There is a newer version of this article which you can find here.
What do we know about the game so far? I’m trying to keep it as short as possible. Knowing me, I will fail at that. ;) For further reading, I’ll include links.
This is also for people who’ve just recently heard of Guild Wars 2 and now want to know more. :) Since the game is still in development and hasn’t even reached beta yet (note: I think I read a statement that they would like to get into closed beta before the end of the year. The release date will then be determined by how well the beta goes and what kind of feedback comes in), about everything is subject to change. Also, new information comes out every now and then which might outdate what you can read here. If you notice any of that – or just errors that I’ve made – please comment (with sources if possible).
I’m going to use the same categories that I’ve used for my “Rift vs. Lotro vs. WoW” posting already.
If you only want a very short overview, the following will hopefully be enough. There are lots of links leading you further down my posting if you want more information!
Before we start, we need to get two questions out of the way (as suggested by Pyzlnar on Reddit):
“Yes, you can jump!” – and no, this game is not an Asian-grinder and it is not made by an Asian company. It’s made by ArenaNet who is located in Seattle, Washington, USA (though they do belong to NCSoft but they only work as a publisher here while ArenaNet is the developer and thus, actually makes the game). Guild Wars 2 will also feature an open world and will not be heavily instanced like Guild Wars 1 is. Again, thank you, Pyzlnar, for these suggestions. You were right, they’re clearly missing and should be the first two points in any GW2 FAQ. ;)
OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in?
The first closed beta phase started on December, 16, 2011 and ended on December 30, 2011. You weren’t able to sign up for it, though.
If you wonder about open beta, go read this interview with Angel Leigh McCoy. Planning of open beta has already begun, according to her.
How much does the game cost and which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
You will have to buy the game itself but no monthly fees. There will be an item shop similar to Guild Wars. Weapons etc. that give you an advantage will not be offered for real money. Nothing is known yet about security like authenticators.
More on costs and security
What can I play (races and classes?)
5 races: Norn, Human, Asura, Charr and Sylvari.
8 classes (officially called ‘professions’): Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer.
No holy trinity! Every class is self-sufficient up to a certain point. No tanks, no healers! But classes can interact with each other through their skills and support others.
More about races and classes
What does the game look like?
In short: Gorgeous, artsy, picturesque if you ask me. It’s important to note that ArenaNet is a US-American company. So don’t even start with “Asian crap” here, please. ;)
Pictures and videos outsourced to below in order to keep the part up here short.
What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
No raids in this game! Instead, dynamic events in the open world that scale for up to 100 players. And dungeons (story mode and the more difficult explorable mode). No standard quests for levelling.
More about PvE
Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
Structured PvP similar to battlegrounds (WoW), warzones (SWTOR),… everybody will be max level and wear standard armor. So no gear advantages.
World vs. world vs. world is the second mode. Three servers will fight against each other (no fighting players from the same server. There aren’t any factions in the game like WoW’s Horde and Alliance etc.). Servers will rotate every two weeks. You can level your character in WvWvW.
More about PvP
Grouping and socialization
In Guild Wars 2, you will be able to join as many guilds as you like with one single character (I assume you will be able to create more than one character. So don’t misunderstand this sentence ^^). If you want to read our opinion about it, go here. If you don’t, well that’s just as well. ;)
Grouping will be in the game but in its own way. You will not compete for XP or loot!
More about Grouping and Socialization
I want to be on my own sometimes (- or: What can do I solo?)
The first thing that comes to my mind is the personal storyline. When creating your character, you get asked a few questions and can choose between different answers. That determines the starting point of your personal story. Other choices later on will further determine how your story evolves. You can bring a friend along to your storyline. But it will essentially be your story.
Guild Wars 2 will also have achievements. So that’s something you can do. You can also roam the world on your own or play a lone wolf in WvWvW – though I’m not sure how viable the latter is. ;)
More about stuff to do solo
8 professions (you can have two at a time): Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jewelcrafter and Cook.
Every character can gather resources. Nodes can be used by several players. No stealing possible!
More about crafting
There will be non-combat pets. Mini games were also mentioned but not much is known about them yet. “Bar brawl” was mentioned, for example. You will also have a home instance which should not be confused with what we think about when we hear “housing”! It changes with your personal story but you can’t put furniture in etc. Also, you will be able to change the way your armour looks. And there will be 400 different dyes in the game. Each piece of armour has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed.
More about fluff
That was the short version. Its bigger brother will follow now. Including links for further reading (most of the information can be found on ArenaNet’s blog, though, or in the offical wiki for Guild Wars 2. Some other information came out of the recent GamesCom and PAX or from fansites/interviews).