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Guild Wars


Romier S
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I'm sure many have heard something about Guild Wars over the past year and half but the point of this thread is both to inform those who haven't of what appears to be an excellent addition to the world of Online RPG's but also to get some interest going and see who plans on playing.

 

Having recently left WoW for awhile, I see Guild Wars becoming my next MMO obsession. Some interesting tidbits that will not doubt interest many reading this: The game is free to play. You read that right and for confirmation here is Gamespots word on the matter:

 

That leaves one big question: Will Guild Wars require monthly fees? Despite having a single, nonsharded, fully hosted server environment with persistent player characters and a partially persistent world, ArenaNet and Guild Wars' publisher, NCSoft, have no plans to charge a monthly fee to play Guild Wars, at least in North America. The pricing model for the game in Asia and other territories has yet to be determined. ArenaNet's developers are adamant that monthly fees greatly limit a game's potential audience, and they feel that it remains one of the big factors slowing the growth of online gaming today.

 

The way in which you will build your character and take him/her on missions is very unique. Take a read of this:

 

Upon loading the game, you will be presented with a world overview map that shows areas that are unlocked and ready for exploration. Clicking on one of the areas will immediately transport you to that territory, where you can explore the land in more detail. There are two basic types of persistent territories: towns and outposts. Towns are areas where you can buy supplies, chat with others, and conduct general character-management tasks. Outposts act as entrances to the game's missions. There, you can meet up with others who are interested in doing the quest and form parties to go into the missions together. Like in Anarchy Online, the missions in Guild Wars are not a persistent part of the world; essentially, each mission takes place within a "pocket dimension" that's separate from the rest of the game. This means that you don't have to worry about getting in line to do the same mission or entering a dungeon to find that all the monsters have already been killed and all the treasure has already been taken. Multiple parties of players can partake in the same quest simultaneously.

 

In terms of play balancing, ArenaNet also has some good thoughts behind how your character should progress:

 

With Guild Wars, ArenaNet's developers hope to address what they feel is a big problem in today's online RPGs--specifically, that competitive play doesn't reward skill as much as it rewards the players who have put the most time into the game. ArenaNet intends to design Guild Wars so that characters will get more powerful with time and experience, but the pace at which players become stronger will trail off over time. The game's combat system is designed such that higher-level characters can use a wider range of tactics than lower-level characters, but they won't necessarily be more powerful in every situation. This places a greater emphasis on skillful, creative play. Guild Wars' combat skills system is also specifically designed to encourage you to cooperate with other players and figure out how to combine your unique skills in order to overcome nonplayer character (NPC) monsters and other teams of players.

 

The developers at ArenaNet have also pointed out that nonpersistent missions allow them to create quests that are potentially more interesting, perhaps allowing you to deform the landscape or affect the world in a manner that wouldn't be possible if missions were part of a persistent world. The missions in Guild Wars also limit party size, so the problem of low-level players quickly advancing by tagging along with high-level characters on missions will be reduced.

 

They are also doing some unique things with the very Diablo II-esque skill system:

 

Though the developers plan on having hundreds of skills in the game, and high-level characters will probably end up learning a few dozen, Guild Wars currently forces you to choose only eight to bring into a mission. Again, this limitation is similar to building and playing with a limited deck in a game of Magic: The Gathering. You are forced to think about what you will face in a mission or against a team of other players and pick out skills that are appropriate for the job beforehand. Teams of players can discuss the skills they possess and attempt to come up with combinations that work well together. Failing a mission gives you an opportunity to reshuffle your skills and attempt different strategies instead of trying the same things over and over again.

 

The developers were quick to point out that having a skills system allows them to design the game so that low-level skills don't necessarily become obsolete by higher-level skills that players will learn later. For instance, basic skills like the warrior's sprint are still useful in any multiplayer battle and in many cooperative missions. It's also worth noting that the game's monsters will use the same skills that you use; it may even be possible to learn effective skill combinations by carefully observing the skills that monsters use against you.

