Guild Wars, Winds of Change, and the Live Team from #GW2fanday

Sometimes things happen unexpectedly. When invited to visit the Arenanet office and partake in Guild Wars 2 Fanday, we all knew the event would be focused on Guild Wars 2. Certainly, it’s this much-anticipated sequel that has everybody captivated, with press and fans alike more than happy to test, explore, and report on their experiences this past weekend.

What I was pleasantly surprised to find, though, was the fact that at every turn the spirit of the original Guild Wars was there, right from the first moment we sat in the press room at the start of the day. We watched the Play symphony cinematic which was powerful and stunning; and while the visuals were from Guild Wars 2, the music was none other than a medley of the four original themes for Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall, and Eye of the North. There was something hauntingly beautiful about hearing them like this; it was as though they were able to capture the magic of the first time I had ever heard each. It was an extremely nostalgic moment for me, and I believe several of my fellow fans felt the same (::coughPLEASEreleasecough::).

It was appropriate that we’d be treated to a preview of Winds of Change, the next content installment pushing forward the lore of Tyria and Cantha and set the stage for the future. Cantha holds a special place in my heart; Factions has always been my favorite installment of Guild Wars, with 4 out of my 6 PvE 20′s being bred there and the one campaign that I have beaten on every single one of them. As such, I’ve been eagerly awaiting Winds of Change to hit the game.

Despite Shiro’s defeat, the conclusion of Factions did leave a few open-ends. Cantha still needs to recover from its devastation. The afflicted still run amok, and pesky street gangs like the Am Fah and Jade Brotherhood continue to cause trouble and capitalize on the post-affliction recovery.

Guild Wars Winds of Change

Gotta look good savin’ the world. Just sayin’.

That’s where Winds of Change comes in. Although I only got to dabble in the first few sets of quests, we were given some solid back story from the live team. The Ministry of Purity is an organization that aims to clean up Cantha after the chaos that was Shiro’s temporary reign. They insist that the citizens also take-up responsibility to do much of the work.

In a tip of the hat to Guild Wars 2, the events and impact you have during this event will have a lasting effect. For instance, when you first come upon members of the Ministry, you’re greeted (finally) as the hero you are; they are shocked that it’s you, great defender of Tyria, defeater of fallen god, a legend among your people (got the point?) coming back to continue your oh-so-generous work as a savior. As you progress through the campaign, permanent changes will be made. You vanquish the afflicted? Great. Next time you go on, they’ll be gone and replaced by some other hostile enemy (as of yet unspecified).

This will be the trend for this latest bit of Guild Wars Beyond. In total, Winds of Change will come out in 3 installments; each will have it’s own conclusion to avoid the “cliff-hanger” affect from War in Kryta that left some fans frustrated. The first part will have 42 quests including hard-mode versions. No official release date of yet, but I expect it should be out sometime this summer (not-official).

This brings me on the topic of the live-team, and what I meant about things being unexpected. Friday night after dinner it was mix-and mingle time. I wound up a table with Neo Nugget of Guru and a bunch of the guys from Live Team; specifically Joe Kimmes, Robert Gee and eventually Mike Zadorojny and others.

For about three hours or so we all sat around the table sharing our memories of Guild Wars, with other devs coming and going to chime in, and it was wonderful to hear them talk about the game. From the origins of the commando idea to their favorite moments & bugs, to wacky AI and someone who really, really loved paragons (I’m sorry I forgot his name), it was really something to see where the passion for Guild Wars comes from, and see that, like us, they do enjoy playing it, too. They continue to push the original game as far as they possibly go; there are many things that they thought impossible that they’ve managed to add to the game and much more that they’re more than willing to test.

It was great understanding the why’s and why not’s of the game, as well. There are lots of features and changes fans ask for that, while the devs would love to implement, they simply cannot because of the limitations of the engine that they have. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t tried their hardest to make as much happen as possible.

Eventually I asked what they planned on doing once Guild Wars 2 came out, and if they expected to still work on Guild Wars and the answer was sincere; as long as there’s still a demand for it, they will continue to support Guild Wars, but ultimately it’s up to the fans. That’s both empowering and scary!

All-in-all, the entire experience left me feeling really assured and revitalized. I couldn’t wait to get home and get a chance to play the original; not quite the reaction I was expecting. Not that I wasn’t thrilled to play and preview Guild Wars 2, but it’s good to be reminded this great game to come was built on the foundation of an amazing predecessor which is still being treated well by its developers.

