You may or may not have heard about Guild Wars 2 depending on how much you're into MMOs, but you're going to at least want to check it out, whether you like them or not. Even though Guild Wars 2 isn't released yet, ArenaNet certainly isn't keeping many secrets when it comes to how the game will look and play. To reinforce this idea, they've devoted an entire week to releasing more information about one of the playable races in their game, the Sylvari!
If you don't know much about Guild Wars 2 already, I'll try and sum it up in a nutshell for you.
No more dedicated DPS, healing, or tanks. You pull your own weight.
There are several different "ground breaking" things that they're going to implement into the game, first being the destruction of the "holy trinity" of gaming (DPS, healing, tanks). You heard me, it's gone. Every player will be able to support themselves and have the option of supporting their team. This creates an entirely new dynamic in that you won't have to wait for hours on end for a healer, and that your entire mission won't be heavily reliant on one person doing their job. It will be a collective effort, dependent on everyone doing their best instead of one person. Did I also mention they are getting rid of grinding up the levels? You can read more about this here.
Gameplay is persistent. If you screw up and let a town burn, it stays burned.
This is something that is almost unheard of in online games. If you let monsters attack a town and burn it to the ground, it will stay under beastman occupation until you rescue the town. In addition, you will be remembered by the villagers for your actions (good or bad) and will gain a reputation with them. Read more about it here.
World vs. world PvP tournaments. Battle other servers for a spot at the top.
In addition to regular gameplay, Guild Wars 2 also sports an extremely ambitious PvP mode. They will have smaller PvP arenas as well as a World vs. World mode, where battles will last for two weeks. If your world does well, it will be matched against other worlds that did well so that the battle will be as even as possible and you'll have good competition. In addition to this, you don't have to be max level to start PvP. In fact, you can start from level one and level all the way up to the max just by doing PvP! Cool, right? Here's the video.
No monthly fees!
I don't know how to expand on this any more. Other than buying the game itself, there will never be any monthly fees, something that ArenaNet was very serious about.
Back on topic, it's Sylvari week!
The Sylvari are tree people, really. They're born out of one giant tree, and their species is only twenty-five years old. Within this time, they struggle to find what is right and wrong, and try to make their place in the world. Just because they are a new race doesn't mean they're dumb. While still within the tree, they experience what they call the Dream that educates them on things that are going on in the world around them, and they keep this connection with the Dream even after they leave the tree. You could probably think of it as a deep connection with the earth. This race is guided by the lessons carved into the Ventari Tablet, which carries messages of nobility, chivalry, and honor.
However, just as not all people are good, not all Sylvari are noble, and not all Dreams are of the happy-go-lucky sort. There are several Sylvari who choose to give their life to the Nightmare and become part of the Nightmare Court. They seek to taint their entire race into the grasp of evil.
So the previous design for the Sylvari kind of sucked. Really, it was bad. Take a look for yourself.
The Sylvari is the green-skinned one in the middle. In addition to looking like a cheap anime elf with some leaves pasted onto her, it simply looks like the human model with plants sloppily glued on and doesn't really mesh with the rest of the character models. The plant and human elements really clashed, and were hard pressed for convincing users that this really was a "new" species.
Picking up on the user base's unhappiness with the current model, ArenaNet scrapped it and promised a better one (how many companies do that? Props to you, ArenaNet) and here are the results:
I don't know about you, but I really like this new design. Designer Kristen Perry did an excellent job listening to the community and really producing what they called for. She pared down the Sylvari description to three words: noble, beautiful, plant -- and redesigned the entire model based off those three words. The plant elements of the model mesh wonderfully with the rest of the character, creating the sense of "plantiness."
The redesign doesn't give off the feeling that the Sylvari are just bad snipers in camouflage gear, but are closer to being over-sized cabbages and are part of a bigger system.
ArenaNet has a full week planned for the Sylvari, kicking off with a blog post by "artist extraordinaire" Kristen Perry, which is currently up on their website. Here's a list of what's to come later this week.
Monday – Artist extraordinaire Kristen Perry explains how the look of the Sylvari has grown and evolved in a blog post full of cool art and character designs.
Tuesday – Writer Angel McCoy describes how the writing team brings the Sylvari to life through dialogue in a blog post that features a load of audio clips from Guild Wars 2.
Wednesday - Lore & Continuity Designer Ree Soesbee and Kristen Perry discuss the roots and growth of this unique race in a video overview of the Sylvari right here on the blog.
Friday - Ree Soesbee returns with a lore-filled narrative blog post that explores the mysterious Sylvari even further.
Sadly (for impatient gamers), Guild Wars 2 is keeping up the mentality of "It will be done when it's done," but fear not! The team has said that they wish to beta test before 2011 is over and that the beta will be very close to the full release. In the meantime, check out AreaNet's manifesto. You might be surprised by the things they want to bring to the table.
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