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Edge of Destiny Review & Character Analysis

Spoiler Warning: This article is spoiler-free up until the indicated point. 

So I -finally- got around to finishing EoD. I know a few people were nervous since I gave Ghosts of Ascalon a pretty harsh assessment, but I’m happy to say that I very much enjoyed this book. It really blew GoA out of the water in terms of characters and action.

The characters had much more depth this time around and went beyond their stereotypical roles. Unlike in GoA where each person seemed to be more or less the personification of their race, here they were individuals with quirks, talents, and habits that pushed them into the realm of having substance. Their interactions with one another was also satisfying and believable. Although the dynamic between Logan and Rytlock sometimes teetered on a little ridiculous, it was also the primary source of humor and so it served a purpose making it acceptable and welcome.
There wasn’t much individual growth other than from Caithe,  and everybody’s ultimate reactions at the end, but I think that’s because the focus wasn’t on them separately but rather as a team. It wasn’t about individuals so much but rather Destiny’s Edge: How they came to be, what they meant to the world, and how it ended up. It was important to set that up to make the conclusion that much more significant, so there wasn’t much time, really, to focus on them seperately. So they started out pretty solidified already, which isn’t a bad thing here.

Edge of Destiny Review - Logan Thackeray

The overall story was entertaining because it was a good mixture of telling the tale of the rise and fall of a band of heroes while also setting the stage for GW2. It fulfilled the later much better than GoA did, in my opinion, as the main antagonists were the very dragons we’re expected to challenge in the game. There were a few twists and a few frustrations. But the ending definitely had a bit of a wow-factor to it.

The greatest part was the action. It was relatively non-stop, but done in a way that isn’t overwhelming. We get a lot of build-up for the first big victory which allows us to get to know the characters and exactly what they are capable of, paving the way for the subsequent battles to be told in an increasingly swifter manner without feeling like you missed anything.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed it. Once again we have to keep in mind the purpose of these books: they are to fill us in on the story of the game. As such, we can’t expect Tolkien-level writing since it needs to be accessible to people who may not be regular readers. But for what it is, EoD provided an easy to read, enjoyable adventure that was well-written and dramatic. It gave us a ton of answers and even more questions, and really allowed us to see what challenges we are faced with once it’s our turn to step up to the hero plate in Guild Wars 2.

To The Readers: What did you guys think? Better or worse than GoA?  Favorite characters / parts? How do you think this will affect the stories in GW2? Any other forum discussions / reviews I missed, let me know!
Discussions: GW2G | Quaggan | GW2 Forums | IncGamers
Reviews: Hunter’s Insight | MMO Gamer Chick | JohnnyV

So now for the spoiler-ridden in-depth part, follow the jump
Continue reading

Guild Wars Community Projects Update

One thing that has kept Guild Wars so alive is this fantabulous community of ours. While we do have our fair share of healthy competition, the amount of support and bro-ing out that goes on with everyone is pretty awesome. In light of the love and fever of a new year, I thought I’d give a mention to some changes going on out there right now.

Guild Wars fans have been seriously busy bees this winter. Several new sites, forums, and projects have sprung up, a few of which have gone live. In the process of updating my community list, I thought I’d give a heads up on what everyone should be looking out for. There’s a lot to cover, and this is all really exciting news for the community. So lets check it out!

Guild Wars Database
This is a really ambitious project headed by the awesome Karasu (Poeffie on twitter). The idea is to have an interactive and fully customizable tracking system for everything Guild Wars. Karasu is taking up the challenge to test for a similar project when Guild Wars 2 releases. So then, what exactly can you do with it? There are a ton of ridiculous features that are sure to keep you busy and make achivements and end-game missions tons easier.
List your titles, vanquishing progress, Guild information, mission / bonus progress, characters and alts…and find others with the same goals.  You name it, it’s there.
GWDB is currently in closed alpha and you can apply for a chance to beta on their site. No word yet on when it will go to beta or go live, but you can check out their preview screenshots here. Also keep an eye on their site, blog, and twitter for updates on progress and when it will move on to the beta stage. I can’t wait to see this to be released!

