Hands On With Guild Wars 2

By Dan Grill on July 6th, 2011 at 4:00 pm.


We’ve played Guild Wars 2. It’s tough. It’s good. Here’s a little feature about how it is coming together, including some thoughts on that newly-revealed Engineer profession, and underwater combat.

Okay, so you know Ascalon? Noble, quaint kingdom, lovely people, delightful taste in continent-spanning walls? Crushed by the Charr at the beginning of Guild Wars, and so forth? Population massacred, people scattered, a last stand frozen in time by the desperate actions of King Adelbarn? Hmm, yes, them. Tragic story. Sad.

Did you ever think that they may have been the baddies?

Guild Wars 2 certainly thinks they were. Adelbarn’s victory at all cost may have obliterated the attacking Charr (giant cat people, don’t ever call them furries) army, but it turned his people into deluded deadly ghosts; it’s also worth remembering that Ascalon was actually built on conquered Charr land, so the Charr were justified in wanting it back.

We’re plunging into the depths of the ruined city to stop an ignorant Norn heroine from foolhardily unleashing all the spirits trapped therein; very similar to the plot of the official novel by lead writer Jeff Grubb. We are a brave (read; hugely imbalanced) party of brash young fools consisting of me (Cheery, the Charr Engineer), a couple of mages (necromancer and elementalist), a human thief, and an AI Charr leader who spends most of his time lying down, whimpering. We’re playing through the easy story first, so we can unlock the harder exploration mode for a challenge later.


HA. Did I say easy? I mean MFing difficult. On the face of this mid-game instance, Exploration is going to be tougher than John’s iron skin that allows all those jokes about poor healing to just *bounce* off it.

We almost wipe immediately, after a ten-minute stalemate with three ghostly defenders of Ascalan. It takes us that long to realise that the ghosts are class-based just like us (indeed, they’re the classes from the first game!) and are better at playing together than us. Their monk keeps healing their warrior, who keeps drawing our attention (aggro) by hitting us, whilst their Mesmer distracts us with his projectile-reflecting shield every time the warrior needs to heal himself. We’re all just looking after ourselves and we drop one by one until I’m the only one left, backing off, dropping turrets and health packs. When the ghosts back off, I inch forward and ressurrect the party, one by one.

The reason it takes so long for us to succeed against these (admittedly veteran) ghosts is that each class in Guild Wars is actually pretty self-sufficient. For example, I’ve been playing as the engineer for most of the afternoon, and he can drop a healing turret and medkits to keep himself and team members alive; anyone can resurrect anyone else as well, but if they die again with a given time frame they have to respawn at the beginning of the instance. At least in story mode, this doesn’t spawn any more enemies and isn’t far away, so progress is a straightforward task of just keeping yourselves alive, slowly resurrecting as people fall, and hoping that no-one drops in a area surrounded by bads.


Slowly pushing on through the fairly linear dungeon, we make it through several more packs of ghosts (though the dungeon gives you room to breath, unlike many WoW instances), before catching up with Mrs Norn. My only problem with these fights, exciting as they are, is that I can’t really tell what’s going on; there’s so many super-powered flashes and bangs from all my teammates, it’s hard to know what everyone’s doing; for example, I never actually noticed if anyone was healing me or not, and my healing turret proved to be bugged, only healing me once and no-one else.

Mrs Norn is after King Adelbarn’s sword, Magdaer, a great old lump of magic, which he used to raise all the ghosts and is at the top of the ruined tower we’re fighting through; she manages to persuade us that grabbing it is a Good Idea. Heading up there, we clear out a mass of ghosts and lay hands on the sword… and up pops Adelbarn. Before we can deal with him though, we need to go off and diddle his mini-bosses, who are all archetypes of high classes from the first game. Once we’ve nobbled them, we head back and do for Adelbarn too.

