Guild Wars 2 Profession Repsonse : The Commando. Why not?

ArenaNET threw us for a loop today when they surprised everybody with a full blown profession reveal of the Commando for Guild Wars 2. With the goal to make GW2 a genre-breaking redefinition of what it means to MMO, the Commando aims to seduce the FPS crowd, a notoriously hard to please demographic. Despite the challenge, Anet is confident that fans of games like Mass Effect, Call of Duty, Angry Birds, and Counter Strike will  find a home in this one profession alone.

The SkillZ:

The commando, as one would expect, is well versed in technological warfare of the highest degree. With his finely honed skills, he can use advanced weaponry that the other professions can barely comprehend (and one might worry about the prowess of an Asuran commando). His cache includes a vast collection of varied hand grenades that can do everything from blind, blow stuff up, and explode into an army of kittens. His night vision goggles enhance his already super-human perception into hi-def, useful for night-time fighting, deep subterranean redstone farming, and other unsavory uses. Lastly, his impressive arsenal of vehicles ensures that the commando and his allies will be able to traverse any terrain the world can throw at him. Unnatural blizzards? Creepy forests of crystallized vegetation? Unforgiving whirlpools of impending demise? No problem, officer.

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A walk in Divinity’s Reach, European District

The amazing “Human week” that Anet offered us these past days has spread some light on the most known -yet to be discovered- race of all Tyria; all Guild Wars players are very familiar with humans, some are even bored of playing them and look forward to pass to the “enemy lines” and try some furry fighting. To a humans enthusiast like myself though, the last week represented another reason to like even more this race and learn something new about it: mix that with my european origins and some writing inspiration and you’ll see where we are going here…I’ll do my best to guide you through some places in the human capital of Divinity’s Reach, being them real places in Italy, Europe, or just in my mind.

First stop: Divinity’s Reach


France, Mont Saint Michelle...or should I say Kryta?

Another day gone...will centaurs attack tomorrow as well?

The shape…the colours…this sight is breath-taking, something worth fighting for! It shines in the Krytan planes, spreading hope and warming hearts with courage…there’s never enough courage when it’s down to fighting centaurs

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To Err is human… But That’s Why We Love ’em.

A little late on the train, but here goes!

Ah, humans. It’s hard to imagine them being interesting; people are people. We are human, after all, and we’ve been playing humans in Guild Wars and other games for decades.

But with the information handed to us this week, we’ve been given a little more insight to what will make people tick in Guild Wars 2. They are considered the elder race of Tyria, and the one that is in danger of dying out ; a lore twist that breaks a lot of fantasy conventions.

What has changed (or hasn’t changed?) about the humans? How are they adapting to being dethroned as the king of the hill of races? What are they focusing on?

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Queen Jennah of Kryta

Spoiler Warning: This article contains significant spoilers for Edge of Destiny and minor spoilers for Ghosts of Ascalon. 

And so it is: human week has concluded & we’ve got a lot of tasty information regarding the race as a whole. While we’ve been given a little more insight to their mysterious monarch Queen Jennah, she is still a figure who’s hard to understand and plays a role in Guild Wars 2 that’s yet to be determined. Needless to say, a huge war has erupted among the fans of Tyria in regards to whose side they’re on.

Considering she is the Queen of Kryta, and essentially all of humanity, we still know precious little about Jennah and her true goals and motives. We’ve gotten a handful of tidbits from few sources: passing mention in Ghosts of Ascalon and a few cameos in Edge of Destiny, along with what we learned in human week.  This forces us to kind of piece together what she’s all about. One big issue is that a lot of the information we’re getting isn’t really factual at all but rather opinions from the people around her, which makes it difficult to pin-point exactly what’s going on.

One reason I think she is unpopular now is because of Logan. He’s lost a lot of credit with fans due to his actions in EoD and their “romance” has painted a confusing and unpopular picture of Jennah. Still, I find her to be extremely intriguing and am probably in the minority of fans who support her. Many see her as a manipulative selfish monarch at worst, or needy little girl at best. I fully disagree. I’ll get into that later but first, let’s take a look at what we know for sure so far.

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The Norn & The Kodan: Arctic situation heating up?

The last piece of news Anet published for us was a lore pearl, an in-depth overview of an NPC race we’ll probably have to deal with in Gw2: the Kodan!

 

The Kodan are a proud race of polar bear people, guided by both a spiritual and a military leader, living their lives on floating icebergs that they sail on around the arctic seas. They venerate Koda, who once formed the world and elected the Kodan as the chosen race to guide and protect the spirits of this world.
Beside the awesome description of this race’s habits, religion and culture, Eric Flannum has brought up the relationship between the Kodan and the Norn. Since they shapeshift into bears that’s pretty logical, however something here sounded terribly off-key to my ears…

“The Kodan do not claim any connection or relationship to the norn race, but some Voices (Kodan’s spiritual leaders) choose to interpret early stories of a lost group of Kodan as an explanation of the origin of the norn. If this is true, they argue, then the norn are failed Kodan who have forgotten their place as judges and protectors of the balance, and that is why their true “bear” form has been replaced with a fragile, furless state. Because of this pressure from their shaman, the Kodan often treat the norn as spiritual failures, possibly even a race moving backwards in the cycle of life, toward primitivism and destruction — and that even as the dwarves before them, if this is true, the norn are a race on the edge of extinction.” Continue reading

The Guardian – Predictions, Predilections, and Prognostications

Most people who keep an eye cracked for Guild Wars 2 news have heard about the PC Gamer article that did some name-dropping in the caption of a GW2 image.  The “Blue Mace Lady” that we have all come to know and love has an official name: the guardian.

