(N)Ornate: Guild Wars 2 GDC Video Blowout

Holy cow, I forgot that women have breasts for a second there!

And now, presenting a full half-hour of Guild Wars 2 footage, covering everything to Norn character creation to Guardian and Thief game footage! You know what looks great? I’ll tell you. This game looks great. The last time RPS played an MMO together way probably City of Heroes, an event that’s now firmly entrenched in my mind because of Kieron’s story about that very summer. Allow me to recount it for you.

I don’t know if Kieron has already graced RPS with this story, but here goes.

So, it’s the hot, hot summer of 2004. City of Heroes has just come out, and Kieron, Alec, John and Jim are all playing it. John is playing a healer. Incidentally, I’m not sure he did a very good job of it. These four men are addicted and enjoying themselves for hours every day, their windows wide open to welcome in any passing breezes.

Then one day, Kieron feels a strange pain in his upper left thigh. He can’t think what it could be, assumes it’s nothing and keeps playing. In time the pain gets worse. Eventually it gets so bad that even irresponsible Kieron calls a time out so he can examine himself. He can’t see anything wrong, rejoins everybody else and keeps playing. The pain immediately begins again- a strange, fierce stinging. He stops playing once again, wonders what could be wrong, and realises that the pain is, in fact, a heat rash caused by one motionless testical resting against his leg.

Videogaming, ladies and gents!


  1. Sldook says:

    John is playing a healer. Incidentally, I’m not sure he did a very good job of it.

    Can anyone please explain what are all these references to John being a bad healer? I am reading you only for few months O:) But I guess there is a big wonderful story behind it which I definitely want to read ;)

    • cjlr says:

      It’s not so much one story as it is just a fact of life around here. Like the crying, and spelling mistakes, and iron shortages. What a shame.

    • Josh04 says:

      There is always one member of any RPG group who is of decidedly suspicious quality. We’ve never been quite sure about our rogue, after that trapped door in the docks in BG2 killed our entire party.

    • Andy`` says:

      Jim says: link to rockpapershotgun.com

      I think the original healer thing was from his character in City Of Heroes, who had to leech energy to heal, rather than being a direct healer like most of the others. This meant he could “miss” a heal, and so we mocked him forever.

      Which is at least part of the story. The other part is, Kieron said it once, therefore it must be true.

    • McDan says:

      I prefer the iron shortages myself. Should be able to get better at healing, but lack of iron..tut tut.

    • Torgen says:

      Oho, John must have been playing a kineticist, or perhaps a dark.

      I really should fire CoH up again for a month.

    • Arathain says:

      John played a Dark/Dark Defender, if I remember the story right. Such a fun build- I only have two level 50s, and my D4 (Dark Miasma/Dark Blast/Dark Mastery Defender) is one of them.

  2. Player_0 says:

    John didn’t heal the heated testicle. Thats why hes a bad healer.

  3. Blaq says:

    Now this is one of the MMOs I’m really looking forward to. Unlike Rift it seems to take the magic MMO forumla and the best features of its predecessors (WoW, GW1, DaoC, WAR, etc…) and put a unique twist to it.

    Can’t wait to see if this will be as good as it’s looking to be.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      It looked awfully similar to RIFT, to me… The dynamic events are quite similar to rift events, no?

      This one seems to be trying a bit harder story-wise, but has just left me with the impression that it is trying harder rather than being any better, really…

    • Wulf says:

      Nnnno… the dynamic events are nothing at all like Rift. It’s like saying that World of Warcraft and Planescape: Torment are both the same because they both have ‘quests’. The divide is honestly that big, and I’ll explain.

      Rift: A rift spawns, a bunch of baddies pile out, players die because of the poor/non-existent scaling, that’s that.

      Guild Wars 2: Centaurs attack a town, as part of a scripted event chain, NPCs in that town can actually die. If the players ignore this, or fail to fend off the centaurs, the centaurs take the town and its resources for their own nefarious ends, then it becomes up to the player(s) to take back the town. Should the player(s) fight off the centaurs (either at the original junction or at this one) the centaurs are then forced back into their own land. The player(s) can then have another success/fail juncture where they attempt to push into centaur lands and assassinate their leader, if they fail, the centaur start spreading out into nearby lands (leading to a number of event chains), if the players succeed, then the centaurs are pushed further back. The other end of this event chain is where the centaurs choose to elect a new leader and they hold a secret meeting to do this, if the players bust up that secret meeting, and kill the potential new leaders, then the centaurs are thrown into chaos. It’ll then be perhaps a game week or something before the event runs again, this is the time it takes the centaurs to ‘get their act together’. This is just ‘one event’, essentially, an event chain counts as such, and there are a thousand of them which work like this.

