The Iterative Process, or “how we plan to bring you the best game possible”


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Iteration, or the iterative process, is something ANet has discussed many times. It accounts for changes between versions of their games. Each GW update involves iteration and iteration accounts for the content and mechanic changes we see between GW2 status updates. Put simply, the iterative process is simultaneously responsible for what makes the Guild Wars franchise worth playing and what is delaying the release of GW2. Over the past years and coming months (I refuse to think of GW2 as over a year away) we have enjoyed teasers, concept art, videos, updates, interviews, profession reveals, and demos of GW2. One thing has remained constant about the information we receive about GW2: nothing is set in stone.

Isaiah "Izzy" Cartwright (left) and Martin Kerstein (right) at Gamescom in 2010 (from ANet's Flickr)

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Hypnotized, Mesmerized…By What the Fans Believe


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Mesmers are an iconic profession in Guild Wars. You either love them or you hate them, but it wouldn’t be Guild Wars without them. The same is true, in this author’s opinion, for Guild Wars 2. Three professions have yet to be revealed and ANet has all but announced that we will see mesmers making a return in Guild Wars 2. Many fans are eagerly awaiting more information about this profession and are hopeful for their return. This article serves as part introduction, part discussion, part speculation, and part homage to mesmers old and new. Continue reading

From Tabletop to Laptop: Putting the “RPG” back in MMORPG


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What is your story?” If ever there was a tag-line that encompassed the major difference between Guild Wars 2 and its predecessor, it is this. It is not the new skill bar. It is not the new playable races. It is not even the new combat system. Quite simply: it is the story. All sequels and expansions address game play and add new content. Guild Wars 2 adds a something MMOs have been missing for a long time: Role-Playing.

Several months ago Ree Soesbee, Lore & Continuity Designer for GW2, wrote an article about the personal story of GW2. I recommend giving it a read, if you haven’t already, before you continue reading this article. Ree covers a lot of ground talking about how GW2 will be taking a lot of steps toward making our game play experience something, well, personal. Skipping over the dynamic events system for a moment, I would like to focus on the personal story and what it offers to both hardcore and green role-players alike. Continue reading

The Guardian – Predictions, Predilections, and Prognostications


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Most people who keep an eye cracked for Guild Wars 2 news have heard about the PC Gamer article that did some name-dropping in the caption of a GW2 image.  The “Blue Mace Lady” that we have all come to know and love has an official name: the guardian.

Until this coming Thursday, the newly-named profession remains shrouded in mystery.  Since speculation about this heavy-armor magic-user has run rampant for quite some time, however, the faithful (and frequently rabid) GW2 community has come up with plenty of hopes and theories.

Comparisons to other games have, naturally, cropped up ( – as well as cross-medium references to such heroes as the Green Lantern!)
Many forum-members across the fansites have been quick to point out the existence of a Guardian class in Lord of the Rings Online, a highly-defensive heavy tank that focuses on keeping aggro.  Since GW2 is hoping to do away with the conventional idea of tanking and replace it with an emphasis on control, the analogy couldn’t be perfect, but the defense (or support, to use GW2 verbiage) aspect of the LotRO Guardian has inspired comparisons.
NCSoft’s Aion has a moderately well-armoured melee magic-user called the Chanter, to whom tentative comparisons have also been drawn. Wielding a staff offensively and switching to a mace and shield for more defensive play, the Chanter offers effective DPS (and debuffs), player-based AoE buffs, and only minor direct healing.  Since many fans have long speculated that the BML is one of the options that will cater to those who enjoyed Monks in the original Guild Wars, the Chanter’s support-oriented blend seems like a likely parallel to the guardian’s theoretical role.
(In support of the guardian-Monk relation, folks have pointed out that the Monk skill “Guardian” seems to fit right in with what we’re expecting from the support in GW2.)
And, of course, one cannot talk about a heavy-armor support class without suddenly being hip-deep in references to WoW’s Paladin.  These gentlefolk are popular for their ability to withstand heavy damage, as well as providing support through their auras, blessings, and seals.
There are others. So many others.

