Guild Wars 2 – Promises, Promises


Much like Keen, I wasn’t a huge fan of the original Guild Wars. I bought it when it first came and enjoyed it well enough but it failed to lure me away from Everquest 2 at the time. Although I’ve heard plenty of good things about it, I’ve never played GW again since 2005 as I was put off by its heavily instanced, hub-centered gameplay. It felt far too much like a glorified arcade game and chat room system than an actual persistent, vibrant and flourishing virtual world (this is much my same gripe with Warhammer Online). Even though it’s very admirable and revolutionary in being totally subscription free, that in itself didn’t sway me either – which I suppose just goes to show that price isn’t everything (but that’s a different blog post).

Guild Wars 2 was announced what seems like several decades ago and smells like it’s going to be released next year. Although it has it a pretty rabid following, it hasn’t been on my radar much as, like I said, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original. Still, ArenaNet’s sexy new trailer is turning heads and rightly so. Aside from the gorgeous graphics and stylised presentation, the developers are making a lot of big – huge even – promises about GW2. Apparently it’s going to completely reinvent the MMO genre, doing to it what the musket did to the longbow, by removing grind, mundane non-heroic quests and allow the world to change as result of your direction actions.

Call me cynical but I somewhat doubt this. Wait, before you get you reach for your pitchforks let me qualify that statement a little : I doubt that these claims will be implemented in the way that the developers imply in the trailer. What do I mean? Well, watching that video leads one to imagine a normal, persistent virtual world, much like Azeroth or Norrath or Hyboria, being altered and affected by the actions of individual players as they take on huge, heroic battles and quests right from the get go, utilising revolutionary combat mechanics in the process. Now while I have no doubt that ArenaNet are working hard to give us exciting new features, I highly doubt that it’s going to happen to the extent that they’re portraying in their trailer.

Unfortunately I’ve seen and heard a lot of these sorts of claims before. Funcom was going to revolutionise combat and we got a couple of combo buttons. Sigil was going to revolutionise factions and diplomacy and we got an in-built card game. Blizzard was going to revolutionise questing and we got floating exclamation marks. Mythic was going to revolutionise PvP and we got battlegrounds queueable from anywhere. Not that any of these mechanics aren’t fun or good in their own right, it’s just they’re hardly turning the entire genre on its head. It’s evolution through tiny footsteps, not giant leaps.

Still, I can totally understand why ArenaNet make these claims. It’s called marketing. Coming out and making a bland statement like “yeah, we’re adding a couple of hot keys to the combat system and not resetting your instances” is hardly going to set the world alight.

However I think these trailers and hype tactics do owe it to players to be a little more open and transparent about what they mean. For instance, promising a virtual world that changes as you affect it and then providing one that’s populated entirely with instances is a bit of a cop out. Sure, my game changes for me but my actions still don’t affect anyone else in the game or even allow me interact with them in the same plain. Not only does this kinda defeat part of the purpose of playing a MMO but it also seems to me like being a teensy-weensy bit misleading.

Of course maybe I’m just nitpicking and being a dick about it all but heck, that’s what opinion blogs are for. Even though I’m sceptical and wary of some of ArenaNet’s claims (I don’t want to get my heart broken by highly anticipating another game that doesn’t meet my inflated expectations), it hasn’t stopped me from recognising some potentially great elements in Guild Wars 2 or perturbed me from trying it.

What are your thoughts on the trailer?

-Gordon

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52 Comments

  1. Longasc says:

    If you would be one only quarter as critical about the crap that Blizzard serves you. But there you have no qualms to ride the hype train hard.

  2. A guildie (who as I recall was a big GW fan) was singing its praises last night in vent — going so far as to say he wasn’t interested in SWTOR any more. This trailer had convinced him to the point where other MMOs were now off his radar.

    The question I kept asking myself watching the trailer is: have there been ANY trailers for MMOs that have lived up to the actual, shipping game? (you mention many of the broken promises above)

    This GW2 trailer tells me two things: the art direction/design looks fantastic and ArenaNet has a great a marketing department. They can cart out designers and producers telling me how they’re going change everything until the cows come home. I just won’t believe it until I play it. Color me cautiously optimistic.

