ArenaNet (Guild Wars) has opened up a company blog that kicks off with a bang by not only providing brand new information on Guild Wars 2 gameplay, but also promising even more of the same in the near future!
In the appropriately titled Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto, Mike O’Brien explains ArenaNet’s developing principles for Guild Wars 2 and offers up numerous gameplay examples. Interestingly, he also includes some comparisons to its predecessor and mentions a new sales figure for the Guild Wars franchise: 6+ million copies sold!
I’ll provide you with a brief overview of the more notable points below, but those with a little more patience might want to head on over to the Guild Wars 2 Design Manifesto and read what Mike O’Brien has to say. In fact, you’ll want to go there anyway, because it includes a few in-game and artwork shots that haven’t been seen before. ArenaNet also released a beautiful in-game screenshot on their flickr photostream yesterday, which is also included below.
So I’ll quickly go over each of the notable new points. Note that much of this information had already been revealed at the time GW2 was announced, as can be seen in my Guild Wars 2 preview, but hadn’t yet been re-confirmed since ArenaNet recently returned to the foreground with Guild Wars 2. It’s good to know for a fact that they’ve retained many of the most promising aspects of their original design.
- The Guild Wars franchise was good for 6+ million sold copies thus far.
- Guild Wars 2 will feature a persistent, living and changing world that contains a myriad of combat and non-combat activities for players.
- It will not be a standard fantasy MMORPG. ArenaNet promises to maintain Guild Wars’ grind-free nature, with a focus on making all of the game fun to play, not just the final level.
- No monthly fee has been confirmed, again.
- During character creation you get to fill out a character biography, which will define your history and place in the world. The choices you make during on your journey through the world will determine the storyline that you experience and so each consecutive playthrough will result in a different experience. This sounds a lot like Dragon Age: Origin’s origin stories.
- Guild Wars 2 will not tell its story through masses of quest text. They look to be expanding upon Guild Wars’ henchmen chatter and storyline missions, by providing you with a tale through your encounters with key characters, world-changing events and facing you with moral dilemma’s that impact the lives of people around you.
- Emergent gameplay seems to be a key point for Guild Wars 2. Rather than having a NPC with a big fat exclamation point over his head explain to you that his town is being attacked, you’ll simply wander into town and see it being attacked. You can even choose not to stop the attack, which will result in the town being razed.
- ArenaNet wants to make Guild Wars 2 a more social game than current MMORPGs. You’re not going to run into other players in zones, only to find out that they’re on different quest lines and you’re better off not grouping up. Instead you can join up without partying and simply try to accomplish world objectives, such as chasing away the big bad dragon you saw flying overhead earlier.
- Partying is not required for teaming up with other players. All encounters award full rewards (100% experience and loot drops) for ‘serious’ participants. It sounds like it will prevent mob steal abuse by only awarding ‘serious’ participants, which is good. It almost seems like Warhammer Online’s public quests, but not nearly as static in nature.
- World vs World PvP in “The Mists” has been confirmed! This will allow servers to compete for resources and is completely optional. Apparently the non-grouping mechanics are also present in this section of the game, which promises to allow any level of player to contribute. As Mike O’Brien puts it: “if your world can get 501 people working for the same goal, that’s only going to be more helpful than 500 people”.
- There wasn’t any mention of Arena-based PvP, but I’m sure that’s still in as well.
- Elementalist class confirmed!
- Three mobs from Prophecies are confirmed to return: Stone Elementals, Centaurs and Oakhearts.
- Guild Wars’ skill system will be retained and improved upon. Fewer skills, but with more obvious effects and combinations. One examples includes the Elementalist’s ability to cast Fire Wall, switch to Water attunement which freezes nearby enemies and then use Water Trident to blast those enemies into the Fire Wall.
- Cross-Class combo’s promise to be similarly natural and powerful. Firing projectiles through a Fire Wall spell promises to be entertaining. (does this mean the Ranger class returns as well?)
- Race-specific abilities are in, such as the Norn’s ability to transform into animal forms.
- Class-specific character traits are in. An example mentioned is the Elementalist’s ability to spec into the Stone Boots trait, which prevents them from being thrown into the air by skills, spells and attacks.
- More interactivity with the environment. If a Stone Elemental throws a stone at you, then you can throw it back or use Elementalist skills to form it into a Meteor Storm spell. If you hack off a branch of an Oakheart, pick it up and use it as a weapon. If Centaurs bring catapults to bear, kill the Centaurs manning the catapult and use it against them!
- More visceral combat. You can avoid Oakheart’s roots as they try to entangle you, use planks to smash monsters into the air and dodge out of the way of ranged attacks (as in Guild Wars)
And if all that doesn’t make you anticipate the most innovative and promising upcoming MMORPG, with no monthly fee to boot, then perhaps this screenshot will: