Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto

By Shamus
on Aug 11, 2010
Filed under:
Video Games

splash_guildwars2.jpg

The original Guild Wars did not really work for me. When I complained, people said that the game “isn’t really about leveling”. Which is like offering me a sandwich and suggesting that I not judge it by the taste. I was then told that the real heart of the game was PvP, which is like saying that the thing that makes the sandwich good is the live scorpions. So I walked away from Guild Wars with the impression that this was a game for Other People.

Guild Wars is a strange creature. It’s an MMO, but there’s no monthly fee. You just buy the game and play it. The towns are shared space, but the adventuring areas of the game are all instanced. There is no “open public gameworld”.

Say what you want about the game, but it’s not just another second generation WoW clone, which was an Everquest clone, which was an Ultima clone, which was spawned in the primordial soup of some pre-graphical MUD on a dial-up BBS in the early 90’s. People use the word “clone” in these conversations to imply that the game is somehow bereft of new ideas. But I think we can trace a line from those early MUDs to current-gen MMORPGs and see a pretty clear evolutionary progression. And I’m not talking about the graphics. Smartass. But Guild Wars doesn’t seem to fit into that lineage. (No pun intended.) It’s as if they made an MMORPG without having played one before, and thus came up with all of these different ideas about how these games should work. It’s like some alternate-universe MMORPG.

Anyway. The game seemed to do well. I wouldn’t blame them for making a sequel that took these core ideas and just gave us more of the same but with better bling mapping and more fishnet armor. Better to keep your existing fans happy than to go chasing after folks like me. It’s not like there’s some sort of leveling & exploration drought in the MMORPG genre. But instead of making a nice, safe game, ArenaNet has gone loco and decided to reinvent the wheel… again?

Consider me intrigued.

And it really does take great physical effort to not comment on those graphics. I’m trying to be grown up about this, but… wow. That’s like, amazing and stuff.

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  1. Randy Johnson says:

    Josh might actually smile today.

  2. acronix says:

    I don´t even want to imagine the system requeriments for this. It hurts to think I won´t be able to try it.

    • Pickly says:

      It may not be too bad, since original Guild Wars had some pretty detailed and cool looking graphics, while using about the same or less memory than some other MMO’s. Though I not be surprised at all if the requirements were much higher than the original.

      • Jonn says:

        That trailer actually reminded me of another game: Drakensang, the Dark Eye – in terms of graphics, and artistic approach, though not in actual style. Drakensang is not horridly demanding either – minimum specs are 2.4G CPU, 2G RAM and 6600GT.

        At very high detail on an i5 750, 4G RAM and GTX275, it rarely falls below very smooth FPS – haven’t actually checked the exact number since it has remained smooth outside some very demanding scenes, but certain it averages well over 60. Doubt it has ever dropped below 30.

        Considering an i5 board is either mid-range or barely above, and GTX275s are hardly new, I doubt that Guild Wars 2 will need anything crazy to run smooth at high detail. At least if the engine is anything like the first game.

        And in case anyone is interested: http://www.drakensang.com . Note, the game listed – River of time – is not the game I referred to, but the next in the series.

        • Jonn says:

          Just to add, for those who like developer diaries: on that main site click the “Community” button. Not sure how long it will be there, since they tend to change the site every so often, but its there for now :)

          Some interesting things to read – as long as you don’t mind some stilted English.
          Their in-game localisations are much better than their dev diary translations.

  3. Kjetil says:

    Guild wars has more in common with tactical wargames than MMOs IMO.

  4. Joshua says:

    Well, what turned me off of the earlier generations of MMOs was that, apart from the multi-player aspect, they just really weren’t very good RPG games. It looks like they’re doing what I mentioned in a different thread- taking all of the fun of a good single-player RPG and just adding mult-player functionality. It’s interesting to see what other competitors have in mind too.

    • merle says:

      Final Fantasy XI tried to do that, as well, and it looks like FFXIV is going the same route.

      Anything with more emphasis on story can only be a good thing in the long run, though.

  5. Calatar says:

    No subscription fee, eh? Little grinding? Sounds like my kind of MMO.
    I’ll see how it gets reviewed, but I’m intrigued too.
    It’s PRETTY too. I’m not really a fan of WoW’s dated and cartoonish graphics, but this I really like the look of.

    Hopefully the system requirements aren’t TOO insane.

    • Zukhramm says:

      I’m a big fan of cartoonish and outdated graphics. Less demanding on my computer and it’s probably cheaper to make aswell.

      • Calatar says:

        Yet just as (or more) expensive for you to pay for. Subscription fees are killer. If I’m spending a lot of money on something, I’d like it to look reasonably nice.
        Updating your graphics card every few years is the cost of being a PC gamer. I do on occasion wonder at seeing Newegg reviews from people buying $400 graphics cards for the sole purpose of WoW though…

        I do like some lower graphics games for laptops. If you like to play on laptops w/integrated graphics, it’s pretty rare that a newer games will run on it. But if you primarily use a desktop and you can afford a WoW subscription, then you can probably afford to invest in slightly better hardware too.

        I dunno, I sort of get graphics-entitlement over time. I’m fine going back to KotOR-level character graphics, but I don’t really want to go all the way back to NWN1-level character graphics.
        I like my characters to look a little bit more like people than polygony blockheads.

        • Ian says:

          I do on occasion wonder at seeing Newegg reviews from people buying $400 graphics cards for the sole purpose of WoW though…

          My 5-year-old laptop can handle playing WoW at 1280×800 at low settings and it’s not exactly a powerhouse (it has a Radeon X300, which wasn’t exactly cutting edge at the time…still better than an Intel GPU, though). I had a friend of mine playing on it at one time, and even the newest content of the game played pretty smoothly on it.

          The thing that hurts WoW’s performance more than anything are the myriad of add-ons that your average raider has installed, not to mention the mistake of setting your graphical settings too high (most notably the shadow slider). The players that bought a $400 video card for WoW should have considered either upgrading their CPU to a fast dual-core (WoW doesn’t seem to really scale past two processor cores) or bumped down the shadow slider down a few pegs. I’m running WoW on a $200 graphics card in quite possibly the most taxing configuration you can imagine (in a full screen “window” [i.e. to allow the mouse pointer to transition to my second monitor without alt-tabbing] at 1920×1200 with most of the settings maxed) and I still easily maintain vsync, even in 25-man raids.

    • Friend of Dragons says:

      Guild Wars 1 did a really quite excellent job of having better graphics than almost any other MMO while simultaneously having amazingly low system requirements, and as while Guild Wars 2 seems to have improved quite a bit on even the standard of GW1, the similarities in style suggets to me that they are either using the same graphics engine or a quite similar one, leading me to hope that the sysreqs stay quite low.

      http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Running_the_game

      • Jabor says:

        Anecdotally, my brother has been running the original Guild Wars for a while on an absolutely ancient rig – 1.8GHz single-core and a GeForce2 MX 100 – and it was … playable. I think he’s upgrading for GW2, though.

  6. DaveMc says:

    I suppose that their all-instanced approach put them in an ideal position to implement the kind of permanent, world-affecting changes that they mention in the video — no fully shared world could get away with having single players able to affect everything else in the world. If villages “stayed rescued” in a fully shared world, how would the next group complete their “save the village” quest?

    I wonder how this will work when teaming? Will you experience the world as defined by the team leader’s history?

    Also, perhaps our Guild Wars vets could comment on this: What does Guild Wars get out of being an online game? If all the areas you visit are instanced (created for you when you visit them; I hope I’m using that term correctly), then it seems like a single-player game with good matchmaking (in the form of meeting people in the few shared areas), but with the huge downside that you need to be online to play it. I’m not trying to be annoying, here, but it’s genuinely something I’ve never understood about the model as I’ve heard it described. It sounds very much like playing the co-op (or PvP) mode of a single-player game, except that it’s mandatory to be online, rather than optional. But perhaps I’m missing things that its online nature brings to the table?

    • Canthros says:

      No, that’s a pretty good summary, IIRC. Towns and outposts can have many people but are relatively small in size and fairly static, PvE areas are huge and often affected (usually in small ways) by what you’ve done, but have a team size of as little as two and as many as eight. Missions don’t change, but other map areas can and do. Matchmaking is done MMO-style in towns and outposts.

      About the only thing I can think of that one gains by virtue of being online all the time vs. a dedicated single-player mode is that certain in-game commodities have a player-influenced economy, so that the price of materials and moves up and down with demand.

