing and when I close my eyes.. I see nothing but beauty. Jeremy Soule is back in Guild Wars 2 to create more of the same amazing masterpieces he has produced throughout the years, giving us an almost separate world within a world designed by Guild Wars 2. His music can invoke your imagination and throw you in the world of Tyria. Although his work is crucial to the game, the way it is put together in the game along with ambient sounds and effects also place a strong role. The sound producers did an amazing job with sound in Guild Wars, never “over-doing it” with repetitive music, burning you out, or never throw in highly annoying sounds into the game that takes you away from the games atmosphere. I used to log on to the Guild Wars log in screen JUST to listen to the music! Needless to say, as much as you will enjoy playing Guild Wars 2.. Your ears will love listening to Guild Wars 2.

2. No Subscription Fees:
This one is obvious and has been stated several times. The business model ArenaNet brought was highly risky and likewise, successful. Giving them over 7 million box sales since the release of Guild Wars, and allowing people to play on and off throughout those years, including myself, while never feeling obligated to play. I easily played other games and had a better social life because of this. While other games like EverQuest and World of Warcraft charged $15 a month to play, Guild Wars was free to play (f2p). Or more appropriately, buy to play (b2p).  The success of this idea wasn’t widely accepted by other companies, although several f2p and b2p MMO’s became successful.. The content was sometimes lacking. Myself I played several f2p games, but it always felt like a consistent grind that never had a end in sight. So I never stuck with it.. But I would always return to Guild Wars. ArenaNet is sticking to it’s original method and not charging a monthly subscription fee. Promising plenty of content, updates, and attention to their game that many subscription based MMO’s do, and many f2p games do not. This business model has advanced so much in the years that several games switched to a b2p or ever f2p to stay relevant and competitive in the increasingly popular MMO industry. Even offering up to 20 levels of free play with no subscription fee’s. However, in most games.. Getting to level 20 does not leave you with much information, knowledge, or understanding of most MMO’s. Or if you are like me. Not enough to feel immersed enough into the game, which brings me to my next subject.

My favorite aspect of Guild Wars is the cinematics

3. Lore and Story:
The original Guild Wars had a very deep setting and story with plenty of lore to keep the hardcore fans happy for a good long time. My favorite aspect of Guild Wars is the cinematics. Since Guild Wars was my first MMO, whenever I tried other MMO’s I wondered where the cinematics were. This part of the game lets you truly understand what is going on in the game, while at the same time not throwing so much in your face that it’s like reading the entire Dragonlance series in one setting. My character felt involved in the universe created by the game, I felt as if I was a key element of the game. I actually felt like a hero. No other MMO made me feel that way.. During my WoW days, I always wanted to slay the Lich King in a epic way and be rewarded with more than a title and shiny loot, the cinematic they gave was much appreciated, but I still felt as if my hours of hard work and effort along with my guild were spent on nothing more than getting the status of Kingslayer and 3rd on the server to slay him. Also with SW:TOR, I felt as if some of the conversations were over done and had no purpose in the game. I’d much rather read the occasional quest than sit and listen to a guy tell me why I should go kill 10 rats. Guild Wars presented it’s well written story amazingly. Never distracting you from the game play, but rewarding you for it. Being a mediocre loremaster in Guild Wars and even in several other games, I can tell you that the World in which Guild Wars is written in, is a world that you can easily get lost in. With a deep background and history and everything you can think of from God’s and Religion to Sport’s and Events to different cultures and ethnics. The Original Guild Wars has enough to keep anyone entertained and they are only continuing to do so in Guild Wars 2. Not only will Guild Wars 2 be a huge game, but and expansions or updates in the future can easily be covered by the vast and largely uncovered world and different continents. On top of having a well developed world, ArenaNet also has 2 books released with a third hopefully coming soon, I can only imagine after the game is launched the books will continue with different stories throughout the world of Guild Wars.
4. Static Difficulty and Challenge:
Throughout my journy’s of MMO kingdoms I would be faced against enemies that would either down right slap me around or I would one shot into oblivion. MMO’s tend to favor the hardcore. Ones who Raid, PvP, and play so much they are rewarded with weapons, armors, and upgrades that make the things you once found challenging, to be a slap-in-the-face-breeze to roll through. Within raiding, the first time you encounter a new boss in other games.. You would spend days or even weeks trying to defeat it. You would develop a strategy and eventually defeat the boss, within time you would be rewarded with gear that in most cases, was a huge upgrade for you or your guild mates. Eventually that boss that took 20 minutes to kill and tons of wipes would be downed within a minute. Making the raiding feel like farming instead of a challenge. Walking around in the world would be a joke as well, that deadly zombie bear that is technically higher in level than you, you are able to slap and kill. I don’t know about you, but i would imagine killing a giant zombie bear wouldn’t be easy regardless how many times I fought them. In Guild Wars the level cap was at 20, through each expansion, and the world and the enemies became easier to kill after a experienced team or experienced player and heroes with plenty of collected skills went through. Gear was not a huge factor in the game, Visually it helped, but largely everyone was on the same playing field. Knowledge and personal skill account for more in the game. PvP was much like this as well. I’ve had cases in other games where I could destroy someone higher in level than me because I knew how to play the game but there were also cases where I wouldn’t stand a chance simply because one person had uber epic awesome gear in comparison. Regardless if I was a better player, over powering such player was almost impossible.  Guild Wars 2 will continue it’s model in Guild Wars by creating an appropriate playing field. Skill and Knowledge will triumph the battlefield – not gear. Guild Wars 2 will incorporate Content Scaling, giving you a fully rounded challenge throughout the game regardless where you go, but you will still be rewarded with increased damage and survivability. Just don’t expect to one shot anything – or anyone! See you in the Battlefield my PvP Friends and Foes! *evil sinister laugh*