I have to say, just from this play session, the engineer’s proved to be one of my favourite quirky MMO classes, up there with LOTRO’s burgular and WAR’s Squig Herder. Unlike most actual engineers I know, he isn’t concerned with minimising measurement errors, but rather with using one of his many gadget sets to alter his role. Basically, most Guild Wars 2 characters have two weapon sets that they can swap between in-combat; the engineer has one, a kind of rifle-shotgun combination, with five attacks, all solid (especially the one that knocks both him and the enemy back a huge distance), but not particularly special.


However, he also has alternate tool kits; a flamethrower, a pack of mines, a pack of medkits, a pack of bombs… all of which also have five special powers. He also has other gadgets that he has to slot in somewhere; a range of three turrets (healing, rifle and a thumper), rocket-boots that fling him far, far away from the enemy, and more gadgets as he climbs the levels. Of course, he can only have three equipped at any time, plus his basic gun, but he can swap between them outside of combat, and that still gives him around 25 hugely distinctive and different moves to try; the playstyle change between the flamethrower and the bombs is just great.

As with all the classes, he also has an additional weapon set for underwater combat (a trident and a basic aqualung) and a weapon set for when he’s downed – consisting of a nice selection of his powers, including a mine field, a bomb, the ability to throw junk, and the ability to borrow a random downed power from an ally.

I also tried him out in a wider roaming area of the game (around level 30) which included open quests, which worked as well as Rift’s do – a bit confused but perfectly enjoyable and nicely fluid.

Finally, we had a go at the Norn intro area which, like all intro areas, feels a bit like the suburbs; once you’ve picked your heroic backstory and created your character, you’re straight into tutorials. You’re suitably high-powered from the off, killing a giant worm-thing called Isilmir but there’s that weightless feeling of Rift’s beginning – if I’m so amazing, how come I can only use this single power? There are a nice variety of challenges in this area, based around the four Norn spirit animals, with the Snow Leopard letting you shapechange into one, the Bear asking you to protect its young and the Raven asking you hundreds of riddles. Also, very simple open quests like defend the beer delivery, just to introduce you to the world.


In that area, I also had a very limited go at underwater combat – there was only one pond that really allowed it. It’s fluid (haw) and the alternate weapon sets are a nice touch, but it had that Descent problem of directional confusion, especially in underwater caves. We’ll be intrigued to see how it’s handled in instances and with large parties – and how players and the engine will cope with multiple enemies moving quickly in three dimensions.

So did I enjoy Guild Wars 2? Mechanics-wise, it’s not a great leap forward, despite everything; there are so many standards expected of an MMO that the freedom of movement is very limited. That said, the general design is second to none, the stories are presented quickly and compellingly, and the combat is flexible and enjoyable. It’s going to be quite the contender come that beta test later this year.

Guild Wars 2 does not yet have a release date.

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82 Comments »

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  1. Shodex says:

    Is it as instanced as the previous game?

    • kirkbjerk says:

      Dungeons will be instanced, but I think the explorable areas will not be.

    • jealouspirate says:

      Not like the last game, no. It’s more like other MMOs where everyone is out exploring the areas together.

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  2. Ravious says:

    Good show! That’d be “Norn” not “Nord” but otherwise great impressions. :)

  3. HDGuy says:

    Just release the game already!

  4. Lobotomist says:

    What did you mean by : “there are so many standards expected of an MMO that the freedom of movement is very limited” ?

    Are areas very constrained with “invisible walls” and such ?

    • Premium User Badge

      lowprices says:

      I think when he says “freedom of movement” he means in terms of the mechanics of the game, and what people expect an MMO to involve. Specifically, that it is difficult for an MMO to do something new and different, because games like WoW, FFXI and the first Guild Wars have set the established template for an MMO in stone in many peoples heads.

    • Lobotomist says:

      I see.

      Well i find it quite ok.

      There are things people expect from MMO. Things that DO work. Those should not be changed

    • FakeAssName says:

      it’s also kinda hard to change the mechanics of a MMO outside of a tweak here and there due to technical limitations.

      Vindictus chugs every time you set foot in a town, hell it can barely keep a steady connection in an instance with 2 people: for the time being you can forget MMO style mass combat with anything other than point and click.

