Manifesto Video Breakdown

August 10, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg, video | 19 Comments
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With the release of the new Guild Wars 2 trailer I thought I’d over-examine and analyze the thing until it lost all charm and mystery. Fun!

The first thing you’ll notice is the music. While obviously based on the Guild Wars soundtrack, it’s updated and sounds more…I don’t know, chorus-like than the original? At least until the horns come in.

Oh and if you haven’t checked out the HD quality version, please do so.

One of the things I like in the first shot of Divinity’s Reach is that obviously, the city doesn’t stop with the walls. I prefer when there are signs of civilization as you approach cities personally.

The other part of that is that I’m really starting to get a sense of scale with DR. The first shot with the outer doors and houses gives some sense of size, then inside you see walkways leading up. You can see the same walkways a moment later looking down towards the door again. The use of space is great, while those walkways lead up, a street leads downward.

Another note about the 2nd shot of DR is the Angelic statue, most likely of Dwayna, wielding a sword and shield in the distant background. Interesting.

The third in-game shot is kind of incredible. You can see people in the shot, but compared to the grandiose nature of the, lets call it a solarium (?), they’re barely noticed. My eyes were drawn towards things like, man in the moon ornament, the various globes, the bridges and vegetation, and of course the background palace.

I’m not sure its inside Divinity’s Reach, but it could certainly be Queen Jennah’s abode. The size of the place though is such that it could be its own town.

You’re taken from there to some quick concept art of the five races, and then Destiny’s Edge. That transitions to in game facsimile of Destiny’s Edge marching towards the camera framed by several guys in very similar bronze looking armour with winged helmets, seen in a previous screenshot.

The detail on DE is pretty good too. Norn tattoos must be a large part of character creation I’m thinking. You can really get a good look at their eyes in that scene as well.

The 3rd shot of Divinity’s that I mentioned comes up and I like how the city is sectioned off. I knew this would be the case because of things like Canthatown, but you get perspective on it in this shot. Another thing you can see is the carnival off to the site there, and some kind of circular portal effect going off near the main door.

That leads to some skills videos and a quick shot upclose of some asura. So close in fact you can see the eyelashes, armour details, and hair ribbons. Interestingly the red haired asura has her arms crossed in a very idle pose. Its in the solarium again but not much new to comment on.

Switch to a charr, not really doing anything, standing in charr territory, just sort of looking fierce. Teeth detail is good, along with the armour and I like the razorback mohawk type thing going on.

Change to a frozen landscape strewn with rubble and Grawl about to faceoff against a small party of adventurers. They consist of an asura, sylvari and charr, and I believe the charr is wearing cloth, I think thats the first cloth wearing charr we’ve seen.

Moving on past Daniel Dociu and his concept art, we see next a ruined city. Nay! It’s the Black Citadel, who for some reason preserved ancient ascalonian ruins. When I first saw the concept art for Black Citadel, I thought, “nah that’s not going to be in game”. Well screw me, it’s in game. With the darkness though I can’t make much out. They really wanted to pay tribute to the death star though.

Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL black citadel!

Which brings us to a jungle scene, people moving, river flowing by. Not much to comment on.

The next scene has very roman architecture. Or greek. Which i suppose makes sense since the renaissance was heavily influence by those periods. One thing I took particular note of was the murals in the archways. Fantastic. I can remember a few times in Guild Wars traveling to remote locations just to see examples of murals or monuments to the gods of tyria. If you look closely you can see what I think will be familiar images to fans of concept art.

The last shot before Colin Johanson starts speaking is of a ruined door, leading to an abandoned city of rubble. Most likely Ascalon City, but perhaps some other ruin. The light emanating from off screen suggests the former.

Skip through some video from the skill showcases, and a nice piece of art with a dragon and we come to actual centaur catapults being fired. Wicked. I like how they rock back when firing, not to mention seeing the projectile. Those appear to be centaur habitats in the background, up on stilts. Why they’re up like that I don’t know, but the only time we’ve seen them before was in the races video with other centaurs. Check out the sword that one centaur has.

That is the two minute mark by the way. Why do I draw this out so long.

When concept art of future professions starts popping up, at first it’s no big deal. Anybody who has read my blog has seen me raving about the profession concept art. However, shown with the possible future monk, and warrior art, is new art. A new profession? Its highly suggestive. The little asura is wielding a sword, and what looks to be adventurer armour. Now what that could be is pure speculation, there is no suggestive color to help. There is a tinge of blue on his armour and pinkish purple in the specks and dots in front of him but its hard to say. My own suspicion is the brand new class.

Just what profession is this?

Centaurs attack the water pipes we keep hearing about and yeah, its interesting. First you have actual water, and although I wish that water came rushing towards you I’m still glad its there. Not to mention the actual pipes falling with a thud. Cool. Unfortunately I can’t quite make out anything distinctive about the spellcaster running away from the centaurs, nor do I see what actually destroys the pipes.

