Guild Wars 2 Previews

We have rounded up some more previews for NCsoft and ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2, giving us good reasons to keep tabs on the ambitious MMO.

The beginning tutorial had us obtain an object from three different creatures: a minotaur, a skelk and a moa bird. Seeing green stars in the surrounding landscape, I headed towards one and found a minotaur stalker. Interacting with him, he told me to follow. I did and soon I saw a small herd. Then I found a skelk trapper who led me to a trap and baited it. Immediately two appeared: A pair of ferocious lizard like creatures which I dispatched with ease. Finally a green star led me to a bush. It rustled. I walked around it until a (Shake) icon appeared and I shook it, scaring out two large birds.

This is much how things work in Guild Wars. Objects in the world are interacted with. Once I got out of the tutorial area, the first quest I received was on to help denizens of the surround area, all of them handily marked on my map with a star. Out in the woods, I found nests that could be threatened, poked at, shaken to get a creature to spawn. There were even over grown grubs whose tails stuck out of the ground; pulling their tails irritated them enough to emerge.

Dynamic events spawn randomly and things got downright hairy at times as I teleported to a waypoint only to find it over run by high level pirates. Well. it was a waypoint in a region quite a few levels higher than me.

I started off with two skills and a heal in the fire element as well as water. The other three disciplines would open up as the Elementalist leveled, and at high levels, you can switch between two weapons and hence different skill load-outs. At higher levels, the Elementalist can summon a pet, though not command it. The water discipline had some nice heals. For combat under water, we needed a specialized weapon for that purpose and a water breathing apparatus. Our spells changed and as an Elementalist underwater, I found I preferred the fire discipline with its offensive spells.

GamePro lists 9 things that aren't like any other MMO:
9. Weapons that really matter

A new sword in an RPG might do more damage. Maybe it'll even boost your stats, or add an additional effect to your attacks. But a sword in Guild Wars 2 will completely change how you play your character. Your skill bar in Guild Wars has five slots on the left and five slots on the right. The slots on the right are abilities you earn as you find them, similar to the way you collected and slotted abilities in the first Guild Wars.

But the abilities on the left are determined entirely and only by the weapon you have equipped. A sword will play very differently from an axe, which will play very differently from twin pistols, which will play very differently from a magical staff. And different classes equipping the same weapon will have different abilities. This lets ArenaNet arrange abilities into meaningful and complimentary sets, rather than just dumping them into your lap as they did with Guild Wars. And it gives you an incentive to collect the dozens of weapons in the game. 8. A more dynamic world

Plenty of MMOs attempt dynamic worlds, with varying degrees of success. Games like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online have fancy phasing tricks. Rift does a great job of pouring the equivalent of instances into the wider game world. But Guild Wars 2 attempts something even more ambitious by modeling its own "ecology" and letting gameplay bubble up naturally out of whatever happens. For instance, a town can be attacked by AI creatures. But the effects of that attack will depend on who's attacking.

Underwater creatures might kidnap townsfolk who have to be rescued, bandits might burn the fields that have to be replanted, and centaurs might actually occupy the town so you'll have to liberate it. Mobs will interact with each other. The undead will drive off predators, and predators will attack prey. What's constant in many MMOs might not be constant in Guild Wars 2. This means no one will ever tell you to bring him ten boar hides, because it's never assumed that boars will be in some usual place. Instead, you'll be told to drive out the undead, or protect the town, or rescue the kidnapped villagers, all based on what's happened in the world's ecology.

G4TV tests the engineer:
What's different about an Engineer, and it's something I have never seen in any MMO prior to Guild Wars 2, is the way in which they use their utility skills to completely change how the profession itself is played. For example, with a Rifle equipped, I have the five abilities mentioned above on my 1-5 keys. On my 7-9 keys, I have utility belts and satchels (like Batman's) that, when used, will change all of my 1-5 abilities to something new, because they're changing the weapon that's equipped. The closest thing I can compare it to is changing druid forms in World of Warcraft, but as you'll see, the two are not exactly similar.

My Engineer had a Mine Kit, a Bomb Satchel, a Grenade Satchel, a Thumper Turret, and a Flamethrower Kit that I could have equipped in my utility slots. Yes, there are Flamethrowers in Guild Wars 2, and they are awesome. The point of the Engineer is not to use just one satchel or one kit or even just one weapon. To get the maximum potential out of the Profession, I was constantly switching from my Flamethrower to my grenade satchel to the mine kit back to my rifle then back to the Flamethrower again depending on what types of enemies I encountered.