Pretty Like Hugs: Guild Wars 2 Art Book

We get quite a lot of bits and bobs sent to us in the mail. We don’t often mention it, as we like to keep our bribes on the down low. Oh yeah. Bags with an enormous badly-designed logo turn our heads. However, today a Guild Wars 2 artbook dropped through my letter box. Perhaps unsurprisingly for a game that’s had some of the most spectacular concept art in games it’s a hell of a collection, as well as a brief primer in the lore for their new game. It’s actually for sale via the GW2 site for twenty quid (or thirty dollars (or twenty five Euros)) and I suspect would make a fairly nifty Christmas present for a Guild Wars obsessed friend. Sadly, none of the other RPSers like Guild Wars, so I’m keeping it. Another chance to look at the latest trailer? I think so…


  1. malkav11 says:

    A) I need this art book.

    B) I also notice they have a 2GB Guild Wars iPod Nano in their store for $600, which is utterly fucking insane. I mean, what the hell.

  2. jsutcliffe says:

    I really like the style of the Guild Wars setting, but Giold Wars itself left me cold.

    More importantly, I actually understood a Gillen song reference. If this continues, I might feel up to reading Phonogram.

  3. Nick says:

    The original was one of the few games to actually turn the concept art into something that was actually similar as well. Although most of it was cool huge floting castles you couldn’t actually get up to..

    The city in Factions.. and the Jade Sea were pretty great looking.

  4. TT says:

    The folks who design Guild Wars have the best concept artists and art design crew in game developement hands down. Imagine the Guild Wars art design team working on Dragon Age. It would have been mind blowing. I love love Dragon Age but it’s art design and character concepts are very pedestrian.

  5. SmallIvoryKnight says:

    I got the art book for free at PAX, and signed by a BUNCH of the artists. Is super nifty.

  6. Sobric says:

    Yay someone else who liked Guild Wars. Having gone back to it recently (and having played it on release for a few months, then again with Nightfall expansion), I have to say that it is/was a severely underrated MMO. On release, I really didn’t think much of it, but the subsequent expansions have progressed the game immensely. The mechanics of the game (8 skills at a time; the R-P-S skill sets) are actually really strong once you get used to them.

    I have great hopes for GW 2. It should be a vast improvement in many areas (given the quality of the recent expansions), so here’s hoping they retain the quality core aspects of the original.

    • Wulf says:

      “The mechanics of the game (8 skills at a time; the R-P-S skill sets) are actually really strong once you get used to them.”

      They are! That’s why we’re seeing recent games copy them! Champions Online has done something similar with how the powers work there, and it’s clearly inspired by Guild Wars, the same is true of Free Realms, and both of those are some of the most fun I’ve ever had with an MMO (go figure).

      I played Guild Wars quite a bit, I exhausted the PvE content, and I would go back but having a human as my only form of escapism leaves me feeling very cold, as it does nothing to tickle the inner-escapist, and htat’s one of the strongest urges any game has to appease. But that it’s garnered so much praise from me despite that speaks volumes of what they’ve achieved.

      This is also why I’m horribly excited about Guild Wars 2, as it may very well be Guild Wars, on a bigger scale, with non-human races, and to be honest… that’s what I want. I’m salivating at the prospect of the Norns, as so rarely are shapeshifters given a second thought, I WANT this, I need to see how they play, and that bear was beautifully rendered.

      If ArenaNET’s learned one major thing with Guild Wars 2, one thing that Bioware and other companies are still living in the past about, it’s how to draw in a larger demographic, as not everyone finds a human exciting. I find them distinctly un-so (which is now a word).

      Also, I’m going to end up buying that art book thanks to my worrying infatuation with the Norn and the Charr, I am.

    • Wulf says:

      Why do I always think of things I want to say just after hitting the submit button? Oh well!

      Another point about Guild Wars is that they were actually decent value, too, as there was far more content in the average Guild Wars game than even in Left 4 Dead 1/2, so much more than, even, and yet the game could be played co-op with a group of friends, just like Left 4 Dead. It was an RPG, not a shooter, but the two can be compared in that way.

      Hell, if Guild Wars had had non-human races from the outset, the games so far released would’ve been some of my all time favourites, games I’d still be playing even, because there’s a lot of content there spred out over all the games, quite a lot, and fun to play through with a friend at one’s side.

      And I believe that one can travel between the continents seen within the expansion packs too now, yes?

  7. Zaphid says:

    Ah, GW, one of the games that inspired me to make my own art…someday I may even show it to the world, given the rate of my improvement, it would be right after the sun turns into a black hole :(

  8. BrokenSymmetry says:

    So what is the reason the other 3 RPSers don’t like Guild Wars?