Following that we have a particularly interesting sight. Electricity climbing up the scaffolding of a large bridge in a frozen landscape. One of those winged helmet dudes is watching over it, but he doesn’t do anything. The electricity itself is a great effect. It looks alive, great animation. The physics of the bridge collapsing isn’t perfect, but its better than you’ll get in any other MMO. I would like to be underneath that bridge as it falls personally.

More centaurs run around and then destroy a watch tower? Home? Some kind of wooden structure.

By the way if you watch this in slow motion, everyone sounds drunk. Try it.

This all leads to a scene of what appears to be a walled village, overflowing with flowers and vines. You get a shot of what appears to be a couple rangers. I just love how much detail they’re putting into stuff like idle animations. The human ranger sort of rubs his hands together. Did Arenanet say there would be no walking? Because that charr is walking.

Next up of note is a city. Which city I can’t say. It definitely appears to be human and much akin to Divinity’s Reach, but the giant cavernous hole in the ground which the rope bridge crosses doesn’t remind me much of everything else I’ve seen of Divinity’s Reach. I’m sure someone has already worked out what the banners mean, but for now I am puzzled. I suppose its just a part of the city we’ve never seen before.

Quickly after that a male norn ranger runs after his bear in a frozen landscape, and they’re replaced by a burning village. A charr and an asuran are running through and the asura appears to have glowing things (?) on his arms and then picks up quite a lot of speed. Kind of cute to watch the charrs tail bounce along. The building in the foreground collapses eschewing dust and reveals a statue of a man and his dog (?). As dynamic as I’m sure events and quests are, the people standing in front of their burning homes don’t appear particularly distressed although I’m sure they’re calling out for help. Throw in some crying and begging emotes Anet.

Another scene with what appears to be a herd of Jungle Guardians, or some for of tree monster in any case, moving towards an elementalist and a ranger. There is a weird shadow there. Watch for the combat rolls. Arenanet has said every class can roll yo. That is what I’m talking about. The elementalist lays down a wall of fire, while the ranger moves in and appears to use whirling defense. The combination results in fire projectiles being thrown by the rangers axes in various directions. Cool. One of the axes the ranger uses reminds me of a monkey wrench somehow.

What appears to be a warrior and another elementalist in a night scene comes next. The ele lays down a static field, the warrior fires his rifle picking up the electric charge and the bandit rises into the air as in a normal electrical attack. Nice to see some more scantily clad female ele’s. The swampy area looks more and more like the Black Curtain every time I see more of it. I want more wilhelm screams anet.

Golem boss! I just can’t see normal players using such an effective attack. The twirling arms reminds me a lot of Bender somehow. The blue golem gets his socks rocked. A few different examples of golems here, like the one at the top of the stairs, and the two off to the left you can barely see. Some sort of rock’em sock’em golem fight arena? Mini-game? What was the name of that show where people brought in their little robots and fought to death (their robots anyway) with each other?

The golem the asura jumps out of after getting shot, it doesn’t look anything like the others does it? The asura racial skill: Golem riding. If they get out of their golems that way every time, I’m in. The charr who shoots the golem is wearing non-typical armour from what we’ve seen but beyond that I can’t see. The asura then lets off what appears to be some version of Lava Arrows. What the hell is that in the background? All I know is, its moving. The room they’re in appears to have an ethereal rising energy coming from those pedestals.

Moving on the elementalist in the next setting lets off Lava Arrows. You might wonder why after just having seen it, but if you’ll note the grass and leaves move as the fire runs through them, with some leaves been thrown into the air.

Combat roll!




In that order.

Closing in on the end, we see a scene with what appears to be a flying gryphon. Now I can’t say why, but a lot of forum types seem to think this is a pet. I’m not sure about that, but just the fact that anything is flying suggest we might get at least one flying pet, or I would hope so. I’ll point out it attacks a Norn in bear form so it probably isn’t friendly. Why the other player doesn’t attack I don’t know. Admirably the calm stag in the background minds its own business.

Various skill videos play (did I point out that the staff forms water around it that looks like a trident in the water trident video? It is such a better view here) and then we see our old friend the huge black monster of screen shot fame. Its day this time and I still have no clue what it is.

Hail Cthulhu!

We only see a glimpse of him before we move to a gigantic earth elemental being formed by some centaurs, mentioned in the blog post. That is the kind of thing I want to see in person, and as they say in the blog, you get to see it at level 1. Arenanet has been paying attention and they know they have to hook you in those first 10 levels. There’s a freaking wagon flying around in that thing. I’m hooked. And it blows up, sure to please all adoring 14 year olds.

Next up, noted in the blog again, is the Steeleye Span. What appears to be a metal fortress, cannons firing on monsters from the brand (read the book). It definitely reminds me of ironclad-like ships of the mid 1800’s and early tanks. I’m not sure it moves but its impressive.

A battle scene follows in which brand corrupted charr and wolves (or minotaur?) attack en masse. As the brand creatures run in some of them appear to put on a buff of some kind. There are 2 types of charr like creatures, black horns and big arms. Its really difficult to tell whats happening but skill effects of all kinds are going off, warrior hits, elementalist spells, ranger arrows can be seen. There’s a green flash, some monster skills, lightning strikes, grasping earth more than once, even a healing spells effect can be seen.

