You may already know the first version of this FAQ. I decided to rewrite it, update it and put newer screenshots in. So here is the new version. A very special thank you goes to Tasha Darke for reading through it all. I was hoping for a few bits of corrected grammar but she gave me very valuable feedback on top of that!
This FAQ is mostly for those who have just recently heard of Guild Wars 2 and now want to know more. If you have been following the game for years or even just months, if you have pre-purchased the game and if you have already played it, you are welcome to read it as well, but you will find a lot of information that you already know.
Since the game is still in development a lot of things are subject to change (yes, believe it or not, ArenaNet is handling the Beta Weekend Events like a real beta and is still changing things around). 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 am going to use the same categories that I have 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?
If you have pre-purchased the game, you are automatically invited to all beta weekend events planned to take place roughly once a month until release. Do not confuse it with a preorder, though. Pre-purchasing means you pay the game in full! Beta keys are also available through giveaways and competitions from a variety of fan and gaming websites.
How much does the game cost? Which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
You will have to buy the game itself but there will be no monthly fees. Without monthly fees, the follow-up costs are basically voluntary as there will be a real money shop (called “gem store”), but stuff you buy there will not give you more power and thus, won’t be required for the gameplay. Gems, the shop’s currency, can be bought in the game’s auction house (here called the Trading Post) for in game gold. Nothing is known yet about security like authenticators. There will very likely be system for account restorations in case you were hacked.
More on costs and security
What can I play and how do I play? – Races, professions and combat mechanics
You will be able to choose from 5 races: Norn, human, asura, charr and sylvari. Each race can be each of the 8 professions (often also called “classes”) in the game: Engineer, Thief, Guardian, Warrior, Elementalist, Necromancer, Ranger and Mesmer.
There is no holy trinity anymore! “Holy trinity” refers to characters that tank (the foes focus on the tank and leave the other players alone), characters that heal and characters that deal damage. In Guild Wars 2, every profession is self-sufficient up to a certain point and you will be able to play with any combination of professions without having to wait for “another healer” or “a tank”. Professions can interact with each other through their skills and support others.
More about races and professions
What does the game look like?
In short: Gorgeous, artsy, picturesque if you ask me. As with all games’ graphics, this is very subjective. Have a look at the various screenshots you can find online and decide for yourself if you like it.
Pictures and videos outsourced to below in order to keep the part up here short.
What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
First things first, there will be no regular raids in this game as you may know them from WoW or SWTOR! Instead, dynamic events in the open world that scale for up to 100 players. There will be several dungeons to play which will each have a story mode and the more difficult explorable mode. There will be no standard quests for playing either. The closest you will get to regular quests will be your personal storyline.
More about PvE
Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
There are 2 modes of PvP – Structured and World vs World.
Structured PvP, also known as Conquest, is somewhat similar to battlegrounds (WoW) or warzones (SWTOR) except everybody will be max level and have all weaponry and armor available to them straight out of character creation. So no gear advantages. 2 Teams (hot join or premade) fight it out on different maps for Glory, a currency which can be spent on better looking equipment and other (as yet unannounced) rewards.
World vs. world vs. world (frequently abbreviated to WvW) is the second mode. Three worlds (servers) will fight against each other for guild recognition and bonuses which affect the entire world. Players cannot fight players from the same server,as there are no factions, and while characters are buffed to have the basic stats as a level 80 character, gear and traits are not levelled (but you do earn experience in WvW which means that you can level your character in WvW). Servers will rotate every two weeks.
More about PvP
Grouping and socialization
In Guild Wars 2, you will be able to join more than one guild 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 it will not be forced on you like it is in other games. For example, you can attack a mob that another player is currently fighting. As you both contribute to the kill, you will both get the same amount of experience points and loot that you would have gotten if you had fought the mob on your own! In other words: Kill-stealing will not be possible!
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 WvW – though I’m not sure how viable the latter is, apart from escorting the odd caravan. ;)
More about stuff to do solo
There are 8 crafting skills to choose from and you can have two at a time: Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jeweler and Cook.
Every character can gather all resources provided you have the correct gathering tool equipped which can be bought from merchants for gold or karma. A resource node can be used by several players, so it is not possible to steal such a node from under another player’s nose.
More about crafting
There will be mini-pets just as in Guild Wars 1. Activities have also been announced but there haven’t been any recent details on them. “Bar brawl” was one of the activities mentioned, for example.
You will also have a home instance which is an entire district in the capital city of your character’s race. The home instance automatically changes with your personal story but you can’t change anything yourself (like putting furniture in).
Also, you will be able to change the way your armor looks. And there will be 400 different dyes in the game. Each piece of armor has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed.
More about fluff
That was the short version. Its bigger brother will follow now, which also includes links for further reading. Most of the information can be found on ArenaNet’s blog or in the official wiki for Guild Wars 2.
The long version:
OMG! When’s the beta? How do I get in?
There will be Beta Weekend Events roughly once a month until launch. Pre-purchase (pay the game in full) the game and you are automatically in each BWE. If you haven’t yet pre-purchased the game but want to do that, ArenaNet made a list of all retailers, or you can digitally purchase the game from them directly.
The BWEs usually start on Friday at noon PDT (9pm Berlin/Paris time) and end on Sunday, 11:59 p.m. PDT (which is Monday 9am Berlin/Paris time).
ArenaNet said that they may wipe your characters in between the BWEs but so far, we have been lucky and character have not been wiped. This does not mean it won’t happen for future BWEs, though. And, of course, your characters will be deleted before launch! You will not get to keep any characters and the server you choose for the BWE is not the server you will have to play on once the game launches. You will be able to choose any server you like then.
How much does the game cost? Which extra security against hacked accounts do they offer?
The game currently costs €54,99 (€74,99 for the digital deluxe edition). I looked up the price on the official website. Prices differ for different countries. And of course, retailers may have different offers as well. PLease be careful when buying keys from websites other than the ones listed on the retailers page! You never know if they are legit.
Once you have bought the game (and once it launches, obviously) you will have access to the complete game. There will not be follow-up costs like a monthly fee, but the game will have a gem store that will let you buy things like additional character slots, additional bank space, dye packs, experience boosts and more. ArenaNet said that you will not be able to buy anything that will make you more powerful, so we can assume that no purchases are mandatory. In other words, it’s not the typical “f2p” that lets you buy weapons and armor. The gems for the gem store will be bought with real money, but you can also sell them in the game’s auction house (here called the Trading Post) for ingame gold. On the other hand, it also means that if you never want to spend real money on it, you can also buy those gems for your hard earned ingame gold instead from somebody else.
See my previous entry for ArenaNet’s philosophy on what they want to offer in their gem store (it includes a link to an interview as well as a transcription both in English and in German).
We can hope that extra security like an authenticator will be added in the future (not just for GW2 but for all games bound to our NCSoft master accounts). I saw a photo where there was a picture of such an authenticator and the names of several brands including NCSoft suggesting that they’re at least toying with that idea. Hunter’s Insight has an article about that speculation and the hints that we may see one sooner or later.
There will very likely be system for account restorations in case you were hacked. As you can read in the GW support forum, the details were still unknown, at least to Gaile, about 6 months ago. I don’t remember reading anything else about it since then.
What can I play and how do I play? – Races, professions and combat mechanics
ASURA! And kittehs. *cough* Okay, let’s be serious.
So far, in the beta weekend events, sylvari and asura haven’t been playable yet but ArenaNet said that regular beta players have been able to play them already. So they are in the game and everything. It’s just that we do not get to play them yet.
Profession selection is not restricted by race selection.
Have a look at the game (this is a video showing an elementalist):
For more videos, check out Wyzim’s channel or the video gallery by Guild Wars 2 WvW.
One important thing to add about the professions: There is no holy trinity anymore. “Holy trinity” refers to characters that tank (the foes focus on the tank and leave the other players alone), characters that heal and characters that deal damage.
Every profession is supposed to be self-sufficient but group play will still be very important to succeed in fights (as a single player won’t be able to fight against huge dragons alone). For example, the game features combos. One character may use a skill that is a combo field (an initiator). Another character can the use a skill that is a combo finisher for that combo field. The finisher skill will then get an additional effect added. I’ll give you one example: A thief may use Shadow Refuge which, apart from healing allies and cloaking them in stealth, starts the combo field “Dark”. A warrior may then use “Fear Me!” which is a combo finisher “Blast” (it usually fears nearby foes). The Blast Finisher added to the Dark combo field results in the Blast Finisher skill also inducing blindness in all targeted foes. So, they will not just be feared but also blinded. If the warrior uses Kill Shot instead, they will damage one foe (the usual effect of the skill) and additionally cause conditions. There is a developer blog post about this but it’s from November 2011, so I’m not sure it’s still accurate.
Some professions are better when it comes to supporting others (guardian, for example, vs. thief). But generally, we should be able to play through a dungeon with 5 elementalists or 5 thieves if we want to. Of course, it may mean that we will raise the difficulty level that way. But it is possible, at least. The lack of a holy trinity also means that the responsibility of staying alive is not on other people but on you, the player. If you get too much damage, run away from the mob, heal yourself and pay attention to your surroundings. There are also no healing potions to keep you alive.
They used to have a mechanic similar to mana, etc. in other games (called “energy” here). The official GW2 wiki still shows the page for the energy potions. But ArenaNet have since removed energy from the game. You now have cooldowns to juggle through instead. Don’t just hit all skills that are off cooldown because you may want to keep this one really great skill (a 2 seconds stun, for example) for the very important moment where your foe is casting something that you need to interrupt because you’re low in health anyway and wouldn’t survive the incoming damage.
There is also the “dodge” mechanic that helps you avoid damage. By default, you double-click into the appropriate direction (double-click on “S” to dodge backwards). While dodging, you are immune to any incoming damage. However, you cannot just perma-dodge. Above the right side of your skill bar (see screenshot above), you can see a yellow bar that shows how much endurance you have. Dodging uses endurance and when the bar is too low, you cannot dodge. Of course, endurance regenerates as well. But you need to think about when you dodge because it can lead to your character’s death if you dodge twice while you don’t get damage anyway and then can’t dodge when there’s lots of damage coming in.
Each profession also has a special mechanic unique to that profession. I will not get into detail here because it would get too long. I will, however, give you one example. The warrior has an adrenaline bar. With each attack, you gain more adrenaline. There are three “stages” that the bar can reach. Each weapon gives you a different burst skill that gets stronger the higher the stage you have reached on your adrenaline bar.
Depending on which weapon(s) you are using, the first five skills are determined for you already. The other five skill slots can be filled individually (one slot is reserved for a healing skill – you’ll have a few different ones out of which you choose one. Another one is reserved for an elite skill. Again, you can choose one elite skill out of several ones. Of course, you can switch between those skills between fights if you want to!). By switching weapons, you switch your skills on the left. For example, a ranger can use a longbow to deal damage from far away, then run into the fight and switch to greatsword for melee AoE. Every profession except for the elementalist and the engineer can switch between two weapon sets during fights. Elementalists and engineers have specific profession mechanics, so they don’t need to switch between weapon sets on top of that.
And to make things even more diverse, once you are underwater, you have access to different weapons and thus, different skills.
If you want to have a more detailed look at how you can build your profession, you can have a look at this skill tool or this one. In order to not completely overwhelm you, I’ve also left out mentions of traits or the process of learning skills.
What does the game look like?
I chose three pictures here that are supposed to represent Guild Wars 2. But it’s not really possible to only show a handful of pictures and say “this is what it looks like”. It never does a good game justice (and I remember having the same issues when I tried to do that with Lotro, Rift and WoW).
I also took lots of screenshots during the first BWE and their one-day stress test. Here are some from different areas of the game. Then there is Lion’s Arch and my impressions from the first BWE with screenshots.
We have also uploaded a handful of videos. This one nicely shows how the flame shaman uses a reflect ability that I failed to notice (it was filmed by bookahnerk but if you see a yellowish charr with dotted fur, that’s me!).
What’s there to fight against (PvE)?
For those who have played Guild Wars or have heard about it, the biggest difference is probably that Guild Wars 2 will have a persistent world. Just like in other MMOs (Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, WoW, just to name a few), you will be able to meet other players everywhere in the open world except for instanced dungeons and your character’s personal story.
Let me elaborate: If two players are attacking the same foe – more than once, as you do need a certain contribution – but are not in a group, you will both get as much experience as you would have gotten if you had fought alone. You will also both get loot. Thus, there is no such thing as “kill stealing”. This means that if you see another player struggling against a foe, there is no harm in helping them out. You also cannot target a friendly player with skills. All support skills are placed on the ground instead (which means that you need to be aware of your surroundings and spot those skills on the ground if you need the support). Groups will still help as you can see where your group members are on the map, but all in all, the necessity to be in a group is strongly diminished. The maximum group size is 5. Larger group sizes are supported through the squad/commander system.
There will not be the traditional quests for levelling up. Quests will only appear as part of your personal storyline. As this storyline can be soloed, I’m going to write about it later in the category about playing solo. Other than that, you will participate in events for levelling.
Before continuing, let me first clarify the different kinds of “events” in the game. On the map, you will find lots of renown hearts. Those places are hotspots for dynamic events that encourage players to help NPCs in the area. By participating, you will receive karma which can be spent on different items like crafting recipes, transmutation stones and more. Those events count towards the completion of a map which gives you an extra reward. The regular dynamic events are “group events” and a bit harder to complete. Last but not least, there are world events which is basically a chain of events that has an impact on a significantly large area of the map.
Events can scale dynamically and mobs become harder and use more abilities the more players are participating. Think “public quests” from Warhammer Online if you know those. The events will be “dynamic” which means that one event can lead to a different one depending on the outcome of the first event. At one point you will see the same event start again, but there will be a lot of different ones, so it might also be that when you are in the zone, you do not see the same one again. At least, not on the same evening. ;)
I already mentioned the flame shaman in the above paragraph. Even though there were so many players around, this foe was not easy to defeat. This was due to its ability to reflect incoming damage and our inability to realize this was what killed us. Certain foes (event foes) do scale up in difficulty when there are more players around. Some foes scale up for 100 players. They will not just get a higher health pool but get more abilities that they will use, in order to increase difficulty. There are also dynamic events marked for groups which are aimed to be more difficult for a single player to complete.
ArenaNet do not want high level players to enter a low level area and kill all the foes in sight. This is to keep content challenging for experienced players and avoid ruining the game experience for the low level players. As a result, there will be a system in place that reduces the effective level of your character when it is higher than intended for the current area. You will be stronger than a regular low level player as you will still be able to use additional weapon skills and traits, but you will not be able to one-shot foes. How good that system is still remains to be seen as the beta does not allow you to reach max level. I have experienced that a level 30 character with level-appropriate gear cannot just kill an event boss solo that is for level 14 though.
Guild Wars 2 will NOT have raids! If WoW-style raiding is what you want to do, you will probably need to find another game. On the other hand, as I wrote already, events can be scaled for up to 100 players. It will probably be less coordinated as everybody in the area can join, but for that, it will be more massive than just a 25 person raid (at least in my opinion).
While the game will not have standard raids, it will have dungeons. The official Wiki for GW2 says that there will be 8 dungeons at release. In order to unlock them for exploration mode, you first need to finish them in story mode. After that, you can also play through the explorative mode. The story mode is easier to do (especially for pick-up groups) while the explorable mode will feature three different paths you can choose within a dungeon (thus seeing different foes/encounters) and it will also be more difficult (I assume like normal and heroic mode in WoW).
As mentioned above, another feature will be underwater zones and combat. Your skills will change when you are underwater (a trident was mentioned as one possible weapon, for example). There will be no breath bar and your character will wear a breathing mask instead.
Guild Wars 2 will have a level cap of 80. It will not feature a regular level curve, though, where the XP needed for the next level rises exponentially. Instead, the first few levels will pass quite quickly before plateauing to the same amount needed for every following level.
Who’s there to fight (PvP)?
Guild Wars 2 will have two PvP modes: Structured PvP and World vs. World vs. World.
Structured PvP will be instanced with small groups. The wiki page mentions things like tournaments and hot join play. In the first BWE, you were able to click a button in your character’s PvP interface tab and you were automatically ported to the next PvP match. In the BWE, we have been able to play two PvP maps so far: Battle of Kyhlo and Forest of Niflhel. All game modes are Conquest which means that you capture certain places on the map. If you want to know why they are focusing on the capture point system, the question asked by Monde Persistance in this interview will give you an answer.
One important thing that sets this game’s structured PvP apart is that when you join, your character is max level and everybody has access to the same gear choices. That is, your elementalist and another elementalist have the same gear choices, but you won’t wear the same stuff that a warrior does, of course. When you enter the preparation area for the first time (called “The Mists”), you will find your character ready to jump into structured PvP matches with a premade built (including weapons, traits, etc.). You can, of course, freely choose your weapons, runes, sigils and distribute your traits. There are NPCs in the Mists that give you everything you need for free. You will not earn experience in this PvP mode and your character will not level up.
The second mode is World vs. World vs. World which is often abbreviated to WvW. Guild Wars 2 doesn’t have factions that are at war on one server. Instead, PvP will take place against players from other home worlds. The fight will be open for two weeks before home worlds rotate. There will be a matchmaking in place: Depending on the outcome, your home world will be placed against other home worlds that were similarly successful as yours. The PvP map consists of four areas. One for each home world (which are identical as to not give one home world an advantage) and one central map. Depending on your home world’s success, there will be an effect called Power of the Mists which affects the entire world by offering bonuses like a 2% increased change of crafting critical success or 1% more health.
There will be objectives like claiming keeps (which a guild can do). You will try to take away the keeps from the other servers’ maps. Once you have a keep, you can also pay for structural or personnel upgrades to increase its defense. In every world home map, there are underwater areas in which you can also fight. All in all, it looks like there will be enough to do in various places, so we will not just see huge zergs of people all fighting at one tiny spot on the map.
Characters can participate in WvW from level 1 on. You will be pushed to max level which will give you the stats and health that you would have at level 80. However, your gear is still the same and your skills are the same as well, which means that you will be significantly weaker than a max level character. If you are low level, trying to stay away from the front will be a wise decision. You can still support your side by looking for smaller objectives to do where you may not run into enemies (e.g. look for a caravan to escort).
The latest news we got to hear about WvW mentioned is a “mini-dungeon that can be accessed through the three keeps in the center map”. PvP will be possible within that dungeon and traps are mentioned. We will have to wait until we hear more about it before we can tell if it will be a great addition to the game or not.
WvW is an area that you will definitely want to play with other people. Events will require several people. There is also a resource called “supplies” that are needed for siege weapons, which make destroying things like the gates to a keep significantly easier. Each character can only carry up to 10 supplies with them but a single siege weapon requires more of that. You can run back and forth, hoping that in the meantime, nobody destroyed the siege weapon, but it will just be easier and faster to bring along a few friends.
The squad/commander system will make coordinating a large group of players much easier and having something like this in place already shows you that ArenaNet are hoping for lots of players to participate in WvW.
Grouping and Socialization
As said above, you will be able to join several guilds with your character. This will give you the opportunity to have a guild for different aspects of the game. For example, one with just your closest friends for when you don’t feel like talking to strangers, a guild for PvP or maybe a huge anonymous server guild where everybody joins who just wants to do some PvE events. Choose whichever “groups” you like and activate whichever one you want at any given time.
When you are active or “representing” a guild, you earn influence through playing your personal story, participating in events or logging in every 24 hours. If you play with people from your guild, you will earn more influence. This can then be spent for guild rewards like a guild vault or more experience from dungeon runs for a few days.
As I said above (in the section What’s there to fight against (PvE)?), groups are not necessary for open world PvE but this does not mean that Guild Wars 2 is an antisocial game. ArenaNet are trying to remove as many elements of gameplay that make players compete with each other as possible. For example, you cannot steal kills from others, you put AoE skills on the ground and you cannot target others to heal them anyway. However, this does not mean that Guild Wars 2 will be a game for antisocial playing. On the contrary, as especially the bosses in events are very difficult, if not impossible, to kill on your own. But you are not forced to group with anybody. If you are in the same area and notice that you want to kill a boss and that other players wants to kill a boss, you do not first have to IM them, ask them if they want to group, invite them to your party and then attack. You can simply just attack the boss. If you want to chat with the other player, go ahead and do so. But there is no forcing you to jump through hoops just to kill monsters together. This means a lot of communication between players is done through “body” language rather than typing – rather good as you’ll need to be moving rather than typing!
The guesting feature is another one that will help you be social with your friends. No longer will you be forced to either move to a different server completely or start over there in order to play with a friend. By guesting, you can join any of your friends’ servers and play the PvE part of the game with them. WvW, on the other hand, is restricted to your home world and cannot be accessed by guesting. If you want to switch your home world, you can do so by paying a fee.
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 for each one, you can choose between three different answers. That determines the starting point of your personal story. Other choices later on will further determine how your story evolves. Some characters in the world will react according to what you have done in your storyline so far. You can bring a friend along but they will not be able to influence your story and helping you out will not have an effect on their own story either. If you have read Edge of Destiny, you’re already well familiar with Logan, Caithe, Eir, Rytlock, Snaff and Zojja. You will meet the key characters from the book again in the game during your personal story.
Events will scale up when there are more people around, so you can try and find an easy event to solo. Most events can be solo but some (group events) are designed for several players and those will be too difficult for just one person. However, there are plenty of areas in the game for you to roam through and I am sure you can find a lot of foes to smash, soloable skill challenges to play, and jumping puzzles to conquer.
Other than that, I guess you can sneak around WvW and see what you can do there as long as you are not running into a group of enemies. Do not expect to be able to do a lot there, however. Escorting a caravan is something you will be able to do. Destroying a gate is very likely out of the question.
Then there is crafting and with that also resource gathering. There will be achievements to hunt in the game. Depending on how you get them, you can go on achievement hunts solo.
There will be 8 crafting disciplines of which you can have two at a time: Weaponsmith, Huntsman, Artificer, Armorsmith, Leatherworker, Tailor, Jeweler and Cook.
All types of crafting require materials that are gathered in the open world and in WvW. Gathering is available to all characters regardless of whether they have accepted any crafting discipline or not and requires a gathering tool of an appropriate level to gather materials from a resource node (e.g., copper ore, root vegetable patch). There is no need to fight over resource nodes anymore as everybody can use every node they see. Once you are finished, it despawns for you but another player can still see and use it. So don’t be shy when you see a resource node. You cannot steal it from anybody else! Gathering tools can be purchased from vendors for gold or karma.
For crafting itself, you can put different materiales into the crafting window and find out recipes by trial and error. When you start crafting for the first time, you will find that you already know certain starter recipes. The rest will have to be discovered and some can be bought by karma merchants. You can use this like a mini game and discover all recipes on your own… or head on to the wikis that will very likely tell you which combinations of which gathered materials will lead to which recipes. Once you have found a combination that works, that recipe will be stored in your interface for you to use whenever you want.
There will be lots of mini-pets. Some of them are rewarded through the Hall of Monuments in which you get points for doing certain things in Guild Wars 1. Those mini-pets will be purely cosmetic and they will not have a specific function – other than being cute, of course. Below is a video (by galahan89) showing some of them.
There will be activities (something like mini games). We do not know about all of them yet, but there is a “bar brawl” in Divinity’s Reach. As seems to be usual for Guild Wars (1 + 2), the rewards appear to be mainly cosmetic and will probably not give you an advantage over other players gear-wise.
You will also have a home instance which includes your home and a bit of the neighborhood. It changes with your personal story. For example, if you have rescued somebody, they might appear in your neighborhood; NPCs living in your neighborhood will react according to what you have done in your personal storyline. Your home instance will be located in the capital city of your character’s race. When you’re in your home instance you will be alone, unless you have invited other players into your party. Then they can come with you and you can show off what you have done so far – or how it differs from their own home instance even though you’re both asura (or norn,…).
In Guild Wars 1, you could choose armor pieces by the way they looked and then you could put the stats on them that you wanted (well, this is the explanation of the system in a nutshell), but in Guild Wars 2, armor pieces will already have certain stats on them. If you receive an upgrade with better stats, a new pair of trousers, for example, but don’t like the look, you can use transmutation stones. With those items, you will be able to transfer the stats of a not-so-pretty item onto an item that you like because of its look. There will also be 400 different dyes in the game to customize your look further. Each piece of armor has 1 to 3 areas that can be dyed. If you want to know more about the dye-designing process, head over to ArenaNet’s blog where Kristen Perry wrote about her work. The “400 dyes” were mentioned during one of the panels at Pax Prime 2011 – you will be able to set favorites! When creating a character, you are given a few basic colors and can choose a color scheme. New items you pick up automatically adopt the colors you last set. You can change that color scheme, if you like. But this means that when you’re out in the world levelling up your character, he/she will not look like a clown whenever you’re rewarded with a new item because those items will automatically have the colors you chose. Using dyes is free.
I think I’ve now written about the most basic things. ArenaNet is releasing more details about the game the closer we get to its release and I am sure there will be a lot more to find out once the game has launched. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask.
Oh, and before I forget it: No, we do not know when the game will be released. All we know is “before the end of 2012”.
Update April 17, 2013: I have disabled comments as the amount of spam comments this entry gets was just getting out of hand.