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The intention of this thread is to give you a quick and easy point by point reference of what we know the game offers, whenever possible it is backed up by links. If you want an in depth look at classes and mechanics read chelmo's Mass info for the uninitiated.
PLEASE NOTE ArenaNet are developing GW2 with a process of iteration, all information is subject to change at any time. Also note that ArenaNet has the policy of not discussing any aspect of the game until it is live in the current iteration of the game, if they talk about it, it's already in the game.
Set some 250 years after the original game. Tyria will be the only playable continent, the continents of Elona (Nightfall GW-Chapter 3) and Cantha (Factions GW chapter 2) will not be included.
The game world is set to be much larger than the original game, much of the game play is said to be underwater. The lost land of Orr has risen from the depths and along with it the elder dragons have returned to threaten its survival.
The majority of the world, with the exception of dungeons and personal storyline, is set in a persistent world and isn't heavily instanced like its predecessor. Areas will be large and from what we've seen in videos will be zoned, meaning there will be portals and loading screens between areas.
There are 25 large explorable zones, 8 dungeons, and 6 cities currently planned for Guild Wars 2 Source
The world will have day/night and weather cycles. Some events will be linked to the time of day and weather cycle, some events will even effect weather.
As well as language understandable by the player there will be translatable languages discoverable by players, source: The language of Guild Wars
You will need to buy the game but there will be no subscription charge, revenue will come from micro transactions similar to the current GW shop (make over, name change, fluff items and maybe skill/weapon unlocks) and by additional game content released further on.
Unlike GW1 you will be able to jump and swim. Movement plays a very important role in combat.
Of the three racial starting zones that have been demoed so far, all three had a boss fight at the end of the tutorial.
Map travel is possible using waypoints, you unlock waypoints by exploring and finding them. Players can open the map, choose an unlocked waypoint and teleport there. There is also an Asura gate system that allows travel between cities, these don't need to be unlocked. Both forms of travel will have a small currency cost.
It was revealed at PAX that GW2 will have a phone app, enabling you to keep in contact with your guild and friends and track their progress. The game will also offer various web utilities including use of the auction house and guild chat.
Anet Blog - Rick Ellis talks about the extended experience
Extended Experience Q & A
Hall Of Monuments (only available to Guild Wars players)
The Hall of Monuments (HoM) is only available to the original GW players who own the expansion Eye of the North. The HoM is a place that celebrates your achievements in the original game, it has four monuments to unlock: Devotion, Fellowship, Resilience, and Valor. The monuments are completed by adding companions (heroes/hench with upgraded armour and certain combat pets), Mini Pets (non combat pets usually received as character birthday presents or as special promotional items), by gaining titles (completing content, vanquishing areas, playing PvP etc) and by attaining 'elite' armour sets.
GW Wiki Hall of Monuments
The HoM will bestow special items in GW2 for linked accounts, those items are based on your GW account achievements and will be available for all of your characters on your GW2 account. Current GW players can use the online calculator to see what rewards they have unlocked on their account and how they can progress.
GW2 HoM FAQ
GW2 HoM page and calculator
PvE and PvP
The world of Tyria will be PvE. There are no plans to have PvP servers.
There will be a separation of skills between PvP and PvE, this is to ensure balance for either play style can be pursued more effectively.
PvP is supported and will include structured, instanced, team based games and a large zone known as 'The Mists' which will have massive World vs World vs World combat. You can jump in to team based games on an equal footing with the same character level and item quality as everyone else. WvWvW can be joined at any time, on entering you character will be kicked up to level 80, your skills ad gear however will remain the same. You can progress in WvW as you would in PvE by unlocking more skills and getting better gear. Players will drop items, none of these items will be from the player themselves but from a loot table, you won't lose any of your gear to other players.
There will be tournament style PvP matches and games that will be 'hot joinable', allowing players to jump in to a match at any time, with matches ranging from 1 v 1 to 10 v 10. You can join in structured PvP immediately from character creation, all players joining a Structured PvP match will be boosted to max level, have top end gear and access to max level skills. Structured PvP is all about skill and not about gear. At Gamescom 2011 we saw the first glimpse of structured PvP with a map called The Battle of Khylo, a conquest map with three capture points and siege weapons as the secondary mechanic.
