guild wars 2

Buy Guild Wars 2 now
Official Site: Guild Wars 2
Studio: ArenaNet/NCsoft
Launch Date: August 28, 2012
Genre: Fantasy Hybrid Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid B2P (Cash Shop, No Sub, Paid Expansions)
Platform: PC

Guild Wars 2’s season 3 finale will include a brand-new fractal

When ArenaNet announced the sixth and final episode of Guild Wars 2’s third living world season yesterday, it was a one-liner post with a teaser screenshot that points us right back to Orr. Today’s Facebook teaser has even less info, if that’s possible: cackling laughter and a promise that a new fractal is on the way with the episode. The video isn’t even big enough to mine for a header image, so here’s a picture of a llama instead.

Expect it all on July 25th. In the meantime, we’ve got the video right here, and don’t forget to check out our recap of the whole season from earlier this week!

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The last episode of Guild Wars 2’s living world season 3 arrives July 25

The sixth and final episode of Guild Wars 2’s third living world season launches on July 25th. We’d like to tell you more, but the announcement is literally one sentence and one image long. We don’t even know what it’s called yet. (But the image is a good tease!)

That could be because ArenaNet has been working hard to solve the connectivity problems from earlier in the day, or it could be because it doesn’t want to spoil something amazing. Either way, the hard date on the finale should get you excited since ArenaNet’s previously discussed the expansion timeline to follow, not that we know anything about that from anything but leaks either.

Totally lost on the living story? No problem: Massively OP columnist Tina Lauro Pollock posted a lengthy recap of the whole season just yesterday to catch you back up. Don’t forget to log in before the 25th to lock in your claim on the current episode!

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Guild Wars 2’s gem store gets a huge overhaul

Have you ever found yourself in this situation: You are flush with cash and desperately want to dump it on Guild Wars 2, but you find the store interface too confusing or obtuse, so you end up buying insurance and stock options instead? Well, that sort of regrettable scenario is a thing of the past, as today the game introduced an overhauled gem store to the playerbase.

Gem Store 2.0 offers a more intuitive and robust shopping experience. The new store includes a faster interface, a better search function, revised categories, improved sorting, and more preview options to help you decide whether or not to make that purchase.

Looking to get caught up on Guild Wars 2? Make sure to read Tina’s extremely comprehensive review of the Living World Season 3!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Guild Wars 2’s living world season 3 in review

The Guild Wars 2 story arc found in the Living World’s third season has contained more twists and surprises than even I had anticipated, and I feel that an in-depth recap of the season to date will help keep the meandering threads of lore fresh in our heads as we await the final episode of the season. Although I have an extensive back catalogue of episode deep dives for those who want more detailed information, I felt the need to summarise the key events of the season in one place for simplicity’s sake, especially since that last episode will be upon us relatively soon if the usual ArenaNet content release cadence is anything to go by.

In this edition of Flameseeker Chronicles, you’ll find a complete summary of the Living World season so far, complete with links to more in-depth coverage of each episode for those who perhaps missed a little story along the way. Remember to log into the game to bank the current episode, Flashpoint, while it’s live to save the need for a gem purchase down the line.

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PSA: All Master X Master toons are playable this weekend, plus unlock Guild Wars 2’s Rytlock for free until tonight

During a recent Massively OP podcast, Justin and I expressed surprise that NCsoft wasn’t doing more cross-promotion with the newly launched Master X Master MOBA and the extant NCsoft MMORPGs from which it borrows. Strike that! ArenaNet was dragged into the action this week when it tweeted out an unlock key for Rytlock of Guild Wars 2 fame.

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There’s just one catch: It expires in the middle of the night tonight at 3 a.m. EDT.

If you’re not lucky enough to use it, take heart; all of MxM’s heroes are playable all weekend. Enjoy!

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Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet hires former Ubisoft Creative Director Jason VandenBerghe

Gamasutra is reporting this afternoon that Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet has picked up former Ubisoft Montreal Creative Director Jason VandenBerghe. His new title on the MMO? Director of Design. He explains the move in a Facebook post:

“The tl;dr version is that I went out [to Seattle] on a lark –and then fell head-over-heels in love. [ANet Lead Designer] Isaiah [Cartwright] did an amazing job of setting the table… but it was all the people that I met there there that sealed the deal. It’s a big step. I won’t be making games directly any more – I’ll be studio level, shepherding teams and growing people. I’m… sort of thrilled about how difficult that sounds. It’s exactly what I want to be doing right now.”

ArenaNet is currently working on the finale for Guild Wars 2’s current living season storyline as well as a heavily leaked expansion. It’s suffered a number of high-profile staff departures in the past couple of years, most of them moving to Amazon Game Studios.

Source: Facebook via Gamasutra

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Unofficial Guild Wars 2 CCG gets a Prophecies-themed expansion

Back in March, Guild Wars 2 player Luke Dowding announced that he was building a free and unofficial collectible card game for the community called Guild Wars 2: Heroes of the Mists. At the time, we crossed our fingers that ArenaNet could let the game stand, and as of April, when the game branched out for play on Tabletop Simulator, it appeared the studio was giving at least a tacit blessing. And now, Dowding has announced the game is getting an expansion themed around classic Prophecies.

“The expansion comes packed with over 60 new cards all based upon the memorable characters from the original Guild Wars 1 game Prophecies. The expansion also comes with a new ability as well as a huge balance overhaul to all existing cards which in testing has made the game a lot more fun and playable,” he writes. “Prophecies was my first choice because its the foundation in which the Guild Wars universe was built. I personally played Guild Wars 1 for several thousand hours and have very fond memories of the game. Add Prophecies as the first expansion is also a great way to bring back serious nostalgia and remember those key characters from the original game from over 12 years ago.”

