Thursday, February 17, 2011

News: Closed Beta Announced for 2011

The Arena Net FAQ page has been updated to include some exciting new information for Guild Wars 2.

“We will be conducting small closed alpha and beta tests in 2011. The feedback from these tests will determine when we will do public beta tests and ship the game. Guild Wars 2 is a very large and ambitious game, and Guild Wars players rightfully have very high expectations. We want players to be absolutely blown away by the game the first time they experience it.”

Although this is great news, the release date is still to be announced, and the community managers still remains firm that Arena Net will follow their "when its ready policy" to ensure the game's quality upon release.

“The existence of friends and family closed alpha and closed beta this year has changed nothing about the release date. The release date continues to be: when the game is ready.”

Here's some concept art to keep you excited :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

In Focus: Human

Once the dominant species of Tyria, the humans have not fared well in the last few years. Their kingdoms, once spanning the entire continent, lie in ruins, leaving only Kryta. As the previous threats waned, an even more deadly one, that of the Elder Dragons, has threatened the very existence of the human race.
Humans are one of the five playable races in Guild Wars 2.

Human concept art.

Character creation
Selecting a human character will start players off in Divinity's Reachin Kryta. Salma District will be where the character's home instance is located.
During character creation, human characters have three race specific biography questions that they can answer, affecting their personal story:
the social status the character was raised as.
what one of their biggest regrets is.
which of the Six Gods they are blessed by.
The human personal story begins with the character deciding to see the world outside Divinity's Reach for the first time, to discover the area under attack by centaurs and they assist with the defense. It is known that later on in the story, a human character must choose between saving an orphanage and saving a hospital.
Human racial skills seem to center around the human gods.

There is little to separate the appearance of Guild Wars humans from actual humans. The physical differences between different human races has been used to differentiate the different human cultures in Guild Wars - those of Elonian descent might look African, while those from Cantha can look Asian. Kryta and Tyria is dominated by those of Tyrian descent so many have a white European appearance.

The separation of time and distance has meant the human race, more than any other race in the game, has developed a variety of different cultures within it. As human refugees flooded into Kryta from the crumbling edges of human civilisation they stayed together to try and hold on to aspects of their history and culture which connected them to the homelands they could not return to. No other place shows this more than the human capital - in Divinity's Reach many of the districts are named for and filled with the architecture and the peoples of Ascalon, Cantha and Elona.
Humanity is filled with examples of great social inequality, homeless on the streets struggling through each day while the rich dine on fine food in opulent homes. But this doesn't mean they're stuck with the lives they have. Every human has the opportunity to take life and make something more of it - to make a difference to not only their life but the lives of those around them.
The other races view the humans as a dying race - doomed to disappear from Tyria just as the dwarves did. But the humans struggle on, refusing to give up where others might walk away. In Ascalon, for example, the inhabitants of Ebonhawke, against the odds, still stare down the charr each day from that fortress' great walls.
Humans typically wish to bury their dead, however recently with the influence of Zhaitan and the number of undead increasing many choose to be cremated instead.

Another concept art.

Humans are very dedicated to the worship of their pantheon; the Six Gods. Balthazar, Dwayna, Grenth, Kormir, Lyssa, and Melandru are each patrons of several broad areas of concern including war, healing, death, truth, beauty and nature. These gods are attributed with bringing the humans to Tyria and had historically taken a large part in the development of the human race often using their powers to intervene in events. However, in the past 200 years the Six Gods have stepped back and while they still answer the prayers of their followers they are much more distant than before.
This silence from their gods had done little to dampen the human's devotion. Temples are still made devoted to their worship, the streets of Divinity's Reach are named and decorated for each of the gods. Some even choose to devote their lives to the worship of a particular god - a Priestess of Dwayna might find herself working in a hospital or a Priest of Balthazar arranging competitions for his god. Historically several festivals were held devoted to one or more of the gods, in particular Wintersday, but whether these are still celebrated is unknown.
The human race is governed by a hereditary monarch and a body of senators which contains representatives of all the human races. The senators design law and present their proposals to the queen, who authorizes or rejects their implementation into society. Initially, this system was designed as a temporary government for the refugee camps, but in the 150 years since the flood of Lion's Arch, it has become a stable system, a respected government, and a cornerstone of Krytan culture.