Guild Wars Winds of Change

Check out Ravious of Kill Ten Rat’s review of Winds of Change.

As originally seen 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.

Welcome to the Dungeons – #GW2FanDay

My experience of going through the Catacombs dungeon at ArenaNet’s recent Fan Day was perhaps the single most enlightening experience of the entire wonderful day . It had everything – the companionship, the fun, and the visible fulfillment of many promises and bold statements on behalf of the developers. It was, effectively, a microcosm of the event as a whole: in it, one could find all the elements which defined the success of the entire venture.

also: everything was gorgeous

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ArenaNet Open House / Guild Wars 2 FanDay Preview!

The floodgates, as they say, have been opened. Be prepared!

I was extremely thrilled (and extremely lucky) to have been invited to the new ArenaNet office for a community FanDay event being held this Friday, June 24th. Myself and the other 16 or  lucky community reps and fans are in for some crazy surprises, and the ANet crew has been more than generous with their relentless teasing and secrecy. Seriously, we have -no idea- what the devious developers have in store for us (perhaps we like it that way?…Maybe…).

While this is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow — the kind that only comes once every 75 years like a comet and drops ectos from the sky– myself and the others are still on a mission.

This is what we were all thinking. And anybody who says otherwise is a liar.

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Guild Wars 2 Expansions: New Professions vs New Races vs New Content

This is a pretty hot-topic that’s been coming out again and again over the past few months and got a little buzz recently due to some confusion over a “no stand-alone compaign” comment.

We’ve known ANet plans on adding expansions in one form or another for Guild Wars 2. Those sorts of things come naturally with most in this genre of gaming. But with their plans on bending MMO conventions, it’s fun to think about what exactly would an expansion entail. What sort of shiny, new gifts under the tree can we expect, or dare we desire, for future content? And how, exactly, should they be released?

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Guild Wars 2 Demo Review and the Guardian

Months behind, I know, I know, but I wanted to dedicate lots of time and effort to this article because it most certainly deserved it.

Back at Pax East 2011, I finally got a chance to try out the new re-hashed demo. After comically standing in line for a small eternity, it was like that first sip of peyote after wandering the Sahara for days. I seriously could not believe I was actually playing Guild Wars 2.

Ridiculous gloating aside… wow. Pretty much everything I have heard and read about this demo turned out to be true. At first glance, the game is visually stunning. Of course we can attribute bad-ass hardware for a lot of that, too. Like many of you out there, I am still curious to see how the game will play on older computers with less of the bells and whistles. Still, Guild Wars 2 is a feast for the eyes, combining art and immersion with gameplay in a way that echos its predecessor.

Facing your opponent is key.

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GW2 Profession Response: Engineer (Boom goes the dy-na-mite!)

I was pleasantly surprised to find my twitter feed buzzing with excitement over the engineer profession release today, a fitting addition after discussing the idea of advanced vs standard gameplay mechanics. Fans have been predicting the 3rd adventurer class for years; as it turns out, pretty much everybody was right. The most common guesses were engineer, gunner, and alchemist. Lo and behold, it would seem we got all three jam packed into one.

Overview:
The same way the mesmer was iconic to what made Guild Wars unique, I believe the engineer will become the icon of Guild Wars 2 (sorry Nox-hexwise). It’s as though the very style of the new engineer profession embodies the key changes that make GW2’s gameplay revolutionary, but at the same time pays homage to the classic Guild Wars mechanics we love so much, such as trapping and spirits.

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Guild Wars 1 & 2 Profession Playstyles: Standard vs Advanced

Guild Wars offers a total of ten carefully fashioned professions that cover just about all your standard MMO needs, and then some. One thing you’ll notice when reading descriptions in the original manual is that some of these offer what ANet considers more advanced play-styles, a factor that attracted me to make a mesmer as my first character. What does that mean, though? Exactly how do you define standard and advanced, and how would such concepts fit, if at all, in Guild Wars 2? Let’s explore.

First off, we need to get rid of the notion that standard classes in Guild Wars are “ez mode”. What I consider standard is something that is accessible to new players, straight forward in their play, and flexible. This isn’t to say they take no skill to learn or that they don’t offer something for those with experience; the use of four sometimes very different attributes and the ability to combine your skills with a secondary profession are the bread and butter of what makes Guild Wars such a fantastic game to play. Generally speaking, the warrior and elementalist are most commonly referred to as standard.

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