GW2 Wiki - Battle of Khylo
GW2 offficial site - PvP overview
AreNet VS Boon Control at Gamescom 2011
World V World v World PvP
World V World encounters are on a two week timer and pit three servers against each other, completing objectives, such as holding a fort or taking an enemy fort will provide buffs for the whole server. At the end of each two weeks the servers will change to ensure servers of an equal level are competing with each other. The match is based in an area called the Mists, away from the PvE game play. Games are hot joinable, players are boosted to max level on entry with their current skill set and gear. After the short tutorial players are free to enter WvW and can play to max level (unlock skills and gain better gear) without the need to PvE.
The map consists of four areas, three home areas (called The Borderlands) for each server team all connected to a central area. There are siege weapons to buy and build, NPC races who may help your side if you help them first, resources to get and protect (simply called 'supply'), castles to conquer and hold, supply caravans to protect and of course opposing players to kill. Parts of the map are underwater with their own objectives.
Aneet blog on World PvP
MMORPG.com WvW Preview
GW2 Wiki on World PvP
Diovidius Has made a great thread with links to articles and videos, it covers pretty much everything we know so far on PvP.
Further in this thread MumboJumbo has provided some great links of post-gamescom 2011 PvP info.
The game will have extensive character creation options, the creator is based on Aions system but will be limited so no grotesque or deformed looking characters can be created. There are extensive options including sliders for various parts of the anatomy. Anet have deliberately scaled back options to ensure characters look natural in the world of tyria. You can also select the dye colour of your starter armour here too.
Charr Character Creation
Human Character Creation
Characters also have an extensive emote system.
Femal Human Emotes
Character creation also sets up your background story for your personal storyline.
Humans - Once the dominant species Humans are now in decline, the capital city of Divinity's Reach in Kryta, ruled by Queen Jennah, is their last stronghold. They look to their allies and former enemies (The Charr) to secure their place in the world and overcome the dangers posed by the elder dragons.
Abilities: Most of the human abilities in the game call upon the power of their six gods. These abilities can ask for a small favor such as the "prayer to Dwayna," which heals the player. Some of the human abilities ask for major intervention from the gods, such as the one that summons the two fiery hounds of Balthazar to come to the player's aid.
Charr originally the arch enemy of the humans, the Charr have ceased hostilities in an uneasy alliance to fight the greater foe
Abilities: The charr use technology, explosives, and sheer ferocity in battle. Whether laying down a "shrapnel mine" or using a mighty "battle roar," the charr are a force to be reckoned with. Charr also use advanced tactics, such as calling upon warband support to overwhelm their foes with numbers.
Charr walk on two legs while wielding weapons, without weapons they run on all fours.
Asura small pointy eared creatures with a strong sense of self, who look down on other races and often each other. They have developed their own technology which includes the creation of magical, mechanical creatures known as golems. They originally rose from their underground dwellings during the story line of 'Eye of the North' the first and only true expansion for Guild Wars (EotN was the replacement for the 4th chapter which was abandoned after Anet decided to focus on the new game GW2)
Abilities:The abilities of the asura have a lot to do with golems and magic. An asura player might use a simple "arcane blast" or create a deadly "radiation field." If they are really in a bind, they can summon a magical "golem battlesuit" that they can climb into and use to devastate their foes.
Norn a tall strong independent race who have the ability to shapeshift, they are a proud warrior race and also made their first appearance in EotN. The Norn skill bar will change to reflect the form they have shapeshifted to.
Abilities:The norn rely on individual feats of strength and their faith in the spirits of the wild. Their link to nature allows them to "call upon bear" to increase their health or "call upon raven" to attack their foes. When the situation calls for it, they can assume snow leopard form to wreak havoc on the field of battle.
Sylvari a new 'emergent race' who developed from a magical tree which produced cocoons from which they emerged, these new creatures share a common consciousness, each is born from the same tree and emerges ready equipped with the knowledge of those Sylvari who have come before.
Abilities:The empathic nature of the sylvari allows them to call upon both other sylvari and all green and growing things. They can use the "blessing of the pale tree" to protect themselves or cause an enemy to "take root," immobilizing them. In times of great need, they can call upon the "strength of the dream" to heal themselves from critical damage.
