Monthly Archives: August 2011

Steampunk in Guild Wars 2

I like steampunk, even in fantasy settings. Or rather, especially in fantasy settings. Loved it in World of Warcraft (always ran my night elf rangers over to Ironforge to train them in the gun skill), Warhammer Online (engineers!) and especially in Allods Online. Still, I was disappointed with GW2′s engineers. I know I wrote about this here already shortly after ArenaNet had announced them. My first thought when I heard “land mine” was: “Get out of MY game! Hmpf.” This pretty, picturesque, artsy, beautiful game and then there are machines, steam, noise, mines, etc. in it? That doesn’t fit at all!

I’m still not 100% convinced but 250 years are a lot of time and it’s just normal, I guess, that things change. So there is progression. And I started getting used to it until the moment saw engineers hop through the screen during a PvP match. What was that on their back? Reminded me of Ghostbusters. A flamethrower… like… in Team Fortress 2? Again something I will have to get used to. It did destroy all the immersion I’d felt creeping up while watching the PvP matches, though.

Then again, this isn’t MY game. This is ArenaNet’s game. If I don’t like it… well, I can complain and then I’ll either have to live with it or go somewhere else. I think I’ll take the first choice. ;) Also, looking at those armoured Charr trike-thingies, I guess the world really has changed and it fits perfectly.

But just think about this: What will Guild Wars 3 look like? Even further in the future, it’ll probably be a science fiction game set in space and we’ll finally get to know all about the relationship between the Asuras and Stitch (although my bet is still on the House Elves from Harry Potter and their interference somewhere that produced the Asuran race). ;)

LotRO: PAX/GC-mount giveaway

Yes, you read the headline correctly. We have a giveaway. As I’d hinted (very subtly ;) ) in one of my previous entries, we brought back 6 extra coupons for mounts (people got them but didn’t always want them). You can see it in the picture on the left.

Steeds of Middle Earth have a picture of it as well (see: Cremello Mount).

In order to participate in the giveaway, you only need to answer one question: What is the name of the dragon in the new 24 man dragon raid coming with Rise of Isengard?

You can reply here via comments until September 2, 2011, 23.59 Paris time (CET+1). This, coincidentally, is my birthday. I thought it would be nice to give away stuff on my own birthday. ;) (though technically, I’ll give it away on September 3, so one day after my birthday. But close enough! ^^)

Important things to note:

  • Leave a valid email address when commenting ( It will only be used by us for contacting the winners and nothing else!).
  • From all correct answers, we will randomly draw the winners.
  • We will then contact the winners first to make sure that their email address is valid and once you’ve replied, you will get your code.
  • This is because all codes have to be entered before the end of September 26 and we’d hate to send it away and it never gets activated.
  • One entry per person (IP addresses are always logged by wordpress.com when somebody comments)!
  • We have 6 coupons to give away. So 6 of you can win!
  • No debating about the outcome! We will draw randomly and everybody who answers correctly has the same chance of winning. :)
  • Edit: It’s September 3. My birthday is over and with it, the giveaway as well. We will now draw the winners and will contact them!

    GamesCom 2011: Link collection for GW2

    With PAX around the corner, I wanted to do a collection of links with interviews, videos, pictures, etc. from GamesCom. Of course, all GW2-related. :) Some of them were posted on German websites but the interviews are in English. So maybe you don’t know all of those links already.

    Overall, I think it would be impossible for me to give you a complete collection of all tidbits of information about the game that came out of GamesCom. Information overload! So I’ll just try to collect things I find interesting and also some links that I haven’t yet seen posted a zillion times.

    First, three short videos from the NCSoft booth that we just uploaded today. They weren’t ready yesterday or I would’ve added them there already. One of the annoying and negative parts of the GW2 booth was that crowd cheering guy. I’m just not a fan of those silly yelling games. Anyway, the crowd was cheering, so he certainly did a good job: I say NC… you say…Yell louder if you want t-shirts thrown your way and boy, was it crowded there!

    Now, let’s continue with the more interesting bits and pieces. Links are in no particular order (except for me listing our links first… shameless self-promotion and all that).

    Nerdy Bookahs:
    Pictures and the videos we’ve uploaded: http://www.youtube.com/user/NerdyBookahs – most of them are PvP matches we filmed.

    Some more YouTube videos:
    Here are videos of the PvE demo that shows the fight against Tequatl with lots of players (Asura and Sylvari because those were the ones you could play at a higher level). A video of PvP commented by Izzy Cartwright showing the engineer, the ranger and the trebuchet.

    Onlinewelten:
    GW2 Onlinewelten is a German website about Guild Wars 2. They did some interviews: One with Izzy Cartwright (talking about several things including ranger’s pets, the sidekick system, a bit about WvWvW,…) and one with Colin Johanson (also different things like the lobby for PvP, item shop content, race’s armour…).

    Wartower (Interviews):
    Wartower is another German website about GW2. Al’Ellisande conducted several interviews. I already summarise-translated the one with Martin Kerstein here.
    She talked with Ree Soesbee about lore and the Sylvari (my personal favourite interview!), with John Ryan about about the writing of the Guild Wars 2 story (starts at 07:37), with Izzy Cartwright about PvP (up to 11:40) and with Daniel Dociu about the art (starting at 28:38).

    They also uploaded a video about the character customization. At this point, I’d also like to link you to another blog entry about character customization so far: Namely, it’s not all done yet!

    Asura Emotes:
    Even though I prefer The current Asura over the GW2 asura when looking at their faces, I still definitely need to have at least one Asura (I’ll probably end up with a whole farm of them, thoug ^^). Watch some of their emotes here.

    GW2Guru has a rather long link collection for GamesCom 2011, so I’ll leave you with that now.

    Tomorrow, PAX starts. I wonder if we’ll get to hear about something new or if it’ll just be the same (which is okay. I wouldn’t mind some more videos. I haven’t seen enough about warriors yet, actually ^^).

    Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (August 24) – GW2GC edition

    Those who know me say that I’m often quite critical and can be overly harsh. So enjoy the following while you can because this’ll most likely be a rare entry full of fangirlism. ;)

    After Warhammer Online and its hype leading up to the release of the game, I have become quite skeptical and even cynical. Don’t believe what a marketing guy says (especially if he mentions bears). It got worse when I read about Kotick’s “The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games”. I am well aware that companies need to make money. It is a business, after all. And at the end of the day, each employee needs to earn some money to feed him-/herself and their families. But should it ONLY be about the business? Should it not also be about your passion? Or about fun? Doesn’t “having fun while doing your work” also transpire into your work and consequently also onto your customers who might then become happier customers. Or at least, more satisfied with the product you’re selling to them because they can see that people did their best to make it a great product and not just one that earns them lots of money while not living up to customers’ expectations?

    When I started school and finally learned how to read, a whole new world opened up to me. I loved escaping reality and I hid in the worlds I read about. Books were my passion and the worlds that other people had created in writing were my hiding places. When bookahnerk first introduced me to MMORPGs, I found myself walking around in those fantasy worlds. I don’t necessarily need to hide anymore – I actually quite like my “real life”. But from time to time, it’s still nice to be somewhere else even if it’s just in my imagination. And those games greatly help with that.

    The impression we both got about ArenaNet – before and especially during GamesCom – was that there are people who are passionate and who love what they’re doing. I guess the question they asked most often was: “How do you like it?” They took in all the feedback they could get and seemed to honestly want to know what their fans thought (positive and negative opinions were welcome). To us, ArenaNet did not act like other companies. Have a look at the pictures we took from that booth and note the people in white shirts (with the Guild Wars 2 “2″ on front and “ArenaNet” on the back. The other white GW2 t-shirts were given out to fans at GamesCom). There’s hardly a picture without one of them. And they aren’t just some people hired for the event who have no idea what this game even is. Apart from Rytlock Brimstone, there was also not a single booth babe. The people walking around in ArenaNet t-shirts were the community managers, designers, artists, writers etc. Those people who are actively working on the game. Everybody could approach them anytime and ask questions. Quite a lot of fans did as far as I could see (I think the only “issue” was that not everybody dared speaking English to them ;) ).

    On Thursday when we arrived at the GW2 PvP booth and saw Stéphane Lo Presti, we waved at him and he came over to us immediately. We had brought him a package of Hanuta after seeing his tweets about how much he loved them. He was positively surprised and judging from his first reaction “So… you know me?” he seemed a bit puzzled. Apparently, he had never experienced the power of Twitter before. ;) He talked a bit more with us before we left the booth to stroll through the other halls of GamesCom.

    On Saturday, while standing at the main NCSoft booth, he walked by, saw us and came over. He even gave us the chance to ask questions. Of course, we didn’t have any good ones. We weren’t prepared! ;) I only asked the question that al’Ellisande also asked Martin Kerstein… well, you can find that in my last entry. I also told him that the only thing I would ask of ArenaNet is “Don’t do a Warhammer Online!”. He smiled and shook his head.