Until this coming Thursday, the newly-named profession remains shrouded in mystery.  Since speculation about this heavy-armor magic-user has run rampant for quite some time, however, the faithful (and frequently rabid) GW2 community has come up with plenty of hopes and theories.

Comparisons to other games have, naturally, cropped up ( – as well as cross-medium references to such heroes as the Green Lantern!)
Many forum-members across the fansites have been quick to point out the existence of a Guardian class in Lord of the Rings Online, a highly-defensive heavy tank that focuses on keeping aggro.  Since GW2 is hoping to do away with the conventional idea of tanking and replace it with an emphasis on control, the analogy couldn’t be perfect, but the defense (or support, to use GW2 verbiage) aspect of the LotRO Guardian has inspired comparisons.
NCSoft’s Aion has a moderately well-armoured melee magic-user called the Chanter, to whom tentative comparisons have also been drawn. Wielding a staff offensively and switching to a mace and shield for more defensive play, the Chanter offers effective DPS (and debuffs), player-based AoE buffs, and only minor direct healing.  Since many fans have long speculated that the BML is one of the options that will cater to those who enjoyed Monks in the original Guild Wars, the Chanter’s support-oriented blend seems like a likely parallel to the guardian’s theoretical role.
(In support of the guardian-Monk relation, folks have pointed out that the Monk skill “Guardian” seems to fit right in with what we’re expecting from the support in GW2.)
And, of course, one cannot talk about a heavy-armor support class without suddenly being hip-deep in references to WoW’s Paladin.  These gentlefolk are popular for their ability to withstand heavy damage, as well as providing support through their auras, blessings, and seals.
There are others. So many others.

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Edge of Destiny Review & Character Analysis

Spoiler Warning: This article is spoiler-free up until the indicated point. 

So I -finally- got around to finishing EoD. I know a few people were nervous since I gave Ghosts of Ascalon a pretty harsh assessment, but I’m happy to say that I very much enjoyed this book. It really blew GoA out of the water in terms of characters and action.

The characters had much more depth this time around and went beyond their stereotypical roles. Unlike in GoA where each person seemed to be more or less the personification of their race, here they were individuals with quirks, talents, and habits that pushed them into the realm of having substance. Their interactions with one another was also satisfying and believable. Although the dynamic between Logan and Rytlock sometimes teetered on a little ridiculous, it was also the primary source of humor and so it served a purpose making it acceptable and welcome.
There wasn’t much individual growth other than from Caithe,  and everybody’s ultimate reactions at the end, but I think that’s because the focus wasn’t on them separately but rather as a team. It wasn’t about individuals so much but rather Destiny’s Edge: How they came to be, what they meant to the world, and how it ended up. It was important to set that up to make the conclusion that much more significant, so there wasn’t much time, really, to focus on them seperately. So they started out pretty solidified already, which isn’t a bad thing here.

Edge of Destiny Review - Logan Thackeray

The overall story was entertaining because it was a good mixture of telling the tale of the rise and fall of a band of heroes while also setting the stage for GW2. It fulfilled the later much better than GoA did, in my opinion, as the main antagonists were the very dragons we’re expected to challenge in the game. There were a few twists and a few frustrations. But the ending definitely had a bit of a wow-factor to it.

The greatest part was the action. It was relatively non-stop, but done in a way that isn’t overwhelming. We get a lot of build-up for the first big victory which allows us to get to know the characters and exactly what they are capable of, paving the way for the subsequent battles to be told in an increasingly swifter manner without feeling like you missed anything.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed it. Once again we have to keep in mind the purpose of these books: they are to fill us in on the story of the game. As such, we can’t expect Tolkien-level writing since it needs to be accessible to people who may not be regular readers. But for what it is, EoD provided an easy to read, enjoyable adventure that was well-written and dramatic. It gave us a ton of answers and even more questions, and really allowed us to see what challenges we are faced with once it’s our turn to step up to the hero plate in Guild Wars 2.

To The Readers: What did you guys think? Better or worse than GoA?  Favorite characters / parts? How do you think this will affect the stories in GW2? Any other forum discussions / reviews I missed, let me know!
Discussions: GW2G | Quaggan | GW2 Forums | IncGamers
Reviews: Hunter’s Insight | MMO Gamer Chick | JohnnyV

So now for the spoiler-ridden in-depth part, follow the jump
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