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Seraph : The Second Soldier Profession of Guild Wars 2?


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Warning: Minor spoilers for the two novels ensue.
Disclaimer: This was written literally a few days before the Guardian release. That said, I still think the political implications still hold merit. So have fun with it. 🙂

I think we all figure at this point that the 2nd solider class is a paladin-like buff / defensive profession. And that Logan has become one. Agreed? Agreed.

So many moons ago in my re-hashed Guild Wars 2 profession speculation post, I stated that I thought the Seraph was going to be the 2nd solider class. I reiterated the theory on the forums and was generally met with disagreement. I had just finished reading Ghosts of Ascalon which is how the idea solidified in my mind, although I think I had come to the conclusion earlier when I saw repeated screenshots and artwork of winged armor, a motif that’s been attached to the Seraph. I wasn’t the first one to come up with the idea, certainly, but in both cases most people shrugged it off as improbable.

The biggest argument against the Seraph as a profession is the need for it to be multi-racial. From the lore we know that the Seraph were founded by Queen Salma to defend Divinity’s Reach and the new Krytan order. In Guild Wars 2, they are charged with protecting the endangered human race, the remnants of whom as far as they know mostly live in Kryta (although we as players can assume there are survivors in Cantha and Elona, they don’t know that…yet.)

With these facts, I can see why it feels hard to believe the Seraph would open their doors to non-humans. But if we take hints from Guild Wars Beyond, bits and pieces from the novels, and even some artwork from trailers, we gather enough clues to point to clear progression leading up to a sound possibility of Seraph as the 2nd soldier class. And the kicker here is that the entire possibility centers around none other than our elusive Queen Jennah. So humor me for a few minutes as I explain why this can very much happen.

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Guild Wars 2 Hall of Monuments Rewards Revealed!


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So Arena-Net released the Guild Wars Hall of Monuments calculator deal today.
This feature is so ridiculously amazing, it’s not even funny.

You input your character name and it tallies up your achievements. Each one is given a certain point value.
There’s a total of 50 points, and each level from 1-30 unlocks an in-game reward. There are titles every 5 levels and a pet, mini-pet, piece of armor, or weapon. Many of these rewards are major tips of the hat to Guild Wars One, like the Black Moa and Fiery Dragon Sword. After level 30, there are only 4 more titles to get at 35, 40, 45, and 50. The cool thing with the tool is that it also shows you a to-do list in case you wanna try to advance your score, and makes it print-able!

What this does is make all the psychical vanity stuff accessible to everybody who plays through the game a decent amount. Most are at least at 15 points, so halfway there alerady.
It’s account-bound it would seem. I have my HoM shared and so all my characters show up as having the same rewards, which is great.

Another cool feature: The heritage armor will be transmutable without needing to purchase the stones from the in-game store, as quoted by Regina:

For the Hall of Monuments rewards, we will provide players the means by which they can transmute the stats/appearance of these particular items without having to purchase transmutation stones in the in-game store. The development team is still working out the exact mechanics of this, though.

I’m at 22/50. 8 more points and I’ve got all the unlock-able stuff, and then it’s just titles after that that I may or may-not go for. Who knows!

But this is definitely going to make me play Guild Wars again for the coming months! Great planning on ANet’s part, especially after all the upset over transmutation stones last week. I must say. I’m very, very happy about this.

If you’ve got a Hall of Monuments and a few achievements, go check out their calculator here. Join the excited chatter at Guild Wars 2 Guru and Guild Wars 2 Forums as well!

Guild Wars 2 Profession Speculation: Reprise


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In my first speculation post, I was pretty sure we’d be getting either the new class or the rehashed assassin, but instead we got the Necromancer. I got thrown for a loop regarding it’s location on the profession drawing, too. I can fully admit my folly; that first post is pretty old and I had since admitted (especially after reading GoA) on one of our podcasts that Necromancer would make the most sense to be next. So with new speculation on last four classes for Guild Wars, my final predictions for the rest of the releases will be [Theif/Sin] > Mesmer > Templar/Seraph > Engineer/Alchemist/Gunner.

