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

The Archer’s Paradox: Rangers Then and Now


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ArenaNet Ranger Concept Art

The Archer’s Paradox describes the phenomenon whereby an arrow aimed directly at the centre of a target will invariably miss. The bowman must account for the flex of the bow, the wind and the myriad of other external variables each time they release an arrow if they want to hit the target every time. The Guild Wars 2 Ranger profession might seem to be the same entity as it was in Guild Wars 1, but ArenaNet have made some significant alterations whilst still retaining the charm and lure which the profession holds in fantasy RPGs.

The Ranger was one of the core 6 professions in GW1. It always struggled to find a place in the typical PvE team – coming under the umbrella term of “DPS”. A Ranger would often find it difficult to worm its way into the standard setup due to having a lower damage output than Elementalists, Necromancers and Ritualists, less armour than Warriors and Paragons, a less reliable interrupt than a computer-controlled Mesmer, and virtually no support capabilities. It was a jack of all trades, and (at least in PvE) a master of none.

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Ghost of Holidays Future


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His jokes'll slay you!

With the eighth Guild Wars Halloween coming to a close (we had two Halloweens in 2008, if you recall) it is time to work on our Sweet Tooth titles, time to dye our new costumes, time to sport our new Tricornes and Reaper’s Hoods, and time to look forward to the future.

But let us not forget about the past.

Halloween 2005 was the first holiday event ANet introduced. Before the time of titles and expansions, Mad King Thorn’s influence spread only over Lion’s Arch and Droknar’s Forge and only 4 treats were available to players. The hat that year was the Pumpkin Crown and sadly, it’s the only one I don’t have. You see, I was new to GW then. I had just started playing in September 2005 and knew nothing of this new event. Instead, I helped hand out candy that year.

Still, it was the start of numerous annual events from April Fools Day to Talk Like a Pirate to the longer lasting, and more well known, Wintersday, Dragon Festival, and Canthan New Years. Interestingly enough, there are no Elonian holidays… Lots of consumables to be had for titles and lots of hats and special items to share and show off.

Now to the present.

 

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Of Ronan, Ventari, and the Pale Tree: The Sylvari


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Written in the voice of Belzan Furu

I once knew the great centaur Ventari. We oft debated the human-centaur war over a campfire in Maguuma or the Tarnished Coast. He was wise and I learned a great deal from his teachings, even though our time together was short. He saw the conflicts between our races as wasteful and unnecessary considering the long history of peace our two races enjoyed. I was more concerned with the White Mantle and dodging roving packs of undead at the time. The centaurs were more of a nuisance to me than anything else.

Ventari and me under the Pale Tree sprout, circa 1078 AE (in game GW footage)

His words changed my opinion of conflicts in general. We had a common enemy in the White Mantle, yet we continued to battle each other. Ventari argued that the centaur were too proud to back down, while I rebutted that the humans were survivors. Neither of us could easily determine the reason for one race’s enmity for the other. Sadly, over a century after Ventari’s passing, the human-centaur conflict hasn’t changed.

What has changed, however, is the Pale Tree. Long after Ronan planted his seed; long after Ventari cared for it and laid his marble tablet at its base; the tree began to sprout…uh…children. These children are called “sylvari” and they have begun to make a name for themselves. I took some time this week to talk with as many sylvari as would sit with me over a cup of toadstool tea about their race, Ventari’s teachings, and their thoughts on Tyria and the Elder Dragons.

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Build Wars: Zaishen Elite Dream Team (Because 4 traps is *so* 2006)


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Today we’re going to talk about the mysterious Zaishen Elite, what it’s about, what builds to use, and why more people ought to be doing it. I’m seriously surprised at how relatively unpopular the ZE farm is considering its rewards and being pretty easy to learn and do.

Overview | History | Current Technique
Builds
Trappers | Finisher Elementalist | Spirit Spammer

Overview of the Zaishen missions
Zaishen Elite is an un-lockable faux PvP mission available on Battle Isles. It’s accessible to PvP and PvE characters alike after completing the Zaishen Challenge. A successful full run of the mission will net you 6000 Balthazar faction, which is why it’s popular among Z-Key farmers. The run is also handy for unlocking skills for PvP and/or heroes. After you’ve reached 6k, you will stop earning faction from the ZE missions for the next 24 hours. You can, however, continue to gain faction from other PvP zones like alliance battles and random arenas.

Both missions are styled to mimic the Random / Team Arena environment, accept you’re fighting against set teams of AI. In Z-Challenge, you and your team faces off against AI Teams on a one-on-one basis that you choose. There are five NPC teams to beat: Iway Warriors, Trap Rangers, Illusionary Weaponry Mesmers, Obsidian Flame spike Eles, and the mixed degen / hex team. To unlock Zaishen Elite, you need to defeat each team at least once.

Z-elite works similarly, except you keep going (like Random Arena) until you lose. Each game increases the number of opponents until it caps at some point, although I’m not entirely sure when. Runs usually take 15-20 minutes. With no deaths (all flawless victories), 15 consecutive wins will cap you out on faction. Most teams will go for the 16 just to be sure.

History
Traditionally, the favored team build was four trappers. At least 2 usually brought Frozen Soil, a spirit that prevents res since all AI bring res signet. The execution was simple; stack the traps at the door with one ranger putting down Frozen Soil in the back and wait for the AI to inevitably  run into them. 90% of the time this was flawless. The issue, though, is with ranged groups or groups that unstack, you end up with a pretty difficult fight on your hands. Because of this, over the years the teams have evolved to vary a bit more. Another popular build includes 3 traps and either a spirit spammer or “finisher” elementalist with meteor shower.

95 wins = leetsauce?

Back in the days of yore when the 4 trap team was -it-, a friend of mine and I ran an experiment to mix it up. At the time, using a Spirit Spammer was still fairly rare but it was gaining popularity. The two of us took up the mission; he ran as a trap ranger, myself as a spirit spammer, and we hero’d a monk healer and a meteor shower ele.

After getting flawless victory after flawless victory, we decided to keep going to see how far we could go. We ended at 95 wins. I can’t remember how long that took, but I know we were so tired and delusional we lost on purpose.

Continue reading

Exploring Tyria #001


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Fireside Chat | Zaishen Menagerie

Guild Wars is just gorgeous. I never get over how amazing the graphics are for a game that’s been out for so long. As an arttard, I’ve always appreciated that aspect of the game.

With my new video card, I’m glad I can enjoy it now with graphics cranked all the way up.