Guild Wars lovers rejoice: Much of the wonderful is coming with Guild Wars 2. Although we didn't get the chance to play the game, or even to see it, at Comic-con last week, we did get the chance to talk to the lead story writer Jeff Grubb on the game, and get some insights into what we can expect from the game when we do see playable versions later on this year.
Guild Wars 2 is set 150 years after the first game, in a time when Tyria is dealing with new races emerging and new dangers arising. The Charr, those furry beasts you've been fighting for so long, are now your compatriots as you battle the dragons of old -- great huge monsters come to destroy civilization as you know it. Along with the Charr, four other playable races are joining the game's cast of heroes; human we knew from the original game, but we will also be able to play the Asura, the Sylvari, and the Norn. Each race will start off in their own unique starting area, complete with their own lore, culture, and challenges.
Classes in Guild Wars 2 will work a little differently than in other MMOs. In GW2 you will have no healers perse; since the developers in the original Guild Wars found it a flaw that every party was hinged upon finding a priest, in a game where no one wanted to play a priest. With Guild Wars 2, players will all have healing abilities, freeing up those who prefer to play defensive or damage classes to do what they love best. While this is definitely a freeing move on the part of the design team, I can't help feel bad for those (like me) who enjoyed playing the healer in the group. I suppose it is possible to still play a warrior who heals your group -- but I'm not sure it will be as fun.
Also of note is the fact that in Guild Wars 2 players will be adventuring in the open world rather than in the limited instances that we saw in Guild Wars. This will make for a much more immersive game, and I applaud the design team's decision to allow players to interact with others as they play outside the cities. In my opinion this turns Guild Wars 2 into a full-time MMO, rather than its predecessor -- a game with a city( read chat lobby) connecting instances for adventuring.
Because there is such a huge gap between games as far as the timeline of Tyria is concerned, ArenaNet is coming out with a series of novels to tell the story of what happened in Tyria while we were away. The first of the novels, Ghosts of Ascalon, came out this week. Luckily I got my hands on a copy, and will be reviewing the book just as soon as I finish reading it myself. Novels are a fabulous way to get deeper into the lore of a world you enjoy playing in, which makes them a perfect complement to MMORPGs.
For those of you who will be able to attend Gamescom or PAX Prime, Guild Wars 2 will be unveiling their first playable build at those events. For the rest of us, we will simply have to wait until NCSoft releases more news. It will be a trial, but at least I'll have the novel to keep me going until then.