      What this gains vs. a conventional MMO, however, is that one doesn’t need to worry about spawns being camped, or about being ganked by an opposing faction while you’re just grinding out experience, because there’s nobody in the instance except you and the people you’re with. (Admittedly, there also aren’t factions in GW, but that’s supposed to be coming in GW2, I think.)

      Unfortunately, I think the devs placed too much emphasis on the PvP end of the game, at least early on, so that PvE was (and is) often affected by PvP balance changes and so forth. As a result, the frequent balance patches make it difficult to keep a build viable in PvE, and that’s one of the things that’s turned me off. A character that was awesome six months ago is very likely next to useless today.

      • Jabor says:

        Latterly, PvP changes don’t affect PvE as much. If they need to heavily change a skill for PvP (as opposed to a minor tweak), they’ve been splitting it off into PvP and PvE versions.

      • Emm Enn Eff says:

        The devs placed emphasis on PvP balance because… Balance in that aspect of the game is absolutely critical. Nerfing occasional flavour-of-the-month PvE builds is a small price to pay for balanced PvP.

        Where they really dropped the ball was power creep (Expansion skills being way too good), poor PvP mechanics (Shadowsteps, for one), skill unlock grind, and a very slow response time in addressing PvP issues. The game had a healthy competitive environment that has died years ago due to all of these aspects.

    • Vipermagi says:

      Well, that is basically it. You can play with either AIs (henchmen and pseudo-heroes), or team up with other people, for whatever reason. You will have to go online whichever way, though.

      Also, unlike GuildWars 1, GW2 is going persistant. The world changes as you (and other people) complete events, but you don’t get individual copies of the world. Events work like a chain that goes back and forth, and if needed, will reset.

      An example: Assaulting an island.
      1. Assault the beach, kill people, empty structures.
      2. Defend your new outpost while your side is setting up their base.
      3. Siege the big fortress.

      If you lose at event 2, you will be back at event 1; the enemy will have rebuilt their base on the beach, ready for the taking.
      Lose 1, and you might unleash a new chain of events, where your mainland is assaulted by the island inhabitants.
      Win 3, and something awesome happens (?).

      • Fizban says:

        If I’m reading this right, it actually sounds pretty dang cool. So, instead of one persistent area, each area has multiple versions based on how you progress through the game, and each version is persistent. As you go through the game your choices affect which versions you go to, and your character never sees the other versions of the same area because that’s not the world your character lives in now. But instead of instancing it, you enter a persistent area full of other people who made the same choices that you did. Does that sound correct?

        A lot of it hinges on how many actual choices there are to make, and how well they deliver on making the game feel like a single player one where your character matters. I could see how they had a great story going on behind the scenes in what I played of prophecies and factions, but a lot of the MMO conventions made it hard to actually get immersed in it. If it lives up to the hype this sounds like something I’d like to play.

        • Vipermagi says:

          There’s only one version of each area (might have been totally clear in my previous post), and it changes according to what happens during world events. It’s basically WoW (in how the world functions), but some areas might change depending on what people do.

          Another example: One day, you run around and see a small village with farmers and the likes. You log off and go to sleep. While you’re sleeping (you lazy bum), an event initiates. The village is attacked. A few players see this unfortunate event, and fail in defending the village; they ‘lose the event’. When you log in again, that same village is suddenly a burning heap, and there’s a few villagers trying to reconstruct the village. This can initiate an event where the workers are attacked.

          It’s a little vague as of the moment (how will this work with levels? What does a change look like; do we see the buildings burning down, or do they suddenly turn into rubble?), but there should be a demo at Gamescon. Maybe that can shed some light on the event system.

          • Jarenth says:

            Interesting though that may sound, it kind of reminds me of Tabula Rasa’s system of Base Control, where enemy NPCs would conquer a base if there weren’t enough players to defend it.

            It cán be an interesting addition to the world and a source of great fun for defensively-minded players, but it can also turn into a dull back-and-forth slug every time you want to access a particular village.

            Here’s hoping for the former.

            • Maldeus says:

              It should be noted that village control is not the only event, it’s just the one with the easiest cycle to guess at. ANet’s said that every event will lead to one of two (or more?) different events depending on whether or not the players are victorious, something which will eventually loop back on itself, resetting the cycle, and the easiest example of that is a hostile faction seizing control of a village. The next event is obviously seizing the village back. Other examples of events, though, have been undersea monsters attacking a local dock. As an aquatic monster, it isn’t going to occupy the village if it wins. It’s just going to wreak a little bit of havoc, and the next event will probably see it proceeding down the coast to the next village while the last one tries to pick up the pieces.

        • acronix says:

          For what I understood from the GW2 blog, the area changes for everyone, regardless of participation. So, if a bunch of players conquer the islands but you weren´t there at the time, when you finally go to the area you´ll see the changes and a new chain of events that may lead to everything changing back again.

    • Ross Bearman says:

      WoW accomplishes this with the phasing system, used fairly heavily in WotlK and even more in the coming Cataclysm.

      Essentially you could see the peasants going about their business, but I’d see a phased version of the village, with the peasants being attacked.

      The system is also used for rogue’s stealth and invisibility.

    • Gildan Bladeborn says:

      As others have explained, there’s not really a mechanical benefit from forcing you to play online even if you’re just gaming by yourself. The real benefit is a sense of motivation – for many people, getting cool stuff is only worth it if you can show it off, and adventuring out by yourself is almost always going to be more fun if you can chat with a group of friends while you do it, even if you’re not actively in a group with them – your instance might be isolated but you aren’t necessarily.

      And the multiplayer really is a lot of fun – fast-paced, dynamic, and brutal in ways that traditional MMOs have taught us PvP isn’t.

      What they’re planning on doing with the sequel though sounds bloody fantastic, and this is coming from somebody who quite likes Guild Wars now (and has been playing it for 5 years).

  7. Filip says:

    I really really REALLY hope they deliver on this, they are pretty much staking their company on this…

  8. Brett says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t like GW1, Shamus. It avoided a lot of problems with the MMO format and actually succeeded at being an RPG (in a sense of storyline progression, dynamic characters, etc…I know how much you love that acronym). I’m guessing you didn’t get far enough into the plot to be intrigued? Because I played it for years and never touched the PvP.

    GW2, however, at least looks like it’ll deliver on the pro’s of the original, and make a bit more mainstream with the higher level cap and such.

    • Sumanai says:

      From what I’ve understood the higher level cap isn’t a decision to bring the game to the mainstream. Instead it’s because the average time spent in between levels should be fixed. That is, if it took you one hour to get from leve one to level two, it will take about one hour to get from level 66 to level 67.
      Which would mean that to get from level one to level seventy would take total of 69 hours of gameplay.

      • Pickly says:

        The average time being fixed could work with any level, though.

        It’s hard to point to anything specific, but some of the things they’ve said about the leveling system do suggest its being changed to fit better with expectations from other MMO’s.

  9. Robel says:

    Well if you look at the trailer, the graphics do look insane, but we all know they`re using graphics a normal person (with a normal, not outdated but not $3000 PC) won’t be able to see on his/her machine. Aion had pretty much the same kind of graphics and yes, if you compare them with WoW they are great, but will they be able to deliver on everything else they promised?

    And the instanced world thing isn’t all that new, except they plan to use it on all (or maybe not all but probably 90%) of the game. The most recent expansion of WoW (Wrath of the Lich King) has some zones and quests that are instanced and I must admit they are very interesting.

    But the thing that turns me off about the game (and I think I remember Shamus saying the same a few months back) is that it still looks very much asian. They even used the small fluffy animals that appear in both Aion and Final Fantasy XSomething. That may be lovely for some folks but to me it just doesn’t appeal. I guess it’s a thing of taste.

    Overall I am not impressed, but I am curious. I prefer a western-style RPG anytime. Tried DDO and was a bit disappointed because it seemed more like WoW than NWN. Ah well, maybe I should just stick to Baldur’s Gate-like games and hope for the best.

    Cheers!

    • Duffy says:

      Just to clarify some terms:
      Instance usually means entirely separate or self contained copies of an area, generally you (or your party) get your own copy to play in. In some cases (pvp areas) an opposing team will also be present, but it’s still your own little chunk of the world.

      Phasing is used to describe changes to a shared world that are based on a user’s plot progression. Say you destroy a tower in some quest but not your buddy, for him it’s still standing, for you it’s a pile of rubble. While cooler it’s a little trickier to implement, especially if it’s something you could normally interact with or go inside of.

