Guild Wars 2’s Lion’s Arch Is Looking Lovely

Could Arenanet's artists design real life too, please?

The city of Lion’s Arch is one of the hubs players will be able to go poking around in Guild Wars 2, and despite everything it’s been through it’s looking swell. Once the Capital of Kryta in the original Guild Wars, it was then destroyed by a dragon, the land was flooded and the place was taken over by pirates until finally the flood waters receded. Arenanet’s concept art team have, however, come to the place’s rescue, and now all the ships in the area have been repurposed into buildings. You’ll find the town’s trailer after the jump, and plenty more details over on the Arenanet blog.

Still no release date for this game yet, dammit. Anybody else starting to get impatient?


  1. Gonefornow says:

    I wanna see if it lives up to the hypeage.
    (Graphically it obviously does.)

  2. tomeoftom says:

    That is a ridiculously attractive city.

    • McDan says:

      It is ridiculously attractive, ludicrously so. Still playing the original and expansions but everytime anything new is released about number 2 I have to spend ten minutes wiping my keyboard down from saliva and tears from being afraid that I might not be able to run it…

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Yeah, I have to get back to working through the original myself. It’s slow going, solo.

  3. John P says:

    What impresses me about the Guild Wars 2 footage of cities is the vertical scale of them. Usually MMOs present very flat cities, made worse by the camera angle. But the GW2 locations just tower over you. Looks very easy to get lost too. Really looking forward to playing it.

  4. Coins says:

    This looks so amazing, I’ll be weeping for my graphics card.

  5. FCA says:

    So that explains why everyone can wear those all revealing costumes: there’s no wind at all!

    Seriously, I don’t know why I’m bothered with it, but it all looks so static to me. No tree leaves whispering in the wind, no lanterns swinging around. I know it’s killing on the graphics cards, but looks quite dead to me…

    • paterah says:

      There is wind and the grass sways along with it in different directions if necessary (thanks to Havok engine). Not sure about the tree leaves tho. If you actually take into account how MMO cities are presented in general then I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the most lively ones. I think you are a tiny bit too negative, lighten up dude, it’s a game not an alternate reality. The fact that NPCs talk (as in voice overs) as you walk past them or do other activities is a lot more than what you usually see in MMOs. Surely it’s not Skyrim Online but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of what other online games do.

    • Hallgrim says:

      I think stationary flora in a port town looks pretty funny. And I think its pretty funny that we’ve come to expect that level of detail.

    • lonesock says:

      I’m about to talk out of my ass a lot, but here goes.

      The sails and laterns and awnings rustling in the wind would be awesome! But it would probably take a whole lot of time to do. They could do a solution like the first part of Portal 2, where the room is shattering into pieces. According to the commentary, all the physics are pre-calculated, so its not really a strain on your computer. But they said it took ~90 days to do the calculations…so imagine having to go through that process for every lamp and awning in Lion’s Arch without making everything look same-y or cookie-cutter.

      It would look great though…maybe they could use shaders to make cloth look like it’s wind-OK I don’t know anything about graphics :P

  6. Clean3d says:

    GW2 looks great. The excitement is almost enough to make me try to finish GW1 again.

    Still, I’m curious why there’s a person in a t-shirt and jeans at 1:16.

    • Hallgrim says:

      Looks like a tunic and trousers to me…

      “Trousers first enter recorded history in the 6th century BCE” … link to

    • Clean3d says:

      Sorry, I actually meant the woman standing up at 1:18. She looks too contemporary to me. Oh why won’t game developers conform to my preconceived notions about imaginary worlds based on time periods I’ve never experienced? : /

    • mwoody says:

      It’s that same guy who runs in with the cavalry at the end of Army of Darkness.

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    Phwoooarr looking fantastic. Why do so many games have such dull cities when they could do things like THIS. Dragon Age’s very boring towns/cities come to mind especially.

    • Kdansky says:

      Kirkwall. Ouch.

    • Betamax says:

      I’m a big Dragon Age fan and even I’ll echo that. Although Denerim was perhaps even worse. For an MMO what they are showing off for GW2 is staggering. Between this and TOR I fear for my social life over the next couple of years.

  8. disperse says:

    You can always tell the PCs from the NPCs. The PCs are the ones who run everywhere.