Quaggan.com
Nox (author of ConjurePhantasm) has been working his bum off on several innovative projects. His current “baby”, so to speak, is Quaggan.com. It’s another forum, and one he pledges to deliver an experience like no other Guild Wars forum you’ve been to. And I have to say, judging by what I’ve seen so far he’s making good on that promise.
Specific features that will set Quaggan apart:
•  Integrated Karma system (for reputation)
• A fun and graphically appealing award badge system.
• Completely unique and non-conventional style and design.
The site is currently in “beta” with Nox accepting limited applications for testing and quality control by experienced community members. I expect it to go live  soon, though. Keep an eye on Nox’s twitter / blog for updates!

GuildMag
GuildMag may have been around for a while, but it’s in the works of some major overhauls, specifically on our website. In order to supplement our bi-monthly digital publication (the latest issue can be found here), the site will be featuring much more content including opinion pieces, reviews, more blogging and other special features. No launch date just yet, but fans of Guild Mag old and new should be very excited for the changes. Jonny and Dutch are both working hard, as well as the rest of the staff, to bring some awesome creative and informative content to the masses.
And after a holiday hiatus, Sabre Wolf, Malchior Devenholmn, and myself have returned to our weekly live pod-cast schedule! Check out GuildMag.com or follow us at @GuildMag on twitter.

GuildFans
Launched by Dan/JR, Guild Fans is made up of and run by many familiar faces. The site boasts contests, interviews, a built-in wiki, and wonderfully organized media galleries for the pleasure of the masses. Their forums aim to provide a more intimate and less chaotic setting than the usual fare.
GuildFans continues to achieve a lot of what we have come to expect and love from the guys that brought us some of the greatest communities that have ever existed in the Guild Wars universe. With a continued focus on member experience and interaction, GuildFans has a promising and exciting future as more and more fans, new and old alike, begin to gather en-masse in excitment for the sequel. Follow them on twitter and don’t forget to sign up for their live-feed from their site!

GuildSearch
Another brilliant project by Nox. It’s currently on the back burner but still deserves a mention for the work already put in. Nox’s savvy eye for design and simplicity meets function in this Guild Recruitment search engine that aims to make finding the perfect home or the perfect members easier and streamlined. With filters to search by content (PvE vs PvP, for instance) and server, this site seems a godsend, and one that could easily be applied to GW1 and 2 alike. What I’ve gathered from comments and replies is that Quaggan and GuildSearch will be combined somehow in the future, something that’s very exciting and sure to make Quaggan an even more awesome place. Until then, keep an eye on Nox’s blog, twitter, and Quaggan forums and check out the development preview here.

Guild Wars Skill Reference
No geeky fandom is fully complete without a little go-go-gadget fun. That’s were GWSR comes in. It’s a currently functional but still developing Android app that lets you look up any skill in the game right from your phone. The filters are smooth and the layout is easy on the eyes. You can find out anything about the skill in question: recharge time, cost, effects, and descriptions. Search by profession, toggle PvP / PvE, and look up other skills with similar effects.
If you’re a droid owner and a Guild Wars fan, you’ve got to get this on your phone.  Follow the development process on twitter, check out the app developer’s official site, or take a search for Guild Wars Skill Reference on the market.

Guild Wars 2 Character Creator
This is probably one of the most impressive projects yet, because of the sheer awesomeness of it all. It’s a Guild Wars 2 build creation site. Yes, you heard right. Guild Wars 2. What the masterminds behind the project have done is vigorously research everything we’ve learned so far about skills and weapons for the current four professions that have been released and created an interactive applet that allows you to effectively create a build.
This must have been a lot of work, but it’s unbelievably awesome as the first site to implement the Guild Wars 2 data into something of this caliber. We can expect great things to come of it in the future as more information is released.

