Guild Wars

Guild Wars 2 Trailer: A Bigger, Prettier Game

The resignation of ArenaNet cofounder Jeff Strain cast a shadow of doubt upon the future of Guild Wars 2. Strain was, after all, the driving force behind ArenaNet’s hit MMORPG Guild Wars, which boasts over five million units sold. Since many achievements in Guild Wars confer player benefits in Guild Wars 2, I was starting to worry that my hard-earned in-game trophies would go to waste.

ArenaNet now dispels those doubts with the first official trailer for Guild Wars 2. The pre-rendered portions look a bit rushed, but the in-game environments look bigger and more detailed than anything I’ve ever seen in Guild Wars. That’s saying a lot, considering how often I’ve detoured from a quest just to soak in the scenery. One particular shot in the trailer even hints at a day/night rotation. Of course, such vast environments would be necessary to support a persistent world with a true Z-axis, features not present in the instantiated environments of Guild Wars.

Persistent areas require more server horsepower than instantiated areas. Just like its predecessor, Guild Wars 2 will require no monthly fees. ArenaNet must have some amazing game design and network management techniques up its sleeve, if it plans to maintain such enormous persistent areas without recurring fees.

As hopelessly nerdy as it sounds, the sheer beauty of the Guild Wars world is part of what motivates me to pick up my virtual sword and defend it from virtual villains. The message of the first Guild Wars 2 trailer is clear: that world is about to become bigger and more beautiful. I can’t wait to finally face the Drakkar Lake Dragon.

(Via John Cuneta.)

Happy Fourth Anniversary Guild Wars!

Congratulations to ArenaNet on the fourth anniversary of Guild Wars! Three cross-cultural campaigns after pioneer players first heeded Ascalon’s call for heroes, the game continues to draw in new players with six million units sold.

ArenaNet’s continued commitment to improving gameplay certainly helps keep people playing, even with the delays to Guild Wars 2. Sure, World of Warcraft has 11.5 million users paying $14.99 a month to wander the world and grind for hours as deformed characters — but people don’t play Guild Wars for that. They want a highly modular, aesthetically pleasing online RPG they can pick up and play anytime they feel like it — and for four years straight, Guild Wars has delivered beautifully.