      • Zukhramm says:

        WoW also phases out player that don’t see the same phase as you do, so you won’t see your friend climbing around on the tower that for you is destroyed.

    • Gildan Bladeborn says:

      Are you talking about Aion when you’re referring to the game looking very “Asian”? Because ArenaNet isn’t an Asian company – their publisher NCSoft is, but Guild Wars is no more an Asian MMO than City of Heroes is. They do have an entire continent that is based on Asia, along with one based on Africa, but I’m not sure that Guild Wars 2 will be featuring either of those initially – Tyria is pretty much the standard pseudo-European fantasy setting, just with some unusual elements like the Asura (which weren’t a part of the game or the standalone expansions initially, they were added in the last non-standalone expansion that sets the stage for the sequel).

      Characters from that race do admittedly give off a very Final Fantasy vibe, but I tend not to mind much because the fellow they cast as the voice of your Asuran hero was Maurice Lamarche (voice of The Brain, among other things).

  10. kingcom says:

    You know Dungeons and Dragons Online is basiclly the Guild Wars with a focus on leveling right?

  11. Lalaland says:

    Why the hating on a game looking fabulous? Sure the graphics wars are a wallet drain if you try and keep pace with the bleeding edge but most ‘mid-range’ cards will look at least as good as console at this point. I miss the old ‘gfx wars’, the hardware side is still pushing hard but the software developers have largely left the field.

    I can’t blame them given that the audience is usually on the inferior console hardware but they could at least give the PC version higher res. textures. I mean they can’t have actually drawn the typical ‘non-hero’ textures (plants,posters, incidental stuff) at the nasty low res they’re displayed in most games. I do hope Carmack can ignite another ‘engine war’ with Rage Tech, the UE boys have gotten lazy

    • Raygereio says:

      I like pretty pictures as much as the next guy. However the game industry’s fixation with graphics has become somewhat annoying. That and creepy in some cases.

      I like to compare games to women. Yeah, a hot bombshell might be fun to look at. But at the end of the day every guy will want a women that looks okay and either knows how to form a sentence and/or has… err… fun gameplay.

      I can understand why the game industry is focussing on the busty bumbshells. It’s easier to market then, then for instance a geek-girl who knows how to talk intelligently about Bend Bars/Lift Gates.
      What really is inexcusable are reviewers that only drool over the prettiness and will piss on anything that doesn’t conform to their ideal of beauty.

      And then there’s also the fact that there’s budget attached to the development of games. Remember, every penny that goes into tweaking and moulding the babe into some thing of obscene beauty, was a penny that could have been used to teach her how to have good dialogue.

      Boy, I’ve really run that analogy into the ground, didn’t I?

      • Dragonbane says:

        For what it’s worth, the hot babe shown in the trailer, “Ree Soesbee Game Designer,” is one of the best storytellers I ever met. She did occasionally lose focus when telling the epic tales, but that will likely actually improve an MMO-style game, I should think.

        …not that this directly replies to the analogy, but it seemed like a good lead-in. *Grin*

  12. Maldeus says:

    As an avid follower of Guild Wars 2 hype, let me fill you in on some of the propaganda Arena Net’s put out about the game. First off, as of 2009 they said they were designing the game around “mid-range” PCs. No information yet on whether they meant mid-range for 2009 or mid-range for their theoretical release, nor for that matter whether “mid-range” means “what most MMORPG players actually have” or “somewhere between an Alienware and a NASA supercomputer.” I’m kind of worried about graphics requirements myself. That being said, the first Guild Wars games had surprisingly merciful graphics requirements for a game of its appearance, as far as I could tell. Being not a hardware guy, this is all based on experience, and I have no idea whether or not games of similar or worse graphics levels that murdered my computer did so because the designers were unusually bad at making good graphics that don’t rack up more kills than the player.

    As for the original game and its focus on PvP, the problem is that you were playing Prophecies. Originally, Guild Wars was intended to be a “Competetive Online RPG,” not an MMORPG. Then they actually released and realized that the single-player crowd was not only willing to buy their product, but apparently a bunch of them liked it a lot better than competing games. By the time they released Eye of the North, their last expansion, they’d started paying far more attention to the PvE players than PvP. You might want to give the game another go, considering that all three core games plus the Eye of the North expansion are currently going for $40. Starting a character in Nightfall will give you access to heroes, NPC party members whose skills and attributes you can customize just like your own. It makes playing alone much easier.

    It should also be noted that Arena Net has a live team still working on the original game, releasing new quests to add closure to plot lines that were left hanging at the end of previous games and to bridge the gap between the two games (of course, with 250 years between them, they can only bridge them so much before they’ll have to start redesigning areas completely). A lot of people are hoping that one of these patches will allow us to bear witness to King Adelbern of Ascalon calling the Foefire down upon Ascalon City with the Charr breaking down the gates, turning the whole place into a literal ghost town filled with hostile spirits and denying his enemies the satisfaction of seizing the largest and (what used to be) most prosperous city in the nation. Although I suppose it would’ve been easier if he’d just surrendered to Brazil.

  13. Vipermagi says:

    I disagree with people saying Guild Wars is about PvP. I have clocked well over 4000 hours on Guild Wars, and I doubt more than 800 are from PvP. Yes, the PvP is great; it’s like playing Magic: The Gathering 8v8 with a shared deck, and a great visualisation to boot, but the same goes for PvE, really. Key differences: You don’t get the elitism from people who play PvP more than they sleep, and you get to choose what to play against.

    Of course, to really get to the big-time deckbuilding (team-), you have to play the early game. I have unlocked all skills and can outfit a character with whatever skill set I want, but that did take a noticable amount of time.

  14. Kdansky says:

    I have been following GW2 development for a while now. If someone declares that they will make a game that does not focus around the boring “fantasy-trinity” of Healer/Tank/Damage, then that makes me very interested. I feel they go a similar route like D&D 4E. There are a huge number of similarities:
    – Positioning is of top importance.
    – You get a small selection of interesting abilities which you must chose from a large pool of often very specific skills.
    – No dedicated healer. In 4E, everyone gets a second wind and healing surges, and health potions, and most classes can easily pick up more healing.
    We’re currently running a 4E game and we like the combat a lot. This gets my hopes up.

    And the eye candy! It’s far prettier than what we’ve seen of Rage up to now. It even has colours beyond brown and grey!

    That said, I still want my solid mechanics. Without that, shiny means nothing.

    • Nawyria says:

      My problem with 4E is that while it’s a good hack & slash simulator, it seems to be designed as exactly that, rather than a Pen and Paper RPG which allows for combat.

      • mneme says:

        You -can- play 4e as a “hack and slash” simulator, but you need not. It’s got a good tactical combat system, yes — but it also has a pretty good (if run with creativity and flexibility, anyway) generic conflict resolution system too, plus features like “backgrounds” that feed directly into roleplay.

        Of course, if you’re not into the combat, D&D isn’t the right system for that game.

      • Bryan says:

        My problem with 4E was the style they chose. It’s like a tabletop WOW game. It totally ruined 4E for me.

        It has a few good mechanics, and I like how they redefined some of the monsters into a class system. Some of the changes I would like to incorporate into the 3.5E system. However, I hated what they did to the character system. If I want to play WOW I’ll play WOW. If I want to play D&D I’ll play 3.5E.

        Ideally, I think 4E would have been playable if they had not WOW’ed the character system.

    • Zukhramm says:

      Those similarities are in the original GW aswell. Most (all?) classes have at least some ability to heal themselves, maybe not enough to keep themselves alive at all times, but maybe enough to save themselves even if the healer is busy with something else. Tanking didn’t really work like in other MMOs and projectiles (arrows, some spells) could be dodged. ANd of course, there was a large amount of skills but you could only pick 8 at a time.

      • Maldeus says:

        But there’s still the Monk, which is the healer class, and which you cannot feasibly complete any mission or quest without (unless you have a Ritualist from Factions who specializes in Restoration Magic, and even then he almost certainly won’t be as good). Guild Wars 2 will apparently make each class entirely responsible for their own healing.

        • Vipermagi says:

          Ritualist/x, or rather a Necromancer/Ritualist? :P
          (Soul Reaping is so broken)

          You can do without a dedicated healer. I’ve done it a couple of times ‘because we can’. It’s either slower (no dedicated DPS either), or very risky (spam DPS). I used the latter a lot for getting Elite skills.