      It’s also worth noting that an event will scale – the more players present, the more ‘tools’ the enemies get to use. So if you’re playing alone, you may not see a chain of nasty super attacks that a couple of bosses might use if there were a number of players present. Also, if a higher level player goes to a low level area, it scales the higher level player down to that area, so there’s a constant, balanced level of challenge. (Something that Rift lacks.)

      So no. Not like Rift, then.

    • Blaq says:

      @Giant, fussy whingebag: Bulletstorm looks awfully like Half Life 2 to me, they both have guns
      These kind of public events were first introduced in WAR under the name of Public Quests. Rift took up this idea, streamlined it and dumbed it down into rifts. (I have no illusions that what Arenanet say about their version of public events will necessarily hold true, of course they will glorify their own design.) The fact that Arenanet took up the, by now, standarised idea of public events and itegrated it into GW2 doesn’t necessarily mean it will be anything like the games that used them before it.

      GW2 is taking a different path in the UI direction (thrilled to see that, eventhough it’s nothing special), art, lore and design-wise (PvP will be the focus) compared to Rift. So no, nothing like Rift. :P

  4. Adekan says:

    Having played the original GW and quite enjoying it ( although not enough to shell out every couple months for one of the new expacs ) I am excited to see this come out.

    • Recidivist says:

      Shell out every couple of months for a new expac? What game have you been playing? There are 2 ‘new’ campaigns (Factions and Nightfall) and one expansion (EoTN). Guild wars has been out for nearly 6 years, so I fail to see what you mean :/

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, I mean I wish there had been another full “chapter” rather than Eye of the North (which used the assets they had been working on for that chapter, only repurposed).

    • Adekan says:

      They all came out fairly quickly after the original game, though. With a level cap that i’d already reached I had little desire to run through all of the new content, fun though it may be, for nothing tangible but a few skills and some shinier more expensive armor. Have thought about picking them up since i’ve long forgotten my old account information but last I checked the trilogy + EOTN would set me back $60. Considering I didn’t even pay half that for the game when it was new I can’t see paying that for them now, 6 years later.

    • Vinraith says:

      “With a level cap that i’d already reached”

      You say that like it’s a bad thing, when in fact it’s the real genius of the game. It’s actually about tactics and skill, rather than just outlevelling a challenge you can’t get past.

      That’s one more thing lost in GW2, incidentally, to appease the MMO crowd.

    • Adekan says:

      Perhaps my failing was in the fact that I played it like a single player game, then. I rarely if ever grouped with anyone for the PvE stuff. The missions got a bit dull with henchmen, but were overall more enjoyable because even though they had terrible pathing, were completely useless at using the correct skills at the correct time and often spent more time dead than alive they were still better than half of the random people I ended up playing with.

      I also would not call myself challenge adverse, I often spent hours trying to figure out ways to solo some of the end-game dungeons with the special drops ( They were almost a 100% drop solo, compared to a 5 or 10% drop with even one henchman )

      It’s simply nice to have a carrot at the end of that stick, for motivation.

    • Dominic White says:

      @Vinraith – Kinda. Level in GW2 is basically an indicator of progression, but apparently levels are disabled entirely in PvP, and if you go back to an earlier zone with a high-level character, you get automatically delevelled to put you on par with players in the area, so you can’t go around one-shotting bosses meant for players a fraction of your power level.

  5. Torgen says:

    “and realises that the pain is, in fact, a heat rash caused by one motionless testical resting against his leg.”

    This article needs a “TMI” tag. :P

    • westyfield says:

      Is this heated testicle thing even possible?

    • Jake says:

      Yes, it’s where we get the expression ‘great balls of fire’ from.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I call it writers rash, and I get it on my legs/rear after I immerse myself in some new title 8-12 hours a day for several consecutive days… I end up having to take a couple of days off from any sitting all together just to recoup while getting scolded about clots and carpel tunnel among other various evils of game addiction *sigh*

    • adonf says:

      You mean this artical ?