  9. kalidanthepalidan says:

    To uphold your journalistic integrity I believe you should send that art book to me.

    Otherwise….BIAS!!! :)

  10. Duderina says:

    Also agreed that Arenanet has some of the best concept artists. Do they have a Samwise Didier type guy who manages the overall art direction?

  11. KindredPhantom says:

    I have a couple of art-books from the collectors editions of the game. They are really good.
    I do wonder if they’ll have the songs of Guild Wars 2 to download from directsong like in past Guild Wars games.

  12. Vinraith says:

    I’m just hoping it plays as good as it looks. The original was beautiful, but also heavily instanced and extremely friendly (especially after the release of heroes) to people that wanted to play solo or with a couple of friends but still get the full experience of the game. The new one seems to be cribbing rather heavily from WoW as far as structure (less instancing, for one thing :( ), and that’s a damn shame.

  13. Tartychops says:

    Dunno who Didier is but yes, they do have a lead guy called Daniel Dociu who is absolutely bloody awesome. Couldn’t agree more with people saying Anet have the best artists in the business.

    Still happily playing GW now approaching 5 years on, with Aion and Warhammer having fallen by the wayside, as the gameplay is as fun as the artwork is outstanding.

    • BrokenSymmetry says:

      Yes, Daniel Dociu (who was the model for Halflife 2’s Father Grigori) has created some amazing work, quite incomparable to anyone else in the game industry, with its emphasis on architectural structure. Just look at his website:

  14. Collic says:

    Guild Wars was a good game, I enjoyed the modest amount of time i spent playing it. The skills system is probably the best thing about it, it’s such a good idea it seems strange than no other MMO has gone a similar route (that I know of) – until i remember they profit from your numerous re-rolls and alt characters with your continued subscription fees.

    If the sequel is anything like they’ve mentioned it could be very good indeed. Less instancing could mean the game world would feel more alive, rather than a serious of avatar chat rooms leading to personal instances. The art has always been very good if a little ‘everyone is so beautiful’.

  15. the wiseass says:

    I had to order this art-book too. Daniel Dociu truly is one of the greatest artists out there and I deeply respect this man’s fabulous talent:

    link to

  16. RC-1290Dreadnought says:

    One reason I return to that game every year. Wintersday, throwing snowballs and collecting sometimes exploding presents. Without Guild Wars Wintersday, there would be a severe shortage of snowballs and presents over here.

  17. Wulf says:

    The more I watch this, the more I realise that the Norn might be able to shift into Bear…

    …and Snow Leopard…

    …and Raven (FLYIIING!)…

    …and Wolf!

    This fills me with indescribable glee, but I absolutely must not get my hopes up.

    Still, if the Norn can shift into a Bear, a Raven, and a Wolf, then…


    All hope is lost. A sad farewell to my life outside gaming, remembered only as but a sweet, sweet memory.

    Well, for a while, anyway. :p

    Still, must be negative, mustn’t set myself up for disappointment. >.>

    • Vinraith says:

      I take it you haven’t played Eye of the North? Norn can, at a minimum, transform into bears. There is some implication that they may be able to shift into wolf and raven as well, as they worship wolf and raven spirits as well as bear spirits.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh, that I know! This is why I’m so excited about them, because I know they can be bears! If they were just some human race that painted themselves up a bit, I wouldn’t be half as interested. No, I know they can do bears at minimum.

      The part that thrills me is the very implication you’ve mentioned, and the more I think about it, the more I realise that they just might open these up to the players, and that players might be able to adopt more than just the form of the Bear as a Norn.

  18. Dan Gray says:

    @Malkav11: That iPod (and the price) dates back to pretty much when the first iPod Nano’s came out. The price is still excessive, but that’s due to the custom artwork. They really need to update it to reflect modern pricing now.

  19. Wulf says:

    I received my artbook today, and it’s a hardbound thing of beauty, with photo-quality paper for every page (which makes it pretty damn weighty), given the art inside and the actual quality of construction of the book itself, it’s worth every penny. I’ve thumbed through it a few times all ready, and I simply can’t get over how gloriously talented their art team are, and the contents within are par excellence, and as far as art books go, this is second to none.

    I’d heartily recommend it to anyone who has the least bit of interest in the game. Also, you should read Massively’s take on the trailer, and probably watch said trailer again. This is the kind of beauty that we rarely ever see in games, not splendiferous engines which make up for a lack of talent with shaders, but actual, honest to goodness talent.

    I’m so terribly excited about Guild Wars 2 now, more than I have been at any point before. ArenaNET, GEEF NAO!

  20. daniel says:

    i want to drape myself in paintings of Daniel Dociu, concept art has never looked better!