You Said There Was No Holy Trinity!


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Now that the 20th of February has come and gone and we’re all drunk on GW2 news – holy crap, *beta registration* much? – I’d like to toss out a thought I had about their Holy Trinity-less combat while I was introducing this epic game to my friends. Of course, my greater goal – besides bringing more revenue to ArenaNet – was to have people to play with so I wouldn’t be stuck swinging a lightsaber alone. Oops, that was the lonely, bitter, SWTOR-playing, side of me talking.

Like any hardcore GW2 fan out there, I started off with the three basic, but most common, factors on why you should be playing GW2 and combat definitely came into play. I smugly proclaimed to my friends: “ArenaNet aims to remove the Holy Trinity so you will never have to ‘LFG’ again if you want to run a dungeon. Why should the game make you wait to have fun instead of just letting you have fun? It doesn’t make sense.”

"I'll guard you. Let them come through ME first!"

 

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What Will Guild Wars 2 Do to Me?


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I often wonder what life will be like after Guild Wars 2 is released.

Being an equally cold and boring day last week, I decided to load RIFT for the first time in months. It was the first day of their new “Lite” program (letting you play for free until level 20), so I figured, “Why not?” The patch took ten minutes and making a new character took twenty. Smooth as expected.

But when I loaded into the tutorial zone and played through it to the actual game itself, I started to wonder if I will ever truly be able to play a MMORPG like this again after Guild Wars 2.

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Valentine’s in Dragon-Blasted Times


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Even in times such as these, the good people of Tyria need a little frivolity to take their minds off the centaur attacks, the threat of the Elder Dragons and the almost constant smell of swamp water emanating from the local Hylek mercenaries. You are all; I’m sure, well-versed in how to woo a human, but here’s how to romance the other races of Tyria:

Asura

Not prone to sentiment, the way to an asuran’s heart is through their brain. Rather than love poems, they prefer complicated schematics or a nice long equation. Flowers are great, but gadgets and gizmos are better – give your asuran sweetheart a bouquet of new work-tools (sonic astral-mallets, seismic screwdrivers or a set of allen keys made from pure obsidian are particularly romantic). Nothing says “I love you” like an 18ft bright pink golem which shoots chocolate love hearts from a shoulder-mounted blunderbuss. As the day wears on, the true meaning of the festival is overtaken by the need to out-do the other suitors – often, the end of Valentine’s day is accompanied by fantastic magic-filled explosions as exuberant asuran Lotharios push their mechanical romantic creations a little too far.

 

Charr

The charr value loyalty above all else, so it shouldn’t be surprising that a festival celebrating the strength of relationships should be so popular. Charr relationships are often bristly affairs; with both sexes being just as fierce in their compunction to display their affection whilst simultaneously not wanting to seem to have conceded ground to their partner. So, displays of affection are often understated and gifts are balanced out between practical and sentimental – flowers are accompanied by a new revolving-barrel pistol, a new looking-glass and a new great-sword, candies and claw-guards.

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Bold Prophecies


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“According to tradition, the dragon embodies passion, independence, and ambition. We think it’s a perfect analogy for what we’re trying to accomplish with Guild Wars 2.”

ArenaNet have just updated their blog with an article that is somewhere between a promise and a call to arms, a mission statement and a battlecry.

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon,” they say, and proceed to lay out a general plan for what fans can expect in the next couple months of preparation for release.

There is no live date even hinted at, but ArenaNet have committed to ship this year.  This isn’t surprising – even the most level-headed of fans would likely have been taken aback had the team held off til 2013 – but it is tremendously pleasant.  There’s mention of increasingly-large beta testing in the coming months, all culminating in the hugely-anticipated release sometime later this year. 

It’s a fantastically direct article that falls in line with some of the earliest statements we heard about the game – this is not a team of people to speak shyly about the work that they are so evidently proud of.

So, welcome to the year of the Dragon.  It seems we shall all be in for quite a treat.

 

The Curious Case of Race in Guild Wars 2


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The typical demographic divisions are an oft-examined subject in gaming. Gender and sexuality are the most regularly explored (usually fuelled by the ubiquitous scantily clad portrayal of the female form in MMOs and fantasy RPGs in general). Race, however, is an altogether more difficult concept to grasp in games. The stereotyping isn’t quite so “in your face” – for example, games which dictate that all female armour must look like there was a dramatic shortage of leather and plate are a dime-a-dozen, but I don’t think there are many games which say that if you’re white you have to wear one armour and if you’re black you must wear another. It’s certainly a strange dichotomy – why should your gender dictate your armour style, but your race shouldn’t? Or, more succinctly: why should either? The upshot is that race is usually expressed in character creation processes through choosing “skin colour” or “facial structure”.

In the original game the three campaigns were very blatantly culturally split – Prophecies (for the most part) seems to be European/Western, the Canthan domain in Factions is obviously of Asian influence and Elona from Nightfall is more African/Arabian. These influences are expressed through the architecture, enemies faced (often influenced by the RL mythology of the culture), NPC style and dialogue as well as the character creation options you receive when you create a character in that particular expansion. It was a relatively brave move; when you start to build an in-game culture which has influences in certain real-world racial areas you have to be careful to dodge stereotypes and for the most part ANet managed to do this perfectly – I don’t think you could ever claim that the game even edges towards being “racist”.

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Ghost of Holidays Future


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His jokes'll slay you!

With the eighth Guild Wars Halloween coming to a close (we had two Halloweens in 2008, if you recall) it is time to work on our Sweet Tooth titles, time to dye our new costumes, time to sport our new Tricornes and Reaper’s Hoods, and time to look forward to the future.

But let us not forget about the past.

Halloween 2005 was the first holiday event ANet introduced. Before the time of titles and expansions, Mad King Thorn’s influence spread only over Lion’s Arch and Droknar’s Forge and only 4 treats were available to players. The hat that year was the Pumpkin Crown and sadly, it’s the only one I don’t have. You see, I was new to GW then. I had just started playing in September 2005 and knew nothing of this new event. Instead, I helped hand out candy that year.

Still, it was the start of numerous annual events from April Fools Day to Talk Like a Pirate to the longer lasting, and more well known, Wintersday, Dragon Festival, and Canthan New Years. Interestingly enough, there are no Elonian holidays… Lots of consumables to be had for titles and lots of hats and special items to share and show off.

Now to the present.

 

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Snaff, the Greatest Asura


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SPOILER ALERT! Please be forewarned that reading from this point forward is going into material covered in the book Edge of Destiny and from an impromptu Q&A with Lore Master Jeff Grubb!

“Snaff might be the greatest Asura in history and it’s not because he is the smartest but because he is personable and treats others with respect.” – Jeff Grubb, PAX Prime on Sunday.

Hello and Welcome everyone, BigCat72 here with a new post for you today on a subject that has been on my mind for the past month! Snaff, the Greatest Asura! I didn’t feel I had enough information on the subject before to write out what I wanted to write, but thanks to being at PAX Prime and being able to speak with Jeff Grubb in a pseudo 1 on 1 Q & A, I feel confident with the information I can bring to you today! I will start out by going over what I do know of him from the book and then move into the information that I later learned while having a pleasant discussion with Jeff Grubb.

So here we go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it.

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