Playing the Race Card on Builds

http://wiki.guildwars2.com/images/e/eb/Destiny%27s_Edge_03_concept_art.jpg

If each member of Destiny's Edge had their professions mixed up, would they fight the same?

With the recent Press Beta, and the bombardment of news that followed, we were presented with an influx of information fully revealing weapon skill sets and a large chunk (if not all) of each profession’s utility skills. We also saw the new Trait System that players have at their disposal to customize their chosen profession to suite their wanted play style. Now there have already been several websites that have used this information by creating helpful tools that many future players have begun to use to make their preferred builds. Although it’s great seeing these theorycrafters work with the information given to them, there is still one piece missing in this customization pie; Racial skills.

Remember, from the information ArenaNet developers have presented to us, we know that racial skills are more or less the flavor given to each individual race, making them distinct from each other in a mechanical sense. They also allow a person to tweak any given profession by giving them access to skills they normally wouldn’t have. Are you a guardian seeking a way to hinder an enemy’s movement without relying on a scepter or two signets’ activated abilities? Well, as a sylvari you can have roots magically grow from the ground to do just that, or as a charr you can place a few mines that can cripple, with the added benefit of bleeding, foes who step over them. Do you want to give your rifle wielding charr warrior some more gunpowder love? You’re in luck; charr can pull out a hidden pistol and shoot someone in the face with it! Let’s also not forget norn animal forms, asuran battle suits, and Hounds of Balthazar! Racial skills allow for a bit more diversity within any given profession, allowing for better customization to anyone’s play style. Continue reading

Everything’s Blown Up to Holy Hell

Credit: Massively.com/NCSoft

 

Yup, you read that right. I haven’t read the thread on GW2Guru but I’m sure the entire onlinesphere has blown up to holy hell with the release of Guild Wars 2’s pre-order details about 2 hours ago. I’ll leave the hot honeyed mess of a forum thread to sift through later because I can bet my upcoming Collector’s Edition of GW2 that there’re angry, angry people with their pitchforks threatening to stab it into the eyes of the staff members of ArenaNet.

I was having dinner at a 1 Michelin star Chinese restaurant when I saw Elixabeth’s tweet and I practically freaked out at the dining table and shrieked with excitement. I think a lot of people are excited because this is tangible proof that GW2 has reached another milestone and we’re that much closer to getting our hands on a physical copy. Screw the press beta because as long as we didn’t get our hands on it, it didn’t happen. Hah!

So the CE is priced at $149.99 – I’m assuming all prices stated are in USD – and in addition to a nifty elite skill to summon a Mistfire Wolf (holy crap, imagine that!), you’ll get a mini Rytlock; a 10-inch Rytlock figurine to go with the miniature version; a ‘Making of’ book; more art prints and a soundtrack. Digital Deluxe Edition goes for $79.99 while the Standard Edition makes you poorer by only $59.99.

Kudos to ArenaNet though for allowing anyone who purchases any of the three instead of just the CE and/or Digital Deluxe to get the pre-order bonuses: A Hero’s Band, access to *all* beta weekend events and a three-day headstart access.

Oh, and Elixabeth, I call dibs on ‘Legolas’ and any variation of the name, even if it’s xLegolasXx. I love Orlando Bloom and I’ll fight you for it. Haha!

While some are slightly deterred by the CE price of $149.99 either because of the budget or the Rytlock figurine, I’ll gladly shell out that amount for it. After converting to local currency, it’s around $170 to $180 for me but hey, I’ve not bought a CE in my life so I’m willing to burn that hole in my pocket.

To the readers: Are you happy with what’s included in the Collector’s Edition? Or is Rytlock not to your liking? Which edition are you most likely to get? Or will you just get the Standard Edition and get the other items on eBay? Will you shell out 150 bucks for the CE or is it out of your budget? And no, I won’t ask if anyone else wants ‘Legolas’; Tyria ain’t big enough for the two of us.

About the author: A self-proclaimed geek, Damagedself constantly straddles between the two very different worlds of gaming and entertainment. While not slinging fireballs from his sexy female Elementalist, he’s swooning over Darren Criss on Glee. He loves watching television and enjoys the witty dialogues of Grey’s Anatomy. Constantly fantasizes on how the hospitals of Singapore would be more enjoyable if the doctors were as gorgeous as the fake ones on Grey’s.

Asura: Cute and cuddly or heartless and selfish?

Asura are the smallest of the playable races in Guild Wars 2. They’re the cute* race. Fuzzy, cuddly… wait – are those pointy teeth? And what’s with this maniac grin? Is… is that a golem running towards me? In other words: They are everything but cuddly and cute, that is for sure. I wonder what it will be like playing an asura…

 

“You give a new meaning to the term “counter-intelligence.”
(Vekk in Guild Wars)

Continue reading

Cracks in the Patio: Where ANet might trip

I love my metaphors. Bars and Guilds, Sex and Games etc. Well, here’s another: the Patio.

Ok, picture the scene: A swanky London garden party, the grass is immaculately trimmed to the millimetre. On the patio, erudite people wearing sunglasses in the early evening light drift between waiters carrying canapés and empty wine glasses. As the sun begins to drop below the horizon, a lone waiter steps out from the house through the sliding patio doors carrying a perfectly stacked tray of sparkling champagne, the crowd turns and applauds – the champagne cascades down the tower and the waiter grins with pride. No sooner has he stepped onto the expertly laid stones is the silver tray flying through the air, the grin turns to horror and the guests are showered with fizzy-pop and broken glass. With a screech, the violins from the band punctuate his landing in a pile of shattered flutes and broken pride. The patio stones are hewn to a fine and flat sheen; they are billiard-table flat – every single one. How on earth did he manage to trip?

In a complex system, often, even if every element is perfectly constructed and each works with its own immaculate internal logic it is the joins where you can trip up. You can look at a skill and see that it is built perfectly: not excessively powerful in its effect, a recharge time which is not too long, but not overly short to encourage spamming, a cast time which is proportionate. Great – send it out, this skill is ready! But the skill might be internally balanced, but it is where it rubs up against other skills that the imbalances begin to emerge. The same goes for every game element.

Guild Wars 2 is an extremely complex system. Skills, traits, crafting, armour, weapons, dynamic events, mini-games, dungeons, PvP and countless other elements we probably haven’t heard of yet. Thousands of elements pulling and pushing against each other, each one likely honed and iterated till it reaches the very high standards we have all come to expect from ArenaNet.  It is where these elements interact that there is the potential for unforeseen problems.

So, when we are lithely scurrying over the patio of Guild Wars 2, and our shoe (shined to military-standard sheen) gets trapped between one of the cracks, will we fall? Will the contents of our tray bounce or shatter? Will we pull ourselves up, laugh it off and head to the dance floor?

To the readers: Do you expect bugs in every new game release? Even after such a long testing period, would you be surprised to find glitches? Is imbalance an unavoidable part of MMO gaming?

About the author:  Distilled (Will) has been playing Guild Wars for almost 6 years, he works as a clinical researcher in the UK but has recently been accepted on a PhD place (starting in September, woo!). In his spare time he enjoys kicking ass, chewing bubblegun and restocking his bubblegum when he runs out. He writes regularly on Guild Wars and gaming over at Distilled Willpower. You can also follow him on Twitter at @Distilledwill!

You Said There Was No Holy Trinity!

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!"

 

Continue reading

What Will Guild Wars 2 Do to Me?

 

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.

Read more

Valentine’s in Dragon-Blasted Times

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.

Continue reading