    • luckylad says:

      I loved everything until I saw he people running… Something was bugging me about their running animation and I can quite put my finger on it. They have a tendency to suddenly shift directions. It looks like it could be a problem with the response time between the player saying “hey go this different direction” and then the game actually realizing it but the only problem with that is that I imagine that it’s the people at ArenaNet who are actually playing this…. So instead I think its a problem with the animations. It doesnt look like they have quite smoothed out rotational motion yet so their characters look jumpy whenever moving. I know I’m being nit picky but if your gonna spend that much time and attention to one city, can we get a little better at making these animations not look like I frightened the person every time they want to shift run direction?

    • Chalky says:

      Yeah, there’s certainly an issue with the character running animations. Looks like it might be a form of rubberbanding, but it could easily be some unrelated animation or pathing glitch.

      Shows there’s still some work to go, but man, it sure looks awesome so far.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      For me it’s, say… between 0.50 and 0.54 in that video, you can see the NPCs going through their step animation, hesitating an instant, running the animation again, hesitating an instant, etc.
      On the other hand, getting all the running animations just perfect might take another two years of dev time. I’d rather they just release the damn thing.

      Edit – Rewatching, it looks like it’s just one NPC that does that and the others are fine. So.. uh, fire that man, I guess.

    • Chalky says:

      Check the running animations at 1:27 too. Pretty jittery.

      Personally, being able to see the seams is almost as interesting as the rest of the video – you can tell that they’re showing us the game at the limit of what they’ve polished so far.

    • paterah says:

      The pathfinding seems to be a bit offputting on that video. You can see at 1:29 a character almost doing the jump animation (I suppose) on what seems to be a flat level. I always had a problem on how animations looked in GW2, judging from some gameplay videos the strafing animation is a bit horrid too. Anyway, I guess it’s a matter of polish but definitely something I’d like to see fixed by launch. Great otherwise.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      For me it’s, say… between 0.50 and 0.54 in that video, you can see the NPCs going through their step animation, hesitating an instant, running the animation again, hesitating an instant, etc.”

      It kinda reminds me of watching a 2D sprite animation playing in a loop where the final frame is missing, so the start and end are in ever so slightly different positions and there’s a little jump when it resets.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      One of the things that bothers me about Guild Wars is the animations. The running feels very slidey and floatey. I was hoping they’d address that in the sequel, like they have with so many other aspects of the game, but from this it seems they either like this sort of animation or are simply not good enough to do better. :(

    • DrazharLn says:

      It’s the walking animations that look really unnatural to me. I hope they improve them.

  9. Jumwa says:

    With how anxious and impatient this is making me, it had better not fail to deliver on the next-generation of MMO.

  10. Freud says:

    Arenanet have the best artists in the business. It looks amazing.

  11. Valvarexart says:

    The real question is if there will be a day/night and weather cycle…

    • paterah says:

      Both weather and day/night cycle are confirmed to be in the game.

    • Blaq says:

      Really? I have been wondering that myself. You have no idea how happy hearing this makes me. Recently replaying The Witcher and seeing what a small amount of weater coding achieved in immersion, I’ve realised just how big of a deal weather is (and how most MMOs are either completely ignoring it or just slapping on something so they can say it’s there).

      Go ArenaNet!

    • Betamax says:

      Completely agreed with Blaq for the same reasons (playing the Witcher) although unlike that game I do hope they avoid the ‘raining indoors’ bug. >.> Day and Night cycles as well should be incorporated into more games, especially MMOs. Nothing quite like watching the sunset or rise in a beautiful fantasy/sci fi landscape.

  12. DeepSleeper says:

    “So is there anything remotely approaching a release date for this yet?” is exactly what I think every time a news story on this pops up. Augh.

  13. Kdansky says:

    You know, the GW2 videos remind me a lot of the WoW videos before it was released about a decade ago. Impressive (and just slightly implausible) art, very impressive art direction, and just decent enough technology, but nowhere near cutting edge. Compare this to Booty Bay, or Undercity. It’s so similar, and I mean that in a good way. After all, WoW was by far the best game of its kind when it was released.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Thanks for the WoW reference. Reminding me that no matter how pretty the town is, most people will see the 5% of it that’s on the way to the auction house and then stand there forever without exploring.

  14. Wulf says:

    You missed out on the Black Citadel.

    link to

    I love how ridiculously advanced the charr are. And yes, those are vehicles powered by internal combustion, that’s how far along they are.

  15. Faceless says:

    There is also a new class (or profession, as ArenaNet call them) reveal incoming this month, supposedly.

    • Blackseraph says:

      Hopefully Mesmer!

      I am not particularly happy if Mesmers don’t come back.

