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TMORBG - Temper's Massively Overblown Ranting Blog [about] Gaming

After 25+ years of gaming, it's fair to say that some opinions written here may be older than some of its readers.

Author: VanadromArda

Guild Wars 2 Profession Workshop @ 6pm EST July 25th

Posted by VanadromArda Tuesday July 24 2012 at 7:29PM
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Engineer

Alright everyone, we are holding our first public meet for Profession Workshops at 6pm EST on July 25th. We invite anyone and everyone to take part in this event to help promote the betterment of the Guild Wars 2 player-base. For those of you who may be unaware of what Profession Workshops are, check out my previous announcement "Profession Workshops".

Remember, this is not the first official Workshop. This is just a discussion to get a feeling for those interested in helping the project grow and simply want to spend some time recounting some interesting profession tips and tricks. This will be a very important first meeting, mainly because it will help us to put format and structure to future Profession Workshops post release of Guild Wars 2.

We decided to hold this meeting on July 25th because Beta Weekend #3 should still be fresh on everyone's minds. We want to pick your brain and see what you're made of.

Furthermore, we're going to be hosting this meeting on RaidCall, a new free VOIP service we are helping promote for this cause. The software is free and easy to use. The server we'll be using is also provided by one our sponsors: http://kajidic.enjin.com/, Simply enter in the Kajidic ID on your RaidCall software to join into the meeting: ID #169680

Several of our sponsors will be showing up, so we how to have a good time and get some important work done towards this great and ambitious project. See you there!

Recounting the Asura in Guild Wars 2 BWE #3

Posted by VanadromArda Tuesday July 24 2012 at 11:16AM
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Temper Hoof Asura

 

Recounting the Asura in Guild Wars 2 BWE #3.

- TemperHoof (July 2012)
 
 
 
   Adorable and goblin-like, the ancient race known as the Asura made a big impression during the Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekend Event #3. They look like a cross between half a dozen species, all of which trying to cram the cutest features into a squishy-faced little ball of huggable genius. Imagine someone Stitch-ing Rabbits, Koala Bears, and Gnomes together to come up with something that belongs in a Disney film.
 
   But their cuteness aside, the Asura have a remarkable kind of charm that captured the heart of this author. Yet it wasn’t love at first sight, of this I can assure. Actually it took me a while to really catch on to what was happening and how best I should feel suited in that world that ArenaNet has clearly put a lot of time into building. The following now is my spoiler-free recount of my Asura experience and why I chose to devote nearly my entire weekend to realizing why it is I now want to play the Asura even more.
 
   Once upon a time there was a race of short, stubby little Care Bear-like creatures. The magical geniuses of their world, they perfected the lost art of summoning and created golems with silly names. Their city was complex and difficult to navigate yet a true splendor to behold with a unique appearance and a nifty implementation. They often considered themselves the most brilliant of all the races, and despite their small size they made up for it with massive amounts of magical power and attitude. That’s right I’m talking about the Tarutaru; Final Fantasy XI’s premier short-but-powerful playable race.
 
   Anyone who has played Final Fantasy XI can easily find the similarities between the two races, and since I was a resident of the Federation of Windurst for 9-years — it’s very difficult for me to ignore them. When I first hopped into Guild Wars 2 this weekend, the first thing I did was attempt to make a classic Tarutaru character known as Shantotto. For Final Fantasy XI fans she is best known for her manic magical exploits and her signature condescending laugh. Making a Tarutaru just felt right for me, and when I got into the game there was a similar feeling and handling.
 
 
   Yet in many ways, the Asura outshine the Tarutaru — and that is due to the world builders over at ArenaNet who established Metrica Province and Rata Sum; the Asura starting zone and capital city. When I first dropped into the game I had little idea on what exactly what was happening and what I should expect from the Asura. My experience with them does span back to Eye of the North and Guild Wars, but I didn’t read the novels which left me with little understanding of the key story character featured in the event — Zojja.
 
   Long after I had finished the event and began working on the Personal Story, I discovered the importance of Zojja and learned more about her personality and attitude. So my very first impression of the Asura was a bit confusing, especially being dropped into what felt like the end of an event I missed out on. Surrounded by a bunch of weak golems going on what was supposed to be a rampage, I was able to adjust my controls and get a handling for the feel of the game once again.
 
   At that point I didn’t pay attention to the surroundings as much as I should have. Being too busy trying to assert my brain to handling the character and getting comfortable, understanding the story surrounding me was falling to the sidelines. It wasn’t until I got to the third mission of the Personal Story did I finally understand just what was going on during the introduction event. I went back and replayed it, taking notice to all of the key characters and listening clearly to their dialogue — I started to realize I not only missed a lot of things during my first play through, but that it was also very easy to miss them too.
 
Zojja
 
Listening to NPCS
 
   I have to admit, there really wasn’t a lot of talk about Guild Wars 2 having so much spoken dialogue throughout the game. But the dialogue is not just simply spoken in cut scenes, but throughout the entire world. Hearing various characters talking and conversing before and after cut scenes or performing everyday tasks was something I didn’t expect and had to get adjusted to. Much of the information I needed to understand the Asura starting event was not even executed in a cut scene of quest box — it was just naturally spoken by NPCs as it was happening.
 