The magnificent Concept Art come to life in Guild Wars 2

5. Art and Beauty:
The original Guild Wars was one of the most beautiful games released and to this day is still considered one of the most beautiful MMORPG’s on the market. Each Expansion increased it’s beauty tenfold. The art team at ArenaNet is some of the most well respected in the gaming world, and in the real world.  The Art Team is, in my opinion, unmatched by any in the gaming market, exploring Tyria will leave you with Oohh’s and Ahh’s in every corner you walk to! This beautiful game would also detract people from the game because they figured their PC’s could not handle it. In most cases, this was NEVER an issue. Even with my oldest of still running computers (minus my apple II gs and my old 486) I can still play Guild Wars just fine. This will likely be the case with Guild Wars 2, still providing you with beauty and awe, but functionality as well. The unique method they are bringing their art is seen throughout with their trailers, which in case you haven’t seen, they are available here, at GuildWars2.com

6. Dynamic Events:
Dynamic Event’s are the replacement for Quests in Guild Wars 2 and many people believed they would not function properly. Throughout the years of demo’s and information ArenaNet has given us, it turned from “That will never work!” to “Wow that looks amazing!!” Advances in technology has helped produce this on a massive scale. If you have never played the Original Guild Wars, Dynamic Event’s are not as “new” as most people believe. Guild Wars has had in place several “Dynamic Events” but on a much much smaller scale. All it required was a player walking with a certain radius to trigger the event, usually being a conversation or a group of enemies “coming to life” as you approach. The major difference is now you are not the only one to affect the events, but other players as well as NPC’s and time can and will cause the events. Creating a world that is truly unique to the MMO market. Many games can state they have “Dynamic Events” but the scale in which Guild Wars 2 will present them will be unprecedented. This leads me to my next point:

Guild Wars 2 consists of a living world, where every moment is different

7. A Living, Breathing World:
This almost follows the same lines as Dynamic Event’s, but adds a more sense of realism and passion to the game. I’m a huge fan of architecture, hiking, and traveling. Considering that’s a large aspect of my job, I see things and changes in each town I go to. I once remember a historic Church in New Mexico that was burnt down to the ground in a bad electrical accident. I was just there the month before as I passed by I admired how unique and old it was, still standing perfectly after over 100 years of constant use. Likewise New Mexico suffered the largest wildfire in a forest and my friends hike and camp at frequently. Knowing these two things I felt a sense of realism at that moment, that anything can happen.. Good or bad.. And it hit like a a ton of bricks in a speeding semi-truck. History and Nature destroyed almost instantly.. It never once occurred to me.. Why can’t it be the same in a game? ArenaNet understands that not everything will be there, and regardless what you do.. You have a effect in the world. Today that church is being rebuilt for the small town, and the forest is slowing growing back with the help of people around New Mexico. Each time a person contributes, the world changes. Likewise will be the case in Guild Wars 2, if you don’t help that town from an attack of centaurs.. that town could be a burned down mess that you will lately help rebuild or even retake from the centaurs. There will be plenty of stability in the game, but there will also be decisions you must make that can determine the outcome of the games progress. And at this point, Noting is certain.

