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Why I am going to GW2 and believe you should as well

It talks about my past MMORPG and beta testing expereince and why the up coming Guild Wars 2 is the game to play

Author: Krosslite

Guild Wars vs Guild Wars 2

Posted by Krosslite Saturday July 28 2012 at 7:24AM
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            The reason I am writing this is due to a simple fact. I was one of those that could not get past the stigma that Guild Wars made upon me. Even though Guild Wars was truly the first game to offer no monthly subscription fees. It was a game that compared to others that were out at the time of its release left a lot of folks wanting for more. So truly not worth the fact that it was free.
 
           
            Only one playable race. A UI that made you feel uncomfortable to use. Graphics that were mundane at best. Still there were those that liked it, and there were those that over come the things the game lack due to the mere fact that it was free after the original purchase of the game. Plus the PvP the game offered. I could not get past any of this.
 
 
Jaded
 
            When I was first informed of Guild Wars 2. My mind flashed back on my experience within it's forerunner. Also due to my various other experiences in the MMO industry. I honestly had become jaded and suspicious over any new MMO being promised on the horizon. I had been present in the Anarchy Online debacle. I was there for the DC Universe disaster. I witnessed a solidly progressing game suddenly changed into a joke. My best example for this is Star Wars Galaxies.
           
            Time and again I have been in betas of games that promised to breath life back into online gaming. Only to witness them fall short over and over again. I was in such a Beta towards the end of May, when Guild Wars 2 raised its head.
 
Something New
 
            I received a beta key for Beta Weekend Event #2. When I went into the game I was expecting to once again encounter another EverQuest clone. Note I said EQ clone not a World of Warcraft clone. To me WoW is nothing more then an EQ clone, just a successful one. So I go into the character creation screen and I go through the different professions. I choose a warrior. I usually start with something that can take a hit and then make a caster as an alt later. I setup how he is going to look and then I expect to go right to a screen asking me to name my creation. That is not what I encounter though.
 
           
            Instead I run into three questions. I look at the screen a second stunned slightly. So then I read the different options and answer. So I click the "next" button again, once again expecting to name my toon. Again three questions stare back at me daring me to answer one of them before continuing. And so I do, and continue onward once again. This time not sure what I would see next. 
 
 
            What do I encounter? More questions. So I answer and continue on through two more groups of questions; before I finally come to a screen asking for the name of my character. There I see a letter. Within it are references to my answer and at the bottom I must sign it. So I sign my characters name, and I am suddenly visually thrown through an introduction cinematic with the character I had made showing up as part of it toward the end. This was a first. I have seen intros before in other games, but never with the character I has just made in it. By now in Guild War I would have ventured out in to the starting zone looking for Skales or Grawls to fight.
 
 
Well This Really Is Different
 
            I was starting to get curious now. I enter into the world and as is my practice I automatically go to the key binding screen, and proceeded to set the keys up the way I like. Being left handed using the W; S; A; D has never been comfortable. I use my mouse on the left side of the keyboard. So using the number pad keys for movement options has always been my preferred method. I was not aware that the key binding was a new addition to the game. If it had not been there I may have become unhappy with the game right then.
 
           
            So then I start to look around for the quest giver. I don't see the usual (!) over a head but I do see a green star. I learned later that the green star is only relevant to your own personal storyline. I talk to the person there and I get my first cut scene. For the first time I actually hear my character talk. Now I have heard this can be found on Star Wars The Old Republic as well, but I refused to go anywhere near that after my SWG experience.
 
      
 
     As I moved around the starter map in this game as compared to Guild Wars. I was not alone. It was like other MMOs with people running around. I quickly learned that I didn't have to worry about someone running up and killing what I just happened upon. Instead GW2 encourages people to work together. After talking to the scout which is the person with a telescope over his head. I went around to the Renown Hearts and was happy to see I didn't have to fight others to get the renown I needed for this person asking for it. In fact at one area a Dynamic Event started up and as those there start to fight off some attacking NPCs other people in the area came running in to help. By the time all there have killed all the baddies and razed those that had died (which gave me exp btw). I had gotten my renown for the area and moved on.
 
 
            To me this really did feel like I had come into a game that I had never encountered before. In Guild Wars I would be running around with a little group of NPCs, but here were real people. Helping other real people. Defeating a common enemy and not worrying about if the other person was going to steal any of my hard earned coin.
 
