This week in Guild Wars 2

Early Thursday morning, I’d accumulated a reasonable list of links to put in this week’s round-up, but the big stories were not particularly exciting: the brief interlude of insanity when some fans took the wrong interpretation from NCsoft’s investor conference call (ArenaNet’s Community Managers went to DefCon 4 to settle the ruffled feathers and quash the more outlandish rumours), the announcement of Spanish localization at launch (excellent news for our Spanish-speaking friends, but not of great interest to most of us), and the release of the final chapter of Winds of Change. I’d even written the following line to finish the introduction: “This may be our last ‘calm’ week before the press Non Disclosure Agreements allow a flood of information starting on Monday.”

That all changed mid-morning on Thursday, as ArenaNet released a lot of news about World versus World combat. I’d mentioned in a previous column that I’m primarily a PvE player, but that some of the new PvP stuff looked more interesting than I expected. After reading Mike Ferguson’s overview of WvW, I can’t wait to try it out. And, based on the feedback I’ve seen from other sites, I’m far from alone in that reaction.

Monday will be a very busy day, as the gloves come off the Non-Disclosure Agreements will allow the press participants in this weekend’s beta event to share at least some of their experiences. It should be very interesting. I’m vastly envious of the folks taking part this weekend.


Official Guild Wars 2 news

  • Winds of Change Wrap-Up. “The theme of looking forward in Miku’s story is also a subtle theme for us as the focus shifts more and more to Guild Wars 2, and I want to touch on of the other hints of Guild Wars 2 that were felt in Winds of Change. From the very beginning, we knew that one thing we really wanted was to build up Reiko as a memorable end boss who felt different from those that had come before her, both thematically and mechanically. We felt that Guild Wars lacked a really strong mesmer character — they tend to be comical and flamboyant or prima donnas. The Guild Wars 2 mesmer treats the concept of illusion magic as a physical manifestation, and that was something that we really wanted to leverage for Reiko. Our work with her helps set the precedent for this type of mesmer within the Guild Wars continuity.”
  • Announcing Guild Wars 2 Spanish Localization. “ArenaNet is excited to announce the confirmed language list for the localization of Guild Wars 2. As you may already know, the game will include full localization of both voice and text into German and French. Today, we’re happy to announce that we will also feature Spanish text localization for Guild Wars 2 at launch.”
  • Mike Ferguson on Guild Wars 2 World vs. World — “We have amazing PvE gameplay and intense competitive PvP in Guild Wars 2, but we also offer huge, open-field, server-versus-server warfare the likes of which you’ve never seen. We call it world vs. world or WvW. Hello, everyone, I’m Mike Ferguson, one of the systems designers here at ArenaNet. I’m here to tell you about one of the most eagerly anticipated aspects of Guild Wars 2: world vs. world! This is a huge game type, and there’s a lot to talk about, so get comfy!”
  • Guild Wars 2 Limited Beta Test Begins Today! “It starts today. Hundreds of invited players and press from around the world will be logging into Guild Wars 2 for a beta test weekend of high adventure, exploration, in-depth personal stories, and teeth-rattling combat. We love playing our game as much as we love showing it off to our fellow gamers, so damn near everyone at ArenaNet will be logging in this weekend to play alongside our beta testers.”

