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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Relax, Breathe, Persevere - Guild Wars 2 Will Be Back

Posted by BillMurphy Saturday August 25 2012 at 8:04AM
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Hey guys, just a bit of a PSA while we all wait for ArenaNet to resuscitate the hamsters. I know we've been waiting for five years. I know we're all tired, stayed up late, paid money and so forth and so on. I know there's absolutely nothing we wanted to do, planned for this weekend, and rested our hopes on other than traipsing about Tyria this weekend. But remember...

We can wish and hope and pray that the servers for a major MMO launch are ready, but so few seldom are. Guild Wars 2 has been topping Amazon's charts for weeks, and there are likely close to as many people trying to play GW2 as there were logging into Diablo 3 when it launched. 

I want in too. My Asura needs to blow more stuff up. But for now, I'll wait and I hope you guys can take a moment, breathe, and remember that ArenaNet wants us all to stop screaming at them via Facebook, forums, and Twitter more than we want to start playing.

The servers will be back up. Until then... I'll go eat breakfast. LOTS OF BREAKFAST.

EDIT: And watch the Official Twitter of GW2 for updates. 

The Official Guild Wars 2 Guild

Posted by MikeB Wednesday August 22 2012 at 10:31PM
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Earlier this year the community came together around the idea of having an official guild for community members to use in playing together during Guild Wars 2's various beta weekend events and stress tests. Here at, we love nothing more than when the community comes together around something like this, so we threw all our weight behind it, and with our combined efforts the guild turned out to be a success!

Given the guild's success and interest level, we've decided to carry the guild into launch, and today we're making it official!

So, what do you need to know about the official Guild Wars 2 guild? Well, first of all, this guild is about YOU, the community, and that includes your leadership. While we (the staff) will be forming the guild and putting on events here and there, most of us on staff will mainly be here to support whatever it is you're doing with the guild. For example, if you're looking to put on some cool in-game event with the guild and want help promoting it all you need to do is get in touch with me and I'll be glad to lend a helping hand.

With that out of the way, we'd like to introduce you to star, who will officially be leading the guild. Star, along with DeaconX were instrumental in leading the charge on the beta weekend guild and we're glad to have her back for launch. Star is but one person though, and she'll need all the help she can gets, so if you're interested in helping out in an official capacity please shoot her a PM!

The guild will be a PvX guild, this means we welcome all members who are interested in any activity Guild Wars 2 offers. Again, if you're particularly passionate about a certain activity type, I would encourage you to get in touch with star. Ex. Maybe you want to be our official WvW officer because you have a ton of experience with RvR/WvW and know how to lead a group.

As far as rules go, we're going to keep it simple. Basically, if you don't think you'd get away with it on our forums, it's probably not going to fly in the guild. Simply put, treat each other with civility and respect, even when you disagree. Just have fun and keep a cool head! Guild Wars 2 is an extremely social game, so we hope that drama will be minimized here. Disruptive, abusive, or disrespectful members will be removed from the guild.

Let's get down to the nitty gritty now.


Tags: MMO

Server: Jade Quarry

'Holding' Server: Ferguson's Crossing

-What is a holding server? We expect Jade Quarry to be a highly populated server, so there is a good chance that at the beginning of head start access, many users may not be able to actually set Jade Quarry as their home server and create a character right away. If you find yourself in this position, please create your character on Ferguson's Crossing (a new server we expect to be low pop) and check back on the World Selection list periodically until Jade Quarry is no longer listed as Full. At this point, you'll be able to transfer to Jade Quarry, as server transfers will be free for the first couple of weeks.

Mumble (Voice) Server:

Port: 54748

-If you need to install Mumble, go here.

-Also, go here for an awesome Guild Wars 2 Mumble skin and Overlay.

Forums: We've put together a set of forums here in the GW2 section to give official guild members a place to hold relevant discussions. We're looking into creating permissions restricting posting in this section to guild members only, but in the meanwhile, we ask that you please do not post in the guild forums unless you are an active member of the guild. Disciplinary action will be taken against accounts causing disruption in these forums.

