The Guild Wars 2 wiki last edited by Knigge on 08/24/14 01:33PM View full history

Overview

Guild Wars 2 is the second game in the Guild Wars franchise. GW2 was developed by ArenaNet and still retains the original concept of having no monthly fees. The game uses a new engine with improved graphics over the original games, but can still run on moderate to high spec PCs. DirectX10 is supported but it is not required.

Controls

Guild Wars 2 has revamped controls compared to the previous game, eliminating "click-to-move" and adding a Z axis to allow for jumping and swimming. Characters can interact with the environment through motion significantly more, by jumping, climbing, swimming, sliding, etc. Spells and abilities with cast times can be cast while moving, and it has been mentioned that using an ability while jumping or moving may cause it to perform differently than usual. Players can also dodge incoming attacks by double tapping on any directional key.

Skills

Guild Wars 2 is unique in that it has a ten slot skill bar, of which only five skills are determined by the player. The rest are determined by the character’s profession and weapon they currently have equipped. For example, a warrior with a two-handed greatsword will always have the same first five skills (the weapon’s main damage dealing skills); with the latter five being drawn from a pool of healing, utility, and elite skills. These are customizable to best fit the player’s play style and current situation and each profession and race will have a wide variety of utility skills from which to choose.

Weapon skills are unlocked through use of their associated weapon, while non-weapon skills can be collected using a mechanic similar to the one found in the original Guild Wars.

Instancing

Unlike the original game, which was completely instanced aside from towns and outposts, Guild Wars 2's world is entirely persistent except for dungeons and some personal storyline quests. Instead of each area having a series of "districts" so that not too many people are on one server, there are a list of "worlds," similar to most MMOs' server or "realm" setups. There will be a 'Guesting' feature that will be released at a later date that will allow the player to play on another server with a friend without having to pay transfer costs. So far, guesting allows the player to perform the same tasks on the new server than they would on their own world, with the exception of participating in World vs. World. Persistent areas will have new "dynamic events," essentially public quests that aren't always present but can be triggered as a result of the success or failure of other dynamic events in the area.

Character Creation

The character creation in Guild Wars 2 is much like other MMOs, where you select your race and profession and customize your appearance. After you select those, the game will ask you some personal questions about your upbringing to help flesh out your character. These choices have an impact on some aspects of your character's personal story. This feature is unique to each race and affects the development of your character's personal story drastically. The character customization has been drastically improved from the very limited customization in Guild Wars. You are able to refine your characters body and face allowing you to modify your facial features and body type. Armor is also not exclusive to just a single profession, but are instead divided into weight classes - warriors and guardians (soldiers) wear heavy armor; thieves, rangers, and engineers (adventurers) wear medium armor; and elementalists, necromancers, and mesmers (scholars) wear light armor.

Subscription Fee

Like the original Guild Wars, there is no subscription fee to play Guild Wars 2. All that is required is a game purchase and an internet connection in order to play. The game has a microtransaction store, which is limited to cosmetic items or account services and not things that significantly impact gameplay.

Character Races

One of the most obvious new options for character creation is the addition of new non-human playable races. Each has some unique racial skills, such as the norn ability to shapeshift into various animal forms, or the asuran ability to summon different types of mechanized golems.

Human

Logan Thackeray, human of Divinity's Reach

The only playable race in the original Guild Wars, the humans were the most prominent Tyrian race. The human kingdoms have suffered since the first game, however. After the rise of the dead continent of Orr from the bottom of the sea, vast numbers of the humans in Tyria died battling the dragon Zhaitan's undead armies. Orr's rise flooded the Krytan capital of Lion's Arch completely. Centuries ago, King Adelbern of Ascalon invoked the Foefire to prevent his kingdom from falling to the invading charr. He saved his kingdom at a terrible price: every living person within a vast radius was incinerated, then raised as a ghost. They must haunt Ascalon City eternally, defending their king even in death. The beleaguered remnants of Ascalonian humans live in Ebonhawke, their last stronghold. In the kingdom of Kryta, Queen Jennah rules benevolently from behind the walls of Divinity's Reach. Since the defeat of Abbadon in the first Guild Wars and the rise of the dragons in the intervening centuries, the Six Gods have withdrawn from interfering with daily human affairs. The gods are still widely worshipped by the humans and they do not feel abandoned by them, but rather tested.

Asura

Zojja, asura of Rata Sum

The asura are an incredibly intelligent race who lived beneath Tyria until they where forced out by the Destroyers during the events of GW:EN. Since then, they've built new lives for themselves on the surface. asura are short, usually have grayish hair and skin and are commonly arrogant and proud, considering the other races of Tyria to be inferior specimens. They created the asura gates, magical gateways that utilize portals for instantaneous long-distance travel, and they maintain strict control of these gates in the cities of all the other races. They have remained neutral with the other races, though they try to manipulate conflicts so they can gain power in the word of Tyria.

Charr

Rytlock Brimstone, charr of the Black Citadel

The charr are a race of savage feline creatures that were responsible for the fall of the kingdom of Ascalon. The Flame Legion, comprised mostly of shamans, were the leaders of the legions during the Searing of Ascalon, having made a bargain with false gods known as titans to gain the power to invade the human kingdoms. After the titans were killed by humans, the Flame Legion was thrown into disarray. They discovered the destroyers and intended to make them their gods, but a group of charr led by Pyre Fierceshot felt the charr should no longer depend on false gods, and with the help of a group of humans he killed the shaman caste's leaders and the destroyers. Now the charr are in control of everything east of the Shiverpeaks except the mighty fortress of Ebonhawke and the haunted Ascalon City. The charr have four legions: The Blood Legion, the Iron Legion, the Ash Legion and the outcast Flame Legion (sometimes called the Gold Legion by other charr as a jeering reference to the metal's softness).