Recent GuildMag posts

  • Guild Wars 2: Why the Developers Love It! “Elite Guild Wars fansite Wartower has published an amazing video in their Spotlight series, which was recorded during GamesCom 2011. In this video the Wartower team asks the Guild Wars 2 developers what they like the most about Guild Wars 2 and what the game means for them. During the video you’ll hear exactly what the developers like about the personal story, the dynamic event system, the art, the races, the pvp, the community and more! It’s definitely a great video on par with the Guild Wars 2 Manifesto released during GamesCom 2009.” [Raphia: Here’s the original post at Wartower.de (the video is in English, but most of the commentary on the page is in German, naturally)]
  • An Open Letter to the Afflicted. “Farewell, Afflicted. I haven’t played all of Winds of Change yet, but I’ve played enough to have wiped you out. I don’t often get the chance to say this to monstrously mutated homicidal disease-ridden people, but I’ll miss you.” [Raphia: In which LittleBoat wonders briefly if the fate of the Afflicted might be “a taste of what Guild Wars 2 will bring”]
  • Letters of Love. “Twenty four hours ago, the TransTyrian Postal Service had its biggest hiccup since the accidental combustion of all letters containing the word ‘bookah’. During this crisis, the Postal Service managed to deliver every single letter sent over the past week to GuildMag Head Quarters in Lion’s Arch. Naturally, we were all surprised when we had to fight our way through the front door being held shut by piles of letters, using Konig Des Todes’ head as a battering ram. We emerged to see our entire head quarters filled to the rafters with letters of all shapes and sizes, and I for one was rather surprised to see Dutch Sunshine’s head poking through the top of the pile; he’d been buried alive working late into the night when the onslaught had begun.”
  • The Winds of Change: Looking Back. “Having given us a few days to complete the final chapter of the trilogy, John Stumme gives us his reflections on the trilogy — the characters, the feelings it was intended to evoke in the players (and where it went wrong) and the ways in which it was intended to form a bridge between Guild Wars 1 and it’s close-to-completion sequel (including effectively confirming one speculation voiced by many that had reached its conclusion).”
  • Mike Ferguson on Guild Wars 2 World vs. World. “World vs World — One of the most anticipated features of Guild Wars 2 has now received a huge news update! In this blog Mike Ferguson talks about how the warfare on great scale takes place, what the objectives and weapons are at your disposal, upgrades, Orbs of Power and much more!”
  • Shiverpeaks Archaeology and the Jotun. “A reader would be forgiven for missing the significance of the ArenaNet’s recent blog on the Jotun. After all, ironic as it is, their spotlight was somewhat overshadowed by the bigger news of Guild Wars 2′s impending release and beta events. However, of all the racial blogs, the newest is perhaps the biggest, if you’ll excuse the expression, in terms of its impact in the greater context of Tyrian history.”