  6. Friend says:

    I’m really a bit disappointed that by the time Guild Wars 2 comes out, I probably won’t have the regular gaming time to devote to a MMO, because this one looks like it’d be worth it. The design philosophies make me smile, it has a huge amount of resources backing it, and it looks rather great to boot. Ah well.

    • Crescend says:

      It’s perfectly fine to play Guild Wars 2 only every once in a while, like any other non-MMO game, as it has no subscription fee. Unless you’re planning on selling your computer entirely.

  7. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    This could be the first mmo other than eve I stick with past a month

    everything i’ve seen so far has been really impressive

    Someone start an RPS Guild (if that’s possible)

  8. Dominic White says:

    One of the developers (who has been very honest and open so far) posts on the SA forums, and he confirms that the player testing out the Thief class in the videos released (well, leaked, but they decided to make lemonade out of lemons after Gametrailers put them up early) is playing very badly, and that they’re very much a high-involvement, high-action class when played properly. Warp in, combo, dodge-roll, skirmish, warp out and stealth until you’re ready to strike again.

    • WildcardUK says:

      Not unlike the Assassin from GW1. Colour me interested!

    • Jharakn says:

      theres some very nice footage on IGN that makes the thief look 1 million times more interesting that the gametrailers footage

  9. Dhatz says:

    how do i make the crysis 2 demo work(google ragefu)? its frakking friday evening and bro usually camps whole weekend at my comp.

    • stahlwerk says:

      For wildly off-topic topics like in your post, I suggest hitting the forums of this here website. The link is in the header or next to this colon: link to rockpapershotgun.com

      Don’t forget to add details about what exactly doesn’t work, but more importantly who bro is and why there is a camp at your comp.

    • Dhatz says:

      it started woking some hour after i made this comment

  10. Dhatz says:

    about GW2: obviously a lot of developers are yet to discover how boring is this compared to fantasy online(point: create naked appearance and straight into gameplay). What i seen on the vids is so cliche i wish it had vomit instead of artworks for loadscreens.

    • Adekan says:

      Contrary to long standing beliefs, adding a U to everything does not make it any more interesting or readable. Also: What in the damn hell are you talking about?

    • Dhatz says:

      i kinda creared that comment out, but usually my comments are like bursts rather than single shots.

    • AiglosCelt says:

      I feel like I’m taking crazy pills

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Ha ha.

  11. Wulf says:

    There’s some damn good footage here, too.

    link to uk.pc.ign.com

    I like how the animations show that the Charr have flexible spines – that and the scalemail, plates-based, armadillo-like nature of their armour, and the segmentata style of their leather armour is showing that they really are felines. Felines have flexible spines, and you can really see that in the animations of those videos. It’s always bugged me about how cat races in RPGs walk like tree trunks – sturdy, stocky, lacking in agility, with inflexible spines.

    Fortunately ArenaNet apparently knows how to do this right.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      All mammals have “flexible” spines – felines have muscles linking their vertabrae (rather than just cartilege discs) so they’re more “prehensile”, hence the twisting round in mid-air etc.

    • Wulf says:

      Of course. You have to recognise when things are being put in layman’s terms, I was just trying to be tactful and not boring/bothering people with lots of information they might not want to know. And the term ‘flexible spine’ is usually enough to get it across.

      You are right, indeed, and I’m fully aware of that. And that’s what I was pointing out that ArenaNet had done correctly. I was just trying to explain to people why I felt it was important without getting too much into animal physiology over it, since I’ve often been told that my walls of text are too much. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, I suppose.

      Anyway, I’m glad that they’re taking this approach, because most cats in RPGs do indeed walk like tree trunks. Even the Khajiit in Morrowind suffered with this problem. It’s actually nice to see a cat race twist around in the air like a real cat can, and whenever I see their animations, I see them doing things that cats can do, and it makes me happy.

      Usually beast races are too uncanny valley, don’t you think? It’s nice to have something that clearly doesn’t totally obey human physiology.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Yeah, I have to agree. There can be the risk of that whole Star Trek thing of humans with bumpy foreheads and choosing your race has no impact on anything.

      In terms of design I don’t know if its difficult to make vastly different races. Maybe a balance issue? It’s just shame that in the admittedly limited number of RPG and MMO games I’ve played the racial traits and abilities seem to be as unobtrusive as possible.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Extremely well adapted killers, cats… I like that the same muscles that retract their claws (is that the right word,unsheathe them maybe) also splays the fingers, euqals double the killing area. Unpleasant.