    • Mungrul says:

      Oh god, please be Mesmer.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      While I liked mesmer, they seemed a bit lacking in PvE, and in PvP they were hot-to-nerf. “Denial” characters always seem prone to that.

      I kinda thought the Rogue they announced was kinda the “new Mesmer” but I’m not so sure the skill match up.

  16. blipmusic says:


    The explorer in me wonders whether these buildings are truly buildings or just massive blocks of “world decorations”, though.

    It seems the MMO worlds of late end up with impressive scenery that is just that: scencery. Impressive looking buildings I can’t enter and so on. This usually kills the whole experience for me, sooner rather than later. I want a *world* to explore, not pathways with “cool” backgrounds.

    Does anyone have any insight on this? I’ve read that the GW2 world is supposed to be “explored”, so I’m still hoping for the best.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      To quote one of their blog entries (this one actually):

      “In the original Guild Wars, a map artist could “cheat” in places they knew a player could never reach, using unbacked facades or hollow props, but there are few parts of this new game world that are inaccessible. Players are going to swim to the bottom of that flooded cavern or jump the counter of that pub to sneak into the back room. So, no cheating this time.”

      This article about the city itself might also help.

      Of course there’s no way to know how true it is until the game is available. It could be Lumpy Shoebox Architecture. But as someone who likes sticking their head into random closets and clambering up on rooftops to check the rain gutters, I’m kinda hoping they really mean it.

    • Faceless says:

      Some time during the course of your personal story, you have to choose between three orders, each dedicated to the cause of eliminating the Elder Dragon threat, each choosing methods unique to them. The Vigil Order has a massive fortress, the front of which is twice as large as the front gate of Orgrimmar. You can fully explore its interior.

      Take that as you will. ArenaNet may or may not give every other massive building an intricate interior to explore and wander in.

    • DeepSleeper says:


      You know, I don’t think I’ve seen this footage.
      Checking the channel… I don’t think I’ve seen ANY of this footage.
      There goes a couple hours of my time, I suppose.

    • blipmusic says:

      That sounds promising, indeed. Thanks for the heads up! Actually, without playing that info is as good I could ever hope for.

      Now to finish the quest of getting a system that I can actually play this on. Pity those quests seem to *cost* xp, rather than the other way around though…

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I’m going to buy it now just so i can sneak into the back rooms of all the pubs.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Indeed. They mentioned it in a blog post, you know there has to be something interesting going on in the back room of at least one in-game pub. (Game of Stones, perhaps?)


      Personally I’d like to see them viciously rip off the Everquest 2/DCUO/Rift system of having the world liberally salted with small semi-randomized collectible shiny objects, as additional incentive to get out there and get your face shoved into the unwashed corners of the world. When playing Rift I will hurl myself off a cliff, fight through a wave of high-level mobs or near-drown myself skimming the bottom of a pond to look for collectibles.

      On the other hand I’m not sure Guild Wars 2 really needs to be an amalgam of every MMO idea released in the last twelve years.

    • blipmusic says:

      I’m fine with finding a unique monster or monument or kitty or … as long as it takes me to the middle of nowhere (a good thing in my book).

      My pet peeve with many of the modern MMOs is that the world only feels as big as the zone you’re currently in. Though, I tried Ryzom and it felt a bit like going back to Asheron’s Call world wise.

      Remember running into the wilderness in AC to find a giant cyclops thingy who, when found, rewarded my [insert long time here] run with a [insert the same long time here] corpse run by promptly stomping me into the ground as soon as that evil eye of his caught sight of me.

      Good times, good times. (No really, I kind of miss it.)

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      Asheron’s Call was the greatest anything ever. I wish all MMOs let me put points in my run and jump skills.

      Really, I think that every time I play an MMO (most recently with Rift). Perhaps because it was so exploration/hunting based (quests in AC were not a huge part of the game in terms of leveling), but I really enjoyed just running around with my character. In every MMO since then, running has been a complete slog.

      Where was it written that every MMO character has to move painfully slow?

    • blipmusic says:

      Next stop Memory Lane. Running there, like the wind – literally.
      The “classless” freedom. Although it got a bit min-maxy I guess; eventually made a “dagger warrior” and started out with, what, 5 hp? The little scallywag evaded like no one else (and died like no one else when he didn’t).
      Meeting those electric lizards having a tea party with metal armor on (well, that kind with the least electric protection) in far away lands that was unscouted territory: TEH PH3AR! ([Fake edit] Found them: Ash Gromnies!)

