PvP It to Me One More Time - The Inside Look at Guild Wars 2 from gamescom 2011

ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 made a large impact once again at gamescom this year. Fans were clamouring everywhere for a bit of hands-on with the game or any new nugget of information they could take home with them. Ten Ton Hammer got a chance to sit down with the developers of the popular game for a one hour presentation. Colin Johanson, Lead Content Designer and Matthew Moore, QA Lead walked us through some of the newly-announced features of the hot title.

Competitive PvP

ArenaNet wants to get the message across that competitive PvP in Guild Wars 2 should be taken very seriously. The PvP side of the game got a lot of attention from CounterStrike, Team Fortress 2 and other online FPS players throughout gamescom.

“That is our target audience. We want competitive gamers from just about any type of game. We want to get StarCraft players, we want to get CounterStrike players; all of them should be checking out Guild Wars 2’s competitive PvP. We want this to be a giant e-sport game.”

GW2 Conquest Siege Map

A PvP Siege Map with Trebuchets in Guild Wars 2

To join a structured PvP match in Guild Wars 2, you open up a server browser that lists all current matches, including the current and total number of players in each game. This works similar to online FPS games in that youÂ’ll be able to pick from games on the list and enter them rather than being placed randomly into a team.

As soon as one game ends, another one starts up with the same people that were in the previous match. At this point it remakes the teams based on the individual playerÂ’s scores from the previous game.

The first map shown at gamescom was called the Battle of Khylo. This map contains three capture points: the windmill, the clock tower, and the mansion. As long as you hold a capture point, it will continue to give points to your team. You also get points for every kill you get. Then the first team to get to 500 points is the winner.

Another key component on the map is the trebuchet, one of the various secondary objectives players can get. Using the trebuchet lets you use skills 1 and 3 to rotate it, and skill 2 fires the weapon. The longer you hold down skill 2, the further the projectile will fire. One way this can be used is to change the terrain of the map which opens up new paths for players to use. In the demo, the roof of the clock tower was blown off, opening up a new path in to where the capture point is located.

Other examples of how additional paths through a map can be opened up include barrels that can be exploded to open holes in walls, or destructible windows that can be broken and leapt through. Likewise, there will be environmental objects that can serve as cover until destroyed by player attacks.

The trebuchet also opens up other tactical options. If you blow up the other teamÂ’s trebuchet, they can go out and try to find the repair kit to try and get it operational again. In the midst of that, they will also need to continue attempting to capture and hold objectives if they want to win the match.

There is also ranked, tournament-based PvP that players can sign up to participate in with a team. These can range from smaller 4v4 tournaments, up to huge tournaments involving multiple teams.

The other type of PvP in the game is World vs. World vs. World. It was not being shown in the current demo at gamescom, but it is giant, open world PvP with hundreds or thousands of players in a map fighting over huge keeps and castles, including the use of siege weapons.

In WvWvW, a server will be matched up against two other servers in a two-week long PvP battle. At the end of the two weeks, whichever server has the most points is the winner and will then be matched up against two new servers based on how well you did in those two weeks to try to keep the gameplay balanced.

Playable Races and Character Customization

The show floor demo at gamescom included all five playable races for the first time, including the norn starting experience, the asura, and the sylvari.

Diverse Characters in GW2

Characters in Guild Wars 2 can be as diverse as they get after character creation customization.

ArenaNet has also added character appearance customization which includes detailed adjustments for facial features, and also integrates the in-game dye system. Armor pieces have three dye channels that you can customize, and your selections will then be applied to any armor you equip. You will be able to dye your armor at any point and will discover new dyes throughout the game.

For charr characters, you will be able to choose different fur patterns, and then adjust the colors of them as well. Along with body type and facial appearance options, charr characters will also be able to select from different types of horns. The current demo version of character customization is still a work in progress, so you can expect to see even more detail to customization options in the future.

The Charr Starting Experience

During character creation, charr characters are presented with a choice of which Legion they belong to. This choice is unique to the charrÂ’s biographical options during character creation, and will have a direct impact on their first few levels and beginning storyline experience. So two players who create similar charr characters but select different Legions as part of their personal story will then have different starting experiences in-game.

Another biography question unique to the charr asks which member of your warband you are closest to, or who your best friend is. Then as you play through the game, all the other members of your warband are going to be killed except for the one you chose during character creation, and then that will be the person who goes through your personal story with you as you play through the game.

For the demo they created a charr engineer who belongs to the Iron Legion. At the start of the game, you enter a large battle between the charr and the ghosts of the former human residents of Ascalon.

An interesting lore hit for GW1 players, one of the first tasks given in the charr starting experience is to find the ghost of Duke Barradin. The duke was the father of Lady Althea who was the betrothed of the one and only Prince Rurik.

This leads to a large boss battle that is part of a dynamic event. As with other dynamic events, the one at the beginning of the charr starting experience will scale in difficulty in proportion to the number of players in the area.

Changes to Earning Weapon Skills and Energy

Another area of the game that has changed since last year is the way you earn your weapon skills. In the new system, as you use a specific weapon you will unlock the other skills associated with that weapon fairly early in the game. These will unlock somewhat rapidly at first, for example in the demo the charr engineer had already unlocked its second rifle skill, Net Shot, within the first minute of gameplay.

Underwater weapons will be acquired and crafted in the same way normal weapons will, and you will also unlock the skills associated with those weapons through normal gameplay as you would with your other weapon sets.

Energy as a skill resource has been removed from the game. Instead, skill recharge will determine how often a skill can be used. The energy meter has been replaced by one that now functions as a dodge meter. The meter will display how much dodge power you have, and when you dodge you avoid all incoming attacks. You can dodge as long as you have energy left in the meter.

Underwater Creatures in GW2

Guild Wars 2 will feature underwater combat

General

The game is still in closed Alpha. Once a public beta happens, the results of the beta tests will help determine the launch date for Guild Wars 2.

GW2 is currently slated for release in English, French, and German, and will be fully voiced and localized for all three languages. Additional languages are currently being looked into.

Players shouldnÂ’t have to worry about not reading the books or having played GW1. You can still learn the back story of the original Guild Wars while playing the game. Likewise, the story dungeons in the game are the story of DestinyÂ’s Edge, the characters from the second book, Edge of Destiny. So through the story dungeons you will be able to learn their stories as well.

How often events trigger varies from event to event. They all have ranges that they fall within. For example, some might trigger ever 6 to 10 minutes, while some might only happen at night or at certain times throughout the day. There may also be special holiday events that might only happen for a few days, like for a few days in October for example. Weather patterns can also create events. A snowstorm might roll into an area and create an event that might not have otherwise happened.

Player behavior will also help kick off certain events. For example, once players kill enough of a certain type of monster that can kick off an event in the area. Or maybe youÂ’ll be walking down the hall in a cavern and blow out the torch on the wall which causes a boss to come running out, and a dynamic event kicks off.

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