With the convention release being the Necro, the only sound opportunity for one of the two new professions to step up to the plate has passed. I don’t figure there’d be any reason not to leave them for last at this point. So, I’m going to assume the 2nd to last will be the Blue Mace Lady (Soldier) since we’ve at least -seen- a lot of art of this class. The last profession release will be the 3rd Adventurer class that we know pretty much nothing about (Engineer / Alchemist / Gunner). That leaves us with our 2nd Adventurer (Theif) and our 3rd Scholar (Mesmer), both of which have concept art and screenshots from the game that we can pretty much trust at this point.

There’s been a lot of screenshots of a plated class with the feathered-designed helms. At first everybody assumed it was just a warrior wearing pretty armor, but since then there’s enough reason to believe that these soldiers are in fact the new profession, or the armor is in the style of them.  I have a solid feeling the 2nd heavy armor profession will be the Seraph as mentioned in the book. They are predominately a force in Divinity’s Reach, lead by Logan Thackeray, that defends humans but there’s a possibility they will open their doors to other races in the new book, Edge of Destiny. Replacing monks is likely what these guys are doing, so I assume they are going to be the templar / paladin type profession who are charged with buffing and protecting their comrades. For all it’s newness, we have a pretty solid idea with this profession is likely to be about, it’s just the name that escapes us for sure.

The assassin class we’re getting is actually a little mysterious, more so than the [Seraph]. With our current four professions all being able to dual wield daggers, and the ranger getting a lot of the swift poison / dodgy melee mechanics that were what defined the sin in Guild Wars Classic, it’s really up in the air what exactly the new style is going to be. ArenaNet did say way back in the days of yore that we would see old classes return but rehashed enough to be re-named. I think our sin is going to be that class. There are still some old mechanics that’ve yet to be claimed: namely speed buffs and shadow stepping. Good friend and fellow podcaster Malchior silently fumes at the thought of the return of such a thing but I kind of want it to come back. I enjoyed shadowstepping to allies and enemies and it was a difficult skill to use correctly. However, his very logical alternative idea is that the sin’s upgrade will be stealth, something they didn’t have before. It fits; brand new to Guild Wars, it’d be just enough of a shift to warrant a class name change. There were allusions to this profession in the Ghosts of Ascalon book, as well as possible lock-picking. We’ll find out soon as it’s most likely the next big reveal (guessing mid-September).

Ninja stars suggest wall-climbing, stabby stabby goodness may be coming.

Mesmers are equally difficult to pin down. They already said there aren’t any hexes this time around but there are skill classes that are hex-like in their mechanics. With Necromancer not having many, we can assume whatever it is will be the mesmer’s job. I imagine they will be able to dual wield pistols, too. By imagine, I mean hope with all my nerdish heart. I’m not sure if we’re going to see a return of interruptions, the mechanic that absolutely defined mesmers in PvP. With the lack of a dedicated healing class, a huge chunk of utility for interuptions is lost. That isn’t to say they won’t make a come-back in a dumbed down version (not much unlike Fear), but it definitely won’t be to the degree it is in GW:Classic. I assumed they might be different enough to get a name-change, but mesmers the got a specific mention in the Ghosts of Ascalon book which may allude to them still being around.

So down to our final mysterious adventurer profession. There is precious little on this guy, and not even the armor class is truly known (we assume it’s Adventurer, but if the Mesmer is stepped up a level it could be a Scholar). There’s no art or screenshots that could possibly suggest or give any sort of hints. Guru has one lengthy thread on the topic with speculation and gathering of clues. It seems people are leaning towards a funky utility class like Engineer or Alchemist, both of which have gotten passing mention in one way or another but no confirmation on their implementation in the game.

It’s hard to say. ArenaNET is doing an amazing job keeping this last profession under wraps. We’re hoping to get more clues as opposed to simply being kept in the dark until its official release, but who knows!

Final word: in the event A-Net decides to get crafty, they might release that new soldier class after all, in which I will officially throw in the towel on trying to guess.