Norn

Eir Stegalkin, norn of Hoelbrak

A race of nine-foot-tall heroes from the cold north, the norn worship the spirits of nature and have the ability to transform into their totem animal. They currently recognize four great spirits: Wolf, Bear, Raven, and Snow Leopard. Previously they made their home in the farthest north reaches of the Shiverpeak mountain range, but since the rise of the ice dragon Jormag, they've been forced farther south, into lands previously held by the dwarves before the dwarven race went into decline. Norn are an individualistic race - they value a person's accomplishments over all else, and a norn's ultimate goal in life is to have their deeds immortalized, the stories of their accomplishments passed down to future generations. They have no concept of leaders or government, though some may choose to follow certain heroes who have accomplished legendary deeds.

Sylvari

Caithe, sylvari of The Grove

The youngest race of Tyria, born less than 30 years before the start of the game, sylvari were created from a magical tree planted in Arbor Bay by the centaur Ventari. Before Ventari died, he inscribed a stone tablet with the values and lessons he'd learned throughout his life and laid it at the base of the tree. The tablet was found by the firstborn sylvari and became the foundation of their beliefs and morals. Before sylvari are born, they absorb knowledge of the world from the tree and from living memories of their race in a bond they call the Dream of Dreams. However, they often lack the experience to go with this knowledge, and are typically both curious and very naive as a result.

Professions

There are eight professions in Guild Wars 2, roughly categorized by the type of armor they wear: scholars wear light armor, adventurers wear medium armor, and soldiers wear heavy armor.

Unlike Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 does not have secondary professions. They found that the complexity of each individual profession was making the task of character creation overwhelmingly elaborate and extremely difficult to balance for the average user. Each profession has enough depth to stand on its own, so a secondary profession system was deemed unnecessary.

Guild Wars 2 also has no dedicated healing profession. Instead there is more focus on support roles, preventing damage before it happens with buffs or by controlling or blocking enemy movement so that enemies can't reach their targets. There are also healing skills, but they make up a very small number of spells overall and each profession has one ability slot on its action bar that is reserved for a self-heal.

Elementalist (scholar, low health)

The elementalist channels the natural forces of fire, water, air and earth to combat against enemies. Even though the elementalist lacks physical toughness they make up for it with devastating offensive power. Elementalists can deal enormous amounts of damage in very small periods of time.

Profession Mechanic: Attunements

The elementalist's ability to adapt to certain situations is their true strength and with their ability to attune to the four elements they show their versatility.

  • Fire Attunement: Attune to fire, gaining heavy damage and burning abilities.
  • Water Attunement: Attune to water, gaining superior support and healing abilities.
  • Air Attunement: Attune to air, gaining heavy damage and control abilities.
  • Earth Attunement: Attune to earth, gaining superior damage-over-time and defensive abilities.

Skill Types

A human elementalist casting Static Field.
  • Arcane
  • Aura
  • Cantrip
  • Conjure - The elementalist uses Conjure spells to summon useful items and potent weapons that they or other party members can use. For instance, Conjure Flame is used to create a fiery rock to hurl at the enemy.
  • Glyph - These arcane spells enhance or modify the natural power of the elementalist. They use the Glyph of Elemental Power to increase the damage, range, and duration of their spells.
  • Signet - Signets provide an ongoing passive benefit, but can also be activated for a greater effect. An elementalist equipped with the Signet of Earth has increased damage resistance, but activating the Signet sends out a wave of stone, stunning nearby enemies.
  • Transform

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • dagger
  • scepter
  • dagger
  • focus
  • staff
  • trident

Warrior (soldier, high health)

The warrior is the master of weapons. He uses heavy armor along with his brute strength and will to fight. The warrior relies on his agility, strength, and fortitude in combat and can take blow after blow without faltering, all the while building up his three stages of adrenaline to further fuel his abilities.

Profession Mechanics: Adrenaline, Burst skills

The warrior can choose to release the adrenaline he has stacked up during the fight and channel it all into one burst. Each main-hand and two-handed weapon will have a burst skill and these burst skills become more effective with each stage of adrenaline expended on use.

Skill Types

A human warrior using Dual Strike with two axes.
  • Banner - The warrior can call down a banner to buff himself or his party members. The warrior can carry this banner around or plant it in the ground for the area of effect.
  • Chain
  • Physical
  • Shout - Shouts are to buff allies in the area of effect or to demoralize and debuff enemies within the area of effect.
  • Signet
  • Stance - The warrior can change stances that give advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation the warrior is in.
  • Transform

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • axe
  • mace
  • sword
  • axe
  • mace
  • shield
  • sword
  • torch
  • warhorn
  • greatsword
  • hammer
  • longbow
  • rifle
  • harpoon gun
  • spear

Ranger (adventurer, medium health)

A ranger is a master of tactical combat. The ranger is able to adapt to his/her opponent's many weaknesses with the variety of pets they have at their command, and their ability to strike a deadly blow from a distance. A ranger is always accompanied by their faithful pet. The ranger must bond with this pet and through that bond they gain a powerful connection to one another that makes them a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. The ranger must charm a juvenile member of the species he/she hopes to attain. This enables the ranger to raise the animal and form a powerful bond with it as it ages. It is also worth noting that a ranger is a jack-of-all-trades and is adept at many things, and as such is able to use that to his/her advantage.

Profession Mechanic: Pets

Of course one of the most important aspects of the ranger's profession is the necessity of a pet, a loyal companion that will fight beside you to the death. The ranger may select up to two terrestrial and two aquatic pets (amphibious pets can be used as either) from their collection of charmed animals for immediate access in battle, but only one pet can be active at any given time.