    • Lord Byte says:

      You know what the problem with MMOs is, nothing you do is unique, nothing you do has ANY influence on the world. You defeated the big bad guy… so did anyone else and if you find enough people you’ll do it again… and again…
      That’s my problem with the MMO standard, there’s no suspension of disbelief, you’re not in a world, rather in an amusement park, just there for the ride but whatever you did, it’s functionally the same for everyone, maybe in a few months they’ll have a new ride.

  5. jplayer01 says:

    Wow, sounds good. Tempted to buy Guild Wars just to experience the story.

  6. icupnimpn2 says:

    Can you jump?

  7. f4Ri says:

    Brace for impact! Guildwars2guru etc fans coming up on our starboard bow! Shields!

  8. SenorRoboto says:

    Did you ever think that they may have been the baddies?

    This makes me think of this Mitchell and Webb sketch

  9. Chalky says:

    Awesome article

    Although, “Nord” should be “Norn” a couple of times there? :)

  10. crainey92 says:

    Big fan of the first game. books and Guild Wars world hoping this will turn out well. I was super hyped about Guild Wars 2 when I first heard about it 3-4 years ago but that hype has since left me and I’m a little pessimistic about this one to be honest, I still have hope.

    • KauhuK says:

      Let’s just hope it’s more of the same as the first one but improved and refined. That would satisfy me.

    • Kuroko says:

      I think feel EXACTLY the same way.

      Love the first one, got hyped about this, but then the hype died when I realized is just an improved generic MMO and It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the original Guild Wars. Eliminating the secondary profession takes out everything that made GW1 good. Good bye to the long hours spent in the wikia, trying to design clever builds to overcome challenges.

      Then there are the stupid races introduced in GW:EN that don’t fit the setting AT ALL, just a bunch of horrible looking furries.

      The first one was designed around teamplay, tactics and PvP. And So far I’ve seen nothing in Guild Wars 2 that resembles any of that. This one is designed to be an MMO, better than the rest, yes, but still an MMO. It just has nothing to do with Guild Wars.

    • crainey92 says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself Kuroko, that’s exactly how I feel about the second one. I would have been happy with a proper sequel to the first game although it became clear early on that wasn’t the case. Although I had no idea they were scraping the secondary profession feature, that truly sucks since that’s what made the first game so great, sitting all day in guild hall creating crazy builds.

      All that said I’m still hopeful that Arena Net will create a brilliant MMO, I love the Guild Wars lore though I agree with your statement of the latest expansion which I suppose is contradictory therefore no matter what form Guild Wars 2 comes in I’ll likely love it.

    • Nick says:

      Taking out secondary profs isn’t a big deal.. (usually very limited use from secondary and those that were useful usually got the prof nerfed from abuse by other profs) skills tied to weapons is more of an issue though.

    • Loner says:

      I agree with Kuroko, This is World of Tyria or a spin-off of GW and not really the true spiritual successor of GW. GW was a game with 2 main components, the skills system and the team-based combat(with players or henchmens) with a strong focus on positioning, a very active use of the skills bar and a mana management meta-game. Combined with the unique attributes system and dual classes system it’s easy to see how GW was a unique game. GW was also built for PvP with well define roles, focusing on team play instead of individual skills with predictable combat and movement where spacial awareness and positioning was key to success.

      Now GW2 looks and feels like an MMO and its standards, Solo-based, solo pull, skills spaming (1-2-3). All classes equals or self-sufficient. I even hate how they change the marvelous small mana pools/fast regen meta-game to replace it with huge mana pools and potion use. Yes they tried to push the standard but it remain an MMO unlike GW1. I still have no doubt that GW2 will be a great MMO.

    • Eolirin says:

      Er, have you guys actually been following GW2 to any significant amount? The mentality behind the first game are still the core principles on which *all* of the design decisions in GW2 are being made. The level curve is still flat even if there are more levels, item acquisition is still not going to be a grind as most high end items are purchased with a “karma” resource that you get from completing various things. Even the dungeons drop tokens (for everyone), not items, so there’s no fighting over the one good item that dropped, or not having anything you can use drop at all. Anti-grind is still there.

