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Guilds and Alliance Wishlist for Guild Wars 2


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Authority Figure

One of our writers, Distilled, wrote a great blog post* on the state (or lack thereof) of guild information for GW2. That reminded me that I had this one sitting in pending for months.

In a game called Guild Wars, one would expect that the “guild” would play an large role within its world. Certainly, GW puts a big emphasis on the importance of this classic MMO brotherhood by offering halls with purchasable upgrades, a large selection of environments, and a few PvP options such as GvG tournaments and alliance battles only accessible through your hall. Unlike other MMOs, it’s very rare you find an unguilded player in GW.

When the Factions campaign came out, ANet gave us alliances; a unique feature which allows up to ten guilds to officially band together. Mechanical perks include visiting each other’s halls for free, an alliance chat, the ability to collectively own an outpost, and group up for gvg. The system gives power to smaller guilds by offering a larger community option without having to abandon the sometimes preferred tight-knit clan.

Even so, the guild and alliance features are surprisingly limited in control, which is one of the few major flaws I would attribute to the game. Ranks are limited to 3: leader, officer, and member. There are no real permissions offered; officers can invite and kick and that’s all. The leader is the only one who can purchase upgrades, change the hall, or update capes, and there is no way to deligate these tasks to an officer. And the alliance function has one major drawback: switching leaders basically requires a full disband and re-invitation.

Going forward to Guild Wars 2, I feel it’s safe to expect a much more polished and advanced system for guilds. There’s a lot to live up to, due to newer MMOs like Rift and even older ones,like WoW boasting some advanced and OCD worthy features and controls. But what exactly would be the bees knees for Guild Wars 2? What do we want and need to be able to do and have at our disposal?

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Sylvari Lore Interview with Ree Soesbee & Kristen Perry


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Sylvari Lore Interview

We here at TalkTyria are excited to bring you guys our first interview with ArenaNet! The lovely ladies Ree Soesbee (Lore & Continuity) and Kristen Perry (Character Artist) were kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding the mysterious sylvari lore, their emerging place in Tyria, and a few other tid-bits regarding the story of Guild Wars.

So let’s take a look, and enjoy!

Sylvari Lore

Q: Can you tell us anything about new about the Nightmare Court? Like how many of the sylvari have joined (population percentage, maybe)? Can players choose to be a part of it, or are there any related titles? Who started or leads it?
Ree: The Nightmare Court is going to have a lot of coverage in my blog post for Sylvari Week, so I don’t want to spoil too much of that! I can answer your direct questions, though. The population of the Nightmare Court is roughly ten to fifteen percent of the sylvari. As with all enemy groups (the Sons of Svanir, the Flame Legion), players may not join the Nightmare Court. The Nightmare Court began during the time of the Secondborn sylvari (the second generation of sylvari born from the tree, about six or seven years after the Firstborn). The Nightmare Court’s current leader is the Grand Duchess Faolain, who is a Firstborn. She converted to the Nightmare Court and was not part of its original inception.

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Should Guild Wars 2 have Official Forums?


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This has been brought up a few times on fan-run forums over the years, but I noticed that the discussion never really took off and there didn’t seem to be much thought from the OPs. It’s certainly something I’ve mused over several times as well.

I’ve always been a forum fan for any game I’ve played, some more than others. As such, I am personally in favor of official forums and can’t help but curiously suspect that the recently released GW1 support forums may be an attempt to test the waters.

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Caithe of the Firstborn


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It’s tough to talk about the sylvari because there’s still so much we don’t know about them. The newest of the playable races, they’re the only ones we haven’t encountered in Guild Wars and so we lack any hindsight for their existence or basis to really compare to. The state of their design also adds to the enigma; due to their nature as “plant-people”, their physical appearance is very important to understanding how they work in general. Do they use the sun for energy? What effects does seasonal “birth” have, if any? Etc.We won’t know for a while, and until then our primary source of information comes from the sylvari characters we encounter in the two companion novels. Which brings us to Caithe, the most well-known sylvari of them all.

 

Appearance:
Despite the cartoonish original design of the sylvari, Caithe’s looks always seemed much more elegant. Specifically, her current 3D model skin tone is fleshy and short silver pixie hair is..well, not particularly leafy. However, in most of her concept drawings her skin has a greenish tint to it, as we’d expect from her race.

There’s yet to be any official word on her season, but most fans believe she is winter due to her cooler and more subtle features, as well as her darker personality.
Whether or not she’ll get a model re-design as well has yet to be determined. There seems to be no real indication of it so far.

Personality:
Like most of her people, Caithe has an innocent, almost brutal honesty that makes her companions a little uncomfortable at times, especially when she points out those awkward yet obvious things nobody seems to want to bring up. This is especially true when she speaks of Rytlock and Logan’s rather entertaining banter. She’s blunt and doesn’t really care for fickle nuances and sometimes simply cannot grasp metaphorical language.

She also differs from general conceptions of her race in a few ways. Most notably, it’s been stated that Caithe has a more fearless nature, willingly “seeking the shadows” to find truths that most others shy away from.

