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.

To RP or not to RP? Is it even a question? (With Poll!)

What open world RP might look like.

This is kind of been a hot topic all around since the dawn of gaming. In general, there’s always been a sort of unspoken rivalry between people who play MMOs for the game and those who play for the RP (and then of course those who do both) which has led to some pretty interesting / entertaining conflicts.

At the very least, the idea is that in any RPG video game, you are a playing as someone else (or an incarnation of yourself), and in some sort of role. So in essence, everybody is already technically doing it. Many like to take this to the next level, though, and actually act out as their character. Some do it jokingly, some seriously, and many somewhere in-between. And lets be honest, most of us, dedicated RPers or not, have dabbled in it at least once (don’t lie).

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Guild Wars 2 Charr Week

ArenaNet charrged up the hype machine this week with a look into another one of Guild Wars 2’s featured races: the fearsome charr.  As promised in Monday morning’s post, they took a spin through many of the aspects of the charr: their starter area, their voice-work, the visual design behind their race, and some exciting new lore accompanied by images and an epic video of the Black Citadel.

The week kicked off with a post by Devon Carver, a member of the content design team who has contributed to the charr starter map, talking yet again about the benefits of ArenaNet’s iterative process and how their willingness to go back and change things has really strengthened the design of the game.  Very little of what he said about the process of feedback and iteration is new to people following the game’s development, but it still gave readers a nice glimpse of what to look forward to as a charr.

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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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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

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?

Well, let’s take a look. Continue reading