            The mere fact that I could actually go around a zone with other people around and not worry if they were going to attack what I was attacking. Or if I was suddenly going to find myself dead with another player standing over my dead corpse laughing at me. Well it was just truly relaxing and fun. Really fun. I was actually having fun. I was in shock.
 
 
            Then the BWE ended. Let me tell you this is the first time in forever if ever I have wished a game would not be turned off. But it was. I then was in the third BWE because when I next got my paycheck after BWE #2. I purchased not one but two copies of the game. One for the wife as well.
 
            In BWE # 3; for the first time I played all five playable races. Compared to only the humans with GW. I found them all interesting. Each for there own reasons. Not always for the race in one instance but for the profession I had chosen for it.
 
In Summary   
 
 
            My time in Guild Wars lasted maybe three weeks max. The game was to me one of the worst out there at the time and I felt really uncomfortable playing it.
 
           

            Now we have Guild Wars 2. To me it is completely contradictory of it precursor. It is something I feel I can play in a way I like to play and not have to worry about trying to be in a huge guild to have to do end game content or have to do PvP. It is a game that if all I want to do is PvE then that is all I have to do. I have read you can even craft all the way to level eighty if you so desire. If I come upon a large Dynamic Event in progress I know I can run in and help and not be yelled at for doing so, but actually welcomed. Because that is what actually took place. I look forward to August 25th. It can't get here fast enough.

INTRODUCTION    
 
            I have participated in two of the three Beta Weekend Events for the soon to be released Guild Wars 2. In each of them I tried out different professions and races. In the last, for the first time, I was able to play all five of the playable races that are going to be available at release.  I played a Charr Engineer; Sylvari Ranger; Asura Elementalist; as well as Human Thief. The one I personally liked the most was the Norn Warrior.
 
 
            I seem to always gravitate towards tanks classes when I play MMOs, but I also like to play alts a lot as well. As it turns out the one that ends up being my main is some type of tank though.
 
            Well it was no different this time. Of the five toons I make and experimented with during BWE #3. My warrior made it the highest and had the most experiences with not only the Personal Storyline, Dynamic Event encounters, as well as exploration. I must also point out that I like to solo a lot.
 
Personal Playing Styles        
 
            MMOs are my way of relaxing and escaping from the real world for a short time. Other people do this by going out and doing or watching some type of sporting event. Some do several type of hobbies. That is just how it is when you have to leave the normal events of your live for a short time. It is natural and wise to do. It keeps you out of trouble usually. So playing MMOs is mine. I have been sitting in front of a computer and playing these games since the mid 1990's. I always hear the hype about a game making itself fun for those that play it. To date they have fallen short. Always catering to those with the loudest whine and never really listening to those with honest criticism. Time and again PvP has been their way of making what they call end game. That has never been nor ever will be something I look forward to doing. The only gaming I have PvPed in that I felt was fun was Mechwarrior. I would comment here about Mechwarrior Online, but I am under a non-disclosure agreement not to, so I wont.
 
 
            Well for the first time I feel I have encountered a game that actual works for my type of playing style. I know I am not the only one that plays MMOs in this fashion. To me Guild Wars 2 is actually made in a way that tries to satisfy all different ways people entertain themselves and I welcome it. Now I actually feel I can fully relax and explore a game at my leisure and absorb all the nuances the way I wish too. While those that wish to have what is revered to as "Open World PvP" in the Mists; can go and look for those lower then themselves and kill them to their hearts desire, without causing me any loss in my game play pleasure.
 
FOR THE GLORY!
 
 
            In Both of the BWEs I was in I made a Norn warrior. I took what I felt I had learned in the first and applied them to the second.
 
The trading post
 
            The first thing I learned is to use the trading post as much as possible to sell items and sparingly when buying them. A typical common sense act. When I did shop there I used the advanced search option which cut down the amount of items pulled up when looking for the particular item I was wanting for at that moment. All weapons and armor had bonuses to: Power; Precision; Toughness; or Vitality as well as others. I personally mixed these stats throughout the different pieces of armor and weapons I was using. I know others like to stack one bonus type ignoring the rest. Others would do an 80/20 split and that is fine. To each their own personal way of playing.
 
            When I did shop for upgrades I usually did it at level two, then level five, eight and ten and so on following these numbers. The highest level I made it to during the two BWEs was level 14, which I attained in the last one.
 
 
            At level ten I avoided the trading post for my helm. I went straight to the armor vendor in Hoelbrak, since every time I looked, even the base helm I purchased for around forty copper was for sale in the trading post for at least five silver.
           