List of Pets

Terrestrial

Amphibious

Aquatic

Bird

  • Eagle
  • Hawk
  • Owl
  • Raven
  • White Raven

Bear

  • Arctodus
  • Black Bear
  • Brown Bear
  • Murellow
  • Polar Bear

Armor Fish

  • Armor Fish

Boar

  • Boar
  • Pig
  • Siamoth
  • Warthog

Devourer

  • Carrion Devourer
  • Lashtail Devourer
  • Whiptail Devourer

Jellyfish

  • Blue Jellyfish
  • Rainbow Jellyfish
  • Red Jellyfish

Canine

  • Alpine Wolf
  • Fern Hound
  • Hyena
  • Krytan Drakehound
  • Wolf

Drake

  • Ice Drake
  • Marsh Drake
  • Reef Drake
  • River Drake
  • Salamander Drake

Shark

  • Shark

Feline (outlier)

  • Lynx

Feline

  • Jaguar
  • Jungle Stalker
  • Snow Leopard

Moa

  • Black Moa
  • Blue Moa
  • Pink Moa
  • Red Moa
  • White Moa

Spider

  • Black Widow Spider
  • Cave Spider
  • Forest Spider
  • Jungle Spider

With each species within a family comes certain skills and abilities that another species might not have; different bears may have different roars, different spiders may have different venom, etc. The pet's level will be determined by the ranger's, which determines everything from its attack, resistances, and its overall health.

The ranger is able to control his/her pet in and out of combat. Modes determine what the pet's AI behavior, and commands enable the ranger to give specific orders to their pet.

Pet Modes

  • Aggressive: Attacks what the ranger is attacking.
  • Defensive: Attacks what attacks the ranger.
  • Passive: Doesn't attack at all.
  • Stowed: Disappears until the ranger receives damage.

Pet Commands

  • Attack: Attacks the ranger's target.
  • Pet skill: Activates a species-specific skill.
  • Heel: The pet is ordered to return to its master's side.
  • Swap: Switches your current pet for the alternate pet. Triggers a recharge if in combat.

Skill Types

A cadre of rangers.
  • Chain
  • Pet skills
  • Shout
  • Signet
  • Spirit - A ranger can call on a spirit of nature to buff the party, or himself/herself. The spirit will appear and give a buff, depending on what spirit the ranger chooses to call. For example, if the ranger calls on a Sun Spirit the ranger and their allies receive a chance to inflict burning for the duration of the spirit. However the ranger must be careful as spirits are able to take damage from enemies, and if the ranger wanders out of range of the spirit it disappears. In addition to that the ranger may only have one spirit active at a time.
  • Survival
  • Trap - A trap is triggered when an enemy enters the area it is planted. The trap can be used to do a number of different things. It can damage the enemy or used for crowd control. The ranger may only have one of these traps out at a time, and can utilize them to utterly disable their enemies.

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • axe
  • sword
  • axe
  • dagger
  • torch
  • warhorn
  • greatsword
  • longbow
  • shortbow
  • harpoon gun
  • spear

Necromancer (scholar, high health)

The necromancer is a master of the dark arts and an individual who revels in death. The necromancer uses the power of death to summon the dead to fight, wield the power of lost souls, and suck the very life from the enemy. The necromancer thrives in death and decay and can use life force to fell their enemies or to aid their comrades. A necromancer uses "life force" to extend his/her life. This life force is gained over time by attacking enemies with specific skills and techniques.

Profession Mechanic: Death Shroud

Once the necromancer reaches a certain threshold they can activate an ability called Death Shroud, which enables the necromancer to take a spirit-like form using their gathered life force as a second health bar. Death Shroud also grants the necromancer multiple unique spells accessible only while in the spectral form.

  • Death Shroud: Assume a spectral form and gain new skills, turning your life force into health. Entering this form removes other spectral effects.

Skill Types

A gathering of necromancers.
  • Chain
  • Corruption
  • Mark - A necromancer can place marks on a chosen area and when the mark is triggered it is able to give boosts to stats or damage those in the area of effect. A mark functions like a trap of sorts, although a necromancer is able to trigger the mark at anytime if he/she wishes to do so.
  • Minion - The necromancer is able to summon undead minions to fight alongside him. Along with each summoning spell comes a second spell. For example, when you summon a creature to fight for you its associated button on the action bar will be replaced by another spell that is directly related to that summoned creature. This spell varies by pet but it's effects can include destroying the pet to gain health or causing damage the mob, charging, blinding, and/or stunning the mob.
  • Signet
  • Spectral
  • Transform
  • Well - Area of effect spells that a necromancer can use to buff his/her party or themselves. An example, is called the Well of Blood. When the Well of Blood is placed the necromancer and his/her party will gain a bonus to regeneration. A necromancer may have only one well down at any time.

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • axe
  • dagger
  • scepter
  • dagger
  • focus
  • warhorn
  • staff
  • spear
  • trident

Guardian (soldier, medium health)

The guardian is an extremely devoted fighter who calls upon special abilities in battle to aid and protect his/her allies. The guardian is a master tactician who knows when to sacrifice his own abilities to empower his allies in combat.

Profession Mechanic: Virtues

Every guardian is supported by three unique passive abilities, known as virtues. These virtues may be activated at any time for a quick boost or to aid the guardian's allies. The ability to choose to sacrifice these passives in order to grant them to his/her teammates during heated combat makes the guardian an excellent supportive member in any group. Using one will trigger a recharge during which its passive effect will be disabled. They are:

  • Virtue of Courage: Every 40 seconds you are granted aegis which blocks the next incoming attack. If activated, will grant aegis to self and nearby allies.
  • Virtue of Justice: Every fifth attack causes burning. If activated, you and your allies will inflict burning with the next attack.
  • Virtue of Resolve: Regenerates health. If activated, will heal self and nearby allies.