    • Klepsacovic says:

      WotLK trailer lived up perfectly: Arthas did stuff with which we had little apparent connection and a lot of NPCs talked a lot.

      Here’s how to live up to the hype: make NPC AI which can react to the world, not necessarily in an intelligent manner, but in a manner which is not pre-programmed. That allows players to act in a more flexible manner and frees the devs from the need to write endless quests to keep up with us, without creating grinds to buy time. Then let NPCs built really, really fast, because we all know that a flexible world means a lot of shit getting blown up.

      • Gordon says:

        I think Blizzard are actually pretty good with their hype. They tend to not release any information until most things have been actually created and then are very factual about in what they say. It makes them easier to trust because you have a clearer picture of what they are delivering.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m actually becoming more optimisitc about the game after hearing a lot of people’s responses to the claims they are making. Fingers crossed they can actually pull it off (or at least make it a lot of fun).

  3. Very well said. While Guild Wars 2 looks promising, I very much wonder how everything comes together in the end without being as heavily instanced as the first game. I think it’s good for everyone to remain sceptical, critical and keep an eye on any MMO that is coming out – be it GW2, SWTOR or Cataclysm.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m always sceptical when people talk about features and don’t actually show them :)

    • ultra-late poster says:

      The personal story quests are instanced inside capital cities – these are the equivalents of WoW racial & class based side-quests. These quests are good for lore & learning about the world but aren’t a part of the main plot.

      Non-instanced world quests in GW2 are called dynamic events, and work differently than normal quests – on your map you’ll see a circle where a dynamic event is happening. Entering it automatically makes you a participant in the quest and you get shared xp for every kill with everyone else in the area (but if you slack off and let others do the hard work you won’t get as big of a reward when the DE is completed successfully)

      The more players join in the harder it gets to scale. These dynamic events also scale by the average character level in the area so a group of max levels can redo a low-lvl boss and that boss”ll have max level stats

      If you fail or succeed a dynamic event you’ll trigger other events in a chain. i.e. to get to a super-boss event, people have to complete other events successfully, and if a town is being invaded and you fail to repel the invaders you lose th town but you can do another event to try and re-take the town.

      However I don’t know how easy or hard it will be to fail dynamic events – if they make it too hard people will complain but if they make it too easy then people won’t see the content that’s built for when people fail events…

      The biggest problem I see in GW2 is mega-huge bosses have movement issues due the limitations of the engine/them being so big… that’s not that big of a deal since they can just resize/make smaller bosses if players complain

      A lot of things in GW2 seem to be a step above the current MMORPG game mechanics which is why I’m going to buy it……… if they would just release it already…..

  4. Colerejuste says:

    GW was my first MMO. At the time, I objected to the subscription model offered by WoW. But then a good friend started playing WoW, and down the rabbit hole I jumped. That was back in mid 2006.

    I’ve fired up GW now and again, when I’ve been bored of WoW, or needed a break, or WoW was down for maintenance.

    Based on the trailer, GW2 looks very nice. But they keep going on about how player actions have permanent ramifications. I’m assuming it’s environment changes, and I will take that with a grain of salt and am guessing they’ll be using localized phasing to enact those changes. Might make things interesting when 2 players are looking at the same area, and the players make different choices for the same decision.

    I’m likely to buy GW2, given it’s non subscription model, but I’ve got 9 level 80 WoW toons vying for my attention when Cataclysm hits the shelves, and a worgen and goblin wanting to experience the new world.

  5. Gremrod says:

    Does anyone know if they have changed the game now to be more MMO then GW? What I mean is when you venture out on quests will you see other people not in your party?

  6. Tesh says:

    I’m heartened by the core notion they have of not building the Same Old MMO. GW was its own animal, and this will be, too. Maybe it won’t turn the heads of the WoW crowd… but it’s not really meant to. It’s a different animal.

