The Sum of Its Parts

Posted: June 26, 2011 in Walking the Walk

I’ve been mulling this post over for about a week now and have finally committed to writing it whilst at the tail end of a vicious head cold. Yay me. So please pardon any grammatical blunderings or ridiculously run-on sentences. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

The greatest pieces of information to come to light thus far on Guild Wars 2, for me anyway, have been the little things. Sure, the big things (profession and race reveals primarily) have been great, but I said greatest. Every other MMO out there has profession (or class) reveals, race reveals, information about the game world… all the meat and potatoes stuff that makes their game, well, their game.

ArenaNet have taken this more than just a step further. They’ve taken it a Seven-league boots step further. Peppered in between major reveals have been posts detailing all the little garnishes being added to Guild Wars 2 that will take it beyond the current scope of the genre. After a tumultuous break-up, RPG is coming back to MMO and the make-up se…. er… *cough* and it’s gonna be beautiful.

To date, ArenaNet have revealed a number of friendly (well, most of the time), not so friendly (depending on circumstances), and downright dastardly NPC races, these being (in no particular order) the Kodan, the Krait, the Hylek, the Skritt and the Quaggan.

Spiritual polar bears, serpents incarnate, frogmen, ratmen and the apparent lovechild of a dolphin, a beaver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. All have been lovingly fleshed out with racial histories, social structures, religious beliefs, cultural details, armour, clothing, housing and a recent history of their place within the Tyria of Guild Wars 2. All of that for NPC races.

Insight has also been granted into the three, often at odds, military orders that exist within the human nation of Kryta. Nothing like a bit of political intrigue and “mine is bigger than yours” to increase immersion into an already richly detailed world.

We’ve also been treated to a cinematic flyover of Lions Arch, set to be a major social hub of the game. Above and beyond the eye-candy, we were also given a window into the passion of ArenaNet staff as they craft this game to be everything they’ve promised, and more.

It’s going to be all the little things that really make Guild Wars 2 stand head and shoulders above any other MMO currently out there. From changing weather, to a day/night cycle featuring breathtaking dawns and dusks, to special events that only occur at night, to critters who prefer the cover of darkness when trying to kill you, to weapons that work differently and change their look depending on the time of day, to marketplaces full of ambient noises and chatter. A real world. Somewhere to get lost entirely, or perhaps somewhere to find yourself?

A very recent major reveal, underwater combat, features more minor things that really set it apart. Water droplets sparkle on the screen as you surface from underwater and persist a short time before fading away. Bubbles consume your skill bar as you dive beneath the surface, disappearing to reveal your new underwater skills. The little things.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” is suddenly becoming an alarming concept.

I can’t wait.

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