        • Robyrt says:

          That’s a shame, as I was one of the few people who enjoys playing a healer. There probably aren’t enough of me to support an entire ecosystem (plus PvE as a solo priest is, naturally, super boring) so I can see why they did it, but I will miss being the guy everyone gets mad at when they die. (Hint: Tell me more than one second before you kick the bucket!)

  15. superKP says:

    One thing that the only lady game designer said has always intrigued me about any RPG and many other games, and MMOs in particular.

    “The player is the most important thing in the game.”

    I am not arguing with this, but I think that it is interesting that we make these games as extremely elaborate masks with which we hide the player, even though the player can be the only proper focus.

    You can have a focus on gameplay, but then it becomes like juggling: lots of skill and very fun, but ultimately no point: entertainment for the sake of entertainment (IWTBTG). Or, you can have a focus on the world/story aspect, but then it becomes a really good story that it seems more like the player is reading than he is participating (various LOTR games, those stories are kinda ‘locked in’). Or, you can have a focus on art, which makes it an incredibly pretty game that you can hardly interact with the world (I can’t think of an example 30 minutes after waking up). All of these are also very important to do well, because you will lose a significant chunk of your customer base over any of these issues, if done badly enough.

    I’m sorry, what was my point? Right. We make these incredibly elaborate games, whose entire point is to entertain and stimulate the player, but if you put ‘too much’ of the player into the game, the whole idea of an RPG, and maybe an MMO, completely falls apart.

    On the one hand: Why do we do this? Its because it is quite fun for a lot of people. And because TONS of people really enjoy the anonymity of these masks.

    I suppose I am simply applauding the game designers that are really good at getting the player into the game, and also really good at hiding him and the other players from the players.

    • HeadHunter says:

      The fact that Ree Soesbee is on the design team is a major plus in my book.

      I know of her work back when she was on the design team for the Legend of the Five Rings TCG (and later RPG). L5R players know who Ree is and we know how much she contributed to the development of the world of Rokugan. I’ll be very interested to see how she helps to shape this world and our role in it.

      • BeamSplashX says:

        She also has the benefit of a cool name. As we all know, driven people who grow up with cool names end up achieving much more than everybody else all the time. They also never die, they just respawn with reduced stats.

  16. rbtroj says:

    Pre-ordered on basis of screenshots alone. Yeah, I have a hard time controlling myself at top-shelf gentlemen’s clubs too …

  17. Nawyria says:

    I’ve been following GW2 for some while aswell. What they intend to do pleases me, but I have heard many of their claims from developers of other MMORPGs that failed to follow through. Still, with the things they propose to achieve their goals, I think they have a decent shot at it.

    I Do wonder how they’re going to pull the entire ‘persistent world’ thing off. As has been said before, if one group of players saves a particular village, will that village be attacked again so a second group of players can save it aswell?

    Also, does anyone know whether GW2 will be instanced a lot, or will it be mainly open-world?

    • Maldeus says:

      Compared to the original Guild Wars, GW2 will be much, much more open world. I’m not sure what the exact ratio will be, but outside of your personal storyline and a few special instanced areas, the whole game will be a persistent world. Events will run in cycles, so for example if a village falls under attack from centaurs and players fail to save it, then the centaurs will occupy it until someone drives them out. Eventually, the centaurs will attack the village again. Each event is supposed to lead to another event, and the event chains all reset themselves with time (though how much time, three hours, three weeks, or three years, was never mentioned) According to Arena Net, they have “thousands” of these events made already (another number I’ve heard tossed around on the forums is “over 1,500,” but I’ve never seen a source given), although that’s probably the total number of events (i.e. the centaur attack and the centaur occupation are counted separately) and not the number of individual event chains.

      Of course, all of the above is just propaganda. I think Guild Wars 2 will almost certainly be a good game, but I’m not nearly so sure that they’ll be able to deliver on all the promises they’re making. That being said…This is Arena Net. They did a wonderful job on the first Guild Wars, and get noticeably better with each installment. Their team used to work for Blizzard as part of the developers for StarCraft and Diablo II. At least one of their team members was also on the team for World of Warcraft when it launched. They’ve got a stunning track record.

      • Gildan Bladeborn says:

        Not just on the team, Jeff Strain was actually the lead programmer for WoW prior to leaving Blizzard and founding ANet with Mike O’Brian and Patrick Wyatt.

      • Namaps says:

        I hope it’s as open world as they make it out to be because I’m really excited to see how GW2 shapes up. I’m not a big fan of instancing in MMOs. One of the big reasons I stopped playing WoW was the introduction of phasing. I know the point is to make you feel like you have more of an impact on the world, but at least for me it does the total opposite. It makes the whole world seem fake. Sure, you saved the village (or whatever) and from now on you see the saved version of the village instead of the besieged version, but it feels meaningless when you know that all around you are invisible players still seeing the besieged village. You didn’t “really” save it. You just switched to a different layer (so to speak) of the zone you’re in. I’d much rather have a static open world than a dynamic phased or instanced world, at least in an MMO anyway.

        So while I’m not at all keen on this “personal story” aspect they talk about, I’m really excited about these “dynamic events” they mentioned, and hope the latter far outweigh the former. One of my favorite memories from WoW was happening upon Darkshire during the early part of the game right when Stitches is about to attack. Stitches is an abomination spawned by completing one of the quests in the are where an alchemist tricks you into gathering the supplies necessary to create him by telling you he’s trying to revive his dead wife, or put her ghost to rest, or something like that (I don’t remember exactly.) The player who spawned him, though, is never actually given a quest to kill him, so many people just move on and let him lumber towards town, especially since he’s a pretty tough mob for players of the intended levels for that area, even with the help of the town guards. Stitches could kill quest-givers and merchants in town, so fending him off felt like much more of an accomplishment than completing some quest. It also never felt like a burden (“oh man, I have to deal with THIS again before I can start questing?” sort of a thing) since it wasn’t very often that Stitches spawned and the time it happened was unpredictable because it was triggered by someone completing a quest. It felt fresh and novel every time it happened.

        That’s the sort of experience I’m hoping dynamic events in GW2 will provide. The biggest problem I can imagine is that an event might become irritating if it occurs too often. Nobody wants to have to constantly recapture an area just to sell their vendor trash, after all.

  18. Hitch says:

    I don’t think what they’re describing is really an MMO. It seems more like a single player CRPG with a co-op mode and an on-line requirement. I’m thinking it’s more of a stealth DRM than actual MMO gameplay.

    Yes. The graphics look wonderful, but don’t mistake those for actual gameplay. Any gameplay footage would (almost) always be from a player character’s point of view. You don’t get those artistic camera angles and reverse shots of the hero in the distance facing waves of enemies. (Unless you’re talking about something like Fallout 3’s VATS or a QTE with “press X to do something awesome” popping up in the middle of the screen.) It’s always a a giveaway that your gameplay won’t look like this when there’s no control UI visible.

    They say they’re designing it for a “mid-range PC” but no one knows what that means. A realistic “mid-range PC” might be the minimal system requirement. The promotional footage like this is always done on the best hardware money can buy with everything cranked up to 11.

    • Zukhramm says:

      What are your requierments for it to be an MMO? I can see how some might not want to consider the original Guild Wars an MMO as all combat was instanced, but as the second game does away with that I don’t see how it’s not an MMO.

      • Hitch says:

        If things in the game change as much as they imply, you better be the first player on your realm to do anything or it’ll already be done. If everything resets, they’re just talking hype. GW has a history of everything being instanced to get around that, in that case you just play your own instance and not in the world with everyone else.

        I’m not saying it’s bad. I am saying huge grains of salt are required due to inevitable hype.

        • Zukhramm says:

          WIth phasing as done in World of Warcraft in combination with missions like they were in Guild Wars would let people change things, but without having things reset and without letting things only happen once.

          In any case it’s irrelevant to whether Guild Wars 2 is an MMO or not.

          • Pickly says:

            It’s kind of irrelevant whether guild wars, or guild Wars 2, is “really” an MMO or not. This is a real pet Peeve of mine, when people make this argument, as the point of games is in theory to have fun, not to play a game that specifically fits within a certain type. (Plus there’s all those idiotic “It only goes up to level 20, how long can it last” comments.)

    • CrushU says:

      Actually you can get those sort of artistic angles, with the GW1 camera controls. You were allowed to rotate the camera around your character, while moving, and could zoom in and out a good distance to boot.

      • Hitch says:

        You can set up shots like that with most games, but you don’t actually play like that. It’s clunky and frustrating. It looks nice for a promo video, but it does not reflect actual gameplay.

