Bookahneer’s Geekwatch (April 18, 2012)

Welcome to today’s Bookahneer’s Geekwatch! The place about miscellaneous interesting news related to gaming (will most likely include at least one piece about Guild Wars 2 ^^).

First things first, Nerdy Bookahs now exist in German as well: Meet Nerdige Bookahs. We’ll try to translate as some of our posts into German from now on and maybe even blog in German once in a while (and translate that post to Nerdy Bookahs because the English one will definitely remain our main “project”). Since we’re doing that all in our free time, we’re not sure how well it will work out. But we figured having a separate blog would be a lot better than having two language version in the same blog (and thus, in your RSS feeds ^^). Less scrolling for you, too. ;)

The big thing you can find on the German Bookahs is the translation of the EUFanDay Q&A: part 1 (translated by Paeroka) and part 2 (translated by bookahnerk). So if you want to brush up your German skills (or if you are German and more comfortable reading something in your native language) head over there.

While we’re at it already, I collected the links to most of the EUFanDay-postings (I’m sure I didn’t catch them all but I tried to!): Find them here. This list is sorted by languages. We’ve had British, Greek, Dutch, Polish, French, German, Spanish and Italian people there and all of them wrote something about the event! I just counted and there are 46 links. So you’ll have plenty to read and watch (yes, watch! There’s one video and lots of pictures!).

As GWOnline had asked and we’d wanted one for some time, we made a logo for our blog! If you’re on the wordpress website of our blog, you can see it on the upper right. Or you can just go to our blogroll? and see three different versions. If you want to link to us and want to use a picture, then feel free to use it.

Also, ArenaNet just announced the first beta weekend event for pre-purchasers: April 27 – 29! Details will follow today or tomorrow. So what do you want to see or try out? I know I want to play the mesmer class in structured PvP, so I can directly compare it to the warrior. Then maybe play the warrior for a few levels, so I can compare that class to the mesmer in the beginning. And then I may check out and test the norn starter area because I most likely won’t play a norn at launch, so I won’t spoil the fun for me but I’ll still get to test something. ^^

And if you’re really anxious and can’t wait to test out the different classes, why not spend some time on skill tool websites? Luna Atra has one in several languages (English, French, Polish and Russian are offered at the moment). That’s not the only one, of course. GW2Tools is another and GW2Builds is the third that we have found so far. Choose the one you prefer and dream of your perfect class and build until the beta starts! ;)

We can see that we’re getting closer to launch as I’ve seen more and more people looking for members for their guild. One thing that bookahnerk spotted caught our attention. The unofficial EU RP community thread certainly sounds interesting for European roleplayers. They’re trying to find a server before the game launches, so the interested RPers can create their characters there and roleplay together.

Choosing between the mesmer and the warrior: Which one wins?

Update: The following post is from before the game’s launch. I wrote about this topic again after having played both professions for a bit longer. You can find the post here.

In case you’re new to my blog: I’ve been to the EUFanDay in Brighton where we got to play Guild Wars 2. After our return, we were allowed to write about our game experiences. So I’m not breaking an NDA here by writing about my time in the game and my thoughts about the warrior and the mesmer class. You won’t find any deliberate beta leaks (it’s sometimes hard to know where somebody got their information, especially on the game wikis or the various websites listing the classes’ skills) in our blog! But enough of that. On to the great big horrible dilemma: Should I play a mesmer or warrior (as my main character)?

You may wonder why it’s even a question because those two classes are really different. But now that we don’t have roles like tanks, damage dealers or healers anymore, it’s really a question of which playstyle you prefer. And no, it’s not even as easy as melee or ranged as both the warrior and the mesmer are capable of both. Though it’s physical DPS with a rifle or longbow for the warrior while the mesmer has a scepter, a staff or a greatsword for ranged magical damage. Yes, a greatsword. And since there are no auto-attacks, this means that the mesmer doesn’t actually hit enemies with the greatsword.

What I like about the warrior-class in general is that they’re usually… well, not exactly “easy to play”, but straight forward. They jump right into the battle and are generally not as fast to die than, say, a cloth-wearing mage class. And I do tend to get my character into trouble regularly by running forward without looking around the corner first. ;) So a warrior-class is usually the better choice for me as it leads to less frustration. While I was in Brighton, I tried out the warrior, of course, and the mesmer. So what was it like playing them? I played the mesmer for the first few levels in the Norn starter area. And I played a warrior in structured PvP (level 80, of course) and in a dungeon (level 30). I know this doesn’t make both classes 100% comparable. But I did get a general feeling of how it could be like to play those classes.

The warrior was more or less the standard that you would expect if you have played such classes before. I was told by two others that the warrior can dish out quite a lot of damage when played with a two-handed weapon (I was dumb and didn’t realise I could have two weapon sets once she was set to level 30. This was no upscaling, by the way! We had an NPC that allowed “members of the press” to level their character to 30 immediately, which obviously was too much input at once for me ^^). I went for my usual routine: Sword and shield! Together with traits/skills that gave me health regeneration, less incoming damage etc. I must say, I didn’t die that often during our dungeon run. I also don’t think I was in downed state too often (I didn’t count, of course). All in all, I was happy with her. She jumped into the fight and dished out damage. Occasionally, she could stun the enemy for a second or so (if I remember correctly, that even worked on bosses! What didn’t work was a knockback on some bosses. But my memory could trick me here ^^). What I loved, however, was the active blocking. I could activate this skill and block incoming damage for a few seconds while waiting for my healing skill’s cooldown to run out! Lifesaver in more than one situation, let me tell you. That was just a short overview of what I experienced. It was… as I had expected. A brute playstyle, always in the middle of the fight, never hiding or backing down. Well, dodging away but only to jump right back into the action! Guild Wars 2-style, of course! So yes, I had a lot of fun playing her. You do notice that the combat is different than in a lot of other MMOs. So even the warrior class, as straight-forward as it was, wasn’t boring to play at all. And that was just one weapon set (and just imagine what I could have done if I had realised I could use two weapon sets… silly me). There are so many other weapons to play with – and, of course, other traits and skills to choose.

The mesmer, one would think, is the kind of class I wouldn’t enjoy: She’s a cloth-wearing class that has a melee sword in her hand. That can’t go well, can it? But, amazingly, it did! At least for the few levels that I played her! Now she’s not as brutish as the warrior. She’s a mesmer, after all, elegant and skimpily dressed. You never play alone as a mesmer as you can have up to three illusions with you! ;) There are two kinds of illusions: The first one is called a “clone”. Those look exactly like you do. The second one is a “phantasm”. They are see-through and thus, easy to differentiate from you. They also have different weapons than your character (you can find more information on the official website). But you can’t control them in a way a pet class can. Which is good for me because while I like the control, I’m also usually annoyed with the whole micromanagement. You can, however, switch positions with an illusion for a few seconds after calling one (depending on the skill). Now, if your enemy (mostly thinking about PvP here) has you as their target, you won’t just disappear from their target when you call an illusion. However, if you’re in the middle of a fight and somebody else from the other side appears, it will certainly be fun hiding in between the illusions. Okay, I admit, I have no idea how difficult – or easy! – it will be later on once we’ve all got tons of experience under our belt. But I assume it’s great to have this moment of confusion for yourself.

As I said, I played my mesmer with a sword and a pistol. The pistol gave me two skills. One is a shot that gives a debuff to three different targets. Well, it gives three different debuffs, to be more precise. And the other is a phantasm with a pistol. I have to admit, I never paid attention to how much damage each of my illusions did. I only know that I was intrigued by this playstyle. It’s certainly not comparable to how a warrior jumps into the middle of a fight and still survives due to brute force. The mesmer relies on tricks (switching positions, going invisible for a bit, teleporting, etc.). The end result, however, is the same: Both attacked in melee, which I love doing, and survived, which is a nice side-effect, isn’t it? ;)

So, which one does win? It’s hard to say right now. I know that when I first heard about the mesmer, I was intrigued because it reminded me of my frost mage back in Burning Crusade’s WoW. But after playing the class, I know it’s even better. It’s a mix of that frost mage (playstyle-wise) and a melee class (if played with a sword) and it almost sounds like it was made just for me! I’ll definitely also create an asura warrior. But I guess the asura mesmer will be my main character. I like melee but I’ve been looking for a class like that frost mage (back in BC, the playstyle in PvP did change since then, unfortunately) and I’m just excited about trying out the mesmer and I do hope this class will give me what I’m looking for… which is a melee-capable class with lots of annoying tricks up its sleeve (and no, thief is out of the question because I’m too impatient for stealth).

Being at the EUFanDay – or: Musings about ArenaNet’s game philosophy

As you, my dear readers, may have noticed already, I was invited to the EUFanday in Brighton. Yeah, okay, there’s no way you can have missed that. ;) When we got this invitation, we were… flattered. The next question, however, was: Who will go? Bookahnerk or me? Once that was settled (it was an ugly fight, I can tell you! ^^ ), I was very much looking forward to it. Then I saw the NDA… we weren’t allowed to talk or write about our game experience. As you have also very likely noticed, the NDA was lifted by now. However, that only happened after our return back home. During those two days in Brighton, the NDA still stood and we were reminded of it several times. When the EUFanDay was finally announced on Twitter (we had, of course, been invited a few weeks before that), I saw various reactions. Quite a few people were confused and wondered what this was all about. More importantly: They wondered what they would have to do in order to be able to go and why ArenaNet announced it so close to the actual date. In other words: I think that announcement and the title of the event were a bit misleading: It was an invitation-only event and while most of us who had gotten invited were fans, not everybody there was a fan and follower of Guild Wars 2. We’re all gamers and MMO-players, of course! However, a “regular fan”, that is, one without a blog or a fan site, didn’t have a chance to be invited. I would have wished for a clearer announcement or clarification what this was all about.

Anyway, I also saw people claiming this was a press-event. I even saw people call us “journalists”. No, I’m not. And just think about the last beta event where the press didn’t have the NDA and were allowed to report about the game. We, clearly, didn’t see us as press (at least, the people I talked with about this) and we weren’t treated like press either as the NDA was firmly in place! So we didn’t see ourselves as press and apparently, so didn’t ArenaNet. I have to admit, I was a bit confused why we were brought there. Why had they invited us? And what could we write about once we got home? Well, apart from the interview, of course. After talking with a few others, I knew that I wasn’t alone in my frustration (which, by now, is gone because they did change their mind and allowed us to freely talk about our game experience) and my wondering why we were there.

On the first day, however, not long after we had arrived in the Lighthouse, which was the building in which we got to play Guild Wars 2, Stéphane kind of gave me an answer to my “identity crisis as far as being a blogger was concerned”: I had just gotten a cup of coffee and stood there sipping on it when I heard Stéphane talk to others. I don’t know what had been said or asked before and I didn’t write down Stéphane’s answer so I’m paraphrising here. According to him, for ArenaNet an MMORPG consists of two things: One is the game itself. But this game alone (that is, Guild Wars 2 in our case) is not an MMORPG. Only when you add “the community”, you get an MMORPG. Without the community, it’s not an MMO! And that’s what ArenaNet has been trying to design.

I guess you can see it in the steps they have taken so far: There is the game which doesn’t require people to play a certain way. It doesn’t require them to fight over loot or crafting nodes. Everybody gets something. We’re not rivals nor in competition with each other. They tried to design the game in a way that it supports building friendships, teams, people helping each other without jumping through hoops first (e.g., you can help somebody kill a tough mob and you’ll get a reward even if you weren’t in the same group!). They’re trying to make it easy to collaborate and play together (no groups necessary, no holy trinity). They’re trying to get rid of artificial barriers (e.g., raiding equipment, PvP equipment etc. You can get your gear the way you prefer – that is, through crafting PvE or PvP. I’ve written about their design philosophy not too long ago. So that’s the in-game part.

When you look at how they interact with their fans, future customers and players, you can see a similar treatment. After last year’s GamesCom, we also wrote about their interaction with fans. They, the developers of the game, were in the masses watching and observing people trying out the demo. They were also there and answered questions, listened to feedback. It wasn’t this one-dimensional way of players writing on forums, giving feedback or asking questions without receiving answers and not knowing if the developers even read their postings. Here, at GamesCom, they could talk to them, hear answers and make sure their feedback was heard!

As I said, we’re not press. The press’s expertise is writing about games, reporting, reviewing. We as bloggers and fan sites do the same. However, we have the freedom to be a lot more subjective when writing (hence, this rant! ^^). We are also much closer to the community. We ARE the community (in the sense of being a part of it which the press often isn’t). Maybe you remember Martin Kerstein’s posting about building community. I quote one, for me, important sentence:

“The main goal is to be inclusive, not exclusive, to encourage collaboration between communities, and to generate an atmosphere that is helpful, friendly, and above all, respectful.”

So, what longwinded-me is trying to say here is that this whole philosophy of having a game AND a great community seemed to be a reason why we had been invited. The collaboration aspect is one I could see clearly after we had all returned from Brighton. I don’t think I have ever “retweeted” that many people’s blog posts (and in some cases, in languages I don’t even understand) or seen as many trackbacks to my own blog posts. Also, Tasha Darke and Dutch Sunshine from GuildMag worked together to transcribe the interview we had together. Each posted half of the interview on their individual site. Tasha also mentions this in one of her blog entries:

“Dutch and I spoke about various aspects of working together for the better of the community when things line up, the start of which we saw yesterday when we split the load for transcribing the Q and A.”

For them, it worked out just fine: They each only had to do half of the work and both got the “hits” by people visiting their sites (though I don’t think either of them really cares about the latter!). And what did you, their readers, the game’s fans, the rest of the community, get from this? Easy answer: You got to read the interview a whole lot sooner than you would have if they hadn’t split the work! In other words, if we’re working together, collaborating, it’s a winning situation for everybody. ;) And a lot more fun if you ask me!

So for me, this EUFanDay was only partly about getting to play the game. By and large, it was about meeting people that I’d gotten to know online before (or not, as there were people that I’d never interacted with before) and getting to talk about our hobby (Guild Wars 2 as well as blogging/writing).

Apart from the community aspect, there was one other (though related) part: We got to meet the European Community Managers! Who here had even realised we got them before? I had seen their names mentioned in a Tweet and on Facebook. But I had tried to find out more about them, who they are etc. and hadn’t been too successful. You can see them tweet or write on Facebook (something was written by Aidan Taylor if the message ends with “AT” and by Mélanie Corolleur if it ends with “MC”). For us Europeans, having European CMs is great (not culture-wise because Martin and Stéphane are originally from Europe anyway) because they’re in our timezone! It’s a much more direct interaction. They’ve also already said that they will be at this year’s GamesCom, so if you want to meet them in person, make sure to be there!

I’m going to finish my rant now with a short bit of feedback about this trip, a few more pictures and a picture gallery of the Rytlock figure for you guys (the one holding it is Kronos from Onlinewelten, by the way, with whom I had never interacted before the EUFanDay even though I’d been reading on the GW2-Onlinewelten page every now and then).

The trip itself was much too short: It seemed chaotic and rushed at times. I would have loved to have more time to figure out my skills before being thrown into a PvP match but we always had the ticking clock at the back of our minds (there was the scheduled interview and the dinner reservation at the restaurant!). The interview itself had been a bit disappointing because we hadn’t known before that we only got to ask one question per person. Of course, having 25 people with questions in a room means that we can’t actually ask that many. But it was still a bit unsatisfying. From an outstanding person’s view, little was known about the event and I’ve seen people think that we’d return with a big announcement or secret to reveal. If you still think so, I have to disappoint you. What you’ve gotten to read about the event by now is really all we can tell as nothing else was shared with us. There is no announcement and no secret being held back.

The positive parts greatly outweigh those negative ones, though. First of all, I had fun and I enjoyed myself. The flight, hotel and food was paid for and none of those seemed even remotely cheap! Whenever we had any problems while playing the game, we had somebody help us out within a few seconds (my headset was broken and it was replaced within five minutes). There was plenty of food around and coffee, too! Aidan and Mélanie bent over backwards to make sure we were all happy and satisfied. On Monday evening, at 11.30pm, when Aidan was already tired, he still went to the beach with us. Of course, this hadn’t been part of the official schedule but we had mentioned wanting to go there after dinner and he went with us, so we wouldn’t get lost. At no point did those two seem to “just be doing their job”. I don’t think I ever saw any of them without a smile on their face! So, I wish to thank them once more for doing such a great job and taking such good care of us (feel free to show that to your superior, Aidan, whose name I’ve forgotten, unfortunately. ^^)! Also, Matthew Moore was very funny and goofy, especially together with Stéphane while they were taking the group pictures (I have no idea how many we took but about half of us brought their camera to them so they would take a picture of us with them).

To finally get to an end of my posting: If your goal was to introduce us to the EU community managers and help us connect with other European fan sites and blogs, then you all did an amazing job here! Oh, and yeah, the game’s quite nice, too. ;)

My gameplay experience at the EUFanDay

It turns out, we’re actually allowed to write about our game experience now! Three cheers to ArenaNet for allowing us to share our experiences with you! And there’s no need for them to worry either because except for two tiny things, I enjoyed myself immensely in the game and all in all, I can’t wait to get my hands on the real game. So, in case you’re curious about my gameplay experience, I’m going to try to memorize what I did and thought about the game. ;) The short of it is: I played a norn through their starter area, I played structured PvP, I played through a dungeon and I experienced the downscaling in the open world. The classes I tried were mesmer and warrior.

Before we started playing, we told each other which race/class we want to play once the game releases. Nobody mentioned the poor norn (you can probably guess which race I am going to play first… ^^). Ironically, the first thing we did was play the norn starter area. ;) This race is too big for me. The characters and the starter area are well-done. The norn themselves just aren’t what I like playing myself. So, as soon as I had the chance, I switched to playing a female charr. Much better! I tried both the mesmer (melee-style!) and the warrior. I can say that I have no idea which of those two classes will be my “main character” in the end. But I guess that’s what “alts” are for. ;)

I played the norn mesmer with a sword and a pistol. It was nice being right at the mob in melee combat. I never had the feeling that I was squishy. All in all, the mesmer has some nice tricks up her sleeve. I had called an illusion (who looks exactly like my character) and then got kicked away from the mob. After calling this illusion, you have a few seconds to click on this same spell again and switch positions with the illusion. So, if your illusion is still close to the mob and you get kicked away, activate this skill and you switch positions with it and can continue meleeing the mob. Or, well, player if that happens in PvP. ;)

Anyway, as I said, I switched from norn as soon as I had the chance. So once we started playing structured PvP (no WvW because we were only 25 people and that would’ve been a bit boring), I played a female charr warrior. I did mention to Stéphane how the female charr’s breathing sounds reminded me of Darth Vader. Weird noises, really. But I guess I’ll either get used to it (and my headphones did have a strange sound to them… tinny, in a way) or maybe they’ll change it if more people think so. ^^ I liked everything else about the female kitteh. She’s cute, cuddly, furry,… ;) The warrior class was lots of fun as well. During the PvP, I ran around with a gun. I had a hard time remembering all skills, so I refrained from switching to my melee weapons. Of course, that meant I didn’t play as effectively as I could have. ;) Still, I had lots of fun, even though I always need lots of time until I can find my way around on the different maps. We played Battle of Kyhlo (for gameplay videos, you can have a look at our youtube-channel where we uploaded several videos from last year’s GamesCom about people playing on this map. We do not have any current videos because we weren’t allowed to film it) and Forest of Niflhel.

The next day, we played the Ascalonian Catacombs dungeon. Once again, I missed something. I thought I couldn’t switch my weapon sets and only had one: Sword and shield for my warrior. For my traits, I had chosen some that gave me more defense and hitpoints. I wanted to make sure I don’t die immediately, so that it gave me more time to react. We played the story-mode and it was… easy. Again, fun. But easy! We hadn’t been in there for long when our 5th group member had to go (it was the second day, so I assume he had to go in order to catch his flight). We continued with just four players and still, it was easy! Of course, “easy” doesn’t mean we went through there without dying. We all died a few times (that is, we were in downed state several times and a few times, we also died). We also had a wipe at one of the bosses.

What I like is how you can play through the story-mode with a PuG (and we were kind of like a PuG, after all. With us sitting further away from each other, there wasn’t much discussing a tactic, etc.) and don’t need to worry about wiping countless times before giving up completely frustrated. As we were only four people, we didn’t even try the explorable mode. Stéphane said that if we did try this one out, we would endure pain. Lots and lots of pain. When glancing over to my right, I saw Tasha Darke and her group die countless times in the explorable version. They tried their best but eventually, gave up. So there is certainly a huge difference between playing the story-mode and the explorable mode. And that’s the way it should be, if you ask me. If you just want to go through the dungeon to experience the story and be able to say that you’ve done and seen it, then the story-mode is perfect for you. If you want and need the challenge, then continue with the explorable mode! And since you get downscaled to the appropriate level if you’re higher level, there is no way to go back to a low level dungeon and just run through it without paying attention. If you’re above level 30, you will get scaled down to 30 when you enter this dungeon.

Speaking of downscaling: I took my level 30 warrior to the charr starter area and was downscaled to level 13. I was alone for a while and did one of the events there. Then a group event started. I figured I should try it. Yes, I was downscaled to level 13 but surely, being a level 30 in reality should give me an advantage? And I had a shield and had taken a trait to not receive as much damage! Bravely, my kitteh jumped into the fight. When the mob was at around 50% (ok, probably closer to 60 or even 70 ^^), I died. While running back from the waypoint where I got resurrected, I saw that another player had arrived. Together, we killed the mob. I was pleased about that. The downscaling (at least from 30 to 13) worked very well! And if there is something like a stat-cap, then I highly doubt that being a level 80 downscaled to 13 would have given me any advantage. I then inspected the area further and saw a skill point challenge on the map. After arriving, I found myself surrounded by level 17 – 18 mobs. I looked at the lower left corner: Yep, still level 13 effectively. I looked back up at the mobs: Nope, not a chance. None at all. I died, again.

My kitteh licked her wounds and strolled over to the lake to test out the underwater combat instead. This one feels just like the normal combat. Except that you use different weapons and thus, have different skills on the left side of your skill bar (the right side wasn’t affected, I think). Sometimes, it’s a bit difficult to see where the mob is exactly that you’re attacking (you can move up and down which just makes it a bit harder to spot the mobs). But other than that, it was as much fun as the combat was outside of the water.

What I’ve seen seemed like a solid game whose gameplay was fun for me. Apart from the weird female charr breathing sounds, I found one other “not-so-great” thing: When playing with lots of other players, there was a lot going on on the screen. Lots and lots of graphic effects from spells/abilities from all around you. If they could tone this a bit down, I’d be very happy. Other than that, I didn’t have anything to complain about. There’s only one thing that’s even worse now than it was before: I don’t really feel like playing any other MMO at the moment. I’d much rather continue exploring the world of Guild Wars 2 right now (preferably with asura… *insert dramatic sigh*). Then again, I do still have single-player games left to play through. So there’s plenty to do while waiting!

If you have any questions about my gameplay experience, feel free to ask!

EuFanDay: The interview

Cross-posted from Talk Tyria. As always, please go there if you want to comment on the article. Thank you. :)

As I said in my last entry here on Talk Tyria, Nerdy Bookahs had been invited to the EUFanDay that took place this Monday and Tuesday in Brighton. I was the one representing our blog there (a first post about this went up on our blog. It includes a growing link collection for write-ups etc. from the EUFanDay). As part of this event, we got to talk with some of the developers about Guild Wars 2. Or rather, each of us (the invited fan sites) were allowed to ask one question. I’d collected a few more than just that, so that was a bit sad. Fortunately, I didn’t have as many questions as some others, so the disappointment from those who sent in their questions wasn’t that big on my site. ;)

Tasha Darke and Dutch Sunshine have just posted the transcription of the interview. You can find the first part on her blog and the second one on GuildMag.

