The Burning Mantree Festival

Mushroom Engineer

The Engineer is like a cross between Team Fortress 2 and a Mad Alchemist

As promised

This previous and final Beta Weekend Event for Guild Wars 2, I decided to ditch the Mesmer for the Engineer. I had wanted to do a better Engineer write-up than the previous quick-hit on the profession that I did before. So, I rolled a Sylvari Engineer with a mushroom top, and grouped up with my friends.

I had a few simple goals with this playthrough: get a better feel for the profession, spend more PVP time with the Engy, and see how the Engineer worked in large scale combat. The third part is important, because large scale combat is a heartier part of Guild Wars 2 than it is in other MMOs.

I Am The Midnight Bomber

I suspected from my previous experience with the Engineer that the profession really opens up once you acquire some kits to use. This proved to be very true from my experience, as the Engineer’s weapon choices are limited to just three choices.

By level 4 or 5, I had gained every weapon the Engineer could use and gotten their skillbars filled out. Last BWE, I really enjoyed the pistol and shield combo, but unfortunately, the Magnetic Inversion aspect of the shield was broken in BWE and the shield far less effective and fun. This ended up pushing me towards the Rifle weapon, but this was not a sad turn of events. The Engineer’s rifle plays more like a shotgun than a Winchester. You fire of hip-shots from a distance, shoot nets, but most of all, you use the mighty kickback and force of a shotgun-feel to launch yourself in the air, spray buckshot in an enemies face, and then fly backwards off the kickback of the gun.

The first kit I obtained was the grenade kit, and as mentioned, this opened up my playstyle. While the pistol and rifle gave me basic offense and some wacky fun, the grenade kit became the AOE choice, allowing me to lob grenades that froze, dazed and shredded my opponents. Of course, with all Engineer utility skills, the grenade kit gave me a new Function key skill that allowed me to lob a large mass of grenades.

The interesting bit about the grenade kit is that all five weapon skills are aoe targeted. There has been some debate upon this, and I can understand making at least the spammable 1 skill target-based, but being able to spam an AOE does have some advantages of its own. For one, if you throw grenades at a player, and you suspect the player may dodge backwards, you can aim your grenade behind them and hit them at the end of the dodge. A target-based grenade lob would always miss on a dodge, but a ground targeted grenade can anticipate a movement and negate a dodge.

The second kit I obtained was the Flamethrower and this is where the real fun began. I didn’t expect to like the Flamethrower as much as I did, but the ability to swing a stream of flame back and forth over a group felt great in a MMO. I rarely used targeted attacks with the flamethrower. The kit also includes a projectile flame burst that can be detonated with a second click. This was quite hard to pull off at close range, but with some range the ability made for a lot of damage. It hits a target when passing through and then does aoe damage on detonation. Overall, the Engineer featured a good amount of skillshot abilities.

The final kit I attained was the Bomb Kit and this kit, along with the Flamethrower, became my go-to tools. The Bomb Kit is held back by all of the bombs being a dropped skill, meaning there are no range abilities with bombs. Each time the player uses a bomb, the explosive is laid at the players feet. The F-skill for this kit is The Big One, which is a large, hard hitting bomb. Combining The Big One with the flamethrowers F-skill, and a few more of the bombs in the kit, creates a little pbaoe nuke. Every Dynamic Event and enemy zerg rush at my friends and I resulted in an oppurtunity to blow things up.

Outside of the kits, there were turrets that I used a bit of, and elixers and strange tools like a battering ram. Overall, everything had a sense of wacky, explosive fun to playing the game.

Flamethrower Action

Sometimes a plant just wants to watch the plant life burn down

Blowing Up Other People

For PVP, I had picked out a healing based Engineer build. Namely, I was using the bombs heal allies trait, along with a lot of vitality, toughness, healing and touch of condition damage. The skillbar was highly similiar to my PVE skillset, and this was done to be familiar with the tools I was using. The build itself was moderately successful. In group situations, the constant bomb laying provided many combo fields and some aoe damage, and the small heals helped my allies, as did the med kits I would drop. Outside of group combat, I was able to last for a long time, but struggled to take down enemies on my own. The build was mostly a cap holding and group support build.

