Category Archives: Speculation

Underwater Exploration and my Piratical Dream

What is there not to like about underwater exploration in Guild Wars 2? What have ArenaNet got on offer?

Beautiful vistas and wildlife aplenty? – Yep, that’s there.

A separate skill bar with underwater exclusive weaponry? – Got that, too.

Movement and skills utilising the z-axis? – You bet!

Un-treacle-like water? – Fantastic!

No breath bar? – Thank The Six for that!

The chance of ship travel making it into the game? – Ah, well… that’s starting to look a little less likely.

I still feel a pang of hope and excitement when I re-read the oceanic battle in Edge of Destiny, and wonder how the developers could implement something similar into the game. Well, after going over the coverage of underwater combat from the various fan day re-caps and press demonstrations, I’m feeling less inclined to believe galleons and warships will actually be operable, or even accessible, in the Guild Wars 2.

With such an immersive, second-worldly aspect included in the Tyrian landscape, the prospect of jumping aboard the Cormorant to traverse the Sea of Sorrows and do battle with Zhaitan may indeed be wishful thinking on my part. Instead, we may end up swimming our way to Orr, despite how risky and ill-conceived that sounds.

"It's either us or the Krait, matey. How's your breast stroke?"

My theory from several months back now feels so much more far-fetched. Why would ArenaNet put the system of ship travel into Guild Wars 2 when they already have this completely adequate and simple method of travel? Well, I’ll go ahead and suggest that I possibly raised my hopes a little high, and perhaps blame Mr. King for feeding that one particular theory.

I’m not going to jump the cannon and take back all I suggested, however. I’ll look out for Magnus in Lion’s Arch when I visit the city in August – see what information I can wring out of him.

– Cornish


Bombastic

The seventh profession of Guild Wars 2 is revealed! The Engineer!

"Thief's sappin' mah turret!"

At first glance, this class looks like it’s straight out of a steampunk dream. With rifles, turrets, bombs and pistols, the Engineer wouldn’t look out of place in Fable or Bioshock.

What I find interesting about the Engineer is the variety of crowd control options they possess. In the official videos, we see the glue shot, a net trap, and various alchemical snares to slow down, stun or immobilise enemies. One of my favourite aspects of MMOs and RPGs is crowd control, especially in PvP and multiplayer. This class seems proficient in snaring targets into vulnerable positions and then dealing out some nasty damage. I think it’ll be my choice for WvWvW and/or structured PvP. It couldn’t have worked out better, really; as I was hoping for an alchemist-like class for my PvP Charr character, and that particular wish has been fulfilled.

Of course, I’d love to know the lore details behind the Engineer. With the advancements in technology, Tyria has developed a new class of adventurer, and I’m interested in which races are responsible for each new innovation. My guess is that the majority has come from Asuran and Charr experimentation, but that remains to be seen.

We also got a look at some new Charr designs – all fiery and menacing. These cats must be part of the Flame Legion.

Badass hell-cats. Oh, yeah!

Can’t wait to try this profession out, too!

– Cornish


Watch your tongue, little mouse.

I’ll be completely honest with you here, the Charr are my least favourite race of Guild Wars 2.

For the time being they are, that is – and opinion can be changed.

I certainly enjoyed the characters of Rytlock in Edge of Destiny and Pyre in Guild Wars, but currently, I prefer the other races to these cat-people. I realise that the Charr are among the more bombastic races of Guild Wars, yet my interest in them is not as high in regards to personal story (as a fan of RPGs, that’s part of Guild Wars 2 I’m really looking forward to) and society as the other races. Also, they’re responsible for destroying pre-searing Ascalon, and the blackened area that remains isn’t particularly the place I’d want to have my home instance, assuming the Black Citadel is where the Charr variant appears. The Grove, Rata Sum and Divinity’s Reach (and Lion’s Arch, naturally) are much more likely to become my cherished homes over the next few years.

Lots of gears... of war. Prepare for many chest-high walls in the Black Citadel.

Despite this, I don’t feel completely non-invested in the Charr. In fact, I’d love to see ArenaNet turn me around and make them the race I most want to play. They did it with the Norn, so they may certainly accomplish this with the Charr, aswell. Next week will play a part in this, I feel.