Joining the Guild:

If you've read up to this point and you'd like to actually join up, the process is fairly simple. PM either myself, star, or BadSpock, and we'll get you added to the official on-site roster.  Be sure to include your Guild Wars 2 account display name, this is basically your global name in Guild Wars 2 and what is used in the game's Contacts list. Your display name will be set as your Handle on the on-site roster so that we can all add each other and know who is who on the forums and in game.

Once you've been added to the on-site roster, simply get in touch with any of us in-game so we can add you to the in-game roster.

IMPORTANT: If you were part of the beta weekend event guild, we've wiped all users except for officers from the roster. You will need to get in touch with us again in order to rejoin the guild. Consider this a roll call of sorts. ;)

UPDATE: Added Mumble Info!

Community Spotlight: Best MMO Music

Posted by MikeB Sunday August 19 2012 at 9:04PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight ,we focus on the thread, "What MMORPG has the best music? You decide!" by Presbytier. Presbytier offers up a number of his own candidates:

I just recently started playing Aion and while I find the game itself to be not to my likeing I was overwhelmed by how much I thoroughly enjoyed the music. So I ask what MMO do you think has the best music? Here are a few to wet your appetite.

Aion Ascencion

Age of Conan

World of Warcraft

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Guil Wars 2

Ultima Online


Final Fantasy XI

What are the some other community favorites? Read on to find out!

Castillle is a huge fan of Ragnarok Online's music:

I vote for ragnarok online. Its the only mmo aside from ff11 that i regularly have playing on my phone. And the ff11 ones i have are the piano collections.

Aeolron shows lots of love for the theme song of the original EverQuest:

For me it's Hands down EverQuest Best theme song for a fantasy gmae ever made, when that screen loaded up and I heard that song, it reminded me that I was heading into a Rich fantasy world known as Norrath , and seeing what kind of trouble that I could get into, either A: Walking into a dragons lair by mistake being told by your friends " Hey Aeo , you sure this is the way to Qeynos? " Oh ya man did it ahundred times!" Then we enter said cave , my friends get eaten alive I run for it and turn to fight the beast LOL I died . Even from that point in 1999 till 4 years ago I was STILL Being hounded by my old friend Vincent and Healyu LOL, so yeah , best Theme EverQuest because it brings memories like that back, also loved the Qeynos theme song!

Now if i can just get my pals back in game with me, or even find them , I would go back in full swing. Damnit I miss that game , can't wait for EverQuest Next!!!!!

mindw0rk is partial to Lineage II's soundtrack, despite not being too fond of the actual game itself:

Lineage 2. As much as I dislike the game itself, soundtrack there is a work of genius. Yes, GW2 has some epic tracks by well-known composer, but they dont always fit into zones. Not like Lineage 2 music. There is something magical and chanting in this:

or this

or this

And this only a few of many examples. Definetly the best soundtrack among all MMORPGs.

Second place Id give to EVE Online. It fits perfect to space mood and exploration. As for WoW - I always thought music there is one of its weakest points. And always turned it off. Maybe only Elwynn Forest theme stood out

I could probably muse forever on my favorite MMO soundtracks, but the one that immediately jumps out to me is the Age of Conan soundtrack. So far, I'm not sure I've been as captivated by an MMO score as I was when playing through Age of Conan's various locales. The Eiglophian Mountains track in particular sends chills down my spine every time I hear it.

What are your favorite MMO soundtracks? Let us know in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: MMO Camera Angles

Posted by MikeB Sunday August 12 2012 at 5:09PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "Isometric vs. First Person?" by grimal. In the thread, grimal contends the isometric view of MMOs like Ultima Online were better suited to the MMO genre and opens this up for discussion:

Most of my experiences with Computer RPGs are from the overhead isometric perspective.  My first MMO had this as well.