 

 

The game will also support guilds (DUH!) and a very heavy emphasis on PVP. You can read more about the game in Gamespots full preview here:

 

Guild Wars Preview

 

Along with that they also have features on all of the character classes in the game. Guild Wars is being developed by ArenaNet which is a Seattle based studio founded by key members of the Warcraft/Starcraft and Diablo development teams. For those fond of World of Warcraft's wonderfully artistic look and graphics you will find a great deal to love about Guild Wars. You only need to take a look at some screenshots here:

 

Screenshots

 

These are especially lovely:

 

gw4.jpg

 

Guild Wars

Guild Wars

Guild Wars

 

For those interested in buying the game, NCSoft will be releasing a really kick ass Collectors Edition of the game. There is also a preorder camaign happening as well. By preordering with EB you get an exclusive Bow and by doing so with Gamestop you get an exclusive Warhammer. By buying the Collectors Edition you get the following:

 

-Guild Wars Game

-Guild Wars Sound Track - Jeremy Soule

-Guild Wars Cloth Map

-Logitech Headset

-3 Months Teamspeak

-Hard Covered Guild Wars Art Book (4.5" x 6.5")

 

Of course the TeamSpeak service is unnecessary since it's already provided for the LCVG folks but the headset is nice and the soundtrack by Mr. Soule along with the hardcover are worth the price IMHO. You can take a look at both product pages here:

 

Guild Wars CE at EBgames

 

Guild Wars CE at Gamestop

 

You can also pick up a regular copy of the game for the standard retail price of 49.99. I hope a good number of people here take some interest in the game. The release date is only a short month and half away! :tu

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The developers dont charge a monthly fee, but if you want content updates you need to buy expansion packs that come out every few months. Still, I totally agree with this pricing model and I think they have been driving out some potential customers who want to play an MMORPG but can't because of the lack of a credit card.

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The developers dont charge a monthly fee, but if you want content updates you need to buy expansion packs that come out every few months.

 

Small price to pay in exchange for losing the monthly fee in my eyes. I have no problems paying for extra content if it is reasonably priced, the content itself is worthy of a download, and the game itself remains free. I agree that one of the biggest stumbling blocks that the MMO genre faces is the monthly fee. With the current pricing model, some folks simply will not pay thirty-fifty dollars for a copy of the game and then twelve-fourteen bucks a month above that to continue playing it. The current model also requires the player to purchase subsequent expansion packs to get large boosts of content for the typical 19.99/29.99. Even more alarming is the direction that Sony Online Entertainment is looking to take with Everquest II. Not only do you have to pay a monthly fee for the game (or an all Station pass for 21.95/month) but they are also trying to move to a pay-per-play model with thier "Adventure Packs" (ie content releases). The first part of the upcoming "adventure pack" is apparently free while downloading the rest will cost you a "small fee" and that is the only way to continue the story started in the initial download. That is not exactly a stategy I personally want to see succeed.

 

If Guild Wars can successfully change the way in which your average MMO is priced and how content releases are handled, I'm all for it. I'm very much looking forward to playing the game again (I tried one of the open beta's) and I know a few of the big MMO fans we have on LCVG will more than likely want to give it a shot.

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No fee = wait for me!

 

I've been very interested in everything I've read about the game, so if it lives up to most of its promise then you'll see me back in the realm soon enough. The nice thing is that without the monthly fee I can reasonably keep two MMORPGs going at the same time and not feel too bad about it ;)

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I think they have been driving out some potential customers who want to play an MMORPG but can't because of the lack of a credit card.

 

You can also use game cards if you don't have a credit card.

 

The nice thing is that without the monthly fee I can reasonably keep two MMORPGs going at the same time and not feel too bad about it

 

Exactly, Mark :tu

 

I'll most likely be getting this, but will more than likely be getting the regular version as there are some other games coming out in March that I'll be picking up as well :)

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You can also use game cards if you don't have a credit card.

 

Not available where I stay, unfortunately.

 

I agree with you Romier. I would much rather pay for expansion packs than pay for a monthly subscription. You can even put off a game for a while if you're a little bored of it during the month without sacrificing the current monthly subscription as a sunk cost. I personally totally agree with a pricing scheme.