Due to humans being the only playable race in Guild Wars they have a significant amount of historical lore. For details on the lore pre-dating the Guild Wars game read the Guild Wars Wiki's section on human history. For the time covered by the Guild Wars games read the articles covering the storyline. This section focuses on the time between the end of Guild Warsand the beginning of Guild Wars 2.
At the end of Guild Wars humanity was still the dominant race in Tyria. Spanning three continents with an extensive trade network and significant population, humanity had spread to every corner of Tyria. From these heights humanity started to falter and for the past 250 years they have been in decline.
The human's war with the charr continued in Ascalon. On the back-foot since the searing, the humans repeatedly lost ground against the charr. From 1080 AE to 1090 AE, King Adelbern was able to maintain a tenuous grasp on Ascalon, until the charr marched on Ascalon City and in his madness he unleashed the Foefire turning much of the human population of Ascalon to ghosts. After the Foefire Ascalon was completely controlled by the charr but for the human fortress of Ebonhawke which stands against the charr to this day.
Cantha was united in 1127 AE under the strong fist of Emperor Usoku who then embarked on a campaign to drive out non-human races from the continent. Under his tyranny Cantha became increasingly isolationist and contact with Tyria became increasingly rare. When the minions of Zhaitan cut off sea routes to Cantha all information was cut off too.
Horrible famine swept through Elona after Palawa Joko dammed the Elon river - with the humans so weakened he was able to walk in with his undead armies. In approximately 1135 AE, he had completely taken control of Elona. Joko's stronghold in the Crystal Desert made, and continues to make it near impossible to access Elona via land while Zhaitan makes it impossible to cross to it by sea.
In 1219 AE, the great wave which accompanied the awakening Zhaitan smashed through the Krytan capital, the largest human settlement in Tyria at the time, and all of the coastal areas. Lion's Arch was completely destroyed and abandoned as the capital. When Lion's Arch was born again it was founded by pirates and it became a free city and was no longer under humanity's sole guidance.
Kryta, united under Queen Salma in 1088 AE, became the last stable, reasonable human nation and refugees fled to it from all of the troubled corners of the three continents. The new capital Divinity's Reach became the center of the human universe and their last hope to recover their feet even as it continues to struggle against centaurs and bandits. Many a human would die before letting anything harm Divinity's Reach and their queen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In-depth look: Guardian

The guardian is a soldier profession who excels in magical and physical combat, as well as support.

Guardian concept art.

The guardian specializes in passive boons and effects that enhance their own abilities, which can also be relinquished and dispersed amongst their allies temporarily - making them excellent in both offense and support. They also have exclusive access to three special abilities known as virtues: Courage, Justice and Resolve. These abilities provide a constant passive effect to the player, and bestow a temporary benefit to all nearby allies (including themselves) when those abilities are activated, at the cost of being disabled for a long period - much like how signet skills operate. Those virtues help to balance the guardian; for example, they have a lower base health than the warrior profession, but compensate for this with their higher health regeneration granted by Resolve. These abilities are not considered to be part of the skill bar and can be activated regardless of the weapon held.

Special skill types
  • Aegis — Guardians are adept in the use of Aegis, a removable boon that blocks the next attack. Guardians have access to this boon through the virtue of Courage.
  • Symbols — The guardian places symbols on the ground, where they inflict damage to enemies or deliver a benefit to allies. Symbols persist for a few seconds and then go away. For instance, Symbol of Faith is a hammer attack that leaves a transient symbol on the ground, giving allies the Vigor boon.
  • Spirit Weapons — The guardian can summon spirit weapons to fight at his side for a limited time. Spirit weapons cannot be attacked by enemies and can be commanded to inflict a powerful attack before disappearing. For example, Hammer of Wisdom can be summoned to fight alongside a guardian, then commanded to knock down an enemy and vanish.
  • Wards — A ward is a marked area on the ground that stops enemies from passing through while allowing allies to move freely. For example, a staff-wielding guardian can create a Line of Warding in front of him that keeps enemies from reaching the allies behind him.
Spirit weapons concept art.