So there you have it. I’m sure there are tons more to cover in the future, and I can’t wait. I’m always amazed at the sort of creativity and dedication that comes from this wonderful community. Sometimes I am astounded at what we can do when we really love something to this degree. It’s awesome.

To the readers: What do you guys think of all the projects coming out? Are you impressed? Got a favorite?  Have any ideas for something you’d like to see? Did I miss anything? <3

*edit* 1-7-10 9:45am: Added the 2nd paragraph to GuildFans that somehow disappeared when imported. Edited Guild Wars Data Base to more accurately reflect the project’s goals. Added Guild Wars Skill Reference’s official site link. Minor edit, grammar, and spelling fixes.

Talk Tyria is live!

DUN DUN DUN! Finally, I got this thing working!

As I threatened promised many moons ago, I had planned on getting myself parked in a domain with my own hosting and all that. Glad to say it’s finally here…TalkTyria.net! (again, sorry to a few of you who were getting ping-back spam every time I tried to re-import…)

The site is about 95% up and done… the biggest project I’m tackling right now is editing each entry to fix the images. Between a sloppy import and new, more advanced layout, many images have broken or resized themselves to make babies cry.

But other than that, everything should be golden.

What’s the same!
Pretty much all the old entries about Guild Wars or that had at least 60% Guild Wars talk have been dragged over. Yes, even the stupid screenshot posts from 2006. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, my tags and comments came for the ride, too.

What’s New!
A few things. The main point was splitting off from my main blog, Izziebytes, which I’ll still be updating / working on independently. But I wanted to dedicate a space to Guild Wars. I’ve hyper-organized the categories to make it easier to find specific topics. Ironically I probably have more cats and tags than I do entries at this point, but that will change with time.
One big thing is that I activated a mobile version of the site. Modern inernets dictates that something like 40% of americans have a smartphone or other mobile device to go online with. So that small but much needed addition is worth it.
Lastly I’m working on getting this deal more web 2.0 friendly. So all those feeds and sharing buttons should work out in that area.

What’s Coming!
A lot. I plan on doing a few video series, more community events / involvements, a little bit of news coverage (in the talk-show reactive style, not reporting. I’ll leave that to GuildMag <3) and a few other secret projects I’m excited about but too tech-retarded to do right away.
There’s a lot more to explore when Guild Wars 2 comes closer, too. Just have to wait and see what comes, right?

All in all at the core this is a blog and will continue to be one. Just hopefully now more fun and fabulousness will be had. Enjoy, and feel free to leave comments / complaints / suggestions or e-mail me at izziebytes[a]gmail.com.
Cheers!

AnitLurk Q&A: So what do you guys think? Comments? Suggestions? Complaints? Rage? Let me know if anything’s broken or looks horrible. I’d love to fix it. XD

Guild Wars 2 Warrior Overview

The warrior is a master of weapons who relies on speed, strength, toughness, and heavy armor to survive in battle. A warrior can shrug off blow after blow to stay in the fight, all the while building up adrenaline to fuel his offense.

Adrenaline makes the warrior more powerful, increasing his damage output with every attack while powering up his burst skill. Each weapon set has a single designated burst skill which a warrior can trigger by spending all his built-up adrenaline to unleash a powerful attack. The warrior can use his burst skill at any time, but the more adrenaline stages he has filled, the more devastating his attack will be. Some burst skills apply more and varying conditions while others simply do more damage.

Each weapon serves a different role, allowing the warrior to customize his play style. Warriors can compliment main hand weapons like swords and maces with a shield, warhorn or dual wielded weapon, but their role is still mostly defined by the main or two-handed weapon.

SWORD warrior is quick and mobile; he bleeds his enemies as he bounces between them with a Savage Leap.

An AXE warrior quickly builds up his adrenaline and can deliver powerful spike attacks.

HAMMER warrior pounds his foes and the ground with area attacks that stagger groups of enemies.

A warrior with a MACE disrupts his enemies with powerful stunning attacks, and hits them where it hurts leaving them susceptible to further blows.

A warrior with a GREATSWORD uses his momentum to deliver sweeping area effect damage attacks while gliding around the battlefield.