   The more I explored the region, the more I heard NPCS talking to one another. This not only made the world feel more lively, but it also helped me to get a much better feel for the personalities and culture of Asuran society without having to do any extended research or reading. I admit it took me a few hours to get into the habit of doing it, but by the end of the weekend I found myself just standing around waiting for NPCs to converse. Often they’d have something vital to mention, or what they’d talk about would relate to an event about to unfold, or maybe it would mean another event was about to branch off of that one.
 
   Even the casual banter of the world gifted me with knowledge of the workings of Asuran Government; who the Inquest really were; what happened between Guild Wars 1 and Guild Wars 2; and so much more. After exploring and listening to a lot of NPCs, I felt very much at home amongst the Asura and felt like one of them. I could recount history enough to hold a decent conversation with anyone who was actually interested in Asuran culture — and all of this was absorbed just by simply playing the game normally.
 
   Heck one of my favorite NPC chats was something which reflecting my own thought exactly at the moment. Having recently come across a complex full of crafters, I wondered why there was no cook. Not but a moment after thinking it, I heard an NPC complaining about the very same thing! Instantly I had the urge to join on the conversation, the only problem was that it was just a bunch of NPCs talking — yet the effect was potent enough to make me laugh. I found that I listened to the NPCs more and another Asura suggested heading north for some lunch. Taking their advice, I did venture north to see if I could find anything related to cooking. While I didn’t find anything of value to me, the fact that I ventured there purely based on eavesdropping an NPC conversation leads me to want to find more. Who knows where I’d be led to next!
 
   By the end of the weekend I was so engrossed with Asuran culture that I swear if ArenaNet had an Asuran library somewhere in Rata Sum I’d have sat down and read every book — especially if one of those books gave me a clue into some sort of ability to build and control my own pet golem. After watching Zojja and her golem, I really do want my own Mr. Sparkles.
 
Golem
 
Being Part of the World
 
   Since this really was my first weekend drinking in the PvE portion of Guild Wars 2, this was the very first time I could really experience the fluidity of World Events. I was surprised to see just how big they really were and how large sections of the zone were often devoted to a network of connecting events that required me to pay attention to my surroundings. There were two which were most memorable to me while making my way through Metrica Provence; Power Overwhelming and the Fallout.
 
   I dare not impress upon details, but let me just say that it was interesting to walk into an NPC conversation only to watch it explode into a fight. Then watch as that fight leads to more conversation and additional action. Such actions led me to literally follow the story in progress, taking me to new locations to do something that really did feel important and naturally heroic. I admit, it has more impact when you watch people get captured before your eyes. Then you have to make an effort to save them, working your way into a complex to achieve that goal before time runs out and their precious lives are lost.
 
   Events would lead to some unique rewards. After following many of the key characters in the event, they would temporarily turn into Merchants between event sequences. You could buy items from them that you just couldn’t find anywhere else, and that alone makes the idea of following the event from start to finish even more tantalizing. Many of the events would lead to things I wouldn’t have expected, which led to some rather laugh-out-loud moments. I didn’t realize that going into a cave picking up fragments of a broken Asura gate would lead me to discover an NPC that would later repair a gate and take me somewhere I didn’t anticipate.
 
   Without me, she would fail to achieve her goal and the gate would blow up and the entire event would reset. I actually let the event fail, and I watched as Skrit came and took the fragments back into the cave. The event didn’t just reset and the fragments magically returned to the ground where I got them — it set in motion an actual event to reset the event. Sometimes failing can lead to some interesting alternative outcomes.
 
Asura Gate
 
Design and Implementation
 
   One of the key things which really stood out to me visually first and foremost was the Asuran Architecture. Never did such strange structures interest me and entice my imagination to proceed as much as these did. Now I’ve played a lot of games, and I’m something of a real nit-pick when it comes to how I feel structures should be handled in a game. One of the big complaints I’ve long had with other games the past ten years is that many of the structures looked and felt awkward. Sure some of them were wonderfully made, but they looked like they were just dropped onto a static terrain map — that’s not the case with Guild Wars 2.
 
   As a matter of fact, the only game before I praised considerably for making the structures look old and part of the environment was Final Fantasy XI. Now ArenaNet has raised the bar with Metrica Province, which in my opinion is by far one of the most visually unique zones in the game. The Asuran structures look both remarkably simple in nature, but deviously complex in their execution which seems to be a trademark quirk of the race itself. The entire zone gives the player a very comfortable Sci-Fi feeling, which goes beyond the simple Fantasy themes one may expect from the game.
 
   Dropping into this zone for the first time was a little jarring. Being surrounded by computers; bright green glowing turbines; mechanized golems and robots; and all of it at the heart of a sprawling jungle was truly something to behold. It was like being dropped into a space port in the middle of a fantasy game without the space or the port. Perhaps the real piece of masterwork is Rata Sum, a city that is nothing short of a floating Rubik’s Cube with structures woven throughout the heart of it. While confusing at first, after a quick run up and down its network of stairways and ramps — players may find it to be one of the simplest cities to navigate. It just looks difficult.
 