The guardian is a soldier profession and thus wears heavy armor.

  • Two-handed
    • Hammer
    • Greatsword - For mobility and AoE damage with a little support and control.
    • Staff - A defensive weapon.
  • Main-hand
    • Mace - A defensive weapon.
    • Scepter - A ranged offensive weapon.
    • Sword
  • Off-hand
    • Focus
    • Shield - A defensive weapon.
    • Torch - An offensive weapon.
There are 12 combinations of weapon sets available for this profession. The Guardian can switch between weapon sets.

More media:

Logan Thackeray, a guardian character from Guild Wars 2

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In-depth look: Necromancer

The necromancer is a spell casting scholar profession who focuses on death magic: summoning the dead, wielding the power of lost souls, and literally sucking the lifeblood of the enemy. Their special ability is to use collected life force to enter into the Death Shroud which grants them a different set of unique skills.

Necromancer concept art.

Necromancers gain life force when enemies and allies die near them, and can use that life force to go into the Death Shroud. This drains the life force slowly but gives access to an alternate set of skills which can be used to heal or buff allies. Necromancers automatically go into Death Shroud when downed. Necromancers can also summon minions to serve as fighters or distractions. The necromancer really shines when absorbing damage and providing support to allies. They have very high health and the ability to extend that health through the use of the Death Shroud plus the ability to heal themselves through life-stealing skills, leading to a profession that is very hard to put down. For support, the necromancer is great at inflicting debilitating conditions on enemies as well as removing conditions from allies.

Special skill types

Wells — wells are persistent spells that allow a necromancer to control the area around him. Created at the necromancer's location, wells affect targets within the skill's range. Well of Blood, for example, applies a regeneration boon to all allies within it. A necromancer can only have one well skill active at any time.

Minions — the necromancer summons undead minions to attack foes and do his bidding. Every minion-summoning spell has an associated secondary spell that appears after the minion has been summoned. This secondary spell changes the abilities of a minion, or destroys it for the necromancer's benefit. For example, necromancers have a healing skill called Summon Blood Fiend that creates a minion that heals its master while it attacks. After the minion has been summoned, the Summon Blood Fiend skill is replaced by the skill Taste of Death, which allows a necromancer to destroy the minion to gain a larger amount of health.

Marks — necromancers can also place marks - ground-targeted spells with a variety of potent effects. For instance, Mark of Blood damages enemies while placing a regeneration boon on nearby allies. Marks will trigger after a set period of time, but a necromancer can always trigger their marks on command by hitting the skill again.

Fear — necromancers use a condition not available to any other profession: fear. A removable condition, fear makes an enemy flee directly away from a necromancer for a short period of time. For example, a necromancer can use Doom to instill fear in a single target.

Necromancers have two trait lines : Soul Reaping and Blood Rituals. They also have lines for each of the weapons they can wield.
See list of necromancer traits.

Necromancers can put attribute points into Intelligence, Vitality, Perception, and Willpower, the other attributes being considered minor for this profession.

Another concept art.

The necromancer is a scholar profession and thus uses light armor.

  • Two-handed
    • Staff - used to cast long range, slow spells.
  • Main-hand
    • Scepter - used to cast long range, DoT like spells.
    • Axe - used to cast powerful, close range spells.
    • Dagger - used to cast medium range spells.
  • Off-hand
    • Focus - used to cast powerful, close range spells.
    • Warhorn - used to cast powerful, close range spells.
    • Dagger - used to cast medium range spells.
The necromancer has a total of 10 possible weapon sets. They also can have 2 active weapon sets and can easily switch between them.

More Necro goodness:

Friday, February 4, 2011

In-depth look: Ranger

The ranger is a nature-themed adventurer profession which combines their use of pets with mobile combat and a focus on ranged attacks. The ranger can use a wide variety of weapons, but they tend to favor bows. Their repertoire of utility skills focuses on pet buffs, traps and spirits of nature.

