Guild Wars 2: A FAQ for new players Paeroka from Nerdy Bookahs has written a great FAQ for those new to Guild Wars 2. However, since the game has yet to be released, I think paeroka's article is a great resource for both those new to GW2 and those who have been following for quite some time. Read on! Posted on June 1, 2012 by paeroka You may already know the first version of this FAQ. I decided to rewrite it, update it and put newer screenshots in. So here is the new version. A very special thank yougoes to Tasha Darke for reading through it all. I was hoping for a few bits of corrected grammar but she gave me very valuable feedback on top of that! This FAQ is mostly for those who have just recently heard of Guild Wars 2 and now want to know more. If you have been following the game for years or even just months, if you have pre-purchased the game and if you have already played it, you are welcome to read it as well, but you will find a lot of information that you already know. Since the game is still in development a lot of things are subject to change (yes, believe it or not, ArenaNet is handling the Beta Weekend Events like a real beta and is still changing things around). Also, new information comes out every now and then which might outdate what you can read here. If you notice any of that – or just errors that I’ve made – please comment (with sources if possible). I am going to use the same categories that I have used for my “Rift vs. Lotro vs. WoW”posting already. If you only want a very short overview, the following will hopefully be enough. There are lots of links leading you further down my posting if you want more information! Before we start, we need to get two questions out of the way (as suggested by Pyzlnar on Reddit): “Yes, you can jump!” – and no, this game is not an Asian-grinder and it is not made by an Asian company. It’s made by ArenaNet who is located in Seattle, Washington, USA (though they do belong to NCSoft but they only work as a publisher here while ArenaNet is the developer and thus, actually makes the game). Guild Wars 2 will also feature an open world and will not be heavily instanced like Guild Wars 1 is. Again, thank you, Pyzlnar, for these suggestions. You were right, they’re clearly missing and should be the first two points in any GW2 FAQ. OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in? If you have pre-purchased the game, you are automatically invited to all beta weekend events planned to take place roughly once a month until release. Do not confuse it with a preorder, though. Pre-purchasing means you pay the game in full! Beta keys are also available through giveaways and competitions from a variety of fan and gaming websites. Wait, what? How much does the game cost? Which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer? You will have to buy the game itself but there will be no monthly fees. Without monthly fees, the follow-up costs are basically voluntary as there will be a real money shop (called “gem store”), but stuff you buy there will not give you more power and thus, won’t be required for the gameplay. Gems, the shop’s currency, can be bought in the game’s auction house (here called the Trading Post) for in game gold. Nothing is known yet about security like authenticators. There will very likely be system for account restorations in case you were hacked. More on costs and security What can I play and how do I play? – Races, professions and combat mechanics You will be able to choose from 5 races: Norn, human, asura, charr and sylvari. Each race can be each of the 8 professions (often also called “classes”) in the game: Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer. There is no holy trinity anymore! “Holy trinity” refers to characters that tank (the foes focus on the tank and leave the other players alone), characters that heal and characters that deal damage. In Guild Wars 2, every profession is self-sufficient up to a certain point and you will be able to play with any combination of professions without having to wait for “another healer” or “a tank”. Professions can interact with each other through their skills and support others. More about races and professions What does the game look like? In short: Gorgeous, artsy, picturesque if you ask me. As with all games’ graphics, this is very subjective. Have a look at the various screenshots you can find online and decide for yourself if you like it. Pictures and videos outsourced to below in order to keep the part up here short. What’s there to fight against (PvE)? First things first, there will be no regular raids in this game as you may know them from WoW or SWTOR! Instead, dynamic events in the open world that scale for up to 100 players. There will be several dungeons to play which will each have a story mode and the more difficult explorable mode. There will be no standard quests for playing either. The closest you will get to regular quests will be your personal storyline. More about PvE Who’s there to fight (PvP)? There are 2 modes of PvP – Structured and World vs World. Structured PvP, also known as Conquest, is somewhat similar to battlegrounds (WoW) or warzones (SWTOR) except everybody will be max level and have all weaponry and armor available to them straight out of character creation. So no gear advantages. 