Swimming in GW2: Long Walks Off Short Piers

I am often stunned by the sheer level of detail that went into the design and implementation of Guild Wars 2. Yes, I love questing, but when I don’t have the time or just want to do something relaxing, there’s so much more to do in Tyria. One of my favorite GW2 pastimes is swimming (no jokes about the natural buoyancy of sylvari, please…).

GW2 really hit the mark here. Not only is the water beautiful and realistic, but swimming feels authentic. On my first full day of GW2, I spent over an hour just splashing around, swimming and exploring in a single area. I love that there is no timer for underwater areas, no oxygen meter to keep up with. Swimming is hassle-free. I’m not great at underwater combat; spear guns and harpoons really aren’t my forte. Combat feels as it should though, and I have to admit, trying to fire an arrow or swing a greatsword would be pretty ridiculous in those situations.

I thought I would share a couple of my favorite splashy haunts, which I love for varying reasons.  There is so much more than scenery to be had on your aquatic adventures (though there’s plenty of that, too!).

For the player seeking relaxation and peaceful vistas, I recommend swimming to the area just east of Laughing Gull Island along the Bloodtide Coast. GW2 Laughing Gull IslandHere, if you don’t mind fighting your way across the island, you will be rewarded by spectacular views and water that you just know is warm and inviting. The weather and the time of day play games of light and shadow with the water, the sky, and the picturesque islands directly opposite Laughing Gull. If you’re screenshot-happy like me, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the 360-degree beauty of this spot as you swim through the narrow channel (the chef in me insists on reminding you that there are sugar pumpkin nodes, lots of them, on Laughing Gull Island, though they’re surrounded by angry trolls — soloing them is not your best bet if you’re not playing a melee char.)

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The World of Tyria; Meet your Guild Wars 2 Lore Heroes.

As an avid explorer (no, my name’s not Dora, I’m talking Guild Wars 2, here), I find it captivating to walk around Tyria and discover places I recognize from the Lore – ruins from Guild Wars 1, villages rebuilt, cities still standing. I think it’s worth mentioning how far ArenaNet has gone to really make us fanboys and fangirls squee with happiness when we see one single character we used to know in Guild Wars 1 or even some we’ve read about in Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny. During the last beta weekend, I managed to get one of those moments for myself to keep and immortalize into a screenshot that is now my desktop background.

Dougal Keane

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Dougal Keane, Ghosts of Ascalon’s main character. I’m not going to explain in depth who he is and what he did, because I’m sure there are people out there who do not want any spoilers, but I will tell you this; he’s a major character in the book and is hired to retrieve the Claw of Khan-Ur from Ascalon City. With one of each race (Riona Grady a human, Gullik Oddsson the norn, Killeen the sylvari, Ember Doomforge the charr and Kranxx the asura), he travels across Tyria to the city of Ascalon, now ran by ghosts ever since the Foefire. I was going around Lion’s Arch with my asura and when I saw his name, I instantly “eeek”ed and immediately told my guildies through a Ventrilo conversation which typically went like this; “OH. MY. GOD. GUYS. EEEEEK!”. Major fangirlism? Check. Needless to say, I took several screenshots, one of which is displayed on the left. Compared to an asura, he is pretty tall! But then again, who isn’t, when compared to the asura. Continue reading

New Krytan; the language of Tyria

Running around Tyria, exploring hidden places, jumping puzzles and overhearing NPC conversations are some of the things that make Guild Wars 2 such a great game. The world of Tyria is filled with details, most of which we walk by and leave unnoticed. Not because we don’t care, but because they are so very well camouflaged into the world that we don’t pay attention. Just like “in real life”. So much to see, so much to do, so very little time to get everything done!

One thing I’ve grown to absolutely love in the game is New Krytan. For those who don’t know, New Krytan is a language of Tyria, used by many cultures and races. It’s the equivalent of the ‘real world’’s English. If you were to travel many places, this is the language you would use to have a better chance at being understood by others.

