[GW] Elegant Data Display on the Map

The Guild Wars world map is subtle and powerful.

The map is the primary means of travel: click on a town and you are there. This means that almost every zone is immediately accessible once visited, and reaching a new town is also a unit of character progress. This gives extra weight to the few places that require crossing multiple explorable zones to reach.

The map also shows progress on multiple tracks. Blurry terrain indicates Cartographer points to find, although you need a mod to get great precision. Each mission is tied to a town, so the town’s icon changes to indicate mission completion and whether you completed the mission bonus. Missions yet to be done flash gently. You can switch the map overlay to hard mode to see mission and Vanquisher completion there. All of this provides a trail of breadcrumbs for when you lose your place.

As is now common, you can track a quest and have its location appear on the map.

The weakest point is leaving a map. There are three maps for the three campaigns, and Eye of the North shares space with Prophecies. You switch maps by clicking on a boat, which makes sense in that you are sailing between continents. There is one major harbor per continent, and only Factions allows a team of eight in that town, so you need to re-select your heroes with most campaign switches. (You can get around that via Embark Beach or visiting Prophecies through the EotN portal.) Underground and hidden areas are not on the main map at all, so you need to go through portals or remember which explorable areas are caves that are not part of the world map.Part of Nightfall happens in another dimension, with an off-map mini-map. Dungeons are off-map, but their entrances are helpfully marked. I do not know what was supposed to indicate a secret portal from the Chantry of Secrets, but the wiki helped me when I was using reverse induction to find my way to a goal.

Of course, all of these are weaknesses within the context of the virtues. Most games use maps as maps with no interactive elements apart from fogging out unvisited areas.

: Zubon

8 thoughts on “[GW] Elegant Data Display on the Map”

  1. Gw1 in its final format was a highly polished work of art. It had incredible attention to details that made it a great gaming experience.

  2. I still get lost. Currently in Factions at level 14. I have one quest that is too hard for me and I’ve been popping into every town trying to find any other quests to do. So far I have only been able to find a few out in the explorable areas with some farmer here or there that needs help. I’ll have to see if I can figure out this overlay you mention.

    1. I don’t know how well that goes in Factions. It was not a problem in Nightfall.

      I may have been boosted by festival events. Those quests yield 5,000xp each, and there are several available. If a character is stalled, 20,000xp can kick-start it.

    2. factions is full of quests and the region where quests give most xp. just track back your steps, do some leftover quests and you’re lvl 20 in no time at all

      1. I have found a few more quests after hitting each town again but I certainly am not going to say it is full of quests, at least not when I compare to other games where I constantly fill up my quest log to the limit.

        Anyway, I am having fun and really have no complaints.

  3. I disliked Realm of Torment because of the lack of map, even going there now and choosing the location I want first time is highly unlikely. I suppose it fits the disconnected fragments of landmass, looking out from one of outposts and seeing all the others floating in the void. Kaineng City is also fairly tricky to navigate, through zooming in the map, you can sort of work out the right route, and having quest markers to show where the exits are is helpful.

    1. Are you using the smaller map brought up by the “u” key? That’s a much more detailed navigation tool.

  4. One thing to be aware of is that’s there’s a secondary map, the mission map, bound on the U key by default I think. That’s useful in those areas like realm of torment that are not in the main map system.

    I do think though that these off main map areas are not one of the best parts of GW’s design.

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