      I suspect they’ve not picked up on their immense individual stupidity, though…

      (I enjoyed the dope-fiend version of Khajiit more than the Oblivion one where they all just lisped)

  12. vodkarn says:

    I saw these yesterday when they were leaked (randomly found them on youtube while watching other GDC stuff) and I have to say, man that Thief player is… awkward. The class looked interesting, however – I liked the constant movement. That said, one concern I have in this game is that it’s a little too quick moving. I cannot imagine playing a, say, Thief against a Ranger. I think you’d be amazingly frustrated by the dodge/parry/backflip/shove/whatever keep-a-way style play there.

    So, the TL;DR: I think melee characters look like they’ll have a hell of a time actually hitting anyone in PvP.

    • Adekan says:

      That was actually an issue in the original GW. Melee classes had a hard time keeping up with/slowing down moving players. Most spells also did not have a long cast-time or could be cast while moving, so PvP lent itself to moving nonstop to avoid melee characters. It was pretty frustrating.

    • Nick says:

      s’why you always brought a cripple. I agree being kited is really annoying though, as I tended to do it to warriors on my ranger ¬_¬

      I do recall them saying the skills can/will behave differently in PvP, though, so I dunno how the mobility thing will work. Stuff like knockdowns and cripples were usually enough to stop a character escaping if they were being focused on though (mainly knockdown in the case of coordinated spikes).

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @adekan: In fact, it wasn’t a big issue in GW1. It might have appeared to be one for casual PvP play, where teams don’t work together very well. There were / are tons of possibilities to cripple / knockdown / shadowstep / decrease movement speed of other players. Come to think of it, Warriors were pretty hard to kite, having an awful amount of stances to choose from that increased movement speed.

      And I can’t remember a single spell that you could cast while moving. You could do that with shouts and stances, but not with spells.

    • manveruppd says:

      Yeah, most melee classes had many ways to catch an enemy, from stances that boosted their speed to snares or knockdowns to slow down the opponent. Nobody remembers iQ’s “linebacker” (a hammer warrior whose job was to keep enemy healers on the ground so his teammates could kill someone), or “thumperbunnies” (R/W with hammer skills), or those Warrior/Assassins who were popular a couple years ago and loved to teleport into your face and stab you in the eyeball? Or those Assassin/Mesmers who used the Arcane Echo mesmer spell to duplicate their teleport skills and use them twice as frequently (I think it was War Machine who first did that)? And of course any team who relied on melee characters for damage could bring a dedicated snaring character. Used to be a CripShot ranger back when I was pvp’ing regularly, think Water elementalists are more popular now. In fact [Evil] used to pull off 2-warrior spikes without any snares, just used the knockdown on one of the warriors (who used a hammer) and good positioning to catch out their opponents.

    • WildcardUK says:

      It’s that kind of innovation that I loved GW for. Touch R/N anyone? I worry that the lack of dual class and the forced cookie cutter weapon skills will take too much away from the ability to make a creative/off the wall skill build. We’ll see I guess.

      I built a Ranger that could convert all damage on the battlefield to fire damage, which wasn’t actually that useful to my team but made me hilariously tanky as I was rocking about 140 permanent armour against fire using Mesmer skills. Good times!

    • Dominic White says:

      Well, nothing is ‘permanent’, but event quests will actually have an effect on the world map until they’ve moved along one way or another. One example I heard was that if players repulse an attack by centaurs on a village, the centaurs will fall back to a camp nearby, but if no players are around to stop the invasion, the village will be left burning and the quest will change to fighting them back and putting out the fires.
      It’s definitely a lot more traditionally heroic (“Is that smoke I see on the horizon? Let’s investigate!”) and dynamic than walking up to someone with a yellow exclaimation mark above their head.

      It also means that cooperative play is a matter of just helping out any players in the area, rather than deciding on a quest to do, then assembling a party. You can just join in and start helping people out, reviving the wounded, distracting enemies, and people will thank you for it.

    • Adekan says:

      Yeah, I didn’t do anything but random PvP with strangers, and during the original game only. It was enjoyable enough, though. I recall a few times winning enough in a row to be placed against actual pre-made teams, usually ending in a brutal stomping. It’s also been a good 3-4 years since I last played at all, so my memory on specifics may be a bit hazy.

