GW2 Profession Response: Necromancer

Well, we’re halfway through the profession reveals with the Necromancer being officially released this week after its soft release at gamescon last weekend. We did a lot of coverage on what we learned from the con last week on Episode 7 of the Guild Mag Podcast, and we went ahead to discuss the new info on the official release in Episode 8, so give us a listen.

I have to say, although the preview and information seemed kind of short, it’s most certainly been the most unique and exciting profession reveal for me so far.

My favorite character right now in GW: Classic is my necromancer. I generally run Mystic Minion Master as much as possible in PvE and PvP.  I deviate to SS or Discord for PvE, though, and even enjoy a wells / support build every now and then when running PvPvE missions.

Needless to say, the Necro is one of the most versitile and involved professions of Guild Wars, and I’m really excited that they have carried on their overall feel and function into Guild Wars 2. THeir skills are much darker and even creepier than before; even knowing the demo vids are spiced up in post editing, you still really get the feel for macabre awesome that necromancers are all about.

The legacy of the minion master continues, although in a new unique form. Gone are the days of corpse reaping armires, something that would be too difficult in a persistent world where people don’t actually die (any MM who’s suffered from Lack of Bodies syndrome knows how painful this can be!). Instead, we’re getting skills to summon 3 different types of minions. Once summoned, their skill icon turns from a summon to a utility like gaining health or exploding them for AoE damage.

Necromancer threads are pretty badass.

Wells, another unique skill class I loved in GW:C will also be making a comback although only one at a time which is a little sad. Again, with no corpses the Wells will simply be summoned at the caster’s location and remain for a duration depending on that skill and traits, affecting their targets within range. Marks are new and similar to wells, except that they are targeted location and will either activate on their own after a given amount of time or manually by a second click of the skill button.

My favorite new mechanic, without a doubt, is the Death Shroud. Being the masters of death and chaos, Necromancers gain this spirit form instead of going into a downed state (or perhaps in addition to, I’m not 100% sure yet.). While active, they are given a unique set of destructive skills making them especially dangerous when downed.

Without a doubt, I will definitely be choosing Necro as my demo profession and am really excited about reporting in on what that’s gonna be like.

The necro release has been covered all across the internet: Kill Ten Rats scored an interview on the necro with ArenaNet, while PC Gamer, IGN UK, Massively, and MMORPG all excitedly responded to the reveal.

Fellow bloggers and community wigs have been covering the news like mad, as well. Hunter over at Hunter’s Insight goes into some pretty in depth detail on the videos. Nox of Conjure Phantasm’s response was short but hilarious. Belzan responds with some insightful thoughts and comments but isn’t as thrilled with death shrouds as I am!

GuildWars2 Guru is a flutter with responses, concerns, questions, and speculation!

Ghosts of Ascalon: Review

Spoiler Warning: This Ghosts of Ascalon review is spoiler free only up until the indicated point. 

So I finished reading GoA today on my commute to work. And well…. I was disappointed.

First of all, I thought this book wasn’t terribly well written. I’ve never been a fan of Jeff G’s writing style, at least not in his fantasy based-on-a-game books, even keeping in mind that it’s probably dumbed down to cater to gamers, not heavy book readers.

Ghosts of Ascalon ReviewThe awkward use of certain writing and plot devices at random points with no real use annoyed me (that ridiculously misplaced run-on sentence describing the scribe in the dungeon…), his abuse of repetition (trapdoor used 5 times in 2 paragraphs, “he said…she said…they said..said said said”), and random and terrible grammar (“They reached the top. Dougal feeling like a supplicant in the great temple.”) was really distracting from the story.

I also have a hard time enjoying when major plot points are told to us through characters but not shown. I understand that the book series’ aims to bridge the two games, but something about having a character go on for 2 pages telling the stale of what happened to this timeless hero of the past is dull, especially since it happened about four times. The book fell in this awkward no-man’s-land between trying to tell us of this current adventure that had a lot of potential while simultaneously bridging 250 years of lore.

