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Three topics. Here we go!

Gamescom and PAX

Arenanet has presented a lot of new information over the past couple of weeks at the yearly conventions, including a new video and a new demo. Most blogs have commented in the moment and picked apart some of the changes already, but I want to offer my opinion on some things that I found interesting. GW2Guru has threads dedicated to all of the new information. You can find a great collection of videos, articles, and tweets for Gamescom and Pax here and here, respectively (if you haven’t already found them yourself). Big thanks also to Karasu, MeWulf, and Elixabeth at Talk Tyria for posting about their experiences at the conventions. You can read what they posted about Gamescom and PAX starting here and here, respectively.

On with the blogging!

I think the Gamescom Trailer (here) was very well done. Great music, great “cinematic” video of the dragon boss in the demo, lots of great scenes showing off Destiny’s Edge. The latter half of the video is a lot of clips of skills, including those we’ve already seen, but there are several new ones including the necromancer elite skill Lich Form. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

ANet is iterating several game mechanics including energy, dodge, skill acquisition, and traits. Energy has been removed and dodge has it’s own button now with the biggest limiting factor for both being recharge times. Skills 1-5 (weapon skills) are now acquired by using the weapon several times, rather than purchasing them from a trainer. I think this is a nice change and it looks like the grind factor will be minimal, which was the biggest complaint from fans. Also, they are currently revamping the traits system (this was discussed in one of the panels), but there is little info on what that means. I think it is tied into the skill acquisition stuff. Nothing major though.

All 5 races were playable in the demo, so there are a lot of videos of each race on youtube. In addition, character customization was implemented in the demo (it was limited, but still quite nice). I’m very excited about this and had I been at one of the conventions I’m sure I would have spent the majority of my demo time customizing my characters. There are several videos on the GW2Guru Gamescom thread that show this, but give Tigerfeet’s blog a read. She’s posting several pics of the customization options for each race as part of her extended “pelt watch” series.

PvP was a major showcase of both conventions. While this is not my forte or interest area, it looked pretty nice. It’s very FPS oriented and is similar to GW PvP. I’m more excited about the casual PvP of WvWvW where there are lots of people involved. If PvP is your thing, check out the Guru threads and see the videos there. ANet takes on a couple guilds head to head and Izzy shows off his mad skills.

What’s in a Name?

Changing topics, there has been an interesting discussion going on over on Hunter’s blog about “Guild Wars.” There has been very little information about guilds released so far and what we know can be found on the wiki. What I would like to highlight are the apparent lack of guild vs guild (GvG) and the discussion of how many guilds a player can join.

In my opinion, ANet needs to spend a bit more time addressing the name of the game. Yes, the guild wars are in the lore and are part of Tyria’s history, but they were history in GW1 with the Searing supposedly ending the wars. The only thing close to representing the name of the game in GW1 was GvG. By comparison, the MMO “Rifts” is about, you guessed it, rifts.

GW2 is about Dragons. It is about races coming together to slay dragons. It is about suspending racial hatreds and forming alliances. Perhaps there will be an emphasis on these alliances being called guilds, but they surely won’t be at war. The name “Guild Wars” has less meaning, in my opinion, without the guild emphasis, which is sad, since there are millions of people playing the game and waiting to play the sequel. Hunter wrote something that I agree with completely on the subject on a different post. He said: “I guess in the end its just a name that serves no other purpose, which is fine, I didn’t buy it for the name.” I personally would like the name to mean something, but if it doesn’t, oh well. I’ll still have fun playing it.

As for the number of guilds available to players, this is a feature I’m excited about. In GW1 you could have 1 guild per account and be a part of an alliance of up to 10 guilds. In GW2, you can be in as many guilds as you want. That’s my favorite part. No limit. You want to be in 8 guilds? Go right ahead. Have a guild for every gaming interest. Have a different guild for every character. Or, join one guild only, if that’s what you want. I plan on being in several guilds and maybe starting one of my own. It looks like there will be lots of goodies for guilds too, but we’ll know more on that later.

Belzan 2.0

Finally, I want to briefly talk Belzan. I am making several changes to Belzan and his story. He will be a very different character in GW2 and I’ll be writing a bit more of his lore in the coming months. This is in part an extension of what I’d planned to do with him all along and in part a response to some of the cool stuff I saw in the Gamescom/PAX videos. I will be posting a story that tells Belzan’s origin in the near future, as well as at least one post talking about my plans for him in GW2. He’s very old and there are many stories about him. Fæcce will separate truth from fiction (pun intended). Stay tuned.