   There really is a lot of size and scope to behold, especially when you take a moment to remember that the Asura are a short race by human standards. Their structures however are large and settled very naturally into their surroundings. They don’t feel out of place or abnormal, and even a clear color scheme can be visible throughout everything Asuran in nature. Eventually it can become easy to identify what is an Asuran structure and what isn’t, just based on its color, design, and implementation. Perhaps it’s even a bit optimistic on the developer’s part, seeing such a high-tech structures so passively mingled into the nature around them.
 
   There are other themes though, and the only time structures looked intrusive on the landscape were those made by Inquest — which are sort of the bad kind of Asura. Even their structures reflected their lack of care for the environment. Many areas around them were barren and ripped up and not so naturally nestled as the kinder Asuran structures were. A nice touch I have to admit.
 
Rata Sum
 
Animation and Quirks
 
   Before the Beta Weekend Event, I didn’t hear a lot about the Asura animations and the subtly involved with them. Watching the amazing facial animations were one thing, but watching their bodies in motion was something different entirely. They are short and stubby yes, but they are extremely animated to compensate for their short nature. One thing no one really took time to mention was the ears. Asura can have big floppy ears and it’s clear there was a lot of work to make those ears more than just static elements.
 
   While the Asuran eyes are big and animated, the ears are even bigger and even more animated. While running they may flop about comically, but when entering into combat they become erect and alert. They stick up and firm up too, directing themselves towards trouble and remaining so throughout combat. By performing emotes, you also are triggering a lot of different animations for the ears too. Cowering can cause the ears to tuck back and become passive, while cheering makes them stick up and become excited. Of course there are plenty of different stages between, but it’s just about as nifty a quirk as noticing the Asura have very sharp teeth.
 
   Yes, they do indeed have dangerous looking chompers beneath those chubby cheeks. When watching them speak, perform spells and various other animations, you’re bound to catch those piranha-like teeth sticking out. After a while, you may find it not only looks natural but in many ways it even makes them cuter — in my opinion of course. But the real icing on the cake is watching the Asura in combat. They hover, climb up on staffs to perform spells, swing their swords so fast they take up like helicopters, and jump around wildly and flip each time they dodge.
 
   What most impressed me though were the simple things. Something as basic as the Ponder emote would have an Asura stop to think. The real beauty of the animation comes when the Asura gets a thought, and there is a tiny twitch of the eyebrow and the eyes just faintly open a little wider. The smile that dawns upon the Asura’s face after the animation is complete is one that suggests a good matter of self-pride, and it really does sell some realism in their nature. They look natural in just about everything they do, which is extremely difficult to pull off in most games and really should be commended. There hasn’t been game animation this keen for short floppy eared characters since the Ratchet and Clank series.
 
Thinking
 
Mindset of the Asura
 
   But of course, perhaps the real reason I felt so at home with the Asura is their mindset and outlook towards life. By simply playing the region and doing various Events related to the Asura, I got a very good taste for what they were all about. Clearly they value intelligence, but it’s that non-stop pursuit of it in a space where there is no one to hinder you from doing so which makes them appealing. The players they are bound to attract are those who not only value thought and thinking but also want to share it openly.
 
   Whether you are a role-player or not: just simply being around the Asura long enough will inspire a desire to learn. Whether or not this is healthy for the game is questionable. Perhaps it may provide too much demand from people who really do want to take on the Asuran mentality and build and design unique inventions they can show off to other people — such a feature is not within the game as far as I know. This can lead to some people becoming very let-down, especially being surrounded by such possibility. Watching so many Asura build golems for their own personal use may lead players to wish to do the same. As far as I know, much of that isn’t actually possible within Guild Wars 2.
 
   Hoping for some new additions to the game is foolish to say the least, but there is always hoping that perhaps there is something to satisfy this desire. But in the meantime, the Asura have plenty to offer when it comes to personality and charm. Players may find it very easy to fall in love with them because of all the races theirs does seem to be the most fleshed out, despite their lack of presence in previous games. Of course of this is opinion and prospective. As I look back upon the weekend, I look back with fondness as I recount each of those things I did in the Asura regions.
 
   After three days I became integrated into the Asuran society and could even feel myself thinking like one of them. Players who are looking forward to Guild Wars 2 should certainly give the Asura a try — especially if they are the learned type. The Asura do not come off as condescending, but friendly in their own superior way. That sort of atmosphere doesn’t turn me off and may not turn off other players either. Several people praised the Asura this weekend, and without a doubt that praise was not in the slightest bit unfounded.
 
Asura Guardian
 
   If you enjoyed this article and would like to make suggestions on future article topics, please send me an email at TemperHoof ( @ ) G M A I L . C O M or send me a Private Message.
 