GW2 relies on a different trinity to the classic one of DPS, Heal and Tank. GW2's trinity is one of damage, control and support. There are no dedicated healers, tanks or ally targeted skills.
April 2011- as an April fools joke the Commando was announced
As mentioned previously there is no dedicated healing class, there will be support classes but it's expected these will be about prevention rather than cure, each profession will have it's own healing skills and is therefore expected to be self sufficient for healing. There are no ally targeted skills in GW2 Source
16 characters including the use of spaces.
Death and the the 'downed' state
When a player gets close to being defeated they enter in to a 'downed state' their skill bar will change and they will have the ability to use special skills, these are your last chance skills, skills that could save you from death, rallying from this state will take you back to your original skill bar and get you back in to the fray. All players, from level 1 will have a revive skill to resurrect fallen players. The more times a player dies the longer it takes to revive them. If you die and aren't revived you will, for a small amount of gold, be resurrected at the nearest shrine. An attrition mechanic has been introduced to remind players to either learn to play or go play in a lower level area; armour will get damaged on death (not from hits and not from being in the downed state}, one piece of armour will get damaged on death, if all pieces of armour are damaged one piece of armour breaks on the next death and ceases to provide any stats, repairs are completed by an NPC in outposts (we don't know yet if repair kits will be available}.
healing + Death
Development update with info on being downed and defeated
The game will have a max level of 80, the first few levels will come quite quickly but after a point the difference in levels will plateau so that getting from say lvl 45-46 will take the same amount of time as getting from lvl 76-77.
Progression and Leveling
Skills can be changed at anytime while out of combat. Weapon skills can be changed during combat by equipping another weapon.
In order to ensure easier balance of skills between playstyles, there will be a difference between PvE and PvP skills.
Skills will have tiers that can be unlocked as you progress.
When underwater your skillbar will change to skills that fit with the environment
There are no ally targeted skills in GW2 Source
The players skill bar will have ten skill slots, the first 5 skill slots are for weapon skills dependent on what the player is wielding (a warrior wielding a mace will have a different weapon skill set to a a warrior wielding a sword), if a player is wielding a sword and an off hand then the skills change accordingly while a two handed weapon will dictate all 5 slots , the player can also use 'environmental weapons' such as rocks which in turn change the weapon skill slots. The next 5 skill slots will be restricted by having one healing skill and one elite skill of the players choice, the player is free to slot the remaining 3 of those 5 with class and racial skills.
Weapon skills are currently acquired by using that weapon, the first time you equip an axe you will have only one skill, the more you use that weapon the more skills you unlock, this happened pretty quickly in the gamescom 2011 videos.
Players use skill points to unlock healing and utility skills, these points can be attained by completing skill challenges, these aren't profession specific which allows players of differing professions to complete the challenges together. There are 200 skill challenges in the game.
Cross Profession Interactivity
Skills will be interactive and offer a synergy between players, examples such as rangers firing arrows through an elementalist's fire wall will add burning damage and in the 'Manifesto' video a gun is seen to be firing through a static field to add electrical damage.
A lot of skills we have been shown so far have progressions or chains, as an example a necromancers minion skill may change to become a skill to explode those minions once summoned, a warriors strike would chain to vengeful strike then wrathful strike, providing increased damage. There are also cross profession combos that players can discover during combat, firing your arrows through a necromancers poison AoE may add poison damage to your shots.
Traits are slottable and are used to modify your skills and attributes, Traits can be used to increase your weapon mastery or decrease time between swapping weapons in combat or increase/add a certain type of damage . Each profession has a couple of 'trait lines' how you slot your traits defines how you choose to play your character.
The team have settled on 4 attributes:
Power increased attack range
Precision increased critical strike chance
Vitality increased health
Toughness increased defense/armour
Attribute points are earned as you level. You will be able to reset attribute point allocation at a cost.
Izzy on attributes and iteration
Completing or mastering something will provide you with an achievement, some achievements will also provide you with a title that you will be able to display. Achievements are account based rather than character based as some, like mastering all weapons, can't be achieved by a single character. Achievements provide no game advantage.