  7. rowan says:

    I was pretty pepped up by the trailer, esp. considering I never played GW, having gotten hooked on WOW before I’d even heard of GW. I am impressed by the art direction and graphics, but like you, I am skeptical of the “change the world by your actions” promises. I’m guessing something like the phasing in WoW. It will seem to have changed, but only for you and everyone at the same phase.

  8. My favorite part of the trailer is when they say they’ve cured cancer and promise every player a real life pony!

    On one hand, I agree with Gordon: the MMO field is littered with broken promises. Everyone says they “aren’t making the same MMO”, even when they’re building their talent trees, figuring out what symbol to put over a quest-giver’s head (!s are so last decade), or accidentally putting a useless key image UI element because they copied WoW wholesale. Lots of big promises, especially about “no grinding”, have turned out to be so much smoke. Hell, even the “events” system sounds like something like what SWG was trying to do, and we all know how that feature affected that game’s success.

    However, ArenaNet is highly motivated to make the game a success. Remember that ugliness involving a game called Tabula Rasa? How Garriott was told to hit the road. Well, it was ArenaNet that got the favor of NCSoft. Imagine that: it’s your task to succeed where the person (wrongfully, IMNSHO) called the “the grandfather” of MMOs failed.

    Of course, given that GW2 won’t have a subscription, it’s easier for them to appear to be successful if they sell a lot of units. Subscribers aren’t important to their bottom line, so there’s no reason for them to track that figure. Quoting boxes sold will make them look good assuming they sell a reasonable amount. And, quite a few games games have sold pretty much on the strength of marketing and pretty screenshots before.

    We’ll see. I don’t know much about the development, but the signs point to a studio hungry for a big success, so they’re pulling out all the stops. If they pulled out as many stops for game design as they did for art and marketing, then we might have a great game on our hands. We’ll have to see. I wish the developers the best success, but you won’t see me on launch day. ;)

    • Gordon says:

      It’s a toughie because I don’t like hearing claims, I like hearing facts :) Hopefully we’ll see more info and data on exactly what ArenaNet are talking about. If they can show us some gameplay footage which accomplishes what they’re talking about then I close down my scepticism and boot up my happy face.

  9. Wolfshead says:

    I think it’s good to have some healthy skepticism about ArenaNet’s promises to change the current MMO paradigm. But let’s give them some credit. At least they are brave enough to admit that MMOs have not lived up to the promise they had 10 years ago. At least they want to make something innovative and really take MMOs to a new and better place. Unlike the pompous people that run Blizzard who are content to keep releasing unambitious expansions that do nothing to advance the MMO genre.

    Nothing would make me happier then to see a new generation of MMOs dethrone the mediocrity assembly line at Blizzard. It’s time to start thinking big again. Releasing yet another WoW clone is totally unacceptable. Points at 38 Studios and SOE.

    I’m going to PAX this September in Seattle and I hope to personally talk to the devs and try GW2 for myself.

  10. Adam says:

    The art and graphics look fantastic – but Age of Conans art and graphics looked and were fantastic also. It didn’t away from the fact that the basic gameplay was mundane. And if GW2 is going down the phasing route it means that it will be very difficult to team up with other players. Witness trying to summon players in WoW to ICC – half of the players I can’t even see, (though they are little dots on ym mini-map). And if this is the case, then it bodes the question – why make it an MMO?

    • Gordon says:

      AoC was a classic example of a MMO that was touted as radically changing the face of combat in MMOs and then ended up just being a bunch of new hotkeys. I really hope AreanaNet can pull off something more impressive :)

  11. Zed says:

    It’s not based on phasing, where different players see the world in different ways. In GW2, everyone sees the same persistent world in the same state; it’s just that state is different depending on what players in general have done.

    http://guildwars2.com/en/the-game/dynamic-events/dynamic-events-overview/

    The dynamic event system is essentially a set of public quest chains that can branch and interlink and change state. If a given quest chain starts in state X and players succeed at it, the quest chain proceeds to state Y for the whole world. If they ignore the quest or fail it, the quest chain changes to state Z instead. Many or perhaps all of these state changes can be reversed, or the quest will be cyclical in some fashion; in any case, every quest chain will eventually be able to get back to its initial state in some fashion. But because there are no static quest givers you have to talk to, there is no requirement that the game world should be in any given state in order to adventure in general. There will always be something you can do, some event you can participate in to change its state to one that’s more beneficial for you (or just to get XP, gold, and karma.)

