Insert Charr Pun Here

April 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 2 Comments
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I do appreciate Arenanets fantastic use of concept art. If that wasn't clear by the hundreds of concept art pieces I've posted.

Charr week starts off with an interesting post from Arenanet on the charr starting area, and various interviews they’ve given some game sites. There are a few things in the interviews I’ll quote later. First, the blog post.

The charr starting area is named The Plains of Ashford. Guild Wars fans will remember Ashford as being a town in the Prophecies starting area. There are fields in the pre-searing area of Guild Wars as well, so clearly we’re getting a lot of reference back to the original Guild Wars. There is even mention of wurms.

Now, when you first walk out of Smokestead, you might just see a cow startled by some wurms bolting out of the cattle pen. This starts a stampede that empties the pen of the cattle needed to feed the charr armies. Your job as a player is to take a cattle prod and herd those cattle back into the pen by giving them a little zap.

I hope this stampede actually has some effect, either threatening to trample you if you don’t get out of the way, or knocking you or even innocent bystanders down.

This is all a very interesting throwback, and I wonder how much of the charr starting area slyly references the first Guild Wars. I think many of us remember herding the Prize Hogs back into a pen in Ashford, or killing Wurms on the fields.

The whole idea of starting out in Ascalon again gets me curious and nostalgic. It also pushes my lore buttons. Was Ashford named before humans arrived? The Ash legion might have an opinion on that.

We start out however in Smokestead where Devon Carter, a content designer, realizes that things are not flowing as they should in the zone. It was too pastoral, players weren’t heading in the right directions, NPCs were in the wrong locations. So they changed things.

The first thing you’ll notice when you get to the Village of Smokestead is the sheer amount of metal. It went from a small village with a few metal buildings to a village so full of metal it would make Mötley Crüe blush. You’ll then see metal structures and a metal highway taking you out into the world.

A metal highway you say? Certainly we’ve seen the Steeleye Span, effectively a bridge from one side of the Dragonbrand to the other, but an entire highway in a fantasy setting is interesting. It kind of reminds me of the yellow brick road in a way. It also brings up questions about why you’d need a metal road. Certainly the charr have siege machines, and there is concept art of a train for instance. I wonder just what amount of hijinx Arenanet can get up to with this.

The following statement set off a pun holocaust on twitter.

It’s safe to say I can charrdly stand the wait!

I kid you not.

As for the interviews, there wasn’t a whole lot of new information but there were things worth talking about. I’ve quoted the interesting things below of course, with my own commentary. First up is the Nowgamer interview.

We’ve heard about this before, but I do find it interesting.

There are eight professions we’ve announced, and Charr will be able to play all eight. But there are professions that are against type for that race, so you won’t ever see a Charr guardian as an NPC. But a player can play that role and play against type if they want.

Charr are ferocious and agressive, so I can agree it doesn’t make sense to make many charr defensive guardian NPCs. I do think it limits variety amongst NPCs however, and considering virtually every game out there has NPCs that are limited to, usually, warriors of some type, I wish they’d open this up. There are so many games where the NPCs, all of them, are the same class. Studios pay no heed to making NPCs little more than highly overpowered or highly underpowered ‘do nothings’. I hope this isn’t the case in Guild Wars 2. Rant over.

So the Charr are technologically advanced compared to the other races, so some of their profession skills do things like a hidden pistol, shrapnel mines, and an elite skill where they can call in an artillery barrage. Charr can also call in warband support, and summon some members of your warband for a brief period.

Pretty interesting racial skills. Calling in members of the warband will mostly likely end up being the equivalent of a human calling upon the hounds of balthazar. If so I think that’s an interesting juxtaposition of Human racials involving the gods, and charr racials involving technology.

In talking about the spread of gunpowder and technology.

The best of them tend to be Charr, because the Charr also have clockwork. It’s not quite steampunk, but it’s ‘clockpunk’ if you will. They’re into gears, springs and vehicles that operate off wound spring power. They are so much more advanced than the humans, who have worn technology, and a sense of history for the world. The Charr seem to be rolling forward with progressive technology, they’re roaring forward with roaring factories, foundries and they don’t necessarily respect the land.

A few interesting things here. Vehicles that work off of wound spring power. Does this mean we’ll have to wind things up somehow? Probably not. Clockpunk is an interesting term. Does that last sentence suggest an eco-friendly storyline? I hope it’s done well and doesn’t turn into some afterschool special.

New community site MyGW2.com has an interview as well.