      Teamwork is still there; if anything it may be there more. Most standing effects can be interacted with by other players – AoE fire effects can be shot through to boost damage, for example – and the reward systems are designed to make people *want* to work together, whether they’re partied or not. Everyone that participates in killing a mob or completing an event gets credit for it, and the dynamic event system’s replacement of quests means that the bulk of the non-story content is set up so that whether you’re in a group or not, you’ll be effectively working with other people. And the removal of strict class roles somewhat counter-intuitively improves teamwork; since every class is capable of providing dps, support, and tanking in some way, there’s always something to do that can help the group. A well organized group will dynamically shift between roles as needed, working to support each other if anyone’s getting overwhelmed, getting each other back up when they get downed, and making use of each other’s skill effects.

      Talking about teamwork kinda hints at it, but tactics are even more important: the downed state, cross profession synergy, weapon switching, and even more work on positioning’s importance make the game even more tactically focused than GW1. It’s a much more mobile, active, combat system. Most abilities can be cast while moving, and position matters even more: some attacks do more damage from behind, you can roll out of the way of attacks (and potentially off cliffs), many abilities have a movement affecting component, either for yourself or your opponent, there are a lot of AoE effects, it’s a lot easier to avoid projectiles, spell or otherwise, line of sight matters more, there are a lot of tools to control space, and almost all of the healing effects that work on other people are stationary AoE effects. The profession flexibility makes combat more dynamic as well. And I’m saying this having played the game at one of the tradeshow demos, but the difficulty expressed in the article in coping with *just* 3 mobs should tell you something too; the content is expecting the players to coordinate, and they clearly weren’t.

      PVP hasn’t been talked about terribly much, but they’ve confirmed that there will be a competitive pvp mode much like guild vs guild, where every character is on equal footing, as well as a new PVP mode that looks more like Dark Age of Camelot, with territory control. The combat system changes are also going to add a lot to competitive pvp, how they’ve designed combat in general works very very well with a pvp format.

      Customization has changed, but there’s still plenty of room for tweaking builds. Which weapons you have, coupled with multiple options for your healing skill, 3 utility skills, and elite, and then the trait system, which lets you slot various and diverse modifications for skills, all change how you play to significant amounts. There’s a smaller absolute number of builds, but many many GW1 builds were utterly useless, and there should be a roughly equivalent number of ‘good’ builds. You will probably lose some of the more crazy stuff, but the game should be more balanced for it, which should hopefully lead to a greater diversity of builds, rather than a heavy focus on a handful. That is a trade off.

      The move to an open world instead of a heavily instanced one, and the expansion of the level cap and somewhat increased role for equipment, does not mean that they’re pivoting hard away from GW1. They’re absolutely not. Everything that was good about GW1 is still present in GW2, it’s also just more open, more refined, more active, and there’s more things to do. It’s GW1 AND an MMO.

    • mbourgon says:

      My fear is that they’re leaving the L20 cap. I really liked that – get to 20 reasonably quickly (depending on which game you first played), then the rest of the time is spent tweaking, refining, getting more skills, etc. Also was unaware they were ditching secondaries, which sucks, as my former barrage/splinter ranger will attest. Oh well.

    • DrGonzo says:

      “Good bye to the long hours spent in the wikia, trying to design clever builds to overcome challenges.”

      I loved Guild Wars, but I hated this. It shouldn’t be about reading about stats and the like, it should be intuitive. The spell that throws a fireball should be good because you throw a damned fireball, I shouldn’t need to researcht he stats around it.

    • Vinraith says:

      @DrGonzo

      For me, on the other hand, that was my favorite part of the game by far. It was reminiscent of deck-building in Magic: The Gathering without the ridiculous cost, and added this marvelous layer of meta-strategy to the whole game. Heroes and the need to craft hero builds made the whole thing that much better. Strip that out (make fireballs good because they’re fireballs) and you’re left with a brainless action game of little interest and no longevity.

