Thursday, 16 February 2012

Guild Wars 2: World vs. World

Today Mike Ferguson posted the first really good look at Guild Wars 2's World vs. World PvP on the ArenaNet blog. It looks even bigger and more incredible than I'd been led to believe. The scale is truly epic.

Read on for a summary of the features.

First off, the scale. It's huge. Ridiculous. The WvW map has four zones: one for each of the three factions, and a central location. Each zone contains a massive keep. The three Borderlands zones start out owned by their respective worlds, so everyone starts with their own keep and defenses. The central keep, however, is neutral. In each zone, there are resource camps (mines, logging, etc) that you can use to increase your team's Supply; guard towers; choke points; and NPC camps. Check out the screenshots for a better look at the sheer size of the keeps.

The scale means that there's something for everyone. Guilds can claim locations in their world's zone, providing bonuses to allies. The keeps are whole-team affairs, requiring huge levels of coordination and numbers to attack or defend. There are smaller areas, like guard posts and camps, that smaller groups or even a couple of players can attack or defend on their own. Individual players can help build structures, run Supplies, recruit the services of neutral NPCs, or form impromptu groups with others. Coordinated groups can attack or defend structures, or roam the map looking for enemies. Huge war parties can mount raids on enemy keeps, potentially capturing an enemy's home base for their own team. You may destroy the keep in the process (destructible environments!) but if you capture it and hold it long enough, it'll automatically be repaired, and you'll have the full defensive capabilities at your disposal.

Holding resource camps grants your team Supply, which you can use to upgrade your NPC allies, fortify your structures, or build siege weapons. But nothing works instantly, so you need to make sure you keep your supply lines open and keep the goods running.

All players' power levels are bumped up to roughly the level cap. Higher-level players will still have an advantage due to better gear, but they won't be one-shotting new characters, who stand a much better chance as part of a group.

The best part? You continue to gain not only experience for your contributions, but also loot. Killing an enemy player drops loot appropriate to your level. He doesn't lose his own gear -- it's new stuff generated for you. This means that you could have a character who goes from level 1 to 80, earning all his gear and skills, entirely through this large-scale PvP.

Some people, mostly traditional MMO and raid proponents, are worried that Guild Wars 2 won't provide the sort of PvP and max-level experiences they've come to expect from their MMOs. World vs. World PvP looks like it could fulfill just about all of these expectations, and far more -- and that's just one game mode.

In keeping with the design philosophy for the rest of the game, it looks like any player will be able to fulfill any battlefield role in WvW. The battle has such a huge scale that you can do what you want -- hunt for lone players, work on a supply camp, assault enemy fortifications, or hold a specific location against all attackers.

I don't know about you, but I'm super excited for WvW. Looks to me like it could be some of the very best PvP content ever released in an MMO.

Screenshots from ArenaNet's GW2 dev blog.

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