Release Date: TBA 2012
Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game in development by ArenaNet. Set in the fantasy world of Tyria, the game follows the re-emergence of Destiny's Edge, a disbanded guild dedicated to fighting the Elder Dragons, a Lovecraftian species that has seized control of Tyria in the time since the original Guild Wars. The game takes place in a persistent world with a story that progresses in instanced environments.
Guild Wars 2 claims to be unique in the genre by featuring a storyline that is responsive to player actions, something which is common in single player role-playing games but rarely (if ever) seen in multiplayer ones. A dynamic event system replaces traditional questing, utilising the ripple effect to allow players to approach quests in different ways as part of a persistent world. Also of note is the combat system, which aims to be more dynamic than its predecessor by promoting synergy between professions and using the environment as a weapon, as well as reducing the complexity of the Magic-style skill system of the original game. As a sequel to Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 will feature the same lack of subscription fees that distinguished its predecessor from other commercially developed online games of the time. [Source]
Guild Wars 2 takes place in the high fantasy world of Tyria, 250 years after the players' defeat of the Great Destroyer in the Eye of the North expansion. Five so-called Elder Dragons sleeping beneath the continent have awoken in the time since Guild Wars, causing widespread destruction to Tyria and corrupting its inhabitants. The once dominant humans of Tyria are in decline, supplanted from most of their land by natural disasters and war with the charr, who have finally reclaimed the last vestiges of their ancestral homeland of Ascalon from the humans. To the north, the norn, a proud race of Nordic hunters, have been forced south by the rise of Jormag, and in the west, the technologically advanced asura have been forced to establish permanent homes above-ground after the minions of the first dragon to awaken, Primordus, took control of the Depths of Tyria. Near the forests where the asura make their home are the sylvari, a new race who have appeared in Tyria in the last 25 years, unaffected by the difficulties that plague the other races but with some as-of-yet unexplained connection to the Elder Dragons.
To the south, the continent of Cantha has been cut off by an isolationist and xenophobic political climate, which is reinforced by Zhaitan's undead navy. Elona, too, has been cut off; the only hint of its continued prosperity being the ongoing battle between Palawa Joko's Mordant Crescent and Kralkatorrik in the Crystal Desert, as well as occasional reports from Order of Whispers spies. The Battle Isles have been wiped off the map entirely by the tidal wave caused by the re-emergence of the fallen kingdom of Orr, which came with the awakening of Zhaitan.
The advancement of time from Guild Wars is reflected in the changes in culture, including armor and clothing, as well as in the advancement of in-game technology and a unified common language.
The player is tasked with reuniting the members of the disbanded Destiny's Edge, a multi-racial adventuring guild whose members' struggles and eventual reunion serve as a microcosmic metaphor for the larger-scale unification of the playable races, whose combined strength is needed to effectively combat Zhaitan, the undead Elder Dragon. [Source]
Guild Wars 2 uses a heavily modified version of the proprietary game engine developed for Guild Wars by ArenaNet. The modifications to the engine include real-time 3D environments, enhanced graphics and animations and the use of the Havok physics system. The developers say the engine now does justice to the game's critically acclaimed concept art, and that concept art will be integrated into the way the story is told to the player.
Guild Wars 2 will allow a player to create a character from a combination of five races and eight professions, the five races being the humans and charr, introduced in Prophecies, the asura and norn, introduced in Eye of the North, and the sylvari, a race exclusive to Guild Wars 2. The professions, three of which do not appear in Guild Wars, are divided into armor classes: "scholars" with light armor, "adventurers" with medium armor, and "soldiers" with heavy armor. There is no dedicated healing class, as Guild Wars 2 is not team based, and even in a team context the developers felt that making it necessary for every party to have a healing character was restrictive.
The eight professions are:
- Elementalist: A scholar profession, focusing on, not surprisingly, magic based on the classical elements. The elementalist's unique mechanic is "attunements"; whereas the other revealed professions may switch between weapon sets, Elements may switch between four "attunements", one for each of earth, fire, water, and air. These attunements have both passive effects and change the skill bar of the character. Earth skills focus more on defense, fire skills on area of effect damage, water on healing and snares (movement impediment), and air on single target damage.
- Warrior: A soldier profession. May use both ranged and melee weapons, with ranged weapons being focused more on various types of direct damage, and melee weapons covering a variety of roles. May also use shouts, stances, and "battle standards" to buff allies and themselves. Their unique mechanic is adrenaline, which builds up as the warrior deals damage, increasing the damage of abilities, and providing a special ability when it is high enough.