Skill Types

A charr guardian with aegis.
  • Chain
  • Consecration
  • Meditation
  • Shout
  • Signet
  • Spirit weapon - A spirit weapon can be summoned by a guardian to aid him/her in battle. The spirit weapon will aid the guardian in combat for a limited time, acting as a companion.
  • Symbol - A symbol is dropped by the guardian on specific place to do damage to enemies or aid allies in battle. Different symbols will have different effects when dropped.
  • Tome
  • Ward - A ward is a marked area on which enemies cannot move, but allies can. The guardian may drop down a ward to allow a retreat or a regroup, and the enemies will not be able to interfere.

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • mace
  • scepter
  • sword
  • focus
  • shield
  • torch
  • greatsword
  • hammer
  • staff
  • spear
  • trident

Thief (adventurer, low health)

The thief is a master of stealth and is at their best when catching an enemy by surprise. The thief has very little armor and has a very low pool of health but compensates for that with their ability to vanish in combat and hide in the shadows until the moment to strike is just right.

Profession Mechanics: Initiative, Shadowstep, Steal

The thief uses a unique resource called initiative to fuel their weapon skills. While most other professions are limited by recharge rate, the thief's abilities cost initiative but in turn have no recharge. This means that the thief can use weapon skills back-to-back with no penalties and gives the thief the ability to unleash a ravaging array of attacks in a short amount of time.

Another mechanic associated with various skills, shadowstep allows the thief to vanish from one point on the battlefield and quickly reappear at a different location. One of the most unique skills that the thief has access to is Steal. This ability shadowsteps the thief to their opponent and generates an environmental weapon, then stores said weapon for the thief to use at will. The weapons generated are dependent on the profession (in PvP) or species (in PvE) of the target.

  • Steal: Shadowstep to your foe and steal from them.

Skill Types

A norn thief using Unload.
  • Chain
  • Deception
  • Dual wield - The thief is more impacted than other professions by their weapons' arrangement. When the thief is dual wielding he/she will gain two skills from their main-hand, two skills from their off-hand, and one dual wield skill from that specific combination of weapons. This means that different pairings can entirely change a weapon's role.
  • Signet
  • Stealth - The thief can vanish and hide in the shadows. These skills makes the thief invisible to enemy players, allows them to ignore aggro, and replaces the thief's first weapon skill with a stealth skill that can only be used when in stealth (e.g. going into stealth with a dagger gives you the back stab skill). The thief can still be damaged in stealth, however.
  • Trick
  • Trap - Similar to the traps that the ranger profession can utilize, a thief can use traps to ambush opponents and catch them off-guard.
  • Venom

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • dagger
  • pistol
  • sword
  • dagger
  • pistol
  • shortbow
  • harpoon gun
  • spear

Engineer (adventurer, medium health)

Engineers are master mechanics, and they use every tool at their disposal to commit the maximum amount of carnage. Engineers use the gadgets they make to aid them in battle: things like explosives, deployable devices, and elixirs to name a few. They can turn the tide of battle by securing an area with a turret, or by buffing their allies with alchemical weapons. Additionally, they can simply lay waste to the enemy by themselves with their vast array of mines, grenades, bombs, and other explosives.

Profession Mechanics: Kits, Tool Belt

Much like the elementalist profession, an engineer can only have one weapon set at a time, but to make up for this, each an engineer can also use special utility kits. Each gives the engineer a unique set of weapon skills and abilities corresponding to that kit.

The tool belt boosts the engineer's variety of talents. It automatically grants them an extra set of skills based on each equipped healing and utility skill to provide interesting new abilities for the engineer to utilize.

Skill Types

A norn engineer with a Healing Turret.
  • Chain
  • Device kit - These kits give the engineer a unique set of talents in the place of a weapon. For example, a Bomb Kit allows an engineer to place bombs and use them in place of a weapon.
  • Transform
  • Turret - Turrets have a wide array of uses. There are some suited for offensive placement and dealing damage. There are others that are more suited to aid the engineer's party members. Whatever the case, when an engineer places a turret they can use a skill that is granted upon placing the turret, called overcharge. An overcharge effectively boosts the turret's abilities for a short time. If a Thumper Turret (which deals AoE damage) is placed and the engineer then overcharges the turret, it will launch nearby enemies. In addition to that, an engineer can interact with a turret after having placed it, in order to transport the turret to wherever they choose.
  • Weapon kit - When equipped by the engineer gives them a unique set of skills. If the engineer chooses a Flamethrower kit, the engineer will be granted a set of abilities unique to the weapon. Skills like Immolate to damage, Air Blast to defend from ranged attacks, and Backdraft to bring enemies within range of the engineer's attacks.

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • pistol
  • pistol
  • shield
  • rifle
  • harpoon gun

Mesmer (scholar, low health)

The mesmer relies on manipulation and confusion to incapacitate their opponents. Their greatest asset is the indecision of their foe. Using illusions to distract and avoid close-quarters, they are able to stack any encounter in their favor. Rather than specializing in one-on-one or ranged combat, mesmers are master artificers. They layer conditions, illusions, and confusion to create intricate puzzles to be solved by their enemies while aiding their allies.

Profession Mechanic: Illusions, Shatter

Beware, because just when you think you've cornered a mesmer, you may find yourself swinging at clones, phantasms, or empty air. The real mesmer can be difficult to follow. They also possess a set of skills that shatter every one of their existing illusions for a variety of effects.