The movement of the plot was slow; by the time real action actually started happening, it was 30 pages from finishing, and then it just -ends- abruptly.

That said, the characterization for the most part was great, and really what saved the book from being a total disappointment. I got a good feel for all the characters and races, although I’d argue it was almost stereotypical. I’d give this a C rating overall – enjoyable as a veteran Guild Wars player and fan of lore in general and decent characterization made it worthwhile. But it falls short in pacing and conclusion that left me feeling unsatisfied.

*Warning: Spoiler heavy beyond the jump….
Continue reading

Guild Wars 2 Profession Speculation

Arenanet spoiled us with the latest profession reveal: the ranger! As predicted by my Podcats buddies and 80% of the GW2 fanbase. Everybody’s in a hussle now about who’s next, what we will get to play at the demos at this summer’s big conventions, and who the final 8 will be.

What we know for sure right how: GW2 will have 8 professions (down from 10 in GW1) some of which GW1 players will be familiar with, and two that are new. They are  getting rid of the secondary profession mechanic, something that will be sorely missed, but I am looking forward to the profession / racial skill mixes and player combos to replace this.

They’ve separated the professions into three typical armor types: 3 cloth/light (scholars), 3 leather/medium (adventurers),  and 2 metal/heavy (soldiers).

And for weapons:
One-Handed: Axe, dagger, mace, pistol, scepter, and sword.
Two-Handed: Greatsword, hammer, longbow, rifle, shortbow, and staff.
Offhand only: Focus, shield, torch, and warhorn.

Our last major clue-hub is this collection of class art, 3 of which have been confirmed with the prof releases.

We know we’re getting Elementalists, Warriors, and Rangers. From the art, we can confidently say we’re getting Assassins and Mesmers. Four out of the six original professions, and one of the added profs making up five out of the six original professions making it to GW2. The last profession in that image (2nd from the bottom) is undoubtedly our 2nd solider  and one of the two new classes, likely a heavy support / buff profession.

That leaves us with five professions to ponder for two spots: necromancer, monk, ritualist, paragon, and dervish, and the 2nd new one.

Monk
I originally predicted Monk as one of the four professions we’d get before the convention demos this summer, but since then we’ve learned that there’s no dedicated healing class in GW2. As such, I figure it’s difficult to bring back the idea of the Monk because of this. What would they do? Just smite? We may not see them at all. On the same token, though, monks were so important to GW:Classic lore and are direct hands of Dwayna and Balthazaar (I mean just look at Mhenlo, come on!) that it’s also hard to imagine Tyria without them. Regardless, I have my doubts they’d be the next reveal anyway.

Necromancer / Mesmer
Two of the most unique and fun classes in the history of online gaming. The Necromancer of Guild Wars is an agent of darkness whose affinities are that of blood, curses, and raising the dead. Necromancers had many skills that required sacrifices of their own health or using the bodies of others to raise an army. Mesmers are enchanters by nature, using illusions and hexes to inflict damage or cause their enemies to damage themselves. They are also apt at interrupting and shutting down foes for small periods of time.
Do to their uniqueness and utility, I feel these professions were what set Guilds Wars apart from all other MMO’s at the time of its release. They were also considered the more advanced classes to play, and are both hugely affective in PvP. Because of their uniqueness to Guild Wars, I feel they have a chance of staying, though likely in a combined form. Their skills generally synergied well (illusion, domnation, and curses, for instance, were practically the same). I think Mesmers will be a new adventure class, getting an upgrade from cloth to leather and able to use pistols. Additionally, they will either be absorbing some of the Necromancer mechanics, or necros will be coming in a later expac as an additional class. The last of the original six is a toss up between Monk and Necromancer.

