Everybody’s gone to war
It’s been a while since the last Guild Wars campaign was released. Nightfall came out in October, and, predictably, although I enjoyed it very much, I predictably found some other things with which to engage my free time. I may have to crack open the box again, though, because two rather exciting announcements have been made.
The first is that Guild Wars will shortly be its first true expansion set. To clarify, three games with the title Guild Wars have been released so far, but they have all been stand-alone experiences which “slot” together if you happen to have more than one (I have all three so far). The upcoming Eye of the North, however, is designed specifically as an expansion for the original Guild Wars: Prophecies (the subtitle was added after Guild Wars: Factions came out; however, either of the three campaigns will be compatible, meaning that, if you have Factions or Nightfall rather than Prophecies, you’ll still be able to play). Essentially, it will feature content that furthers the storylines introduced in Factions, including new areas, abilities, professions, abilities and items. This material will, presumably, be geared towards high level players, which means I’ll have to get cracking at completing the original campaign sometime between now and Winter. More information can be found in the press release and on the official site.
The real news, however, is that ArenaNet are gearing up for a full-blown sequel. The appropriately named Guild Wars 2 looks set to build on many of its predecessor’s strengths - instanced levels, its own particular style of combat, and so on - while bringing in some of the features many people expect from MMORPGs, such as the notion of a truly massive, persistent world. Oh, and, like the original, it will remain free to play (as in no monthly fees). At present, there’s very little information on Guild Wars 2: it really does seem to be in the early planning stages. However, there is expected to be a public beta at some point in 2008, and one thing’s for sure, I’ll be doing my level best to get involved.
By the way, there’s an interview with Guild Wars art director Daniel Dociu here. He has a very interesting painting style - one that I wish was transferred more faithfully to the in-game graphics.