        • Stranger says:

          Actually, I play like that on GuildWars. I play zoomed about middle-range so I can scan around without needing to turn. First-person view in GW1 seemed more clunky, and third-person FPS “directly over the shoulders” was not much better.

          Other games, I could not play like that, primarily because they didn’t seem designed to behave or control with third person in mind. GuildWars was much better about it.

          . . . but I have the sneaking suspicion I will need to upgrade my computer.

  19. Ian says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Guild Wars, though I’ve been meaning to revisit it just to see if either my tastes have change or the game has changed to suit my tastes.

    I’ll probably pick up Guild Wars 2 when it comes out just to give it a shot. I heard so many reports that it is going to be designed differently than the first one, but I admit to being a bit skeptical. Still, it’s a pretty small price to pay, even if I only play it as much as I’ve played GW1. If it were a subscription-based title I probably wouldn’t even bother unless they had a decent trial available.

    As far as the graphics go, I wouldn’t be too worried. When GW1 came out, my system was far from impressive at the time (i.e. my graphics card — a GeForce 3 — matched one of the minimum requirements, with my laptop being slightly better) and it still played smoothly and looked gorgeous. ArenaNet seems to have a talent for making a game look good and still run on low-to-mid-range hardware, which seems to be the exception than the rule in this era of PC gaming.

  20. X2-Eliah says:

    One major problem I see: ‘People are jerks online’. This concept seems to really rely on what others are doing. Persistent world, your actions matter, you can really be a hero, blah blah blah. Consider, you start a game, and see that 3-character band of heroes is holding the monster bosses for their amusement, they tell you they have gotten all the best one-time gear/stuff so you’ll never be as good. Then, you venture out of the town, and see everything set ablaze and ruined by griefer swarms, with the world being untraversable and barren. Every time you try to do something fun – hunt a rare monster down, or stop things from killing NPCs, you either get killed yourself by the griefers, or the ‘heroes’, or you find someone else did it before you.

    I would not want to play such a game.

    • Maldeus says:

      Arena Net is very much aware of this problem. They’ve mentioned various solutions to various facets of it a couple of time. For one thing, there is no PK in the game. You can fight in special arenas, including one arena which is covers multiple zones in the Mists, which is basically the ether that the world itself hangs in, the domain of the gods kind of thing. Completely plot-irrelevant, in other words.

      You’re always playing the hero, too. You can save a village, and you can ignore it and watch it burn, but you can’t burn it yourself, and you can’t stop other people from saving it. I also doubt that they’ll make drops that are exclusive to a single non-repeating or rarely repeating event. Why on Earth would they code something into the game only to hand it out to the handful of players who are around to have it and then never distribute it again?

      • Jarenth says:

        The fact that the game isn’t specifically built to allow players to stop other player from doing stuff doesn’t mean said first set of players (“griefers”) won’t find ways to accomplish this anyway.

        It’s good that Arena Net is aware of the problem, but they’re up against the combined intellect of every Internet griefer who’s into this game.

        I wish them the best of succes. I’d really like this game to succeed.

      • chabuhi says:

        So we give them their own theme song! :)

        http://tinyurl.com/y95rdzn

  21. pkt-zer0 says:

    With all the talk about “choices and consequences in an MMO”, I was wondering if this was the game Tim Cain has been working. Doesn’t seem like it. It’s interesting regardless, but I’d still prefer it to be just a plain old single-player RPG.

  22. Herman says:

    Actually, it would be a better comparison to say you love pickles, and someone gives you a sandwich without pickles.

  23. Mario says:

    I think that that video is beautiful not only for the wonderful bling grafics displayed, but also for the artistic feel that emanates from that world.
    They’re doing a great job at an artistic level and so it’s visually stunning. Many different settings, colors, lights, mood, creatures. Everything is very distinct and has great personality.
    Just look at the concept art: http://www.arena.net/blog/watch-daniel-dociu%E2%80%99s-incredible-concept-art-slideshow#more-2896.

    And my laptop will die in agony trying to render a single shadow of all that.
    Sob.

  24. Meredith says:

    All I could think whilst watching the video was ‘oooh pretty.’ I am kind of intrigued by the game they describe, but I’ll wait till some reviews are in before even considering playing it.

  25. mixmastermind says:

    Could someone tell me if I did indeed just see a squirrel monster with a fake arm made of magic? I’m pretty sure I did.

  26. Zukhramm says:

    Does an MMORPG has to be about leveling? Why? An RPG does not have to be about leveling, so why is it when it becomse an MMORPG, it suddenly has to?

    • Lalaland says:

      I see what you mean in terms of ‘RPG !=Diablo’ where I earn XP to hit bigger things harder but the concept of character customisation via point allocation or levelling is pretty core to the R in RPG. Otherwise you’re just LARP-ing in front of a monitor ‘I’m not Master Chief, I’m a chef searching for the essence of flavor’

      • Ross Bearman says:

        As Shamus has talked about before, RPG stands for a lot of things, to a lot of people.

        Numerical progression isn’t specifically a core part of playing a role. Lots of pen and paper RPGs use little or no numerical progression for characters, and merely rely on story-telling and the players description of their actions.

        That’s surely just LARPing around a table?

        • Pickly says:

          Also, numerical leveling, or numerical skilling up, aren’t necessary to have attributes and such. (Guild Wars PvP only characters work like this. In a sense, Team Fortress 2 characters are like this as well.)

    • Galenor says:

      I’m not an avid Guild Wars fan, but I think this is their mentality too. IIRC, in the original, if you really didn’t want to do the leveling, you could make a max-leveled character from the word “Go” – completely dodging the leveling aspect of MMOs completely!

      • Lalaland says:

        Ah my ignorance is corrected! That sounds absolutely fascinating.

        • Vipermagi says:

          It only worked for PvP, however :)

          The concept of leveling in Guild Wars 1 was done differently each campaign. Prophecies had you actually level over time. You didn’t hit level 20 (the cap) until over halfway through the story. I liked it, but levels in Guild Wars are fairly trivial (your skills matter so much more). Thus, the following:
          Factions, the second campaign. I found it hard to not be level 20 before even leaving the “pre-island”, basically the tutorial area. The game expected you to be level 20 by the first main land mission as well, preferrably sooner. The tutorial island wasn’t very long either.
          Nightfall had a similar idea, but the tutorial area was longer (much more interesting as well), so you didn’t feel like the whole leveling aspect was some useless tacked on feature.

          • Anaphyis says:

            Yes, it took longer to reach max in Prophecies but usually you dinged at 20 before even leaving Ascalon post-searing, which is far from the halfway point of the game. Unless you simply jump from mission to mission and ignoring all the sidequests that is.

            The real problem with Prophecies was Ascalon really. Running around for way too long in the exact same wasteland just drains every fun out of the game.

            • Maldeus says:

              I completed every mission and quest in the game, and did not ding 20 until early on in the Crystal Desert, about 2/3s of the way through the game. I was level 13 when I left Ascalon. There aren’t actually mobs of high enough level to hit twenty in Ascalon alone.

              It is, however, very easy to ding 20 or near 20 before leaving Shing Jea or Istan, the starter areas of the other two installments.

            • Pickly says:

              I used to actuqally do all the quests in Ascalon, and would only hit level 13 or so at the end. (Same as the responder above me.)

              Of course, if you did hit level 20, it might explain the boredom as well, as killing enough enemies to hit level 20 would take a lot of time, and involve a lot of time spent in the open area.

            • Gildan Bladeborn says:

              …What? I’ve taken 4 different characters through the Prophecies campaign (soon to be 5) and I do all the bloody sidequests, as well as exploring literally everything I possibly can because I have mapping OCD, and I have never been higher than level 14 by the time I left Ascalon. What the hell are you doing there? Hitting level 20 sometime in late Kryta/early Maguuma Jungle is a far more reasonable prospect for completionists, or the desert if you skip things and rush.

  27. Nyaz says:

    That… that actually looks really nice. Not only the graphics, but the promises of less grindy-ness (and yay for no monthly fees, ahem)

  28. SatansBestBuddy says:

    My computer weeps tears of sorrow, for it knows the end of it’s life has come.

  29. radio_babylon says:

    the only relevant part of the manifesto, the part ive been expecting yet dreading:

    “The first thing you should know about Guild Wars 2 is that, this time around, there’s no question that it’s an MMORPG.”

    thats as far as i need to read.

    (edit for clarity) no, i dont care about the great ways this is better than other MMORPGs. those things arent the issue. the OTHER PEOPLE are the issue. i could play guild wars in such a way as to be effectively a single-player game. the only thing that ruined the illusion was the towns, and i did my best to avoid them as much as possible, and spend as little time there as possible.