      I do remember living in fear of any warrior with a hammer though. Once they caught you there was nothing you could do for a good 20 seconds.

  13. Stinkfinger75 says:

    I dunno, I was excited about GW2 until I saw that first video. It appears that there is a StC time of zero.

    • DerShcraa says:

      What’s a StC?
      If you mean the cooldowns, the Thief class has none, but an energy bar still caps the total amount of skills he can use in a period of time.

      Oops, the first one is the Guardian vid, so you can’t mean that.

    • bascule42 says:

      StC is something that most RPS readers now know about…see the RPS Old Man Murry pages of recent – you can also find it on Wiki – yay!

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      link to oldmanmurray.com

    • Nesetalis says:

      so instead of explaining what the hell you are talking about, you say “well you’re too newbie to the site to know what the cool kids are talking about.” Grow up :|

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      StC = Start to Crate, it isn’t an RPS in-joke but rather a reference to an old Old Man Murray gag (see linked article). More specifically:

      All games contain crates, therefore all games can be judged empirically on those crates.

      Once we came up with that insight, the actual formula for the world’s first completely unbiased review methodology was a trivial matter of applying our many hours spent watching actors portray scientists on television to our hatred of crates. Games can be rated and compared based on the shortest amount of time it takes a player to reach the first crate, which represents the point where the developers ran out of ideas. This number is measured in seconds and is called “Start to Crate” or “StC”. The smaller the StC, the worse the game.

    • DerShcraa says:

      Sorry, my brain shut off for a brief moment and i thought I was on BluesNews.
      Bloody color blindness.

    • bascule42 says:

      @ Nesetalis. Wow…I had no idea there was such a depth of feeling there. At least your explaination put him right.

  14. Hoaxfish says:

    I gotta say, the thief looks very disappointing for me (compared to Mesmer or Assassin from GW1).

    “Stealth” as actual invisibility always strikes me as a bad idea, and I was glad when it wasn’t in GW1. The problem usually revolves around the fact that the character must be balanced against their invisibility’s power… so they’re either weak if they don’t use it, or too strong when they do… it’s okay in PvE, but with PvP it usually ends up in a nerf-buff cycle.

    “Stealing” is the same ballgame when a game lets you permanently “take” another player’s stuff (and unless that player can also “steal” they have no equivalent way to pay you back)… thankfully, this looks more like a temporary advantage that changes based on the target, something I think is more balanced, fun, and interesting.

    Pistol+dodging looked a bit bad (point-blank shooting while being pecked to death).. but I tend to suck at that sort of active play.

    Would’ve liked a bit more information about how “initiative” is regained.

    • Dominic White says:

      Note that due to trying to attack stuff with guns in melee range, the player got absolutely trashed multiple times. Somehow I don’t think that’s an example of standard play.

  15. notjasonlee says:

    woah, cool, flintlock pistols that reload themselves in 3 seconds.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Ever since Torchlight I’m a real fan of the primary hand flintlock pistol and off hand large knightly shield combo. It’s sort of fantasy punk.

  16. Recidivist says:


    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Actually, that is something refreshing opposed to “Men will jizz in their pants while you are sh…ooting down their neck”.

  17. bascule42 says:

    Since the first MMORPG I ever played, Anarchy Online, I have over the years gotten excited about almost every one that has come out but have been disappointed over and over for about 2 years now. So, when I see “new MMO” I generally…well, nothing, nothing happens, good or bad. But this doesn’t look half bad. Yep, we’ve seen it all before over and over, theres probably nothing that new in GW2, but I’m quite looking forward to this. I got bored of looking forward to TOR – just couln’t keep it up. GW2 is now back on my “eyes looking over my glasses in interest list”.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Nothing that new? They’re challenging most standard conventions! They don’t even have a dedicated healing class, they’re still having a limit on the number of skills you can carry (it’s 10 now, instead of 8), they’re getting rid of quests, they’re mixing instancing with shared, they’ve created an original world with few of the fantasy standards (orcs, elves, etc.)… If anything, GW2 is setting up to be one of the most innovative MMORPGs in a while.

      By comparison, TOR feels like WoW with lightsabers.

    • bascule42 says:

      Lol…TOR will probably be WoW with sabers, I agree.