Dervish / Paragon
I’m certain these will be cut from GW2. First off, the exclusion of scythes and spears in the weapon list is one huge indicator.  There’s really no room for these guys in GW2, at least not off the bat. Despite their God Forms, the dervish were nothing more than self healing warriors that used scythes for AoE. I feel the idea of the Paragon will find it’s home in the 2nd Solider class: what I think will be the Seraph profession as indicated by the War in Kyrta who may use shouts and buffs. The picture has this profession holding a shield and mace, a weapon grouping that was suggested in a Q&A as being a support combo.

Ritualist
I don’t think Rit will be one of the original 8, but I have a feeling we may see them come back along with Necros in a future expansion. They are a different  and fun class with enough uniqueness as far as spirit summons, weapon skills, and channeling to bring them back eventually.

So who’s next?

I’m going to go out on a limb here with my prediction: I think we may be seeing the first of the two new professions next.

Why do I think this? It would make sense with 8 professions. Three already known: ele, warrior, ranger, followed by a new profession in mid August, right in the nick of time for Gamescom when the demo comes out. The new profession would be the big draw for existing fans, while the game itself will draw curious newcomers. Then the cycle begins anew: Assassin, Mesmer, Necro/Monk, new profession. By December, all eight professions are known, just in time for the first rounds of closed beta in January.
We’ve already seen a lot of this new soldier profession – 8 on the image -, although I’m sure right now s/he’s been easily confused with warriors. Still, though, I think a few of the screens are of this new class (wings on the head).

If not, though, I predict the next reveal to be the assassin.
First off, based on the image above we know they will be in there. We’ve seen them in screenshots now, and there seems to be a small pattern with the image on the official site. They seem to be revealing the classes spiraling outward from the middle. The assassin (lower left, crouched) would be the logical next step, and as a close-ranged fast melee class, would fit nicely.

What breaks the pattern, though, is the Scholar [1] > Solidier [2] > Adventurer [3] > Adventurer ??
Due to the weird armor break down, though (3 cloth, 3 leather, 2 metal) it’s not logical to follow a set pattern that way.

Anyway, if we’re going by this I predict the following (as to the pic):
4) Assasin
5) Monk/Necro
6) Mesmer
7) New Scholar (If Mesmer is an Adventurer) or new Adventurer (Gunner class, if mesmer is Scholar)
8) New Soldier

If we’re going by my original prediction + the image, I’d expect:
4) New Soldier
5) Mesmer (6 on pic)
6) Monk/Necro (5 on pic)
7) Assassin (4 on pic)
8) New Scholar/Adventurer (7 on pic)

Time to wait and see!

GW2 Death & Ressurection is non-existent?

It’s been forever since I’ve covered the future Love of My Life, Guild Wars 2, and what a lame way to treat it.

There’s been a ton of information released of late, and it feels like with each new piece of information ArenaNET releases to the masses, the more and more evident the level of game-breaking innovation we see coming from this major project. Even Tycho from Penny Arcade said that the mere “presence” of GW2 is a force to be reckoned with, and I couldn’t agree more. I think all fans of the Guild Wars Classic are swelling with more than a little pride right now. I know I am.

Over the next few days I’m going to be covering as much of the info as possible and put my thoughts into it.
Today we will cover the dreaded….

Death and Rebirth
ArenaNET Finally released information on death and resurrection in GW2 and gave us the interesting notion that there is none. Oh yes, you heard right.

There is no technial death in Guild Wars 2.

They recognize the need for ‘dying’, or being ‘defeated’ as they call it, as a necessary element in any mmo: it’s there to force players to think about what they are doing, and thus build skill, as well as add drama to combat. However, they don’t want it to be a tedious punishment as it can be in current games. So they changed it.  No more corpse runs, no movement slowing death illness, and, by the light of Dwayna, no freaking Death Penalty. Instead, defeat in GW2 will have an extra step called ‘downed mode’ which means you’ve run out of HP, but you have one last chance to redeem yourself. Your skill bars will change, and if you are able to somehow defeat your enemy in this handicapped state, you will rally and come back to full ability.