Exploration
 
            As I ventured out into Wayfarer Foothills. I traveled to the renown hearts and performed the task in the vicinity of each one and participated in the dynamic events that popped up time to time near them as well. One of the first things I did was get the weapons I wanted to learn. These were the hammer and the greatsword. I maxed out each one's abilities over the next couple of levels. I personally found that I liked to use the greatsword when fighting against one adversary, but it worked well against more then one as well. With the hammer I felt it worked best when I was in a group situation like when doing a dynamic event with other players.
 
 
            Once I hit level seven the option to swap weapons became available, which made it easy to switch between the two when I felt it was needed. Also at level seven I took up the long bow and headed over to the Sylvari starter area of Caledor Forest. Here I proceeded to learned the five skills associated with it. Time to time switching over to the greatsword, when I felt it was needed, which really wasn't as often as I expected. Especially after the third ability unlocked.
 
            Once the bow was maxed out I returned to Hoelbrak and continued in my personal storyline. Then I was high enough to head in the northern section of Wayfarer Foothills. Where I took advantage of a DE that took place just as I entered the area. Once done, I entered into an area full of Jotun and proceeded to work my way into the main encampment. Once inside there I gained access to a small chest.
 
        
            In my first experience in a BWE, I continued the personal story, but in my second BWE experience I decide to push further north. Here I encounters my first big boss fight for this character, which was a shaman on an ice lake. I started the fight with my hammer but soon realized I need to change my tactics and so I got out my bow. This helped especially when the shaman was on his last stage of live since he became quite the challenge.
 
            My last dynamic event encounter took place at an outpost manned by the Lionguard. Here I was exposed to a full give and take type group of events. A large Sons of Svanir encampment was just north of this outpost and due to lack of activity from players the dynamic event had progressed to a point  that the Svanir were coming into the outpost and nearly took it over. Then other players and myself came to the rescue and proceeded to push the Son of Svanir all the way back into their encampment. Here once we took control of it the boss appeared. It appeared to be an ice animal of some type on all four. Was too busy fighting to get a chance to note the name and write it down. As it ended up it gave me my next lesson in boss fights in GW2. I need to learn to pull the screen further out so I can get a full grasp of the battle. If I had I may have dodged in time to not get myself killed three times. If I would have used the bow I don't know, but pulling back the screen to get a better view definitely.
 
 
            Once this fight was done it was time to head over to the Asura starting area for the BWE #3 end event which turned out to be a tribute to "The Hunger Games." Not being a PvP player I was not practiced enough to handle the PvP type event and ended up being a little robot in short time.
           
AFTER THOUGHTS
 
            I feel the main reason I like this game so much is the fact that it has enough to offer many different people a way to play something the way they wish too. It encourages working together and allows all to get the prize without have to do something time and again to get nothing. Or be promised something only to have someone change their mind at the last minute, and give what you have been working so hard for to someone else.
 
            This is the first game in a long time, I feel, that I have truly been able to feel like I could relax playing or push forward and increasing my level and explore the world that has been created within the game. The latter point being what I have been doing more of since only having three days to play. I feel that when the game is activated on August 25th that I will really be able to pursue the former point, which is how I really like to play. Within my guild are those that love to do PvP and they are also happy with what they have seen. Even though they did feel there was a need for more servers upon release of the game. Which I also agree with for PvE. I really didn't like be moved to an overflow server every time I entered into an area.
 
            I look forward to finally make it to the point where I will be able to unlock the ability to transform into a bear. It is a shame they don't make it where all the transformations can take place at the same amount of points though.
 
 
            Having played all five races now. As stated earlier I like being the Norn the most, but my second favorite was the Sylvari. I enjoyed the base storyline of the race and found them to be different from other races I have seen in other game. People have compared them to elves and fairies, but I personally did not come away from my experience playing them that they had any similarities. I felt they were something actually new to the fantasy genre.
 
 
            The Asura, even though short in stature make up for it in self pride and arrogance. Thus making them actually feel larger then they really were.  Playing the Elementalist though made me feel like I was actually grinding though. Since once I gained access to a different element; I had to go running around killing mobs just to get all the abilities unlocked for the primary weapon I had out at the time. Since I wanted to learn both the staff and the Dagger, it took time. I was also disappointed they did not get the ability to swap out weapons at level seven, which I was able to do with the warrior, thief and ranger.
 