I’ve been looking forward to the Charr week from ArenaNet (almost as much as the Sylvari) for a while now. With said week starting tomorrow, I look forward to seeing much more detail on Charr personal story motivations, the Black Citadel, and especially some lore on the Charr homelands. As with the other races we’ve seen, the Charr will likely have some form of separatist faction within their ranks, such as the Sons of Svanir in Norn society. For the Charr, this will  likely be represented by the Flame Legion, and it’ll be intriguing to further see what role they’ll play in both the lore and gameplay of Guild Wars 2.

Prepare your balls of yarn, Ascalonians, the Charr legions await.

– Cornish


Doors Close on Shiro and Human Week

To begin, I’ll apologise for not writing an MVOP Night blogpost yesterday. My evening was spent (in other words, wasted) watching the Machinema Minecraft livestream, featuring Notch, the creator of Minecraft. The less spoken about that boring experience, the better.

Getting back to Guild Wars, on Thursday, Massively Overpowered blasted its way through the last couple of missions of the Factions campaign, aswell as adding a little variety at the start of the livestream with a vanquish of Witman’s Folly.  With Shiro bested, MVOP can now move on to Elona and begin the march towards Abaddon, and the ganked ascension of Kormir. You can watch the livestream here next Thursday.

Can we expect parlor games in the Throne Room, perhaps?

ArenaNet finished up Human Week yesterday with an intriguing post on the three human military forces of Kryta: the Seraph, the Ministry Guard and the Shining Blade. This post builds upon what we learnt about the Seraph and Shining Bade in ‘Ghosts of Ascalon’ and ‘Edge of Destiny’, and includes a little passage of prose that may find its way into either a third book or the plot of Guild Wars 2. The post introduces two new characters, Lieutenant Serentine and Minister Caudecus, affiliated with the Ministry Guard. The previously mentioned backlash against the Queen is hinted at in the exchanges between Serentine and Caudecus, and it’ll be interesting to see how this plot will play out in Guild Wars 2.

The post delves into Krytan law, some of which we saw in ‘Ghosts of Asclalon’ during Dougal’s interrogation. It appears the Ministry Guard prefer to deal with upper class crimes, leaving the Seraph to sweep up foreign and lower class disputes. The ministers, and even the Ministry Guard themselves, also seem to be kicking up a little political unrest, as was touched upon by Queen Jennah in ‘Edge of Destiny’. These elements may play a part in the personal story of human characters in Guild Wars 2, and would be interesting to follow, especially if we could pick a side ourselves.

The Shining Blade seem to have risen from their lowly state in Guild Wars 1, and are now the personal protectors of the Queen. It’s strange that they aren’t widely recognised by the public, even after their involvement in the fall of the White Mantle. I suppose they must have faded away from public interest over the decades, and the Seraph have instead flourished in their place. It’ll be great to see the new uniforms in-game, and compare them to the Robin Hood-esque designs of those in the first Guild Wars.

Is Brave Sir Robin a member?

With human week finished, I think I’ll read up on the new Dervish update preview and give my thoughts in a later blogpost. I already like the idea of “flashing” enemies with new enchantments. Dirty Dervishes, eh?

– CornishRocker


The Flaming Asura: Oil the Steel, Polish the Leather

Blogg, the Flaming Asura

The next installment of ArenaNet’s Human Week was released to us this evening, and this time we’ve been treated to several looks at human armour art in Guild Wars 2. Firstly, I shall have to say how much of an improvement this new armor looks in comparison to that in Guild Wars – and are those both Mesmers? (EDIT: Maybe, maybe not. Read this post by Regina Buenaobra)

The paragraph that stands out to me most in the blogpost is that regarding the six armor slots. That’s one more space for armor than in Guild Wars 1. On one hand, I think it’s interesting that ArenaNet is making the torso component separate from the shoulder plates, as it could allow for some interesting combinations – such as a warrior bearing huge iron plates on his shoulders while sporting nothing but a few “strategically placed” leather strips along his midriff. Yet, I’m concerned how this design choice will affect the implementation of storage spaces we’ll have available in Guild Wars 2. With the possibility of having six slots of storage burdened with that second set of armour, it’ll be good to see what system the developers have put in place for storage options. It’s possible that the system of GW1 has been completely overhauled, but we’ll have to be patient. I do like the Xunlai, though. If the Order of Whispers is still around, the Xunlai could be too. Hell, they managed to get into the Realm of Torment in the first game, why not Kryta “in these Dragon haunted times”. Urgh, that expression is grating.