      GW2: Original world goes without saying, or it would be a copy and paste jobby. The shared quest thing, isn’t that like the public quests, (or whatever they were called) in Warhammer online? Seems a similar thing with a little spin on it. I could be wrong, I hope I am. But I tend to get very cynical when developers talk of “new” and “innovative” and interpret as being very similar to what we or others have done before but look, it’s got this litte added thing that that makes it slightly different. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to GW2, GW had a kind of fluidity that made the game very fun and gratifyling to play, and can see no reason why GW2 wont be just as good. I’m not expecting a brand new gaming experience, I’m expectnig a damn good job of a sequel of a well established game.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      If you haven’t already, go watch their manifesto video. It tells far more eloquently than I ever could what they’re meaning with GW2. The dynamic event concept, which replaces quests entirely, might bear some similarities to WAR’s public quests, but it goes further. Events have a chance of permanently affecting the landscape. You don’t “accept” them, you just run into them and decide whether you want to avoid them or help out. People can cooperate without joining any form of group. Hop in hop out is permitted and encouraged.

      Furthermore, I’d say their bold class choices are very much interesting. Doing away with the healer class – which is normally a foundation of the genre – is refreshing. So is everyone being able to heal and revive. In fact, you’re forced to take at least one healing skill and revive is locked in place. This way, you never run in a situation where your healer’s dead and you’re fucked. There are also things like the “down” state, which is clearly inspired by Borderlands. They even have the second wind thing. Yet, for an MMO, this is pretty bold and it’ll make the pace much faster. They also allow you to move around while casting spells or activating skills. You can jump and swim; there are entire levels entirely underwater.

      I don’t know, maybe it’s just hype, but I don’t think the ArenaNET people are fooling with us.

    • WildcardUK says:

      Too right!

      I’ve been saying for years that healing as a concept is impossible to balance. I have yet to play an MMO with healing classes that didn’t disproportionately need those healers for a successful group. How that became acceptable was beyond me and I’m so glad that Arenanet are on the same page.

    • bascule42 says:

      Gotta say, your optimism is a bit infectious. +2 “Lookin’ forward to” and -3 cynicism debuff.

    • jaheira says:

      “But this doesn’t look half bad” This idiom always confuses me. It’s very difficult to parse. If something doesn’t look half bad then presumably it does look fully bad. But that’s obviously not what you meant.

    • Torgen says:

      It means it looks less than 50% bad, i.e. more than halfway good.

    • jaheira says:

      Why use the “half” at all? Surely “This doesn’t look bad” is easier on the brain.

      Maybe it’s just me,

    • bascule42 says:

      Doesn’t look “half bad”…originally probably just a localised, (but now widespread) colloquiallism meaning something looks decent. Or half decent. Just one of those little idosyncratic oddities of the English language along the the lines of “Get up and get down” & “giving two more to too many people would be too much”. But not quite in the same league as, the recently seen, “many fewer”.

  18. Cinnamon says:

    “We believe that we have one of the best concept art teams in the industry.”

    A bit of humble understatement there. They are clearly the best.

  19. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    It’s a shame that while a lot of aspects seen to be rather interesting about GW2, their human (and Norn) character models are.. awkward-looking. They look like dolls.. personally I’d have preferred a less realistic style like in WoW or something a bit more believable like in Dragon Age.

    It seems silly, but it’s putting me off every single time I see them.

    • Jumwa says:

      Dragon Age characters believable? Statements like that make me ponder the difference of interpretation in reality from person to person. My friends and I have done nothing but mock the glassy eyed, mannequin unrealness of Dragon Age’s characters since we first tried it out.

    • WildcardUK says:

      My elf was a blood soaked android for most of DA:O :D

    • FriendlyFire says:

      If the characters of Guild Wars 2 tread the borders of the uncanny valley, the characters of DA:O have established a village right in the middle.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      As good as the world and concept art looks, the close-ups of the human characters are just really bland. Not offensively so, as it’s just the continuation of the style of the original game, but still a bit unsettling.

      Then again, still better than the Asura.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Well, YMMV, obviously.

  20. Squirrelfanatic says:

    I dearly hope that the exploration and discovery part won’t suffer too much from the huge amount of “pro” players rushing through all the content, discovering and somehow ‘disenchanting’ this feature. Sometimes it felt like that when playing GW1. For the best experience I guess I’ll have to start playing soon after release and have to look for less frequented servers – which on the other hand might be a bad thing considering how much this game is supposed to profit from bigger player groups. Ah, choices.