I did want to try a power based build, featuring the rifle and flamethrower, but never got to trying it out. If you want to see some good use of a power-based Engineer, then I suggest watching Quark’s sPvP engineer Twitch video here:

Quark’s Engineer sPVP

The Toolmole Tailor

The only drawback to my Engineer time was that the medium armor I got access to was far less enjoyable than the style my Mesmer had. I got a lot of cool looking weapons, but for some reason, the Sylvari starting area had less exciting medium armor aesthetics. For a good while, I was being teased for looking like a fishmonger.

Having seen some of the dungeon sets, I imagine the dredge-based Sorrow’s Embrace armor would look scary and scary fantastic on an Engineer.

A Convincing Experience

My time with the Engineer made me reconsider my primary class choice for the start of the game. I had been set on Mesmer, but the profession still has a lot of issues with its mechanics, and has honestly gotten progressively worse with each BWE. Meanwhile, the Engineer seems improved overall, and I greatly enjoyed playing it even though the shield skill was broken.

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The Subtleties: Group Combat

A Dredge Mole

Guild Wars 2 Combat

Let’s Get Together

This will be a discussion about how group combat works and what merit it may hold for high level content. My first post on combat was about combat in general, but explained through a single perspective. I didn’t touch on the removal of the holy trinity, the lack of a global cooldown and the removal of the need to target players. I know these elements confuse people and should be discussed.

Also, any discussion of group combat in regards to Guild Wars 2 must first explain that all the elements discussed here do not require you and another player to be in a group together. As explained in the first combat discussion, spells and skills behave in a open-friendly manner. Any friendly target can interact with a skill you use that has an interactive feature with no grouping required. Mainly, this interaction has to do with Cross Profession Combo fields, but bouncing skills follow the same rules.

So, we’re all grouped and all together.

No Holy Trinity? Soft Trinity? New Trinity? Free For All!? Mass chaos!?!?

The holy trinity consists of the tank, the healer and the dps. Sometimes you get a sacred 3.5 with the addition of a support and control class. In WOW, this support class would mean supplying CC or Crowd Control to an encounter in order to limit the incoming damage. For a game like Rift, support normally means supplying damage, buffing and healing all at once, with the damage and healing being less than you would get from a specialized damage dealer or healer.

ArenaNet describes the roles in their combat as control, support and damage, and that combat involves each player flowing in and out of those roles within an encounter. So to go forward in explaining this, I will try to nail down what a tank, healer or dps is, and then explain what control, support and damage means in Guild Wars 2. If you’re thinking that DPS and damage are pretty much the same thing then you’re right, but much like everything else in Guild Wars 2, the experience between the old and the new is all the difference.

The Way Things Used To Be

The first thing I would tell a longtime MMO tank player about Guild Wars 2 is that there is no such thing as a meat shield to be found within the combat. Historically, tanking in MMOs or even something like Diablo 3 is based on passive stats that supply a constant benefit to your ability to absorb or mitigate incoming damage. Tanks normally have high armor value, shields to block with and stats and traits that offer universal damage reductions. All of these boosts to defense allows a tank to stand in front of a big old dragon an take its claw swipes to the face.

There is a certain  pride in being able to go toe-to-toe with giant beasts or a mass of enemies. When I leveled my Paladin in WOW, I found Protection to be the most fun leveling spec. I could gather a bunch of mobs, prop holy shield and reflection talents, and watch those hapless Murlocs punch themselves to death. In Rift, the Riftstalker rogue spec was fun for me to play due to its teleporting tank mode. I could hop around a rift encounter, applying aggro on each teleport, creating rift disturbances that grabbed mobs off other players, picking up elites and mobs as I bamfed around, all while never getting close to dying. A riftstalker is often capable of soloing many Rifts. The more I upped my block, dodge or defense stats, the more unstoppable I felt. The tank is defined by its ability to take many hits, hard hits and attract aggro quickly and continously.