Here’s a little bit of history concerning New Krytan, as written on GW2 Wiki:

New Krytan alphabet as seen on GW2 Wiki

New Krytan was designed by the Durmand Priory as a compromise between the Old Ascalonian and Old Krytan alphabets and accepted as an official language in 1105 AE.

Over the past 220 years, New Krytan has become the standard writing system in Tyria and is used widely throughout the human kingdom, the asura colleges, and by the norn. The Durmand Priory set out to promote literacy and make the use of the new alphabet commonplace, so that all intelligent beings could understand the new language appearing all around them.

The New Krytan alphabet can be found everywhere in game; from street signs to engravings on shields, even spending time in the cemeteries found in Tyria can be fun! It’s another facet of exploring this gigantic world; several layers of terrain, tiny details everywhere. Those who love exploring will be satisfied just by spending a single day in Divinity’s Reach: Libraries, book stands, signs and NPC clothing, all of those have New Krytan waiting to be deciphered.

Now, you don’t have to learn New Krytan to be able to play Guild Wars 2. That said, as the language lover that I am, I couldn’t help but notice that the world of Tyria was filled with New Krytan content and was compelled to translate everything I could find. I have deciphered so many signs that I can now read New Krytan! A little geeky, or very dedicated? Who knows! What I know is that I can share some of the findings I, along with other players, have found through the world of Tyria. Continue reading

Exploring Tyria; where no games have gone before.

 

Submerged Lion’s Arch

Guild Wars 2 has some breathtaking sceneries. From cities to charred fields, even the sewers under Lion’s Arch offer a great view, so much so that you can actually smell those Oozes attacking you. Yuck. But did you know that you can also see what stood in those places, 250 years ago? I’m talking about Guild Wars 1, of course.

Players are familiar with the story, accustomed to places, and it’s those settings that will get Guild Wars 1 players emotional when they see it, and new players wondering what’s behind it. The screenshot above was taken in the waters of Lion’s Arch by an avid player. This is Old LA, folks. Statues of lions now keep company with the fish and underwater residents, old steps leading the crabs to what used to be a bridge, now a forest of colorful algae.

A Guild Wars 1 & 2 enthusiast has gone even further than simply exploring what used to be. On her fan blog, ProjectTyria, she put up a few pictures of the “before and afters” of Tyria. One thing I absolutely love about Guild Wars 2 is the exploring aspect (you would think that’s obvious, being one of the exploration writers!). So when she showed me what she has done with those, I was floored… In a good way, of course! Continue reading

GuildWars2 Machinima: Thoughts and Suggestions

A game’s community consists of a wide variety of aspects. Today I want to talk about a part of the extended experience offered by a game’s community: player-made videos. Otherwise known as Machinima. For years now YouTube and other video sites have been swarmed by videos of gaming footage, music video’s, series and even South Park episodes entirely created in-game. It allows players to enjoy the game in new ways as a self-sustaining part of community plus it offers free promotion to get your game out there.

Now the current development of GuildWars2 had me worried for a bit. There’s no way to unlock the camera angle at the moment and even other features such as spectator mode are still early in development or just under discussion. Wouldn’t it be cool to receive some freedom with the camera so you can really enjoy the environments around you, or get that perfect angle for your scene? Or maybe you want to show off a great kill you scored in a recent PvP match.

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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.

Geographically impaired – The places to visit in Guild Wars

Tyria is a huge world. Most players haven’t gotten the Cartographer title for all campaigns, so we’ve all got places we haven’t been yet. Especially since I upgraded my video card, revisiting these beautiful or interesting areas is awesome just for looking around, even if there isn’t a quest or loot involved.

Pale Tree

This spot in the Tarnished Coast is spectacular. Glowing plants, pools, crazy critters… this area is almost like Pandora from the Avatar movie.

According to the GW2 lore, deep in the jungle the Pale Tree will give birth to the Sylvari some years down the line. You can visit this tree and its centaur prophet anytime. Not really any quests out here, though there are a few items people farm. Its worth the travel just for fun (and hey it might help with your cartographer title). Continue reading