8. Pride and Commitment:
The Team at ArenaNet take a great deal of pride in their work. And it’s shown in each game they have created. Did the original Guild Wars have issues? Yes. Did each Expansion? Yes. Each that were quickly remedied. But they never changed the game so much that it felt like a whole new game from an simple update. To say that Guild Wars: Prophecies, is almost identical to how it was when it was first released, is not an understatement. The changes that occurred were progressive changes, not complete changes. ArenaNet is dedicated to giving us the best damn game they can possible deliver, breaking the normal boundaries of MMO’s and even games in general. They don’t follow the traditions of MMORPG’s today and never have, Guild Wars is unlike any MMO out there It’s usually referred to as a CO-RPG, but who cares on small things like that, it’s Massive, it has Multiple Players, and it’s Online. They may have taken years to bring us Guild Wars 2 which we will finally see this year. But you can guarantee that every employee at ArenaNet gave it their all, never settling for mediocre and always striving for the best. This has not only been a personal goal but a personal challenge, an achievement that is worth bragging about.. and they don’t even brag. These are passionate and talented people designing a game that they are passionate about, and in every video I’ve seen.. It show’s. Not in their work but in themselves. Take the ArenaNet’s MMO Manifesto. They aren’t saying something scripted and if you have seen any video of the workers at ArenaNet speak about the game, you will see that it comes from the heart. And this is the number one reason why I’m so pumped and excited for Guild Wars 2.. Because the creators are pumped for it too!! Just check out this awesome video of them made by Wartower. This passion they express in their game, rubs off, and it has created a simply amazing community.

The community of Guild Wars is regularly hosting several in game events, such as Pink Day in LA

9. Community:
The Community in Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 is massive, it seems like every day there is a new fan site online and a video made about Guild Wars, and everyone seems to know everyone! It’s daunting to keep up with it that’s for sure. The community is so huge on twitter that when ArenaNet announces some sort of news, my twitter account blows up with everyone talking about it. Within 30 minutes I’ll have friends call and tell me about it, even though I usually know within minutes. Moreover I’m always on Twitter and Facebook. What’s even more amazing than that, but several times the game developers (especially Regina, or “RB”) have replied back to me and friends with even the silliest of questions.  The new people hired to work with RB have definitely done their job as well, being swift, polite and accurate. The people at ArenaNet really do care about their community, and that’s a hard thing to say in MMO’s.. I’ve read some harsh things Dev’s would said about their player base in forums. Many people in other games strictly care about just working an 9-5 job and putting up with people instead of treating them respectfully. But here.. They are so down to earth, nice, and relaxing people.. And if I ever get the chance to head up to Seattle, I hope I have the honor of meeting some of them at ArenaNet. Moreover, I would like to drink a beer or two with them! (or challenge them to a Norn Style Drinking Contest!)

Years ago, Gaile Gray was online in game and of course, everyone would talk about her and talk to her I’m sure bombarding her with PM’s until she could no longer read her chat window. Well I posted in Local Chat about how I has having an issue with a quest (I can’t even remember what the quest was anymore) but she went out of her way to help me. It took a total of maybe 2 minutes, and once we were done I felt like such an idiot because it was incredibly easy. But since then I have had the utmost respect for everyone in ArenaNet, to the point where this entire message might sound like a large amount of ass kissing.. Not intentional I promise! But aside from ArenaNet, the Gamers in Guild Wars are incredibly nice, and always have been! I’ve been in a couple of guilds throughout the years, and each of them were incredibly nice, and mature. Unlike most games I’ve seen, Local Chat was probably the “cleanest” and nicest chat’s I’ve seen. Yes there are a few “bad eggs” but for the most part, if I asked something or said Hello in Local Chat. I would be greeted with a hearty “Hello!” or helped within seconds. Maybe it was because for the most part, I’ve been polite about it, But I have always had a empty Ignore List. One thing that helps this is a well developed and fair game.

10. Everything is obtainable through hard word and effort:
My favorite moment in World of Warcraft: Obtaining the Shadowmourne, a Legendary Weapon for my Warrior after months of hard work and effort.
My least favorite moment in World of Warcraft: Realizing that shortly after obtaining said weapon, and after the expansion of Cataclysm, my Legendary Weapon was short lived and replaced by a ugly Fred Flintstone looking hammer.