Ranger concept art.

The unique profession ability for the ranger is their three named, controllable pets. Most of the time a ranger only has access to one of their pets, but they can swap them outside of combat or through the use of utility skills. Rangers have been announced to have a utility skill which allows stealth.
A pet's level is based on its owner's level, which determines base attack, armor, and health. In addition to this, each pet has an evolution level, which advances if that pet is active while its owner gains experience. Pets start out with no pet skill slots but, as they gain evolution levels, up to four pet skill slots become available. A pet's equippable skills are based on its specific pet type.
Rangers have a special user interface element for controlling their pets that provides simple behavioral modes and direct commands for their pets, but they cannot directly command their pets' skill usage.

Special skill types
  • Chains — three skills that share a single skill slot, which are executed in sequence on a single target.
  • Preparations — apply a preparation to a weapon to change its abilities.
  • Spirit skills — summon a nature spirit that influences the area around it.
  • Traps — utility skills that can be placed at a ranger's current location. When an enemy enters a trap, it is triggered.

A ranger has two general trait lines to choose from: Wilderness Survival and Beast Mastery. They also have trait lines for each of the weapons they can wield.
See list of ranger traits.

Rangers can put attribute points into Strength, Agility, Vitality, and Perception, the other attributes being considered minor for this profession.

The ranger is an adventurer profession and they will use medium armor.

  • Two-handed
    • Greatsword — A brute force, heavy-damage weapon.
    • Longbow — A stationary sniping weapon, used for rapid fire strikes or barrages at long distance.
    • Shortbow — Quick skirmishing weapon relying on movement and positioning for quick kills.
  • Main-hand
    • Sword — Mobile melee strikes which can be used to distance the ranger from the target or surprise them from behind.
    • Axe — Medium ranged throwing weapon which can ricochet off a target or can toss a cluster of axes in a line.
  • Off-hand
    • Axe — The ranger can enter a stance to reflect incoming strikes or throw the axe for a boomerang effect.
    • Dagger — Used as a crippling ranged attack, or a quick poisonous stab for melee.
    • Torch — The ranger can throw the torch at enemies for burning damage, or can light areas on fire which can ignite arrows passing through.
    • Warhorn — Call in temporary animals to attack or used to buff allies.
A ranger has eleven possible weapon combinations. A ranger has 2 weapon sets and is able to switch quickly between them.

More media:

Ranger wallpaper.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In-depth look: Warrior

The warrior is a soldier profession with mastery of a wide range of weapons, using adrenaline to become as deadly as it is versatile.

Warrior concept art.

The warrior's role is largely defined by the weapon they wield in their main hand. Each weapon type has a particular flavor and type of damage that it inflicts.
Adrenaline is the warrior profession's unique mechanic. As the warrior attacks adrenaline is built up which increases the damage of the warrior's attacks. It can also be spent on a single powerful burst attack. Each weapon set has a single burst skill which has a variety of different conditions that improve with more adrenaline.

 Special skill types
  • Banners — The warrior summons banners to buff his allies. A banner can be picked up and carried around to move the buff, or it can be planted in an area to convey the buff, allowing the warrior to continue fighting. One example is Banner of Courage, which increases the melee damage of allies within its range.
  • Chains — A set of three skills that share a single skill slot, chains go off in sequence if you are hitting your target. For example, the sword chain skills Sever Artery, Gash, and Final Thrust are all on the same key, so rather than making a sword warrior spend three slots, they stack to fill only one slot. Chains effectively give a warrior two extra weapon skills on a weapon set allowing for a larger selection of skills and abilities.
  • Charge Skills — Skills can be held down to power them up for more impressive attacks. A warrior with a mace can wind up the powerful skillObliterate and release it at four different power levels to do increasing amounts of damage.
  • Shouts — Shouts are skills that affect a large area and give bonuses to allies or debuff enemies. A warrior could use the shout On My Mark to lower an enemy's armor and call a target out to allied party members.
  • Stances — These are toggle skills that let you turn on an enhancement at the cost of energy regeneration. For example, a warrior could hitBerserker's Stance which drains his energy, but gives him adrenaline regeneration. It can then be toggled off so the warrior is able to regenerate his energy pool again.