  12. Bhagpuss says:

    It’s instructive to see game commentators who haven’t been following GW2 jumping in with both feet following the highly impressive new video with assumptions that were clarified some time ago. Zed’s summarised it nicely above, but the gist is that yes, apparently it does all happen in one big world to everyone at once.

    They’ve pretty much confirmed that if you miss a dynamic event then tough, you missed it. But don’t worry because there’ll be another along in a minute. Practicality suggests these events can’t be infinite and must be re-used, but it’s not hard to see how that could work in a dynamic, real-time setting. It’s just a simplified version of real life – certain actions create opportunities: interested parties take advantage: this opens further opportunities and around and around we go.

    Box clever and you can have enough variations that only someone who stays in one place for hours, or days, or even weeks will see all of them. To most people passing through for a limited time as they level up or change location, what they see happen is what happens. Someone coming through an hour or a day late will experience something different. Moreover, when those folks pass back through together on the way to somewhere else, having met up along the road, somethign different than either of them experienced may be going on.

    Of course, players are going to game this. Websites will correlate reports and tabulate the possible variations. Over time the mechanics will become exposed. People who are determined to know how the trick is done will be free to ruin their own fun, as they usually do. The rest of us who don’t overthink these things, however, should find a high level of variety and replayability.

    When ArenaNet were promoting the original Guild Wars prior to release they made a lot of claims about how it was going to be radically different from the established MMO model we knew at the time. They pretty much fulfilled on what they promised then, so their track record is good. This looks like a much more ambitious project, but I don’t feel there is ground for cynicism yet and I’m optimistic that Guild Wars 2 will, at least, come a lot closer to fulfilling its own hype than the last round of AAA MMOs did.

    • Gordon says:

      I think there is grounds of cynicism regarding the trailer by itself as it did make a lot of claims without actually backing any of them up with real examples. It came across as a lot of talk and very little action which always make me skeptical. I don’t want to hear what a company aims to do, I want to hear what they have done :)

      I can’t help but be sceptical now but I’m certainly hoping to be proven wrong. I want to play a great new MMO just as much as everyone else does! :) I think I’ll feel better once I’ve found out a few more facts and examples about the true mechanics behind the game.

      • jondee says:

        its interesting that the trailer actual had no news for the hardcore fans. Everything in it has been throughfully covered during the last month and have been trough Q-A sessions.

        Btw Arenanet haved claimed several times that what you hear in thesse days is what they have already done, Not what they aim to do. Something i get the feeling is right when i read their QA follow ups.

  13. Twan says:

    Excited to give it a try. Thanks for the explanation Zed.

  14. [...] I read this article by Gordon over at We Fly Spitfires. When I got part way through the article, this [...]

  15. Crimetank says:

    bonus points for zed and bhagpuss.

    Its good to hear from those that have read the blog posts arenanet has been posting.

  16. Utakata says:

    Two words: Cautious optimism.

    Long version: I too have doubts about their claims. But you never know, they maybe unto something…but we really won’t know until we’ve played their game. We can only hope what they say is true…or even close to it.

  17. Jeff M says:

    I want to be excited; there was a lot I liked about Guild Wars, and a lot they changed as development went on that made me say: WTF? But…as far as the hype goes…see I have been to this party before, with Tabula Rasa, then with Aion…so much hype such utter disappointment.

    I will remain hopeful yet cautious.

  18. Zed says:

    I’ll agree that it’s good to be cautious about hype. However, I think it’s important to be cautious for the right reasons. When a company with as solid a reputation as ANet is putting out hype, one owes it to one’s self to become educated about what they’ve said before dismissing it out of hand. There is a lot of information readily available out there about GW2, and dismissing a promising game based on an anti-hype feeling and incorrect assumptions is just doing one’s self a disservice.

