TMRzoo.com is covering New York Comic Con 2010 with our partner GameStooge.com:
Guild Wars was and is an interesting experiment: a completely free traditional MMO which focuses on PvP. The game featured the earmarks of an MMO – performing quests, leveling characters, and so forth – but it was in service of getting players to level 20 to engage in multiplayer combat.
While Guild Wars 2 still will have a focus on eventual endgame PVP, the adventuring leading up to it has been completely revamped.
For one, it looks more like a traditional MMO than the previous game did. Gone is the high angled shot, and replaced by the standard over-the-shoulder view. The game world is vibrantly colored, whether in a rural, Autumnesque town filled with oranges, greens and browns or a ravaged, cursed plains splattered with deep reds, purples and blacks. For an MMO, the game has spectacular graphics.
The game is fully voiced as well; all lines of dialog have actual voice acting attached to them. Conversations between the player and NPCs are reminiscent of Puzzle Quest and other Japanese RPGs in which the two characters occupy each side of the screen against a static background, basically, creating a talking heads effect. However, in Guild Wars 2’s case, the characters are fully rendered 3D head-to-toe, and voiced against a painterly 2D background – the result is evocative and doesn’t break the suspension of disbelief.
The game also takes a major departure from the original game, and many MMOs for that matter, in its character development. Taking a page from Star Wars: The Old Republic, you don’t just roll a toon – you develop their personality and history. After choosing a race, class and editing their appearance, you are asked a series of multiple choice questions about their background and personality. Some of the answers have a direct effect on the skill set, while others affect the story itself. The gaming experience will change depending on what the player chose. One may take a human male necromancer two different times, but can have different experiences. A noble will view things from one perspective, while a character from a farming background will have another. In addition, decisions made during the game affect the experience even more – do you stop to instruct farmers under attack to run to the inn, or do you just make a beeline to the inn yourself, leaving the farmers alone? Decisions made earlier in the game have repercussions later, much like a BioWare or Obsidian RPG.
This idea of cause and effect runs through the game’s dynamic world. Actions the player take have an effect in the land they’re in, and a spiderweb of player actions will determine what is available to them. To simplify the concept of dynamic gameplay, if a player takes out a band of highwaymen who have been raiding caravans, the stocks in a town’s stores will start selling items that were not previously available because the caravans could not make it to town. The game fully embraces the idea of the Public Quest that Warhammer Online introduced, and incorporates it into the world; the player will be presented with missions they may take like killing a broodmother who has been hunting farmers or purifying the town’s water supply or even just killing rabbits eating a farmer’s pumpkins.
The combat system has likewise been improved. Players now have two quick bars that can be cycled to quickly access the multitudes of skills a PC can learn. Each character will also have a special power, such as the Necromancer’s ability to leave his body as a wraith and attack enemies while incorporeal; the developers stated it’s also a good way to scout out unexplored territory without being seen or hurt.
What wasn’t demoed at New York Comic Con was the staple of the series, player-versus-player gameplay, but the game will have equally full featured PvP. The developers stated that there would be two areas of PvP – the normal guild versus guild PvP and a new Dark Ages of Camelot-styled realm PvP, in which three servers would suddenly be locked in three way combat against each other, with the victor after a period of time getting some bonuses, and new servers being selected to wage war.
The best part, of course, is that Guild Wars 2 is a completely free MMO as its predecessor was. The game seems like it’ll be a really fun experience, and will be a must-buy for any MMO fan when it is released, which hopefully will be in 2011, but the developers stated that Guild Wars 2 will be “done when it’s done.” In its current state, it still looks wonderfully polished and exciting – keep an eye out for this one.
Guild Wars 2 is developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSoft.
[UPDATE: Eurogamer is reporting that Guild Wars loot will “carry over” to Guild Wars 2 in that you can cash in your former gear for new items.]
Jonah Falcon is a blogger for TMRzoo and GameStooge.com and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Jonah provides his readers with reviews, previews and up to date gaming industry news and rumors.