(Thanks to Gmr Leon over on gw2guru whose post there contained this info and link)
The demo contained the following list of achievement groups
The demo had a disabled feature for comparing achievements with other players
Combat in Guild Wars 2 is built around damage, control and support. Damage is simply decreasing the enemy's health, control is preventing the enemy from doing what it wants, and support consists of boosting the abilities of allies. Each profession is able to perform any of these roles.(Taken from Guild Wars2 wiki).
Combat will be tactical in terms of movement, taking advantage of the environment and by using cross-profession combos (see previous example of elementalist static field being fired through by a warrior using a gun to add electrical damage). There will be many environmental weapons littered about the world from simple rocks to a jar of bees that can be thrown at an enemy, some of these environmental weapons will react differently depending on which profession picks them up.
Body blocking can only be replicated through the use of skills, there is no collision between characters in GW2. Source
Players will be able to dodge attacks and projectiles. Dodge has a 'dodge' bar, once that is depleted you won't be able to dodge until it regens, this is to stop players dodging all the time.
Some skills will have tactical advantages when used from the side or behind an opponent, other skills will be directional, AoE or a mix of both meaning positioning will be important.
Combat for underwater changes to better fit the environment, your skillbar will change and you will use a more suitable weapon, there are three underwater weapons which are class restricted, they are Trident, Spear and harpoon gun. Submerged players receive a mask that lets them breath underwater, there will be no need to watch or worry about a breath bar.
Jonathan Sharp Talks Underwater Combat
Combat on the official site
Further talk on combat
Underwater Combat Demo
The type of Armour you wear depends on your profession type:
Scholars will wear Light Armour
Adventurers will wear Medium Armour
Soldiers will wear Heavy Armour
Each dungeon will have a minimum of one unique armour set for every armour type as a possible reward.
You will be able to dye your armour and players will be able to have 3 separate hues on each armour piece.
Dye System Demo
At character creation you can dye your armour, when you equip new armour the game will try to intelligently match the new armours dye scheme to your previous one until you change it.
In the demo an armour upgrade item was rewarded from an event, it's looked like this system might be similar to the current GW Insignia system but instead of one upgrade, the item had several stat boosts. These items can be crafted.
The list of standard wieldable weapons is as follows:
One-Handed: Axe, dagger, mace, pistol, scepter, and sword.
Two-Handed: Greatsword, hammer, longbow, rifle, shortbow, and staff.
Offhand only: Focus, shield, torch, and warhorn.
Underwater Weapons: Spear, trident and harpoon gun.
Not all professions will be able to wield all weapons and some professions will be able to wield more weapons than others.
A weapon wielded as an off-hand will have different skills to that same weapon wielded in the main hand, not all professions will be able to wield a weapon as an off hand.
Environmental objects will also be able to be used as weapons and have their own skill set, which may differ depending on the profession wielding it.
Weapon skills are earned by using the weapon.
Combat Part 2 guildwars2.com
There are consumable items that can be bought, crafted or looted. These range from food stuff to item buffs and upgrades.
Everything we know about the interface is taken from demo videos at gamescom. The devs have stated that it's a work in progress and that there will be some player customisation. Take this info only as rough guide.
The Hero Panel acts as a character panel, the place to equip your items, it also has options for managing skills, traits, is where your dye collection can be used, track your personality and your personal story.
Players will have the choice of either keeping their characters in the same guild or having different characters in different guilds. There will be guild achievements and guilds will be able to hold keeps in WvWvW PVP, there will be a guild calendar for coordinating events and you will be able to participate in guild chat from any web browser without logging in to the game.
On joining a guild you begin to earn a currency (called Influence) for your guild, this influence can then be spent in four areas:
Level Down System
When players enter areas or personal story instances that are beneath their level they will be kicked down to the appropriate level, players keep all skills unlocked but stats are bought down to be in line with the area. Loot while kicked down remains appropriate to your character level. While you do have the advantage of better skills you won't be able to one shot anything, a challenge is still intended.
Quests and the Dynamic Event system.