    • Commisar says:

      @ Eolirin nice points, I too can’t wait for GW2, it seems to have the best parts of Guild Wars and the best parts of “normal” MMOs

  11. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    The last few things i’ve read about GW2 are firmly reminding me that it’s yet another MMO, as crainey92 said, the hype is starting to leave me

    • Faceless says:

      And Battlefield 3 is yet another military shooter. Not sure what you expected of Guild Wars 2, for it to be a racing game?

    • crainey92 says:

      I think you’re missing the point, what he means is that Guild Wars was a unique MMO and wasn’t just another knock off, it had it’s own ideas.

    • Chalky says:

      @crainey92

      Incorrect, Guild wars 1 was a unique RPG with avatar chat lobbies. GW2 is an MMO with a number of unique features in the genre.

      The biggest differences between GW1 and MMOs were due to the reason it wasn’t an MMO – it was entirely instanced.

    • crainey92 says:

      Very true good sir but the definition of MMO is very misleading and oft applied in false. Was a very good instanced game though, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Chalky says:

      Yeah, it was awesome. But many of the reasons why people say GW2 is more like a “standard MMO” is because it is now an MMO.

      It rather goes without saying that when you turn GW1 into an MMO, it’s going to be more like an MMO.

  12. Ian says:

    “though the dungeon gives you room to breath, unlike many WoW instances”

    Really? I’ve found that if you wait a minute and off a patrol (if there even is one) most WoW 5-mans (not raids, can’t speak for them) give you a place to rest after any bunches of trash.

    Anyway, game’s sounding decent. Not currently thinking it’s going to be ZOMGTEHBESTEVAR but this might do me a favour in the end.

    • unlimitedgiants says:

      That sounds like they haven’t played any WoW for the past five years. Like when Strat was jam packed full of roving packs of stuff.

      They’ve thinned all of the instances down to nothing, and the design of all the new ones are so that you never encounter anything more than one pack at a time unless you are blind.

  13. McDan says:

    Looking very good! Can’t wait for this one.

  14. jealouspirate says:

    “Mechanics-wise, it’s not a great leap forward, despite everything; there are so many standards expected of an MMO that the freedom of movement is very limited. ”

    Kind of surprised to see this. GW2 has collision detection, you can dodge (or block) projectiles and various attacks. There are cool physics things like your elevation affecting how far your arrows shoot and stuff. That’s all pretty unique in the MMO scene.

    • Loner says:

      @jealouspirate

      Actually those mechanics were already in GW1 (dodge missile, elevation) GW even has collision detection with players, something they removed from GW2

    • John P says:

      It was a poor choice of words. He was speaking (writing) metaphorically. His point was that it’s difficult for MMO developers to really break away from established designs. The sentence has nothing to do with literal character movement.

  15. tstapp1026 says:

    Who in the hell is this Adlebarn you speak of?

  16. Wulf says:

    Uh. Anyone who doesn’t think that the Ascalonians were not nice people isn’t familiar with the lore.

    – They step onto Tyria, and their gods bid them to take out the local savages with their divine magicks. They do. Women? Children? It matters not, they’re all mindless beasts.

    – The charr fight back, they almost win, and the humans cheat using the power of their gods to kill the charr leader, throwing the charr into chaos.

    – The humans for the charr out of their own lands and build a Great Wall of C–Ascalon to keep them out.

    – The humans spread out to create three kingdoms.

    – The three kingdoms start a bloody series of wars known as the guild wars.

    – The three kingdoms are on the verge of destroying each other, if the charr had just waited a few more years, Kryta would’ve had Ascalon in ruins.

    – The charr are fed up of having these humans romping around in lands that were theirs, so a few Flame Legion types get the idea that it would be cool to be like humans. So they get their own gods.

    – Unfortunately, their gods are the corrupt minions of one of the human gods (Abaddon).

    – They use everything from fear to brainwashing to bring the rest of the charr under their control, under the control of the titans (abaddon’s minions).

    – They initiate the Searing and take back Ascalon, something that many a charr has wanted for a while, but few actually agree with how it was done.

    – A propaganda campaign starts up to paint the charr as evil beasts, the humans never did anything wrong, why are they attacking?, etc etc etc. Lots of fun.