Warriors with a LONGBOW light their arrows on fire to inflict area-of-effect damage.

The RIFLE is a single-target ranged weapon that a warrior can use to pull monsters or finish off a fleeing foe.

Warriors have a number of special skill types:

  • Stances—These are toggle skills that let you turn on an enhancement at the cost of energy regeneration. For example, a warrior could hit Berserker’s Stance which drains his energy, but gives him adrenaline regeneration. You can easily toggle off Berserker’s Stance and send the skill into recharge.
  • Chains—A set of three skills that share a single skill slot, chains go off in sequence if you are hitting your target. For example, the sword chain skills Sever Artery, Gash, and Final Thrust are all on the same key, so rather than making a sword warrior spend three slots, they stack to fill only one slot. Chains effectively give a warrior two extra weapon skills on a weapon set.
  • Banners—The warrior calls down banners to buff his allies with attack power. A banner can be picked up and carried around to move the buff, or it can be planted in an area to convey the buff, allowing the warrior to continue fighting. One example is Banner of Courage, which increases the melee damage of allies within its range.
  • Shouts—Shouts are skills that affect a large area and give bonuses to allies or debuff enemies. A warrior could use the shout On My Mark to lower an enemy’s armor and call a target out to allied party members.
  • Charge Skills—Some skills can be held down to power them up for more impressive attacks. A warrior with a mace can wind up the powerful skill Obliterate and release it at four different power levels to do increasing amounts of damage.

Weapons

A warrior can use nine different weapons. He can combine any of the nine weapons available to him in 19 different ways. The warrior weapons are:

  • Main Hand: Sword, Axe, Mace
  • Offhand: Shield, Warhorn, Sword, Axe, Mace
  • Two-Handed: Greatsword, Hammer, Longbow, Rifle

A warrior can easily switch between his two active weapon sets in combat as needed, but swapping weapons triggers a cool-down that prevents warriors from constantly flip-flopping between weapons. However, a warrior can equip the Weapon Master trait to circumvent this cool down, and opt for a more wild back-and-forth combat style with both weapon sets. Outside of combat, the warrior can reconfigure his weapon sets before entering an encounter.

Adrenaline

Warriors start a fight without adrenaline, and then build one strike of adrenaline with every attack they make. Warriors have three stages of adrenaline that take increasing amounts of strikes to fill – or they can release their stored adrenaline with a burst skill. Each stage of adrenaline also gives the warrior a direct passive damage bonus to every attack.

Burst Skills

Burst skills spend all of a warrior’s adrenaline. Each weapon has one burst skill that improves at each stage of adrenaline. This improvement can be anything from doing more damage, adding additional conditions, increasing condition duration, or increased skill duration.

Personal story

During character creation, warrior characters must decide what kind of helmet they wear.

You can find a full list of all known warrior skills on GW2Wiki.

Information from the official Guild Wars 2 website and GuildWars2wiki.com.

Guild Wars 2 Ranger Overview

The ranger is a jack-of-all-trades and a master of them all as well, relying on his keen eye, steady hand, or the power of nature itself. A master of ranged combat, the ranger is capable of striking unwitting foes from a distance with his bow. With a stable of pets at his command, a ranger can adapt to his opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.

A ranger is accompanied by his pet, a loyal animal companion. Rangers charm pets and then bond with them. A ranger can have up to three pets at his call, but generally speaking, only one pet can be active at any time. Pets’ base health, armor, and damage are based on the level of the player that owns them.

Pets are charmed by interacting with juvenile versions of the species you want to charm. There are a variety of Tyrian species that can be charmed, including bears, moas, devourers, and sharks. As you adventure with a pet, it evolves to become more unique and eventually allows you to give it abilities that compliment your tactics.

Rather than manage a unique resource in combat, a ranger will manage his pet, assigning them a behavior from aggressive to passive. A ranger can also manage his pet by giving commands such as “attack,” “heel,” and “stay.”