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There are a couple neat things about Guild Wars:

 

Monsters don't drop something unless they use it, meaning you won't see a rabid dog drop a sword, but you would see something like a minotar drop a warhammer if it is using one.

All armor and weapons must be crafted by a player.

 

If you are interested in trying out Guild Wars pre-order and get a beta key that is good for the open betas they have every first weekend of the month. BTW - I've been preordered on this game since September.

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A couple of things from the main FAQ on the Guild Wars site that may interest folks currenty playing some of the MMO's out there:

 

Can I be killed by other players?

 

While Guild Wars has player vs. player combat, you're in control: you can choose to join in competitive missions and receive acclaim for conquering other gamers, or you can reap the rewards of solo adventures or cooperative team missions with an entirely different set of challenges.

 

Am I required to buy the expansion packs to continue to play Guild Wars?

 

 

No. Every purchase you make in the continuation of the Guild Wars saga will be your choice. If you purchase expansion packs you will gain access to new regions of the world, new skills and abilities, new items, new professions, and much more. However, if you choose to not purchase a chapter, you will still be able to play the chapters of Guild Wars that you own, and you will have common areas in which you will be able to play with and against your friends who have purchased the other chapter(s).

 

What are the unique items that come with the different preorder packages?

 

 

The five unique items are:

Best Buy: Kanthan Targe

Electronics Boutique: Ithas Bow

GameStop: War Pick

CompUSA: Bone Idol

All others: Censor's Icon

 

They also have pages and pages worth of Guild Emblems to choose from:

 

Guild Emblems

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Some more info on the "Wars" part of Guild Wars:

 

There are two kinds of missions in the game: player versus player (PvP), where teams and guilds can battle each other in an arena, and player versus monster, which is part of the campaign game. ArenaNet cofounder Jeff Strain promises a story that's similar to Starcraft, and considering the company's background, it is certainly capable of delivering. This story is definitely going to be important in terms of a business model. In another surprise, publisher NCsoft and ArenaNet will not require a monthly subscription to play the game, as many online role-playing games do. Strain told us that they're following Blizzard's popular Battle.net model, in which you pay once to purchase the game once and then all online gameplay is free. They do plan to issue a content pack every six months that you can buy. However, Strain made it clear that they will not punish you if you don't purchase it and your friends do; you'll still be able to play with them, though you won't be able to experience the new content. But they're certainly hoping players will choose to pay in order to continue the story.

 

The PvP missions will pit guild against guild in competitive games. While players and guilds can engage in PvP missions at any time in the arena, at the heart of the game is the tournament system, which will work much like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, but only bigger. The tournament can support hundreds and even thousands of guilds in the first round, and it's a single-elimination system, so each consecutive round halves the number of guilds remaining in contention. The eventual winner of the tournament will receive substantial rewards; for example, an idea is that at the upper levels of the tournament teams will have to ante up valuable equipment that will go into the winner's pot.

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The next Guild Wars event will start on February 18th, 2005. You can take a look at this page for details:

 

Guild Wars February event

 

There is also a list of sites giving away Beta keys for those wanting to play. If you preorder the game you get full access to the beta events as well as an extra key you can give to a friend. Anyone wanting to try the game may want to head out and grab a preorder package (it's only 5 bucks) and join in the fun. I'll be online come Feb. 18 for sure. :tu

 

You also get a nice CD including some music tracks from the man himself, Jeremy Soule.

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Do you guys think this will be better than WoW and City of Heroes? I plan to start playing a MMORPG when I get my new computer but I haven't decided which one yet. I've heard that WoW doesn't require a huge time investment, which is a definite plus, but I've also read about people maxing their characters in 2 weeks. I'm looking for something a bit longer lasting.

 

Any thoughts on if this game would be good for someone relatively new to MMORPGs ? My only previous experience is with FFXI on the PS2, and I ended up quitting when I hit lvl 45.