As those two already transcribed the interview, I will refrain from doing the same. It’s a lot of work and time, after all (thank you for doing that, by the way!). Time which I rather want to spend on ranting and musing about which we got to know from the interview. ;)

I’ll assume that you’ve read the interview now. But I’ll try to write in a way that you know what I’m talking about even if you haven’t. ;) As I said, we had about 25 people (give or take 3) who all asked one question. So the questions were very mixed. We had a few about PvP and what we now know is that ArenaNet want to have structured PvP as an esport. We don’t know anything new about the observer mode but it’s probably a safe bet that they’ll do everything they can to include this as fast as possible post-launch because it’s needed if they want it to succeed as esport. Other than the observer mode, I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t succeed here. Every character in structured PvP is the same level, has the same quality gear, access to all skills, etc. They also want their structured PvP (and WvW) to be easy to understand and get into. Overflow shards will also allow you to join structured PvP matches (but not WvW), so even if your server is crowded, you can still join those PvP matches. From the interview, I take it that we can expect some kind of announcement about additional PvP maps before release. They mentioned one that has lots of underwater combat and a pirate ship! Another one is supposedly going to make GW1 players feel nostalgic.

On to another area of the game, the community. It was stated again that there will be no restrictions or penalties for switching guilds. You’re supposed to be able to switch whenever you feel like it. How that works in the end remains to be seen. It requires us to let go of what we’ve gotten used to (it really shouldn’t surprise us anymore as it’s not the only thing that will work differently than in previous MMOs). Another thing that a lot of people are worried about is how the fansites will survive (I think there was a huge discussion about this on guildwars2guru) when Guild Wars 2 will have official forums. Regina said that while they will have less time, they’re still going to read the inofficial forums, fan sites etc. and that there will, of course, be people who’ll rather post on non-official sites than on the official ones out of fear of being censored on the official forums. If you ask me, I think it’ll be like we have it now: There isn’t just ONE fan site and ONE blog out there. We have so many different ones and so far, there’s space for all of them. Because people have different preferences and thus, will want to post on one site but not on the other. The official forum will just be “one more” site that you can go to but it won’t be necessary. If all you want is get news about the game and chat with a few friends, why not do that where you’re currently doing it already? There’s no need to move on to the official forums as ArenaNet won’t ask us to shut down our fan sites or blogs.

Something that disappointed me greatly were the answers about the customization for female humans mostly. ArenaNet want them to be idealized and beautiful. So no wrinkles, scars, etc. From what I have seen in pictures (or the customization videos from GamesCom), it looks like all female humans are dolls. I’d really like there to be the option to have different faces (I’m thinking of Warhammer Online here which made it possible to add scars. We’re fighting dragons here, after all! It’d make sense to have scars!). But oh well, it can’t be changed, I guess. And since I want to play Asura and Charr anyway, I don’t really need to worry about the humans. The thing that then made me squeal again was when they mentioned that there will be dances. I feared that we wouldn’t get those (again, like in Warhammer Online where I first realised that I really love fluff like that and I miss it when it’s not there… just like minipets, emotes,… – thankfully, Guild Wars 2 will have all of those!).

One last thing that I want to comment on is the question by about where to get the “good items” (that is, the high-level armor). ArenaNet’s philosophy about how we should be playing the game is “do what is fun for you”. In other words: If you enjoy WvW, you should be able to get the gear from WvW. If you enjoy crafting, you should be able to get similar gear with similar stats (in power) from crafting, and so on. However, certain looks will only be obtainable through WvW, crafting etc. So that when you see a player in a certain armor, you know they have done WvW a lot. But they’re not more powerful than you are when it comes to the stats they have on their armor. If you ask me, this is a great direction and one they’ve already done in Guild Wars 1. There’s nothing wrong with having bragging rights. But make them about the look/uniqueness of the gear and not about the stats on the gear! This will make the game much better than handing out gear with much better stats because it means that the whole game world remains open to you even if you decide to ignore a certain part.