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Guild Wars 2 Redefines Open World PVP

Posted by VanadromArda Saturday July 14 2012 at 5:56AM
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Guild Wars 2 Redefines Open World PVP
- TemperHoof (July 2012)
 
 
Does Guild Wars 2 have Open World PVP or does it not? There still confusion on this subject and it feels like almost every day there is someone debating it. The answer to the question is not exactly YES and not exactly NO: I intend to argue that it’s something of both. This is because ArenaNet is not applying their game to the classic, chaotic ideals of Open World PVP as the genre has known it for so many years. Instead of adhering to the tried-and-true, they are rewriting the rules and redefining what it means for a game to have Open World PVP.
 
“The overall design for Guild Wars 2 does not support fully open world PvP and it would take a prohibitive amount of work to even make it possible. World versus world is our version of open world PvP, and while it isn't 'true' open world PvP for more PvP purists, it does contain many of the elements that make world PvP so exciting. Hopefully it will mostly satisfy people that want open world PvP.” — Mike Ferguson
 
Indeed, World versus World is ArenaNet’s version of Open World PVP. Unlike many games which allow for chaotic and boundless regions of non-level restricted and unbalanced player on player violence — ArenaNet has taken the elements of what they felt worked best from those games and made an effort to rebuild their own in a new way. Despite popular belief, WvW is not simply a static set of zones full of just structures to capture and upgrade. ArenaNet’s WvW is modeled off of classic Open World PVP mechanics, just with a bunch of new toys added to the mold.
 
Guild Wars 2 PVP 01
 
Introduced in more recent Beta Weekend Events, it has become noticeably clear that WvW does indeed have thriving Player versus Environment content. In June alone saw the introduction of several dynamic events, bosses, and skill point challenges which often populate the standard PvE zones throughout the game. This content will likely increase during Beta Weekend Event #3 and fans of WvW will find that the various zones have a method to the madness. Like all Open World PvP games, WvW has level progression — and the maps reflect it.
 
I’m no stranger to Open World PVP.  I know what it’s like and I know what it means to be part of that context. While perhaps it wasn’t the most hardcore of examples, my most recent experiences with Open World PVP have come from DC Universe Online. Players could join into a PVP server, which pretty much meant there were no limits to what could take place. Players of all level ranges could dive right out of the sky onto whatever zone they wanted and start beating up on people who just started a character. This gave the feeling of danger, and it was that constant threat of death that led a lot of people to work closely together and defend their own.
 
Ultimately, I feel that is what Open World PVP is about — the constant threat. Like an animal in the wild, you have to keep peeking over your shoulder for the signs of predators lurking in the bushes. The only difference is that DC Universe meant that many of those predators looked exactly like Ronald McDonald and were named something remotely close to Burgers McSpankYoAss. Does Guild Wars 2 compare to this? Well yes it does, because like DC Universe, a player has to start from the bottom and work their way up the food chain. With every level they gain, the more they can compete with other players until they are the one that everyone is afraid of.
 
Guild Wars 2 does not prevent a player from becoming the ultimate predator, it just changes the rules. Guild Wars 2 offers reason versus chaos and structure where there was no structure.  ArenaNet is striving to redefine what it means for an MMORPG to have Open World PVP.
 
Guild Wars 2 PVP 02
 
The popular definition of Open World PVP is: “Combat can occur between players in a non-instanced fashion anywhere in the game world where permitted by the server rule-set. Virtually all Open World PvP games place some limit on where and/or when this type of PvP can occur. This is typically done by zone, area, or character level. Regardless of the restriction, if this type of combat can occur, it is considered Open World PvP (Rift Wiki).”
 
Guild Wars 2 does indeed offer a non-instanced game world and four set zones for Open World PVP to take place in. They’ve made an effort to make two game worlds to suit this purpose. The basic world, Tyria, is the PvE segment of Guild Wars 2 that is in essence a giant safe-zone where people can enjoy a full game without limits and without the threat of other players. Here they can choose to relax, not having to constantly feel threatened and be able to calmly enjoy the game at their own pace. The Mists however is an alternate world within the Guild Wars 2 universe that could be the closest thing it has to an afterlife.
 
 
The Mists
 
"The Mists is the oldest thing in existence and the space between worlds and realms, connecting to all worlds and binding the multiverse together, including the past, present, and future, and is the source of all things and where creatures from across the worlds converge. The Mists is the proto-reality that exists between the worlds which in turn are the building blocks of reality. It is where the various afterlives and the homes of various gods and other powerful entities reside. The Mists resonate from the worlds around them, forming bits of their own reality - islands of existence that reflect the histories of their worlds." — Guild Wars Wiki
 
Mists
 
World vs World is considered a war within the Mists, a war between worlds, a war between separate realities which clash time and again until the ending of all things. It is within this world that ArenaNet has chosen to construct Open World PVP within Guild Wars 2. While you as a player are not bound to the rules and restrictions of most Open World PVP games, preventing you from instantly progressing to the highest and most difficult zone — Guild Wars 2 does not. And it is from here that confusion about the Open World PVP system stems.
 