The next MMO I played was EQ.  I felt something was lost in the transition.  Sure, the game looked good, it was first/third person, but the RPG element was lost on me.  At the time, I attributed as being that the isometric view lends itself better to the RPG setting.

Part of me still believes this as I have not been able to find an MMO matched in immersion as UO.

Does anyone else feel this?   Was moving the camera enough to break the immersion?  Should we go back?  Has the genre become too close to the FPS one?

Axehilt is a fan of the first person perspective:

First-person view is what most of us experience in real life. As I'm part of that group, I find first-person view to be much more immersive.  As soon as you take the step back to third-person, you break that and there's really not much difference between that any any other non-FP view (although the more you pull away, the less immersive it tends to be.)

While I criticize a lot of their gameplay elements for being really shallow, the Elder Scrolls games have been the most immersive RPGs I've experienced.

AlBQuirky is third person view guy:

Isometric view always bugged me in games. I felt so restricted. I also dislike, immensely, driving behind trucks because they obscure my view :) I don't like the fact that walls and other obstacles block my view.

When playing games, I prefer 3rd person. I spent time creating my character so I want to see him :) I also get a better field of view in 3rd person. It may not be realistic, but neither is 1st person. Looking at my screen right now, there is 1/3 of my view covered by the screen. 2/3 is peripheral vision and not covered by what I see on screen. I dislike running from place to place constantly holding down my right mouse button and swinging from left to right to see what I normally see with my "real" face straight forward. I do envy those gamers with the 3 screen set-up :)

The bad thing about 3rd person is I have a tendency to "cheat" every so often :) I'll get next to a doorway and swing the view around so I can "peek" into the next room without actually showing myself :) I do use 1st person view when I am shooting at something. Looking down the barrel or bow is the only way I can feel accurate.

Isometric just doesn't "feel right" to me.

Axxar, like grimal, is a huge fan of the isometric view:

I much prefer isometric view for RPGs. I'm not really that big on first persion view, but I can live with it provided the game is good enough. 3rd person is pretty good, but an "isometric" view a la Diablo 3 is my main preference. Could be because most of the greatest RPGs of all time (Ultima 7, Baldur's Gate 2, Fallout 2) had isometric view, and it more closely resembles tabletop games where you have your miniatures on the table. People also tend to associate first person views with FPS games, and it's a challenge to make tactical, RPG die roll combat with a 1st person view.

An "isometric" view is also really good when you control a party since you have a much better tactical overview.

Also I believe a 3d rendered game isn't "true" isometric, but it's good enough for me. IIRC in a "true" isometric view things in the distance are actually the same size as things in the foreground, but due to the way the image is drawn it still looks further away, something only really possible in 2d render.

Another great advantage of the isometric view is that while you lose the "big vistas," the limited view distance makes the world seem much bigger than it really is. Take the Ultima 7 games. Their worlds seemed absolutely huge, but while they were a good sized bunch, they actually weren't super big.

I'm honestly more of a fan of the now-standard third-person view, myself. I simply feel more connected to my character this way, though I can see how a first person perspective would also enhance this experience. Why not have both if the game mechanics make sense? I'd love to be able to switch between them as I feel appropriate.

I don't mind isometric view, in general. I just don't feel like I'd want to deal with it in an MMO. I've played tons of SRPGs from the isometric perspective and that's fine. As Axxar noted, it's particularly beneficial when controlling a group of characters. But MMOs? Meh.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Overwolf Update: One Million Users, New App Store

Posted by MikeB Monday August 6 2012 at 5:08PM
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Last year we partnered up with the folks at Overwolf to bring you a branded version of the in-game overlay client they were developing. We hope you've enjoyed using the client so far! Today, we'd like to update you on some interesting news for the client.

First, we'd like to congratulate Overwolf on passing the one million user mark. It's a pretty awesome milestone. But what may be of real interest to you folks using the client is today's launch of a new Overwolf in-game app store.