    ANet’s hype is hype like any other, but don’t confuse hype with facts. Whether one believes their dynamic event system is truly innovative is a matter of opinion, and subject to hyperbole as a result. But the facts they have given about what they are doing are the facts, and they are very unlikely to lie about the facts.

  19. Nils says:

    I agree. But worse: I cannot imagine how they could even achieve what they say they want to achieve. Usually I can think of several ways and then am disappointed that the developers did something completely different with way less impact.

    This time.. they say they create a persistent world where every single guy will be able to save that village or not.

    1) Is there any reason at all to not save the village? Seems like there is not much risk (e.g. death penalthy?) involved. So this is not really a choice.

    2) So you saved the village. Will it stay saved for forever? hardly. So .. 5minutes later those Centaurs attack again and the next guy saves the village.. very convincing.

    3) Now, you failed to save the village. Really: Possibility to fail at your quest – especially if it is scaled to player number – seems unlikely in a game that proudly says that they have (once again) made death less painful. You will not fail at your quest unless you leave your PC. Even if every other guy in your group leaves .. the Centaurs are scaled down so that you alone can beat them. .. lol

    4) But let’s imagine there was nobody there when the village was attacked. Now it was destroyed. .. You come and kill the Centaurs and then the village is rebuild .. instantly? Within 1 minute? (1 week .. dream on).

    5) So the next guy comes along and finds a village .. that is being attacked by Centaurs..

    Hey! Yeah! That is ‘persistent’. But nobody cares for that village !! The only reason to save it is … to have done it once .. to gain some skill or item .. once you got that .. byebye. Will there be repercussions if the village is not saved. Will there be any reason at all to care?

    If it works like that, it won’t be a breathtaking experience. It will be some static quest that is not always available.

    • Gordon says:

      It’s a very interesting thing to think about, Nils. When does the virtual world stop and start? If I see something different happening on my screen from you in the same spot do we still both exist in the same world? Phasing just confuses the heck out of me :)

    • Chyanne Waters says:

      The reason to save the village is this if not saved all the npc’s will be killed. The centaurs will create a base in that village and defend it with more centaurs. It will continue until players come back and take them out. By defending that means they will erect walls and other defences that were not there before. If you have ever played guild wars factions when the other faction owned a town in your area you cannot use the npc’s in that town. The other thing about saving or not saving the town is you are not the only one responsible for winning or losing. All the people in the area are and will be rewarded according to how much effort they put in. If someone kills on foe they will get less recognition that someone that kills 5 foes.

  20. Randomessa says:

    Hey Nils, you have asked some very good questions. Each of your questions has been answered previously on the ArenaNet blogs, follow-ups, and Q&As (linked by previous posters).

  21. Nils says:

    Mmh. I really tried to read all I found on the Arenanet homepage. Perhaps you could help me out here.

    1) Is there risk involved if you decide to save the village? Do you risk anything if you try?

    2) Is there a reason for the player to care for the village other than an emotional binding?

    3) Will those quests be hard, thus that you could fail if you are a healthy adult?

    4) How long are typical reset timers for the events? Are there reset timers at all, or is it a 1,2,3,2,3,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,5 system ?

    • Randomessa says:

      Not sure if this will pass muster as it’s TL;DR and link-heavy to boot, but here goes:

      1) Is there risk involved if you decide to save the village? Do you risk anything if you try?

      From your other posts, I recognize that you consider the lack of a death penalty to be the equivalent of risk-free gaming. I disagree, but keep in mind that this is the philosophy of ArenaNet and so you may very well not care for this response. The following three links are about death and healing in Guild Wars 2. Unless I am misunderstanding your question, I’m not sure what other risks you are referring to; if there is a risk other than failure for attempting anything at all, in any game (other than the risk of being PKed I guess), I don’t know what it is.

      http://www.guildwars2.com/en/the-game/combat/healing-death/
      http://www.arena.net/blog/jon-peters-answers-your-first-batch-of-healing-and-death-questions
      http://www.arena.net/blog/jon-peters-answers-more-healing-and-death-questions

      2) Is there a reason for the player to care for the village other than an emotional binding?

