Tag Archives: Guild Wars

Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove: Part 2 (Lore)

GW2 vs Rift vs Trove logo

This is the second part of the blog post series “Guild Wars 2 vs. Rift vs. Trove”. The first part was about “Basic information“. This part now focuses on the lore of the games. Once again, my goal is not to say which game has a better lore. Neither do I want to bore you with lots and lots of tiny details of the story. Instead, I want to give you an overview of what the main story is about and to give you a feeling of the world that you will enter should you decide to pick up the game and play. There will be a comparison, but I will definitely not call any game superior here.

Warning!

As the title and introduction text already suggest, this is a blog post about the lore in those three games. Do not continue reading if you don’t want any story spoilers!

I am now going to start the lore part with the big mystery question:

Does Trove have lore?

trove-logoThe answer isn’t as easy as one may think or hope. Yes, it does have lore, apparently. It just doesn’t really seem like it. The game does not have a consistent world, but rather ever-changing maps which are generated as soon as players enter the map. It has biomes with undead, with pirates, but also with candy-fied enemy NPCs. It has lava, water plasma and chocolate lakes. It even has candy fish! And fish in lava, too. But so far, there is no coherent story part and no real background lore. With the recent revamp of the tutorial, they added lore cubes to it, but those aren’t present in the general world. Those cubes tell a very short story.

The tutorial takes place in the ruins of the Sun Goddess’s temple. Apparently, the Moon had become jealous of her. Something – it says “a great shadow” got released and the only way to save the world was for the Sun Goddess to sacrifice herself.

The main story in Rift when you first enter the game

Rift_Logo_transparentThe lore in Rift is delivered mainly through quests. There is a comic book that came with the original Collector’s Edition, but as far as I know, this is all there is outside of the game. Some more information can be found on the website, like general information on Nightmare Tide, the game’s second expansion and in the lore forum, a sub-section of the official forum. The developers posted a timeline there about the events in Rift back in 2011.

Rift_Lore_Book CollectionApart from quests, you can also “collect” books in Rift which, once collected, you can click on and read through. Of course, those aren’t real books with several hundred pages. But they do give additional lore and they are neatly stores in the collections tab of your character panel.

I actually had to go and read through several postings on various different places to find out more about the lore myself. I’ve known bits but I admit, I’m not the person who always reads the quest texts. :p There are lots and lots of names to memorize when you want to get into the lore and I have always had problems telling the important figures apart (who’s the bad guy, who’s the good guy? And who is the good guy turned bad? ^^). So, I will try to summarize the basic lore as much as possible. Let’s start with the world of Rift as a whole. It consists of several planes of reality. Each plane “belongs” to a certain element. E.g. water, air, but also death and life. The name of the physical world we are on is “Telara” and it is located between those planes. Telara was created by five gods called “The Vigil” who used a material called Sourcestone to do that. The names of the gods are Bahralt, Tavril, Thedeor, Mariel-Taun and Thontic. For this short introduction to the lore, the names aren’t going to be important anymore. I just thought I should add them in case you start playing and come across the names in the game. However, the Vigil aren’t the only gods in this world. In fact, the exact number of gods is unknown. Another group of gods that is known and that caused quite a lot of trouble is called the “Blood Storm“, six dragon gods. Each of them represents a different plane of reality: Regulos (Death), Maelforge (Fire), Laethys (Earth), Greenscale (Life), Crucia (Air) and Akylios (Water). All of them wanted to control Telara and tried to invade it with their legions while also fighting against each other. This gave the inhabitants of Telara and the Vigil the opportunity to eventually fight back. All Blood Storm gods with the exception of Regulos were imprisoned on Telara. Additionally, the Vigil placed a Ward around Telara to protect it from the invading forces from the planes. All could have been peaceful and well now.

So, let me summarize: We’ve got Telara in the middle of the planes now with a Ward made by the creators of Telara, the Vigil, to keep the invaders out.

The bad thing with this Ward is that it’s been getting weaker through the centuries. I mentioned the Sourcestone above already. The Guardians (one of the two factions for player characters in the game) use this to commune with the Vigil. The other faction, the Defiant, use it to build and power their machines. Jostir, king of the Mathosians (the playable human race on Guardian side), died about 25 years before “current game time”. His two sons (Aedraxis and Zareph) fought over the throne. Aedraxis used machines powered with Sourcestone and managed to get a crack into the Ward in the process. Additionally, he was corrupted by Regulos. To put it shortly: With this crack, the Rifts came. Rifts are tears through which the forces from the planes can enter Telara. In game, they are open world events… more on that in the PvE part of this blog post series. Hardly any place is safe from the rifts. I will leave the rest of the story to be told in the game.

The role of your character in this world

You are still following, right? So, Aedraxis was corrupted by Regulos. Longer story short: Regulos is back in action.

You can either play a character in the Guardian or in the Defiant faction – and you are an Ascendant (more on that in a bit). Guardians get their Ascendant status from the Vigil, while Defiants use their sourcestone-powered machines built by Eth  (the human race on Defiant side). The Guardians are strictly against using sourcestone in this way, see it as blasphemous and some also claim it to be the source of their current problems (as sourcestone was used when the Rifts appeared – see above).

