Guild Wars 2 preview: omfg

Guild Wars 2 is an upcoming MMO which I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while. They’ve released a video of the game now, and OMFG it looks awesome.

One of the earliest announcements that got my attention is their incredibly clever idea (and execution) of a game world in which you make a difference. They call it Dynamic Events. Below, described by their Lead Content Designer (source).

In traditional MMOs, when a quest is completed it has no real effect on the game world. You receive your reward and then move on, looking for the next quest to do. The world appears no better or worse for your actions. In GW2, the outcome of every event will directly affect the game world around you. If an enemy dredge army is marching out of their main base, players will be asked to mobilize with their allies and help destroy the army. If the dredge army is defeated, other events will cascade out from there. Players will be able battle their way inside the dredge base, face off against their commander, rescue captured friendly troops being held in the dredge prisons, and even hold the captured base while fighting waves of dredge, who arrive from deep underground to try and take back their home.

Dynamic EventsIf, on the other hand, players fail to destroy the army, it will establish a fort in friendly player territory. From there, the dredge will send shipments of troops and supplies to the fort from the main base while building up walls, turrets, and siege engines to help defend it. Enemy dredge forces will then begin to move out from their newly established fort to attack friendly player locations in the area, sending snipers out into the hills, sending assault team forces to capture friendly player villages, and trying to smash down friendly fortifications with massive dredge walkers. All of these events continue to cascade out into further chains of events where cause and effect is directly related to the player’s actions.

For example, if the players do not mobilize to stop the dredge snipers, they’ll begin to shoot down all the villagers and merchants in nearby friendly villages. If they fail to stop the dredge assault teams from capturing a village, players will need to lead a force to help liberate the town and free the villagers. All of this content is derived from a single initial event – the dredge army marching through the map.

The developers have also written a short blog post which you should read to accompany this recently-released unfuckingbelievably-awesomesauce video. Read it afterwards, then maybe watch the video again. If you want to read even more, there’s a whole series of blog posts from the developers.

If you’ve not looked much into GW2, it’s not too late, and the game isn’t released yet.

Keep reading for more gameplay videos!

It’ll be on demo at the Gamescon (hopefully Zao, one of our posters who is attending will get have a play of it and report back!).

guild wars 2

Not long ago, GW2 released their design manifesto which talks about how they intend to design the game. It’s worth looking at. It is an insight to how they want to change MMOs.

With traditional MMOs you can choose to solo or you can find a good guild or party to play with. WithGW2 there’s a third option too: you can just naturally play with all the people around you. I personally spend a big chunk of my time in traditional MMOs soloing, but when I play GW2 I always find myself naturally working with everyone around me to accomplish world objectives, and before long we find ourselves saying, “Hey, there’s a bunch of us here; let’s see if we can take down the swamp boss together,” without ever having bothered to form a party.

There is quite a lot of information already on the GW2 website, including the video I embedded above, an outline of classes (called professions) and races, plus more. I like the Charr, similar to Tauren which is my favourite WoW.

I like the idea of a Charr Warrior (so I can tank, of course).

Here’s a human warrior, check his moves!

Awesome, eh. I love the shield slam move in slow-mo. There are five videos of the warrior over here, I’ve only embedded two of them.

Then again, their Elementalist looks pretty awesome too.

But it gets better. The debuffs one class casts on an enemy, or their aura, can be used to the advantage of your allies (source). You can see this a few times in the first longer cinematic movie.

A warrior and an elementalist playing together could combine their abilities in several different ways. The elementalist could drop down Static Field, which is an area-targeted lightning effect. A warrior who fires a rifle bullet through the static field would cause his shot to be charged up with electricity, inflicting additional damage. If that didn’t suit their style, then the elementalist might drop a Wall of Fire in front of a group of enemies. The warrior could enter the firewall and use Cyclone Axe, an attack which causes him to spin rapidly, sending the firewall outward and hitting his foes. There are literally hundreds of combinations for players to discover.