  • Mind Wrack: Destroy all your clones and phantasms, damaging nearby foes.
  • Cry of Frustration: Destroy all your clones and phantasms, confusing nearby foes.
  • Diversion: Destroy all your clones and phantasms, dazing their target.
  • Reflection: Destroy all your clones and phantasms, gaining Distortion for each one shattered.

Skill Types

A norn mesmer shatters one of her many illusions.
  • Chain
  • Illusion - Mesmers can manifest physical illusions in battle. Most are directed at a single target, but they are visible to anyone. They exist only as long as the target lives and can only be defeated by damaging the illusion directly. A mesmer may maintain up to three illusions simultaneously, with the newest illusion replacing the oldest. There are two types: clones and phantasms.

1. Clone - A clone is an illusion that is physically identical to the caster, shares the caster's name, and has simple A.I. behaviors. They tend to have little health and poor damage output. For example, a mesmer with a main-hand sword could use Illusionary Leap, which summons a clone that propels forward from their location. They would then have access to Swap, a skill that allows them to switch places with the clone they just created.

2. Phantasm - A phantasm is an illusion that resembles the caster but has its own name and illusionary weapons. Phantasms have less health than clones, but come equipped with a unique skill. For example, a mesmer might summon a Phantasmal Warlock that deals additional damage for every condition on its target.

  • Mantra - A mantra is a skill with two phases. Their activation phase carries a relatively long casting time, but is followed by an instant-activation skill which can be used while casting other spells without interrupting them. For example, Mantra of Pain has a secondary phase that is an instant-cast spike, and is usable during any channeled skill.
  • Signet
  • Transform

Weapons

Main-hand

Off-hand

Two-handed

Aquatic

  • scepter
  • sword
  • focus
  • pistol
  • sword
  • torch
  • greatsword
  • staff
  • spear
  • trident

Gameplay

Adventuring

Teaming up and adventuring is very different in Guild Wars 2. Characters who enter an area with a designated level lower than theirs will have their "effective level" decreased to ensure all of the game's content remains relevant. The professions system has also been designed for both solo play and playing in an adventuring party. The game is very solo-friendly, with most of the content being soloable and difficulty scaling to the number of active participants. However, there is still a strong emphasis on teamwork and some dynamic events will require cooperating with larger groups of players.

Dungeons

Dungeons in Guild Wars 2 are not beginner content and the earliest will require characters that have reached level 30. They have two distinct modes that serve different purposes in terms of player progression and gameplay. The story mode of each dungeon exists as part of a greater narrative involving the story behind Destiny's Edge (the adventuring group that splits after the events of the Guild Wars 2 novel The Edge of Destiny) and the player's attempt to reunite the group once more to combat the Elder Dragons. Story mode is easy enough for a casual group of players to complete without much difficulty and can be repeated if desired.

Explorer mode, unlocked after the player has cleared the story mode of a dungeon once, shows the consequences of your previous actions in the area and typically gives the player's party three choices as to how the situation will be approached. Each of these three routes can create an entirely different version of the dungeon, with alternate pathways, areas, and enemies to conquer. As explorer mode is some of the most punishing content in the game, it requires a significant amount of planning and group coordination to overcome.

Both modes demonstrate the dynamic event system though events that trigger based on location, player action, or chance. Also, while each dungeon contains a unique set of weapons and armor, it will be no more powerful than gear found elsewhere in the game, providing only unique skins for increased customization of appearance. Tokens are awarded to the player after completing a dungeon, and these can be exchanged for items from that dungeon's set.

Dungeon NameStory Mode LevelExplorable Mode Level
Ascalonian Catacombs3035
Caudecus's Manor4045
Twilight Arbor5055
Sorrow's Embrace6065
Citadel of Flames7075
Honor of the Waves7680
Crucible of Eternity7880
The Ruined City of Arah8080
Fractals of the Mistsn/a80

Player vs. Player

The much praised player versus player (PvP) system in the original GW has also been revamped. There is still a structured PvP system, allowing you to play at maximum level with everything (including all skills) unlocked. There's also a World PvP system taking place in the Mists, the "area between world shards". This allows characters of all levels to play against each other in massive battles. It is considered a bridge between PvE and PvP.

All servers are constantly engaged in WvW combat, so people won't feel left out if their world happens to not be battling. There are always 3 worlds paired up against each other at once for a specific amount of time, up to two weeks. There are 4 maps in WvW: 3 home maps for each world and then a huge central map. The goal of WvW is to capture fortresses, acquire resources, and cut enemy supply lines. This is all in order to gain points, and obviously the more points you gain the better. If your world does well you gain bonuses for everyone in the world regardless of whether they participated or not. This could be an XP bonus or increased item drop rate. These bonuses are all based on how many points you gain. There is a minimum and maximum you can reach. Along with all of this there are world rankings, so the performance of your world results in you competing against worlds of similar rank. Migrating between servers is restricted to decrease the amount of people changing servers just to gain awards.

Weapons

A pair of charr wielding rifles, one of the Guild Wars franchise's new weapons.

Weapons are divided into four categories: one-handed, two-handed, offhand only, and underwater weapons.

Some professions can dual wield two one-handed weapons, while others cannot. No single profession can wield every weapon, but each has different choices. Additionally, the game includes a wide variety of environmental weapons, such as boulders, wooden planks, trebuchets, and even broken wine bottles.

Environments

There are many different types of areas to explore, from jungles to deserts, as well as underwater areas. There is also a 2-hour day/night cycle (1:20 of day and 0:40 of night) implemented as well as dynamic weather to add more realism to the landscape.

