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!