“In the Mists, players all fight at the same level. Any character below level 80 will be adjusted so they are roughly equivalent in power to what they would be at level 80. This makes combat among characters of any level not only possible, but actually fun!" — Mike Ferguson
 
Since players are instantly balanced to level 80 upon entering WvW, they know no limits. They can easily miss the careful design of the zones within the mists, or simply the developers have not fully encouraged them to pay attention at all to that design — mainly because it’s just not been finished and won’t be finished until August 25th. World vs World now offers five very sizable maps, three of which service as homelands for each world. These are identical in nature, as they are supposed to be alternate parallel realities of the same world.
 
Settled in the north of every homeland is a protected Citadel. This is supposed to be the central hub for an entire server. Within the boundaries of that Citadel a person can find safety as the primary guards are indestructible and do instant-kill damage to anyone who approaches that doesn’t belong. Players of an enemy faction may find it extremely difficult to accidently come across these instant-kill guards, as the city is nestled high upon a mountain and is the highest point on every map. A sharp escarpment in the south separates it from the rest of the map, allowing only players of its faction to jump down in relative safety.
 
Gw2 Levels Example
 
Like any Open World PVP game, Guild Wars 2 provides a safe zone. Here players can shop, craft, gather supplies, and form groups. This is also the place where new players are supposed to begin their experience within World vs World. This was clear during BWE #1, when only the Citadel had a Tutorial NPC. They have expanded to all other zones since then, but that doesn’t change the fact that that Citadel is the official starting point.
 
But there is much more evidence proving that ArenaNet intends players to start with the Citadel at low-level, showing a keen sense of foresight when the game is post release and the world is scattered with several predatory players. The general area around the Citadel is nothing short of low-level content. The Citadel itself is home to a comfortable little town that can potentially be home to Renown Hearts in the future. But it’s the gathering nodes for Harvesting, Logging, and Mining that are all level 0 within this region — meaning that people at low level will earn the greatest amount of experience points here instead of jumping directly into the Eternal Battlegrounds; WvW’s central map and high level PVP content.
 
Heading either directly east or directly west of the Citadel will provide content that caps out roughly at about level 14. Mining Points offer a key indication of the regions difficulty by upgrading from Copper to Silver which can only be successfully harvested from level 10 players. While players can approach this point and mine from it freely at any level, they will not get bonus experience points for the daily, weekly, and monthly gathering achievements or acquire the precious ore to utilize for quick experience points in craft. The areas in the far-east and far-west are home to Skill Point challenges and basic 2-step Dynamic Event chains. Players in the surrounding region must kill a certain number of a creature to spawn a boss event that completes the chain.
 
Daily Achievements
 
With such large scale events in the north and a plethora of low level content, there is bound to be a large population of players at one point. This population will make it an uninteresting target for many predatory players due to the sheer number of activities within the region — inevitably offering greater protection for those new to the World vs World experience. Yet this does not hinder the brave or the bold from taking a strike party into the far north of each map. It is entirely possible for a small band of hardcore griefers to establish a small network of Ballista on one of the hills to camp this region if they so choose.
 
In the upper region of the East resides Mistwrought Dungeon, a small jump puzzle that is extremely rewarding for its minor challenge. But the path to Mistwrought is easily ventured for an enemy army, meaning that if players were to try risking this dungeon alone — they may find unhappy endings as enemies can easily single them out here without being noticed. Predatory players will likely be using Mistwrought as a popular camping spot, considering the tight quarters, the numerous ledges for clever hiding places, and the bonus rewards for raiding an enemy dungeon once a day.
 
During the Beta Weekend Events, Mistwrought’s enormous treasure chest would net a plethora of siege blueprints, decent gear that could be salvaged for runes, and Medals of Honor; the point rewards related to killing players and key targets in WvW. There is little doubt that people will see the value in these chests and realize that when in enemy territory the chance of getting even better blueprints and equipment increases exponentially. Without a doubt, the developers of Guild Wars 2 have placed this here as an incentive to create conflict and increase risk and constant threat.
 
Mistwrought
 
The central portion of the map reveals Iron Ore to be the primary mining node, meaning that players should be at the very least level 10 for this region to get the most benefit towards their experience. Also this area introduces Veteran Boss Dynamic Events which are no walk in the park for a new player, and these will scale depending on how ever many players are present trying to kill them too. Each of these bosses are easily soloed at around level 15. This portion also introduces players to potentially facing up against NPCs like the Guards and Lords if the enemy had claimed structures in this area. Taking down a Tower or Keep is no easy business, but the player is encouraged to see how it is done within this region first before progressing to the Eternal Battlegrounds.
 
Dead center is another Dynamic Event allowing players to lay claim to the Temple of Storms. While the weather effects which follow do provide some additional support to your team, the Dynamic Event is more or less a suitable training exercise in preparation for allied camps in the Eternal Battlegrounds. Within the Eternal Battlegrounds you can gain the affection of other races like the Ogres and the Hylek to capture Supply Depots for your server. Helping the Quaggan build their weather node in the homeland maps will prepare new players for that experience.
 
Progressing south means an ever increasing risk. In the southern portion of every homeland there are two Border Camps for each enemy server. Like the Citadel, these Border Camps are fully protected and offer players a safe haven for crafting and shopping. These are the only entry points for enemies of any homeland, meaning that the southern part of the map is going to be the riskiest and deadliest portions — also the most rewarding.
 