A healer has more than heal skills, but is a character that puts all of its stats and talents towards boosting those heals and being able to maintain resources for constant healing. The healer and the tank are symbiotic in that RPG bosses are designed to hit so hard that a tank can’t simply stand their ground against them without help. The help often comes from the healer, who replenishes the health of the tank for each major hit they take. Healers often have damage mitigation spells they can put on others, such as shields or bubbles. So not only does the healer replenish health, the healer also helps the mitigation efforts of the tank.

In many games, the healing is done through the party interface. In the same way that a player must target an enemy to attack it, the healer must target a player to heal them. Certain heal spells are ground targeted, but the great majority require a player to be targeted. Group interface bars make this process easier by listing names and healthbars of your group close together, allowing the player to click on who needs help via a list rather than trying to find their body on the playfield. TERA is different in regards, requiring active target healing that means that the importance of the ability to see the player you are healing matters. Otherwise, healing becomes what has been coined “wack-a-mole” of watching bars go up and down, and clicking on the bars going down to cast your heal spell.

I will make DPS short and sweet. DPS focuses entirely on killing. The prime DPS is a matter of optimization of skills, something sometimes called your “ideal rotation”. This is a matter of firing off your attack skills in the order that maximizes your damage output. At times, DPS provides crowd control as well.

That Dragon Doesn’t Seem to Matter to Me

What needs to be understood is that design approach dictates encounter approach. The reason the holy trinity work is due to how mob AI and encounter design work. The bosses and mobs of dungeons are designed to be attracted to a single player through aggro, so that DPS can work unhindered and healers can work unhindered. An encounter may add randomly spawning and straying attacks that will cause the non-tanks to move, but not be in constant movement. Holy Trinity design often becomes a sort of dance routine, and once you learn the dance routine, all difficulty lies in a stat measurement. In fact, when your stats get high enough, you outgear content and even the dance routine doesn’t matter much anymore.

For the tank, the boss matters a lot. You are the one moving that big fella around and taking its hits, and popping a cooldown on its big, nasty attacks. That boss doesn’t seem too smart though, because the truth is that you’re hardly hurting the beast. The DPS are doing all the damage. If the boss was smart, they’d take out the healers and DPS, for there’s its whole problem. Its the DPS that’s hurting the boss without ever having to fight the boss, and trouble of the boss lies in the healers keeping all its dragonly fire-farts from ending this epic shenanigan.

For the DPS, the boss is merely a big target. As mean as that dragon looks, you’re not really fighting the dragon. Instead, you’re fighting latency, global cooldowns and long cooldowns, and watching the stock market of the DPS charts, vying for that top spot.

Meanwhile, the boss barely even exists for the healer. Their battle is one of charts and bars, making for a pattern recognition puzzle to solve within the interface. The dragon matters not to them. Everyone just stay out of the muck and remember the dance steps, and the healer will never see that ugly beast’s face.

An Oakheart Boss roams around

This red and angry tree boss will require teamwork.

So what’s this new freestyle flow?

Every player in Guild Wars 2 may need to learn a little bit of all the elements that used to be sectioned off in the holy trinity, for support, control and damage are leaned away variants of the old trinity.

Control might involve getting in the face of a foe, but it’s not tanking. In general, mobs in Guild Wars 2 aggro towards the nearest target hitting them, though ANet says they have mobs with different aggro rules and patters as well. I can only speak for the early level mobs, which probably have the least complex behaviors to be found. So, for control, perhaps you attract the attention of the mob by getting in its face, but then you cripple the mob and having it slowly kite towards you. Control also means seeing a mob attacking a friendly and placing down a Guardian’s magical wall between them. You may have your friend call out on vent that they’re out of stamina and can no longer dodge, so you apply a stun to the mob and get between your friend and the foe. In this way, control is about limiting a target’s movement, directing its movement and imparing its abilities.

Support is about supporting and helping another player in defense or in offense. You may have a ranger with you while fighting a veteran oakheart. You’re an elementalist and throw down an icy aoe spell. The ranger shoots through the aoe and gains an added effect to their arrows. These arrows now chill the foe, slowing down the rate at which they can fire off skills. Then you throw down a Healing Rain as the Oakheart turns towards you. You stand in the rain and support yourself with its heal, but the ranger’s arrows hit the Oakheart through the rain and heal you as well, providing support twice through the combined effect. But then this isn’t enough, and the Oakheart wacks you hard when you thought you were safe. You go into downed state, but the ranger uses its search and rescue skill to have his pet heal you up from downed state.

Damage is damage. It’s the arrows firing and the ice chill aoes hitting.

But look again at my hypothetical situations. The Ranger shooting icy arrows at the Oakheart is also offering control by applying the chill condition to the target. The Guardian laying down the magical wall is also presenting a combo field that supports attacks from behind it. A Mesmer Chaos Storm can be control, support and damage all at once. In fact, the devil is in the details of the Guild Wars 2 skills. You shouldn’t just be  looking at the damage applied, but the secondary and third parts of the skill. The player in Guild Wars 2 flows in and out of roles due to how varied each skill is in its benefits.

A Sampler Tray of Love and Poison

Of course, since all of these interactions are meant to work in dynamic events, they do not rely on group interfaces. This makes all help in the form of control or support less direct. The Guild Wars 2 teamwork system works like someone presenting a sample tray to the friendly public and if they that are the public need something from the tray, they can freely take from the tray. The public can also add to the tray if they so wish. A quick example: You can lay down a Necromancer mark that weakens foes who travel across it, but your ally gains no benefit from that if they don’t lead the monster chasing them across that mark in the ground.Perhaps they are smart enough to take advantage of the necromancer’s mark, but then lay a crippling trap right before it as well. Now the area is twice as poisonous to foes and twice as useful to the public.

I mentioned earlier how design approach dictates encounter approach. In regards to Guild Wars 2, the combat must work on the large scale of dynamic events. Due to this, the combat roles cannot become isolated into small partnerships with private communication lines. One of the early issues that beta testers have had with the game is the huge pyrotechnics on display during combat. The reason there is so much color and explosion blasting onto your screen is due to the combat needing to be able to explain itself without Deadly Boss Mods and everyone on the same voice chat. This is why combat is visual, and why group play relies on being individual and cooperative at the same time. At first, everything is murder and cacophony until you are able to sparse through the jumble and read the important elements. It’s like skimming an encyclopedia for the important dates. Perhaps you just skimmed through this long blog post and found yourself attracted to the bolded descriptions of the holy trinity roles. Consider group combat in Guild Wars 2 to be a bit of RPG combat skimming and high level play to be a matter of raising your reading level.

And finally, Speed.

You can quickly recognize a diku-clone,slash wow-clone by the visual of hotbars and the the visual reset of the global cooldown. The GCD limits a player from firing off a ton of skills together. Guild Wars 2 doesn’t really have a GCD due to its combat needing to be fast enough to read and react. In fact, a Mesmer’s Mantras can be fired off in the midst of the animation of another skill activating. If the Elementalist casting the healing rain realizes the Oakheart is coming towards them too fast, they can cancel out of the cast with a dodge or go right into an invulnerability skill. Again, the large scale, cooperative combat design dictates the move away from the hard trinity, which dictates that defense must be proactive or reactive, which dictates that the slowing down of combat from GCDs cannot be had within the game.

And there’s likely more

All of what I’ve said is based on encounters in PVP and PVE of a beta of a game that has 80 levels, many zones and dungeons, and of which I’ve seen all of one zone and 18 levels and maybe 8 hours of PvP.

The Moletariat P A T I E N T L Y waits for that next BWE.

The New PVE

RAWR DREDGE POWAHR

So there’s no questing, right?

Following Monday’s quick stress test of Guild Wars 2, I have seen roughly the same question asked by various people. My first response to the question consists of wishing they could play the game and understand, and my second response is a vain attempt to accurately put into words what is better understood through playing the PVE content.

So here comes the vain attempt.

The way PVE in Guild Wars 2 is constructed changes the entire feel of the PVE experience even though certain tasks may feel familiar to MMO players and the Story Quests may feel familiar to single player RPG players. To better explain what to expect with PVE in GW2, I am first going to address what people expect from “questing” and then address the question of whether or not there is questing, then I will answer the common follow up question of “what do you do then?”

Po Lycanthrope Pimpin

Werewolves on parade, HO HEY

The Kill Ten Rats Legacy

The initial moments of your typical MMO experience consist of a short cinematic, then being dropped into a starter area and making a short walk towards the first person with a brightly lit punctuation mark above their heads. Talking to this NPC will grant you a welcoming greeting from the local populace and then some following instructions about some annoying nuisance in the area. When I made my first WoW character, I had to show my worth by killing some wolf pups and pigs. In the first Guild Wars, I had to talk to some important generals to hear about the status of the town, then the issue of the war with the Charr and then go out into the instanced quest zone. Rift spawned me from a machine, had me pick a soul tree, and then find my way out of the test chambers and into to the dire future of a dark, decimating war. The Old Republic had me meet my Jedi Master and help her recover some hologram disks.

Following that introduction to the game, quests normally flowed from there on out into a Go Here direction that lead to a group of NPCs that beg and plead you to do some menial tasks of collecting and killing that make you wonder just how lazy these poor helpless souls are. At the worst of times—waves at Tera—the game becomes a friendly bit of fruitless genocide. You decimate X amount of Y and collect trophies off their corpses, and don’t forget to steal their honey buns and treasures, so you can bring them back to your friendly NPC who is waiting for you and everyone else with a grateful reward of experience, gold and some low level goodies. You smile, watch your XP bump up a bunch and sigh. Then you look back behind you and see all those mongrels have respawned and nothing has truly changed.

This is the Kill Ten Rats Legacy that has become a norm for MMOs. Blizzard has tried to freshen it up a bit with each expansion and add some cuteness and story to break up the genocidal mania, but questing has remained a list of requests to collect trophies and kill the unfriendlies. Even the story-focused The Old Republic offers bonus rewards for these sort of kill ten rat quests, even though it feels very un-Jedi-y of me to keep killing the locals just to keep up in levels.

So when people ask if Guild Wars 2 has quests, I assume they mean something along the lines of what I’ve described above. To that type of questing, the answer would be no, there is no questing in Guild Wars 2. Yet, and this is what some will find, there are still the tasks present and there is still killing present. The way the system behind Guild Wars 2 works changes the feel of these tasks and the way the world acts.

The Beetletun Farm

Beetletun Farm after I had ran the Centaurs off and fixed the sprinklers.

The Guild Wars 2 PVE System

Guild Wars 2’s world revolves around the relationship between two major elements: the Renown Hearts and the Dynamic Events. Sometimes these two things are confused, because neither involve getting a quest from any NPC and both notify you of their presence by simply being near them. In fact, the game can refer to both of these things as “events”. Often, a Heart and a Dynamic Event will occupy the same area and doing the Dynamic Event will fulfill your Renown Heart.

To get deeper into these two systems, I’ll point out the major differences. First, Renown Hearts are marked by NPCs on the map with a golden heart above their head. When you first arrive to the area, these hearts will be empty. A progress bar will show on the side of your screen telling you what sort of tasks will help you fill this bar. The basic formula for a RH is help X with general problem Y. These are still the same lazy farmers looking for some help that you may be used to, but how you help them is a choice of which tasks you’d rather do. You can feed cows, water plants or stuff out worms. You can find hiding children and tell them to do their chores or you can find rats and kill them to make the town keep up a high-class appearance. Every time you do a task for a Renown Heart, the meter fills up a little. No other players can fill up your heart for you and once filled, you cannot repeat the Renown Heart for full credit. Filling the heart just allows you access to the NPC’s shop of goods, which are normally purchased via Karma. Renown Hearts are static and don’t move, always remaining for players who haven’t finished them yet.

Dynamic Events are events that are triggered by other events, players or via timers. How and when these events happen is not always easy to tell, but they often happen near Renown Hearts and their fail/succeed rules can fulfill Renown Heart tasks. If your Beetletun Farmer wants help protecting his farm and repairing broken things, a Dynamic Event of a Centaur attack that includes fighting off waves of Centaurs that are lighting his farm on fire will fill up that Renown Heart as you fight to succeed at the event. The difference is that everyone involved in the Dynamic Event gets credit and fills up the progress bar. Dynamic Events also chain into other events. If you don’t fight back the Centaurs, they’ll likely take over the farm and proceed to the next friendly outpost. If you defeat the Centaurs, then the local Seraphs (a sort of police) will mount a charge towards fighting the Centaurs back further and further.

Often, both in story and in tasks, the Dynamic Events and Renown Hearts are tied together. In this way, they tell a sort of atmospheric story of the area and give the game an organic feel. I’ll now go a bit deeper into how they change the scope of the land.

Underwater slave pens of the Krait

Because I had failed defending the fishing village, I had to go rescue fishermen from the underwater slave pens of the Krait.

Baddies With Purpose

In a Kill Ten Rats world, mobs wander along very strict paths just waiting to be run into. While some NPC may tell you these bandits, gnolls or zombiess are terrorizing the locals and stealing their supplies, you never see the evidence of this. From what I can tell, the bandits of Elwynn Forest care more about staring at trees and sitting around the campfire than they do bugging the folks of Goldshire. I would argue that those poor bandits are deathly bored by their own existence, wandering aimlessly and heartlessly without the average newbie to come along and shove a fireball in their face. Thank goodness you’re there to give these horrible people something to be horrible to! Thank God this Paladin is here to kill us, they scream.

As is, the average MMO mob exists to be killed and has little purpose in life or programming beyond that.

In Guild Wars 2, there is a lack of the typical aimlessly wandering  mobs that fart around, roaming to and fro, dreaming, sleeping, walking and again, roaming until killed for the purpose of a quest. There are no forest bandits hanging around looking for some action. I have run across some nasty Ettins and found some bandits practicing their skills at their own hideout, but the Moa Birds and fireflies of the world ignore me when I walk past them. I do admit the Skale that wander the rivers are rather ornery, but that’s because I’m snatching crabs from the traps they’ve been messing with.

Like the previously described Centaur attack, the enemy mobs in Guild Wars 2 often have a purpose to their arrival and their attacks. The key word here is arrival. Most of the mobs you will fight in Guild Wars 2 arrive to you. They don’t wait somewhere to be killed. They are soldiers with a purpose and you’re in their way. If they aren’t planning an attack on a Beetletun farm then they simply won’t be there. If they are trying to defend a camp of their own, they will be focused on defending or retaking that camp from you and the Seraphs. This makes mobs aggressive and purposeful, so that you aren’t killing a set amount of them, but are instead driving them back out of the area they occupy. After you’ve driven them out, they won’t reappear until they’ve been able to mount another attack. After I cleared the Centaurs from Beetletun farms, I never saw them on the farm again. I was able to drive them back and out of their camp. They fought back versus other players and got as far as a waypoint spot, but never made it back to the farm.

So you took over their camp?

Right, and they can take over your camps. When I proceeded past the Centaurs to help some Ettin Chieftan out, the Centaurs pushed forward, moving all the way to a small outpost spot on the map that had been a friendly Waypoint when I first came across it. When I died trying to attack a Centaur Chieftain near the Ettin Renown Heart, I had to resurrect way back at the town of Beetletun rather than the nearer waypoint by the other Centaur camp. At this time, the Centaurs had also retaken their camp after I had previously taken it over. Back when another player and I defeated the Centaurs at their camp, the Seraph forces took hold of the area and one of them turned into a weaponsmith merchant, offering me unique weapons taken from the centaurs for a monetary price. When the centaurs took the camp back, these NPCs were pushed back or killed, and no longer available to me.

Also, after helping out that farmer and clearing the Centaurs from the immediate area, a Winemaker became available to talk to. By talking to her, I started a new Dynamic Event involving her ruined vineyard. Not all Dynamic Events happen spontaneously. Some of them, like the Winemaker and the Giant Boar Hunt in Queensdale, are initiated by a player finding a NPC and making the right dialogue choice. These DEs are still open to whoever runs across them once active though and thus not secluded quests only relevant to the player who begins them.

I help out a winemaker

Defending Beetletun opened a dynamic event with this vindictive winemaker.

Okay, so it’s just events? Does that get boring?

I never got bored of the combined events system of Renown Hearts and Dynamic Events, but I did run into spots in the first BWE where I felt I had done everything and were seeing some DEs recycle. Whenever you get to this point, I offer the opinion that you should explore. In fact, exploring is the way to level as it leads you to all things in the PVE game. Due to the previously mentioned differences, where you go on the map is not as heavily influenced by quests. In World of Warcraft, there are parts of Westfall that I haven’t spent an hour in despite playing many characters and alts, and running all of them through Westfall for the Deadmines quests. The reason I never went to these corners of the map is because I had no quests there. Killing mobs there was of no greater purpose than to grind and exploring brought me little in the way of experience. While you can explore in most MMOs, the lack of reward for doing so often keeps people from bothering with exploration. The typical system of MMOs pushes people towards optimizing their time used towards goal attainments.

In Guild Wars 2, there is experience provided for finding points of interest and there are Skill Point Challenges spotted around the map. As well, there are hidden jumping puzzles that normally lead to a boss or a treasure chest. You don’t really need a direction to go in Guild Wars 2. If you spot what looks like an island or a cave then going towards it will likely lead to an event, skill point challenge or point of interest. There is very little wasted space on the map. In the Godslost Swamp in Queensland, I was doing a Renown Heart and decided to swim down into the deeper parts of the swamp water. When I did this, I found the sunken ruins of the Temple of Ages. Meditating at the ruins provided me a skill point reward, along with experience.

The Standard Stuff

Beyond the exploration aspect, there are still the Story Quests and Dungeons beginning at level 30. These two elements are likely the most familiar to other players and easiest to understand. I have watched youtubes of some people playing the game and sort of randomly gunning around a Renown Heart and not noticing a difference between what they were doing and your standard MMO fare. I understand that the combined Heart/DE system is not as easily understood due to its subtleties. When you step into a Story Quest, the game becomes instanced and progress is linear with some splitting paths dependent on choices. For people struggling with the open world concept, these may be easier to get a feel for right away. The DE/Heart system requires paying more attention to fully understand.

I would comment more on the game’s dungeons, but I have not yet got to the point where I can do a dungeon. Hopefully a future beta allows the testers enough time to reach that point. Even with keeping my mesmer from the last BWE, I only made it to level 18 during the stress test.

In Conclusion

Play the game for the glory of the Moletariat.

Or check out these informative youtubes:

CaraEmm does Dynamic Events subtleties

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CyqGJHTjes

Hidden fun in WvWvW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81mwQ4i_AwE