Someone sets off a skill that sends a charr absolutely tumbling through the air, I like that. Another thing of note is that if I’m not mistaken monsters or players bodies will react to being hit sometimes. Also good.

Almost done.

The penultimate scene is perhaps as epic as game trailers get. Various players rushing towards imminent danger. Looking towards the sky, through the fog and mist, wings and a figure descend. It resembles the angel of death, but then lightning strikes. A tail appears and scale becomes apparent. The wings look like bone, and the limbs end in claws. A head looks towards you and despite yourself you almost hesitate. It lands in a crush of dust and wind taking to all fours. The shiny crystal the thing is made of crackles with energy as it steadies itself. Its tail whips around but the players continue forward. It stomps the ground and then raises its head only to lower again and let out a thunderous blast of magical energy. The players continue. Fade to credits.

That is how trailers are done and that wasn’t even Zhaitan. I keep wondering just how much footage we’re seeing of things above level 10, it seems to me a lot of this stuff is beginner level from starter areas. You see the earth elemental at level 1. Not to talk big, but have we really even seen much of anything yet?

The final scene is the Arenanet usual, with a slight twist. Its underwater of course and there’s isn’t any loud howl or roar. You see a sylvari and a human ranger in the distance with his shark pet. Then a gigantic sea monster swims so close he may as well have snacked on all 3 of them.

Is that enough? I think thats enough. This article is so long even I don’t want to read it. Grats to anet on a great trailer, fantastic use of in game footage and concept art. Kudos.



  1. I just watched the video and now you’re making me want to watch it again. This was a fabulous piece of work. I appreciate you going over it so carefully. Now I know what to look for next time.

    • Hey thanks anjin, appreciate it. Personally I could watch that bit with the dragon over and over.

  2. There are at least two non-Charr female human-like brand rangers in that fight just before the final scene. Pretty nice bows and armor they are using! Hope the ‘bad guys’ don’t get most of the wicked looking weapons and armor. 🙂

    • I will have to look again for that. and i’m sure we’ve only scratched the surface of armour.

      • Just (hopefully) sent you an email with an attached cropped screen-shot of the female ranger.

        I’m pretty excited about the armor textures being more layered than in GW1, so not only will dyes be more useful, but the designers can create much more detail. Just looking at the Grawl, for instance, and they look fantastic! Purely from a graphics standpoint, I think this game will be stunning. Just hope they can keep the game play as smooth as GW1 on a wide variety of computers.

        Only downside (graphics-wise) for me so far is the Charr don’t look as furry as they do in GW1. A lot harder to do fur covered playable races that need to have enough variation to suit players, than it is to have the same species as a monster, I expect.

        • got the ss, nice catch. There seems to be a lot of different kidns of charr, maybe you’ll end up finding that furry one you’re looking for at some point.

  3. An enjoyable video for sure; they certainly are starting to talk it up! I really look forward to the responses of those who play it this weekend. I’ve senced a lot of PVP angst in the PVP crowd. I am assuming that they just haven’t done that bit of the game yet but I understand the wishes.
    Personally, I am all for the current information and I love the look of everything I’ve seen so far. I can’t say I saw much combat, the camera was just a little too movie like for me to appreciate it from a game play perspective.
    I guess we’ll have plenty of movies to watch after this weekend so I don’t mind the candy first!

    • gamescom starts on the 18th and opens its doors to everyone on the 19th, thats wednesday and thursday so hopefully we’ll get more before the weekend.

  4. Still haven’t seen a Sylvari in actual action! >=( Where’s the plant love Anet!?

    Anyways, it’s interesting to note that there was a portrait of what appears to be a sin and the winged helm characters I’m going to bet will be the Seraph class.

    The dragon was very impressive in the vid, WoW dragons even the elite storyline bosses ones where never as big nor as imposing and well articulated. I can’t wait to climb on its back!

    • theres a couple sylvari walking around but not in action.

      gigantic mofo’s or the win!

      • Exactly! I don’t wanna see em walk around or swimming, shoot something damnit!

  5. Thanks for writing this up – it gives me a few things to watch for when I get a chance to ogle this in HD again :). This trailer has got me so excited – I keep trying to watch it critically, trying to see if I’m giving the animations a pass or if they’re actually good, etc., but I’m erally just too excited that it looks nearly cinematic and Blur wasn’t even involved!

    • i know right? people keep mistaking parts of the video for cgi, thats all in game stuff.

  6. There are so many new battle sequences in this trailer! I took almost 150 screenshots and put them on my blog – just about every shot has something interesting in it.

    Atmosphere, shapes, effects, details, animation, textures. Holy moly it’s amazing.

    • can’t wait to look through it, particularly that dragonbrand sequence.

  7. I’m a bit slow finding great Guild Wars 2 blogs. I’ll be adding you Hunter

    • thanks scary, you’re already in my reader

      • Well, aren’t I the slacker! Thanks, I have visited before but totally brain farted till now. I’m munching on the bit for mire GW2 info

  8. […] [Hunters Insight] Manifesto Video Breakdown […]

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