During the June Beta Weekend Event, ArenaNet added several new Veteran Boss Dynamic Events to this region specifically. The creatures on this portion of the map are especially dangerous and highly aggressive, making it dangerous for low level players to try and venture here without a partner or purpose. Furthermore, the gathering points in the region require level 25 tools — highly suggesting this is meant for players who are at the very least level 25 to get the greatest amount of experience.  Players who venture throughout the southern portions of the map should expect to run into a lot of enemy invaders from other servers. Even the Tutorial NPC suggests as much in the screenshot below.
 
Map Tutorial 01
 
By highlighting the southern Supply Camp, which is already captured by Red Server in this screenshot, it’s clear that ArenaNet expects this region of the map to be highly contested during release.  Players who choose to spend a lot of time in this region playing out Dynamic Events and visiting gathering points between attacking and defending strategic structures will gain the greatest amount of experience. This also means these regions will be highly watched by predatory players. Anyone who ventures down here should establish a fall-back point, setting up a Ballista to rush back to if there is ever danger.
 
Since siege remains on the map for 30 minutes between each time it is manned, you can potentially keep a Ballista at a fall-back point permanently while you and your party are on patrol. You can also use siege to quickly take out monsters too, meaning it may be a good idea to establish one within firing range of a powerful boss. Players who are skilled can feel safer if they know how to properly arm the region they choose to play in — keeping keenly aware that each boss is nearby the rear-exit of each enemy server basecamp. This prepares players for the next stage of WvW, the Eternal Battleground.  
 
 
The Eternal Battlegrounds
 
While anyone, at any time, can venture into the Eternal Battleground and gain experience — they may not gain it quite as quickly until they reach level 40. Unlike the homeland maps, the Eternal Battleground is the central map. No server has a Citadel here, instead there are three Border Camps and a short jog outside of each Border Camp players will find Platinum Ore gathering points; a level 40 material. Once again, the get the best experience, it is recommended to begin approaching Eternal Battlegrounds at roughly level 40. This doesn’t mean that no one beneath level 40 should venture into the Eternal Battlegrounds. On the contrary, there is always something to do as battle is likely happening somewhere.
 
Guild Wars 2 PVP 03
 
Yet people who feel they want to get the best experience out of WvW should be mindful of their surroundings and know where to go when things are quiet. As they progress through the Eternal Battlegrounds they will find creatures to be more durable and a lot tougher to take down. Even Dynamic Events become extremely challenging and either cannot be soloed or cannot be soloed with ease. At various points throughout the map they’ll come across Mithril Ore; a level 55+ mining point. But the most precious gathering points are in an unexpected area. During the June BWE the new area was added beneath the Eternal Battlegrounds. While it is connected to the Eternal Battlegrounds, in many ways it is an entirely new zone.
 
While it was largely unpopulated by any kind of PvE element, the Jump Dungeon beneath the Eternal Battlegrounds was entirely PVP driven and included a lot of player driven traps and features. But the deeper a player ventures into the jump puzzle, the more precious the gathering points become. At the final stage of the dungeon Orichalcum Ore is plentiful. This is a level 70+ material, and it’s buried in the depths of a likely to be camped dungeon complex. Predatory players may find a little thrill in here, and large groups may want to venture down to do treasure runs while at the same time pausing to partake upon the precious minerals.
 
As different as it may be, there is little doubt that Guild Wars 2 does have a method of leveling progression to its Open World PVP. There is structure and purpose, though that purpose is not entirely evident.  The one thing that it offers is the ability to harbor an Open World PVP population and give them a place they can call their own. At the same time, it can legitimize ganking and player harassment on an entirely new level. 
  
Orch Ore Image
 
Instead of players beating up on a faction within their server, perhaps inadvertently diminishing the overall population of their server leading to an eventual lack of activity — they are beating up on another server entirely. This means that if they demoralize and diminish the population of the opposing server, they will not feel the adverse effects and may even feel more rewarded in the long run. Instead of being known for your name, you are instead known only by the name of your server. To many Open World PVPers this is something of an insult, as they like to bask in their own fame from time to time.
 
But by giving credit to your server instead of yourself, you start to share that fame with others. While sharing may not be the nature of some players, it boosts the overall morale of the server and creates a friendlier gaming experience for everyone — not just one person. In Guild Wars 2 Open World PVP has a subtle effect on PvE. Players within PvE may never once step foot into WvW, but they will bask in the generous bonuses that WvW generates for them. At the same time, WvW players can potentially benefit from PvE players who may enjoy spending more time crafting and sharing material they find due to the WvW bonuses. All that matters is how all of that material is managed.
 
“We wanted to make WvW fun and easy to get into, so there’s no level grinding required—you can just hop into the battle using your normal PvE character, regardless of what level you are.” — Mike Ferguson
 
As Guild Wars 2 ventures closer to release, World versus World will likely see more and more PvE content steadily introduced. ArenaNet has promised and has so far delivered upon their wish to make WvW an independent gaming experience that will appeal to the Open World PVP fan. While one can argue that since it is not like games before it, then it is not Open World PVP. But in the gaming industry there is progression and change.
 
