ArenaNet might get my money this time if…

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!

  • I agree. It’d be nice if it wasn’t so instanced but, like the original GW, I expect this game to be a somewhat different beast than a typical MMO. Granted, from what I’ve read, they’re putting in more to put it in line with a normal MMO, like multiple race/factions. I don’t have a link but I read a while back that they weren’t planning on having a monthly fee to play. Hopefully, they stick with that plan.

  • I couldn’t agree more. It all depends on what they mean by the word “extensive”. If that just means that they will have a huge, open, and persistent world but still have some instancing for storyline quests, then I am totally cool with that.

    But if “extensive” means they are going to be chopping up and sectioning off large parts of the world again…then I see Guild Wars 2 as a missed opportunity. ArenaNet would be wasting the abilities of a very talented team by making that mistake again.

  • Meh…a few cinematics and still pictures with new races and classes thrown in. Only thing I got out of it was the ability to jump. Finaly you can break gravity in Guild Wars.
    The scope of it all is still in question as you could have taken parts of the original instances and made them look just as vast. GW lost me with its sameness in weapons and gear, not near enough choices there. They chose instead to have the variety in your skills you chose before each battle. It was great as a guild vs guild game though, which I guess was their focus given their name :). Too bad I never found a guild that wasnt full of 10 olds It might have been fun.

    As far as making the same “mistake” again well im afraid that would suit them just fine as the “mistake” has proven very profitable for them. Personally I bought the original game, and 3 expansions for about 200 bucks. No, their is no monthly fee, but it makes its $$ just the same in another type of business model.

    Time will tell

  • Don’t break what worked about the original GW. It made it clear, through the instanced mission storytelling, that you were special. One of only 8 heroes (at any one time) standing against the legions of evil and darkness. However, what they could do to improve the community feeling would be to make the towns and explorable areas persistent, but maintain the use of instancing for the core story arc missions. I’m assuming that they will use the same sort delineation between normal quests and the missions that advance the story arc, of course, but I think that it would be an improvement on the original without losing it’s charm.

    On another note, I very much hope that they continue with the GW pricing model, as it allowed me to play as much or as little as I wanted and kept the new content flowing via new chapters.

  • I could be wrong, but there will be no monthly fees for GW2 from what I’ve heard.

    You can expect it to have more instancing than you’d like on your regular MMO, but again, this is not supposed to be your regular MMO.

    I just want them to improve their work on GW. I sure hope they keep the storytelling elements, and if they need a lot instancing for that to happen, I won’t complain a single bit. Also, things I would NOT like to see changed are:
    – The design of only having 8 active skills on your bar. I like that system.
    – Low level cap (20 originally).
    – Focus on storyline for the PVE campaign.
    – Not too gear dependent. I like that it was quite easy to get the “best” weapon for my character, and I could improve it later with runes or enchants.
    – Use of customizable Henchmen/Heroes.

    I really loved GW1 and I do hope they don’t make GW2 a total different game, but only improve what they have been doing so far.

  • You’re correct, there will not be a monthly fee. That’s right in their FAQ. I’m saying that I would be willing to pay one if they would make it more open and less instanced – tone the instancing down to LOTRO’s level. Tell me the story in the instances, but let me progress my character in an open world.

  • Hey Keen, I did not know if you poked over to Massively today to check out their “article” on GW2, which is just the trailer.

    However a poster did put this up:

    “In an interview with IGN, ArenaNet Co-founder Eric Flannum says the world will be persistent, but with instanced missions:

    “The basic structure of the game is very different from what players saw in Guild Wars. While we will still make use of instancing (e.g. for quests and dungeons) players will find Guild Wars 2 to be a large open and persistent world where they can meet up with old friends or make new ones while out adventuring.”


    The link is from today, I did not read the whole thing but wanted to make sure it was not out of date.

  • Wish there was an edit button for these posts :\

    However I will pull a few more quotes from the article:

    “During the past two years of development we made huge advances to our game engine, adding a persistent world with free-form movement and exploration, day/night cycles, cutting edge support for dungeons and interior environments, numerous graphical advancements including support for more detailed environments and models, better lighting and shadows, new animation and effects systems, plus new audio and cinematics engines, a more flexible combat and skill-casting system, and so on. ”

    ” At the same time we have taken a lot of steps to avoid the griefing and player conflict that can so often arise in a persistent world. For example, our event system is designed to give players shared goals, so they should always feel that working together on a problem is the best option available to them. ”

    “Imagine for a second that you’re strolling through the local military garrison when you hear a scout start shouting about a centaur column that has been sighted approaching. The soldiers are quick to action, shutting the gates and ordering archers up onto the walls. You and some of your fellow players watch as the centaurs batter at the gates with axes while their archers clear defenders from the walls and shots from their catapults arc overhead. It’s a tense moment until the gate falls, and as you rush into the gap to fend off the centaurs you are joined by other players and guards who are all intent on saving the garrison. If you succeed, the garrison will hold and may launch a counterattack on the trading post where the centaurs came from. If you fail, it’s a desperate fight as soldiers pour from the nearby town and attempt to retake their fortress. Scenarios like this are exactly the sort of thing that allows our event system to shine and we think players will be really pleased with how it has turned out. “

  • That’s really informative. Thanks a bunch engrey. Guild Wars 2 just moved a few more steps up my interest ladder. Wonderful news that they’re at least moving in the right direction.

