Archive for the ‘Walking the Walk’ Category

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.


What’s Your Story?

Posted: September 19, 2010 in Walking the Walk

I’ve never really done any RP in an MMO, largely because the only MMO’s I have played are GW and WAR, and I’ve never played with other RP’ers. A couple of fun threads over at Guild Wars 2 Guru got my creative juices flowing however and I fairly quickly came up with a back-story for one of my alts.

Well, maybe “alt” is not quite accurate. I fully intend (at this stage) to have a norn ranger as my primary character but I tend to bounce around characters a lot as the mood strikes so my playtime will be about 50-60% on my “main” with the rest of my time devoted to whichever alt I’m focused on at the time.

Bladhaire Talmhaigh (name is reserved, neener) is a human male elementalist of Ascalonian/Canthan heritage.

My name is Bladhaire, and this is my story. The streets of Divinity’s Reach are my home. Her alleyways serve as my bed and her marketplaces my meal ticket.

I wasn’t born to the gutters though, my kin were common folk. What few threads of my dimly remembered childhood that I can recall to wrap about myself on those cold winter nights are mostly happy ones.

My father was a farmer, ably assisted by my mother who managed not only to wrangle me but our excess produce and livestock to the local markets on a regular basis. We lived a simple but comfortable life. Most of my memories focus not on my parents – I cannot even picture their faces nor recall their names – but on more…elemental matters.

I can remember a tiny brook that bordered the farm – it would sing to me and I to it. The fire in our hearth would whisper to me of life and death, destruction and creation. The earth of our fields taught me of the many wonders that lay far beyond our village and long before our time. The world-weary sighs of the summer thunderstorms still echo in my ears to this day.

My…peculiarities…did not go unnoticed by my parents, or the other villagers. My tender age and the good standing of my parents saw me tolerated but not altogether trusted.

I was still but a child when I awoke one night to find our simple home ablaze. My father carried me to the safety of the fields before plunging back into the flames to find my mother. Neither he, nor my mother, emerged.

Ordinarily, nearby kin would take in an orphan such as myself. While my mothers family lived a great distance away, I had an uncle one village over, my fathers elder brother.

He arrived to “see to affairs” and what remained of my world crumbled to dust. Much of what occurred I cannot remember, or choose not to. Voices raised in accusation, hushed whispers around cooking fires, darting eyes.

And a small orphan boy, with not a single burn on him. His clothes not even singed.

To this day I cannot tell you the cause of that fire. What’s done is done. I bear no enmity towards my uncle or the villagers and the flames did as they are wont to do – creation and destruction.

My years on the streets have taught me discipline, strength and self reliance. I stand ready to fight for Divinity’s Reach, for Kryta and for Tyria herself.

My name is Bladhaire and this is my story. What’s yours?