Underwater Gameplay

Areas that are underwater contain their own dynamic events, their own friendly, neutral, and unfriendly creatures (aquatic and amphibious), and their own major landmarks. Several zones in the game contain a significant portion of underwater content.

Breathing underwater is automatic, as a default breathing apparatus is given to all players and is automatically applied as soon as you become submerged. While swimming on the water's surface, you have no skills to fight with and may be attacked from below. As soon as you tilt your camera to dive down, your underwater utility skills, underwater weapon, and breathing mask all activate.

Underwater combat reflects the three-dimensional environment in which it takes place. AoE attacks, for example, also affect foes on the z-axis, and there are skills that either sink or float enemies. Not only does each player receive underwater-only weapons with their own five-skill sets, but several utility skills that are unfeasible for underwater use instead have equivalents that the player may choose to place on their underwater skill bar. In addition, when you run out of health underwater, you enter a "drowning" state, which functions similarly to the on-land "downed" state. Just like the downed state, you can rally by either killing an enemy before your secondary health bar empties or having an ally revive you. Unlike the downed state, however, you still have some freedom of movement and thus may also swim to the surface, where your secondary health will stop draining and start to refill. If you manage to regain all of your health, you will rally.

Dynamic Events

Guild Wars 2 also has dynamic events instead of quests. These events are truly dynamic and do not necessarily reset after a certain time period but actually cascade across the entire region. GW2 strives to avoid quest text as much as possible and instead tries to show and involve the player in the world around him or her. Players can decide the outcome of events and the "next thing to do" or the chain will progress as the characters choose. Dynamic Events celebrate community play, as each event dynamically scales the difficulty to correspond with the number of players participating. This also eliminates some griefing, as every player (even those not in groups) are rewarded for their contribution to the event.

Chatting

The chat system in Guild Wars 1 was very limited in that - outside of guild and alliance chat - you could only talk to people in the same city and district you were located in. Though eventually it was added that if you were trading/selling items you could bring up a screen showing what others were selling in different districts in that specific town, it was still rather limiting when compared to other MMO's. Guild Wars 2 improves on this, as a messaging system, along with the possibility to create chat channels have been implemented, thus allowing people from other worlds to join your chat room.

Skill System

Skills, one of the major features from the original Guild Wars, has also been revamped. There are fewer skills that can be used in more situations, such as when surrounded by enemies. But perhaps the biggest change in the character creation system is the increased level cap, which has been increased to 80. The level curve, however, remains consistent for all levels, and not scale like in most MMORPG's. Players with large level differences are still be able to play together because of a strong sidekick system not unlike the one used in City of Heroes.

Ten-Slot Skill Bar

An elementalist casting Meteor Shower, a staff skill.

Similar to the eight-slot skill bar featured in the original Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 has a new customizable ten-slot skill bar. The first five skills on the bar are determined by the character's equipped weapons and chosen profession, while the last five are directly chosen by the player from a list of skills determined by the character's profession and race.

Environmental weapons, such as a boulder or a siege weapon, changes the first five skills to those specific to that item. A one-handed weapon also has different skills based on the hand it is equipped to (either the main hand or the offhand). All professions besides the elementalist and the engineer also have the ability to have two simultaneous weapon sets containing different combinations of weapons, which allows the player to change the first five skills in the bar during combat.

The last five slots on the bar are reserved for specific abilities known as healing, utility, and elite skills. These are unlocked using skill points, which are obtained from leveling up as well as from an assortment of challenges located around the game world.

Slot 1Slot 2Slot 3Slot 4Slot 5Slot 6Slot 7Slot 8Slot 9Slot 10
Main-hand 1Main-hand 2Main-hand 3Off-hand 1Off-hand 2HealingUtility 1Utility 2Utility 3Elite
""Dual wield (thieves only)"""""""
Two-handed 1Two-handed 2Two-handed 3Two-handed 4Two-handed 5"""""

Racial Skills

The primary and secondary profession system from the original Guild Wars has been completely overhauled. Guild Wars 2 has removed secondary professions, instead, coupling a character's primary profession with new racial skills which are specific to that character's race. Examples include the charr ability to plant a Shrapnel Mine or the asuran ability to Summon Power Suit, which they can climb into and use to devastate their foes.

Traits

Specific to each profession in Guild Wars 2, traits are used to modify a character's skills and attributes. Each profession has unique trait lines, such as Power and Tactics for warriors, and additional trait lines based on a character's equipped weapons. Within these trait lines, traits can be assigned that will alter skills and attributes, making them more useful in battle. Examples include Power traits that increases damage dealt or Tactics traits that lowers the cool down when switching between weapon sets. Traits, like skill points, are gained as you level up. However, unlike skill points, there are not any challenges to gain addition trait points.

Crafting

There is now crafting in GW2 allowing the player to specialize in up to 8 specific disciplines:

  • Weaponsmith: Craft melee weapons, such as swords, axes and hammers.
  • Huntsman: Craft ranged weapons like bows and pistols, as well as torches and warhorns.
  • Artificer: Craft magical weapons such as staves and scepters.
  • Armorsmith: Craft heavy armor.
  • Leatherworker: Craft medium armor.
  • Tailor: Craft light armor.
  • Jewelcrafter: Craft jewelery such as rings and necklaces
  • Cook: Make food that the player can eat to get temporary buffs.

The player is only able to specialize in two disciplines at a time, but the player is allowed to switch their disciplines as they please by talking to a master craftsman NPC in all major cities. Also, if the player wants to switch back to a discipline they previously leveled up they will maintain that level and their recipes. Though as you increase in level with that discipline the player has to pay a higher fee to switch back.