2 Teams (hot join or premade) fight it out on different maps for Glory, a currency which can be spent on better looking equipment and other (as yet unannounced) rewards. World vs. world vs. world (frequently abbreviated to WvW) is the second mode. Three worlds (servers) will fight against each other for guild recognition and bonuses which affect the entire world. Players cannot fight players from the same server,as there are no factions, and while characters are buffed to have the basic stats as a level 80 character, gear and traits are not levelled (but you do earn experience in WvW which means that you can level your character in WvW). Servers will rotate every two weeks. More about PvP Grouping and socialization In Guild Wars 2, you will be able to join more than one guild with one single character (I assume you will be able to create more than one character. So don’t misunderstand this sentence ^^). If you want to read our opinion about it, go here. If you don’t, well that’s just as well. Grouping will be in the game but it will not be forced on you like it is in other games. For example, you can attack a mob that another player is currently fighting. As you both contribute to the kill, you will both get the same amount of experience points and loot that you would have gotten if you had fought the mob on your own! In other words: Kill-stealing will not be possible! More about Grouping and Socialization I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?) The first thing that comes to my mind is the personal storyline. When creating your character, you get asked a few questions and can choose between different answers. That determines the starting point of your personal story. Other choices later on will further determine how your story evolves. You can bring a friend along to your storyline. But it will essentially be your story. Guild Wars 2 will also have achievements. So that’s something you can do. You can also roam the world on your own or play a lone wolf in WvW – though I’m not sure how viable the latter is, apart from escorting the odd caravan. More about stuff to do solo Crafting There are 8 crafting skills to choose from and you can have two at a time: Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jeweler and Cook. Every character can gather all resources provided you have the correct gathering tool equipped which can be bought from merchants for gold or karma. A resource node can be used by several players, so it is not possible to steal such a node from under another player’s nose. More about crafting Fluff There will be mini-pets just as in Guild Wars 1. Activities have also been announced but there haven’t been any recent details on them. “Bar brawl” was one of the activities mentioned, for example. You will also have a home instance which is an entire district in the capital city of your character’s race. The home instance automatically changes with your personal story but you can’t change anything yourself (like putting furniture in). Also, you will be able to change the way your armor looks. And there will be 400 different dyes in the game. Each piece of armor has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed. More about fluff That was the short version. Its bigger brother will follow now, which also includes links for further reading. Most of the information can be found on ArenaNet’s blog or in the official wiki for Guild Wars 2. The long version: OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in? There will be Beta Weekend Events roughly once a month until launch. Pre-purchase (pay the game in full) the game and you are automatically in each BWE. If you haven’t yet pre-purchased the game but want to do that, ArenaNet made a list of all retailers, or you can digitally purchase the game from them directly. The BWEs usually start on Friday at noon PDT (9pm Berlin/Paris time) and end on Sunday, 11:59 p.m. PDT (which is Monday 9am Berlin/Paris time). ArenaNet said that they may wipe your characters in between the BWEs but so far, we have been lucky and character have not been wiped. This does not mean it won’t happen for future BWEs, though. And, of course, your characters will be deleted before launch! You will not get to keep any characters and the server you choose for the BWE is not the server you will have to play on once the game launches. You will be able to choose any server you like then. Back to the top How much does the game cost? Which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer? The game currently costs €54,99 (€74,99 for the digital deluxe edition). I looked up the price on the official website. Prices differ for different countries. And of course, retailersmay have different offers as well. PLease be careful when buying keys from websites other than the ones listed on the retailers page! You never know if they are legit. Once you have bought the game (and once it launches, obviously) you will have access to the complete game. There will not be follow-up costs like a monthly fee, but the game will have agem store that will let you buy things like additional character slots, additional bank space, dye packs, experience boosts and more. ArenaNet said that you will not be able to buy anything that will make you more powerful, so we can assume that no purchases are mandatory. In other words, it’s not the typical “f2p” that lets you buy weapons and armor. The gems for the gem store will be bought with real money, but you can also sell them in the game’s auction house (here called theTrading Post) for ingame gold. On the other hand, it also means that if you never want to spend real money on it, you can also buy those gems for your hard earned ingame gold instead from somebody else. See my previous entry for ArenaNet’s philosophy on what they want to offer in their gem store (it includes a link to an interview as well as a transcription both in English and in German). We can hope that extra security like an authenticator will be added in the future (not just for GW2 but for all games bound to our NCSoft master accounts). I saw a photo where there was a picture of such an authenticator and the names of several brands including NCSoft suggesting that they’re at least toying with that idea. Hunter’s Insight has an article about that speculation and the hints that we may see one sooner or later. There will very likely be system for account restorations