Defiant or Guardian - Choose now

Defiant or Guardian – Choose now

Now it’s getting a bit trickier. In the “original timeline”, the Vigil chose people to be Ascendants! They returned them back from the dead to fight against Regulos and his legions. However, only those who believed in them and followed them

Asha Catari

Asha Catari

rigorously got chosen. Asha Catari was not one of them. She did get resurrected by Orphiel, a Defiant who used a source-stone powered machine for this resurrection process. The Guardians fought against the Defiants and wanted to destroy not only their machines, but their whole existence. At the same time, apparently, they failed the fight against Regulos. This is where Defiant players enter the game. All hope is lost, basically. But they are able to resurrect their own Ascendants by using their machines and – this is why telling the lore gets a bit tricky now – they also have a time machine and send you, the player, back in time to before Regulos won the fight.

While your character, being an Ascendant, is basically a “special snowflake” in the world, there are many Ascendants. I don’t like it that much when an MMO treats the story as you are the only and the strongest special person around. Having several special people is much more realistic considering all the other players around you fulfill the same role anyway.

The game has been out for four years now, so of course, a lot of things have happened already. I am not going to write about all of these happenings here, however, because I don’t want to spoil all content for you. This is just the basic and short summary for you to get to know what the main story is all about when you enter the game. If you still want to know more about what has happened since the game’s release, I found a nice little summary in the lore section of the official forum.

The main story in Guild Wars 2 before you first enter the game

GW2_Logo_kl_transparentGuild Wars 2 takes a slightly different approach to delivering the story to its players. There are no traditional quests in the game. Most of the main storyline is delivered by their living world and personal story concept. The personal story starts out differently depending on which race and which options you chose during the character selection screen and also by what you choose at certain points throughout the personal story. It does eventually end the same for every character, though. The personal story is finished at some point and does not continue. Instead, the living world concept took over after the game’s release. The living world so far has seen two “seasons”. Season 1 was only temporary and cannot be played through and experienced anymore now. If you want to know what happened there, you have to rely on outside sources. Season 2 needs to be bought or played through with a player who previously unlocked it. It is similar to quests. You just don’t need to visit a quest giver in the world, but instead, can access each story’s steps in your character panel. This is also where you can find very short summaries of what happened in each story step (both for the personal story as well as for the second season of the living story).

As the name already suggests, Guild Wars 2 is a sequel. The original game, Guild Wars, takes place 250 years prior to where we are in Guild Wars 2. If you want to experience the original story, you can buy the game (3 campaigns and 1 expansion – the campaigns are all “standalone games” and can be played through without owning the others) and play through the story.

Additionally, there are three novels that take place before the main story of Guild Wars 2 starts: Ghosts of Ascalon, Edge of Destiny and Sea of Sorrows. They were written to bridge the time between the original Guild Wars and the sequel.

The world of Guild Wars 2 is called “Tyria“. Do not confuse this Tyria with the other Tyria, the continent. ;) Tyria, the world, is only one among several in the Mists, the “proto-reality that exists between the worlds”.

Tyria, the world, consists of several continents of which Tyria, Cantha and Elona are the major known ones. In the current time, players do not have access to Cantha or Elona and we do not, in fact, know what is going on over there. The land route to Elona has been sealed on Queen Jennah‘s order because of “dark events” going on there. Jennah is the Queen of Kryta and Kryta is one of the regions in Tyria mainly inhabited by humans. Cantha, on the other hand, is cut off from Tyria because of Zhaitan, one of the Elder Dragons (more about those in a bit). With Zhaitan awake and active again, any ship trying to sail to Cantha would be sunk.

So, about those Elder Dragons now – they started to rise about 250 years ago with Primordus being the first. There are six different Elder Dragons in total: Primordus (Fire), Jormag (Ice), Zhaitan (Death and Shadow), Kralkatorrik (Crystal), Mordremoth (Plant and Mind) and a dragon suspected to be in the Unending Ocean. The name of the sixth Elder Dragon is not yet known and since nobody has heard anything, it is assumed that this dragon hasn’t awoken yet.

The Elder Dragons had been asleep for about 11,000 years. Naturally, not much is known about the history in the present time, though the dwarves – now near-extinct and the ones alive are turned to stone – had preserved some knowledge in their legends as did the Jotun. Now they are back and together with their champions and their minions, they destroy everything in their paths – or, even worse, turn every creature into their mindless and will-less minions that fight for them.

One group of adventurers, called “Destiny’s Edge“, was the first to slay one of the Elder Dragon’s champions, the Dragonspwawn. They rose to fame for this heroic deed, but when something went wrong, they – all coming from different racial backgrounds (Asura, Charr, Human, Norn and Sylvari) – could not overcome their partly culturally based distrust for one another, some blamed each other for the death of a beloved former group member and the rest of the group eventually split up. Not long after, your character enters the scene…

The role of your character in this world

Every character enters the world near their racial main city. You begin with a story related to choices you have made during the character creation process. I would say the story is pretty “local”. You certainly do not start out as a hero and throughout the personal story as well as the living story, you gain recognition among the NPCs. In Season 2, you will have some NPCs even calling you “boss”. It is also safe to say that of course, your path will lead you closer to the Elder Dragons and you will play a role in fighting against them.