The app store will support both user created and third party apps:

Game publishers can add all of these functions to their games without touching a single line of game code, making integration fast and easy. Besides embedding Overwolf’s social media features, using the Overwolf SDK, they will also be able to offer their players the opportunity to develop in-game apps that meet the needs of the community. Many game companies spend a significant amount of resources to enable user generated content or add-ons for their games. Now, every game publisher can do that by simply partnering with Overwolf and conserving development resources.

“The past year has been wonderful for Overwolf. We’ve continued to build the product focusing on user feedback and usage analytics. This has allowed us to sign agreements with more than twenty publishers, and most importantly, receive awesome feedback from the gamers that are using our product,” said Uri Marchand, CEO of Overwolf. “The next challenge for us is to allow gamers to utilize our technology to develop in-game apps, and publish those apps in our In-Game Appstore for the benefit of the gaming community”

If you'd like to get started developng your own apps for the Overwolf client, head on over to the official Overwolf developers website for details!


Community Spotlight: Public Quests?

Posted by MikeB Sunday August 5 2012 at 9:51PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight we focus on the thread, "Public quests, yay or nay?" by Dowie. In the thread, Dowie polls the community on their opinion of public quests vs. traditional questing:

As i have just begun to skim over the forums here at once again i took a look at the WAR forums, and it made me think back to the release of Warhammer online and i remember being pretty impressed by the early stages of the game. It was not the so called "huge RvR" or the iconic world that impressed me, it was actually the public quests in the game that impressed me, the flow it added to the game. it was really easy to join a group and you could enter the quest at any stage, and it also felt quite social, at least in the early release of the game, when people still where trying to figure out the certain tactics for the encounter. Just to bad Warhammer online failed to deliver on the other aspects of the game. 
I haven't played GW2 yet, but I've seen a couple of videos and read a bit about the game and it seems like GW2 is taking the public quests to a new level. Although the lack to "the holy trinity" will probably keep me away from the game. 
So, what are your view on public questing? Do you think it adds to the social aspect of the game? Do you prefer the "wowish" way of questing or maybe just the gather-a-group-in-a-dungeon-and-kill-stuff-for-XP way?

So, what is the community saying? Read on to find out!

Xiaoki breaks down the pros and cons:

Public quests have good points and bad points.

The good is that they bring people together out in the world.

The bad is that no one talks. During the event/public quest no one talks and after everyone just goes their separate ways.

Ive seen this with Warhammer Online, Rift and Guild Wars 2.

Maybe its poetic that what is bringing people together is also making them feel more alone than ever before.

Saydien isn't a fan:

I honestly neither like public quests nor dynamic events overly much. I admit they are better than killing 10 boars/rabbits over and over but my experience so far has been that they are VERY anti-social indeed. You might be together in the same quest with quite some people but hardly ever will you actually get to talk to them and of course you occasionally will get a random guy rage on you because he hates competing for the objectives with you.

Of course it is a matter of taste but I personally would rather play a game with no quests at all that actively encourages the social interaction. Social play for me has nothing to do with solving quests together with others. I would like to talk and chat and have fun with the others. In GW2 it most of the time was no different than playing with a horde or group of KI characters. Very disappointing experiences there so far.

evilastro prefers public quests/dynamic events to traditional quests:

I prefer it to traditional questing. I guess you could criticise it for being relatively anti-social, but it is less so than solo questing. You can still help other players, even though you dont need to talk to them. Some players will talk, others will silently assist. It all depends on the player. Much like many groups you participate in, some players will say the bare minimum and others will chat the entire time.

In GW2 on BWE3 I ended up chatting to a few people doing the same events as myself and we ended up running around doing puzzles together.

Just like in real life, you cant force people to be social, you just have to make the effort yourself and hope that some people reciprocate.

I'm definitely a fan of public quests and dynamic events. It's great to be able to just play with your friends or even with random people without having to worry about the hassle of quest chains.

In the specific case of Guild Wars 2, I feel like the events do a great job of telling the story of the world without having to use cinematics that some MMO fans feel break up the experience. It's a good middleground that fits the MMO format.