They probably don’t ask questions I’d be asking, but I’m the one sitting on my butt not asking for interviews so screw that attitude. Dueling?

Dueling is not a core system for us, given that we balance all of our PvP combat around groups of players fighting and not one-on-one engagements. Because of this, dueling is on our wish list of things to add, but is unlikely to make it into the game on release.

Not at release, but they are thinking about it. Unfortunately, if you’re a fan of dueling I wouldn’t stand around waiting for it in Guild Wars 2. Game studios typically don’t get around to adding things like this, even if they really want to. As much as I believe Arenanet is a great studio, I wouldn’t put any money down on dueling ever making it into the game.

Then there are a couple of questions about technical points, like critical hits and blocking. Most of this is previously known, but I think it is fairly different from most other MMOs and worth quoting.

MyGw2: We know that critical hits have a random percentage to be scored. We are wondering if the randomness percentage has an important role during the combat—and if yes, how do you plan to balance the triggered effects (activated only with a critical hit) with the rest of the combat?
Eric: The randomness of critical hits can have a more or less important role depending upon how the player chooses to specialize their character. How we balance this can be a complicated issue, but the simple explanation is that we balance these effects by making a player who chooses that play style give something else up. This is where both attributes and traits come into play. A player who chooses high critical hit chance with a lot of additional effects is generally giving up attributes and traits that do things such as increase overall damage and/or survivability.
MyGw2: In Guild Wars 2, will the blocking randomness remain without any variations or will there be innovations? Are there several types of barriers, depending on the weapons used?
Jon: There are many different ways to block or avoid attacks in Guild Wars 2, but none of them are random. If you are blocking, reflecting, or evading an attack, it will work 100% of the time. We do not have any random dodge, evade, or block % chance skills.

Blocks that work 100% of the time. That alone is pretty interesting for me. We’ve seen in videos, Aegis at work, or a warrior blocking the flame breath of a drake. You can count on these abilities working, instead of just hoping. That adds such a unique and interesting gameplay element to Guild Wars 2. Adding to that, doesn’t giving up survivability and damage for critical hits fly in the face of problems like power creep? In most games you just get more and more powerful, and in Guild Wars 2 while I’m sure that will be true to some extent, it will also be more complicated than that. Can’t wait to see the effect of these differences.

Necromancers have a skill called Well of Corruption that turns enemies’ boons into conditions.

I personally did not know this. Excellent.

There are many types of damage in Guild Wars. What about Guild Wars 2?

The damage formula in Guild Wars 2 is very different from the Guild Wars formula. There are no longer any damage and armor types that influence damage—that mechanic is moved to a different part of the game because we felt it did not add enough depth for the complexity that it created.

An interesting shift. I admit I was surprised, but, it also makes a lot of sense. How many types of damage were there in Guild Wars? Earth, fire, cold, air, chaos, dark, physical, holy, and perhaps others? What did that result in though? Minor changes in armour, and weapon choice. Rarely resulting in interesting power advantages.

There isn’t a whole lot in the OnlineWelten interview I haven’t already covered but there are a couple things.

The humans and charr have a truce, and part of that truce is that both species are welcome in each other’s cities. In practice, only adventurous souls would walk into the other race’s city. The charr don’t eat other sentient races, though they will gladly let you believe that if it makes it easier to deal with you.

I just thought this was amusing.

For those who’ve read Ghosts Of Ascalon.

he symbol of the Khan-Ur is the Claw of the Khan-Ur, a weapon currently hanging in the Imperator’s Core in the Black Citadel.

Not particularly awesome or anything, just noteworthy for lore nuts.

More on the racial skills from before.

All races have their own set of unique skills. Some of them are elite skills, some of them are utility skills. The charr racial skills reflect their affinity for technology (calling down an artillery barage), sneakiness in combat (pulling a hidden pistol) and organization in combat (a battle roar that buffs allies).

A battle roar makes sense. The artillery barrage, maybe not so much. Fun though and it makes me wonder if the charr have some kind of railgun to be firing artillery at anywhere in Tyria with such pinpoint pricision.

Anyway, that’s just the first day of charr week. More tomorrow.

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2 Comments

  1. i like the idea of 100% block as well; its as if your shield has holes or is really tiny (when it clearly isn’t) and doesn’t make sense when you don’t block an attack

    it may be a double-edged concept though; then some monsters will be invulnerable when they block as well requiring more tactics (but i like that still)

    • the tactics really intrigue me, I don’t mind having to use my brain to figure out a solution, at least, as long as its not calculating block percentages.


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