Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guild Wars 2

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The Guild Wars 2 story is set about 250 years after the events in the Eye of the North expansion. The continent of Tyria will be drastically changed from its original form. These changes will be caused by an ancient race of powerful dragons resurfacing after millennia of slumber. The first of the dragons, called Primordus, was already debuted in Eye of the North, whose main antagonist, the Great Destroyer, was one of his generals. After defeating the Great Destroyer, the player views a statue of a Dragon apparently coming to life. This dragon arises and takes over the underground network of Asuran tunnels under the continent of Tyria, driving the Asuras to the surface. Subsequently a number of other dragons resurface; one rises about the sunken holy city of Arah in the ruined human kingdom of Orr, and severs the sea route between the only intact human kingdom Kryta and the Factions continent of Cantha; another arises to the south of the Crystal Desert, cutting off the link to the Nightfall continent of Elona; a third arises in the Far Shiverpeaks of Eye Of The North and uses its icy minions to push the Norn south into the previous land of the Dwarves.

The resurfacing of the dragons causes massive floods that destroy many coastal cities in Kryta, including its capital city, Lion's Arch. The Krytans move north, away from the coast, and establish a new capital in the former holy village of Divinity's Reach; there, they set up a constitutional monarchy that ends the years of feuds between the Shining Blade, a faction loyal to the Krytan royalty, and the remnants of the White Mantle who were left broken and leaderless by the end of the events of Prophecies. Many refugees flock to Kryta from the rest of Tyria; most importantly, the humans from Ascalon, which now belongs entirely to the Charr. Those Ascalons who did not flee to Kryta move southwards and barricade themselves in a fortress called Ebonhawke. Ascalon City itself becomes a ghost town, populated by the vengeful spirits of its former citizens who slay all who dare enter. A legend says that if one of the two relics of Ascalon's sundered royal line, the flaming swords of Rurik and Adelbern, are returned to Ascalon, then the spirits will finally be at rest. Lion's Arch is eventually rebuilt and becomes the new portal into the Mists with the blessing of the god of combat, Balthazar; it takes the place of the Battle Isles, which also sinks in the floods.

In Cantha, the successor of emperor Kisu defeats the warring Kurzick and Luxon factions and reunites Cantha under one banner. Under his strong leadership, Cantha forces all non-human races off their lands and fortifies its borders, becoming much more isolationist than before. The few Canthans who oppose the new empire are exiled to Kryta. When Arah resurfaces, the Corsair ships that used to take refuge in that archipelago are corrupted by the dragon to form a deadly fleet of black ships that seal off all trade routes between Cantha and the other continents. At the start of the Guild Wars 2 story, there has been no contact with mainland Canthans for a generation.

In Elona, the undead general Palawa Joko, who had briefly formed an alliance with the Order of the Sunspears, an order dedicated to protecting Elona, to defeat the fallen god Abaddon in Nightfall, successfully reconstitutes his undead army and begins a long siege on the Elonian provinces of Vabbi, Kourna, and Istan. Vabbi is all but destroyed, its former splendor ruined by a ravaging famine when the river Elon is diverted by Joko. The Sunspears are eventually broken by Joko's armies, and many of their former leaders are converted to his service, some alive, some undead. The land bridge between Elona and the Crystal Desert is blocked by Joko's minions and the dragon, and the only news that slips through is carried by the mysterious and secretive Order of Whispers, who are now spread over all of Tyria.

Besides the humans, the other sentient races have a comparatively better time. The Norn and the Charr continue to honor their peace formed from a mutual respect. The Asura spread through all cities, maintaining a network of teleportation gates but also remaining strictly neutral. The Charr achieve total victory over Ascalon and settle into the former human capital of Rin. A new race, the Sylvari, appear fully formed from the mysterious tree that the centaur Ventari tended to until his death. The Dwarves, who pursued the Destroyers deep and long at the end of Eye of the North, are now deathless creatures of stone; the few who remain watch the ages go by, interacting little with the other sentient races, if at all.

Players of the current Guild Wars campaigns and the expansion will be allowed to "port" achievements obtained in the original series into Guild Wars 2 via the Hall of Monuments location in the Eye of the North expansion which will also be present in Guild Wars 2. Player character names will be reserved from the original series for their owners' use in Guild Wars 2; however, the characters themselves will not be transferable from the original series.

Guild Wars 2 will offer four new playable races in addition to the humans from Guild Wars 1: the Charr, sentient bipedal cat-like creatures originally introduced in the Prophecies campaign; the Norn, tall solitary humanoids who excel in armed combat introduced in the Eye of the North expansion; the Asura, short bipedal creatures with high intelligence and advanced mastery of magic also introduced in Eye of the North; and the Sylvari, hive-minded creatures born from a magical plant that share a common Dream of Dreams.

Guild Wars 2 will change a number of gameplay elements of the original series. Early interviews revealed that Guild Wars 2 will have a much higher maximum character level than 20, the maximum level of player characters in the original series. One of the major developer concerns is "to avoid forcing players into the grind-based gameplay that too often accompanies a high level cap." To accomplish this Guild Wars 2 to will give players "a strong sidekicking system, similar to that used in City of Heroes"; that is, high-level characters will be able to transfer their powers to lower-level friendly characters in the same party.

Guild Wars 2 will feature a global persistent game-world instead of the instanced zones of Guild Wars 1, although several aspects of the game, including its main plotline, will use instances. The players' choices will impact the world as a whole, triggering or disabling quests based on their in-game actions and those of their fellow players. In-game events will allow player characters of different levels to interact continually in the persistent game-world. An NPC companion system will be implemented to help keep the game solo friendly, but characters will be proportionally rewarded if they choose not to use this system.

Player versus player (PvP) combat will also change significantly from the original series. The popular guild vs. guild matches from the original series will continue to be available, but Guild Wars 2 will introduce large scale world vs. world matches in the in-game setting called the Mists. Players will be able to join this world-wide PvP battle in a variety of roles, with rewards commensurate with their success. In a stark departure from the original series, there will be no separation between role-playing and PvP characters in Guild Wars 2; instead, competitive skills and equipment will be freely available in the PvP areas and all characters will have the same power level there.

There are neither announcement about the released date nor will there be a beta testing!

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