  • Do you think this agme will have open world PVP? They say “we have taken a lot of steps to avoid griefing and player conflict that arise.” Well taking steps to avoid griefing is one thing that I don’t mind.. but taking steps to avoid player conflict? That sounds like total PvE only to me. But the name of the game is freaking Guild Wars.

    What I would like to see from Guild Wars is:
    A. Guilds that can actually war eachother! and fight anywhere they want if they are at war with eachother.

    B. No factions!! (no forced factions like WoW)

    C. Castles in the REAL world that guilds can fight for and control.

    That would be a true “guild wars” game! Cmonn arenanet.. dont limit all the PvP to stupid battlegrounds like WoW does.. pleaseeeeeeeee.

  • Open-world PvP is unlikely. This will likely remain very much PvE with the competitive arena-like fighting.

    Well, I take that back. The more I learn about the game, the more I’m really intrigued by ArenaNet’s direction with GW2. From the Eurogamer review:

    In addition, there’s also a new World PvP system, which lets you use your PvE character and equipment to play against other people on a more open battlefield, the Mists. “It’s very casual PvP where you can gain levels and have ten-on-one fights or 100-on-20 fights or whatever, where everything flows naturally on the battlefield and there’s no limits to how many players can be involved,” elaborates Flannum, though the team can’t go into specifics about exactly how players will gain access to the Mists.

    Not entirely open-world sounding, but that’s something.

  • Well Iloved Guild Wars for six weeks. Thought it was the best thing I’d ever played pretty much. Then I stopped and never played it again.

    I hadn’t been paying attention to GW2, but if it’s going to be a “proper” MMO then it just came right onto my radar.

  • I’m really tired of heavily instanced MMOs. Why is it the current trend with everything? I don’t mind “zones” that give a representation of a virtual world but I don’t like feeling like I’m just playing in a glorified chat room.

  • Guild Wars 1 had amazing, lush environments, too, but about 50 percent of the game’s beauty exists purely as set pieces and backdrops.

    Art hasn’t ever been ArenaNet’s issue — it’s been embracing actual massiveness instead of hub-and-spokes overinstancing. I’m optimistic, but the trailer doesn’t tell me much of anything save that they can still make very pretty environments.

  • Most of this was known since 2008 to Guild Wars players since the first PC Gamer interview about GW2.

    Still, pretty exciting. I have high hopes, but those usually get shattered… but it is about time for a revolution in the MMO genre, so all power to GW2.

  • I always came within an inch of getting the first, only being intimidated by the number of boxes on the store shelves. This has really got my interest after reading the article and interview, will defintely be keeping my eye on this one.

  • Cool, may pick up some Guild Wars now see how their previous games played. I do hope this one is not too instanced.

  • I’m at least interested in it. More than I can say for some other MMO’s I’ve seen put out videos recently.

  • You know it’s weird, because I didn’t enjoy Guild Wars much (although granted, I haven’t revisited it and they’ve added so much), but I think it’s very likely I’ll purchase Guild Wars 2.

    The buy it and you’ve bought it model makes it a lot easier to consider. Especially after seeing them maintain and update Guild Wars: If you asked me in 2005 I doubted they would update much without charging subscription fees. They completely proved me wrong and that’s 10x more valuable than being proven right.

    I also deeply respect their plan to avoid a large beta, at least until the game is ready for primetime. I hope they stick with that.

    The changes to their world design approach sounds really promising.

  • they already said on the forums they will be goin on with free to play…so it should be you buy the game and you play with no pay… like gw

  • Keen, I have been following Guild Wars 2 for years now. From when it was first announced and all we had was a picture of a snowy mountain and a giant guild wars symbol with a 2. So if you have any question I can probably answer and source the answer for it.

    I truly love NCSoft and ArenaNet. I have been in the same boat as most of you all for the past few years now. Hopping from 1 MMO to another and just not finding anything I am looking for or anything worth wasting my time. Honestly, this is why Guild Wars 2 appeals to me so much. It has almost everything I want, its free, and it is created by NCSoft and ArenaNet. Seriously, I can’t remember an NCSoft game that didn’t run well on release. Of course a few errors, but nothing major.