In order to craft items you first need supplies and these supplies can be gathered in 4 different ways:

  • Salvaging Kits: Just like in GW1, you are able to salvage items and retain certain crafting materials from the item.
  • Looting: You can gather certain materials, such as hides, from enemies.
  • Harvesting: Ore veins, plants, and trees can be harvested for materials.
  • Trading Post: As in GW1, you can always choose to just buy your supplies too!

A key difference in GW2 from such games as WoW is that nodes are not exclusive. This means that you don't need to race players to nodes of rare materials, instead if you see a rare material you don't need to worry about someone else swooping in and getting it before you. This makes the crafting field open to everyone as opposed to just crafters needing to purchase materials from people who run around gathering materials.

Once you have the materials you need to craft an item, you need to visit the proper crafting station, whether this is a woodworking table, an anvil, a forge or a tanning station. The player is then be presented with an interface which allows the player to add up to 4 materials to the interface, which then gives them the option to make certain items. Also, for added ease, if you have never crafted that item before the recipe will be saved so you know exactly what you need to craft that item again. Most recipes must be learned by the player, but there are also some recipes that can only drop from mobs or be learned from a trainer.

This discovery system allows players to distinguish themselves from others since you aren't given a static list that you can just follow. Also, just like your combat, you have a crafting level as well. You increase your crafting level in a discipline by making items. There is a 400-point cap in every discipline. Since there are lots of potential items you can craft in each, the player won't need to just make an item because it gives the most experience. This system ensures that the player creates the items that are needed or wanted, rather than following a rigid crafting route.

Crafting is something players should take interest in because crafting can create weapons that are just as good as weapons dropped by powerful monsters. Of course this will usually requires the player to be very high of a level in crafting.

Combat

"Teach me, old man!"

The combat system expands upon on the system that was first developed in Guild Wars. Tactical placement of your hero is important in Guild Wars 2 as opposed to just attacking once you are in range of your enemy. For example, if you use a skill that hits all targets in a straight line, you'll want to line your targets up for maximum effect. A spell that affects a cone-shaped area may need to be aimed in such a way that the middle of the cone is between two targets in order to hit them both. Some character skills promote flanking and provide bonuses if you attack from the side or the rear. The range of attack also plays a role in the combat mechanics. Now if a character is meant to attack at medium range they are going to want to keep that distance in order to be most effective and prevent the enemy from getting too close. The natural environment around the player also has an impact on combat and players are able to use it to their advantage.

Skill combinations have also been implemented. These occur when a party works together to complement each other's skills. When an elementalist uses the static field ability, it create a circle of electrical energy damages and stuns anyone entering or exiting it. A warrior who uses his rifle to shoot through this circle will charge up his shots, dealing additional damage. This allows the game to reward the party of people who have thought out their plan of attack, as opposed to an unorganized group that just runs in blindly.

There have also been changes to the death system. Not only are the consequences of dying different from the first game, but there is also a "down but not out" stage before the player bites the dust entirely. In this state, the player has access to profession-specific abilities that allow him to continue fighting. These downed skills are typically less powerful than your normal skills. If you manage to kill an enemy while downed, you will rally and get right back up and into the action. Other players, regardless of profession or level, have the ability to revive you when you are downed or defeated (dead). You can also choose not to be revived or rally and instead resurrect at any previously discovered waypoint on the map without any debuffs, experience loss, or corpse-running. This milder death penalty, along with the "downed but not out" stage before death, compliments the fact that there is no dedicated healer profession.

Orders

Orders are Guild Wars 2’s answers to factions. At some point during the player’s personal story they can make a choice to ally with one of the 3 orders. After the choice is made a player gains access to order specific armor, weapons, gear, and even certain parts of the players high level personal story are influenced. It is not required to join an order to play the game and it is possible to switch orders if the player wishes to.

Vigil

These crusaders understand that the world is a dangerous place. They intend to be an army of light against the onslaught of darkness.

Founded by charr general Almorra Soulkeeper, the order of Vigil are a group of crusaders comprised of multiple races who believe the Elder Dragons can only be defeated by the races of Tyria uniting to face them.

Current Leader: Almorra Soulkeeper

View: While there is darkness in the world the Vigil will be the light that protects those that cannot.

Method: The Vigil prefers to face the Elder Dragons head on, facing the minions of said dragons hoping to gauge their strength and find weaknesses to defeat them.

Durmand Priory

An order of scholars founded to secure and vanguard the lore and history of Tyria. Their most current and notable contribution is creating the language of New Krytan. They scour for lore on dragons of the past.

Current Leader: Gixx

Views: They believe knowledge is the greatest tool of sentient races and share it with the other races freely (but causally) so that it might better the races of Tyria

Method: They believe that the knowledge of the past encounters with the dragons will be the way to defeat them once and for all and hope to find lore on a way to stop them.

Order of Whispers

An Ancient order that originated from Elonia that relies of secrets and shadows, the order prefers running things behind the scenes so that others may claim the glory instead. It is rumored that they played a big part in slaying Abaddon and preventing him from bringing Nightfall upon the world. With their extensive networks stretching from Elonia to far beyond Tyria, they are not an order to be taken lightly. They are one of the few groups to have had knowledge of the Elder Dragons before they had awakened and returned to Tyria

Current leader: ???

View: You are truly victorious when your enemy knows nothing of you and you know everything of him.

Method: They believe there is no way to physically defeat the dragons and thus the only solution is to send them back to sleep.

Guilds

There are significant improvements involving guilds and there is also a lot more focus on the social aspects of guilds. ArenaNet has made Guild Wars 2 a very social experience and guilds will be a primary way to do this.