    – Prince Rurik suggests that maybe Adelbern should give the lands back to their original owners.

    – Prince Rurik leaves with a bunch of level-headed humans. Ascalon goes on a mad ego-trip and refuses to leave the lands that his people so unjustly occupied.

    – Prince Rurik dies but the Ascalonians make it to Kryta.

    – Adelbern orders the return of Prince Rurik’s guard, the Ebon Vanguard. To defend Ascalon from the charr. Ebonhawke is built. More war funsies.

    – A charr movement starts up of charr that are ticked off by the state of affairs, they prefer death to the fear and brainwashing tactics that the Flame Legion shamans are using to control the rest of the charr.

    – Aided by us, the players, the charr resistance movement proves to be a thorn in the side of the shamans.

    – The charr invade Ascalon to retake it. The troops demand a retreat as shown in this video, Adelbern haas another ego trip and turns them all into vengeful spirits, forcing them to forever guard Ascalon without rest or respite, never allowing them eternal peace. That was thousands upon thousands of soldiers that this happened to. Nice going, Adelbern.

    – The Flame Legion is overthrown, their false gods defeated, a second set of false gods are defeated, and they’re chased out and shamed. They’re outcasted. The charr are allowed to be free again, they start to rebuild.

    – The Black Citadel is built upon the ruins of Rin.

    – And so on and so on.

    So yeah, the Ascalonians were pretty much dicks. Except for Prince Rurik who was an okay guy, I liked Rurik, even if he was a bit suicidal with his kamikaze manoeuvres. Rurik did good work in getting those people to Kryta, and it’s those people (along with the Krytans) that founded Divinity’s Reach.

    This is basically compiled from released GW2 lore, GW1 in-game lore (including Eye of the North), the books, some lore pieces from the wiki (Movement of the World, The Guild Wars, Ecology of the Charr), some in-game GW2 info (from the demo), and so on.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh, and for those curious, the enemy charr in the Engineer video? Yeah. Flame Legion. Not nice people, not at all, and they’re pretty much the opposing faction to the charr that we play as. They did a lot of terrible things to the charr over the time that they ruled. (Including destroying sexual equality and placing all women into utilitarian roles. In fact, it was women training in secret, and eventually doubling the ranks of the rebels that helped the charr that we now play win their war of philosophy.)

      (This all said, I don’t entirely blame the Ascalonians for turning out to be dicks. Their gods were total dicks as was established in Nightfall. Good thing they’re gone, really. And it was the gods that originally bade them to set foot onto Tyria and slaughter the charr. So there you go.)

    • ankh says:

      Screw you I’m not Xenophobic. Also, i didn’t read your comment.

  17. Blaq says:

    Hm, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed seeing that GW2, primarily a PvP game, had a PvE demonstration for the press before any PvP demonstrations. If they’re confident enough in showing their PvE it should mean that the basics of class combat are already fully implemented, which shouldn’t hinder them at all in letting press people have a go at each other.

    It feels like they’re prioritising PvE before PvP, which worries me. I don’t want another WoW clone, a PvE MMO with tacked on PvP, I want a true successor to the original GW. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Vinraith says:

      “primarily a PvP game”

      Where did you get that idea? I’d gotten the impression that they’d learned from the first one that PvP is always going to carry a smaller percentage of the user base than PvE, most people just don’t have an interest in it.

    • Blaq says:

      First time I hear that statement. Anywhere I can read up on that?
      If that’s what they think then Arena.net aren’t quite as smart as I thought. The original game did well, it would make sense for them to build on that success. I can’t see GW2 being a success in the sense that WoW is in the saturated MMO market if Arena.net are aiming to displace Blizzard. Especially knowing that WoW isn’t dying any time soon and that there’s Titan coming after it. Right now there’s a huge gap in the market for a pure-bred AAA PvP MMO title and Arena.net would be mad to not jump on the opportunity.

      Also, I don’t agree with PvE pulling more people. I’d say the precentages are close to 50/50 for either type of game, which would be apparent if there was a good PvP MMO out there. But that’s just an opinion.