It has only been a score of years since the first twelve sylvari awakened from the branches of the Pale Tree; a handful of lives scattered into the world like petals on the wind. These Firstborn were quickly followed by others, more and then more, until the Grove was born in the heart of the Caledon Forest. Caithe was among those first to step upon the earth of Tyria, but where the others turned toward the sun, she sought shadow. While her fellows revel in the beauty and joy the world has to offer, Caithe has never been afraid to gaze into darkness–or to seek truths that others fear.

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Pushing Boundaries: Exploration in Guild Wars 2 from #GW2Fanday


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If I could pick one thing from Prophecies that I felt was the epitome of what made that first campaign so memorable for me, it was the openness of it all. Even for a game that had no persistence, there’s always been -so much- to explore and discover. In fact, as recently as earlier this year, as I began to make more headway into getting my Hall of Monuments filled, I was discovering outposts and missions in Tyria I had no idea even existed.

This was both problematic and awesome; you could easily skip much of the content right to the end, either accidentally like in my case, or on purpose in… well, many cases. But for those with explorer’s hearts, this was a dream come true. Vast, beautiful landscapes and hidden treasures abound at every turn and every region. The lovely Dorothy at A Tyrian Odyssey has a blog which she’s been running for years dedicated to just that.

Being run through Prophecies, however, for those who’d rather get to the point, was a serious problem that ArenaNet decided to alleviate by forcing progression. In Factions, for instance, you cannot move on to many areas until you have completed the appropriate missions first. They’re literally gated off, and you’re stuck on a small island until you get through them. This was expanded in Nightfall where you required certain title ranks to move on.

This provided a lot of frustration for many who felt that the open world of the original campaign was more than just a great feature; it was definitive of what Guild Wars was about.

Luckily for us, the changing game in Guild Wars 2 has brought back that openness. While we’re sure to be somewhat restricted by level, I was told that in most cases roads between cities, towns, and other major hubs are clear of mobs, and if you’ve got the heart to do it, you can set off on exploring right away. Where you’ll fall short, however, is treading off the path, which is where you’re obviously likely to find the best stuff.

Guild Wars 2 Exploration - #GW2Fanday

 

After our preview of Winds of Change during the Community Open House, the rest of the day was pretty much dedicated to freely play and explore Guild Wars 2 as we pleased. The immediate desire to report skills, numbers, and the like had to be quelled, but once it did, myself and NeoNugget let the curiosity take over. We stopped questing and started exploring.

Admittedly, I was determined to get to Lion’s Arch, although we were told it was cut off. I’m a pretty proud wall-jumper, though, and I was pretty confident I’d get there.

Alas, to no avail. From invisible walls to, literally, a giant circle-slash upon instance portals, it was obvious they were serious about keeping us out.

BUT, what we did find were some other pretty lovely spots out and about the area. It was hard not getting distracted by dynamic events quite literally in your face (if you’re a do-gooder by nature, you’re gonna run into this problem a lot!). But when I managed to pull myself away from NPCs begging for my charity, I was able to stop and enjoy the absolutely stunning landscapes.

I risk sounding cliché but I have to say it; the world just looks so damn Guild Wars. Everything about its artistry seems a nod to its predecessor; from the soft glow, the rich textures, and distinctive palettes of colors, you know where you are. This is Tyria, there is no mistaking it.

The noteworthy location was found by none other than Neo himself. Hidden behind that cave of spiders and sorrow was a beautifully placed series of waterfalls and trees, a striking contrast to the path that leads you there.

What this means for people like Dorothy, myself, Neo, and all the explorers out there is that the freedom of the wild is back. The world is our playground and there no shortage of secrets to uncover, relics of times past to discover, and fascinating scenes to set our sights upon.

Guild Wars 2 Exploration - #GW2Fanday

Pandora??

As originally appeared on GuildMag.com. 

About the author: Izari’s one of those obsessive fan types who’s been playing Guild Wars since the first beta weekend in 2004. She’s been blogging about video games for almost six years and is thrilled to have fellow fans to write for and with about the game. She can be found on twitter and really likes coconuts.

Death Rising: The Guild Wars 2 Necromancer & Underwater Combat


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Like many of the fans this past weekend, I brazenly walked into the gaming lab on Friday determined to play every single profession at least once. Needless to say, that sure as heck didn’t happen. While I dabbled with the thief and engineer at most 20 minutes each, when it came down to the dungeon run I found myself lured to an age-old favorite; the necromancer.

After taking a small while to check out my skills and come up with a “build” of sorts, it was time to get down and dirty with the undead. A current minion master fan, I selected three to take with me: the blood fiend, bone fiend, and bone minions. Ghost armor and well of suffering rounded out my last five skills. The weapons of choice were scepter/focus, occasional dagger/dagger, and staff.

