TalkTyria at GamesCom 2011


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Looking forward to hearing about the new demo that will be premiering at the upcoming GamesCom convention? We sure are! Representing TalkTyria this year will be Karasu and Wulf. We’ll arrive early at the party to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

New playable Demo!

We’ve all seen how the human and norn will start their quest throughout Tyria. Now also the seed behind the charr’s story will be revealed at the charr starter area.

Rather see some high numbers? Well, following this week’s sylvari overload you’re finally going to see them in action as a new playable race, as well as the asura. All geared up and ready to battle some Orrian enemies. Expect loads of video footage of them being uploaded here or on our partner sites, more on that below.

Also in the demo and something brand new we’re going to see is 5v5 Player versus Player at the ESL booth. How will the European guild Boon Control stand up versus a well-trained developer team consisting of Izaiah Cartwright, Jon Peters, Jonathan Sharp, John Corpening and Tirzah Bauer? Only one way to find out! These periodic matches should be streamed live by ESL. We’ll try to put up a link as soon as we can.

For the more creative types there will be a much more advanced character appearance customization available. I’ve also picked up a hint that the revamped dye system is in place to give you even more options!

 

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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.

“Our intention creates our reality.” The art of ArenaNet.


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One of the things that hasn’t really gotten much attention, in the flurry of excitement about the recent Fan Day, is the building itself that ArenaNet now inhabits, which is both beautiful and superbly functional.

By way of explanation, I should mention: I spend most of my time surrounded by architecture and industrial design folk, which means that my ears are constantly full of mantras about the importance of ‘form following function’ and other specious-sounding slogans about the importance of intentional design. After a while, one begins to notice that type of thing, especially when it’s being done so very right.  As a result, I was very impressed indeed by the (quite nearly literal) nuts and bolts of ArenaNet HQ and how it has been set up.

Izzy C. is not standing in a small room. But he could be! He could be standing in one of several small rooms, if they deemed it necessary!

The company makes much of their open and collaborative design method, which is quite visibly upheld in the layout of the office – a good portion of the content design, tool design, and story teams are in one long room – not crammed or cramped, certainly, and with evident structure and purpose, but very obviously accessible to one another all the same. If at any point rearrangements need to be made, however, their two floors of the building have been excellently thought out to accommodate any resettling or shuffling which the rooms might go through: with superbly mobile desks, mutable wall-sections, independently reprogrammable ceiling lights (which, might I add, seem to dynamically adjust based on the amount of natural light available – which I was just tickled pink to discover, as it would be such a shame to waste those huge windows and that impressive view they have), and sectional-style air-conditioning, they are truly set up to make switching up teams or locations as hassle-free as possible.  This thorough preparedness extends to their internal server room and the newly furbished sound recording space, the design of both of which we got to learn about in great detail.

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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.

Welcome to the Dungeons – #GW2FanDay


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My experience of going through the Catacombs dungeon at ArenaNet’s recent Fan Day was perhaps the single most enlightening experience of the entire wonderful day . It had everything – the companionship, the fun, and the visible fulfillment of many promises and bold statements on behalf of the developers. It was, effectively, a microcosm of the event as a whole: in it, one could find all the elements which defined the success of the entire venture.

also: everything was gorgeous

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ArenaNet Open House / Guild Wars 2 FanDay Preview!


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The floodgates, as they say, have been opened. Be prepared!

I was extremely thrilled (and extremely lucky) to have been invited to the new ArenaNet office for a community FanDay event being held this Friday, June 24th. Myself and the other 16 or  lucky community reps and fans are in for some crazy surprises, and the ANet crew has been more than generous with their relentless teasing and secrecy. Seriously, we have -no idea- what the devious developers have in store for us (perhaps we like it that way?…Maybe…).

While this is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — the kind that only comes once every 75 years like a comet and drops ectos from the sky– myself and the others are still on a mission.

This is what we were all thinking. And anybody who says otherwise is a liar.

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MS Toga Party 2011 Re-Cap


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As per TT tradition, we’re coming in with this a little late. But better late than never!

We tweeted / spammed a few weeks back about the charity fundraiser run by Gamers Giving back for multiple sclerosis awareness. Although the turnout was smaller than expected, we were still pleased to meet and surpass our goal of $1337! In fact, we ended up totaling around $1700+ !

A HUGE thank you to everybody who attended, volunteered, and donated. You guys are awesome.
And of course, many props to Gaming World Entertainment Network for all the work you guys do to make the world a better place.

Here are some highlights from the event:

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