As I write this it seems to be the start of the weekly Guild Wars 2 news hour when the press embargo drops around the internet on a specific topic. I’m not sure if the community was just slow this time, or a few sites jumped the 2 o’clock gun, but this week we seem to be getting some news on the little pieces: achievements, feats, and activities. Onlinewelten seemed to have received the best response (or maybe asked the best questions), but IGN and JeuxVideo.com also got a piece of the pie. Commentary after the break.
So the biggest drop, in my mind, was that map travel has been confirmed. This is a piece of Guild Wars 1 that may not have translated perfectly into a “persistent world MMO,” but a little piece of the Guild Wars soul would’ve been lost without it. Fast travel seems to take two forms. The first form is free asura gating, which allow players to travel to some of the larger player centers such as the racial cities even if they have not yet been to the destination. Think World of Warcraft’s Deeprun Tram, but instantaneous. The second form of fast travel will be in the form of waypoints ala Guild Wars 1, except that it will cost money to use the waypoint system to get to places players have already visited. It appears that they still want to give players a lot of mobility, but they don’t want players warping around without pause.
Achievements are well known in the MMO art, and ArenaNet is thankfully making the achievements account based. For example, one achievement will be mastering every weapon, which cannot be done on one character. I wish the Guild Wars Live Team or Lord of the Rings Online’s team were so generous, but account-based achievements are something I am definitely looking forward to. With the personal story system and account-based achievements, ArenaNet seems to definitely want to reinforce alts (instead of the usual punishment). Achievements are for personal / account glory and bragging rights only, as no tangible reward will be given for these accomplishments.
Feats are another small piece they described. Instead of rested experience, players will be given daily “achievements” to perform. They have diminishing returns so players playing for a few hours every day or two will maximize feat/experience gain, while a hardcore player will continue to ramp up feat difficulty. For example with a kill-count feat the first bonus may be at 10 dead mobs, the next at 100, and so on. Regardless, these are background bonuses that reset daily. I like the idea of these daily achievements much better than a rested XP bar.
There will also be a personality system which measures the ferocity, charm, and dignity of your character based on responses and actions you choose in your personal story. It seems that ArenaNet is really taking aim at BioWare’s foray into the MMO arena, and borrowing and redefining a system we have seen in Mass Effect and other BioWare singleplayer games. ArenaNet is quick to note that while your character’s personality will be defined, it can be changed. A thug may see the light throughout his personal story to become a paragon of wit and loquaciousness by the end.
Finally, ArenaNet talked a little about activities. Activities are mini-events covering things like a non-lethal bar brawl, a shooting gallery, or a cooperative music game. With the mini community that has sprung up over Lord of the Rings Online’s music system, I can only imagine the fervor of a Guild Wars 2 Rock Band activity. I think these activities are going to be one of the biggest pieces of sticky content ArenaNet is going to add to the game. I believe that players will be signing on just to play activities. Ales and Tales in the local tavern may take on an all new meaning when a fight breaks out.
yeah, it was like lightning, everybody was frightening