Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft. 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 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 features the same lack of subscription fees that distinguished its predecessor from other commercially developed online games of the time, though a purchase is still required to install the game. As reported by NCsoft and ArenaNet, by September 13th (about 2 weeks after launch), despite temporarily halting first-party sales, the game has sold over 2 million copies. The game's peak concurrency exceeds 400,000 players. 

Gameplay 

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 because the developers felt that making it necessary for every party to have a healing character was restrictive. 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 of 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.

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