If you’re unable to do so, you will then be defeated, which is more akin to passing out. Then you can wait to be revived by an ally (all characters will start with the ability to revive, regardless of race or profession, from day one!) or revive yourself at a waypoint for a little bit of gold. The only punishment that will be instilled is an internal timer. If you pass out repeatedly in succession, it will take longer and longer to be revived. This is likely to keep players from corpse-running to areas they shouldn’t be going at their level.

Thoughts
I love this idea of a Last Stand. It’s going to make combat so much more fun and and ‘dynamic’, the golden word for GW2. The implications for PvP, especially, gets me excited to think about. Try imagining this Downed Mode working with how GvG functions right now, in which dying is a long-term experience. Instead of being completely out of the game, downed allies have a chance to still make an effort or comeback. Such a system could really change

I do question, though, how much time they would have to do so. The downed skills are weak, and I would imagine if in PvP you have a focus (such as killing the support first), they would continue focusing a downed target until they are fully defeated. Is there some sort of protective buff they would get? We do know that PvPers get a special finishing move on Downed opponents, suggesting that maybe a downed player is un-defeatable unless this move is used. I dunno, it’s pretty weird.

The community is still a little iffy on the subject right now, as expected with something new like this. Although not new to multiplayer games (Borderlands, LFD, etc), it’s still a pretty unique concept to instill in a progressive MMORPG.

Well, once again ArenaNET has dropped the ball and is supplying us left and right with new and stunning info on their game. Here’s to a whole lot more bizzare, genre-bending mechanics!

What -will- they come up with next?

The Races of Guild Wars 2 and Who Will Play Them

Disclaimer – This post was written before we knew about the final profession line-up. It’s also kind of dumb / silly. Please take it as humorous satire and nothing more. 

 

As if it wasn’t already obvious, I’ve been playing video games and trolling the internet for a looongggg time (12 year veteran on the latter). Having been active in many online communities including RPs, forums, Live Journal, and MMOs, I’ve got a lot of experience with the different types of … *personalities* you will often find lurking around the web. And I’m being kind, here.

Every MMO that offers multiple races/classes, which is the majority of them, will find that certain demographics of players will stereotypically be attracted to a certain type of character or role. A common gaming stereotype, for example, is that females tend to be healers or casters, while males are more likely to take tanking and melee damage roles.

Now before I get chewed out for saying this, I’m more than aware that these are generalities and do not apply to everyone. But the same way Asians usually are smart, and lawyers usually are soul-less, we have to keep in mind that stereotypes are generally based on observable tendencies within certain demographics.

So anyway, this post is pretty much about this. Guild Wars 2 will offer five races, and here I’ve ranked them in the order of which I predict will be most popular, when, and who will be the people playing them. These predictions are based on an “assumption” that each race can play any profession and that there will be no racial affinities/passives (IE Sylvari have improved bow usage), both of which have a high possibility of being implemented and could change the demographics.

And while I hate to do it, I will be referencing WoW since it has the largest population of players and has been my main source of experience in the past.


Sylvari


Popularity Rank : 1
Player Gender: Majority Female
Popular Professions: Mesmer, Ranger, Ritualist, Monk
Naming Trends: Those related to the mystical, nature, gods, and pointing out that the player is female.
-Melandrus Daughter, Keeper of Wolves, M A L I N A, Hexual Healing, Short Skirt Double DD
Likely Personalities:
-Old School GW players who care about lore.
-15-year-old attention whores
-New GW Players
-Gay Men
It was a toss up between Sylvari and Human for #1, but Sylvari beat them out for several key reasons.
Old school guild wars players are very interested in the Sylvari because they are the only race we haven’t encountered in Guild Wars 1. We’ve played humans for five years, so it’s time for a change.
Gamers who have done MMORPG but aren’t familiar with Guild Wars will likely be intrigued by the Sylvari since they are mystical and unique yet not a generic elf race.
Teen and early college-age attention whores will likely roll Sylvari because they’re pretty with British accents. That would also include the bitchy ones who complain in PvP when you’re losing by 2 points, are offended by “Yo Momma” and “That’s what she said” jokes, and have character names like “Cutey Babe IRL.”