    • Friend of Dragons says:

      Yeah; while guild wars 1 managed to be an awesome game in a lot of respects, its single worst aspect was its obnoxious, elistist player base that pretty much hated on everyone who was just there for a for a good time rather than trying to becom teh bestest character evar!!11…
      <.<

      • Gildan Bladeborn says:

        I’ve played the game for 5 years and I’ve never actually run into any of those people you’re describing. Of course, I was randomly invited into a guild right at the beginning and have been gaming with a succession of guilds all linked back to that original one the entire time I’ve been playing the game, but still.

  30. Jarenth says:

    Well, I for one am also interested. I’ve also become inured to marketing-speak over the years, however, so I’ll hold off being actually hyped until further — possible beta-related — notice.

    • Robel says:

      Same here. I admit you people have managed to get me honestly interested in this, but I’ve learned a lot about trailers in my gaming experience. No need to say more, just that hope never dies.

  31. John says:

    If they really can stick to this repeated design theme I see in their posts – “That feels an awful lot like preparing to have fun instead of having fun” – might be enough to make me buy a MMORPG or whatever people will call this game when it comes out.

  32. Noah Lesgold says:

    I am probably the only person looking at this who is excited about the presence of Ree Soesbee, but, well, I am. For anyone familiar with the CCG Legend of the Five Rings (L5R), she was story lead for a while and put out some genuinely awesome writing in that setting. Having someone like her involved with the design gives me hope that GW2 will not end up on Shamus Plays with everyone mocking the writing. Which is to say, if you hate developers not getting real writers, she is a real writer who is used to managing a very large story for a diverse audience with differing expectations, and gained a reputation for doing so very well.

    Also, with all the developer blogs they’ve posted about design philosophy, avoiding strictly defined character class roles, minimizing grind, treating player defeats as something that happens in battle rather than a punishment… AND the amazingly gorgeous art… if GW2 sucks, I am going to be disappointed so hard. I am almost angry with them for getting me emotionally invested in the game, because I have seen so many MMOs promise the world and deliver a weeble.

    • HeadHunter says:

      I remember Ree as well. Long-time L5R player and active member of the global community for years until I “retired”. Some people there might still remember old Hida Okami, though whether that’s fame or notoriety is subjective. :)

      I recall sitting down in a hallway at GenCon one year and having a long discussion about various aspects of Rokugan culture and society and I was impressed by how passionate and articulate she was about what she was shaping.

    • Dragonbane says:

      My interest in GW2 is totally stoked by the knowledge that Ree was behind the story. I miss hanging out with her and Mindy at the big cons.
      -Hiruma Ryuteki, Unicorn Warlord 2000.

  33. Joe Cool says:

    As someone finally getting off the WoW wagon (a wagon I fully intent to get right back on when Cataclysm launches), I am intrigued by both Guild Wars 2 and The Old Republic. Both ArenaNet and Bioware are saying all the right things. A story-driven, non-grindy, MMO? I certainly hope they can pull it off.

    It seems to me they’re trying to take the gameplay from a single-player game and fit it into an MMO. I don’t understand how those two can work together, but if they can make it work, I will be impressed and pleased.

  34. Daemian Lucifer says:

    An mmo that intrigues me?Well,thats new.

  35. Vegedus says:

    Meh. That trailer is nothing but hype. They’re basically mentioning all the typical short-comings of MMOs and just stating that they’re going to fix them all, like it hadn’t been done already if it was possible. I’m quite adamant that you can’t clock 200 hours in a game without grinding. Every combat system gets boring at some point.

    • acronix says:

      I tought all trailers were nothing but hype.

      They also have the developer blog (or whatever it´s called) in which they explain how they want to implement the changes. If they work or not is something we won´t see until it comes out. You know that everything works in theory until practice comes up.

  36. Kell says:

    Nobody has mentioned the greatest, most awesomest thing about this entire trailer: it contains Father Grigori! From Half-Life 2! Exclamation mark!

    ( Daniel Dociu )

  37. wtrmute says:

    I’m suddenly reminded of what Shamus said at the end of this Spoiler Warning, about there being a dichotomy of AAA companies with 200-man teams just rehashing the same old, same old and independents with 3-man teams failing to innovate on account of lack of manpower, with absolutely nothing in between.

    Well, here we have this in-between. I’m not sure what’s the size of ArenaNet, but they seem to be trying to do something new and interesting. Normally, I’m not a fan of doing things differently for the sake of doing them differently, but the industry being as it is it would certainly help to try a few things. Even if it winds up as a failed experiment, at least there will be lessons to take away from it, and maybe work them into WoW or wherever.

    <fanboy>Plus, they’ve got Jeff Grubb on staff! Jeff Grubb!</fanboy>

  38. Daimbert says:

    This actually sounds interesting. The events in the main description really reminded me of either the shared events Shamus talked about in Champions or the special events in CoH, where everyone would just join in and could get something out of it. I’m pretty sure that they can keep most of the things going reasonably well even if people start to deliberately tank them to destroy the world; you can have quest givers still present in a destroyed town or just move them slightly out of range of the enemies, and the magic reset button can be employed at any time.

    I’m a little concerned about the combat. I don’t really enjoy it when combat depends too much on my own reflexes and abilities instead of on my character’s, and I worry about dodging being literal dodging. I always like the idea in theory but notice that in practice if you’re supposed to dodge things I generally don’t and get slaughtered.

    When I get my new desktop I might look into this game.

    On a not-quite-unrelated note, another somewhat innovative game I heard about a while ago was Pirates of the Burning Sea. Anyone know what happened to it?

  39. PurePareidolia says:

    No subscription fees, no grind, choices that actually matter, awesome graphics and no subscription fees? Plus gnomes with power armor?

    As someone who has never purchased an MMO in my life, I’m suddenly very intrigued with these new developments.

    Guild wars is s pretty stupid name though – what are the bankers fighting the tailors? Are they going to ride into battle on their very expensive, money-plated steeds to combat stagecoaches done up in the latest high fashion, all colour-coordinated and arranged as such that when viewed overhead they resemble the guild’s crest?

    • Bryan says:

      Yeah, choices matter, but it’s more fun when YOUR choices matter as opposed to the MAJORITY’s choices matter.

      • Maldeus says:

        All choices in the game are made in instanced Personal Storyline missions, and their effects will be reflected in the Home Instance in your race’s capital city.

        Problems, on the other hand, will be up to the community to solve or fail to solve. Because there’s no PK and no way to body block, the only way I can see to sabotage an event is to have a large number of people come in and camp there, doing nothing, because that will increase the number of mobs spawning to compensate. But eventually those mobs will start killing the players, and if they don’t fight back, they’ll die and get kicked back to a rez shrine. Not to mention if the players are good enough to kill all the monsters anyway, there’s nothing the griefers can do about it.

    • Part of original intent was to have guilds (as in player guilds) fight each other. That has become a very minor aspect of some arena combat.

      Still, makes for a name that is identifiable.

  40. Pickly says:

    I’ve been following news for the game for awhile, while a lot of the released information sounds interesting, I will want to see how it actually plays before deciding whether to get the game.

    By far the biggest issue is the leveling part of it. The best part of original Guild Wars was the relative lack of leveling, made it much more fun than my attempt at playing WoW, or playing D2. A lot of announcements have suggested that leveling will have much more of an effect in the game, if it does, the game will otherwise have ot be really good for me to get it.

  41. Wow! Is it just me or does it seem like several MMO companies are stepping up their game (pun intended) due to BioWare’s The Old Republic?
    Even Everquest is going somewhat “different”.

    What is also interesting though is that what they are talking about in this teaser is what Funcom said they wanted to do with Anarchy Online, as some may know they had to drop many of those ideas not long after launch as it just cost too much and took too much time to keep that up continually. And AO was/is a subscription MMO.

    I can’t imagine how Guild Wars 2 can keep this up for potentially a several years based om single purchase only… Won’t they like burn through the money earned within a year? (or do they plan micro-transactions on the side in which case it “might” work with a big enough player base.)

    Either way I hoe they do well. The industry needs better and more epic MMO’s, rather than more of the same which has been the trend these last um 5+ years? (BioWare now being some of the first to really shift towards Epic, though I’m sure others are crawling out of the woodworks soon as well).

    • Tohron says:

      Since it sounds like a lot of content will be individual to the player, all of that could be saved (and played) locally to reduce server overload, which should make the game more sustainable.