    • Faceless says:

      They’re not smart because they don’t cater to your personal needs?

      They stated in the past that they want to put equal focus on both PvE and PvP, believing that an equilibrium of quality can be achieved. Since GW was a PvP-centric game, known mainly for that in particular, they’re marketing PvE first, PvP second with Guild Wars 2. That’s all there is to it.

      Now, little is known about PvP, but the available modes are already promising, and in a recent interview ArenaNet said observer mode will make a return, there will be built-in tournament ladders, and they will add various features to make it an eSport.

      You may be sore that they chose to show PvE first, but that says nothing about PvP. Wait until they unveil it, then you’re free to complain to your hearts content.

    • Blaq says:

      Jumping to conclusions are we? If you read my comment you’ll see that I believe there’s a huge gap on the market currently that Arena.net would be smart to exploit. It seems like MMO players have become a bit vary of the AAA PvE MMOs with the blandness that Rift turned out to be (certainly not the roaring success most people expected), so I don’t think marketing the game with PvE would be quite as effective as doing it the other way around. What I wrote has absolutely nothing to do with my personal needs and I really can’t understand why you’d be this aggressive. A defensive mechanism?

      There’s a quite a few things that can be said about things developers promise and the actual game at the end of the development cycle. I don’t think anyone can blame me for being cautious. Seeing PvE being shown first makes me nervous and a little red light starts blinking in the back of my head, that’s all.

    • Faceless says:

      Two sizeable paragraphs explaining ArenaNet’s marketing strategy, one sarcastic jab, and you decide I’m aggressive, jumping to conclusions and my defensive mechanism kicked in. Are you by any chance posting from a mental institution?

      Yes, one can discuss at great length which marketing strategy would be more competent; I myself believe there are several missteps in the marketing campaign (or lack thereof), but that’s beside the point, isn’t it? You simply voiced your concern regarding an apparent focus on PvE, and I said it’s nothing to do with development priorities, and everything to do with marketing priorities.

      Also, Rift’s failure in PvE is exactly one of the reasons for focusing on marketing PvE is a wise decision. The panel at PAX East 2011 proved it – there were plenty of those who abandoned Rift, noticed the PvE of Guild Wars 2, perceived it as more ambitious and interesting, and there you go – new potential buyers.

      Finally, a point regarding your repeated ‘huge gap’ point. Huge gap in the market does not by default mean you will get a lot of dosh. There is a huge gap in the market for adventure games, military simulators, isometric RPGs et al and they all sell poorly nowadays. Competitive PvP is a niche, contrary to what competitive PvPers themselves believe.

      I’ll say it again, this time without the sarcasm – wait for it. Wait for PvP to be unveiled, then cast your shadows of doubt. What you see now is marketing, not a clear indication of development faults.

    • Blaq says:

      I read your concluding that I’m talking out of personal need (much as you are concluding that I must be posting from a mental institution) to be an aggresive stance and therefore a defensive mechanism, since there was nothing in my comment that would hint to either of those. I apologise if I was wrong in my assesment. And as far as I know I’m quite sane. Although I haven’t been to a psychiatrist so far, so I guess that makes it an opinion rather than fact.

      I pity the developer that would tolerate a mismatch of marketing and development focus. I’m sure you realise the downsides of doing that (player expectations are one of them). Which is why I believe marketing and development are closely connected. If Arena.net prepared PvE as the first press showcase environment, then that leads me to conclude that they feel that the PvE part of the game is more polished. Either at this stage or in general. Neither of those appeals to me, the first because it hints at the developer prioritising PvE and the second because of various reasons I already stated.

      You’re right though, a gap in the market doesn’t automatically mean success. A good product that fits the gap does. Which I believe Arena.net were striving to do anyway, either in the PvE or PvP department. In my opinion they’d be more successful with the latter.