There will be no NPC's with exclamation marks above their heads, quests have been replaced with a dynamic events system. Instead of picking up a traditional quest players will need to pay attention to their environment, visual clues such as the appearance of invading hordes or an NPC running out to call for help as well as more subtle clues such as changes to the environment will be the entry points for players to join in these events. Events are set to scale depending on player numbers, player level will not bar successful and meaningful involvement in these events, a higher level player can join lower level events and will find their skill level adjusted so that, while still being a little over powered for the event, they shouldn't be able to steam roll the event.
Events are dynamic and one event will effect other events further down the line, players always have the choice as to their level of involvement and which events to get involved in. NPC's will remember when a player has helped them out in the past and react differently after the event.
Players do not need to party to gain rewards from participating in an event, all players who participate will receive a reward, the majority of these rewards will consist of Karma and Gold, the player is then free to choose what items to spend it on.
It has been stated this events system means a player could visit the same area several times and not find the same events happening.
The events system eliminates kill stealing and encourages group play through the scaling dynamic, the more players the more interesting the fight can become.
For some events completion can be achieved in a number of ways, in the case of a village being attacked and set on fire, players can choose to either help put out the fires or repel the invaders, doing either or both will help complete the events objective.
There is a 'scout' NPC that will be able to tell you of the potential trouble spots in the local area to help you find possible events
Centaurs may attack a village, players can help save the village or let it be captured, the centaurs could then set up base and try to expand without further player intervention in to surrounding territory. If the players defended the village there is nothing to say that the centaurs won't keep trying.
A player may return to a previously visited watermelon field to find the crops destroyed, the farmer may be calling for help to fight off an invader, at the same time the player has noticed the watermelons have gone because the field is over run by rabbits, on further investigation traps/cages may be found in that field, the player has the choice of either fending off the invading mob or help capture the rabbits.
Q&A: Dynamic Events 1
Q&A: Dynamic Events 2
GDC Vault - Designing Guild Wars 2 Dynamic Events
PAX Panel of Events: Designing a New Dynamic Event with the Developers
MumboJumbo spent some time researching info on events- see this post
Instances and Open World
The majority of the game will take place in a massive open world, each player also has their own personal storyline, these will be instanced but you can choose to invite friends to help you or just to come visit. Dungeons are also instanced.
Dungeons are designed for five players. Instead of random loot drops players players will be rewarded with tokens to spend on dungeon items. Each dungeon will have the minimum of one armour set for each armour type and a full range of weapons as possible rewards. Initial encounters in dungeons will come from following the story, subsequent entries in to dungeons will be in an 'explorable' mode, players will have the opportunity to take different routes and have different encounters in a more difficult version. All dungeons give you the opportunity to explore them in several ways, most explorable dungeons have three different ways of playing, players make a choice through vote as they enter the dungeon. Dungeons also have dynamic content that can be triggered so that repeating the same option in explorable mode could still provide fresh content.
Personal Storyline and NPC interaction
At character creation you have the opportunity to make choices and develop a back story prior to entering the game, these choices will dictate how your personal story line plays out and how NPC's interact with you. Those choices will never lock you out of nor restrict your content in the open world and main story line.
Your instanced personal story line and the environment in your personal instance will change according to your choices. You could start off as a mild mannered type but later decide you have had enough and decide that the best way to get through is by force, choosing to punch your way to information rather than using diplomacy, that will earn you a reputation in the wider world, so while merchants may not like you they'll still do business with you. In the demo the three character traits that contributed to your personality development were:
Your choices in the instanced personal storyline also effects your environment within it. Inviting friends lets them experience a different side to the personal story that they may not have got to have seen.
If you out level your personal story content you will be kicked back down to the appropriate level.
Karma is a currency, develop it by doing good deeds, taking part in events and helping lower level players and you can use it to buy goods. During the demo successful completion of some events spawned a merchant NPC who sold special items for karma.
As part of the personal storyline players will have a home instance, this will be about the size of a city block within your racial city. Within that home instance players will have the racial equivalant of a house (Asura may have an Asuran lab). You will be able to invite other players in to your home. This is unlikely to be in at launch and will follow in an update along with guild housing.
Massively interview with Ree Soesbee
Crafting & Gathering
The crafting professions are:
Weaponsmith Weaponsmiths craft melee weapons, such as swords, axes and hammers.