As you can tell, I’m being deliberately vague here. While I do want to introduce you to the basic lore of the game, I do not want to give you too many spoilers, because I think this would seriously diminish your fun in the game. I will get more into the different races’ in the next piece of this blog post series where we will look at the options available during the character creation process. So, this is all I am going to tell you about your character right now.

If you still want to know more about the history of Tyria, I can recommend the lore videos by WoodenPotatoes.

Conclusion so far

Rift’s strength, if you ask me, is that they also give you the collections to go out there and find all the little lore pieces. Additionally, you can feel the threat everywhere and the open world events make sense. And last but not least, neither faction is the “good” one. Both believe that what they are doing is right.

Guild Wars 2’s strength, on the other hand, is the strong and active community making sure that you can read all about the lore or listen to podcasts telling you about it. The continuous addition of content (up until season 2, at least. At the moment, we’re waiting for the expansion) has moved the main storyline further quickly. There is also lots of information to be found outside of the game including novels and the first game, Guild Wars.

One note about fantasy and steampunk: Even though I mainly mentioned machines in the Rift section, Guild Wars 2 has just as many steampunk elements in it. So if you really cannot stand steampunk in your game lore, neither of those games is a good match for you. Other than that, if you care about lore and want to get into a world full of story, I think both of those games will give you that. Trove, on the other hand, is very, very, very light on lore.

The next blog post will focus on the character creation as well as on the playable races and their background lore.

Guild Wars 1 on Steam’s sale

Guild Wars background imageI haven’t seen Guild Wars on sale for quite a long time. Today, however, it is on sale on Steam. All versions are 50 % off for the next 48 hours: Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall, the expansion Eye of the North and the trilogy (containing the campaigns Prophecies, Factions and Nightfall).

A little information in case you don’t know much about Guild Wars 1: The campaigns are standalone, meaning you can buy either of those and play the game. Each campaign takes place in a different part of the world (called Tyria). The expansion “Eye of the North” requires any of the three campaigns. So, you do not have to buy all three campaigns. You can just buy one or two if you want. However, if you do want to get two, you may as well just buy the trilogy as the price is the same. ;)

GW2 Hall of Monuments TitlesIf you are also a Guild Wars 2 player, link your Guild Wars 1 account to your Guild Wars 2 account or you will not receive those Hall of Monuments points.  I wrote about it before and linked to several guides (I can recommend the one done by Dragon Season! :p) on how to get the points in Guild Wars 1 that are required for the various rewards, namely armor skins, ranger pets and miniatures. You can see the list of rewards with the demo mode of the Hall of Monuments rewards calculator showing 3 points already – read on to know why: What you do need in order to get those Hall of Monuments points is the expansion “Eye of the North” + one of the campaigns. However, you will automatically receive 1 point for each of the three campaigns. So, if you buy all three campaigns and the expansion (and play a character to level 10, so they can enter the Hall of Monuments), you will receive your first three Hall of Monuments points.

Guild Wars_Dancing Derwish

Dervishes dancing

Is this game worth buying, especially since it’s several years old already? Yes, yes it is! I have had a lot of fun with it, I enjoyed the storylines, I loved the world and the way it looks. One caveat: You cannot jump in this game. ;)

Necromancer Elite Sunspear Armor

Necromancer Elite Sunspear Armor

And if you are worried about not finding any players to play with: 1) There are no dedicated servers, but districts that you can freely choose. 2) Guild Wars has NPCs that you can take with you. The game is not an open world game, but you enter instanced areas where a premade group of varying size (4 to 8) can enter together. If you can’t find or don’t want to find others to group with, you can just take NPCs. The Nightfall campaign also added heroes which are customizable NPCs. You can choose builds and armor stats for your heroes which makes playing even easier. But even with the NPCs, I did not have any trouble playing the campaigns and I really enjoyed the game.

Foostival 2014: Interview with Ramon

Foostival_Interview with Ramon

Update: Check out the corresponding gem cards giveaway (EU-only). Open until March 31! This is the interview from Foostival with Ramon Domke, the German community manager of Guild Wars 2 (click this link for the Guildnews version and this link for the Wartower one – the videos are identical!). It was done completely in German and even though nothing spectacular was revealed, it is still fun to listen to it and we thought it may be a good idea to translate it and share it with the rest of the community!

On the left, you see Johannes (Lord Walek) from Wartower. The guy on the right is Alex (Sputti) from Guildnews. The one in the middle with the pretty pink shirt is Ramon. Prior to Foostival, they had asked their communities to give them questions they can ask Ramon Domke, who is the German community manager for Guild Wars 2. Alex asked his community for more personal questions, so most of those below are from him.

I decided not to translate everything they said literally. The video is more than one hour long, so I assume you can understand why I didn’t do that. ;) I tried to stay as close as possible to the answers Ramon gave while summarizing and translating them. Sometimes, they are closer to what was said literally. I’ve also added a few comments in ((brackets)) where necessary (like the changes of the reveal dates for the features pack or when I wasn’t sure I got the correct translation).

Ramon starts with the warning that there will be one sentence in three variations that you will be hearing in his replies pretty often (and he assures us, he hates it as much as we do):
1) I can’t say anything about that.
2) We’re not talking about this yet.
3) Nothing is ever off the table.

He tries to answer the questions as best as he can.

1. Loot and reward system: Will there be changes e.g. in dungeons and fractals? Champion runs get better rewards than other things in the game.

He can’t promise which direction the changes will take, but there will be changes. Different content should be rewarded similarly. There is a “loots and rewards” team looking at how different things are rewarded, so changes will definitely come. He can’t say if they’ll be viewed positively or negatively in the beginning.

2. Will there be changes in the skill system or how the enemies behave? So far, damage is more important than anything. Support is more of a burden to the group.

Ramon knows this feedback. They have just released the first information about the features pack and those are the first steps towards this direction where eventually different builds should be equal. On the other hand, with the open world content, they try to implement different game mechanics to make different builds strong.

3. What does Ramon think about the professions’ balance?

He’s not too keen on speed runs or getting the most gold per hour played. He most often plays with friends and can play with less effective builds, but he can understand that there are issues, especially with PUGs where they say “You either have this build or you can’t come!”

4. Are they still working on a solution to limited condition stacks?

There are lots of developers and are trying to find a solution, but the last things they tried out resulted in the server infrastructure to go down. There was too much tracking of e.g. stacks of different lengths. It’s not off the table.

5. New profession/weapon combinations: Are they planning this?

He wouldn’t exclude the possibility of this, but nothing will come in the next weeks or months. There will be the features patch next and then they will continue the living story.

Or more skills per weapon? E.g. switching between/choosing skills?

That is an interesting idea. If they can implement this reasonably, then why not. Either through a different weapon or by giving one weapon more skills. It would maybe be easier to just put in a new weapon.

6. What was the reason for only now giving free retraiting?

They looked at different systems – not only about retraiting. And they thought: Who is disadvantaged the most? When retraiting, then it is the beginners, who don’t have that much gold yet. They need to travel to a city, then retrait and travel back. That’s 10 silvers which is a lot for a beginner. Or you want to try out something. You’re out in the world fighting a veteran, you die and think: What can I do? You can now try different things without having to travel. It’s a much more interesting game now. The answer is: because they want to make the game better and because they grow together with the community.
He gives the example of Guild Wars 1. On the back of the Prophecies box was an example build with a warrior. It was completely ineffective. Developers had put it there as an example build, but the players who brought in new build ideas every day developed the game along.

7. What does he think about the upcoming warrior trait where you get more attack speed with two one-handed weapons ((dual-wield agility)) and if he knows how it stacks with quickness?

He does not know if it stacks. But he is also “such a boring warrior” with two one-handed axes, so he doesn’t haven an issue with this new trait.

8. Is more group-content planned?

Definitely, but it depends on how you define “group-content”. 5-party instanced content? Or “raid-like” in instances with e.g. 20 people. GW2 tries to have lots of content in the open world. Yes, they try to put group content in there. They try not to have it “too zergy”, so that even with a huge group with 150, players can interact and fight together.

9. Will there be more world bosses like Tequatl?

He definitely does not want to exclude that possibility.

10. Are they thinking about putting the bigger bosses that need lots of coordination onto special maps? So that those who do this content don’t disturb those who want to level in that zone.

He refers to the last few bullet points on the April 2014 Feature Pack release and tells us to wait for those to be revealed ((Facilitating Friendly Play Parts 1, 2 and 3 which will be shown April 2 – April 4)). This question will be answered in detail in there.

11. What does Ramon think of the ending of Season 1?

He looks at it like it was a TV series. He doesn’t have a problem with the ending. It’s like a cliffhanger: Lots of the questions that appeared with Flame & Frost have been answered so far, but more and more loose parts appeared and not all of those have been answered. He saw a planning document for season 2 and there are answers to all open questions. In this document, you can also clearly read: “E. is… (name of a person)“. What they learned is that it is important that players can see there is a common thread throughout all parts.

12. In general, how did he like Scarlet?

Scarlet was a bit of a crazy kale. She fulfilled her purpose and even if she wasn’t liked, she still caused emotions.

13. What does ArenaNet think about dungeons with more than 5 players? Maybe making dungeons scalable?

Nothing is off the table, but they’re trying to bring big and interesting encounters to the open world. They want to design this content in a way that people who are just passing by can form a group and do it, but it should also be challenging enough, so players aren’t standing there hitting “1” repeatedly.

14. Will there be more content on Southsun Cove?

He can’t say anything about this ((I assume because he doesn’t know.))

15. There is one armor set ((“Rüstungsset der Genesung” in German which I believe are the Mending gauntlets, greaves, helm in English)) you get as rewards from the personal storyline, but the leggings are missing.

He has no idea!

16. Will there be more possibilities to get ascended armor? E.g. dungeon tokens, karma.

He doesn’t know exactly how, but they are looking at ways to make items available through different means, so players with different playstyles (like people who do WvW or dungeons, …) can also get them. He compares it to the changes in the trait system where new traits can be unlocked by doing specific content or by paying gold. He also refers to the design philosophy they had in mind for Guild Wars 2 that they do not want to force players to play a certain way.

17. Will there be new legendary weapons? And if so, will they be available in the same way than the current legendaries?

They’re thinking about how to handle legendary weapons. They had originally planned to implement the feature of crafting a precursor or doing a scavenger hunt with the feature release. But since they’re now rethinking the whole system with their “loots and rewards” team, they postponed it. But they are looking for ways to reasonably put them in and give players the feeling that they’re slowly but surely working towards their legendary weapon and aren’t dependant on the loot luck from the Mystic Forge. Of course, they are also thinking of possible new legendary weapons. This does not mean there will be new ones, but that they are of course thinking about them.

18. There was also the question if there will be more skins from Guild Wars 1?

He thinks this is possible, especially when it’s about very popular ones. But he doesn’t know if it’s being done.

19. What is Ramon’s favourite zone in Guild Wars 1 and which zone die he like in Guild Wars 1 which doesn’t exist in Guild Wars 2 yet.

He generally likes barren land in MMOs. In Guild Wars 1, he liked the desert areas. For example, the Crystal Desert which looked like a huge desert, even though it wasn’t. He talks about an abandoned temple there and that it looks like there is a statue, but the closer you get, the more it looks like a mirage. Also, the area before you go to Maguuma Jungle, that looks like a desert: He thinks this is beautiful. And in Eye of the North, he says “Longeye’s Ledge” was just great with the atmosphere, the autumny look, the warm sunlight.

20. What is going to happen with Lion’s Arch now?

Lion’s Arch is currently destroyed. It won’t be rebuilt within a day. He doesn’t say what or how it’s going to change.

21. Which update of the Living Story was his favourite?

When it comes to gameplay, Bazaar of the Four Winds. It was fun and he loves Sanctum Sprint. He is also sad that the Aspect Arena is not part of the daily activities. He would also love to see this one again.

22. How far developed is Season 2 of the Living Story?

It’s all planned.

23. Ellen Kiel or Evon Gnashblade?

Ellen Kiel. His bet was on her winning because while the hardcore and Guild Wars 1 players wanted to see the Abaddon fractal, he was sure that the bigger crowd would go with the reduced waypoint costs.

24. Would Scarlet have appeared in the Abaddon fractal as well?

He doesn’t reply to that question.

25. Will there also be something to vote on in Season 2 like the vote between Ellen and Evon?

He doesn’t know that.

26. Will Season 2 see content that is closer to an “expansion”? For example, new regions, new professions, new races.

He says that the question is what you call “something like expansion content”. He says yes, at least, it will go into that direction.

27. Are they working on a continuation of the personal story? And is it possible to combine the personal and the living story?

They are thinking about different possibilities of the personal character progression/story and revisions of current systems, but he can’t say what they are going to do.

28. Will there be more blending of story and game events? As in having more cut scenes in between.

They extended their cinematics department. So he won’t say “no” to this. The recent updates also showed some more cut scenes. They do not plan to use those cut scenes anymore where your character and one other character can be seen on the screen – like in the personal story – and will concentrate more on scenic cut scenes.

29. Are they working on a way to let the player repeat living story? E.g. through fractals?

He would not say “no” and they do hear this feedback very often: Why do you make temporary content that will be lost forever once it’s over? He thinks they are probably looking at how to make replaying it possible.

30. Will we see World 3 of the Super Adventure Box on April 1 and if so, will the story be continued?

Ramon’s reply: “And who would benefit from an April 1 spoiler?”

31. What does Ramon think of the SAB?

He thinks the idea is interesting. He shook his head when he first heard about this. But it’s such an ingenious idea that it works. In general, he is just too bad to do jumping puzzles.

32. What does Ramon think of the tribulation mode of the SAB?

He doesn’t like going from full life to zero without understanding why, so he doesn’t like this mode. But there are different players and everybody likes different content. He is happy that there are people who love the tribulation mode.

33. The next topic is datamining: What do they think about dataminers?

He personally hates dataminers. They destroy the fun for the players and the result is that developers have to think about how to deploy a build, so that hardly no datamining can be done. So, building something over a longer course of time is difficult.

34. There was an “alternative ending sequence” to season 1 of the living story which got revealed by dataminers. Does something like this happen more often at ArenaNet that there are different endings or that different endings are done and the “right” one will be chosen at a later time?

In general, if you look at filmmakers, game developers, authors, this happens frequently to test out different endings: How would this ending affect the rest of my story, etc.? This happens especially when you’re working with several authors. The ending they did is the ending they need.

35. Some complained that almost no new town clothes have been implemented. Will this change?

He refers to the announcements for the feature patch and that some questions will be answered there: Monday. ((Note: This was changed and the date on the website now says “March 25″, so today, the correct answer is “Tuesday”))

36. Could it be implemented that regular armor could be changed to town clothes?

He again refers to their website and the feature patch: Monday. ((Tuesday!))

37. How about a crafting profession that lets you create town clothes?

Monday! ((Tuesday!))

38. Will there be new emotes? Or animations for some existing emotes?

He doesn’t know the answer. It’s currently not talked about, but as usual, nothing is off the table.

39. Would he like more vistas to see more of the world?

He would love to see a “filmmakers kit” where he could basically dock the camera of his character and then make his own vista/film.

40. How many screenshots has he taken?

His screenshots usually tell a story, as he never deletes them. He has no idea how many he has.

41. ((The question if Ramon plays GW2 in his free time is obsolete: Yes, he does!)). So on to the next one: How often/regularly does he play?

He has almost 6000 achievement points. It’s not that much, but not bad either.

42. What is Ramon’s favourite profession and what is his favourite profession/race combination?

He plays sylvari. He would love to play asura, but there is no “change sylvari to asura kit” and he doesn’t want to do everything again. But he really likes asura. He plays all 8 professions. His favourite is engineer. He hasn’t played it that often recently, as he’s playing his necromancer in PvP and WvW more often.

43. Is there a general trend towards one race or profession at ArenaNet?

No. It’s mixed. Everybody has their own favourites.

44. What is his favourite in-game dye for armor?

Thanks to having sylvari, he has a lot of choices when it comes to skin colours and he tries to choose dyes that support that colour. His guardian has an armor that has metal colours (gold, silver, dark bronze). His necro has a very dark green and around the dark green, he has light golden borders and a white shirt below.

45. Are they working on solving some cosmetic issues, especially the warrior shouting of gaining adrenaline when it’s slowly decaying?

He can’t say that. Since it’s not a critical bug, it’s probably low on the list of priorities. More critical things are worked on first.

46. Will there be an expansion of the API that can be used?

They are currently reworking a lot of systems which will render the API useless in some areas at first. Then they will definitely need to rework things to keep the API useable.

47. Has ArenaNet thought about implementing a region lock because people from different time zones could get an advantage over night on EU servers?

They discussed this, but decided against it, because there are players who travel a lot, etc. Or when players from Oceania are on European data centers, etc. They would not want to dictate players where and when to play the game.

48. How did Ramon get to ArenaNet?

He applied. They did not want him back then. 1,5 years later, they called him and asked if he was still interested. And obviously, he was.

49. What is a typical day of a community manager?

A normal day doesn’t exist. As community manager, he is talking to different departments and sits in between everything and tries to coordinate everything. He has to know what’s going on inside the studio and what’s happening outside of the studio. Then he tries to combine this. He gave an example of how they wanted to name something which, unfortunately, was a nazi parole when translated to German. So it is his job to know what will and won’t work in his community.

50. When Ramon sees a suggestion on the forum, does he have to tell the lead community manager about this first or can he tell that to the developers? What’s the hierarchy like?

He is the highest rank for the German-speaking area. He decides what to report to the developers. He also has people who report to him. But he is the one representing the German community. He can forward feedback directly, but they are communicating between the teams and if there is an issue in one region, it’s very often an issue in other regions as well. He gives the example of the Zodiak armor and that in the UK, it was a big issue that it was seen as too sexualized on female characters whereas in other regions, it was mainly seen as too similar to a smurf with the blue colours. ((Also notable in this aspect is that he knows what was being discussed on the Wartower forums – a German fansite)). A lot of his time is spent looking for feedback and reporting about this. He also tries to figure out if, for example, negative feedback comes from a lot of different people or maybe there are a lot of negative postings, but they are from just a handful of people. In the latter case, he still doesn’t disregard the feedback and it is still being added to the list of feedback. Additionally, the communities (on fansites, etc.) differ. Something that’s being discussed in the Wartower forums may not be an issue elsewhere or discussed differently (e.g. the other German fansites, Twitter, Facebook, …). His job is to find out what the whole of the German community thinks and not just parts of it.

51. Do community managers get unlimited gems?

Ramon would love that. They get a certain amount of gems every month, though. He’s saving them currently. But he has also bought gems and says he spent about 80 – 90€ for gems since the game’s release. He tries to stay in the range of what he would pay for a subscription game… around 5 to 10€ for the game.

52. Which Elder Dragon is the most interesting for him?

He doesn’t think he has a ranking. Kralkatorrik is funny, because of his dragon breath and how he corrupted everything with it. Mordremoth and how he influences nature and everything… he generally likes the idea that each Elder Dragon is more or less able to manipulate different elements.

53. Does the Deep Sea dragon, lovingly called Bubbles by the community, have a real name internally?

He thinks he saw the name “Bubbles” on a document. He doesn’t know anything about an official name.

54. If you could tell a part of the Living Story yourself, what would happen in it and which characters would definitely make an appearance?

His reply: “Children are watching.” He mentions Caithe… and adds a “maybe”. Then he stops, laughs and the next question is asked.

55. Somebody said that in the last 1,5 years, there wasn’t much lasting content and an expansion hasn’t been announced yet. What is your position about that?

He would also wish for more content that stays in the world, but he also understands the idea behind the progressing story. He believes that ArenaNet can do it a lot better in season 2. Players should also understand that this is the first time ArenaNet has developed a real open world MMORPG and they are experimenting a lot. Some things don’t work, sometimes they learn a lot and he thinks that they are on a good path and that season 2 will be better.

56. XBox One, PS4, Wii U or PC?

PC and PS4. And Oculus Rift – he really wants one!

57. Are you a fan of Game of Thrones?

Yes.

58. What did you think about “Red Wedding”?

It was not very surprising for him. He is one of the people who read the books. He really liked the atmosphere created by the music, though!

59. ((Here was a spoilery question about Game of Thrones – I deleted it, just to be safe. Also, be careful when watching the video!))

((Here was the spoilery answer to the spoilery question above.))

60. What happened with the Guild Wars 2 ComChat ((it was a chat between people from fansites and Ramon to talk about the game))?

He did not have enough time to do those. He did them when he had time left. They restructured and he has more time now and in fact, after this very interview, they had planned to do another ComChat. He will also try to do it regularly again. Maybe once a month.

61. How does he get his bald head to shine this nicely?

Bloom effect! Go to your graphic cards settings, click on “bloom effect” and you can have such a shiny bald head, too!

62. Last question: The VIP feature in the Chinese version and our Western version.

There are usually content differences between the Western and the Eastern versions (or one being behind in versions). When they said that we would have the same “version”, they meant the content. Content updates will be simultaneously. The builds will not be identical! The Western version has the “buy to play” model where you buy the game and can play it as much as you like. This is the Western version and this will stay the Western version. The version in Asia is different. He ends his reply with: In the history of MMOs there hasn’t been an MMO that started as a free to play or buy to play and then added a subscription. It has always been the other way around.

Me and my Mini-Mes…

After I had written about the online game I’ve been playing the longest, I figured I should “revisit” all my MMO characters. Mentioned and shown below are only the ones I called my “main” in games that I have played for more than one month. I couldn’t possibly list and show all the twinks and alts I have had in the past and I did not want to go through all characters I ever created. Besides, I’m really not that attached to any of the characters I hardly ever played anyway. ;)

Let’s jump back to 2005. World of Warcraft got released here in Europe in February 2005. It wasn’t until December 2005 that I started playing. Bookahnerk had played during beta already and was eagerly awaiting the release. In fact, it got released the weekend before Valentine’s Day and when he’d told me that, I had sent him back to his place, so he could be there for the release and play with all the other gaming geeks. I had never touched an MMO at that point, but I had played PC games and I knew all about the excitement of starting a game the moment you can get your hands on it. ;)

In November 2005, I participated in NaNoWriMo and since I’d seen bookahnerk’s gnome in World of Warcraft (and totally adored the little creature), I wrote a story about gnomes. Not the WoW ones, though. I wrote about gnomes in my own fantasy world! One of those I had called “Paeroka”. I don’t remember how I came up with that name… I probably just scrambled around letters until I found something that looked and sounded good. Then in December, bookahnerk bought WoW for me. He told me the code and I started playing on my crappy laptop that wasn’t even made for gaming. I was lucky I still liked the character I had made when I saw her on a better PC as it had been more of a guessing game what she looked like when creating her on my laptop. ;) I was also very impressed with Silverpine Forest, because it was so scary and dark and you couldn’t see anything with all the fog. Yeah, lowest graphic settings, cheap laptop, etc. There is no fog and it’s really not that dark, as I found out a few weeks later. ;) Unfortunately, I only have about five screenshots from the first few months and I can’t seem to find them at the moment.

But here you go. Paeroka, Undead warlock. That was even before I got my widescreen monitor (not to mention that I’ve got two of them now). Paeroka was my main for quite a long time, until one day, we decided to start on another server. Long story short, I switched to Ghamina, Draenei mage, as the guild we joined plays Alliance. I also had a night elf druid, but I’m not going to show her as I never actually liked night elves. But playing alliance, I had no other choice than that race back then.

Some time in between, I had bought Guild Wars, after a friend had told me how amazing that game was. I’d been skeptical at first, after trying the preview weekend for Factions and being totally overwhelmed. However, something had struck me. I had loved the Jade Sea and… the atmosphere and the feeling the game world gave me. When I did buy the game, it was Nightfall that I got first. My main, Paeroka Yeodo, was a necromancer. However, I kept dying with her and well, I had no idea how aggro worked! So I switched. My second main, Tenedra Yeodo, was a warrior and she is the one that I sticked with until the end.

After World of Warcraft came Warhammer Online. I had already written about my adventures in that game. My mains were my blackorc, Grifip my goblin shaman and Grifola, my dwarf engineer.

The next game was Lord of the Rings Online. I had bought the basic game plus Mines of Moria, because I knew I wasn’t interested in any of the base classes and instead, really wanted to play a runekeeper. While installing the game and downloading the patches (that took ages…), I read about the two new classes online and found the warden much more interesting. And yet, I still started playing the runekeeper. She was at max level when I realized she was quite boring, after all. So I switched to my warden. Here they are, Tenedreth (runekeeper) and Tenedra (warden).

The next “serious” game was Rift, which I cancelled again as I had not wanted to pay a monthly sub anymore. Since it’s gone free to play, I’ve been playing it a lot more (and yes, they did get some money from me. ^^ I’m not opposed to paying people for the work they do, I just don’t like recurring fees like that). My main was a cleric, a dwarf called Meffanda, but then I switched to my warrior Paeroka – another dwarf. I’m still not sure if that was the right decision, but thankfully, the game only has four basic classes (called “callings”) which can then be specced/built in lots of different ways which means that there is a lot of variety, but you still only need to level four characters to get everything there is.

Then there is The Secret World. I love the atmosphere of the game and the setting. I think it’s great that your characters can wear silly clothes but also just regular jeans and a t-shirt. However, I am not a fan of the characters per se. I think all the faces look more or less the same.

Last but not least: Guild Wars 2! My first main, Flummi, asura mesmer, and my new main, Paerjja, asura warrior.

At the moment, I am mainly playing my warrior in Rift, my warrior in Guild Wars 2 and several alts in Guild Wars 2. Maybe I will give Lotro another try once the expansion is released on Wednesday.

Guild Wars 1 Nostalgia: Costume Maker

GW2 Synnli asura necromancerI deleted my norn mesmer yesterday. She was my second mesmer and my only norn, but no matter how hard I try, I just do not like playing the norn. I like their lore and everything, but I prefer small races (like dwarves, hobbits, gnomes, asura,…). I also needed that character slot for my new asura necromancer!

Anyway, just before I logged her out, I realized she still had the Mask of the Night Skin in her inventory. Phew. I put it in the bank, then deleted her. Ever since then, I can’t help but wonder: Did she also have a costume equipped? I don’t think I gave her anything, but what if I did?

ArenaNet’s reply to this is:

Right now, having an agent research the matter and somehow replace the item would extend the time we take to respond to players with other issues, like account hacks. So this isn’t a service we currently can offer.

This means that even if you previously spent real money on an item from the gem store and then delete the character without remembering that your character even had that gem store item. It happens easily with town clothes… I am pretty, but not 100% certain that my mesmer didn’t have any town clothes equipped. I’ll have to check if I’m missing something. ;) Anyway, this isn’t about me whining that I was an idiot and forgot to take the item off. This is me being nostalgic and sad…

Guild Wars 1 had such a cool function, the NPC Costume Maker. I had bought two costumes in Guild Wars 1 and also collected some other cosmetic items and I can get them on every character on my account as often as I want. Why did they not implement this function for Guild Wars 2? I can understand them not wanting to devote so many resources in their customer service team for restoring items, but to me it just sounds very reasonable to take care of the problem by helping to avoid that this problem exists in the first place. Oh, also, I would love to be able to have a cosmetic item on more than one character without having to put it in the bank and exchange it between characters that way.

I’m pretty certain that for every new and cool feature we got with Guild Wars 2, there is one thing we’re missing from Guild Wars 1, right? ;)

The winners have been drawn

Fireworks 2nd anniversaryGood morning!

I have just drawn the winners of our recent anniversary-giveaway.

We had 3 in-game t-shirt codes which have been won by tatu meskanen, Blackheart and H. J. de Bruyn. Congratulations! Then we had one Guild Wars party item giveaway which has been won by Gorzagorz. We will need to schedule a time and place to meet for the trade. :) And our last package was one for a few items in Guild Wars 2 which has been won by Arsenette. Congratulations to you all!

I will send emails to the winners shortly.

And if you haven’t won this time, I’m pretty sure we’ll host more giveaways in the future. I’m just afraid that we’re now all out of items for Guild Wars. ;)

Winners of our Christmas giveaway

Postcard Christmas BlogIt’s a bit sad that this was our last giveaway. Should we ever receive more zaishen keys, oppressor or tormented weapons, minis, etc., we’ll definitely do this again. It was fun and we’re glad we could give people more points in their Hall of Monuments.

Anyway, you’re not here to read that we had fun. You’re here to see if you were lucky. One person was indeed very very lucky: Marandor has once again won our GW1 item bundle. I checked twice but the numbers matched. Congratulations to you! Rebecca has won our GW2 item bundle. Last but not least, Keiran has won the GW2 in-game t-shirt code. Congratulations to both of you. :)

But it’s Christmas… and we really wish we had more to give away. Unfortunately, as far as items in GW1 and GW2 are concerned, we don’t have more (before you ask: I’m poor in GW2 and am currently saving to buy some fancy dyes myself ^^). But hey, we actually do have more t-shirt codes. So we decided that everybody who participated in the Christmas giveaway and who wanted a code should have one. So, congratulations to regendo, Katie M, overlow, shadowwolf76, Galerius, Shuk, Wedge7, Akiyama, coolasc/Decomposing Brains and Rebecca.

Then we thought again: What if there are people who participated in most of our giveaways but the Christmas one? We’ve had 5 giveaways where you could win a t-shirt code… so what about those who participated in 3 or 4, but just missed the last one? We had a look at our list again and that concerns Reteq, Houjun, tatu meskanen, Mads Larsen and Nuarda. All of you participated in 3 – 4 giveaways. So, why not? Congratulations to you as well!

We’re really happy about the amount of people who participated and especially about those who came back (almost) every week. And this is our way to say “thank you” for being our readers. :)

We will be sending out emails tomorrow. Please remember that you need to reply before January 5, 2013, in order to claim your won items. If you don’t reply, we will draw another winner instead.

Once again, we hope you’re having a great time and a happy new year! :)