Rangers have a number of special skill types:

Traps–Traps are utility skills that can be placed at a ranger’s current location. When an enemy enters a trap, it is triggered. For example, Spike Trap will cripple and bleed enemies that pass through it. A trap can remain active as long as the ranger chooses to remain close to it. A ranger can only have one of each trap type out at any given time.

Spirits–A spirit skill summons a nature spirit that influences the area around it. For example, Sun Spirit applies additional fire damage to allied attacks inside its influence. A spirit stays out for a short period of time and goes away if the ranger wanders too far away from it. Spirits can be attacked by enemies and removed from the battle. A ranger can only have one of each type of spirit out at any given time.

Weapons

A ranger is mostly a master of ranged weapons, however, he can use sword or greatsword in melee combat. The ranger weapons are:

  • Main Hand: Sword, Axe
  • Off Hand: Axe, Dagger, Torch, Warhorn
  • Two-Handed: Greatsword, Longbow, Shortbow

Pets

A ranger has three active pet slots. Outside of combat, or through the use of utility skills, the ranger can swap their active pet. There are 12 different types of pets, including some terrestrial (spiders), some amphibious (lizards), and some aquatic (sharks). Within each type there are subtypes that can influence pets’ abilities. For example, a polar bear might have an Icy Roar, while a brown bear might have a Fearsome Roar. A ranger’s pet gets its level from its master, which determines their basic attack, armor, and health.

Pet Evolution

Pets have customization options. The first of these has to do with a pet’s evolution level. Pets evolve up to 20 evolution levels. Each pet type receives automatic bonuses at different evolution levels. For bears, these bonuses might be increased health or increased damage. Pets gain evolution points when the player gains XP while the pet is active. At certain evolution levels, pets will unlock ability slots (up to 4 total). Ability slots can be filled from a list of active pet abilities based on pet type.

Pet Controls

In addition to managing his skills, a ranger will be able to manage his pet with limited commands and modes. This will be an interface element for the ranger class. Here are some examples:

Modes–Ongoing behavioral settings the ranger can toggle.

  • Aggressive–Attack what I am attacking.
  • Defensive–Attack enemies that attack me.
  • Passive–Don’t attack.

Commands–Specific, direct commands that execute right away.

  • Attack–Attack my target.
  • Heel–Come to me.
  • Stay–Do not move.
You can see a full list of currently known ranger skills and companion pet skills on the GW2 Wiki.

Personal story

During character creation, a ranger will have the option of choosing from one of three animal companions to start off with. This selection is different for each race.

Information from the official Guild Wars 2 website and GuildWars2Wiki.com

Elementalist Overview

The elementalist channels natural forces of destruction, making fire, air, earth, and water do her bidding. What the elementalist lacks in physical toughness, she makes up for in her ability to inflict massive damage in a single attack, dropping foes from a distance before they can become a threat. Yet, despite her incredible offensive potential, versatility is what makes the elementalist truly formidable.

Rather than swap weapons to adjust to new situations, the multi-faceted elementalist quickly adapts to new threats by attuning to different elements as needed. When the elementalist attunes to any of the four elements, she receives intrinsic bonuses that continually empower her.

With FIRE attunement, the elementalist can inflict scorching damage on multiple enemies by turning the ground to fire or raining down molten rock from the skies. Why kill just one enemy when you can burn them all? Just by attuning to fire, the elementalist automatically causes flame damage to any foe foolish enough to touch her.

When the elementalist attunes to AIR, she can harness wind and lightning to target specific foes with focused, high-damage attacks. Dazzling bolts of lightning rip from the elementalist’s fingertips, and brilliant flashes of light blind her enemies. When an elementalist attunes to air, nearby enemies are continuously pelted with lightning strikes.

WATER attunement forgoes the raw damage of air and fire, in favor of controlling an opponent’s movement. By creating slippery ice or freezing foes solid, water attunement ensures that the battle is always fought on the elementalist’s terms. Nearby allies receive continuous healing from an elementalist who is attuned to water.