However, I think Sylvari will NOT be the Blood/Night Elves of GW2 because they don’t have much to cater to male players. While they are pretty, they don’t strike me as being “hot”, a big reason guys make female toons. The customization options are a little too out there and the males are too thin and lanky to attract many male players who’d rather play hulking, buff manly men (if you think I’m joking, google why Blizz made blood elf males more built, when they were originally much thinner).
I figure Sylvari to be the most popular at first, but expect them to get eclipsed by Humans with time.


Humans

Popularity Rank : 2
Player Gender: Fairly Even, leaning towards male.
Popular Professions: Warrior, Monk, Elementalist, Necromancer
Naming Trends: Generic First/Last names, as well as ones suggesting deep personality. Most likely to be named after existing NPC’s.
-Gerad Omalley, Elena Watson, Cynns Daughter, The Lone Hero, Legend Of Tyria, I Like Swords And Pizza
Likely Personalities:
-Role Players
-New MMO Players
-Lonely Housewives
-Guidos
-Guys who play girl characters.
There really isn’t much to say about Humans. They’re a staple in any MMO, and the most familiar, but kind of generic and boring. Many Role Players will roll Humans because of the familiarity. GW-RPers have often said the descendants of their current toons should be human, and being any of the other races would not make sense. RPers who are new to GW will lean towards humans since they have no idea about the lore of the other races. New mmo players choosing GW2 to pop their cherry will probably go for the “saftey” of being something familiar.
Lonely Housewives and cougars looking for some young, impressionable 20 somethings to make their husbands jealous will probably roll human. Psychologically, people are most likely to fall for a personality behind an avatar they can relate with.
Guidos will be humans cause that’s how they roll.

Charr

Popularity Rank : 3
Player Gender: Mostly Male
Popular Professions: Warrior, Ranger, Elementalist, Assassin
Naming Trends: Many last names compounded with weaponry, attempts at being badass/threatening, taunts, rappers and LoLcat references.
-Cheza Swiftarrow, Thulo Axesmash, Oh Noes Ur Dead, Jay Z Fo Reel, I Can Haz Meow Mix.
Likely Personalities:
-Olllld School GW Players
-Thugs
-Jocks
-Gold Farmers
-12-year-old boys
-Girls who play FPS/RTS
The Charr come in at a close 3rd on the list by a small margin. Old School GW players will love playing the race that, quite literally, shook their world 5 years ago when the game first started. They have a great, war-ridden background story and are likely to attract “Horde”-ish players.
Being the angry beast-race, the Charr will attract lots of the macho-men who like to tear shit up (and who wouldn’t?). 12-year-old boys will also like Charr because either (wrongly) think they are or wish they were as badass as the Charr. Girls who play FPS/RTS games are also likely to play Charr, because they are violent in nature and like bossing guys around.


Asura

Popularity Rank : 4
Player Gender: Fairly Even, leaning towards male.
Popular Professions: Elementalist, Mesmer, Ritualist
Naming Trends: Abusive names challenging the TOS, geeky/nerdy references, phrases of self importance, Engrish, Asian Characters.
-Horney Was Your Mom, Naga Stole My Focus, H A X X E R, Yodas Sister, Rove U Rong Time, 流感吮
Likely Personalities:
-Trolls
-Attention whores pretending to not be attention whores.
-College kids with IT degrees.
-Misguided Felica Day fanboys.
-Asians
The Asura are predicted to be the annoying, short race that the Gnomes have been to WoW, and as such most likely to attract trolls. It’s ironic because they also, as a race, have an unjustified superiority complex to everybody else, most likely compensation for their lack of real credibility shortness. Asura will be the ones dancing on your body in PvP, taunting in general chat, and starting fights in trade/forums.
Attention whores pretending to not be attention whores will be attracted to this race. Asura are cute enough to satiate their need for vanity but ‘different’ enough that they won’t seem like the generic pointy-eared loving facerollers. These are the most dangerous brand of attention whores because they are manipulative and cunning. Most likely the ones to act cool in public but then cry about how their boyfriend left them in WoW for some asian chick who rolled Druid in an attempt to draw you into their trap.

