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

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

What’s in a Name?

What's in a name?For me, naming my characters can be one of the most tricky aspects of character creation. I know that I’ll be spending many, many hours with my characters in game, so I want them to have a unique name that I can be proud of. With the launch of Guild Wars 2 rapidly approaching, I’ve already started to plan out my characters, deciding which race, profession, and name each of them will have. Choosing races and professions is easy. Choosing names is tough. So, dear readers, what’s in a name?

What style of name do you go for? Do you choose a funny name or a lore-friendly name? Do you dream up your own names? I literally dreamt up a name I’m going to use; a cloud of bats spelt it out in the night sky, it was awesome! Perchance you pick modified versions of well-known names, such as Drizzzzt or X Legolas X. Do you perhaps use a variant of your own name? Or use names from characters in a movie / novel / comic book?

If you’ve played Guild Wars 1, you have the ability to reserve your GW1 character names for GW2. Will you name your new GW2 characters after your GW1 characters? Maybe you role-play them as direct descendants? With the ability to now use single names for your characters, will you be taking advantage of that, or sticking with two or more names?

As an extra discussion point, does another player’s character name influence (subconsciously or not) whether or not you’ll group up with them? Are you more likely to group up and chat with a character with a lore-friendly name, or a funny / silly name? Does this factor into your thoughts at all?

Many questions! Let me know your thoughts on names in the comments below!

About the author: Wedge is an avid Guild Wars 1 fan (with far too many hours sunk into it), & has been eagerly awaiting Guild Wars 2 since it was first announced. His heart lies in the dark ways of the Necromancer, although the raw power of the Elementalist is doing a great job of luring him away! Having recently completed a DPhil in Immunology, this new Dr keeps a blog over at www.richerramblings.wordpress.com. 

New Krytan; the language of Tyria

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

Dyeing From The Colors

Of the countless features in Guild Wars 2, there are those which receive nought but praise, of these there are some that are easily missed until presented in front of the players. Almost everyone thinks about WvW, or Dynamic Events, or the ever branching Personal Story, but what about armor dye? The dye system introduced in Guild Wars 2 has come a long way from the original system in Guild Wars; having been over hauled completely in the first game to the point of being unrecognizable, similarly this new system is constantly being changed with every step towards the game’s final release. Still, the changes to the dye system in Guild Wars 2, hasn’t been the first time players of Guild Wars have seen changes to the way they dye their equipment.

The amount of dye combinations available to players meant that anyone could find just about any shade they needed.

Firstly, each vial of dye is still treated as an individual item, and as such still takes up slots in a player’s inventory. With the addition of three colors, then a fourth later on in the form of pink dye, the total number of base color dyes available in Guild Wars is twelve (luckily additional storage options have had been made available to players in the form of buy-able storage panels). Secondly, and this can be subjective from player to player, most armor sets in Guild Wars tend to limit the way a player can dye their armor set as a whole. While most sets, such as some found on mesmers and rangers, allow for flexibility by having pieces appear to be separate from one another (such as coats, pants, boots, etc.); several sets available to professions such as the warrior, assassin, and dervish tend to appear as if pieces of a set were meant to be one large part. That is to say those players can easily dye these parts differently, but visually they would stand out oddly. This limitation makes dying armor in Guild Wars rather dull in terms of customization options for players. Luckily, with the reboot of the system in Guild Wars 2, players will be able to expand the way they dye their armor in ways that are not possible in Guild Wars. Continue reading

Guild Wars 2 PvP: Taking the “I” Out of Team

Lone Wolves Need Not Apply

Choose your Allies Wisely

From my experiences in the first beta weekend and the recent stress test, PvP in Guild Wars 2 promises to be some of the most dynamically engaging and thrilling MMO PvP to date. From the epic scale of World versus World, to the small unit tactics of structured PvP, trait build speculation and team composition theorycrafting are two rabbit holes that will only get deeper as we get closer to launch. However, there is one consistent truth I have observed across all of GW2’s PvP: team composition is more important than any one individual’s trait/skill/weapon build.

Don’t get me wrong, choosing the right traits, weapons and skills is clutch, and mastery of your class is a huge element of  success. However, too many of the PvP demonstrations on youtube focus on a lone wolf mentality. While there are certainly some cool solo builds out there, each profession TRULY shines when they coordinate their support abilities with their allies. However, unlike other games where choosing to play a support role locks you into the monotonous task of buffing and debuffing, boons and conditions in GW2 are much more tactical.

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The Archer’s Paradox: Rangers Then and Now

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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Exploring Tyria; where no games have gone before.

 

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