    • Kristin says:

      I would guess they plan to sell expansions and micro-transactions… I know that with GW1, one of my most frequent purchases is extra character slots. They say they have some technologies/coding/innovations that allow them to be subscription-free, that it’s not the instancing.

    • Maldeus says:

      Guild Wars 2 appears to have been designed to be as different as possible from the ground up. I doubt it’s a response to The Old Republic. If I had to guess, I’d say several different people looked at WoW and said “we can do better” at the same time. This kind of thing is surprisingly frequent. Not to mention, with both games being in development at roughly the same time, how would you know which game (if any) the other is keeping up with? It’s as likely that The Old Republic is trying to keep up with Guild Wars 2 as it is to be vice versa.

      I haven’t been able to find any information on the Anarchy Online discontinued system, though. According to the wikipedia article on the subject, they held several major dev-run roleplay events to drive the overall plotline forward and have been doing from the launch of the game to the present. The game was beset with several problems at launch, but all of these were resolved within 1-2 months, and none of them had anything to do with plot or questing systems.

      As for Guild Wars 2 keeping itself alive for several years with no monthly fees, they already did something similar with the original game, and several other companies are switching to a microtransaction based economy. It seems very plausible to me.

      • “I haven’t been able to find any information on the Anarchy Online discontinued system”

        It should be there,if not it’s in some of the older press releases.

        Basically each individual player would be able to set their mark on the world.
        And be able to not just interact with the animated series story “in-game” as an episode would spill into the game world, but also influence the direction it takes,
        thus leave your mark in the world, for others to see.

        Just like what was said in this clip, having the towns people remember you by name, or the town being there or not, depending on your actions (I’m sure there’ll be many such “identical” towns spread all around).

        Now in AO this would all be handled by GM’s, and then devs would patch them in later. But unfortunately for AO (and Funcom) it turned out to be way too expensive and take way to long to do continually.

        This is not to say that Funcom didn’t change the in-game world based on player in-game actions. Like in-game fund raising to have the toxic waters of a city cleaned. (which they did) or in the animated series where a whole block was blown up, and the very next day when you logged in a whole frigging block in that city shown was actually gone, just rubble left behind.

        Seems to me like Guild Wars 2 is trying the same (well not the animated series part but) with letting players leave permanent marks.
        Bu it seems their system is more advanced or even semi-automated in some ways, so maybe they’ll be able to do what AO was experimenting with.

        I really hope Guild Wars 2 do well, as it will show that Funcom had the right idea but was maybe just a few years too early, and that we’ll start to see more of this in existing and future MMOs.
        After all, it isn’t a persistent world if you can fight the same Boss again and again, that would be a resetting world instead (which most MMOs are).

        • Maldeus says:

          The Guild Wars 2 system isn’t semi-automated. It’s fully automated. The villages are designed to be destroyed and rebuilt on their own. The dev team won’t have to patch a thing. Obviously, this sacrifices a bit of flexibility in terms of what the event can actually do. It seems like the events will be more or less binary (win event A, move on to event B, lose event A, go to event C, and so on).

          Still, I don’t see any reason why the events would be economically infeasible to maintain once they’ve already been developed.

  42. Aufero says:

    I never got past the first release of Guild Wars, where I felt like I was trapped in an invisible maze in half the instances. Going ten minutes out of my way to navigate a shin-high obstacle was just too big an immersion breaker for me.

    Did they ever get over that?

    • Zaxares says:

      Not in GW1, but GW2 will have jumping and swimming. ;)

      In any event, I’m still intrigued by GW2. I have to say I still remain skeptical as to how well they can pull off what they’re claiming, but if anybody can do it, ArenaNet can.

      Also, pretty graphics. VERY pretty graphics. O.o

  43. HarveyNick says:

    Where as World of Warcraft looks like it’s made out of clay, this (like the original) looks like it’s made out of china. The graphics and design of the game really are awesome. Also: it has Felicia Day as the voice of one of the characters, which is awesome on many levels.

    This was also the case with Guild Wars 1, though, and as Shamus noted, that was relatively easy going on the graphics card (at least for a game that looks that damn good). I can’t help wondering: maybe the graphics look really, really good because the design and art direction of the game are really, really good, rather than because the engine tears your graphics card’s kidneys out through its nose.

    Even then, it’ll probably never come out for Mac though, which means I’ll probably have to dual boot if I want to play the damn thing at all.

  44. Zak McKracken says:

    Monthly fees are the main thing that kept me from ever trying WoW. Why would I buy the same game over and over four times a year?
    Looting and leveling were perfected (in my view) in Diablo and Diablo II, and it never got better. After I played it through a few times (with veeery little sleep in between), I had digested the concept, and any repetition of it feels boring now. So leveling and looting for the sake of looting and leveling … thanks no.

    => I guess that Guild wars should be just the thing for me, then.

    For Shamus, though, this argument should be more relevant:

    “Barbaric characters, for example, can occasionally just cut to the end of a conversation with a punch to the face.”

  45. Ooh Shamus, got an article idea for you to put on the Escapist. Your thoughts on the Persistent Worlds in MMOs or rather the lack of them.

    Definition (Wikipedia): A persistent world (PW) is a virtual world that continues to exist even after a user exits the world and that user-made changes to its state are, to some extent, permanent.

    The number of MMOs that stay true to that are few indeed. Second Life is perhaps the best example of what a Persistent World actually is.
    Star Wars Galaxies kinda did it with the player built cities, and I believe Age of Conan do something kinda similar? And AO tried to do some and still do but it’s mostly just minor things here or there.
    but most MMOs I’ve heard of have almost no Persistence beyond your characters look/skills/items. Sure your character is 50% of “you” but the other 50% (marks you leave in the world) is barely there in MMOs.

    In most MMOs if your character suddenly vanished, there would be no trace of them. By the sound of it Guild Wars 2 will try to let you e ensure that this is not the case. (in AO your name “might” end up in the world if your very lucky and the GMs/Devs feel like you deserve it).

    So I’m kinda geeked if this is the route that Guild Wars 2 is pursuing. An actual Persistent World.

    Obviously such a system can never be automatic, it must be semi-automatic, to avoid situations like the town’s sign reading: “Welcome to Nicetown. Who thanks the hero Great Big Dickeye for saving their homes!” *laughs*

  46. Sornas says:

    Huh, you know, I actually hated the original GW for the lack of a persistent world (And the general sorts of people you tend to get in a Free to play MMO), but this looks really awesome…

    I mean, they’re saying they’re going to be better than everyone else, in all aspects. They’re going to have a world that dramatically changes according to your actions, a personal story where you make major moral decisions, a fun and varied combat system where you can use the environment to your advantage…Hmm, for some reason, articles like this one ring a bell to me, but for the life of me, I can’t put my finger on it.

    http://cache.kotaku.com/assets/resources/2008/05/giantevilpetermolyneux.jpg

    AAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Kidding, of course. But this does just reek of hype to me. I’ll believe it when I see it, but call me interested enough to even bother looking at it in the first place, which is definitely a step up from before this article. I’m very interested to see what these conveniently unexplained “Wide variety of non-combat activities,” end up being, because those are what makes or breaks a MMO to me.

    • Zukhramm says:

      It was one of the things I liked about Guild Wars. Nothing is worse than walking through a fantasy world in peace then suddenly have xX_LégûolaszDark_Xx running past you wearing a pink dress.

      But why hate the game for not having a persitantr world, most (all non-MMOs) don’t have them, as long as you’re not lied to and led to believe the game has one.

      • Sornas says:

        Well, first of all, I was. No fault of the game, mind you, but I had been assured that this was a great MMO, when it really is a different sort of game (More along the lines of Diablo, really, which is another game I don’t enjoy).

        And that’s fair enough about stupid people breaking immersion, but honestly, I’d rather put up with the occasional stupid person and be able to run into great people. (Which is why I avoid free MMOs like the plague, because that ratio is WAY off in those games) I honestly wish there was an MMO with enforced RP servers.

  47. Blackbird71 says:

    I know I bring this up almost every time Guild Wars gets mentioned, but it never seems to quite sink in, so here it goes again:

    Guild Wars is not an MMO.

    Honestly, I haven’t checked in on the game in a couple of years, so official statements may have changed, but when the game was first out and during the course of the original campaign, the game’s creators distinctly stated that Guild Wars was not an MMO, it was not intended to be, and it doesn’t play like one. Yes, it is multiplayer, and it is online, it’s even an RPG of sorts, but it does not deserve the label “massively.”