Tanking, however, is another intriguing twist. There will be no dedictated healer class in GW2. Tanking is going to be about control. All classes will have some self-sufficiency.

Frankly, we don’t like sitting around spamming “looking for healer” to global chat. That feels an awful lot like preparing to have fun instead of having fun.

Instead of the traditional trinity, every Guild Wars 2 profession is self reliant–not only can they all help each other by reviving in combat, but all professions have ways to build their characters differently to make them more versatile for group play.

So how do you tank then? (source)

Tank: This is where Guild Wars 2 makes the biggest break from the traditional MMO setup. Tanking is the most rudimentary form of the most important combat fundamental, CONTROL. Every game has it, yet it always seems to get a bad name. In Guild Wars there was Knockdown, Interrupt, Weakness, Blind, and Cripple, to name a few. We wanted to build upon what we think makes control such an important part of dynamic combat.

Control is the only thing versatile enough to get away from the rock-paper-scissors gameplay of other MMOs. It’s healing when you need it, its damage when you need it. It is the glue that holds together our system. From controlling movement to controlling damage, there are tons of exciting dynamic scenarios that control can set up. You can use a stun to save an ally or to finish off a fleeing enemy. Immobilize that warrior to get away from them, or use it on an elementalist to close in on them. In order to use it well, we had to understand the drawbacks of control too. How often can you do it? How excessive is the duration? How does it affect the difficulty of challenges you face?

There are a lot of different levels of control, from a simple cripple, to an immobilize, to a knockdown. Each one has its place. The more devastating control effects are, the more infrequently they need to occur, and their duration needs to be shorter. Knockdown is one of the strongest forms of control in Guild Wars 2, but you won’t see a character that can just keep knocking someone down indefinitely, and you won’t see a knockdown that puts an enemy out for so long that they won’t be able to react. It’s simply a tool that players have at their disposal to use at the right times to turn the tide of a battle.

This MMO is definitely one to watch. You can also follow them on twitter. We’ve got a thread here about GW2 in our offtopic Mankrik’s Pub.

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5 comments to Guild Wars 2 preview: omfg

  • Insolence

    It looks totally awesome cant wait for Beta to start. GuildWars 1 is also pretty cheap for anyone that wants to experience the first game.

    Second game I’ve heard of so far that breaks away from the classic MMO Trinity as well :)

  • Zao

    Oh, another game I could get some footage off at Gamescom.
    And another MMO I’ll try out (aside from Cata and ToR)

  • Methuus

    Let me preface this by saying I played and enjoyed Guild Wars and I’m looking forward to GW2. but…
     
    Whenever I hear a developer say “in our MMO, your actions will affect the world” my follow up question is “but will other random players see/experience the impact of my actions?” (Random meaning not players who have grouped up with me in whatever grouping system the game uses.)
     
    I mean, it’s easy to tell a story where players change the world, you just make a single-player RPG. Or, if you want to get fancy, a small group multi-player coop RPG (which was what GW1 was). But to my mind, the defining characteristic of a true MMO is the shared world; the first M is for massively, after all. The more instancing/phasing/whatever you have, the more you move away from having a true shared world.
     
    But again, let me state, this isn’t really a criticism of GW2. I’m really looking forward to it and will be playing it. What I’m really saying, is that I don’t think that the GW2 team has actually cracked the problem of having a true shared world with player impact (without having massive griefing); that’s a very hard problem.
     
    What I think they’re going to do is have instancing and have your actions change what happens in the instance, but other players not in your instance group won’t see the changes. Which is a nice step forward, but isn’t that revolutionary. (And I also think that this is what SW:TOR is going to do as well.)

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      I wonder that about the dynamic events too. Some of their FAQ answers read like certain villages will actually turn for everyone in the whole game, to say being destroyed, then rebuilt, then attacked and either saved or destroyed again, in a repeating cycle that might last weeks. If so, it’d not be instanced, and quite awesome.

  • rotnronnie

    Sounds a lot like Public Quests in Warhammer online.

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