    After what felt like a very long time (which isn’t meant negatively! We appreciated him taking so much time to talk with us!), Sarah Witter (who can be seen in the left picture speaking with the Asura) appeared, apologised and said that she had to take him away from us because somebody dressed up as an Asura was there. He went off and she told us that we could follow him if we wanted to see the Asura as well. We sure did. Once there, I took a few steps back and looked at the whole scene: There he was the Asura. But what was impressive was actually, once again, ArenaNet. It seemed like every member of the team had been gathered and they were all there for pictures, autographs and admiring the costume (said Asura also got a t-shirt signed by everybody I think). Such a big fuss just because a fan showed up in a costume! And again, that’s not meant in a negative way. It was great to see them getting excited about a fan! :)

    Whatever they did during GamesCom, to us it always seemed like they were actually positively surprised and happy about the feedback they got from the GW2 community. I especially loved listening to Ree Soesbee talk about the lore of Guild Wars 2. The way she talks about her work is just inspiring. I want to explore what ArenaNet is creating! I want to see every corner of the world and soak in every piece of lore they put into their game. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a game since Warhammer Online. And, well, I doubt that GW2 will turn out like WAR. ;)

    Wartower.de’s interview with Martin Kerstein (from GamesCom 2011)

    Wartower.de, a German Guild Wars fansite, published an interview from al’Ellisande with Martin Kerstein, who’s the German community manager of ArenaNet. The topic was, of course, Guild Wars 2. As it’s in German, I thought I’d offer a short English translation (not literally but so you get the gist).

    Whenever you see (( )), that’s where I’ve added my own thoughts or additional information. ;)

    1. When we’re at max level, will end game be horizontal or vertical? Or will I just try to get items faster?
    - There is content in the game meant for max level, e.g. instances or events. He wasn’t sure what she’d meant with “getting items faster”. He mentions the possibility to (automatically) downscale your character and look at lower level content that you might have not seen so far. And PvP, of course.

    2. The goal of the game isn’t to get to max level before you can “really” start playing the game and have fun. Your path is your goal. Have fun while levelling.

    3. She talks about how lots of players are altoholics in Guild Wars and enjoy having/playing all classes. Then she asks if it can or will be the same in GW2.
    - Especially with the personal story, it will be interesting to play several classes because the story will branch out at different points. So playing again with a different character will be interesting because it won’t be the same. Martin also says he’s an altoholic. ;)

    4. In Guild Wars, you can leave the game for a while and when you return, you can get back into the game without having to get some specific armour or weapon first. Will GW2 be the same?
    - The way Guild Wars 2 is built speaks against this concept. You shouldn’t need to get certain items or certain stuff in order to play with others. You can specialise/finetune with items but won’t have to get certain things first.

    5. Underwater combat: Will you be able to avoid underwater areas without having any disadvantages? ((<– This question actually came from me. I AM terrified of dark water, whales, sharks, squids and whatever else you can find in dark water. I will get this game no matter what, but I’d prefer not having to go underwater if I can avoid it))
    - Martin doesn’t think it happens often that a RL phobia transpires into the game ((I disagree. Sorry. Have seen and heard of enough people with phobias that had to fight with them in games. Not always, but it happens more often than he thinks, I guess ^^)). However, they don’t want to force players to do something they don’t want to do. He has to speculate as he’s not sure but he thinks it should be possible to avoid.
    ((Again, a comment from me at this point: I’d asked Stéphane Lo Presti the same question. Partly because, of course, it’s important for me personally but also because a friend wouldn’t even buy this game if she had to do any underwater stuff. He wasn’t sure either but so far, he hasn’t encountered anything in game that forced him to go underwater. This included the parts of personal story quests he’d done already while testing the game. So again, not a 100% “Yes, you can avoid it!” but also not a “No way, you need to do that!”))

    6. She talks again about changeable underwear ((which I’ve written about here)) and they’re probably happy to hear that they have the best underwear in games. ;)

    7. Weapons in underwater combat. What about environmental items/useable objects, a bottle, for example?
    He can’t answer that question. He speculates that you might let this item drop once you go underwater. Also, specific utility skills might not work underwater. The first time you go underwater, you decide for specific underwater skills which will be activated by default whenever you go underwater again.

    8. Nothing about guild halls yet. Nothing about the guild system so far.

    9. Jeremy Soule is again creating the music for the game.

    10. They talk about the music system. You can add your own playlist to your game. Even in a way that music will change dynamically depending on what happens. They’ve written about the audio team recently in their blog.

    11. GW2 will not be playable on tablet PCs. ;)

    12. Marketplace/auction house. Not talking about details yet. They are thinking about adding the possibility for players to list items that they want to buy (instead of just listing items they want to sell).

    13. They are in friends and family alpha testing. He’s talking about longtime resources management but he doesn’t know what the designers are planning.