A warrior gains traits through training physically, by defeating enemies, and by eating and drinking.
A warrior has two general trait lines to choose from: Power and Tactics. They also have trait lines for each of the weapons they can wield.
See list of warrior traits.

Warriors can put attribute points into Strength, Agility, Vitality, and Perception, the other attributes being considered minor for this profession.


The warrior is a soldier profession and thus wears heavy armor.




  • Hammer - Pounds the ground with area-of-effect attacks that can stagger groups of enemies.
  • Greatsword - Sweeping area-of-effect attacks while being able to move quickly between groups of enemies.
  • Longbow - Massive fire AoE damage used to keep hordes of enemies at bay.
  • Rifle - After taking aim, a warrior can quickly volley bullets against a single target or pierce groups of enemies with one shot.
  • Axe - Can quickly build up adrenaline and can deliver powerful high damage attacks.
  • Sword - Quick and mobile, with many opportunities to cause bleeding.
  • Mace - Has powerful stunning attacks, leaving enemies susceptible to further blows.
  • Shield - Provides defensive abilities.
  • Warhorn - Buffs damage output.
  • Axe
  • Sword
  • Mace
There are nineteen different combinations of weapons that a warrior can wield. A warrior has two active weapon sets and can easily switch between them, but doing so in combat induces a cooldown to prevent continuous switching between weapons. This cooldown can be decreased by equipping the Weapon Mastery trait once gained.

In-depth look: Elementalist

The elementalist is a spell casting, scholar profession, who is able to attune at will to the different elements to change the spells they have available to cast. The elementalist can cast fire to damage multiple enemies at once, wind and lightning as powerful focused damage, water to hinder enemies' movement and earth to increase their own defense.

Elementalist concept art.

The elementalist has the unique ability to attune to different elements using special skills. There are four attunement skills in total, representing the elements of fire, air, earth and water. When one of these attunement skills is activated, the first five skills on the skill bar change to reflect the action. These attunement skills can be used in combat, allowing players to effectively switch from four different sets of skills. The flexibility of switching between attunements means that the elementalist is restricted to only one weapon set in combat.

Special spell types
  • Glyphs — These arcane spells enhance or modify the natural power of the elementalist. For example, Glyph of Elemental Power increases the damage, range, and duration of their spells.
  • Signets — Signets provide an ongoing benefit to the elementalist, but can also be activated for a greater effect. An elementalist equipped with the Signet of Earth has increased damage resistance, but activating the Signet sends out a wave of stone, stunning nearby enemies.
  • Conjure spells — The elementalist uses conjure spells to summon useful items and potent weapons that they or other party members can use. For instance, they can use Conjure Flame to create a fiery rock to hurl at the enemy.
  • Area spells — Using area spells, the elementalist creates hazards and mayhem all over the field of battle. The elementalist fires lava arrows in a cone-shaped blast or creates walls of fire that scorch any enemies passing through.

The elementalist has one general trait line: Arcanum. They have lines for each attunement: Earth Mastery, Air Mastery, Water Mastery, and Fire Mastery. They also have lines for each of the weapons they can wield. An elementalist might find traits through the study of ancient tomes or particularly powerful elemental locations.
See list of elementalist traits.

Elementalists can put attribute points into Intelligence, Willpower, and Perception, the other attributes being considered minor for this profession.

The elementalist is a scholar profession and will thus use light armor.

  • Two-handed
    • Staff - Focuses on slow, long ranged spells.
  • Main-hand
    • Scepter - Focuses on close range spells in a large area.
    • Dagger - Focuses on fast, medium ranged spells.
  • Off-hand
    • Focus - Provides powerful close ranged abilities.
    • Dagger - Provides powerful medium ranged abilities.
Although the elementalist has access to only one weapon set during combat, they effectively have the ability to switch between four different skill sets using attunement skills. There are five possible combinations of weapon sets for elementalists - twenty when attunements are incorporated - allowing for diversity among elementalist playstyles.