College kids with IT degrees and Asians will like Asura because they will feel a kindred connection to those with an affinity to technology and giant mecha.

Norn

Popularity Rank : 5
Player Gender: Fairly Even, Leaning Towards Male
Naming Trends: Animal references, Nordic/Viking influenced nominers, annoying foreign lettering, references to literature and mythological deities.
-Keeper of Ravens, Cnaiür urs Skiötha, Beowulf From Toronto, The Fist Of Zeus, Woof Bears, Izzies Bank Alt
Popular Professions: Ranger, warrior, dervish, paragon
Likely Personalities:
-Chill Players
-Bored Players
-Canadians
-BankAlts
-Goofballs / Fake RPers
-Short People
I think Norn will be the least played characters because, ascetically, they are just overgrown humans and other than shape shifting they don’t have anything that I feel would attract any specific group of people. Because of this, they will also be the race with the chillest players. They have that “kinda human, but just different enough” feel. People will roll them just to try and then find they’re kinda cool/fun and stick with it.
I feel many bank alts will be Norn, as well as general goofballs because they are such a serious, viking race and it’s funny to imagine them dancing on mailboxes.
Short people will play Norn for the obvious reasons.
I feel like the Norn will be the Tauren of GW2, with a player base that’s laid back and generally liked by everyone, except the Asura because they hate everybody.

Well, with Guild Wars 2 still well over a year off, it’s going to be a long time before I get to see whether I’m right or wrong.
It will be well worth the wait.

Guild Wars 2!!!

This past weekend saw some major announcements in the gaming community, what with Gamecom and Blizzcon going on. So much to babble about, so I’ll start with Guild Wars.

I noticed a lot of hustle and bustle around the Guild Wars 2 facebook page over earlier parts of the week, mostly concept art. Low and behold, Friday the folks over at ArenaNet graced us with the first official Guild Wars 2 trailer.

Needless to say, I had a moment.

The trailer itself is a gorgeous mix of animated concept art that transitions into actual gameplay footage. Arenanet has done a great job of keeping this project under wraps. The whole Guild Wars community was pleasantly surprised to find that the game has indeed been under development over the past 2 years since its initial announcement, and much further along than we expected.

We see the first view of the Sylvari as a playable race in what looks like Mesmer, Dervish, and Elementalist garb . The Asura look amazing with the updated models and graphics, too. A lot less evil bunny! The Humans, Norn, and Charr so far all look great as well. It’s hard to really say much, though, at this point. Lots of eye candy, though, and true to the original game, we have breathtaking landscapes that add to the beauty of the Guild Wars world.

No beta has been announced yet, as the developers want to dazzle players when they take their first steps through the new world. There has been a rumored Q4 2010 release has been circulating around the net, though, so we may see beta coming spring 2010.

I’ll be sacrificing goats to the gods of Beta in hopes for a chance to test run the game.

With this new surge of eye candy and information, the Guild Wars community has also seen a surge in activity. There are tons of places to go to share in the glory of all this media, so have a look at it.

http://guildwars2.com/en/
Official site with the trailer, available for download or stream. Links to the site’s facebook, twitter,

http://www.guildwars2guru.com/
GuildWars Guru has always managed to be a center for community and a link between the Arenanet Team and Players. Without fail they’ve launched a GW2 version of their site, and Arena reps have also registered to be a part of the community. I imagine Guru will edge it’s way as the #1 unofficial center for the new game.

Definitely join and jump in on the discussions!
Check out the trailer, too: