Disastrous DiRT Daily Ep2.

The Game Jar Files: Guild Wars 2 – The game of the year that you probably won’t play

Originally published on thegamejar.com July 6th 2012

PC gamers and Console gamers. In many ways they’re like Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, longing to be together, doomed to forever be apart. The problem was of course that Romeo was console gamer, and Juliet was a PC gamer. It’s the age old tale, boy meets girl, girl doesn’t like boy’s joystick, girl leaves boy for more sophisticated gaming. You see like all console gamers, Romeo liked his gaming quick and dirty with very little commitment, he had no time for the long term demands that many MMO-playing PC elitists enjoyed, and as such he paid little attention to the whole PC scene. Juliet wanted a gamer who could satisfy her demands, play the same game for whole weekends without rushing to the climax, and not trade her in for the latest release a week later. Thus society dictated that the two could not be together, and poor old Romeo was left hanging around underneath Juliet’s balcony, wishing he could be up their with her, playing awesome PC games and putting his hands on her mouse and keyboard. Juliet on the other hand was content to count off the days till August 28th, the day that massively multi-player online games would change forever. I tell you this tale as an introduction to my explanation as why you’ve probably never heard of Guild Wars 2, or why it’s going to be game of the year. But before all that, a little potted history.

Twelve years ago  in 200o a small video game company called ArenaNet was founded by Mike O’Brien Patrick Wyatt and Jeff Strain, three former Blizzard Entertainment developers who had previously worked on titles such as Diablo II and Starcraft. Formed with the goal of  “creating a state-of-the-art interactive game network, and developing premier multiplayer, online games”  they released Guild Wars Prophecies in April 2005. The game would be described a “competitive online role-playing game” with the description based upon Guild Wars unusual blend of a greater emphasis on Player versus Player (PvP) combat and (often instanced) Player versus Environment (PvE) questing and exploration. The way the game played wasn’t the only thing that set it apart from the usual genre tropes either, it’s payment model departed from norm by eschewing a monthly subscription fee in favour of just charging the initial purchase price of the game, then followed by charging for future content. Two campaigns were released, first, Factions in 2006 and then Nightfall in 2007, both of which expanded the number of missions and professions available. By 2007 releasing subsequent campaigns was deemed too restrictive creativity wise and Guild Wars first proper expansion, Eye of the North was released. A second expansion was planned but it soon became clear that Utopia (the second expansions name) wouldn’t allow ArenaNet to do the things they wanted. It was scrapped in favour of developing a whole new game.

Work on the sequel began in 2007  with a formal announcement in the March of that year. Fans had to wait two years before they got their first look at the new game, and in August 2009 ArenaNet showed off Guild Wars 2 for the first time. From that moment on anticipation has been building with each new reveal, and in my humble opinion Guild Wars 2 will be a revolution in mmo gaming. Playing it requires a new mind set, one that demands you forget all about the overly familiar routines we’ve fallen into by playing the many, many mmo’s that follow the World of Warcraft blueprint. Fighting monsters by standing still and spamming the same skills over and over is gone. Combat in GW2 allows you to use your skills on the move, combine that with a new dodge move and fighting NPC’s (Non Player Characters) requires some thought.  The so called “holy trinity” of Tank (the player tasked with taking all the damage for the group), Healer (the player tasked with healing the group), and DPS (Damage Per Second – the player tasked with dealing damage) is gone. Every class has it’s own self healing skill, and running dungeons doesn’t involve waiting around for the right classes turn up, any group of professions can band together and get to work. Gear grind via raiding is gone. The very best gear statistic wise is crafted by players not dropped by monsters, so there’s no need to grind away doing something you hate, just for the coolest armour. The list of mmo conventions made obsolete by Guild Wars 2 is a long one, and it’s something most MMO gamers have been clamouring for for a long while now. Just speak to any Guild Wars 2 fan (including myself) and they’ll tell you that they are ready to experience something new. We’ve done the “kill ten rats” quest hundreds of times over, and we’re tired of finding that the game completely changes at level cap, switching to a treadmill of re-doing the same high level content over and over. Guild Wars 2 Does none of those things.

So why am I getting a PC MMO all up in your Game Jar? Well partly because I’m a fan of the game and love talking about it, but mostly because I don’t want you to miss out on playing the best game of the year when it’s released in a few months time. I simply don’t have the time to cover everything that’s great about the game, so hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite with my enthusiasm. Any gamer that enjoys a well crafted role playing game owes it to themselves to try this game, so visit the official site and check out the stunning concept art, watch the videos on the various races and classes, if they don’t pique your interest, nothing will. Guild Wars 2 really is a revolution within it’s genre and gamers as a whole should be paying it more attention, because very probably in the near future the term “WoW clone” will be gone, replaced by a new standard, the Guild Wars 2 way. So trust me on this, forget about the next Call of Duty and the next Halo, you’ve played those games before. You know how they work, and you know they won’t offer any thing new. Take a chance and play something that lasts a little longer, dip your toe into PC gaming with Guild Wars 2. I promise you won’t regret it.


Video: Kil2 PvP Video

Just a quick post today to highlight this sweet PvP video from Alliance Tournament commentator Kil2. Enjoy the vid, check out his streams, and listen to the Bringing solo back podcast.

Guild Wars 2 – Launch date announced!

I know the internet is blowing up already with this news but I had to post something. I’ve taken part in both beta weekend events and one stress test, and without a doubt, Guild Wars 2 is hands down the best MMO I’ve ever played and finally it has a release date – August 28th 2012, with one final BWE July 20th – 22nd. So, watch the video announcement and get excited.

Eve Online: More V3 Goodness

We’re still in quarantine lockdown here at HQ, things haven’t quite gotten back to normal so this post is going to be brief. Today’s subject? More Eve Online V3-ing of ships and a slight re-jig of the Drake.

The Minnie ships don’t look all that different to me, maybe a little sharper, and thankfully they haven’t messed with the Rifter too much. The Drake is one of my favourite ships in Eve, and they’ve finally altered it to match the new missile turrets.

Enjoy the videos.

Guild Wars 2 – Post beta withdrawal blues

Late with this one I know, but part way through writing it real life got in the way and I had to down tools. Anyway the withdrawal symptoms have gone away now but the pictures are still pretty.


*sniff* *sniff* The beta weekend is over… *cry*

Oh Guild Wars 2, how I love thee.

Friday/Saturday – PvE Storyline and Exploring. I picked up Friday night where I left off last beta weekend, with my Charr Engineer at level 11 and part way through my/his personal story. Part of me was reluctant to see too much more of it, but after half an hour or so I was sucked right back in. I won’t go into plot details for fear of spoilers, but I did enjoy the way it tied into your choices during character creation. As expected, you can only play the first part of your personal story and by Sunday I had finished all that I could do. After that I explored a little, collected craft mats, and took part in some events. Sadly though I forgot all about the Mystic Forge in Lions Arch, it wasn’t until I’d watched Guildcast on Gamebreaker.tv that I realised I could have taken my crafted stuff there to give it a try. >_<

Sunday – PvP. It’s fair to say that I hated this mode to begin with, my first five matches largely involved me being ganked whilst trying to figure out what my various skills did. Naturally I took to Twitter to moan. After I’d had my little tantrum I resolved to keep trying, so I had a poke round the traits and skills screens. A quick adjustment here and there and I became a lot more effective, by Sunday evening I’d topped the match leaderboards a few times, helped my team to a handful of victory’s, and worked out how to play my character effectively. In the course of one day I’d gone from hating PvP to quite liking it, even resolving to playing it regularly come the full release.

A Tale of two Betas

It’s ten past nine in the evening, and right now I’m sitting in front of my monitor, glued to Twitter in the hope that someone from Arenanet tweets that they’ve fixed whatever it is that’s stopping me from logging into the Guild Wars 2 beta. I’m patiently sitting here, not raging, because I understand it’s a beta test, and beta tests are sorting out exactly this type of thing. So imagine my surprise when I realised I’d been extremely unforgiving with another beta test this week, the Ghost Recon: Future Soldier beta.

Over the course of two days I’ve played a grand total of one game. The rest of the time was spent stuck on loading screens, and so I wrote if off fairly quickly, unfairly it feels now. Tonight’s teething issues go to show that a bumpy ride can be part of the beta experience, so tomorrow I’m firing up my Xbox and giving it another go. Ghost Recon, I forgive you.

Now, back to waiting for the GW2 beta to be fixed…

Multi-Player Weekend Event Madness!