I know which set I'd take into the Shiverpeaks.

Right, to go even further off topic, I’ll address the rather touchy subject of “sexiness” that was broached in the blog. As an Asura, I’m not too familiar with the human approach to matters involving gender representation, but I believe it’s down to perspective. If an individual cannot handle the thought of an avatar showing a little skin, in a video game, I might add, then maybe this isn’t the right environment for them to be playing in. At least ignore that particular content and wear something a little more classy. There are alternatives to choose from. Simply put, if you cannot abide some of the design choices, move on and find something that better suits your taste. Besides, Guild Wars art isn’t that risqué, and you could do a lot worse than the ArenaNet design team.

Bookah, I can tell you’re drawing up your own conclusions about this topic, and probably wondering why I’ve started ranting in the first place. I should remind you that clothing is srs bsns, especially for we Asura. We still have to pay the same price for armour as the Norn?! With a third of the materials?! Scandalous! – speaking of which, the Norn were teased as the next race to have a week long feature.

The Browncoat Guild of GW2? I'm in.

I still haven’t said what  think of the armour shown in the news post. I’m overjoyed with the prospect of different choices in single set and multiple set pieces of armour. The renewed dye system will also be wonderful to toy around with, especially with the more elegant and baroque clothes. I also imagine Cornish is getting excited by that tricorn hat on the buccaneer type in the overcoat.

Yes, yo-ho-ho, and all that.

– Blogg, the Flaming Asura.


The Flaming Asura: The Gossip of Divinity’s Reach

Blogg, the Flaming Asura

Having finished reading ArenaNet’s newest blogpost on the dialogue of Guild Wars 2, I’m even more excited by the prospect of wandering the home instance and streets of Divinity’s Reach. It appears that ArenaNet has aimed for a level of background dialogue somewhat synonymous with that of various sandbox and RPG games we’ve been subject to over the last few years. On a much larger scale, of course. It seems that this dialogue will feature heavily in gameplay, and I hope ArenaNet can pull the implementation off effectively. I’ve seen Cornish play a few games where he’s killed a boss, and in the next town there’s an NPC still moaning that “Bluebeard Bonesmasher” is raiding his brother’s farm again, despite the fact that old “Bluebeard” has been slain. That kind of inconsistency is devastating to immersion.

I like the level of detail going into the lore behind the dialogue, and the throwbacks to the first game (including air elementalists). There appears to be a fraction of humans losing faith in the six Gods, a concept somewhat unfamiliar with the current Guild Wars humans. It would be interesting to see how completely new players to Guild Wars react to the Gods, as the attachment felt towards them from the first game likely wouldn’t exist. I hope there will be a basis for new players to grow attached to, or even care, for the Gods, as they may play an integral part in the personal stories of human characters.

Kormir's there too. She's hanging around out of aggro range, leeching exp and loot drops.

I found the last sound clip interesting, with the soldier recalling how many centaurs he’d killed. This made me think back to the Guild Wars Guru IRC chat with the GW2 developers, in which they mentioned a combat log. I wonder if it’ll have a record of what your character has killed, akin to the soldier’s example in the sound clip. I’m imagining a system similar to the heroic accomplishments screen of the character record in Bioware’s Dragon Age.

Alas, no Jeremy Soule samples, this time. Maybe in a few months we’ll get something.

– Blogg, the Flaming Asura.


Asuran Scan: Human Week

 

*Scanning GW2 news*

Just this evening (For GMT, that is), ArenaNet has announced this to be a week of Human related Guild Wars 2 news! All signs point towards this new slew of information satisfying the expectations of lore hounds and art devourers alike. Even audio snippets are to be awaited. /yes, /grin.

Straight from the ArenaNet blog, the postings will include –

  • Tuesday – In a blog post full of cool audio clips of the background conversations between human NPCs, writer John Ryan will show how writing and sound design bring the human story to life in Guild Wars 2. This dialogue, overheard by your character in the human areas, really expands and fleshes out the world in a way that simple quest text can’t.
  • Wednesday – Character art team lead Aaron Coberly discusses the current state of human character design in this blog post, which features some great examples of the range of armor and clothing available to human characters in Guild Wars 2.
  • Thursday – We’re updating the human page on GW2.com with new background detail authored by Jeff Grubb, new wallpapers, and a brand-new video tour of the human homeland.
  • Friday – Lore and Continuity Designer Ree Soesbee explores the tension and balance of power between the three main armed factions in Kryta – the Seraph, the Ministry Guard, and the Shining Blade in this intriguing blog post.

I enjoyed the dialogue blogpost by Bobby Stein in August last year, and I was hoping for a follow-up to that sometime this year. We won’t have to wait long, it seems, as we’ll be getting more insight into the background audio and dialogue of Guild Wars 2 tomorrow. Sweet. Maybe we’ll also get some Jeremy Soule samples?

I’m greatly looking forward to the armour and clothing blog, and I bet someone else is, aswell. The art assets of Guild Wars 1 were great, but I’m sure those in the sequel will allow for more freedom and experimentation with armour and clothing. Can’t wait to see what the artists have come up with.

For those interested in lore (myself included), it seems that Thursday and Friday will be focused on the history and environment of Kryta and Divinty’s Reach. New information on the Ministry Guard, the Seraph and the Shining Blade will be published, too. It’ll be interesting to see how the latter two have developed since the War in Kryta.

Definitely looks to be an exciting week.

– CornishRocker


Dervishes and their Evolution in Guild Wars.

With only two days to go before ArenaNet releases details on the Guardian profession of Guild Wars 2, speculation has been thrown around everywhere in the community. Today, I’ll add my two pennies by discussing how the Dervishes of GW1 could develop into the Guardians of GW2. There are, of course, big differences between the conventional role of the Dervish and that expected of the Guardian, but the similarities aren’t unnoticeable.

I'm not fond of the name BML, but it sounds better than Azure Hit-stick Woman

The Dervish holds a special place in my heart because it is my main character’s profession in Guild Wars 1. As soon as I saw the ‘Blue Mace Lady’ on the ArenaNet website, how could I not be drawn to the likeness of her to a Dervish? She appeared a mystical soldier, with a blue aura surrounding her, the mace and shield. I immediately thought of the enchantments associated with the Dervish profession.

In Guild Wars 1, the Dervish is generally considered a tanker, spiker or a runner. There are few other avenues to explore with the profession, as they don’t have the armor and survivability of the warrior, or the healing potency of Monks and Ritualists. Yet, there is one main aspect to the Dervish that Warriors generally have little control over; maintaining their own health and energy levels. Dervish healers aren’t unheard of, either. This is down to the power of the enchantment.

The problem with the Dervish, I’ve found, is that one of their great strengths is also a crippling weakness. That is, the enchantments they have at their disposal are useful, but fragile. One of the best aspects of enchantments on the Dervish would be the benefit of the primary attribute of the profession, Mysticism. This attribute gives back health and energy once an enchantment ends. This is both useful for energy management and setting up damage spike combinations. The problem with enchantments is that they are susceptible to removal skills and interrupts. These problems can destroy a Dervish’s usefulness in a group, and they can quickly find themselves dead in the midst of a mob without the support of a dedicated healer.

A Dervish whirled by Wind Riders

With the upcoming update for the Dervish, I’d like to see the profession become less dependent on the failsafe of dedicated healers, and have some sort of interrupt ability of their own to help prevent enchantment removal. As for other skills, I could see the Dervish become a little more of a support class aswell, with some of their skills providing support to other party members, especially melee characters, with damage or healing buffs. This could eventually tie in with the dervishes’ development into the Guardians we’ll see in Guild Wars 2.