  21. Cronstintein says:

    I’m glad they removed healing classes. Healers seriously unbalanced random 4v4. The res ability looks really good too, much better than forcing rez sig on everyone. And being able to just automatically join with people doing the same mission as you, genius.

    These guys from Arenanet have clearly been looking at how to improve their already top tier, original IP.
    Looking forward to this BigTime.

  22. Oneironaut says:

    This may be a strange question, but how is Guild Wars as a single player game. I played WoW for several years and enjoyed it, but sometimes I didn’t want my play to hinge on other people and just wanted to play solo for a while. Now I’m interested in GW2 because of the lack of subscription, but wonder how much solo content there might be.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The original was pretty difficult, possibly impossible to solo the whole game. The add ons were better for it though as you had ai companions you could completely customise and order around.

      It was always very easy to find people to play with in Guild Wars though and the new one looks like the game will be played with others regardless of whether solo or not.

    • Nick says:

      wasn’t impossible to henchman the whole game, but very hard on certain missions (mainly Thunderhead Keep, which wasn’t hard with other people, but henchman were a pain on it). Nowadays I wouldn’t even bother playing the first campaign (Prophecies), its quite badly paced. Basically, you can solo (with a group of AI henchmen/ up to 3 heroes that you customize) the entire game bar about 3 or 4 “endgame” areas that aren’t particularly fun anyway and not part of the story.

      If you get the all in one version, Start in Factions or Nightfall so you can get access to heroes reasonably fast (Nightfall being the fastest) and go from there, although you can do the entire of Factions with just henchmen too.

    • Dominic White says:

      In the latest patch, they’ve removed the need for henchmen entirely – you can roll with a full party of heroes now.

    • Azazel says:

      Heroes only? Wow. Must go investigate that pronto! A Sabway build with just the 3 heroes made pretty much 90% of the game easily soloable.

    • Sobric says:

      Dominic – really? I’d already found my groove with 3 hero Searing Flame Ele’s to go alongside my Paragon: now I can have my own Monks as well as Olias? Win.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      You can even buy slots in the cash shop now to make your other player characters heroes you can fill you party with.

  23. Jockie says:

    This game excites me and is possibly the mmo that finally makes me understand what all the fuss is about. It looks like it might actually be fun to play on a moment to moment basis from start to finish, which is something no mmo yet has managed.

    High Hopes.

  24. Vinraith says:

    As much as I loved Guild Wars, I’m still skeptical of Guild Wars 2. It’s 3 little letters that do it, really, “MMO.” GW was a cooperative RPG, just on the edge of MMO perhaps but not built with an MMO sensibility. Everything was instanced, you had your own private version of the world for yourself and anyone you chose to play with. You could chose to play with no one at all but still fill out a party with configurable AI, as well. In general, it was as close to an MMO as you could get and still be genuinely friendly to party-based solo and small group play.

    GW2 is abandoning all of that, and no matter how promising its other aspects may be it’s hard to get past the loss. It’s Guild Wars, so I’m not ruling anything out, but if it hadn’t jumped subgenres I would have preordered from day 1. As it stands, I’ll wait for reviews, and be careful to read between the lines.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      The sensible decision.

    • Torgen says:

      Yes, that’s definitely something that gets overlooked in the love-fest, and it will be interesting to see how far they veer from the original format. Was it the way the game was constructed play-wise, or the way it was constructed transaction-wise that was the greater attraction, I wonder?

    • WildcardUK says:

      I’m hopeful the ability to just jump into and out of fights without having to group with people will alleviate some of the historic MMO problems. ‘LFG’ is never fun and if you can just go somewhere and hit the same monsters as someone else and no one loses out then that could be the happy medium we’ve been waiting for.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yeah, as many people as MMOs traditionally pack in, they’re usually designed so that only single players or structured groups are going to make any progress or reap any rewards. The open event system changes the whole dynamic. Wander into something, help out, claim a reward, and then stick around with the players moving the to next part of the quest – partying optional.

    • Vinraith says:

      Which sounds lovely in theory, but in practice commits the cardinal sin of the MMO: making my enjoyment of the game dependent on the behavior of other human beings. In practice, that’s never worked out, and I find it hard to believe this will somehow be an exception.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you’d rather not interact with other players… well, I would say ‘Don’t play MMOs’, but really, almost every other MMO on the market WOULD be fine, as you can just tool around by yourself, occasionally forming a party, and not worry about anything, because they’re not actually designed around a proper massively multiplayer framework.