Apologies for no post last week, a stomach bug has been sweeping through our house and one of the casualty’s was last week’s post. I did have a long old speech about Bioware’s artistic integrity not really being under attack three quarters done, but as it’s not really that relevant now the post is lost to the mists of time. A lucky escape I hear you mutter.

Anyway, I’m still not quite 100% so this post will be short and sweet, and not really about anything at all. This weekend I’ll be trying to fit in two multi-player event weekends, one on Gears of War 3 and one on Mass Effect 3. If you fancy joining me hit me up over Xbox Live – Gamertag: SGT Benton.

Details incoming!

Gears of War 3

Gears Weekend 2x XP in versus, beast and horde. Guardian has a new xp multiplier. Horde bonus objectives every 2 waves. Custom gnasher skin.

Gears Weekend playlist is Raven Down 24/7. First to 10 Execution with Gnasher and golden snub loadout on Raven Down only.

Gears Weekend features tophats and flower blood for the Raven Down massacre playlist.

Mass Effect 3

Join the war against the Reapers online between 5PM PST Friday, March 30th to 5AM PST Monday, April 2nd and promote at least 2 characters to your single player campaign.

This operation includes PC and Xbox 360; we are continuing to work with Sony to enable these types of Operations on the PlayStation 3 platform. We appreciate your patience, and we expect an update later this week regarding Operation Raptor and the PlayStation 3.

Commendation Packs will be awarded to individual soldiers who complete their training, and a Victory Pack will be awarded to everyone if the Allied Goal is achieved. Packs will be available to download the following week. Please note that participants need to set “Upload Gameplay Feedback” to “on” in the online options to be able to participate in Operation RAPTOR.

Blogging from the past.

It’s Friday! Only it’s not. I’m actually blogging from the past because I expect to be a little bit busy on Friday, there’s this game coming out called Mass Effect 3… As this post goes live, I’ll be tucking into the third part of Bioware’s space trilogy, moaning about how they’ve left the stupid Thermal Clip mechanic in the game, and generally Shepard-ing it up aboard the Normandy. That’s after I’ve gone out a bought it that is, something I wouldn’t be doing if it weren’t for Game cancelling my pre-order due to their recent  financial troubles. Anyway, that’s this post done. Not having played the game yet, it’s a bit hard to write anything else besides expect a supplementary entry over the weekend. Till then enjoy Mass Effect 3 if you’ve already got, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

See you online.


*EDIT 14/03/12*

I thought long and hard about a second post about Mass effect 3, but decided against it. The reason? I don’t like the game. I’m not making a judgement on the quality of the game, clearly it’s very well made, but I just don’t like it. So rather than making an overly negative entry I’ll just leave it at that, I don’t like it.

And I don’t like the ending either 😛


Dragon Age 2

Dragon Age 2 is a tough one for me,  I’ve gone back and forth in my head on just whether I like the game and so far managed to come to no conclusion at all. On the one hand I spent a good amount of my play time feeling the game was tedious, and yet on the other something has drawn me in enough to clock up around forty hours and counting on Bioware’s new RPG. My overriding issue with DA2 is that they’ve dumbed the RPG elements down too much, and whilst they got away with doing that with Mass Effect 2, this game doesn’t have the same strong characters or continuity of story to carry it through.

Set almost entirely in Kirkwall, DA2 has you juggling quests for both the various opposing factions in the game, and your companions. All of them come off as extremists and with DA:O’s coercion skill gone it never feels like they’re open to compromise. As a result you spend your time picking sides, with none of the options feeling particularly appealing. Very few of your companions are entirely likeable either, and like the aforementioned factions they’re similarly extreme in their views, similarly closed to compromise, and just as incapable of running their own errands or asking you to do them without whining. All this results in a profound sense of futility, knowing that the end will be the same no matter what you do, and that the only variable is exactly who you chop up on the way there.

On the flip side I’ve spent some time playing this game so it can’t be all bad. Combat is improved, the graphics are better, and having a fully voiced character is a much welcomed addition. It’s just that it feels lacking to me, comparing this game to Dragon Age: Origins highlights just how much of the Role-Playing has been stripped out, and even though Bioware did the same thing from Mass Effect 1 to 2 to end up with a great game, it doesn’t work here. Less isn’t more, it’s less…

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