ArenaNet is offering their own answer to the Open World PVP spectrum, feeling confident they have worked out much of what turned off a lot of people to the experience in the first place. While the most gritty and overly devoted hardcore player may not be swayed, I have argued my point — Guild Wars 2 does indeed have Open World PVP, and it’s new.
 
Sure some of the elements may not be fresh and new, but the combination that ArenaNet has put together feels like it’s a completely new creature entirely. I look forward to seeing how it truly plays once the game launches in late August. I hope to see you there — lurking in the bushes like the elite predatory you claim to be.
 
 
An Official Retort —
 
   Due to the popularity of this entry, I decided to make a slight amendment to it as an addition to the debate happening within the comments. Do enjoy!  — TemperHoof
 
And the debate continues, which I expected entirely. This Blog is not the end all, be all of answers and fact. Everything here is prospective, and it pleases me to see such a thriving community taking interest in this subject — whether it is for or even against my topic. One thing I want to point out is the idea of the “Instance”.
 
“An instance is a special area, typically a dungeon, that generates a new copy of the location for each group, or for certain number of players, that enters the area. Instancing, the general term for the use of this technique, addresses several problems encountered by players in the shared spaces of virtual worlds.” — Wikipedia
 
There are a lot of people claiming World vs World takes place within an Instance, therefore leading to the point that it is not Open World PVP. Perhaps I should ask the general public to understand a simple fact: ArenaNet is making three games: three MMORPGs. One of which is called The Mists. It is a game complete within itself, with PVE content, level progression, end game, objectives, cities, and towns. In addition, there are NOT several copies of The Mists which spawn as it gets full. Once it is full, it’s full — you will have to queue for entry just like any other MMORPG that has a full server.
 
Just because it exists within the same package as Tyria, ArenaNet’s purely PVE MMORPG, doesn’t mean that The Mists is instanced out of Tyria. When you are inside of Guild Wars 2, you can just access your main menu and choose to instantly move to World vs World at any time. You are switching from one game to another, despite the fact they exist within the same universe and are connected to the same network.
 
By understanding that The Mists is a game completely and 100% independent of Tyria, that means that the world is NOT instanced. It is designed to support a large population much bigger than simple Battlegrounds. Unlike DAoC, the Frontier was not an independent MMORPG that was an optional part of the game. The Mists is a fully optional MMORPG that will be populated with content familiar to Tyria, but it will support large amounts of player on player combat.
 
Level progression plays a large part of The Mists, and someone who is level 80 will surely dominate a level 1 with ease. Furthermore, you can gank and grief however you please. I mentioned several examples in my article where you can setup Ballista. Now understand Ballista, these are fast-shooting giant sniper bolt launchers. These can hit players from crazy distances and practically do one shot kills. If you have two or even three Ballista setup side by side, you are going to cause a lot of trouble for the lowbie players and will get your satisfactory feeling of ruining someone’s day.
 
Furthermore you can camp Mistwrought Dungeon and kill lowbies there too! What I’m saying is The Mists is a game within a game: it is not an instance. By claiming that it is an instance, you risk devaluing the very Open World PVP games you use to support your own arguments. No MMORPG is just a big seamless world; everything takes place within a zone of some sort. Each zone can support a set number of players, just like servers. Each server can only support a given population. If you argue that World vs World is just an instance and not an MMORPG, then you are saying that every single game is also just an instance — just a bigger instance.
 
So the The Mists isn’t a huge MMORPG, in respects to its size — which is just five zones — it is indeed fairly small. Yet that doesn’t change the fact that it is still a large world for five areas, and despite it not supporting a flourishing, massively, and expansive world — ask yourself this. Do you truly understand how small the Open World PVP crowd truly is? In your imagination the size may be vast and huge, because you expose yourself to that game crowd a great deal. But does it truly give you an idea just how many people truly enjoy that game style versus the rest of the MMORPG population?
 
ArenaNet has created an MMORPG that they felt was large enough, at launch, for the target audience. In many Open World PVP games, you will likely spend a long time between each encounter. Or vast sections of the game turn into uneventful, useless graveyards of unused, underplayed content because the Open World PVP crowds find little use for those regions. ArenaNet has chosen to streamline it, cut the fat, keep things more straight-forward to allow for more frequent and consistent action to please the diehard PVPer with the ability to quickly drop into the game, find battle, and get the hell on with their lives.
 
They are reducing the need for extended camping; they are also increasing the activity by squeezing a sizable population into a smaller space. This promotes a more intense and active atmosphere, making that small world feel more alive and thrilling. There will always be something happening everywhere in The Mists, while in many other Open World PVP MMORPGs — nothing was happening but a few sparse scrims. Larger battles would take place in more popular regions as the rest of the game was vastly untouched.
 
My argument takes the point of view the The Mists is not an instance, nor battle maps, but a fully fleshed out mini-MMORPG married with two other MMORPGs. Therefore it is an Open World PVP MMORPG.
 
 
If you enjoyed this article and would like to make suggestions on future article topics, please send me an email at TemperHoof ( @ ) G M A I L . C O M or send me a Private Message.
 
