FOR GLORY! Norn in GW2:

July 29, 2011

Larger than life. No race in Guild Wars 2 epitomizes this phrase more than the Norn. They grow big, they fight big, drink big, tell big stories, and ideally to them, leave big legends behind. Hailing from the northern Shiverpeaks, the Norn have been driven south by the awakening of one of the Elder Dragons, Jormag. Despite telling big stories, much of the history of this nomadic race is a mystery.

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July 29, 2011

This is just gonna be short, but ANet just revealed what new stuff is going to be in the Gamescom demo, and wow. Just wow. Link to full page here.

  • Seven professions – Play all seven professions that we’ve revealed so far: engineer, thief, guardian, necromancer, ranger, warrior, and elementalist.
  • Charr starter experience – For the first time, you can forge your destiny as a member of the Iron, Ash, or Blood Legion in our charr starter area. You can also choose to play the human and norn starting experience as well.
  • Mid level demo – As always, we’ve prepared a higher level demo experience for players who want a challenge. Face powerful Orrian enemies on land, engage them in battle underwater and face off against a new boss.
  • Sylvari and asura – Did I mention that you’ll be playing sylvari and asura characters for this high level content? Yes, for the first time, players will be able to get their hands on these unique races – believe me, they are impressive!
  • Character appearance customization – Also for the first time, you’ll be able to play around with our character appearance customization feature and control the way your character looks.
  • PvP – Last but certainly not least, we’re premiering Guild Wars 2 Player vs Player (PvP) at gamescom! Swing by the ESL booth and head to the Guild Wars 2 area to get your exclusive hands-on PvP experience. Also check out our periodic exhibition matches that pit our valiant team of ArenaNet developers against the European guild BOON Control on the ESL center stage!

So yeah. We’re gonna have all 5 races including the Sylvari redesign (though we already knew about that), we’ll have Asura (new), appearance customization and PvP! Appearance customization can be really cool to see actually since it means we’ll be able to see all the different styles of each race. What is customizable on a Charr? I think we know you can choose fur pattern, color, horn style, etc. Is there anything else weird? And what about those Sylvari? Not only will we be seeing them for practically the first time (after race week), but now we’ll be able to play with every detail. Will there be different skin textures? Like different types of plants? What about hair? We saw the original Sylvari had plant-heads; will that still be the same? How many kinds of plants can go on their heads? What kinds of questions will we get in their biographies?

Also PvP. This will be really intense. I wonder if the demo stations will be longer this year; 45 minutes is pretty short and it would be really hard to get organized in sync. I wonder if PvP will be a separate area where you line up in groups of 5? That could be really cool; then they could just let every group play a match then get back in line. That way everyone could try it as many times as they want without weird time intervals. It’s a shame that there won’t be the Mesmer in this demo… OR WILL THERE?? We’ll see. I know they say 7 professions there, but that doesn’t explicitly preclude the chance of it being revealed there as just another surprise. Either way, I’m curious as to how they will be setting up the PvP at the convention.

EDIT: It was confirmed here that the 8th profession will absolutely not be revealed at either demo. Alas.

Personally I envision it as being a separate part of the demo. It can be set up for 10 at a time (2 groups of 5 starting at the same time) to have 1 PvP match, then get back in line. That way you won’t have to deal with having people de-synced on demo timers, you will get more people a chance to play, and if you go through multiple times you can play with the same people and get some teamwork going. I would love if they decided to broadcast the matches onto a big stage screen or something, that would be really fun for onlookers.

Either way, I’m super excited! Still holding out for the Beta date at GC or PAX!

For Queen and Country! Humans in GW2:

July 28, 2011

Last week at Comic Con it was announced that the Sylvari redesign would be revealed in the form of a race week before Gamescon/PAX Prime and that they would be playable in those demos. It seems like a perfect time to talk about the races that have had race weeks so far and lead into the Sylvari week when it comes. I can think of no better place to start than with the original player race from Guild Wars, the Humans!

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Concerns- The Economy of GW2

July 26, 2011

Managing the economy of a game is, much like the real economy, a very delicate balancing act. If the economy is all player-driven, vast inflation, market manipulation or market crashes can be very common. If the economy is controlled by draconian measures by the game company, it can become virtually impossible to make any headway within the economy without spending inordinate amounts of time. Neither is particularly desirable and both are potentially inevitable.

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Mechanics can make or break a community:

July 24, 2011

If story is the 4th pillar of MMORPGs, then it has been posited that community is the 5th pillar. If you haven’t read that article yet, you may want to. It’s some very good stuff. This post isn’t going to so much elaborate on that theory. I strongly agree with the premise that a good community can be a great force within a game, and a bad one can be a terrible force. Both can affect wide-scale changes on both the game developers, the game itself, and everyone who plays or wants to play it. Instead, I’m going to go into detail about how many of the common mechanics can lead to great deal amounts of frustration and in many ways create the bad elements of the community that nobody wants. And of course I’m going to say why I think GW2 has the right ideas on these issues 😉

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Gamism vs Simulationism- Attributes in GW2

July 21, 2011

This post is primarily about the Attribute system of Guild Wars 2. Before I get to that though I’m going to have a short description of Gamism and Simulationism as they apply to RPG design. These terms relate to a theory known as GNS theory, GNS standing for Gamist, Narrativist and Simulationist. The theory essentially details three different preferences of gamers and how they impact game design as well as how the three views can come into conflict with one another.

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How simplicity and decision points lead to a more balanced game:

July 20, 2011

Balance. It’s a simple concept, but extremely difficult to attain. Regardless of the difficulty, I think most of us can agree that balance should be sought in most games, especially multiplayer games. When there are some options that are so much better than the rest, they effectively crowd out any other options because the advantage they give is just too great to be ignored. Likewise, when there are options that are like other things but strictly worse, ones that sound good but in practice are not, or ones that are just plain terrible, you narrow the system in the same ways. Nobody wants to suck. Guild Wars 1 was kind of a mess for balance. I’m not saying this to rag on ANet, it is still far more balanced (especially in PvP) than many other MMOs out there. They did a great job (IMO) balancing the system that they created, and that system had some good design decisions behind it that helped in some ways and hindered in others. Fortunately, ANet has a fresh slate to make their new game and they appear to have taken many of these lessons to heart.

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