- Ranger: An adventurer profession. May use both ranged an melee weapons, with the ranged weapons covering a variety of roles, and melee abilities being focused around quick movement and defense. May also use traps and spirits to defend and influence an area, respectively. Their unique mechanic is animal companions, which can be equipped with a number of different skills, for different roles, depending on the exact type of pet.
- Necromancer: A scholar profession, based on the manipulation of death. Has a number of life stealing skills, summonable minions, and a range of support abilities, in addition to some direct damage. Their unique mechanic is a "life force" resource that builds up as deaths occur near the necromancer. Life force is used to sustain a "death shroud" state, which changes part of the necromancer's skill bar, and has the necromancer use life force rather than hit points.
- Guardian: The second soldier profession. Uses Virtue (divided into three categories: Courage, Justice, and Resolve) to aid allies in combat, or use to power the Guardian's own passive abilities. Can also create wards that prevent enemies from getting any closer, and can summon enchanted weapons to help in the fight.
- Thief: An adventurer profession. May use both ranged and melee weapons and is the first class announced to use pistols. Utilizes shadowstepping, traps and stealth in combat. As a unique mechanic, rather than having cooldowns, thief skills consume some of the character's ten 'initiative' points. The thief can also steal an item from a foe and use it as an impromptu weapon.
- Engineer: An adventurer profession. Uses guns, both pistols and rifles, as well as a number of technological gadgets for offense, healing, and control. They can place turrets down on the battlefield, equip backpack kits that allow them to use mines, grenades, tools, and medicine, and equip new weapons into their hands using weapon kits, from flamethrowers to "pulling" cannons.
- Mesmer: A scholar profession wielding magic that emphasizes illusions, trickery, and the mind. Mesmers can manifest a variety of illusory doppelgängers that can be used both to deceive and damage and can at any time be sacrified ("shattered") to cause various area effects. Using illusions that attack enemies that perform certain actions, and a debuff ("condition") that causes affected enemies to take damage upon the use of skills, mesmers specialize in manipulating enemies and causing confusion and indecision.
The race and profession of the player will determine the skills that he or she has access to. Guild Wars 2, like Guild Wars, uses a skill-based combat system, whereby players must select only 10 skills from a much larger pool, introducing an element of strategy. However, unlike Guild Wars, skill slots have predefined roles, so the first five will be determined by a combination of the player's weapon and profession, the sixth can only be one of a number of healing skills, the seventh through ninth will be skills with no defined roles, and unlocked as the game progresses, and the tenth slot will be for an "elite" skill, which is also initially locked. In a departure from the high number skills present in Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 will focus on quality of skills over quantity and will also reduce the overall number of game modes to reduce balancing complexity — one of the most common issues present in MMORPG's.
The uniquely low level cap of Guild Wars (20) has been replaced with one capping out at 80, which the developers state strikes the correct balance between allowing for character development and avoiding forcing players into the grind-based gameplay that too often accompanies a high level cap, the elimination of which was a core design principle of the original Guild Wars. In PvE, grind is combated with a sidekick system, similar to that used in City of Heroes, allowing two players with a large level disparity to normalize their levels and enjoy content as though they were the same level. In PvP, entry to e-sport will grant access to all skills, items and provide a fixed level, so that all players will be on a level playing field.
In addition to the small-scale, tactical combat described above, Guild Wars 2 will feature "World PvP", large scale combat taking place in a persistent world, with players able to drop in and out "on the fly". Players will be able to join this worldwide PvP battle in a variety of roles, with rewards commensurate with their success.
A more elaborate crafting system and other non-combat interactions are also being added to the game.
As Guild Wars 2 is set 250 years after the original game, players will not be able to carry over their characters from Guild Wars. However, the achievements and honors accumulated by all the characters on players' Guild Wars accounts are commemorated in the Hall of Monuments, which appears in Guild Wars: Eye of the North. The Hall of Monuments will also appear in Guild Wars 2, with the monuments in the Hall reflecting the achievements of characters on a linked Guild Wars account. These monuments are worth points that can be used to provide Guild Wars 2 characters with exclusive titles, items, mini-pets, and animal companions. [Source]
- Windows® XP Service Pack 2 or better
- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.0 GHz, Core i3, AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 or better
- NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800, ATI Radeon™ X1800, Intel HD 3000 or better (256MB of video RAM and shader model 3.0 or better)
- 25 GB available HDD space
- Broadband Internet connection
- Keyboard and mouse