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Preview: Guild Wars 2

Preview: Guild Wars 2


Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Players: Online Multi-player
Release Date: 28th August 2012 (3 day advance play on 25th for pre-purchase!)
Developers: ArenaNet
Publishers: NCSoft
Genre: Fantasy MMORPG
Price: €54.99 (no subscription fee!)

From NCSoft comes the highly anticipated, Guild Wars 2, seven years after the first in the series was released:

Guild Wars 2 defines the future of online role-playing games with action-oriented combat, customized personal story lines, epic dynamic events, world-class PvP, and no subscription fees!

So with promises of more action, more personal driven stories, augmented class dynamics and the sun moon and stars, how could I not get swept up into the hysteria that is Guild Wars 2. With the game currently ranked as number one, two and three as the best selling game on Amazon.com, it would seem that players all over the world are gearing up for the release and I’ve even pre-purchased so I can take advantage of a three day head start offered to anyone who buys the game in advance. 

What is Guild Wars 2 about?

Set in the world of Tyria, 250 years after the events of the ‘Eye of the North’ expansion for Guild Wars, the Elder Dragons have awoken and begun a devastating campaign fo chaos and destruction, wreaking havoc and death upon the people of Tyria, corrupting wildlife, creatures and people alike. The five races of Tyria, Human, Charr, Norn, Asura and Sylvari must set aside their own problems and join forces if they are to have any hope of restoring peace and harmony to the world once more but with the human population dwindling, the Norn at war with the Jormag and the Asura forced to find new homes after their underground ones were invaded, it is easier said than done.

As a player in the game it is up to you to unite the once powerful guild known as Destiny’s Edge and rally the forces of Tyria against the Undead Elder Dragon Zhaitan.

Development, combat and character creation

Guild Wars 2 has been a five year project, announced in 2007, it didn’t see the light of day until 2009, when the companies behind the game were happy enough with it’s progress to bring it out into the public domain and since then the community have been waiting, planning and queuing for Beta tests. The game utilises a similar engine to the first Guild Wars but with some serious overhaul coupled with Havok and Umbra Occlusion engines. Music for the game has been composed by Jeremy Soule, known for his work on the Elder Scrolls games, Oblivion and Skyrim as well as the original Guild Wars game, the Harry Potter games and Knights of the Old Republic.

As a player in the game, you have nearly endless options when it comes to the creation of your character and your story, remember Guild Wars2 promises that your actions will have an impact not only on you but on the world you create for yourself. As already mentioned there are five races living in Tyria:

Human – the Human race has suffered in the last 250 years with population dwindling and war with the Charr.
Norn – a race of determined and highly skilled hunters, they suffered defeat under the Ice Dragon.
Asura – short in stature but big on intelligence and magic.
Sylvari – the youngest race, only 25yrs old, these plant like people are shrouded in mystery, one that has ties to the Elder Dragons.
Charr  – deadly, ferocious and unforgiving, they are built for war and for fighting.

As well as the five races there are eight professions (classes) to choose from:

Warrior – unrivalled strength and toughness, they are masters of arms and carry heavy armoor into battle. 
Ranger – taming wild animals, wielding ranged weapons with unrivalled accuracy and channelling the power of nature itself
Elementalist – command of the four elements lies at the finger tips of these powerful sorcerers, abilities with devastating blows to massive crowd control.
Engineer – utilising advanced technology, crafting explosives and potions alike, dropping turrets all in an attempt to dominate the fight
Guardian – stoic and fierce, the perfect defence drawing on their power and strength to protect the innocent and destroy their foes
Mesmer – warping the mind of enemies, disappearing in the blink of an eye and playing tricks on simple minds, these magical dualists wield deadly power and weapons
Thief – stealth and surprise attacks are the key to taking out enemies quickly, stealing their items and weapons turning them against their owner, quick and deadly.
Necromancer – channelling the dark forces, raising the dead and drawing the life and soul out of all who stand in their way, these sorcerers are not to be underestimated.

You are not limited in race and profession, be an Asura warrior, a Norn Mesmer or a Charr Defender. One thing you may have noticed missing above from the class list is the role of a healer. Early on developers realised that by having a dedicated healer in a group that group or solo questing would be very limited with parties in other MMORPG’s requiring a healing class to help navigate dungeons and raids, meaning game-play in these games was somewhat restricted unless you could rope a member of that class into your party.

When it comes to combat and skills, the ArenaNet video explains it better than we can:

How is it different to World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs?

We can pick out three key factors that separate Guild Wars 2 from other MMORPGs

  1. No subcription fee. You pay for your game, a once off payment… that’s it!
  2. Combat is more engaging, you can combine your abilities with other players to help bring down enemies faster. It requires strategy and not just mashing abilities until the Boss goes down. You will have to aim, dodge and work as a team if you want to be victorious.
  3. No need for the ‘Holy Trinity’, that means you don’t need a Healer, a Tank and a DPS to explore and engage with the world and dungeons. The game can be played however you see fit. So whether you want to work alone or seek out others, your party isn’t defined by their class but rather by the people and the players in it.

Now that’s all well and good and this is just a preview, I’ve done my homework, read the reports and looked at what the Industry and Community have been saying about the game but what about someone who made it into the Beta? A friend of the Arcade, was lucky enough to grab a spot and here is what, Damien had to say about his experiences in the world of Tyria:

Guild Wars 2 is not your typical MMO. It needs to be approached with a fresh set of eyes and a willingness to see MMOs from a new perspective. Arenanet has created a game that is not only beautiful and free to play, but promotes cooperation, fun and skill while doing away with archaic concepts like grinding, speed levelling, linear questing and gear based progression. They’ve spent years re-imagining what an MMO should look, feel and play like and by throwing out the subscription model it has allowed them to create a game that will keep you logging in because you want to NOT because you have grinding to do.

Guild Wars 2 is set for release on the 28th of August but you can grab a three day head start like myself if you fancy pre-purchasing the game! For more information on everything covered in the article and to keep up to date with the developers click the links below!

Official Website