Beta Weekend Engineer Changes: For Better or Worse?


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This Engineer is decked out in some gear from the Mists.

If you’ve played the Engineer over the course of all 3 Beta Weekend Events, you might have noticed changes to some of your favorite Engineer skills. ArenaNet has done some behind-the-scenes number balancing as well as complete skill reworks. I’m going to look at four previously lacking aspects of the Engineer’s arsenal and what the developers have done to revamp them!

1) Elixirs

Elixirs have been a major source of grief for many an Engineer. While I love the cool effects you can get through the elixirs, the randomness prevented them from making it into my arsenal. For example, the tool belt skill for Elixir B (Toss Elixir B)  used to randomly give protection, regeneration, or swiftness. When I was in World vs World trying to move across the map, I would always want swiftness, so it was frustrating to not be able get that boon when I wanted it. I’m not going to say that all randomness is bad, but as a player you want to be able to react to different situations appropriately; having each effect be extremely situational and also be random is not going to be the best

ArenaNet acknowledged this criticism from it’s playerbase and made some nice changes for the better. They took Toss Elixir B and made it always grant Might, Fury, Swiftness, and Retaliation to allies in the area.  Elixir U was changed to always grant Quickness but additionally grant a negative effect, which can be either 50% additional damage taken, being unable to be healed, or inability to regenerate endurance. They also changed Elixir X to only choose between Tornado and Rampage and not Plague. I think Elixirs for the Engineer are now definitely viable in all modes! I used them and rarely felt like I was rolling the dice to get the effect I wanted. I think that Toss Elixir S could still use a slight change, however.

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


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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


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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.


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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

The Time Has Come: Execute Error Code 66


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'nuff said

For many people, the first open beta event for Guild Wars 2 can best be described by grabbing your nearest thesaurus and looking up the word “awesome.” It was our first look at Lion’s Arch; our first look at armor and weapons associated with all 8 dungeons; our first opportunity to, well, play the game we’ve been drooling over for 2+ years. Long have we loitered fansites and forums speculating about professions and skills and scouring youtube for videos of gameplay footage. This past weekend was the first opportunity for thousands of people to immerse themselves in the game that is the talk of the MMO scene.

But for some, like me, it was not meant to be.

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EuFanDay: The interview


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As I said in my last entry here on Talk Tyria, Nerdy Bookahs had been invited to the EUFanDay that took place this Monday and Tuesday in Brighton. I was the one representing our blog there (a first post about this went up on our blog. It includes a growing link collection for write-ups etc. from the EUFanDay). As part of this event, we got to talk with some of the developers about Guild Wars 2. Or rather, each of us (the invited fan sites) were allowed to ask one question. I’d collected a few more than just that, so that was a bit sad. Fortunately, I didn’t have as many questions as some others, so the disappointment from those who sent in their questions wasn’t that big on my site. 😉

Tasha Darke and Dutch Sunshine have just posted the transcription of the interview. You can find the first part on her blog and the second one on GuildMag.

As those two already transcribed the interview, I will refrain from doing the same. It’s a lot of work and time, after all (thank you for doing that, by the way!). Time which I rather want to spend on ranting and musing about which we got to know from the interview. 😉

I’ll assume that you’ve read the interview now. But I’ll try to write in a way that you know what I’m talking about even if you haven’t. 😉 As I said, we had about 25 people (give or take 3) who all asked one question. So the questions were very mixed. We had a few about PvP and what we now know is that ArenaNet want to have structured PvP as an esport. We don’t know anything new about the observer mode but it’s probably a safe bet that they’ll do everything they can to include this as fast as possible post-launch because it’s needed if they want it to succeed as esport. Other than the observer mode, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t succeed here. Every character in structured PvP is the same level, has the same quality gear, access to all skills, etc. They also want their structured PvP (and WvW) to be easy to understand and get into. Overflow shards will also allow you to join structured PvP matches (but not WvW), so even if your server is crowded, you can still join those PvP matches. From the interview, I take it that we can expect some kind of announcement about additional PvP maps before release. They mentioned one that has lots of underwater combat and a pirate ship! Another one is supposedly going to make GW1 players feel nostalgic.

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The Curious Case of Race in Guild Wars 2


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The typical demographic divisions are an oft-examined subject in gaming. Gender and sexuality are the most regularly explored (usually fuelled by the ubiquitous scantily clad portrayal of the female form in MMOs and fantasy RPGs in general). Race, however, is an altogether more difficult concept to grasp in games. The stereotyping isn’t quite so “in your face” – for example, games which dictate that all female armour must look like there was a dramatic shortage of leather and plate are a dime-a-dozen, but I don’t think there are many games which say that if you’re white you have to wear one armour and if you’re black you must wear another. It’s certainly a strange dichotomy – why should your gender dictate your armour style, but your race shouldn’t? Or, more succinctly: why should either? The upshot is that race is usually expressed in character creation processes through choosing “skin colour” or “facial structure”.

In the original game the three campaigns were very blatantly culturally split – Prophecies (for the most part) seems to be European/Western, the Canthan domain in Factions is obviously of Asian influence and Elona from Nightfall is more African/Arabian. These influences are expressed through the architecture, enemies faced (often influenced by the RL mythology of the culture), NPC style and dialogue as well as the character creation options you receive when you create a character in that particular expansion. It was a relatively brave move; when you start to build an in-game culture which has influences in certain real-world racial areas you have to be careful to dodge stereotypes and for the most part ANet managed to do this perfectly – I don’t think you could ever claim that the game even edges towards being “racist”.

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