And all the rest …

So much happened during my trip to ArenaNet that it’s impossible to compartmentalize it into three or four simple categories.  There were plenty of exciting and fun details that don’t necessarily fit into one of those, so my final look at the event is a collection of smaller details that I found to be fun, new, and exciting.  Ready?  Here we go!

Finding creatures.  There’s more to hunting that “run around and hope you see something.”  In the norn starter area alone, I stumbled across two methods of finding creatures I was hunting for aside from just looking around.  As I approached some bushes I noticed they were rustling and shaking a bit.  As I got even closer I got an option to shake them by pressing the F key.  Shaking them (which was oddly a stomping motion rather than a shaking one) started three moa birds that were hiding inside, causing them to flee their cover.  I gave chase, took one down, and got the feather I needed.

A little farther on I came to a trap on the ground, and got the option to bait it.  I did so, noting in passing that the dead meat I was using for bait had amusing stink lines wafting up, and within a few minutes a couple of skelk approached.  I loved these alternative methods of hunting – it keeps things interesting.  My hope is that we’ll see more of this sort of thing as we progress in gameplay.

NPC chatter is something in Guild Wars I always enjoy.  It almost feels like an Easter Egg because there are so many funny little asides if you just take a moment to look.  I’m happy to see that it’s present in Guild Wars 2, and that it’s better: more interactive.  It’s something that we all know we’ll want to pay attention to anyway because of the presence of dynamic events, but even when there’s not an event offered the NPCs are fun to chat with.  I talked to several of them multiple times just to see if the dialogue repeated.

While some of the talk had a bit of a placeholder feel to it, that’s most certainly to be expected at this stage of development.  The majority of it was fun, though.  I found myself having conversations here and there.  The norn bartender told me she enjoys working at a moot, because she’s the only one who remembers the funny things that happened.  Others merely remarked that the spirits welcomed me or something similar, and still others offered me a chance to increase my ferocity and so on.  When Guild Wars 2 launches, I have a feeling that every NPC around is going to be a potential person of interest – chat with them all!  At the very least you’ll have a laugh.

I love emotes, so I checked a few out.  Dancing is in the game, although I certainly hope the motions aren’t finalized.  I set my elementalist dancing and laughed out loud at the chat window.  “Rubi Djinn is busting out some moves, some sweet dance moves.”  My character’s sweet moves consisted of closing her eyes and swaying back and forth as if in a trance.  (The fact that the avatars can open and close their eyes is certainly worth noting, too.)

I stumbled across another when trying to angle a screenshot so my character didn’t dominate the environment.  A nearby developer suggested I try /cower, which caused my character to crouch down and protect her head with her arms.  I’m interested to check that out at launch to find out if it’s just a standard emote or an actual protective pose.  (Considering how inconvenient it would be to type /cower at a crucial point in battle, I’m assuming it’s the former.)

I ran across one Sylvari in the game, but she wasn’t anything new and exciting.  In fact, a nearby dev was quick to point out “they don’t look like that any more” when I ran over and started snapping screenshots.  Still, it was neat to see one.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I loved how much more open and interactive the world is.  Being able to run in and out of an NPCs house, explore, and maybe even get a hint at an event was pretty exciting, and something I hope to see a lot more of in GW2.

I got to experience very small pieces of the mail and crafting setups, and so far I really like what I see.  I received mail from an NPC in my travels, and wonder of wonders, I didn’t have to trudge around looking for a mailbox!  I just clicked on the envelope icon in the top left-hand corner of my screen and read my mail, the end.

Collecting crafting materials was pretty painless – the painful part came when I wasn’t able to use any of them to make things!  Crafting nodes were indicated on my compass as I approached them, and I simply approached and used the F key to interact and harvest them.

Finally, the basic character animations and sounds caught my eye.  They weren’t anything huge, flashy, or obtrusive, just little things that fit.  For example, when my engineer threw a grenade, she gave a small grunt of effort as she hurled it as far as she could.  When she jumped from a ledge or other small distance, she kicked up a little puff of dust when landing.  Finally – and perhaps best of all – when she jumped from a height tall enough to cause her to take damage, she didn’t land gracefully on her feet, she faceplanted.  It’s a little startling to see your character flat out, face down on the ground, but I liked it.  It worked!