Huntsman Huntsmen craft ranged weapons like bows and pistol, as well as torches and warhorns.
Artificer Artificers craft magical weapons such as staves and scepters.
Armorsmith Armorsmiths craft heavy armor pieces.
Leatherworker Leatherworkers craft medium armor pieces.
Tailor Tailors craft light armor pieces.
Jewelcrafter Jewelcrafters craft jewelry, such as rings and necklaces.
Cook Cooks can prepare food which characters can eat for temporary combat buffs.
Players can have two active crafting professions. Professions can be swapped at a cost, when relearning the previous profession you start at the level you left off, the higher the level the higher the cost of switching professions. Recipes can be discovered by putting between two and four correct items in to the crafting interface allowing you to discover recipes by trial and error, recipes will also be available as drops. Crafting will take place at a workstation. When selecting a profession you will be supplied with a starter pack of materials useful for that profession.
Crafting demo at Gamescom 2011
Gathering - all players can gather, there are no gathering professions to choose from. Nodes spawn so that each player can gather individually, you don't have to worry about someone stealing the node you are clearing mobs to reach, your quota will still be there.
It has been stated that if an NPC is wearing it it's very likely you will be able to wear it too. This article on the official blog references transmutation stones which are bought from the item shop, they are used to put the look of one piece of gear on to another piece, that level 1 helm you loved can have its look transferred to that ugly lvl 80 helm of awesomeness, keeping the lvl 80 stats. It has been stated clearly that all armour, from start to end game will have good looks, no one will be forced to buy transmutation stones because of poorly designed armour.
Q&A on loot and items
Each major town will have it's own mini games, these are social activities that aren't dependant on character level, they will vary in their mechanics from complex games of skill, simple target practise, solo games, multiplayer and full on no rules bar brawls. They will carry rewards, for example during the bar brawl you may be rewarded by the local dentist by handing in teeth you've knocked out the mouth of your opponents. It's intended that these are fun past times that can step out side the normal rules of the wider game.
Activities - games within the game
There will be an auction house and it will be accessible from outside the game, you can monitor and bid from a web browser/phone app interface without entering the game. Players will also be able to post 'bids' for items not currently listed on the AH and other players can choose to meet that bid and supply the item.
The music is composed by the original GW composer Jeremy Soule.
There is extensive voice acting but not everything will be voiced.
A lot of care has been taken with audio to ensure the world sounds alive. They have a built a dynamic audio system that reacts to environment, clothing etc to change the sounds to allow for a more realistic sound scape. Players will be able to import their own playlist of music to replace that of the composer if they so wish, allowing your music to be fully integrated in to the game letting you carry on hearing environmental and weapon effects.
Video - Giving Tyria a Voice
Talking Heads - VO and dialogue in GW2
James Boer talks gw2 audio design
There is an anti grind philosophy with GW2, there will be no end game grinding through raids to achieve better and better gear. there will be 'elite' zones and dungeons so that players who enjoy a challenge can play through those. End game is expected to consist of elite content, PvP, crafting and achievements. The sidekick system will also allow high level players to revisit and experience new dynamic events in lower level areas. Any grind will be purely voluntary and will likely be rewarded with titles and cosmetic items. As there are individual starter areas and cities for each race and branching personal story arcs, it's expected that rolling alts will add to retention of players.
GW2 Debut Trailer
Races of Tyria
Voices of Tyria
Ranger Skill Videos: Spread Shot, Barrage, Hunter's Call, Whirling Defense, Serpent's Strike.
Elementalist Skill Videos: Water Trident, Static Field, Phoenix, Meteor Shower, Churning Earth.
Necromancer Skill Videos:Putrid Explosion, Locust Swarm, Grasping Dead, Life Siphon, Doom.
Warrior: Skill Compilation
Guardian: Skill Compilation
Thief Skill Compilation
Engineer Skill Compilation
Concept Art Videos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Dev walkthrough at Gamescom: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
TubeElephant Has a great channel over on youtube, he's edited all the info together from various videos to provide a one stop shop for everything you need to know.
See cyphers excellent post for more gamescom 2010 videos and more in depth info on classes here
romanator0 started a great Gamescom 2011 Video thread with plenty of eye candy.