      As for Rift’s semi-failure, the game hasn’t died. It hasn’t done as well as expected but it’s doing well enough. In addition, I believe that the majority of the disappointed Rift players went back to WoW, which has a lot to do with various influences that the game has over its players (and why it’s said that only Blizzard can kill it). Most of the WoW crowd will stay with Blizzard, regardless of what they claim, as for the rest of the market it appears to be quite saturated with both p2p, recently turned f2p MMOs and pure f2p MMOs (and yes, f2p MMOs can compete with AAA MMOs for the player’s time).

      Oh and competitive PvP isn’t the only form of PvP that an MMO with such content can offer. Competitive PvP in MMOs may be a niche, but PvP in MMOs isn’t. There’s a lot to be said of the casual PvP player.

    • Nick says:

      The amount of PvE content in GW dwarfs the PvP content, doesn’t mean the PvP sucks. So I wouldn’t worry too much.

    • randomessa says:

      Blaq, I believe the simplest explanation for the lack of detailed PvP information (by which I mean actual footage, as we have been hearing stories and scenarios of PvP encounters on a regular basis since early last year, and in fact have gotten word that the necromancer profession was modified due to its performance in a particularly skilled player’s hands in PvP) is because ArenaNet has yet to reveal all of the professions to us. They can’t show how PvP truly works without all of the professions being revealed, whereas they can throw a lore article up on the website while they polish animations.

      Whether you believe that this belies a heel-face turn in focus from PvP’s role in the previous game is your prerogative, of course.

    • John P says:

      I’m keen to see some PvP details too, but what we’ve heard so far sounds pretty amazing. World vs world vs world should be huge.

    • Blaq says:

      Yes, what we’ve “heard” so far sounds amazing, which is exactly why I feel so on the ropes about this, I want the game to be as amazing as it sounds. I’m hoping the optimists are optimistic for a reason, but when it comes to MMOs I learned to suppress my optimism or even take a pessimistic approach, as that way my expectations are much lower, which usually works out the best when dealing with MMOs.

  18. 0p8 says:

    I just bought the Guild Wars:Trilogy and Guild Wars:Eye of the North, from Steam. (fecking cheap too)
    I hope i can finish that shit load of content before GW:2 is released!!

  19. Jumwa says:

    All my enthusiasm for this game just seemed to melt away with this article.

    Well, an exaggeration, but all this talk of the “easy” dungeon being so hard completely killed the hype for me. The first guild Wars was too difficult for me and my partner, it wasn’t enjoyable, it was just frustrating. We never got very far into it at all because the dying just turned us off. I don’t play games for frustration.

    The talk about sameness with other MMOs is a turn off too.

    Quite disappointed.

    • ordak says:

      Keep in mind that this was a group of brand new players thrown into a level 35 dungeon. It would likely be easier if they’d been playing those characters since level 1.

      The difficulty in GW1 was largely determined by what build you used. I don’t expect GW2 to be easier than the original, but it should have less of a problem with widely varying difficulty depending on your choices.

    • Jumwa says:

      Well I do hope that’s the case, because I’ve pegged a lot of hopes upon the game and would hate to find it a game of frustration, which seems to be a trend lately.

    • John P says:

      Sounds like the dungeon described was done in ‘explorable’ mode. But the dungeons are also available in ‘story’ mode, which is significantly easier and intended for everyone to get into (still totally optional though I believe). The idea is that the dungeons add to extra story details or fleshing out, but aren’t required to complete the main storyline (except perhaps for the final part).

    • Jumwa says:

      They stated they did it in story mode, the easier mode.

  20. Gaff says:

    I require the last unannounced GW2 class to be the Mesmer. As long as it is then we’re all good.

    The Mesmer from the original GW remains one of my favourite classes in any MMO, ever; right up there with the Controller from City of Heroes.

  21. Lightbulb says:

    Blaq – Have you considered that they, the makers of GW1 have stats that show far more people played PvE than PvP?

    Have you also considered that most people want PvE so you don’t want to put them off by hyping it as a PvP game? Also none of this means there will be no PvP game it just means its not being shown (yet).

    Finally: Playing PvP as a new player vs new players might be a bit rubbish and put people off?

  22. Kevers003 says:

    I cannot wait for steam to release the pre-order purchase on here!