When it was released, the first Guild Wars was different, to say the least. To a professional video game developer or hardcore MMORPG gamer the concept of ArenaNet’s debut game may have sounded more like an experiment. Guild Wars combined classical hack and slash gameplay in a brand new shell, while rewriting the laws of instance based gameplay and featuring a merciless PvP system where everything comes down to your skills. It was proudly branded “MMORPG with no monthly fees”. Then out of nowhere – it turned into a hit. But not because it was original, but because it was flawless on almost every aspect, other than the lack of content of course. This was later on fixed with the release of two stand alone campaigns – Factions and Nightfall and one true expansion – Eye of the North. Now it is time for me to present to you the true sequel to Guild Wars – Guild Wars 2. This Guild Wars 2 preview will inform you of almost every bit of information that was released since the announcement of the game.
A new world
Guild Wars 2 is set about 250 years after the events in the first game. The world has shifted to a point where even the bravest of skill hunters that stormed the servers of Guild Wars will not be able to recognize it. The cause of these changes, other than time, is the brand new and much more serious threat – the Dragons. These massive beasts have awakened after a millennia of sleep. So far we were introduced to three dragons – Primordus, Zhaitan and Jormag. The awakening of the dragons has caused havoc and despair throughout the land. The only hope left is for the races to unite. Old conflicts must be forgotten for the greater good of the land. As you may have already noticed, you will now be able to choose between one of the five playable races: Asura, Charr, Human, Norn and Sylvari. Each race promises a completely different look on things and each will have its advantages or disadvantages. The asura, for example, will be able to summon golems to help in battle. Not much is known about the race-driven gameplay yet, but more information is to come. The companions system of the first game will be reworked so that we’ll once again be able to bring henchman for aid, but they will not take a party slot but instead serve as an extension to the the character. As for the presentation of the world – it will now be open and containing all the players at once.
Guild Wars 2 will offer a sort of migration feature from the first game to the second. No, you won’t be able to transfer your pumped fire elementalist with that awesome AoE build, but instead you will be rewarded for spending so much time to build it. As some of you may remember, Eye of the North introduced a hall of monuments feature. This is the key that will allow you to transfer some of your titles/items from the first game to the second. It will not be a direct transfer, though. You can also reserve your names through that same system.
Guild Wars 2 will utilize a brand new quest system different that anything we’ve seen. The game will feature the so-called “Event system”. Different events will occur through the world of Guild Wars 2 and if you happen to be present at one of those – you can participate. One of the examples demonstrates a dragon attacking the bridge of a small village. The players will then have a choice whether to fight the beast or not. If they succeed in this, the dragon will flee and they will be rewarded. Should they fail then the dragon destroys the bridge of the village and a new series of quests is unlocked to fix the bridge.
Player versus Player
There will be two types of PvP in Guild Wars 2 – World PvP and Structured PvP. World PvP will allow large numbers of players to participate in massive battles in the world of Guild Wars 2. It was noted that this PvP mode will have different objectives to complete. There will also be a Lineage-ish castle system where players join each other to take control of a selected castle. The other side of the coin – the structured PvP – will be similar to GvG’s in the first game.
Guild Wars 2 is powered by an updated version of the engine from the first game. Actually “updated” is not the right word, “complete makeover” is more like it. The engine will offer more detailed models, better lighting and shadows, new animation and effects systems, plus new audio and cinematics engines and a more flexible combat and skill-casting system. There have been rumors about the game supporting Dx10, too. As for the physics system – it’s Havok. To sum this up – the game will look astonishing. The music will be recorded by Jeremy Soule, who did the music of the first Guild Wars.
Guild Wars 2 is shaping up like a great MMO. A revolutionary one, even. ArenaNet have tweaked the right places and are offering us a more massive and epic adventure. No release dates have been announced as of yet but the game is nearing it’s completion. Which reminds me that ArenaNet have said the game will have no monthly fees. One thing is for sure – I will be getting Guild Wars 2. And it looks like I’m not the only one.