      Apparently all event-quests automatically scale, so that if you want to run solo, you can, but if more players get involved (and you can’t tell them not to) it’ll get bigger and tougher for the group.

    • Cronstintein says:

      :headscratch: it’s like the complete opposite. It *doesn’t* make you dependent on the other humans, that’s the whole point.

    • Vinraith says:

      Of course it does. How much fun I’ll have playing the game is in large part determined by what the asshole to non-asshole ratio in the area of game world I wish to play in happens to be at the moment I want to play. Considering GW’s community, I can tell you right now what that ratio’s going to look like most of the time.

      Seriously, if you’ve played the original GW and stood in any major town in the game with all chat on, it should be fairly obvious that being forced to play with other people (whether grouped or not) is not the path to a fun time. How anyone who was exposed to that community could turn around and suggest that doing away with instancing is a GOOD idea is completely, utterly beyond me.

  25. bill says:

    Those girls in the picture look cold.. they should cover up if they are in the snow covered mountains.

    • Wulf says:

      They’re Norns, and apparently Norn bodies are like reactors in that they can generate enough warmth to keep the same level of warmth going that a human would require many layers of clothes to achieve. They evolved in colder climes, so I suppose it makes sense for them.

    • JackShandy says:

      Didn’t you know? Much in the same way that Birdman takes his superpowers from exposure to the sun, women are powered by frostbite. They must leave as much of their flesh exposed to the elements as possible or risk losing their mystical girl-powers. It comes with a heavy cost in both health and dignity, but for many the risk is worth it.

    • Dominic White says:

      Any armor-set that has a Norn lady wearing a bra-top, the male equivalent is just altogether topless. Freezing your bits off (or not, as the case may be – they are were-bears) is gender neutral here. The costume designer is female.

    • Nick says:

      Male Norn: link to wiki.guildwars.com

      There are plenty of examples of the topless men in GW1 Eye of the North.

    • Wulf says:

      Also worth pointing two little things out:

      1.) There are plenty of conservative options for men and women alike in the game, so if you want to be clothed up to your gills with no breathing space, you can have that! I’ve seen plenty of costumes like that in concept art, screenshots, and model pictures they’ve done showing off in-game armour sets.

      2.) Transmutation stones allow you to keep the armour you like, but transfer the stats of other armour sets onto it. So if you come across a set of armour you really like, you won’t have to drop it for that skimpy number that has higher stats, you can transfer the stats onto your existing more conservative number.

      So why topless in the video? Obvious truth is obvious – marketing always tries to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Sex sells to the average Joe. Their marketing is lost on me because all I want to see is Charr, Charr, and more Charr. They can keep their semi-naked Norns. Roll on Charr week!

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      I’m awaiting the Witcher-esque “SEX IS RONG” campaign wiff interest…

    • JackShandy says:

      I’ve been reading a lot of this “Exploring Believability” blog lately:
      link to exploringbelievability.blogspot.com
      I suppose nuclear-powered skin would provide at least some explanation, but the idea that a mountain-dwelling race who’s culture revolves around fighting and killing vicious beasts would go around topless is fucking nuts. Male or female, their clothes don’t really seem to express the circumstances they live in.
      EDIT: Oh wait, they SHAPESHIFT? That might excuse it, I guess. I’m not really sure what kind of clothes I would wear if I could turn into a bear. Probably nothing.

  26. SuperNashwan says:

    Looks like a nice place to take a virtual walk but the game mechanics on display here left me completely cold. It also appears to be extremely po-faced and I don’t think I can’t stomach a high fantasy game that takes itself that seriously.

    • Wulf says:

      The seriousness actually worked pretty well in Ghosts of Ascalon! It’s all in the writers, and it seems like ArenaNet has some half decent ones.

  27. RegisteredUser says:

    Quintin, please be aware of link to rockpapershotgun.com

  28. Madrico says:

    Does anybody know a tentative date for the release? Likely to happen this year?
    Cant wait to play this game to go back to MMOs!
    (I may now say that my WoW Horde characters are definitely left to their own fate, wandering alone in Durotar. After one year without playing them for sure they already turned in some orcish beggars haunting the scums of Orgrimmar, scratching the filthy soil with their bare hands in desperate search of leftovers. Getting hired in a Troll tripe butcher shop would be the best they could hope for).