Five things I DON’T like about Guild Wars 2

Many moons ago I had written a draft for an article that never made its way to the sunlight. It was kind of an open letter to the community in which I tried to explain how Guild Wars 2 was not going to be perfection, that no fan new or old should expect it to be, and how that didn’t matter in the long run because it was still going to be a fantastic journey.

I still stand by those sentiments. So before I go into my little countdown, I suppose I ought to start by saying how much I freaking love this game. So don’t get me wrong, universe, when I spend some time on the aspects of it I particular dislike or perhaps don’t understand.  And trust me, it wasn’t easy to come up with five points in the first place.

So here we have it, folks. Izzie’s top five gripes in increasing order of sad-panda levels, complete with enriching quotes that may just change your life forever.

 • Character-bound dyes. Runway rebellion. 

“I had a lot of dates but I decided to stay home and dye my eyebrows.”
~Andy Warhol 

The woe of fashionistas everywhere. Originally dye unlocks were proposed to be account-wide, but they’ve since changed that system to be character-based. Most other dye changes I was happy with (the whole seed thing being axed sparked an enthusiastic “HALLELUAH”) but this one still irks me. I understand this choice most of all my gripes, though. Dyes are actually pretty limited and only a handful highly prized. That and the fact that they are no longer consumable but forever-friends for your hero once you’ve got it pretty much means they need to be character based.

Having maybe 5-6 colors you actually care about readily available on all your characters would basically guarantee the dye market would eventually crash (both in the gem-store and in-world economy) so this was a necessary evil. You can snag dye packs from the gem-store, and at 200 for 7, with guaranteed 2 uncommon or rares, it’s really a worthwhile investment. Any colors you’re not crazy about, you can throw on the trading post to make a small profit.

I may not like it, but I’m willing to suck this one up for the team.

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TalkTyria at GamesCom 2012

In less than two weeks Heroes will tell their stories in the lands of Tyria. As everyone is preparing their in-game characters, there’s only one more event between now and then : GamesCom 2012. This year TalkTyria will be represented by Karasu (Raven), MeWulf (Clint) and MyCroft (Thomas).

Caudecus's Manor

Time to chill

ArenaNet already stated that their focus is 100% on getting everything ready for the 25th, so this year there’s no playable demo. However a small chillout zone and some cool Community Managers will fly all the way over to Cologne to provide the necessary distractions. Aside from this there’s all the pumped up fans, a community party on Thursday and plenty of other great games in the large halls of the Koelnmesse.

Update: Swag

If you manage to come join all of us in the chill booth come and get a free drink courtesy of ArenaNet. Watch @Guildwars2‘s twitter for the daily password that you can exchange for an in-game GW2 t-shirt voucher code if you catch one of the Community Managers. For those lucky to attend ArenaNet’s private community party you might win one of the exclusive Guild Wars 2 Collector’s Editions!

If you happen to have any more questions left on GuildWars 2 or just about any game on the showfloor feel free to send them our way trough the comments or at my twitter @GWKarasu.

Final Beta Event Key Giveaway

Hey ladies and gents of Tyria.

Guild Wars 2 is reaching a big milestone next weekend; the final beta event before release.

It’s hard to believe the game will be live in less than 2 months! It feels like just yesterday they announced the sequel at all.

Speaking of memories; we’ve got a deal for you. ANet has graciously granted us some keys for this last weekend event. To win a key, we ask that fans submit a favorite screenshot from Guild Wars 1 as a way to pay homage to game that spawned this wonderful franchise!

You’ve got til Sunday Night, 8pm eastern (DST) time to get your submissions in. We’ll send keys out during the day Monday.

Use the form below to submit images; please not do not submit links in the comments, they WILL NOT BE COUNTED. 

You can upload your screenshots to any major free photo hosting site like imgur, photobucket, flickr, and imageshack.

Congrats; and GOOD LUCK!

-Contest is closed-

* Key is only good for this one event and not any future stress tests.
* Only one submission per person, please.

Everything’s Blown Up to Holy Hell

Credit: Massively.com/NCSoft

 

Yup, you read that right. I haven’t read the thread on GW2Guru but I’m sure the entire onlinesphere has blown up to holy hell with the release of Guild Wars 2′s pre-order details about 2 hours ago. I’ll leave the hot honeyed mess of a forum thread to sift through later because I can bet my upcoming Collector’s Edition of GW2 that there’re angry, angry people with their pitchforks threatening to stab it into the eyes of the staff members of ArenaNet.

I was having dinner at a 1 Michelin star Chinese restaurant when I saw Elixabeth’s tweet and I practically freaked out at the dining table and shrieked with excitement. I think a lot of people are excited because this is tangible proof that GW2 has reached another milestone and we’re that much closer to getting our hands on a physical copy. Screw the press beta because as long as we didn’t get our hands on it, it didn’t happen. Hah!

So the CE is priced at $149.99 – I’m assuming all prices stated are in USD – and in addition to a nifty elite skill to summon a Mistfire Wolf (holy crap, imagine that!), you’ll get a mini Rytlock; a 10-inch Rytlock figurine to go with the miniature version; a ‘Making of’ book; more art prints and a soundtrack. Digital Deluxe Edition goes for $79.99 while the Standard Edition makes you poorer by only $59.99.

Kudos to ArenaNet though for allowing anyone who purchases any of the three instead of just the CE and/or Digital Deluxe to get the pre-order bonuses: A Hero’s Band, access to *all* beta weekend events and a three-day headstart access.

Oh, and Elixabeth, I call dibs on ‘Legolas’ and any variation of the name, even if it’s xLegolasXx. I love Orlando Bloom and I’ll fight you for it. Haha!

While some are slightly deterred by the CE price of $149.99 either because of the budget or the Rytlock figurine, I’ll gladly shell out that amount for it. After converting to local currency, it’s around $170 to $180 for me but hey, I’ve not bought a CE in my life so I’m willing to burn that hole in my pocket.

To the readers: Are you happy with what’s included in the Collector’s Edition? Or is Rytlock not to your liking? Which edition are you most likely to get? Or will you just get the Standard Edition and get the other items on eBay? Will you shell out 150 bucks for the CE or is it out of your budget? And no, I won’t ask if anyone else wants ‘Legolas’; Tyria ain’t big enough for the two of us.

About the author: A self-proclaimed geek, Damagedself constantly straddles between the two very different worlds of gaming and entertainment. While not slinging fireballs from his sexy female Elementalist, he’s swooning over Darren Criss on Glee. He loves watching television and enjoys the witty dialogues of Grey’s Anatomy. Constantly fantasizes on how the hospitals of Singapore would be more enjoyable if the doctors were as gorgeous as the fake ones on Grey’s.

Should Guild Wars 2 have Official Forums?

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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Pushing Boundaries: Exploration in Guild Wars 2 from #GW2Fanday

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.

Guild Wars, Winds of Change, and the Live Team from #GW2fanday

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.