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The Daily Grind: What kind of MMO achiever are you?

Yesterday’s post on Richard Bartle’s new unplayer matrix got me thinking once again about my quibbles with the original Bartle quotient, which won’t surprise anyone here, least of all Bartle himself, who’s expressed similar sentiments about his early work (and specifically the test it subsequently spawned).

One thing that always bugged me is how your score masked why you picked what you picked — why you do what you do in the game as presented to you. That wouldn’t matter if people treated Bartle’s theories as descriptive, but developers apply them prescriptively (for example, in WildStar) and tailor games to attract achievers, indeed turning most game content into achiever content. As I wrote a few years ago, a player who explores every last inch of a game map would be an explorer in a game without achievements, but in a game like Guild Wars 2, she’s far more likely to be an achiever on a quest for achievement points. An old-school World of Warcraft PvPer was just as likely to PvP for twink gear and titles as for an actual drive to slay other players as a “killer.” And so on.

All of this is to suggest that in a world where most games reward achievers with the best stuff, most of us are achievers. Are you? And if so, what kind of MMO achiever are you — were you born to competition and leaderboards and prestige-acquisition, or do you “achieve” to meet your goals in other parts of the game, like a roleplayer who raids for the best cosmetics?

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One Shots: Moonglow

I don’t say it enough: I am truly impressed by how our readership manage to bring out the beauty in MMORPGs through their screenshots. It takes an eye for detail and a feel for a good shot that elevates certain pictures above the rest.

As an example of this excellence, I present Toy Clown’s headlining shot from Black Desert: “One of the reasons I enjoy the game is because of the ocean content. Here is my character releasing a lantern from her fishing boat.”

Small moon, go up and meet big moon! I think the two of you will be very happy together.

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Massively Overthinking: Do MMORPGs aspire to pro-social mechanics?

Massively OP reader and Patron Avaera has a thoughtful question for the team and readers this week. “I wish more virtual world games thought deeply about what impact they can have for the better,” he writes.

“It seems to me we are living in a time when tribalism, intolerance, and lack of empathy are increasing, with online trolling, harassment and simple nastiness on the rise even before considering where real-world politics seems to be heading. Yet research continues to show that immersive virtual worlds (including MMOs) have significant potential to change us through the type of experiences they offer, with recent examples being that a VR out-of-body experience can reduce fear of death and that social exclusion in a game environment carries a negative effect on real-world emotions. Do you think any MMOs are already using this incredible power to change us as people through pro-social mechanics, activities or narratives? Can you think of any examples where you have been moved or changed by game experiences, for better or worse, and do you think this was a deliberate act by developers? As our genre continues on a trajectory away from massively social roleplay towards cliquish competitive skirmishing, are there any signs that there are still companies willing to test whether virtual world games can be more than just moment-to-moment fun or entertainment?”

I posed Avaera’s question to the whole team for an intriguing Overthinking.

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The Daily Grind: Do you want to see a Guild Wars 3?

At this point, everybody who cares even a little about Guild Wars 2 knows that it’s getting an expansion later this year; even most of the details have leaked out. But every time we talk about Guild Wars 2 — and indeed, earlier this year when I commemorated Guild Wars 1 — people come out of the woodwork to talk about the franchise in a way most games will never know. Most MMORPGs never get a sequel, after all, and a sequel is often seen as a way for a good game to become even better, a chance to start over and fix mistakes.

I think Guild Wars 2 did that, truthfully — the auction hall, the wardrobe UI, the dye system, and the open world are all huge improvements over classic Guild Wars. But there will always be areas where I think Guild Wars 2 dropped the ball, like cosmetics, heroes, guilds, and endgame. There’s room for improvement, the kind an expansion may or may not ever tackle.

So that leaves me dreaming about a possible Guild Wars 3. Do you think the franchise deserves it? What would you want to see in a third installment?

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Perfect Ten: MMO zones I love to hate

Let’s be frank: Not every MMO zone can be a masterpiece of art, design, quest flow, and navigability. I mean, they totally should be, but that’s not how it shakes out in actual games. Sometimes regions get rushed, or the developers get a little too crazy with level design, or someone with a doomsday device in the office threatens to set it off unless an area made up of nothing but jumping puzzles is included.

The end result? “Those” zones we love to hate. We all have them. They’re the ones we seem to relish whining and complaining about to anyone who will listen, often instigating an echo chamber of like-minded grudges. We’ve been there, done that, and felt that our psyche took a hit as a result.

Today I want to look back at 10 MMOs I’ve played over the years to pick out a zone from each that, honestly, I really, really disliked. Perhaps the fact that I still remember them so vividly means that they were more important memories than the well-done zones that escape me at the moment, but I’m not going to think on that too much. Let the gripe session begin!

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Fashion Wars wishlist for Guild Wars 2

I’ve recently been spending an increasing amount of my time improving the looks of my Guild Wars 2 characters: Although I have always greatly appreciated the wardrobe and dye options available to me, never before have I put in quite so much effort in creating fully realised looks that require such thought. I’ve been largely inspired by the handful of Guild Wars 2 Facebook groups I belong to, having weighed in on some lively debates over character design choices and having oohed and ahhed over some awe-inspiring finished looks. I also love seeing inspiration sketches and the online version of magazine cuttings; there’s something very charming about dreaming up a look for a character and then translating that to the skins and dyes that we have in our toolset.

In this edition of Flamseeker Chronicles, I thought it would be a fun departure to share some of my fashion wishlist and the rationale for some of my wishes with you. My toons are a perpetual work in progress, and I love thinking up imaginary pieces that would enhance them. I’d love to know if you’ve ever stumbled across an image that inspired a character design, and I’d likewise love to see how your characters are currently kitted out.

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