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “you know there has to be something interesting going on in the back room of at least one in-game pub.”

      ERP. :)

  17. Vinraith says:

    One thing I’m not worried about regarding GW2 is the graphics. GW1 is still one of the prettiest games I’ve ever seen, both from an art design standpoint and an implementation standpoint, I’ve no doubt Arenanet will be doing that again with this one.

    • MD says:

      I’m just worried it’ll destroy my puny computer. I guess it’s probably going to be pretty scalable, though, so my secondary worry is that it will be disappointing at playable settings. To anyone who played GW1 on a low-end PC, how was it in that regard? Some developers/engines/artists seem a whole lot better than others at making the low-spec versions of their games not look shit.

      Also I worry I’ll get hyped and then find out that too much of what bothers me about MMOs is still there, and I can’t actually enjoy it. Who knows though, I’d be surprised if I wasn’t at least able to enjoy a few hours’ worth of exploring.

  18. Outsider says:

    Very excited and very impatient! Wee!

  19. ChromeBallz says:

    Music gave me SERIOUS Elder Scrolls vibes. Took me a minute to realize who’s making the music again.

    • arccos says:

      Actually, the music in the video is from GW1. But Jeremy Soule is returning to do the music for 2.

  20. DevilSShadoW says:

    The lack of any projected release date is quite frightening. MMO’s generally take a long time to launch and most devs put out info on said MMO’s way too early. Here’s hoping ArenaNet will just do some sort of “WERE RELEASING IT NEXT WEEK” thing otherwise I don’t think we’re gonna be seeing this any time soon (read this year or early next).

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Mid-2012 is probably not a bad estimate. Beta is scheduled to start this year, but that’s it. I’d only be frightened if there was a possibility of development being abandoned (eg, Wish – any mention seems to have been purged from Wikipedia, so see here).

      Until then, you’ll have Diablo 3 and Skyrim in late 2011, so quit yer complainin’.

    • DevilSShadoW says:

      If there would be some kind of open beta late 2011/early 2012 I would have no complaints whatsoever. Dare to dream…

  21. Rii says:

    This game looks so far ahead of TOR it isn’t funny. Then again, WoW actually looks better than TOR.

  22. Zanchito says:

    Amazing, amazing, amazing art direction. Just like GW1. And Mr. Dociu is pure genius.

  23. TheFatDM says:

    The main reason I’ll be playing GW2 is their attempt to move away from tank/heal/dps. It being pretty is just gravy, like a one night stand.

  24. MythArcana says:

    Still the best looking MMO out there. I don’t know if I can fare the sequel because this game is pure work, but it’s difficult not to consider anyway.

  25. Surgo says:

    I can’t believe they didn’t take the opportunity of the new game to just get rid of Lion’s Arch, and everything related to that horrible first attempt at a campaign. They learned from their writing mistakes by the time Factions came around, but Prophecies is hanging around ArenaNet’s neck like a millstone. Why are they not using this opportunity to just bury and forget about all those horrible ideas?

  26. TsunamiWombat says:

    You know whats amazing about that screenshot at the top? That female warrior. She’s wearing actual armor.

    I cannot see her breastesses or her thights or midriff or nothing. She doesn’t even have’s a pretty game..And..the female characters have armor.


    • Dominic White says:

      Their costume designer is female, which explains a fair bit. Still, there’s plenty of plunging necklines and heaving bosoms on show in some outfits, but usually because the male equivalent (each set of armor has male/female variants) is equally revealing in some way of another. If a male suit has him going bare-chested, the female will get a bra-top.

      Hurrah for equality! Still, don’t expect a huge number of realistic suits – Guild Wars is very high fantasy, which means everyone looks like a fashion model, unless they’re a Charr or Asura.

  27. Tams80 says:

    STOP THIS TORTURE. Please. =(

    I’ll happily, though painfully wait for ArenaNet to decide to release GW2. I’d much rather they’re not pressured.

  28. manveruppd says:

    I’m glad they’re keeping the same style as the original Guild Wars. Everything is shinier, higher poly-count, has nicer shaders, and is BIGGER, almost ridiculously so (especially in the vertical direction!) but it pretty much looks like the same game.

  29. lumenadducere says:

    One thing that’s impressed me since the announcement trailer is the sense of scale that their cities have. I don’t know how much is actually going to be explorable, but even if it’s not the entire thing it’s nice to have a city that feels bigger than it actually is.