I just finished watching the Guild Wars 2 trailer. Before I go on, make sure you watch it.
Epic, right? Beautifully crafted world with stunning detail in almost ever locale shown. The place with boats/ships as buildings up on pylons and on the island, which I assume is a city, has such character. The use of vertical space was impressive and in general everything looks so big and fleshed out. Some talented folks working for ArenaNet.
The landscapes look sprawling and vast. They’ve given me imagery that makes me think “big diverse world”. There’s a catch though.
Straight from their very own FAQ:
Will Guild Wars 2 be an MMO?
Yes. Guild Wars 2 provides a massive, online persistent world.
How is Guild Wars 2 different from other MMOs?
While Guild Wars 2 adds a persistent-world experience, it retains the unique characteristics of the original game, including strong narrative, extensive instanced gameplay, anti-grind design philosophy, and strong support for competitive play.
Persistent world but “extensive instanced gameplay” … these two statements contradict each other. The game must be persistent for the individual then if this is to make any sense. The world they showed seems massive enough to me for them to make it entirely persistent and a real massively multiplayer world. They would get my money so fast if they would stop locking all their content and gameplay away in secluded instances. I know for a fact that they’re talented story tellers and they have an amazing team of artists capable of making a world and giving players that strong narrative. LOTRO managed to do this quite well. Some instancing is okay! I really do support the idea of providing us the story to supplement the massively multiplayer (whether it’s an illusion or not) world in instances if that’s how they choose to do it.
Right now I am impressed enough to follow the game and likely buy it. It looks like it can provide a lot of fun for a group of friends to play through the content and see the sights. I want them to know though that I would be willing to give them my $15 a month subscription (were they to have one) if they would just go the extra mile.
Update: Great news from the comments section. Thanks to engrey, some quotes from an IGN and Eurogamer article released today speak almost directly to my concerns. Be sure to read comments 7 and 8!