 
            The Charr were interesting as well. As well as playing the Engineer. I did like the changes they made to them between the last BWE and the second I participated in. I wish I was able to dedicate more time to them, but that will come.
 
 
            Humans to me were humans and so my least favorite to play. Playing the thief though was exciting, especially when duel-wielding daggers.
 
            I will make the exact same characters when the game goes live. I look forward to exploring Tyria as well as exploring how my personal storyline develops for each one. I also look forward to the Meta-event webs (the advanced form of the Dynamic Events) in Orr, and seeing how the different endings turn out as different events intertwine with each other to cause separate out comes. 

The Asura Experiment (Guild Wars 2: Dynamic events)

Posted by Krosslite Monday July 23 2012 at 4:52AM
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            Well the last BWE has ended with a tribute to "The Hunger Game." It was different. A Fantasy game beta ending with a sci-fi event. Now we begin the countdown to launch day, but that is not what this article is about.
 
            This article is about the dynamic event system. With some tidbits about my encounters with a few of the low level dynamic events I encountered in the last few days.
 
 
            As is my practice I did a sampling of all five races. My Asura elementalist only made it to level 10, this was due to my youngest son sitting beside me begging me to play the game with him. When he slept I explored the Asura in the way I wished. I found that within the starting zone of these little eggheads were many building, which were actually labs for different sub groups or "Krewes" as they are called. In nearly every lab I witnessed or participated in dynamic events. Everyone I encounter had different parts and so if you run off once one battle completes you may have missed the next part of the DE system for this particular lab you had been in. This is also true from other starting area for the other races. A little example is where some Grawl try to steal some Drake eggs. Once complete I notice most of the time everyone ran off. But a short time later two Narn run near the area. You talk to one of these and it starts another event. Once he finishes for a while the Grawl near this area of the event are peaceful.
 
 
 
            Dynamic events are the replacement for the quest system that is present in the run of the mill MMO. They are called "dynamic" due to the fact that the outcomes will cause a different dynamic event to take place be it positive or negative for the area the event takes place in.  These events can work in a series, and the series will become longer the higher level the area.
           
            Soon into the game, as you level, they will be starting to be called "Meta events." In these meta events most likely due to positive outcomes to a group of dynamic events in the same area they will lead to some very big battles with bosses and groups of enemy NPCs.
 
           
            These dynamic events can go from establishing a fort or outpost further into an area filled with the baddies to picking fruit from an orchard.  As more people show up the game sees this and increases the difficulty of the event from more mobs showing up to fight to the need for more fruit to pick.
 
            The rewards will vary to how much you contribute to the event. You will receive a gold, silver or bronze metal as well as experience points, karma points and currency each reward group giving lower reward based on your participation. Failing an event also gives you a reward but a diminished amount for obvious reasons.
 
 
            The first long DE I personally encountered in the Asura area was in the lake at the Jeztar Falls waypoint. It is really not long in how the dynamic event system works. I personally only counted three separate events within the chain. At the bottom of the lake is the "Aquannian Research Group." Scattered about the floor of the lake are little column like devices called "Poison Amplifiers." These amplifiers are being worked on by members of the Inquest. These are the bad guy Asura. To finish this first event you must turn off all the amplifiers. Once this is done it will trigger the next event where the building at the bottom of the lake gains power and three Power Beacons appear from the building causing not only more Inquest to show up and attack, but any creatures left in the water will become aggressive as will. Once all the beacons are destroyed a final boss for this short chain appears. A nice little shark. Wait my bad. I mean a big mean shark. An "Enraged Shark," to be totally accurate. Once he is defeated the chain repeats. Even though I personally was no longer able to interact with the Poison Amplifiers myself, others could. This made it where I did this DE event chain at least seven times.
 
 
            On a side note. If you swim under the falls there is a cave. Within this cave is a very mean boss that places a force shield about himself time to time and has some pets come to help him. From what I could tell he was not part of a DE chain.
 
            Also as you progress higher. Some areas develop a storyline that you follow along. Each step of the DE a different chapter of the story. I believe I did encounter this between Artergon Woods and Hexane Regrade. It was entitled "Power Overwhelming" and showed in the area most of us are use to calling the quest tracker.  
 
           
            Here along the road are several towers that must be enabled. They run down this road from Hexane to Muridan Uplands. Every once in a while a mini-boss pops along this road and needs to be addressed.  Once all these are active at Transfer Hub Kechong a Technician named Datt comes out worried about too much power going though the system and you talk to him. This triggers the main boss event and you run off to face it. For myself I triggered the event, but by the time I got to the boss others had killed him. Oh well there is always another day to get it. Since I was only level 10 and most the stuff here was level 12 or 13. Well you do the math why I didn't get to the boss.
 
