More Guild Wars 2 information seems to become available practically every week, whether it be in the form of blogs, pages on the official website, or interviews. This time ArenaNet has unleashed a torrent of information on the dynamic event system on the official website and in a variety of interviews, as well as a blog post on the fashion of a people 250 years more advanced than those we’ve come to know in the old world of Tyria.
I’ll be covering this as I did with the previous gameplay bites we’ve received, namely in the form of a bullet point list that contains the new information. You’ll have to check out the original sources that I’ve linked to above for the full story and all the new media (screenshots/artwork), but a quick overview of what’s new can be gleaned from my coverage below.
- Walls of text are a thing of the past, with emergent quests being the name of the game in Guild Wars 2. So if a dragon is attacking a village, then you’re not going to read a few paragraphs that say just that. Instead you’re going to see people running through the streets screaming at the top of their lungs, watch as buildings get blown to smithereens and hear guards desperately recruiting players to drive off the beast.
- Guild Wars 2 will feature a truly persistent world, which means every event has an actual impact. If a character tells you that his house is going to be attacked and he needs your help, then his house will be razed – for everyone on the server – if you do nothing.
- Singular events aren’t just contained bits of adventure, but lead on to further events which cascade into a chain of events that alter the entire world. The example given is of a Dredge army marching out to establish a base in player territory. Left to their own devices they will build a fort, send in ever more troops and start attacking player settlements. Yet if an army of players marches out to meet them, then they can push on to their home base and rescue prisoners held there. Players can then assume control of the fort and defend it from waves of Dredge warriors seeking to reclaim their territory.
- It all seems to lead to the very system that was promised for Aion, but never actually delivered: truly unique storylines/content on each server that is fully dependent on player actions.
- Much like Guild Wars, there will be no kill stealing or quest camping. Guild Wars 2 accomplishes this by rewarding everyone that truly participates (not AFK’s or last-hit’s) in an event, regardless of party or guild affiliation. For players of other MMOs this boils down to everyone being your friend, because no one can ruin your experience and you’re never held back from optimal achievement rates!
- All events are dynamically scaled according to how many players are participating and how strong they are. This was already previously mentioned, but what wasn’t mentioned was that this will continue scaling during the event. If someone disconnects or leaves, then the event scales down. If someone suddenly joins in, then it scales up!
- The dynamic event system also makes Guild Wars 2 very replayable and ideal for explorers. If you return to the same area a month (or even a day) later, then there’s no guarantee that it will be the same. Another group could have taken up residence in a local village and altered the architecture to their satisfaction, or entirely different events may be available for you to partake in.
- There are hundreds of hidden events to be found all over the world that were specifically designed with explorers in mind. You might find an entrance to a secret cave deep at the bottom of the ocean and remove a glowing orb that unleashes an evil creature which proceeds to terrorize the ocean shipping lanes. Or you might read spells written on an ancient wizard’s spell book in a ruined castle and inadvertendly open a portal to another world which triggers the invasion of alien creatures.
- Another idea behind the dynamic event system is that players will have truly unique experiences even on the same server. Not everyone will partake in the same events and while one player is defending a town from invading centaurs, another could be fighting off a dragon elsewhere. No longer will the game world be populated with clone heroes.
- Some of you may be thinking of Warhammer’s public quest system, which would only partially be an accurate comparison. Yes you can group up with other people to complete these common goals, but they’re not timed recurring events with no impact and a minimum player requirement. They have a lasting impact on the world, do not reset and have no minimum player requirement. In fact, if no player participates then the event will still continue.
- The 1500-1600 events figure that was previously mentioned was an indication of the current state of the game. ArenaNet intends to have thousands of events in-game come launch time.
- There are a bunch of screenshots up on the Guild Wars 2 website to accompany the various dynamic event examples.
- Guild Wars 2 will offer a mix of sandbox (EVE) and themepark (WoW) gameplay elements. The dynamic event and personal story systems clearly fill in the sandbox role, with a world that doesn’t linearly guide you through set pieces. Meanwhile, dungeons and mini-games promise to provide a more guided player experience.
- Solo play will be perfectly possible in Guild Wars 2. All events scale down so that a single player can complete them. Meanwhile, if some random player happens to stumble across your solo event, then (s)he’ll be a welcome sight rather than an abhorrent one. You will not suffer in terms of experience points or rewards, nor can they killsteal you or AFK through events. The dynamic scaling and full-loot reward system prevent all of this D-baggery that is prevalent in modern MMOs. What better way is there to get solo players to enjoy content right alongside grouped players?
- Raids in dungeons are confirmed to be part of the end-game content, along with PvP and the dynamic event system.
Personal Story System
- Aside from their intent to truly put the MMO into MMORPG with the dynamic event system, ArenaNet is also looking to put the RPG back into the MMORPG. The next item that will be covered is the personal story system, which sounds a lot like The Witcher’s player progression. Interestingly a lot about this system has already been revealed in interviews.
- The personal story system is mentioned in reference to Guild Wars’ mission system. This would appear to indicate that it will be at least partially instanced, which seems to be backed by the statements that you can choose to complete personal story elements solo or with friends (no mention of random strangers).
- The personal story system will be a more linear form of content, that provides you with a constant goal that you can be working towards. In this regard it’s also similar to the mission system of Guild Wars, but ArenaNet promises to center events around the player rather than the world, contrary to Guild Wars’ missions.
- Much like how the dynamic events impact the world around you, your choices in the personal story greatly affects that story and the characters in it. Your actions can decide whether a friend lives or dies, whether an orphanage or a hospital is saved, whether a friendly group is rescued or not. And the characters you meet, friendly or hostile, will return later in your personal story. Meanwhile NPCs will react differently to you according to your actions and you may receive special items depending on your choices in your story. This all sounds very much like The Witcher, not Dragon Age. It promises not to be an origin system with a few cameos, but an evolving story.
- Relationships can be a part of your personal story as NPCs can become attached to your character. That’s part of ArenaNet’s goal to make interesting characters with whom you can form strong emotional bonds, which is more like Dragon Age than The Witcher really. Almost a combination of the best of both of these singleplayer RPGs, but in an MMO form.
Fashion and Clothing in Guild Wars 2
- A dye system is mentioned, which likely indicates the return of Guild Wars’ intricate dye system. Nothing specific is mentioned, but I doubt they’d do anything to detract from Guild Wars’ great dye system with hundreds of color combinations.
- Pretty much all of the armor and clothing in Guild Wars 2 is freshly designed. All of the cultures (except the Sylvari) have aged 250 years since the original game, so the clothing styles are completely different. This is clear when looking at the accompanying design shots, which feature such items as trenchcoats, corsets and jackets. All signs of a significantly more advanced culture than Guild Wars’ relatively medieval style.
- The polygon count and texture resolution have been increased, but more importantly normal mapping is now used for characters. This essentially allows ArenaNet to add the detail and appearance of a high polygon model to a low polygon model without requiring anywhere near as much processing power as the actual high-poly model. Or in even more simple terms: everything looks way better, but it still performs well. They can also add a lot more detail to characters and their outfits.