There’s a lot going on in Guild Wars 2. The final chunk of Living World Season 3 just launched, and ArenaNet have announced that a second expansion is in the works. It’s all good news for fans of the game, of which many were attracted to the world in the first place with the unique “painterly” presentation. That’s largely due to a style guide that was set by artist Daniel Dociu when he joined ArenaNet in 2003. He left the studio earlier this year to work on Amazon’s gaming initiative, but he left ArenaNet’s art direction in the hands of his son, Horia Dociu. Eurogamer looked into their story and it’s a pretty amazing tale of immigration, vision, and how the face model of Half-Life 2’s Father Grigori wound up dictating the signature look for ArenaNet’s MMO franchise.
Even if you don’t have plans to jump back into Guild Wars 2 just yet, you’re going to want to at least reinstall it when season 3 starts on July 26. Otherwise, later in the year, you’re going to jump back in and you’re going to be all, “Wait, there was a new season and now I have to buy it?” From the announcement:
Just as in Season 2, you can unlock each episode for free by logging in to Guild Wars 2 any time between the episodes initial release and the release of the next episode. If you dont own Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, you can still log in to unlock the episode for free — itll be there waiting for you once you purchase the expansion!
This gives me just under two weeks to finally get around to finishing season 2…
Gliding, a feature previously limited to the new areas introduced in the Heart of Thorns expansion, is now enabled in Guild Wars 2’s original base game areas. The Winter 2016 update makes gliding possible for owners of the Heart of Thorns content throughout the world map, except in player versus player areas and instanced dungeons. The patch brings a host of balance fixes and user interface enhancements as well, but the most important change is that players can now stretch their wings and wobble clumsily from the highest point in Lion’s Arch to eventually lawn dart straight into the ground if they so wish thanks to the update. Fly! Be free!
A little over a year ago, Lion’s Arch, the capital hub of Guild Wars 2 was destroyed in a devastating attack at the climax of the Living World season one storyline. Since then, players and NPCs have had to make do with a tent-town on the outskirts of the city’s ruins. The broken tumbledown of the Lion’s Arch district was a lonely reminder that ArenaNet wasn’t kidding about making drastic changes to their MMO world. See the fallen bricks that once made up the bank headquarters. Look yonder at the cracked statue that once stood proudly in the city center. Take heart adventurers! Lion’s Arch will be rebuilt! ArenaNet revealed that construction has started on a new version of the city that eschews the stacked boat architecture of the previous incarnation.
Construction projects are dependent on workers and weather, both of which can be unpredictable. But while we don’t have a date for the final unveiling, we can say that – due to the advantages of off-site construction – one morning in the next few months you’ll awake to a newly refreshed Lion’s Arch.
Lion’s Arch 2.0 will be a “more fortified city” to reflect the storyline, but will retain the functionality that players require.
When Guild Wars 2’s Heart of Thorns expansion was announced, there was a lot of stuff dumped into the info-sphere sans detail. We learned about the MOBA-lite mode and how ArenaNet plans on keeping it short but sweet. Today, we’re covering the new character profession. The Revenant holds to the developer’s philosophy of not just adding more levels onto their game, but instead offering ways to grow vertically.
The new profession’s archetype revolves around mixing up legendary powers from a pool of options. Along with that, Revenants will need to manage the energy cost of their powers’ upkeep, while keeping mind that weapons aren’t tied to the legend power. Get ready to play havoc with your hotbar!
The current active legend will determine the skills on the right half of your skill bar. It’s similar to weapon swapping, but instead it affects your healing, utility, and elite skills. Not only will the legend you select determine your skills, but you’ll have an energy bar tied to your currently invoked legend.
New players to Guild Wars should probably avoid starting a Revenant character until they’ve tried one of the simpler professions first. The basic Warrior or Ranger is right over there on the selection screen.
One of the new features of the Heart of Thorns add-on for Guild Wars 2 is a new player vs. player mode called stronghold. ArenaNet recently revealed details about this mode and it turns out it’s basically a five vs. five MOBA. You can read an overview of stronghold mode here and watch a detailed presentation on an abandoned map in this forty minute video. You’ll note stronghold has all the trappings of a MOBA, with the equivalent of creeps, player roles, lanes, defensive towers, jungling, and resource gathering. That’s the map up there. You can see the lanes. You can also see that it’s got trebuchets. I don’t think trebuchets are a trapping of MOBAs, but they should be.
One of the things that mystifies me about MOBAs is how long they can take. A round of League of Legends takes about twice as long as it should, especially considering the relatively brittle match progression. You’re just knocking down towers, one after the other. There’s none of the fluidity you get in an actual RTS, with base building, variable army composition, and wide-open maps. Do MOBA players really want to push their way down the same lanes for over a half hour? Given the popularity of the genre, I guess they do.
So for all the MOBA trappings of stronghold mode, I’m delighted to hear ArenaNet designer Hugh Norfolk say:
We want to still preserve that feeling that you can play PvP in Guild Wars 2 and you’re not investing some weird amount of time that can be anywhere from ten minutes to thirty minutes to forty minutes or whatever. So we want to preserve time so players can have quick intense battles over a short period of time.
He later estimates that a round of stronghold will last fifteen minutes. That sounds about right to me. I can be finishing up my third round of stronghold while you’re finally getting to the enemy base in your first round of League of Legends!
ArenaNet announced the Heart of Thorns expansion for Guild Wars 2 today. I suppose I’m as excited as the next person about some of the new features, but I’m also disappointed. The new features are exactly what you’d expect in an expansion, but I can’t help but feel a bit of an “is that all there is?” sensation. I blame Guild Wars 2 itself. It can’t be easy to expand a game this generous, expansive, and varied. There are already so many ways to play, and the classes feel so different, and there are so many options for what would normally be considered endgame grind: dungeons, fractals, exploration, legendary weapons, completing skills, pet collecting, achievements. Furthermore, with the living world storyline, ArenaNet has done such a great job adding new content and new places. And I say that having barely played any of season two. So what’s left for an expansion to do?
After the jump, what specifically is being added in Heart of Thorns? Continue reading →
In preparation for the next story arc in Guild Wars 2, developer ArenaNet has posted a video recap of stuff that happened last season. I didn’t see any of that! Flamethrower robots? A tree monster? A fleet of zeppelins shooting missiles? A hundred foot tall puppet? I just logged in one day and found the city was gone. I am the Encino Man of Guild Wars 2.
I’d like to apologize to any Guild Wars 2 players who were in Cair Shadowfane last night just trying to sell their junk, repair their armor, or study the map. All that chaos was my fault. I really didn’t think it was going to get so out of hand. My bad.
After the jump, Monday night’s all right for fighting. Continue reading →
If you can’t have one big server where all the players play, there are ways to have the next best thing. Funcom’s Secret World, for instance, was really good about letting players bop around among servers to play with each other. You could even chat freely with anyone anywhere, regardless of which server you were on. It was the best kind of MMO spread across multiple servers: one where the server boundaries are invisible.
Guild Wars 2 will do its part to tear down server walls with what they’re calling a “megaserver system”.
With the megaserver system, players won’t be separated into different copies of the same map based on the world they selected on character creation. Instead, you will simply arrive in a map and be assigned to the version of that map that makes the most sense for you as selected by the megaserver system we’ve developed. This new system takes your party, guild, language, home world, and other factors into account to match you to a version of the map you’re entering. This will increase the odds that you’ll see the same people more often and play with people of similar interests.
With megaserver technology, there are as many copies of a map as are needed to comfortably hold the population of players in that map at a given time. Rather than having a separate map copy for each home world and artificially limiting the amount of fellow adventurers you see, the megaserver system brings players together and dynamically opens up new map copies as necessary.
While I’m excited that this will allow me to easily play with friends, I think I’m more excited at what this means for player population. Guild Wars 2 is a rare game that gets better as you’re playing with more people (ironically, Secret World’s downbeat horror setting fares best with fewer people around). There is never any penalty to having other people running around doing what you’re doing. In fact, there are group quests and roaming bosses that feel like content you can’t enjoy if you’re not on a crowded server. The new megaserver system will let Guild Wars 2 be exactly as crowded as it needs to be.
Megaservers go live on April 15. Read more here.
ArenaNet has announced a major change to the way traits work in Guild Wars 2. Currently, characters receive their first point to put into the trait system when they advance to 11th level and gain an additional point per level. Every five points in a line unlocks a major or minor trait that confers various effects. By the time a character reaches the level cap of 80, she should have 70 points invested in the system. The new trait system reduces the number of points to 14 total, and characters won’t start earning them until level 30. Basically, ArenaNet is doing away with the incremental points and condensing things down to the points that actually resulted in a major or minor trait.
Another change to the system is that characters won’t just get traits by leveling up. They’ll have to seek out adventures and complete tasks via a trait guide. Alternately, characters will be able to just purchase them from profession trainers in the game. Each profession will also gain a grandmaster trait that is designed to help define characters. For example, the engineer will get access to fortified turrets (pictured above) that have a protective shield.
According to game designer Roy Cronacher’s latest news post the changes are meant to make the system more approachable and to make each advancement more meaningful for the player.
This new system for acquiring traits in the game brings back an aspect of the original Guild Wars that we really liked, which was exploring the world as a major component of character progression. Acquiring traits will be a horizontal progression system which will give us new ways to add new traits to the game and promote interesting content!
The trait changes will roll out with the April Feature Pack.
Guild Wars 2’s big event for the next Living Story update is a doozy. The evil big baddie, Scarlet, and all her henchmen take on the hub city of Lion’s Arch and paint the town red. In the Escape from Lion’s Arch update, players get to help evacuate the city, fight off rampaging vandals, and witness the destruction of iconic Guild Wars 2 landmarks.
Upon logging in, players level 30 or higher will see a cinematic of the attack on Lion’s Arch. Lower level players will watch this upon entering Lion’s Arch for the first time. Players can rewatch the cinematic by talking to the refugee camp director at any of the three refugee camps located by the Vigil Keep in Gendarran Fields, by the Durmand Priory in Lornar’s Pass, and on Stormbluff Isle in Bloodtide Coast.
The Escape from Lion’s Arch full release notes have more details regarding the balance changes and features of the update.
ArenaNet set a blistering pace for updates to Guild Wars 2 in 2013. With a new Living World chapter released every two weeks, the downside of playing was just trying to keep up. Now that Wintersday has ended, ArenaNet released this video to get everyone caught up on the lore. Who is Scarlet Briar, and what is her master plan? How did that tower get in the middle of the map? Where did all my time for playing other games go? The developers promise to wrap up the storyline in the next four updates, along with a climactic event that will permanently change the game.
Super Adventure Box, the 8-bit inspired April Fool’s event for Guild Wars 2, is returning to the game in a new and improved form for a Back to School celebration. An insane genius named Moto is bringing back the blocky goofiness with Super Adventure Box World 2 featuring new challenges, a “ridiculously difficult” Tribulation Mode, new cosmetic skins, and new weapons and pets can be collected.
Permanent updates to the game include a major change to magic find. It’s no longer going to be a stat given by equipment. It will be an account-wide bonus for all characters accumulated through salvaging higher-level items.
Super Adventure Box Back to School starts on September 3rd.
That’s the trailer for Blizzard’s newest content and balance patch for World of Warcraft. It’s called Siege of Ogrimmar and it’s available for testing before the general rollout. The longtime leader of the orcs, Garrosh Hellscream, has gone insane and wants to create a new Horde from demonic agents. It’s a convenient excuse to set up all sorts of new shifted alliances and encounters, but the really interesting bit is the new area dubbed the Timeless Isle.
The Timeless Isle is filled with rare spawns, rare Elites, chests containing epic loot, and events that are all highly rewarding. When you find yourself in close proximity to any of these, you’ll see them pop up on your minimap, denoting their location and event type. Some won’t be simple to get to or easy to find, as many parts of the island are entangled with puzzles lost to time. Some involve more than a simple alert…but we’re not going to spoil the surprises, and we’re really looking forward to see how quickly players can unlock the island’s mysteries and hidden treasures.
Dynamic events that pop up as you get near? That sounds familiar.