In the most dangerous situations, the elementalist relies on the powerful defense of EARTH attunement. An earth elementalist uses the ground under her feet to defend herself and her allies, turning flesh to stone, destabilizing foes with seismic shocks, and destroying threats with volcanic eruptions. Earth attunement automatically confers magical protection to the elementalist.

Elementalists have a number of special spell types:

  • Glyphs—These arcane spells enhance or modify the natural power of the elementalist. She uses the Glyph of Elemental Power to increase the damage, range, and duration of her spells.
  • Signets—Signets provide an ongoing benefit to the elementalist, but can also be activated for a greater effect. An elementalist equipped with the Signet of Earth has increased damage resistance, but activating the Signet sends out a wave of stone, stunning nearby enemies.
  • Conjure Spells—The elementalist uses Conjure spells to summon useful items and potent weapons that she or other party members can use. For instance, she uses Conjure Flame to create a fiery rock to hurl at the enemy.
  • Area Spells—Using Area spells, the elementalist creates hazards and mayhem all over the field of battle. The elementalist fires lava arrows in a cone-shaped blast or creates walls of fire that scorch any enemies passing through.

Attunements

The elementalist has four elemental attunements that they can tap into. These attunements are represented by four skills that are located on the bar above their normal skills. When an elementalist switches attunements, the first five skills on their bar will change. These five skills are based on the elementalist’s attunement and their current weapon, so that a fire-attuned elementalist will have different skills when he wields a staff than when he wields a scepter or focus. In addition to changing the elementalist’s skills, attunements also work like a normal skill and provide an ongoing effect.

Weapons

Scepter (Main Hand) — Scepter skills specialize in close range combat.
Dagger (Main Hand) — Main hand daggers are fast and focus on medium range spells.
Staff (Two Handed) — Staves are slow casting long range weapons.
Dagger (Off Hand) — Off hand daggers specialize in powerful medium range abilities.
Focus (Off Hand) — Skills on a focus are powerful close range abilities.

Personal story
During character creation, elementalist characters must decide which of the four elements they prefer the most.

Check out a list of currently known Elementalist skills at GW2  Wiki.

Information from Guild Wars 2 official site and Guild Wars 2 Wiki. 

Guild Wars 2 Hall of Monuments Rewards Revealed!

So Arena-Net released the Guild Wars Hall of Monuments calculator deal today.
This feature is so ridiculously amazing, it’s not even funny.

You input your character name and it tallies up your achievements. Each one is given a certain point value.
There’s a total of 50 points, and each level from 1-30 unlocks an in-game reward. There are titles every 5 levels and a pet, mini-pet, piece of armor, or weapon. Many of these rewards are major tips of the hat to Guild Wars One, like the Black Moa and Fiery Dragon Sword. After level 30, there are only 4 more titles to get at 35, 40, 45, and 50. The cool thing with the tool is that it also shows you a to-do list in case you wanna try to advance your score, and makes it print-able!

What this does is make all the psychical vanity stuff accessible to everybody who plays through the game a decent amount. Most are at least at 15 points, so halfway there alerady.
It’s account-bound it would seem. I have my HoM shared and so all my characters show up as having the same rewards, which is great.

Another cool feature: The heritage armor will be transmutable without needing to purchase the stones from the in-game store, as quoted by Regina:

For the Hall of Monuments rewards, we will provide players the means by which they can transmute the stats/appearance of these particular items without having to purchase transmutation stones in the in-game store. The development team is still working out the exact mechanics of this, though.

I’m at 22/50. 8 more points and I’ve got all the unlock-able stuff, and then it’s just titles after that that I may or may-not go for. Who knows!

But this is definitely going to make me play Guild Wars again for the coming months! Great planning on ANet’s part, especially after all the upset over transmutation stones last week. I must say. I’m very, very happy about this.

If you’ve got a Hall of Monuments and a few achievements, go check out their calculator here. Join the excited chatter at Guild Wars 2 Guru and Guild Wars 2 Forums as well!