It is forseeable in Guild Wars 2 that the Dervish will combine with the Monk, and quite possibly the Ritualist and Paragon, to become the Guardian. In terms of gameplay, this can work because of the nature of the Dervish as a melee spellcaster and the Monk and Ritualist as protectors and healers. As for lore and story, it would make sense for the Dervish profession to become that of the Guardian; classes in Guild Wars 2 cannot be race specific, and Dervishes pray to Human Gods exclusively. Ultimately, it would be impossible for the class to exist in Charr or Asuran groups, for example, and so a common theme should be applied to a class available to all races. The compromise comes in the form of the Guardian.

I certainly look forward to how this class will play in GW2.

An additional note: I’d like to thank GuildMag for adding the blog to their fanlisting. Thanks dudes!

-CornishRocker


Asuran Scan: Kodan and Ships in Guild Wars 2

*Scanning GW2 news*

What with being blessed by Blogg’s friends’ natural analytical abilities, I’ve decided to introduce my Guild Wars 2 speculation section; the Asuran Scan. In this section, I will share my musings on news about Guild Wars 2. Today, I will address the new race of bi-pedal polar bear spiritualists, the Kodan, aswell as ships in Guild Wars 2 gameplay. – Note: There will be a slight ‘Edge of Destiny’ spoiler.

Gullik: Bear's buttocks! Now there's a fight!

First of all, what do I think of the Kodan race? Well, put shortly, I was immediately captivated by them. Especially by the example above. I love that armour. It looks similar in design to some of the Asuran armour and Monument armour from Eye of the North, which include some of my favourite designs in GW1.

What I found particularly interesting, however, was where ArenaNet stated the Kodan live. The Sanctuaries – great, drifting iceberg fortresses – would be fantastic to visit, I’m sure. I can imagine visiting one of these fortresses, with the ursan guards patrolling the edges of icy cliffs, ferociously fending off monstrous creatures from the depths.

I’d like to know more on the structure of these Sanctuaries. It’d be cool to know whether they use magic, or another energy source, to move around the seas. If they move via natural currents, it would be interesting to see how often we can reach these icebergs. I hope we don’t have to swim to them every time.

Actually, I’d like to speculate that these icebergs move in real-time. If, indeed, the Kodan are found drifting in the middle of the ocean, swimming may not be a viable travel option. This is one reason I believe ArenaNet may introduce ships into gameplay. In particular, I’m excited about Norn vessels.

Could we see something similar to this in GW2?

As we know, the Norn draw influences from Viking culture. The Vikings were a seafaring people, who possessed great longships, which they used for raids and expansion. These are concepts that ArenaNet couldn’t use in Guild Wars 1, as, in the Far Shiverpeaks, the Norn are landlocked. However, with Guild Wars 2, they have expanded to Lion’s Arch, and now ArenaNet can develop the Norn into a seafaring race.

You can see where I’m going with this, right?

I reckon we’ll see some sort of oceanic navigation/exploration in GW2. Why would there be a battle at sea in ‘Edge of Destiny’ if there isn’t some kind of variant in the game? Was that just storytelling by J. Robert King? Or, was it a hint at future gameplay? It’s a shot in the dark, but I’m interested as to where ArenaNet takes the concept.

There could be some drawbacks with the persistent world when developing this, however. In an instance, we’d be able to have a single ship per player, yet in a persistent world, with so many players, the sea would be crowded with vessels. As an alternative, there could be a cyclical system of AI ships to jump aboard. Alas, I’m not knowledgeable on the technical side of game production, with programming and such, so I don’t know how difficult it would be to produce. I’m guessing it would be pretty challenging.

Even if these ravings are for nought, I’m still enamoured with the Norn pirates in ‘EoD’. I’d like to explore their stories in GW2, and maybe even have my own Norn join a new, reformed [YARR]. All of this seems rather lofty speculation, but then again, I am from Penzance, so maybe there’s some deep-seated fascination with piratical lore seeping through in my expectations of the game.

O! ye pirates of PZ! How doth I love thee?!

– CornishRocker