            At the higher levels when you will be going through a meta-event you will discover that you have several outcomes and some that overlap each other and as a result will cause another outcome to take place. That is their intention and thus keep you thinking and trying to evolve the meta event to a conclusion. Notice I did not say "It's" conclusion. Since there will be multiple endings to these meta-events webs.
 
 

            As it is playing the Asura and listening to their intellectual arrogance was at times fun to listen to.  I  also played a Sylvari Ranger and was very fascinated by not only their story but the world the staff at ArenaNet as made for both these races as well as the others. August 25 (I already pre-purchased) will not get here soon enough. Aug. 27 for pre-orders and Aug. 28 if you wait for the official launch.

Sorry but I have to rant to the nay sayers of GW2

Posted by Krosslite Thursday July 19 2012 at 6:11AM
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            For the last week I have been seeing more and more post about endgame and PvP issues and the fact that the game will not have any power gear as I call it.

So I now feel it is my time to get my two cents in on the debate.

1) ENDGAME

            ArenaNet has made it perfectly clear that the Dynamic Event system is the endgame for PvE. So the moment you participate in one you are doing the end game. They have also clearly stated that you can go back to the very first area you started in and do those DEs again or others in the area that someone may have stumbled upon after you moved on to another area. Your level is decrease thus the DE will be a challenge and thus fun.
 

            As you get into Orr you will find that the DE system has turned not into a line of events but a web per Colin Johanson, thus making it where there well be things discovered over months. And months may I add is how an MMO should be played. Not in days. Console games are made to be played in days.

2) PvP
 
             Again the moment you log in for the first time, if you so desire, you can go PvP. From what I have read since I am not that into PvP myself. It will be something that will be fun and exciting for those that do it. You will have to use your head and plan defenses and attacks. Gone are the zerg days and that is great to know IMO. I might even think about trying it out again. I have done PvP in DAoC and Warhammer, and to be honest I found Warhammer more interesting. Elements from Warhammer per my understanding can be found and refined here.
 


3) Power Gear.
 
            All I can say about power gear is that they were usually found on the player with the most free time and the least maturity. I am glad that those at ArenaNet had the wisdom to finally tell these folks, which is a proven fact to be the minority of those playing MMOs, to learn how to play a game right.
            How do you play a game right. With your brain, which you actually have to use for this game. Gone are the days that a power gear griefer can go around PKing just because to that person it is fun. Now those people that don't have tons of time but have the intelligence and skill to play their character wisely will start to shine.  While those with no skill will either have to learn how to have skill or leave.
 


            My final point. Bye bye power gamers or console players as I like to call them. I am so glad you will hate this game. I will relish the fact that I don't have to hear you whining in general chat after a week of playing the game and maxing your toon that you have nothing to do. If that is what you say in this game you have not attempted to learn how to play it or how it is designed to work. Bye Bye to those that loved to go around killing just for killing sake due to the fact that you had the most powerful sword in the game. You will see that it take more then to swing said sword in this game. And for that, thank you ArenaNet.

Guild Wars 2 - Planning your character's personal stories

Posted by Krosslite Friday July 13 2012 at 1:49AM
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            The personal story in GW2 is a very important part of the game. The way you respond to certain characters within the game directs how your own story within GW2 will progress and be truly YOUR story since no one responds the same way. So it is best to start planning now so when the game launches you can quickly respond since you have already look at these question ahead of time and written down your responses to them.

 
  
             But first there is the beginning. As you make your character when you first launch the game and after you have decided what your character will look like. You will be ask a group of questions. (for full details please refer to the official GW2 wiki --http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Biography).
 
            First you will be asked three questions about your profession. For example for the warrior. Will you or will you not wear a helmet and if you do will it be a cap or a full helm. The one profession with the most diversity will be the rangers. They will be asked which of three pets you want to start out with, but each race will have three animals the other race may not have. Example the Sylvari could chose to have a Fern Mastiff, which as you may guess is a plant doggy.
 
            You will be asked three personality questions. They are, will you be a charmer, have dignity or be ferocious.
 
            Next are ten to twelve race related question. Each race having different question to get answers for.
 

