Author Archives: bookahnerk

How to switch between the starter areas in Guild Wars 2

Updated June 2014: After Scarlet had attacked Lion’s Arch, it could not serve as the central hub for players anymore. With the recent patch, this has changed and the city is slowly being rebuilt. We had previously changed this post to reflect the changes (Vigil Keep was used as the destination for all those portals). But now that Lion’s Arch is the centre again, we’re reverting the post. Please note that the path from the cities to Lion’s Arch is still up-to-date, but when you are in Lion’s Arch, the portals’ positions have slightly changed. We will update this as soon as possible!

***

If you have played Guild Wars 1, you may remember that it wasn’t possible to immediately switch between the different campaigns’ starter areas. It is not this complicated in Guild Wars 2, thankfully. However, we have seen people ask in-game and we have also found this question in our search terms. As it may not be immediately clear for new players, we have taken a few pictures and will guide you to the different starter areas now.

After you have created your character, you will be in a short tutorial. This is in an instanced area where switching is not possible yet. Play through it first and defeat the boss at the end. Directly after this tutorial, you’re ready to switch to whatever area you would like to go!

You need to know that all races’ cities are connected with each other through asura portals in Lion’s Arch. So if you want to get to another starter area, you need to go to Lion’s Arch first. There are two ways of reaching this city: You either go through your own capital city or you go through the Heart of the Mists. Just look for your race below or for the part with the Heart of the Mists.

Asura: Metrica Province – Rata Sum – Lion’s Arch

The left half of the picture above shows the location you’re at once you get out of the tutorial. Turn your character around and enter the portal to reach your capital city “Rata Sum”. If you have already moved away from the location and can’t find it, look on the upper right of the picture which shows a part of the Metrica Province map. The portal to Rata Sum is on the left where you can see the white dots and the arrow.

Asura quite like their portals and you will find a lot of them in their city (the purple swirly markers on the map show you their location). You’ll enter at the bottom right of the map. Ignore the other portals next to you and walk towards the one on the top of the map (shown on the lower right in the picture). The portal up there will bring you to Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Charr: Plains of Ashford – Black Citadel – Lion’s Arch

The upper half of the picture shows you where your charr will end up once he or she gets out of the tutorial. Turn around and run through the portal to enter The Black Citadel which serves as your race’s headquarters. If you don’t know where you came out after leaving the tutorial, have a look at the lower left part of the picture. It shows a little part of the “Plains of Ashford” map and the location where you enter The Black Citadel.

Once inside the city, follow the dotted path that you can see on the lower right of the picture. There is only one asura portal, so it should be easy to spot. Hop through it and you’re in Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Human: Queensdale – Divinity’s Reach – Lion’s Arch

If you’re a human, you will not land directly in front of your city’s portal after the tutorial. Instead, you will be inside a building. Leave it, turn right and walk towards the portal (which can be seen on the lower left part of the picture). The picture above also shows you a part of the map of the Village of Shaemoor with the location of the portal to Divinity’s Reach.

Inside the city, take the right ramp up the path, walk straight on towards the green swirly marker that you can see in the picture on the right part. Once through the portal, you’re in Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Norn: Wayfarer Foothills – Hoelbrak – Lion’s Arch

As a norn, you just need to turn right after getting out of the tutorial and run towards the portal up there. The upper right half of the picture shows quite well where you need to go. The map on the lower left shows the exact location, in case you’ve already wandered away from that place and don’t remember where exactly you ended up after the tutorial.

Hoelbrak itself is also pretty straight forward. Just walk the path shown on the right map in the picture. When the path makes that turn to the left, there’s some stairs, so make sure not to miss those! Once there, hop through the portal to Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Sylvari: Caledon Forest – The Grove – Lion’s Arch

The sylvari are a special case. Before you go anywhere, please look at yourself. You may notice you’re lacking something important. Walk a few steps forward. Over there you should find an NPC that can help you. Yeah, we are trying to be vague and probably fail miserably.

Once you’re done, walk back and through the portal. The map on the upper right in the picture shows you the path to said portal. The map on the lower right shows you where to go once you are inside The Grove, the sylvari’s capital. Walk straight on, turn left, hop through the portal and you’re in Lion’s Arch. Jump to the last paragraph to see where to go from here.

Anywhere in the World – The Mists – Lion’s Arch

You’re not always going to be near your city – or any other city – and may still want to travel elsewhere. Please note that as long as you’re not in combat and the waypoint isn’t contested, you can always click on any waypoint your character has already unlocked and travel there. But this can get quite expensive and sometimes, you just want to go to another city quickly. You can also reach Lion’s Arch by going to the Mists – and by doing so, you will not pay anything!

Open the “PvP tab”. That is the icon with the two crossed swords on top. Then click on the button that says “Go to the Heart of the Mists”. When you get there for the first time ever (on your account, not per character!), you will be asked to do the PvP tutorial. You can skip it and do it later, or do it immediately. It doesn’t take long and explains a few basic things about combat and PvP.

The left half of the picture above shows you the map for this PvP tutorial. The picture on the upper middle part of the picture shows where you appear when you go to the Heart of the Mists for the first time and thus, end up in the PvP tutorial. Right below, you can see the portal you get through when a) leaving the PvP tutorial through the portal (seen on the left map at the top) or b) whenever you go to the Heart of the Mists after having done the tutorial. The right part of the picture shows you the map and where you’ll find the portal to Lion’s Arch. But it’s really easy, as you can see on the lower middle picture: It’s right in front of you! There’s also an NPC on your right that will let you do the PvP tutorial if you have skipped it before.

Once you’re in Lion’s Arch, this is where you get to other capital cities

(Update June 2014: The above picture is outdated. We will upload a new one soon!) Now that you’re in Lion’s Arch you may wonder where to go next – or maybe not because it’s quite easy. At least, if you have come from another city. The middle part of the picture above shows all the cities’ portals. As you can see, they’re all in the same area. And you don’t need to run up to each one to see where they lead. Each city has guards from the respective race standing near them. Look for them and you’ll know which one is which.

If you came from the Heart of the Mists, you’re south of those portals which you can also see in the picture. We labelled it “Mist and WvWvW Gates”. If you’re there, you can either run towards the cities’ portals (or use a waypoint if you have been there before) or stay where you are and sign up for a WvWvW battle. There is one portal for each of the worlds’ battlegrounds (Green, Red and Blue Borderlands) and the central one (Eternal Battlegrounds).

Saying Goodbye to Guild Wars (For Now!)

With the recent addition of Wayferer’s Reverie to Guild Wars, we have been able to revisit some special places in Tyria before the majority will leave for Guild Wars 2. That together with the incoming screenshots for our Charrlie Giveaway (which, by the way, is open for participants until Saturday morning!) made me browse my own screenshot collection from Guild Wars while dwelling in memories. I’ve taken the ones I liked the most to show them here. Who knows when we will visit those places again? ;)

Guild Wars 2 Thief – How traits effect skill tooltips

No matter which MMO I play, I always end up with a rogue-like class. The fragility, agility and trickiness of this class-archetype is what I enjoy playing the most! I may by far not have the skill to play them flawlessly but I love that you can theorycraft and plan so much with this archetype. So it comes as no surprise that I absolutely love the thief in Guild Wars 2.

During the beta weekend event, I recorded a video of the thief’s traits and how each of them effects the tooltips when you put 30 points into them. I put together a picture of all the weapon skills’ tooltips comparing 0 and 30 points in the traits accordingly. I stopped after that because it would’ve been too time-consuming for me to do the same for the utility skills… especially considering traits and skills can change between every beta event and release.

If you prefer, you can also just watch the video that shows all that but, of course, not at once. ;)

Adventures of a Charr pack – There and back and there again!

Finally our new pack members arrived! Okay, they arrived about two weeks ago but it took them that time to settle in and they had quite a story to tell.

Their travel route was planned by their tactical headquarters like it was done for all their brothers. Many contacts with trusted guides of the logistic division were arranged all the way. Who would have guessed that ours would be misled and betrayed by the last one, who led them close to their target direction but got cold feet and secretly retreated with them. I absolutely hope that he got at least severely punished by his pack when they noticed!

Luckily, the Charrs were able to make it back to the headquarters alive and our trusted informant there was able to locate the problem. So they turned around immediately and went for another try while we manned our lookouts and alarmed everyone involved that we could reach to make sure to have a more competent guide this time.

Another week passed and they finally made it, broken down and tired of course from traveling that route a third time and very angered after realizing how close they were the first time. After having a night-long meal and some rest, we secured the area, found a treasure the locals had rumored about for generations and got in contact with a treacherous and greedy little species that seems to live around here. And so we and our new pack members stand on watch, day and night at our new home.

View their story here!

Spoken in more human pictures:
The first time the package got returned to NCsoft England due to a stupid and/or lazy delivery guy who marked me as an unknown resident after 3 years of living here! We got in contact with NCsoft support after 3 weeks without a sign of the package and had to wait for further processing till the 28 days provided for postal deliveries had passed. After those we continued our communication and both sides checked their postal contacts and tried to track down the package. While that was in progress, the package returned to NCsoft whose support immediately contacted us and asked if we wanted them to be delivered to us again. We cannot stop thanking the support for their great help!

This time they made it all the way! Thanks to the nontransparent way the responsible German delivery service works, we will never know for sure if it worked out now due to the extended address information we used this time, another/more intelligent/adaptive delivery guy or if the charrlies used their claws and forced him this time.

Guild Wars: Character slots, naming rules and their possible transition

When I try to imagine how the naming rules, server architecture, guild limitations and the character slots may be handled in Guild Wars 2 I always reach the point where I have to take into account how it was implemented in Guild Wars, why it may have been done like that and what the benefits of their decisions were. Especially the ones that they apparently want to keep. As an outsider my ideas and guesses are only that. Thus, I would love to read any deeper thoughts or other conclusions and ideas you may come up with!

My guesses put on the table simple, short, rough and maybe a little provocative are:
– Character slots will again be limited per account (not per server) but every character will be listed with its current home server.
– Naming rules are global and unique like in Guild Wars, but this time one word names are also possible.
– The basic game will be delivered with 3-5 character slots, the collector’s edition with 5-8.

If you are now sitting there nodding or shaking your head, rest assured that I can understand both reactions and sometimes have them about my own thoughts, too. Especially when I start listening to the two most extreme oppositional views in my head. ;)

One being overly optimistic, high of anticipation and delusional that Guild Wars 2 does not have to create an income for ArenaNet, dreaming of a world not limited by technical and financial boundaries. The other one being absolutely skeptical and mischievous knowing that there are as good as no companies which would say nay to the highest possible income for the least possible effort.

Please note that in the case of ArenaNet I still slightly tend to listen to the first one. Of all the companies on my personal radar they are the one I have the most confidence in that I will get what I will pay for. The other way around, they very rarely disappointed me. And when they did, there were always fast corrections or transparent explanations I could live with.

It’s my belief that one of the most basic decisions ArenaNet had to make for Guild Wars was how their server network should work to split and balance the possible load. Especially considering the financial and technical challenges an MMO meant at that time. As a result that decision directly influenced what kind of game world would be easier to implement and what limitations came along. I’ll take their decision for an “easier scalable and extendable massive instanced world with the layering in the outposts where many people could meet” as a given and compare some of its aspects to the “persistent world with massive amounts of players in the area simultaneously” to which Guild Wars 2 will belong to.

While with Guild Wars ArenaNet chose the very limiting way for their players in their world, some details show that nevertheless a global approach was important to them and still is. Most other games which are structured in “servers” come with capsuled parallel worlds. Each one with its own economy, own community and your character exclusively bound to one. ArenaNet instead decided to manage your character slots and the in-game NPC market in a global database. So you can log in with each character into any region you want, have the same NPC prices in all of them and can meet your trade partners worldwide.

In GW2 again, at least the new in game trade system will be not limited to your server (exact details and if it has any global or regional limits remain to be announced). While I do like being able to trade in all the regions of GW1 and love to never feel stuck at a server where economy or community sucks, it’s not made that way only for the good of the player. A heavily instanced game world compared to a cohesive one with its many simultaneous players, is so much easier to handle and to spread between an on demand expandable amount of servers. Managing the character slots globally also has the nice side effect for ArenaNet that they are able to sell additional slots sooner instead of letting us use up all unlocked character slots on every single server. While I wouldn’t mind it that much (because for me the lack of a monthly fee makes more than up for that), that’s my main argument why I do see them wanting to keep the globally managed character slots and technically simply add your server choice as one additional variable to each character slot.

Besides the fact that GW1 characters are managed worldwide and you can possibly meet any other player there are no server names to tag onto your name. ArenaNet came up with slightly different but essential limitations to how you can name you characters to avoid ambiguities. While they decided to rule out one word names, you are allowed to use multiple spaces to create your globally unique character name. What sounds trivial and enabled realistic combinations of for- and surname, titles or even seldomly considered foreign names, at the same time opened up the Pandora’s box of “creative” and odd combinations to integrate your overused popular or already taken names. But rating names or creativity should not be my focus in this post. Unique naming per server, region or even globally on the other hand is. Especially when taking into account the announced easy to execute server transfers in the upcoming Guild Wars 2.

Unique global naming would avoid one of the most frustrating aspects players may be confronted with (besides possible fees) when they want to switch servers or when servers are merged. Imagine the name you feel you have established yourself with and may be famous for is already taken on the target server. Maybe by a low level banking alt or someone not even playing anymore. While that dilemma is avoidable and my thoughts about globally managed character slots should explain why I see them keeping the global and unique naming too, I still owe you an explanation why single word names may have their introduction. I do not see a technical issue to rule them out, the shown demos of GW2 on this year’s exhibitions are still allowing them and I would consider it as a tribute to the e-sport orientation of their tournament PvP part and the habit gamers may have formed in other games. Short and single word names are much easier to recognize and so to build “e-fame” with.

Colin Johanson previously stated that there will be more than two character slots. Based on the foundation I argued till now it’s not that difficult to follow my train of thoughts why there will only be 3-8 character slots coming with the retail boxes (or download versions). As I just wrote, we know there will be more than just two slots. Also in many interviews it was stated that we should not run into limitations that fast. Well, considering that I am an altoholic and have too many stupid character names I come up with, my initial guess should be of at least 20 slots. ;) But thinking about ArenaNet, Guild Wars and the lack of a subscription I have to cut back to a maximum of five or eight slots, depending on the version (standard box, collector’s edition etc.). As a side note why I differentiate between normal and collector’s edition: Till now nothing is known about the content of a CE. But what would be cheaper for ArenaNet than some digital content (which they would love to sell us either way) additionally to physical goodies. So why not justifying a hopefully reasonable pricing of a CE this way and collecting some of the money directly at release which they would otherwise acquire over the next months, years or never?

Back to the still not argued number of five and eight slots. You all know them well. There will be five races and eight classes in the game when it launches. My simple assumption is that they want us to enjoy the game and give us either access to each of the races or to each of the classes or – on the other hand – deny us “full access” as an incentive to pay for character slots. If you want you can use that thought and observe the release of the game. The amount of character slots included at release could be taken as an indicator of how aggressive ArenaNet will be with their shop and how they will limit your content until you pay.

Imagining me buying the basic edition I may be satisfied with three slots but I am sure I would feel very limited by not even being able to play the five different races with their own story from start to end as one of them. Yes, it is possible to venture through the story of another race if you join a friend who plays that race. But for me that’s not the same, especially considering the effort it would take to coordinate. With five slots I guess I have to be happy. ArenaNet for sure wants to earn at least some money and buying slots to play every class I consider as tribute I will have to spend for playing their game without a monthly fee. Let me switch to imagining myself with a collector’s edition in my hands and that is what I actually want to buy. Now I have to raise my expectations. Being able to play all five races “out of the box” I definitely want to see as a given. While they may not use the mentioned opportunity to add digital content to increase the value of the CE I would feel a little unsatisfied if I didn’t get eight slots. In the end, I see a CE as a product for fans of the game, its lore and the world itself, so with less than eight slots I may have the feeling not to have bought the complete game. No, logging into the shop later that day/week/month to additionally buy some slots would not feel the same.

Allow me to use my fixation on the CE to dwell a little in thoughts about the recently announced collector’s editions of Star Wars: The Old Republic and Skyrim. Why exactly those two? Simply because they not only pushed the pricing a little. No, they nearly doubled the amount most of us were used to. How did they argue that? Ah well, I better leave that to the fans who I absolutely wish to have a lot of fun in those games but at the same time I impute them to see the value of their purchase through rose-colored glasses. I hope that ArenaNet keeps up the spirit they often recite that they do want to deliver content that literally earns them our money. So I would love to see a reasonable CE with stuff like the astonishing soundtrack, a book about the world and lore (an art-book would be nice too, but that’s already separately purchasable in their store) and a detailed artsy map of the world. If they want to absolutely stun me, the map would be made of cloth and “Destiny’s Edge” would be included as detailed figurines or a diorama. All that while having the price still capped at 80 $/€. To justify a pricing above that in my opinion there would have to be a fine selection of useful and valuable digital content (*hints at the 8 character slots*). But only to mention, I recommend avoiding content that cannot be acquired later (like the merchant that SW:TOR added) – in my opinion just to raise the pressure to buy the physical CE before it may be “gone” or you lack something that possibly reveals itself as a necessity later on.

Future announcements and further details may show the one or other error in my thoughts and there is a good possibility that I have to rethink some details of my statements or have to define them more accurately. But I guess that’s the risk about making things up in my mind, jumping to conclusions and blogging about them. ;)