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I don't know about better or worse since I've had limited time with Guild Wars and have spent a great deal of time with both WoW and CoH. I can tell you that anyone thinking of this game as a straight out MMO is going to be disappointed. That isn't what Guild Wars is about. It's not about grinding your way up to level 60, or acquiring the "Ultra Sword of Ass Whooping". It's about teamplay and ultimately the end game is all about PVP and well...Guild Wars.

 

A couple things to remember. The level cap in Guild Wars is level 20. Getting to level 20 in the game will not take you very long at all (some have done it in less than a week of play time). Once you hit level 20 your hit points/ main attributes are done increasing. From that point the game is all about finding new skills which you attain by exploring, fighting bosses etc as well as improving your armor/weapons and finding rare runes that will increase your attributes further. You will continue to gain skill points as well which will help you acquire more skills over time from skill merchants etc.

 

The PVE portion of the game is extremely story driven. Moreso than even the quests in WoW. Each quest you partake in has a series of cutscenes that tell the story and reveal more about the lore of the area you are in. The story is always in progress and the expansions that will be released over time will add new storylines and new areas to explore.

 

Once you get past the PVE you can partake in the PVP content. Which includes stuff like Capture the Relic, King of Hill, Survival and Annhilation which offers teams of players the ability to face off or work coop against another set of teams or guilds. Think of a good MMO group in the trappings of an FPS game mode and you have an idea of what to expect from the PVP content here. Right off the bat when you create a guild in this game you also get a nice Guild Hall in a persistent section of the world to come back to and share your victories or defeats. At the moment you are not able to fully customize the Guild Hall but that will happen in a later update.

 

To be more specific in terms of gameplay, each character in Guild Wars can attain well over 150 skills but when entering a mission, be it PVE or PVP you can only select 8 to take with you. It's important to strategize and plan for a given situation because of that. There is no penalty for death in Guild Wars per se. If you die during a mission you appear back in town and can try the mission over again. Your party may suffer a momentum penalty which can be wiped away after fighting a few creatures/players. You can go from having a severe momentum loss which will decrease some attirbutes to a huge momentum gain which will give you some huge boosts in effectiveness.

 

The weapons and armor in Guild Wars are also somewhat inconsequential. Of course you won't be running into PVE encounters with starter weapons but some of the nastier "end" game weapons will only give you a 1-3 point hit advantage over an equal level person with a lesser weapon. Same goes for armor etc. It makes a difference, but not so much of a difference as to unbalance someones ability to take you out.

 

That's the biggest difference with this game as opposed to any other MMO out there. It's a skill based game. You don't grind to a higher level. You don't grind to get better equipment (you craft it all yourself from drops). The game isn't about the time you put into grinding your way to the top. It's about how much time you put into getting good at it (again much like an FPS). Once you hit the level cap of 20 and have some decent equipment you can easily take out someone else with better equipment if you choose the right skill set for example. It's not like playing a game of Dark Age of Camelot where a level 35 has no chance against a level 50. Or even WoW for that matter where a level 42 will destroy a level 25 no matter how hard they try. If you choose the proper skills you can take on anyone and if that set doesn't work you can go back and change what skills your using. It allows for huge amount of strategy and variety in terms of character flexibility.

 

The best thing I can tell anyone interested in this game is not to think of it as a typical MMO. It's not. It has alot of MMO elements including a huge world to explore, creatures to battles, items to acquire, crafting, persistent towns etc. but it also has alot of cool stuff that kind of goes against what you expect of the genre. Hope that helps.

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Both games are excellent to be honest. It really comes down to what kind of game do you want to play? A more traditional MMO ala WoW with a very easy learning curve, fun quests and gameplay and there is a good contingent of folks that play the game quite a bit here. You'll also have a very heavy emphasis on PVE over PVP at the moment, though the adddition of battlegrounds should help balance that. The opposite side of the coin is a game that is less traditional, more story oriented in terms of it's PVE content and has a heavy focus on PVP and competitive online play.

 

I'm personally wanting to get a good guild going in Guild Wars. Some of the competitive online matches sound fun as hell and doing them in a group setting with an MMO vibe sound just killer to me.

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