 
             Once this is done and you have named your character you will get your own personalized opening cinematic and your personal story begins.  As you progress through the game time to time you will run into or be asked during your personal story cut scenes some questions that will relate to Charm, Dignity and Ferocity. You can choose which ever answer you want to. This will in turn guide your personal story down a path. The game keeps track of the 100 most recent responses and plans your personal story accordingly.

Guild Wars 2 the art of weapon selection for the uninformed

Posted by Krosslite Wednesday July 11 2012 at 2:35PM
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            One of the key elements of GW2 that helps to make it differ from other MMOs is that weapons have the skill sets, not the person to a degree.
 
What do I mean by this statement? 
           
The answer: 
 
            1) If you are a warrior with a sword in the main hand it will have a different group of abilities to use then say having a mace in the main hand.
           
             In traditional MMOs no matter the weapon you get the typical #1 attack, then the #2 special attack with a #3 super special attack. With #3 taking much longer then the previous two to cool down. The a fore mentioned attacks are exactly the same using a sword or a mace, or any other weapon. Just different animations to a degree. That is not how it works in GW2.
 
            In GW2 with a warrior using the sword in the main hand you will have up to 4 attacks. a) flurry; b) sever artery (first step in a chain attack); c) savage leap (closes the distant to your target [range attack]); d) hamstring (cripple attack). Most of these attacks cause a target to bleed.
 
            Now said warrior uses the mace in the main hand. Again up to 4 attacks. a) skull crack; b) mace smash (first step in a chain attack); c) counter blow; d) pommel bash. A couple of these attacks cause a stun.
 
 
 
            2) Now lets compare a warrior to a guardian. The first major difference. The guardian only get three attacks compare to the warrior's four.
 
            Now look at the warrior with the sword in the main hand above and compare to the guardian with a sword in the main hand. a) sword of wrath; b) flashing blade [range attack]; c) zealot's defense [range attack].
 
            Now the guardian with a mace in the main hand. Again compare to the warrior with mace above. a) true strike (first step in a chain attack); b) symbol of faith [AoE affect + to allies - to foes] ; c) protector's strike [AoE shield].
 
 
 
            Each weapon as you can see has it's own attack group and varies between the professions (classes) as well. There are a total of nineteen weapons in the game including a shield, warhorn and a torch.
 
            Yes I said a torch. It is an off-hand only weapon and is used as one by the guardian, ranger and mesmer.
 
 
 
            Three of the nineteen weapons are for underwater combat as well. Don't worry about learning a breathing spell or carrying a ton of potions that allow you to breath underway either. You start out with a breathing mask which equips automatically when you go underway. But I digress, the weapons are the harpoon gun [range attack]; the spear and the trident. Again each with their own type of attacks that vary per profession and weapon.
 
            When you also add the fact that you can swap weapons while in combat (see my earlier article "Guild Wars 2 weapons swapping on the fly (sorta) for the uninformed"). It makes this a game where you are going to have to think out your attacks as well as pick weapons that suit your personal playing styles.

Guild Wars 2 dungeons for the uninformed

Posted by Krosslite Sunday July 8 2012 at 11:42AM
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First off I have to say there are several places you can find the info I am going to provide at several places on the internet since ArenaNet has gone out of their way to let everyone be fully informed about this game. This is just a short synopsis to get you thinking, if you didn't know this already.
 
1) Dungeons are optional so you are not forced to do them and still get all the fun you need to from the game.
 
2) There will be eight (8) dungeons at release of the game.
 
3) They will first appear starting at level 30 and continue every 10 levels till the level cap of 80.
 
4) There are 2 modes.
            a) is the story mode which is part of your characters personal storyline which include cut scenes. Once this is completed you then unlock the next mode.
            b) which is the explorable mode. You still can get some cut scenes here but not as many and take place after the story mode storyline. During this mode the group will be asked questions that determine the dynamic events that will take place and possibly the path taken in the dungeon since there are five paths that can be taken in each dungeon.
 
5) rewards given are tokens which are taken to certain vendors in Lion's Arch where they can be exchanged for items you wish to have. (NOTE: these items do not give the person better stats then can be done during regular game play, but provide an aesthetic for your character's appearence)
 
6) To ArenaNet the term "dungeons" to them is a "misnomer, since not all of them are underground." as quoted from the Guild Wars 2 article: Into the Dungeons.
Further quoting this article:
 
"Dungeons are optional, but are a lot of fun for players who seek a challenge. They don't interrupt your personal storyline, but can enhance that storyline."
 
Simply ArenaNet wants you to have fun.