in case you were hacked. As you can read in the GW support forum, the details were still unknown, at least to Gaile, about 6 months ago. I don’t remember reading anything else about it since then. Back to the top What can I play and how do I play? – Races, professions and combat mechanics ASURA! And kittehs. *cough* Okay, let’s be serious. There’ll be 5 races to choose from:Norn, human, asura, charr andsylvari. So far, in the beta weekend events, sylvari and asura haven’t been playable yet but ArenaNet said that regular beta players have been able to play them already. So they are in the game and everything. It’s just that we do not get to play them yet. Guild Wars 2 starts with 8 professions. We have: Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior,Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer. Profession selection is not restricted by race selection. Here’s a video showing ranger gameplay with Kaboobie commenting and explaining about that profession. One important thing to add about the professions: There is no holy trinity anymore. “Holy trinity” refers to characters that tank (the foes focus on the tank and leave the other players alone), characters that heal and characters that deal damage. Every profession is supposed to be self-sufficient but group play will still be very important to succeed in fights (as a single player won’t be able to fight against huge dragons alone). For example, the game features combos. One character may use a skill that is a combo field (an initiator). Another character can the use a skill that is a combo finisher for that combo field. The finisher skill will then get an additional effect added. I’ll give you one example: A thief may use Shadow Refuge which, apart from healing allies and cloaking them in stealth, starts the combo field “Dark”. A warrior may then use “Fear Me!” which is a combo finisher “Blast” (it usually fears nearby foes). The Blast Finisher added to the Dark combo field results in the Blast Finisher skill also inducing blindness in all targeted foes. So, they will not just be feared but also blinded. If the warrior uses Kill Shot instead, they will damage one foe (the usual effect of the skill) and additionally cause conditions. There is a developer blog post about this but it’s from November 2011, so I’m not sure it’s still accurate. Some professions are better when it comes to supporting others (guardian, for example, vs. thief). But generally, we should be able to play through a dungeon with 5 elementalists or 5 thieves if we want to. Of course, it may mean that we will raise the difficulty level that way. But it is possible, at least. The lack of a holy trinity also means that the responsibility of staying alive is not on other people but on you, the player. If you get too much damage, run away from the mob, heal yourself and pay attention to your surroundings. There are also no healing potions to keep you alive. They used to have a mechanic similar to mana, etc. in other games (called “energy” here). The official GW2 wiki still shows the page for the energy potions. But ArenaNet have since removed energy from the game. You now have cooldowns to juggle through instead. Don’t just hit all skills that are off cooldown because you may want to keep this one really great skill (a 2 seconds stun, for example) for the very important moment where your foe is casting something that you need to interrupt because you’re low in health anyway and wouldn’t survive the incoming damage. There is also the “dodge” mechanic that helps you avoid damage. By default, you double-click into the appropriate direction (double-click on “S” to dodge backwards). While dodging, you are immune to any incoming damage. However, you cannot just perma-dodge. Above the right side of your skill bar (see screenshot above), you can see a yellow bar that shows how much endurance you have. Dodging uses endurance and when the bar is too low, you cannot dodge. Of course, endurance regenerates as well. But you need to think about when you dodge because it can lead to your character’s death if you dodge twice while you don’t get damage anyway and then can’t dodge when there’s lots of damage coming in. Each profession also has a special mechanic unique to that profession. I will not get into detail here because it would get too long. I will, however, give you one example. The warrior has an adrenaline bar. With each attack, you gain more adrenaline. There are three “stages” that the bar can reach. Each weapon gives you a different burst skill that gets stronger the higher the stage you have reached on your adrenaline bar. Depending on which weapon(s) you are using, the first five skills are determined for you already. The other five skill slots can be filled individually (one slot is reserved for a healing skill – you’ll have a few different ones out of which you choose one. Another one is reserved for an elite skill. Again, you can choose one elite skill out of several ones. Of course, you can switch between those skills between fights if you want to!). By switching weapons, you switch your skills on the left. For example, a ranger can use a longbow to deal damage from far away, then run into the fight and switch to greatsword for melee AoE. Every profession except for the elementalist and the engineer can switch between two weapon sets during fights. Elementalists and engineers have specific profession mechanics, so they don’t need to switch between weapon sets on top of that. And to make things even more diverse, once you are underwater, you have access to different weapons and thus, different skills. If you want to have a more detailed look at how you can build your profession, you can have a look at this skill tool or this one. In order to not completely overwhelm you, I’ve also left out mentions of traits or the process of learning skills.