We were all new players (“newbs”) at one point in time, wandering about, gawking at the world and wondering what happened to our gold right after that Thief bumped into us. The process of transitioning from wide eyed newb to hardened veteran can be challenging in any game, it’s especially so in an MMO. Guild Wars 2 has so many facets to the game ranging from player versus player (PvP) formats, crafting, personal stories and the massive World versus World (WvW) territory PvP format that it can be overwhelming to the new player.
This guide, beginning today and running daily through to Friday, is built to give you a good foothold into understanding nearly every major topic in Guild Wars 2.
What is Guild Wars 2?
Guild Wars 2 is an MMORPG, and in case you have no idea what that acronym means, it stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. When you log into the game, you are entering the world of Tyria with thousands of other players at the same time. Guild Wars 2 descends from the original Guild Wars MMO, but it has a number of vast improvements over its predecessor, including advanced graphics, dynamic events and dragons the size of islands.
A New Breed of MMO
It feels like a sea of MMOs exist in the world, but what makes Guild Wars 2 stand out from the pack? One of its most striking features is a dynamic questing environment where your actions, or lack of actions, physically alters the game world. In other MMOs, like World of Warcraft, if you get a quest to kill marauders attacking the town, then you can hop in, kill the ten required marauders and complete the quest. However, marauders will still be attacking the town no matter how many thousands you kill.
In Guild Wars 2, if you fail to fend off the marauders from the town, they will not only kill all of its inhabitants (including merchants!) but also take over the town, preventing you from using it as a point of travel. You will then have to retake it with a group of allies, fend off assaults while the newly revived NPCs try to fix the gates, and then help launch a counterattack on the marauders in order to get the town back in tip top shape.
Some of the other major standout areas where Guild Wars 2 deviates from other MMOs is their PvP and endgame philosophy. Guild Wars 2 structured PvP (sPvP) has been a major focus of development with the idea that it would also be an electronic-focused sport (e-sport). For most other MMOs, PvP is more of an afterthought and it tends to lack the tight balance and fun of Guild Wars 2 combat.
Finally, one of the major claims by ArenaNet, Guild Wars 2′s developer and architect, is that the whole of Guild Wars 2 IS the endgame, from level 1 to 80. In almost every other MMO, the game only truly starts at maximum level, and it is a rather jolting experience to find that your playstyle up to that point will have to completely change to adapt to the new max level gameplay.
This MMO mindset essentially makes all the “fun” start at the end of the game, which includes raiding, PvP and dungeons. In Guild Wars 2, you will find that skills you learned at level 1 still apply at level 80 and you don’t have to overcome an artificial hurdle to have fun in the game. Furthermore, you are automatically scaled down to the area you are playing in, making lower level areas still a challenge at level 80.
For more information on how Guild Wars 2 shakes up the MMO standard you can read the New Krewe article on this topic.
There are five Elder dragons that, in recent history, have awoken, plunging the world of Tyria into peril. More akin to forces of nature than actual beasts, these Dragons have changed Tyria at its core. The Five Dragons areas are as follows:
Jormag: The Elder Dragon of Ice. He lives in the far north and has driven the Norn south out of their homelands.
Primordus: The Elder Dragon of Fire. Primordus lives deep in the heart of the world of Tyria. His minions drove the Skritt and Asura out of their subterranean homes. The Dwarves underwent a transformation, turning themselves to stone, in order to safeguard the surface from Primordus’ influence.
Kralkatorrik: The Elder Dragon of Crystal. He has the power to corrupt any organic material into a twisted, crystalline form that serves his whim without question. His flight south created a great chasm in the land, known as the Crystal Scar.
Zhaitan: The Elder Dragon of Undeath. Zhaitan rose the region of Orr from the bottom of the sea, which created a tidal wave that wiped out Lion’s Arch. He is the First Dragon we will fight.
Mr. Bubbles: An as of yet unnamed Dragon who has risen from the DEEP sea, further underwater than even Zhaitan. It has driven the Quaggan and Krait into the shallower waters of Tyria, but little has been seen of this monster.
Destiny’s Edge [WARNING: Spoilers]
Destiny’s Edge is one of the most famous adventuring groups in the recent history of Tyria. Made up of originally six members, they were responsible for combating the Elder Dragons and their minions
Eir Stegalkin: A Norn Ranger and Sculptor of great skill, Eir is accompanied everywhere by her loyal wolf companion Garm. Eir was the main driving force behind the adventuring group known as the Dragonspawn’s Destiny before combining with Edge of Steel to create the group Destiny’s Edge. Since the disaster during the fight with Kralkatorrik, Eir has becoming somewhat of a former glory to the Norn, along with losing much of her former artistic inspiration.
Snaff: Mentor to Zojja, an expert golemancer, and self-proclaimed genius. Probably the single greatest mind in the Destiny’s Edge group, who used golem technology to help defeat the Dragon’s minions. He was killed during the fight with Kralkatorrik, causing the rift to come between the members of Destiny’s Edge.
Zojja: Snaff’s Apprentice. A Snarky, if incredibly intelligent, Asura, who took her master’s death particularly hard.
Logan Thackeray: A former Mercenary Scout and member of the Gladiatorial team Edge of Steel, turned personal guard of Queen Jennah, and Commander of the Seraph Forces. He left Destiny’s Edge while they prepared to fight Kralkatorrick in order to protect Queen Jennah, which earned him the ire of Rytlock Brimstone in particular. There is some debate as to whether Logan Thackeray left of his own free will or was coerced by Queen Jennah’s Mesmer abilities. Ree Soesbee weighs in on her interpretation of what happens in a GWI Podcast Interview.
Rytlock Brimstone: Member of the Blood Legion, and Former member of Edge of Steel, Rytlock now serves as the Blood Legion Tribune. He currently wields a fiery blade of holy origins called Sohothin. He was particularly enraged by Logan’s actions, specifically because he had gifted the human his own Blood Legion Emblem, as a mark of Friendship and Brotherhood. He thus felt betrayed, and has held a particularly harsh grudge against his former friend. This rift is a prominent story point during the major dungeon quests in the game.
Caithe of the Firstborn: A Sylvari, who was a member of Edge of Steel, Destiny’s Edge. She is/was the lover of Foalain, the sylvari who now leads the Nightmare Court. She is the mysterious one of the group, no one really knows what she is truly up to…
Tomorrow we will cover character creation, take a glimpse at the different races, and an overview of all the professions.