Perhaps one reason why it was so easy for me to break away from WoW was that very reason.. I worked my ass off to get that weapon, for months.. To this day, it still gets to me. Not only the weapon, but the content. In Guild Wars you could see everything, you could obtain everything.. – on your own! Hard work and effort, a feature rarely found today.. is how you managed to get everything in game. You want the cool and shiny new armor? You could earn it. You want that awesome weapon? You could earn it. You want to see the “Games Ending?” You could earn it. Sure you can say this about other games, but no other MMO made me feel important about it when I got it. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to have a job well done.. and I’m sure many of you will know what I mean from the real world, but I didn’t need a huge guild helping me at every turn, I didn’t have to bring 24 of them to finish the game, I was able to do it on my own and with little to no help. Experiencing it with others only further added to the awesome factor and the fun factor. Likewise will be the same in Guild Wars 2. You don’t have to sit and wait for 25 people to form a group and hope everything works out. Simply put, You can jump in and play the game you paid for.

Also, in WoW for months I was overpowered with the highest heroic level top end raiding gear, spoiled by the luxuries of one shotting everything that I mentioned earlier. Making personal time trials as a form of a challenge, seeing who could tank a heroic the fastest. Eventually I didn’t even wear tank gear. We just brought 5 DPS members with 1 or 2 people with healing capabilities but were not specced as healers. This leads me to my next subject..

Professions in Guild Wars 2 offer incredible versatility

11. No Holy Trinity:
Well crap.. I said I would write about 10 things didn’t I? Screw it, I lied.. And the truth of the matter is I could add a lot more to this list.. But for your sake, I’ll keep it short.

No Holy Trinity. No dedicated Tanks, Healers, or DPS. Just get in the game and enjoy it. I almost forgot how that felt. As I mentioned earlier, at the end of WoW’s Wraith of the Lich King, and even shortly after the expansion of Cataclysm, my friends and I would put up personal challenges. Could we really go through prior dungeons and raids with less people, no tank, and 1 healer who also DPS’d. We became so overpowered that we made our own challenges.. And it was the most fun I had in the game. The feeling of uncertainty of you dying by your own hand is a edge of your seat thrill ride! Just me and a bunch of friends joining together to do something we all enjoy.. –DESTROY EVERYTHING IN OUR SIGHT!– Nothing feels better than kicking the ass of a giant dragon and having less than 1% of your own health. When it’s that close, and that on the line.. you certainly feel more alive.. There is a huge amount of controversy saying that MMO’s NEED Tanks and Healers. But Guild Wars 2 is dropping that, and making you responsible for living. If you stand in fire, you can’t rely on a healer to save you.. It’s up to you. In Guild Wars it somewhat felt like this. You could do things on your own.. you would need a “tank” of some sort.. and a healer or two.. but every class has had means of their own personal survivability. And nothing feels more epic about being the last one standing. Because you knew how to heal yourself. You knew how to take damage and control the fight. You knew how to pull the battle in your favor. You control the outcome of your battle. Choose them wisely.

ArenaNet is going leaps and bounds in comparison to games of recent years. Breakthroughs in game play are hard to come by.. For some time I feel like I keep playing the same games just with a different visual appearance and slightly different yet overplayed story line. Battlefield 3 was one of my large hopes for my FPS addiction, but sadly, I’m against the corporate giant EA, and I’m quiet satisfied with just using Steam instead of Origin. With over 100 games on my Steam Account.. I was not compelled the least to install and use Origin. Throughout all the games I’ve played, I’ve never been so hyped about a game. Half-Life 2 (and each episode) was probably the last time I felt so excited for a game. (Side Note: Gabe Newell, Please do not release HL2:Ep3 near the release of GW2, I don’t want to forgot to go to work.) I’m glad to see that ArenaNet never gave up, never sold out, and never stopped trying. They had a vision and created it, and not a vision about how they wanted the story of their game to go, but a vision of how the game plays as well. They took a challenge and went head on, never backing down. Many amazing games and MMO’s are being released, some defying the normal cycle of the typical game genre, but the amount of time and effort put into Guild Wars 2 shows. ArenaNet is definitely pushing the boundaries of not only the MMORPG world, but the gaming world in whole. 

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