    Why?

    Because the multiplayer aspect of the game only involves a small group of players. Yes, you can go into towns where there could be a couple hundred people at once, but these are basically glorified chat rooms where the only multiplayer action involves finding groups and maybe doing a little trading. All of the actual gameplay occurs in instanced areas which typically only involve 8 players at most (further expansions added a handful of areas that involve additional players, 16-24 I believe). Even the towns themselves get sharded and instanced when the population gets too high. This is not a game about allowing huge numbers of players to interract in an open world; it is a game that lets a small group of players run quests together in their own copy of the world, while small teams can get together and compete head to head.

    Guild Wars is in something of a class of its own, which I think is why it is so often mischaracterized. It’s on online, multiplayer RPG, and all other online, multiplayer RPGs are MMOs, so it must be an MMO too, right? Wrong. As Shamus pointed out, the gameplay of GW is something different than any MMO out there, and I believe that is a direct product of the fact that it is indeed a different type of game.

    As to the PvP aspect of the game, yes there is a heavy focus on PvP, but it’s definitely not all there is to the game. I played the game for a few years, and the only PvP I ever really got involved in were the annual snowball fights.

    • Zukhramm says:

      I’ll still call it an MMO though. Allthough you will spend most time in instances, that’s what happens in World of Warcraft at max level aswell. And how mossive does it have to be do be an MMO? The fact that trading, grouping in towns is done with the rest of the world is enough for me.

      And even if not, the basic gameplay is the same and the game thus fills the same space of games in my mind.

      • Blackbird71 says:

        Well, you and the game’s creators will have to disagree on that point.

        Seriously though, GW is something different from anything out there, and I think a lot of that stems from the difference in the nature of the multiplayer. You don’t play in an open world with a large number of other people, rather you play an online co-op game that other people also happen to play at the same time.

        Imagine if you will a giant house with many rooms. You’ve been invited to this house, along with many other people, to play a board game. You arrive, and enter the main living room, where everyone has gathered. You each gradually gather in a group of 4 people, pick up a copy of the board game, and then you go off together to one of the many rooms where you proceed to set up the game and play. Now, not counting the three people in the room with you, are you playing the same game as all the other people in the house? Yes. But are you playing with them? Of course not. You may run into some of them every time you go down to the kitchen for a snack, but that’s the extent of it, you never even interract with any of them while actually playing the game.

        MMOs are more like having everyone in one large room with a really big game board. People may be in smaller groups playing on different areas of the gameboard, and some may temporarily go into an isolated area and later return to the group, but the bottom line is that the bulk of the game takes place out in the open with everyone involved.

        Honestly, I can get the same type of effect as GW by playing any other game online with a matching service and chatroom, that doesn’t make them MMOs (RPG or otherwise). Would you call TF2 an MMO? What about LFD, or any other FPS? You’ve got thousands of people playing these games online, and they can hook up in groups to do it. The only difference is that GW just integrates the matching service into the game. The only reason GW gets tagged as an MMO is because it’s an RPG of sorts, and MMOs are typically RPGs, but being one does not make it the other.

        • Rutskarn says:

          That’s an interesting point. I’d kind of like to see other games adopt a more robust matchmaking system–with the Guild Wars model, you can screen out the worst of the jackasses before you’re locked into adventuring with them.

        • Zukhramm says:

          Dungeons and Dragons Online did all the combats in instances, is it too not an MMO? Unlike in most multiplayer FPSes, things done, even in instances, remain with my character, gold made, experience earned and items found are all brought back to the towns, into other areas, traded with others, the economy is affected by other players, and all this makes the towns be more than matchmaking lobbies. In a mulriplayer FPS a match is slef-contained, what happens in there stay in there (I guess some are starting to aproach, with TF3’s items, or other with some kind of points gathering).

          And GW has the same typ of gameplay as MMORPGs usually do, you say it’s only lumped together with the MMORPGs because it’s a multiplayer RPG, but I’ve never seen any other RPG with that type of gameplay (now, I have not played all RPGs in existance even if there are some, I’ll say the gameplay is at least typical of MMORPGs).

          If I want to play a platformer, maybe I’ll play Kirby, maybe I’ll play Mario, either way my platforming urges are satisfied. There might be reasons to prefer one platformer over the other, but either way, I got what I wanted. The same way, if I want to play an MMORPG, I could play Guild Wars, because it gives me the same things I want that other MMORPGs also give.

          Guild Wars might not really be an MMO, but it’s close enough in all ways that I’ll call it one.

          • Blackbird71 says:

            “In a mulriplayer FPS a match is slef-contained, what happens in there stay in there”

            Except that this is no longer true with current FPSes, with the advent of achievement systems that unlock additional abilities/weapons, and the like, what happens in one game can definitely influence others.

            But frankly, I think the characteristic of events and actions in one gameplay sesssion affecting future gameplay is more appropriately attributed to the game being an RPG, not an MMO. Being an RPG is what gives it the aspect of character building and loot acquisition, this is not something limited to MMOs or online games in general.

            As for the economy and other issues affected by other players, you had this with the original Diablo as well: rare items became more valuable as a certain class became popular, etc. Was that an MMO?

            For your consideration:

            http://pc.ign.com/articles/608/608675p1.html
            http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/guildwars/review.html
            http://www.gamesxtreme.net/pc/game/guild-wars/review.html

            Each of these articles makes note that GW is not an MMORPG, but instead they refer to it as a “CORPG”, or “Competitive Online Roleplaying Game.” Now, this does sound like a bit of making up a name for something, but when you have game that doesn’t quite fit the existing genres, that’s sometimes what you have to do.

    • Which is how they deal with server load issues as well.

  48. Friend of Dragons says:

    I admit I’m pretty intrigued by Guild Wars 2; it sounds like they’re doing a lot of things right, even if the dragons have yet again been classed as bad guys <.< … sigh… (see my name)

  49. V'icternus says:

    Now, to clarify, I’ve never ever ever ever ever played an MMO of any sort. The closest I’ve gotten to that is tipping my toes into the online multiplayer in games such as CoD4 and Star Wars: Battlefront II before scampering away to play with my single-player games like a good boy.

    Of course, one major problem has been cost. I didn’t have any income of my own, and refused to make my parents pay a monthly fee for any game, even if some of them seemed worth it. But this? It’s a one-time cost, which means no monetary dedication, and, most of all, it looks FUN. I know people who are very fond of the first Guild Wars, and I, along with them, have been awaiting this next installment with an eagerness I’ve felt very few times before.

    Now, ignoring the stunning art, the amazing voice acting in the trailers, the trailers themeselves, and the story, the gameplay looks interesting, fun and, more importantly for me, very much a newbie, simple to get into.
    The story, too, is expansive and well written, the writers really doing their best to create an original, wonderful world for me to get lost in. (Figuratively and literally)

    So yes, I am buying this game. One of the most fun parts of playing a game can be playing it with friends. (As opposed to random online people who want to kill you.)

    And I for one hope to meet you all there, because this game just looks… worth a play. Whatever else I can say about it, it looks like it’s worth playing.

    (I’ll be playing an Asura, naturally, though all my friends seem to be drooling over “Charr with guns”.
    I suppose I’m just a sucker for Felicia Day.)

  50. Otters34 says:

    Going by the artwork shown in that concept art video, it does look neat. But, sadly, I couldn’t help but notice that many of the paintings were of blasted, barren wastelands with giant cracks of purple sludge giving off electric discharges. If the game is primarily composed of skipping about such pastures as that, even the metal skeletal dragon pales into insignificance.

    Also, who is Felicia Day? I mean, what does she do, that merits such admiration?

    • V'icternus says:

      She is a woman who is 2000 times more popular than Shamus, as scientifically proven by Shamus himself!

      …Or, more factually, she is the creator and star of The Guild, she was Penny in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog, and she’s very, very pretty.

      And yes, she’s a gamer.

    • Friend of Dragons says:

      Yay! Replying a month late!…
      I’d just like to say that that landscape of Guild wars 1 had a good deal of variety, as yes there was the barren, blasted landscapes (one of the lands had taken the fantasy equivalence of a nuclear strike, and the endgame was based on a chain of volcanic islands), but quite a bit more of the games took place in vibrant, life-filled lands of subtropical coastlines, jungles, snowy mountains, etc. It certainly wasn’t like playing in a world that constantly looked like Fallout with magic, and from what I’ve seen, I expect pretty much the same of GW2.

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