Saturday, 12 February 2011

Guild Wars 2: Human Week Summary

So, as human week draws to a close - its probably pertinent to look back and see what we've learnt. Wait a minute - you might say - hold on, isn't every week Human Week. Well, yes, I suppose so - but this is Guild Wars 2 Human Week so cool your jets. Take another sip of that wine and I'll go see what we have here:

Day one saw us introduced to some of the ambient audio and conversations we might encounter when we are rampaging through Human territories in John Ryan's article "Against the Wall: Humanity in Guild Wars 2". I am really enthusiastic about what ANet are trying to do here. One of the things I've noticed in my MMO gallivants is that often the main hubs (usually cities and other high traffic areas) are only given life through the existence of a large number of players in one area. For example, in Guild Wars, Kamadan is supposed to be the main city on Istan - if not in Elona itself - but you can't actually see anywhere for any of the people to live, and the NPCs that are there, just mill about or stand static waiting for players to interact with them. This is one of my main gripes about DC Universe Online (honestly, I am getting around to writing that review!), apart from the heroes and villains swooping around the place, the cities feel empty and cold, not actual worlds into which we are plopped, but worlds which we must imagine exist.

Obviously in RPG games there has to be a certain level of suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy them (further than the visceral joy of hacking off a zombie's arm), but one of the most important factors in any game is its ability to immerse the player in a believable world. It is encouraging that ANet have taken a significant chunk of time to introduce players merely to the sounds that they might encounter throughout the game, it speaks of ANet's dedication to the "art" of creating a convincing Universe.

My only concern, and its no biggie, is that every single voice actor appears to be American. I've said it a tonne of times before, I've nothing against American voice actors, but I'd just like a bit of variety in my conversations. I hope the immersion bubble won't be shattered because every character in the game sounds like they fell out of 90210.

Day two; Aaron Coberly addresses his role in the Human character design in: "Character Art in Guild Wars 2 - Designing Humans". I really liked some of the info which came with this blog - mainly I think because it came with some tasty new armour screenshots. Look at that guy on the left - hes a real warrior! Awesome. I also approve of the middle right. Yum.
On top of the screenshots Coberly also revealed (although I believe I've heard this before somewhere) that we've got an extra armour slot on the shoulder; allowing for customisable pauldrons etc. I think all the armour we've seen so far looks fantastic, and considering Aaron and Kristen Perry worked out that with the six interchangeable armour slots and the numerous armour sets that the guys have created there are in excess of six billion different armour combinations, I don't think we'll be without the ability to customise and create some truly unique characters.

Day three; ANet updated the Human info page on I have to say that we didn't see a lot of what we hadn't already seen in this update. For those of us who are up on their lore, a lot of this is just going over what we've already heard and emphasising the whole "courageous underdog" slant ANet are pushing for Humanity.
The video shown below did show us a couple of angles of Divinity's Reach which we hadn't seen before, so it was definately worth its own post:

Day four; this was definitely my favourite blog of the week; Ree Soesby on "The Line of Duty – The Three Military Orders of Kryta".
In this post Ree talks about the tension which festers beneath the shiny exterior of Divnity's Reach. A tension which I believe will be central to the personal storyline of all Human characters (and probably those of all the other races too) when the game is released. Governance in the Human territories is split between three factions: The Seraph, who protect the territories as a whole and guard Divinity's Reach; The Ministry Guard who protect the nobles of Divinity Reach; and the Shining Blade, who are the personal bodyguards to Queen Jenna. It seems that their jurisdictions overlap on a number of issues and they answer to different parties of different ranks. 

The blog post is interspersed with a story involving the murder of a Minister in a poor area of Divinity's reach. Following Lieutenant Serantine through her investigations we see how both the Seraph and The Shining Blade attempt to impose their own power over the investigation. Eventually, Serantine takes her case to Minister Caudecus

"...The Seraph are incompetent, but the queen’s infatuation for that simple-minded captain blinds her to the country’s needs. I will write to Minister Brios’s family and see that they have money for their needs. In this time of trials, we must do all we can for one another. “Nevertheless, Kryta will win through. As we ever have. Just leave everything to me.”

Can't you just imagine that being spoken by Scar from the Lion King? He's definitely a bad'un!

I just want to thank ANet for taking the time to reveal all this information to us. It seems, having seen the news that the game might not be out until 2011 Q4 or later, we'll have a fairly long time to wait until we can actually get our hands on the finished product. As long as when it comes here it blows a hole in my mind with its excellence, then I'll be happy.



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