Fan articles and blog posts

  • Guild Wars Insider — Gamer Safety Week. “What’s more important to note is a game like Guild Wars 2, where part of the advertising allure has been geared towards people who haven’t ever played an MMO before. These newcomers are potentially extremely high-risk security goobers, who just haven’t had the experience in the community to know just how many dangers lurk just around the corner. That’s not to say MMOs are outright dangerous, but think about how naive we all were when we first started playing our first online game, whatever it may have been. There’s certain things we pick up over time, and a huge release like GW2 attracting a theoretically large number of security infants is a somewhat daunting thought. The effects of a rampant spree of hackings and gold selling would have much larger consequences than just ruining some kid’s weekend: it could ruin the entire game.”
  • Hunter’s Insight — The Shape Of What’s To Come. “Guild Wars 2 is slowly creeping towards release, but there are still a few things we haven’t seen and don’t know about. I guess I’m just wondering what we’ll see next, or what will come out of the upcoming beta events.”
  • Tyrian Stories — The Tyrian Post. “The printing press changed the world; it enabled an increase in literacy, education and allowed copies of the manuscripts to maintain greater consistency. Enterprising individuals used the printing press to create tracts and begin publishing magazines and news papers a revolution in data sharing on par with the internet age. Oddly enough the warlike Charr are the race that brought this revolution to Tyria. You may be thinking to yourself ‘wow Shongaqu, the printing press, why do I care’. For role players the answer is simple as the majority of their characters were probably illiterate before the printing press was developed; now literate characters are much less of a social anomaly. For everyone else I submit the idea of the Tyrian Post an in game news paper.”
  • GuildWars2Live.com — Dear ArenaNet; A Collector’s Dream. “I hate collection quests, but I do have a quest to grab the collector’s edition of Guild Wars 2 when it comes out. In fact I’ve sworn to buy everything that says Guild Wars 2 on it, including magazines with a few pages of Guild Wars 2 content. Those of us who often pre-order games and buy collector’s editions of games have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The usual. I mean personally, I think the collector’s edition of any game is usually only unique from the regular box variant. Today I want to share some of my ideas for a unique collector’s edition from ArenaNet.”
  • Demajen — Day & Night. “Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game with outstanding, dynamic environments. Accentuating this is the day/night cycle, which isn’t just cosmetic: the devs have stated that it will make changes to the game world. Some monsters, for example, will only come out night. Or certain NPCs might not open up shop or be available during the night. (It has never made sense to me that Farmer Giles will always be standing in the same place, even in the middle of the night, to offer quests to you in other MMORPGs.) Some people will argue that this kind of design will cause frustration. Others respond with how great it will be for immersion. I, personally, can see both points of view but will wait for more information before settling in a camp — if I ever do so.”
  • Talk Tyria — Valentine’s in Dragon-Blasted Time. “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:”
  • Massively — Flameseeker Chronicles: Big changes. “Winds of Change (and in fact, all of Guild Wars Beyond) has the stated purpose of bridging the gap between Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2. That’s a very real need; a lot happens in the 250 years between bidding our original characters farewell and reentering the world as we find it in Guild Wars 2. The danger of that is that people may feel a disconnect — as if the games aren’t two parts of the same story but rather two worlds that happen to have a shared name. Between the events of the companion novels and the story-building in Guild Wars Beyond, however, players should feel much more acclimated to the state of things in the sequel. It’s building emotional connections before we even set foot in the world and updating our understanding of in-game politics and affairs.”
  • Guild Wars Insider — PvP Action Screenshot Extras. “We decided it would be really cool to kick off our partnership with GuildLaunch by posting a few extra screenshots from our original batch of PVP images.”
  • Guild Wars 2 Guru — Picking Your Profession. “As any MMORPG gamer knows, the single most important aspect of creating your character is signing off on a class choice. It’s what decides your role, your aesthetic appearance in terms of abilities, your range of equipment, and your playstyle. In a way, it’s your long term future. I doubt any other choice more single-handedly affects the way you look and play, so it’s probably safe to call it quite the significant choice. Well, probably less significant in Guild Wars 2 what with the range of roles every profession can fill, though I’d argue that there are definitely inclinations. For example, I’d doubt anyone would debate that guardian is support inclined. After all, its class mechanic is designed to aid others at all levels and every one of its weapon combinations, even offensive ones, come packed with some way to help others through healing, condition removal, or some form of protection. That’s in sharp contrast to, say, warrior which has more options centered around simply doing damage faster or harder. This means that while both classes can be either supportive or offensive each does seem to have a natural inclination, and that means that the significance of choosing a class isn’t quite as diluted as one might think.”
  • Hunter’s Insight — Roses. “Guild Wars 2 will have an auction house, but it’s not called an auction house. It’s called a Marketplace. So why the new name? Arenanet has included features in their auction house that other games don’t have. To emphasize that change they’ve renamed the very familiar notion of the auction house. In the Marketplace you can put up bids to buy things that no one has put up for auction. You can access the auction house from the web or perhaps from your iPhone. It’s global across all servers. It’s not an auction house! It’s a marketplace! Semantics. It is an auction house. I don’t really begrudge them the right to describe the game in any way they see fit, but at some point I just feel like it needs to be said. Let’s call a spade a spade.”
  • Dragon Season — The Elder Dragons Demystified. “In the year 2011, on the 83rd day of the Season of Colossus according to the Mouvelian Calendar, a seminal article was published on our site, regarding the Elder Dragons of Tyria. The Dragon Season Scholars and Academics, however, never rest. As a result of their tireless efforts and following a scrutinous study of recently discovered manuscripts, we present today as an appendix of the aforementioned articles, these here below tables.”
  • GWOnline.net — Of Water Glasses and the Missing Calm Before the Storm. “With the press betas this weekend, and the expected information overload come Monday, I think it is safe to say that the Guild Wars 2 community are being worked (or working themselves) into a frenzy. And probably in pure delirium they are latching on to any “scandal