      From: http://www.guildwars2.com/en/the-game/dynamic-events/dynamic-events-overview/

      “For example, if the players do not mobilize to stop the dredge snipers, they’ll begin to shoot down all the villagers and merchants in nearby friendly villages. If they fail to stop the dredge assault teams from capturing a village, players will need to lead a force to help liberate the town and free the villagers. All of this content is derived from a single initial event – the dredge army marching through the map.”

      Hence, in this particular example, access to goods and services and a friendly hub in an area are threatened and this is the immediate (and longer-term) benefit to saving the village.

      The other reward is: “Loot will never be directly given as a reward for an event. [...] All events reward you with experience, gold, and karma, which you can spend at merchants and vendors in the game to purchase rewards.”

      Source: http://www.massively.com/2010/05/20/guild-wars-2-lead-designer-answers-more-questions-about-dynamic/

      3) Will those quests be hard, thus that you could fail if you are a healthy adult?

      Not sure what you mean by “hard,” as I’m pretty sure that’s subjective.

      “To help ensure there is always enough for everyone to do, our events dynamically scale, so the more players who show up and participate in the event, the more enemies show up to fight them.” — http://www.guildwars2.com/en/the-game/dynamic-events/dynamic-events-overview/

      My quick google-fu could not find a direct quote on the probability of event failure, but due to the fact that failure states all lead to additional content, and the aforementioned scaling meaning that it won’t be possible to simply over-run an event (there is also a level-down mechanic preventing high-levels from going back and trivializing content), my spidey sense tells me that ANet didn’t create content they expect people never to see without deliberate sabotage. Feel free to call me on my assumption here.

      4) How long are typical reset timers for the events? Are there reset timers at all, or is it a 1,2,3,2,3,4,3,2,1,2,3,4,5,6,5,4,5 system ?

      “Events are not designed to occur at specific real world times; they’re triggered by game conditions, player actions, and in-game time occurrences (like night falling in the game world).” – http://www.arena.net/blog/colin-johanson-answers-your-dynamic-event-questions

      “Many of the events in the game belong to large event chains that cycle in various directions based on the outcome of the events in the chain. Other events can be one-off events that can occur, change the world, and cycle back so some conditions must be met in the world to make the event start again. These event cycles vary dramatically on a case-by-case basis. In some large event chains, depending on player participation and the outcome of events, the chain could go entirely from one end to the other over the course of hours before it cycles back. In other cases, the event may change the world for 10-15 minutes before it can cycle back around. Some events only occur when specific conditions are met, like a snow storm rolls into the map, or night falls over the graveyard. If an event reaches one end of the chain, it could sit at that point for days, weeks, or months until a player comes along and decides to participate in the event chain.” – http://www.arena.net/blog/colin-johanson-answers-your-dynamic-event-questions

      In short: average time seems to be “however long we think it should be, roughly.” I’m sure there are states, and undoubtedly people will be documenting every state in an attempt to game the system. Minmaxers gonna minmax, after all.

      • Nils says:

        Thanks for the work !! ;)

        Now, we certainly disagree on several things. Especially when it comes to risk.
        I commented on GW2 on my own blog, too, by now. So you might want to check it out.

        In the end I will almost certainly buy GW2. And I will probably enjoy it for a few weeks. And if the MMO ‘evolution’ continues the way it did the last few years I will then return to WoW to kill some more boring raid bosses.

  22. I’m not as emotionally invested or interested in GW2 as I am with, say, SWTOR, but I’m still quite excited about it. I don’t begrudge you your skepticism at all, since I think you laid out the reasons for your doubt in a very good way and history is on your side. It’s made me realize I feel the same wariness, though not to your extent :P But I look around and see people creaming their shorts after they watch this trailer, and wonder if there’s something wrong with me because I haven’t. In the end, it’s probably because I don’t know as much about GW2, but everyday I read or hear about things that make me go, “hey that sounds really cool!” I hope the devs can deliver all that they’re promising, but at the same time I doubt I’d be surprised if it turns out otherwise or that features aren’t quite as described. I’m just going to sit back and see what else is coming :)

  23. Nazza says:

    lol, anyone remember that game called “Alganon”?

  24. Jiehr says:

    I’ve seen the comments here and many people don’t know a lot of things about GW2. So, let me clarify some things:

    -> The majority of the areas in GW2 will be persistent. Exceptions: 10% of each capital city (there are 5 capital cities, one for each race), which is the equivalent of a few blocks or a small district, and dungeons. Everything else is persistent.
    -> In the trailer, Colin is talking about Dynamic Events (those things that will replace quests but will be like them, though they will not be announced and will be joinable by any number of players anytime along the duration, and will be based on cause-effect). Ree, on the other hand, is always talking about our own personal storyline (the “consequences” will be in our home-instance–those 10% of our city–and possibly in some dungeons. Possible consequences: death of some NPCs, destruction of certain buildings/zones, etc.)
    -> ArenaNet will be showing GW2 for the first time ever tomorrow, at Gamescom. They will have 45 demo stations that anyone can play and try. From tomorrow onwards, everyone will be able to see with their own eyes the changes they’re making and if they work or not.

    Also, contrary to common belief, ArenaNet has announced many, many things about GW2. It all started with a trailer released last year at Gamescom, and then another in December. The lore was explored in 2009 (although some has been out since 2007), and since April 2010 they have been announcing a lot of cool stuff about GW2, both in their website (guildwars2.com) and in the ArenaNet blog (arena.net/blog). Some of this things include personality (you can be charming/noble/violent and NPCs will react differently, even if you don’t talk to them), intensive voice acting (more than 60 full-length films worth of voices), wide variety of sounds (including 3-part divided footsteps that combine to provide more realistic walking sounds), map-travel, leveling (with all the anti-grind philosophy), combat (including the dozens of environmental weapons that when picked up will change your skills, like bar stools, mugs, jars of bees, sticks, rocks, rabbits, etc.), and much, much, much more.
    Anyone who might want to see other surprises they have in store can go there and explore the reasons that have built up this hype until now.

    • Chris says:

      Bit late to the party, but I just want to say that Jiehr has it “right”. The vast majority of the game-world is “persistent” and shared. It is managed through “events” which will have short-term changes to the world.

      There will also be a portion of the game which is instanced (although you can bring friends into your instance). From the stuff A.Net has been publishing, it sounds like they’re going for a Bioware-class single-player story set within the persistent world. Your choices in your instance will influence the outcome of the story and NPCs can permanently die.

      Changes in your personal story (instances) may conflict with changes made to somebody else’s instances, but since it’s your instance, that doesn’t matter. Changes made to the world at large (via events, e.g. a merchant is not saved and dies) will affect everyone (e.g. nobody can purchase goods in that location until it’s been cleared of hostiles and a new merchant sets up shop).

      I’m a huge fan of GW, but it’s because of the instancing. I tried LoTRO but after about 2 months, I found it boring and tedious. So I was actually quite upset when they announced the shared/persistent world. However, if they can get a Bioware-class single-player story into the game and rid it of grind, I’ll be able to live with it even if it doesn’t measure up to all of the hype.

  25. Jomu says:

    after watching the trailer and doing research on the official website, i’m very intrigued(gonna install the original again tonight). The thing that I disliked most from GW1 was that it was heavily instanced, I like my worlds open like WoW/WAR as it broke immersion.

    Do you know/read any info on whether it will be open world, or instanced like the original?

  26. [...] control’ in Wildstar or the ‘missing 4th pillar of story’ in SW:TOR or the incredulous manifesto from ArenaNet that Guild Wars 2 is literally going to reinvent the entire MMO landscape (I can’t wait to [...]

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