There you have it: The rest of the little details I noticed in my trip through Tyria of the future.  I’ll finish up with a screenshot gallery of the things I mentioned above as well as a few more environmental images that really caught my eye.  Enjoy!

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “And all the rest …

  1. Shweet Cower! =) Thanks for the wrap-up, nice read as always.

  2. Steel

    I really liked the old version of the Silvari like the one in your screenshot.

    Awesome picture album btw and a great read as always. Can’t wait to try and faceplant 😄

  3. Flower Lyssa

    Can’t wait for the game to release! However, I noticed you didn’t talk much about Winds of Change. Is it because there’s not much to tell? (At all or at the moment?)

    While any GW2 news is exciting, I’m more interested in the more immediate GW: Beyond stuff as we’ll experience it a lot sooner than GW2. BTW, any guess as to a release date for the first part of WOC? Before the end of the summer? Or before the end of the year?

  4. Glyph

    Faceplanting? OMG I LOVE IT.

  5. dima

    thank you for changing where you uplaoded the pics. it is so much better than it was on photobucket 🙂

  6. texntn

    Thanks for the write-ups and screen shots, Rubi.

    However, I’m very disappointed in the graphics quality. The textures and models are good, but mere bump-maps are not enough. As it looks now, it’s already dated – well executed, but still dated. To really knock it out of the park, there needs to be liberal use of tessellation at extreme settings and the maximum view distance needs to be increased dramatically; Night needs to be darker, metal roofs and rocks need to be less shiny and more weather-worn, and glows and shadows need to be improved. Leaves and foliage are very resource intensive, but even the open-source F2P Ryzom has trees that sway in the wind and a night so dark that you need a torch. If all of this will be addressed before launch, my hype-train will be unstoppable!

    Did anyone happen to ask about custom key-binding, skill-bar skill position swapping, or other ui enhancements such as moving, hiding, or resizing the various elements?

    Thanks again!

    • Rich

      Sad to see you dont like them, I have seen it in person and they look fine. One thing to take into account, again from what I heard from Anet, is that with all details you claim to want, not everyone will have a high end machine to play it. Anet would like the game to look good to a wide range of players. Just having the the newest, fastest most ‘bestest’ detailed graphics does not a game make. Look at FFXIV.
      And really draw distance? How far do you actually need to see? Its not like you will see any details of anything so far away. Please explain the importance of having to see farther.
      I can agree that knowing if you can resize or move the UI around would be nice, but since there is not much there anyways it does not seem that intrusive as it is.

      • texntn

        First, graphics: Yes, it’s great that one of the design goals is a game playable on modest hardware. That’s cool. What I’m wanting won’t detract from that one bit. Implementing tessellation uses the same 3D meshes currently being used and enhances the textures with additional information that newer GPUs (like the GTX460 recently given away as a prize) are able to interpret for rendering more detail. It’s called progressive enhancement.

        My view distance concerns are about immersion – simulating reality more effectively. ARMAII has a maximum view distance of 10km, and the results are impressive, but it’s implemented poorly.

        Arguments against these advanced graphics are similar to saying that since not everyone can afford a private education, then nobody should be able to enjoy that privilege. That’s absurd. I’m sure ArenaNet is aware of this technology and their refusal, or reluctance, to implement it is baffling to me.

        Lastly, the UI is very minimal already, and that’s very appealing to me. So, as it is, I love it. I’m just a tweak-head and anticipate wanting to make minor changes to reflect my personal gameplay style.

  7. lupo

    Is it me or is the boy in picture 27 wearing jeans?? Did the norn invent/craft denim material during the 250 years of advancement?

  8. Astalnar

    “they don’t look like that any more”

    I hope this is a hint on some serious change of sylvari in their look, because frankly, they look very squishy and weak in my eyes.
    Not like something that used centaur and human merged with a tree.

    • We’ve known for a while that the Sylvari are being redesigned (we as in “the raving GW2G crowd that clings on to even the smallest detail” 😉 ), we just don’t know *how* they changed them.

      • Astalnar

        Well, I honestly hope they went more in Sidhe way. Not necesery copies but sharp long faces, long, agile bodies, slightly taller then humans and sharp looking eyes (piercing look).
        That is pretty much what I wish for sylvari to be.

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