  • Guilds are available to the player from the very beginning of the game and they are not race-restrictive. There is a small fee of 1 silver required to create a new guild, and additional fees for periodic capacity upgrades. The maximum guild size is 500 player accounts.
  • Each player is not restricted to one guild like in GW1. Instead, each character can represent any of the guilds associated with the account they reside on. An account can join as many as four guilds concurrently, though they can only represent one guild at a time, so the player would need to change their representation in order to gain influence points for a different guild.
  • A player can add to their guild's influence by participating in events, structured PvP, dungeons, and by just logging on once per day. The rate of influence accrued increases with the number of guild members in the same party.
  • Guilds with the most players contributing to a keep's capture in WvW may choose to claim that keep, which will prominently display the guild's emblem and provide purchasable buffs to allies near the structure.
  • The guild interface can display the representation status, rank, account/character name, current location, current world, profession, character level, crafting levels, and achievement points of members on the roster.
  • Influence can be used to purchase upgrades such as a vault for sharing items between guild mates and bonuses to things like XP and karma gain.

The Living World

In January 2013 ArenaNet announced the "Living world" concept, where the game would be updated frequently with new events, areas and encounters for the player to explore with both temporary and permanent content. The idea was to motivate the players to log-on more often and always have some thing new to do that would take the story in the Guild Wars universe further than the main campaign. As of now new content will be released every second Tuesday.

Marketplace

The Black Lion Trading Post is Guild Wars 2's trading system. It is global and enables trade between different servers. Items may only be put up for sale while in-game, however it is possible to browse, bid, and cancel auctions and offers through a web browser. The seller does not have to be online for a transaction to complete, as the price paid will simply transfer to an account bank. The marketplace also displays the histories and trends of item values.

Sound

There is over 60 feature films' worth of dialogue recorded for the game, for everything from the concept art-driven cinematics, to NPC's alerting the player of a nearby dynamic event, to in-combat taunts/shouts to "flavor" conversations amongst NPC's.

Jeremy Soule composed the game's soundtrack, however players can select their own music and assign them to different audio cues (such as battle, ambient, etc.), letting the player tie their music to the appropriate engine-determined context. When necessary, the game may also revert temporarily to the default soundtrack for the best possible experience during dramatic moments (e.g. story development).

Interaction with Guild Wars 1

As this game takes place 250 years after the original Guild Wars, players are not able to transfer existing characters from the first game. Instead players can carry their name over from one of their characters from GW1. Also, players are able to gain titles and items through the Hall Of Monuments introduced with the Eye of the North expansion. Also, for those that took the time to reach the title "God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals" that title will be carried over for those players in GW2. There is a Hall of Monuments calculator released to help players maximize rewards from their hall, that can be seen here. Items are gained up until the player reaches 30 Hall of Monument points, and titles are earned every 5 points until the maximum of 50 points. Instead of pieces of weapons or armor, a GW2 character may claim stat-less "skins" to apply to their existing weapons and armor. The Hall carries an indefinite supply of all available items.

Because Guild Wars 2 features different races and is set centuries after the first game, there is not an option for players to import their Guild Wars characters into Guild Wars 2.

Release

The game was released on August 28, 2012, with those who pre-purchased (already paid for the game in full) receiving the game three days early, and those who pre-ordered received one day.

As the game got nearer to its release, Beta Weekend events were scheduled for people who have pre-purchased the game, allowing them access to a slice of early content. The first of these events began on April 27th and, after some brief downtime hiccups, ended on April 29th. The third and final Beta Weekend Event was on July 20 - 22.

Guild Wars 2 shipped with three different editions all of which, if pre-purchased, included three special bonuses:

  • Access to Guild Wars 2 Beta Weekends.
  • Early access to the final game three days prior to regular purchasers.
  • Hero's Band, an in-game item to boost the player's stats.

Digital Edition

Digital Edition is the most basic version available with no special bonuses or extras, unless pre-purchased prior to the game's release. Distributed as a digital download only.

Digital Deluxe Edition

The Digital Deluxe edition of Guild Wars 2 contains the actual game in as a digital download, plus the following in-game extras:

  • Summon Mistfire Wolf, an elite skill that summons a pet to aid the player or party in combat.
  • Rytlock Miniature, a vanity pet with no combat skills.
  • Golem Banker, a portable banker the player may summon anywhere in the world (limited to 5 days).
  • Chalice of Glory, a one-time use item to boost glory, a currency used to unlock rewards in structured PvP.
  • Tome of Influence, a one-time use item to boost a guild's influence to further the guild's progress.

Collector's Edition

The Collector's Edition is a physical copy of the game with all the extras available in the Digital Deluxe edition plus the following physical collector's items:

  • 10" Rytlock figurine
  • 112 page Making of Guild Wars 2 book
  • Custom art frame
  • Art portfolio and five art prints
  • Best of Guild Wars 2 soundtrack

Additional Guild Wars 2 Source Material

  • Ghosts of Ascalon (Release Date: July 27th, 2010)
  • The Art of Guild Wars 2
  • Edge of Destiny (Release Date: December 28th, 2010)
  • Sea of Sorrows (Release Date: June 25th, 2013)

Extended Experience

On September 21st, 2010, the Guild Wars 2 Mobile App was revealed. The app's full potential hasn't been revealed, but there are a few pieces of information available:

  • Players will be able to communicate both within and outside the game with the app.
  • The app will allow the user to look around the game's map in real time.
  • The user can watch dynamic events unfold (to a certain extent) and even alert their friends and ping the location on the map.
  • It will be very easy to control how and when people from within the game can contact you.

In an interview with Digital Gaudium on August 7, 2012, an ArenaNet dev stated "soon after launch we’ll be launching a robust app development program in conjunction with our community that should allow for the development of some truly spectacular GW2 app and website development."

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