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Guild Wars 2 - Profession Workshops Alpha July 25th

Posted by VanadromArda Thursday July 12 2012 at 11:46AM
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Profession Workshops Alpha July 25th
 
Workshop Sample
 
There are many people taking time to put together websites, wikis, write guides, and even create podcasts about the HOW-TOs and HOW-TO-NOTs of gaming. But something has been missing from a lot of these instructional works — the community. Since April 2012, an idea to bring the community together to supply the information needed to create detailed and rich guides and tactics has been slowly transforming into a grand project.
 
Now this is the formal introduction of Profession Workshops, a breakdown of its contents, and the websites and guilds which sponsor its production. Join me now as we cover the basics of this massive idea and why you are invited to help take part in its future.
 
Profession Workshops are a long-term evolving database of tips, tricks, facts, and pointers about the Professions of Guild Wars 2. The official project is scheduled to begin gathering information September 10th 2012roughly two weeks after the official launch date of Guild Wars 2. From that point on, the project will continue working on a very tight, weekly schedule for eight weeks.
 
Schedule
  • July 25 – Community Alpha Test
  • August 28 – Launch of Guild Wars 2
  • September 10 – Profession Workshop 1
  • September 17 – Profession Workshop 2
  • September 24 – Profession Workshop 3
  • October 1 – Profession Workshop 4
  • October 8 – Profession Workshop 5
  • October 15 – Profession Workshop 6
  • October 22 – Profession Workshop 7
  • October 29 – Profession Workshop 8
  • November 12 – Refinement Period Begins
Note, We will be holding an official poll starting July 25th on which Profession we'll do first and what follows it. We will begin with the profession that has the least popularity
 
Workshop sample
 
Each week, beginning September 10th, will mark the beginning of a new Profession we’ll be covering. During that week, we will request that several volunteers who feel they are proficient in that choice profession come in and join us. We will host voice-chat servers for people to join in twice a week, allowing for hours of discussion about that single profession. We welcome everyone to come in, even those people who just want to listen in and learn something new.
 
We are highly interested in finding people who are willing to give details to tactics, skills sets, builds, and more based on their style of play and what type of format they play it in. Each profession behaves differently in WvW, PvE, and Structured PvP — making for lots of possibility for dozens upon dozens of different approaches to the same profession There is no one viable, perfect build — but many. And there is no one right way to play. We are not trying to find the best of a profession: we are trying to record what people have done with a profession to provide a database of tips and tricks to help people learn based on what people are doing with it. We do not wish to tell people what they NEED to be with a profession.
 
A lot of people like to try something new and do something that hasn’t been done before. So by providing a database which quickly allows a player to see what is popular and what most people are doing, then they can potentially put together something totally new and not fall into the classic flavor-of-the-month cycle.
 
All of this information will then be dumped into a website, created as an offshoot to the already present GW2WvW.com. What the website will offer is a way for the community to quickly navigate and identify what the rest of the GW2 world is doing with that profession, but also be able to amend their own suggestions, tips, tricks, videos, audio instructions, and more to the website to help it grow.
 
workshop sample 3
 
The Workshops themselves will provide the foundation to this information, but it will be up to the community to build upon it afterwards in the coming months as Guild Wars 2 matures.This is not a simple Wiki-website, but a more interactive experience that will not just explain mathematics and numbers — but provide testimony from various players about a skill, weapon, or trait that is used by several players in several situations.
 
Let’s say you are curious about playing an Elementalist with a Main-Hand Dagger. When you look through each of the Dagger abilities, you’d get drop downs not only of what the ability does but also of how often it is used in WvW, PvE, and Structured PvP. By selecting a type of gameplay, then you’ll see how people are using it and be linked to testimonies, videos, and instructional guides on how to execute many of those same moves yourself.
 
This database is designed to teach and inform not only new players, but also show seasoned players what other people are doing to help increase their own experience in this vastly complex PvP game. Furthermore, players may be able to acquire fame by being a frequent provider of information to this website. Their name will be displayed by every piece of testimony, video, tip, etc… and if they provide enough their name will be displayed on the top of the “Provider Boards” on the front-page.
 
Workshop Sample 4
 
Consider this a project to create a central network hub where the entire Guild Wars 2 community can amend and provide information for all to share and use — and it’s all made by an independent developement of Guild Wars 2 fans.
 
So come join us July 25th after the third and final Beta Weekend Event. We are going to gauge the popularity of the idea based on the turn out, and whether or not people join will indicate how much more advertising we will have to do before the Guild Wars 2 release. If you are interested in helping out, please attend July 25th and share your ideas and your interests.
 
July 25th's Topic
 
The topic subject will be about Profession Workshops themselves and as a test we will also talk about the subject of Engineers. Come in, join us, and help the community flourish and grow. For more information about this major event, such as the voice server we’ll host it on or if your guild would like to join our sponsors, please send an email to TemperHoof ( @ ) G M A I L . C O M — so that you can be added to the mailing list. Or visit GW2WvW.com for additional news.
 
 
Sponsors (Updated July 17th)
 
 
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