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What's It All About?
In the land of Tyria, five races reside. The Asura are small and technologically advanced while the Charr are bestial and vicious. The Sylvari are as elfin as the name implies, in a nature-sort of way, and the Norn are a race of huge shapeshifters. Humans, of course, are Humans, but still have a Guild Wars spin to them.
Suddenly, dragons are walking the earth again, bringing with them environmental destruction and an unimaginable evil. Now those races will need to set their differences aside and band together to save their world from the newly risen nation of Orr.
Now for the technical details: NCSoft has stated that Guild Wars 2 will be available only on the PC, not on consoles, and that will not require a subscription fee. Closed alpha and beta testing late in 2011 will determine the open beta schedule; open beta results will ultimately determine the release date. And, of special interest to an ever-growing subsect of the MMO population, you can reach maximum level on your character solely through solo play. Group challenges will still exist, but you won't ever be forced to group just to level up.
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Professions are back in Guild Wars 2. Some are new, some are re-worked, but most look spectacular. Returning are the Warrior, Ranger, Necromancer and Elementalist. The Monk and Mesmer from the original game are MIA, and there's no evidence of the Assassin, Ritualist, Paragon or Dervish classes from any of the expansions, either.
New professions that have been announced include a Guardian, a Thief and an Engineer. The Thief is a roguish character with little armor and lightning quick blade and small firearm skills. This class will use an Initiative resource in combat; they start a battle with 10 points and regenerate one point every second. Your Thief will be able to either achieve sustainable dps or burst damage--but not both.
The Engineer, on the other hand is more of a planner than the quick-thinking Thief. Engineers will deal with Weapon Kits, Backpack Kits and Turrets when dismantling their foes. Their most prized possession, a Tool Belt, allows them a great deal of utility and flexibility in their skills. One of their backpack kits is a medical kit.
The Guardian is the quintessential tanking class. He is able to buff himself, and then sacrifice for the safety of his party mates. He deals in Spirit Weapons, Symbols and Wards, which work in synergy to his benefit while he wields both magic and weapons.
There is no word yet on whether each race is restricted to only certain professions, as in World of Warcraft, but based on the available screenshots, it doesn't seem likely. Because the first Guild Wars game relied on a single race, we don't have that basis of comparison. Of all the classes, the Necromancer appears to be the sturdiest, able to solo, self-heal and literally watch her own back through the use--and sacrificing--of minions.
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Dynamic Events and Personal Stories
One of the most exciting concepts to come out of the Guild Wars 2 news thus far relates to dynamic events. In this system, your character exists within a living world--not a static one. That means that an event you witness one day may not be available for someone else while leveling. In addition, the world and its locations are able to change drastically with or without your imput. Dynamic events will be scalable, so that regardless of your level or the number in your party, the content will be accessible.
In Guild Wars 2, the story is meant to revolve around your character; he or she is the hero of this tale. After setting your biographical details, choosing a race and a class, you'll be able to venture out and start changing the world. Depending on your decisions, actions and play style, your experience will be definitively different than anyone else's.
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Other Bells and Whistles
From what we know thus far, Guild Wars 2 will also be offering at least one underwater zone for questing and exploration. The region of Ascalon holds a city which is placed above an underwater trove of catacombs. Also, the dungeons throughout the story mode are tuned for pick up groups to be able to handle them without too much difficulty. That means that any combination of professions should be able to complete these types of challenges.
Rules and conventions for PvP in the game are being delivered directly into the players' hands, and they may even be able to create their own matches. In addition to the usual "flag capturing" type modes, the game will also off a "hot joinable" PvP type. By leveling the playing field for the gear and levels of characters, the developers are able to ensure that only skill, cunning and reflexes will determine PvP winners. That's a fresh direction from the grinding for gear that's usual in MMOs, and may just provide the game's biggest department from the genre.
- All screenshots taken from the official Guild Wars 2 website.
- Guild Wars 2 official media asset kit
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