Getting the hang of the minions was actually a bit tough; the mentality to simply summon and forget is hard to shake. In fact, minions in GW2 are extremely different than GW and require some thinking and strategy. Given that their destruction has great utility, it was a shame I didn’t make more use of them. By the end of my time with the necro (technical difficulties forced me to switch computers / instances), I was finally getting the hang of using the minions as more than just extra damage but actually taking advantage of their toggle skills. Putrid explosion for AoE (normally when a group of mobs are low on health) and rigor mortis to hold off on an enemy if I was getting mauled in the face.
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Guild Wars, Winds of Change, and the Live Team from #GW2fanday


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Sometimes things happen unexpectedly. When invited to visit the Arenanet office and partake in Guild Wars 2 Fanday, we all knew the event would be focused on Guild Wars 2. Certainly, it’s this much-anticipated sequel that has everybody captivated, with press and fans alike more than happy to test, explore, and report on their experiences this past weekend.

What I was pleasantly surprised to find, though, was the fact that at every turn the spirit of the original Guild Wars was there, right from the first moment we sat in the press room at the start of the day. We watched the Play symphony cinematic which was powerful and stunning; and while the visuals were from Guild Wars 2, the music was none other than a medley of the four original themes for Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall, and Eye of the North. There was something hauntingly beautiful about hearing them like this; it was as though they were able to capture the magic of the first time I had ever heard each. It was an extremely nostalgic moment for me, and I believe several of my fellow fans felt the same (::coughPLEASEreleasecough::).

It was appropriate that we’d be treated to a preview of Winds of Change, the next content installment pushing forward the lore of Tyria and Cantha and set the stage for the future. Cantha holds a special place in my heart; Factions has always been my favorite installment of Guild Wars, with 4 out of my 6 PvE 20′s being bred there and the one campaign that I have beaten on every single one of them. As such, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Winds of Change to hit the game.

Despite Shiro’s defeat, the conclusion of Factions did leave a few open-ends. Cantha still needs to recover from its devastation. The afflicted still run amok, and pesky street gangs like the Am Fah and Jade Brotherhood continue to cause trouble and capitalize on the post-affliction recovery.

Guild Wars Winds of Change

Gotta look good savin’ the world. Just sayin’.

That’s where Winds of Change comes in. Although I only got to dabble in the first few sets of quests, we were given some solid back story from the live team. The Ministry of Purity is an organization that aims to clean up Cantha after the chaos that was Shiro’s temporary reign. They insist that the citizens also take-up responsibility to do much of the work.

In a tip of the hat to Guild Wars 2, the events and impact you have during this event will have a lasting effect. For instance, when you first come upon members of the Ministry, you’re greeted (finally) as the hero you are; they are shocked that it’s you, great defender of Tyria, defeater of fallen god, a legend among your people (got the point?) coming back to continue your oh-so-generous work as a savior. As you progress through the campaign, permanent changes will be made. You vanquish the afflicted? Great. Next time you go on, they’ll be gone and replaced by some other hostile enemy (as of yet unspecified).

This will be the trend for this latest bit of Guild Wars Beyond. In total, Winds of Change will come out in 3 installments; each will have it’s own conclusion to avoid the “cliff-hanger” affect from War in Kryta that left some fans frustrated. The first part will have 42 quests including hard-mode versions. No official release date of yet, but I expect it should be out sometime this summer (not-official).

This brings me on the topic of the live-team, and what I meant about things being unexpected. Friday night after dinner it was mix-and mingle time. I wound up a table with Neo Nugget of Guru and a bunch of the guys from Live Team; specifically Joe Kimmes, Robert Gee and eventually Mike Zadorojny and others.

For about three hours or so we all sat around the table sharing our memories of Guild Wars, with other devs coming and going to chime in, and it was wonderful to hear them talk about the game. From the origins of the commando idea to their favorite moments & bugs, to wacky AI and someone who really, really loved paragons (I’m sorry I forgot his name), it was really something to see where the passion for Guild Wars comes from, and see that, like us, they do enjoy playing it, too. They continue to push the original game as far as they possibly go; there are many things that they thought impossible that they’ve managed to add to the game and much more that they’re more than willing to test.

It was great understanding the why’s and why not’s of the game, as well. There are lots of features and changes fans ask for that, while the devs would love to implement, they simply cannot because of the limitations of the engine that they have. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t tried their hardest to make as much happen as possible.

Eventually I asked what they planned on doing once Guild Wars 2 came out, and if they expected to still work on Guild Wars and the answer was sincere; as long as there’s still a demand for it, they will continue to support Guild Wars, but ultimately it’s up to the fans. That’s both empowering and scary!

All-in-all, the entire experience left me feeling really assured and revitalized. I couldn’t wait to get home and get a chance to play the original; not quite the reaction I was expecting. Not that I wasn’t thrilled to play and preview Guild Wars 2, but it’s good to be reminded this great game to come was built on the foundation of an amazing predecessor which is still being treated well by its developers.

Guild Wars Winds of Change

Check out Ravious of Kill Ten Rat’s review of Winds of Change.

As originally seen on GuildMag.com

About the author: Izari’s one of those obsessive fan types who’s been playing Guild Wars since the first beta weekend in 2004. She’s been blogging about video games for almost six years and is thrilled to have fellow fans to write for and with about the game. She can be found on twitter and really likes coconuts.