Archive for January, 2011

My Shield For You

Isn't she adorable?

The Guardian both did, and did not surprise me.  I’m a little disappointed that my speculation about auras turned out to be false (artistic license for the win), but the functionality of the Guardian was pretty much what I (and most others) expected.

He’s a magical melee who’s fantastically good at pulling his buddies’ bacon out of the fire and making things difficult for the unsavories.  He is also frighteningly similar to Paladins in other games.  My knee-jerk reaction would be to not even have a character like this, for fear of appearing to steal ideas and lack imagination to come up with something more unique.  But after careful thought it’s obvious that the Guardian paradigm is a strong one that not only has stood the test of time, but fits in quite well with the Guild Wars universe.

Together, the Guardian and the Warrior make up two sides of the same coin.  Both wear plate, both have melee and ranged attacks, both can deal damage and protect allies.  The warrior specializes in martial weapons and rallying war cries.  The Guardian instead is drawn to mysticism, is master of spiritual weapons, and tosses around magic like he’s the sugar plum fairy.  The Guardian is the magic to the Warrior’s martial.

I’ve noticed a lot of comparisons being made between the Ritualist’s weapon spells and the Guardian’s ghostly weapons.  While I can see the connection, I don’t think it’s the strongest similarity between the Guardian and the Extinct Classes.  Nor do I agree that the Guardian acts like a Paragon.  That role seems to me to fit solidly in the Warrior’s bailiwick with his shouts and banners.

No, I think the Guardian draws most heavily from the Dervish.  Both are melee fighters and both have a marked affinity for the mystical and holy.  To play a Dervish is to load yourself up with enchantments and then strip them away for single, devastating attacks.

The Guardian has Virtues which confer a passive effect, but can be stripped (for a time) to provide a large benefit for nearby allies.  It’s a streamlined version of the Dervish.  Instead of trying to juggle energy between loading up enchantments and stripping them away, the Guardian is able to activate his Auras with a simple click of the mouse.

The ability to choose between three virtues reminds me of the Elementalist’s attunements.  I don’t believe it’s been answered weather the Guardian can switch between virtues on the fly, but my best guess is no. That’s as much as I’d like to say about the profession itself.  There are plenty of other bloggers giving recaps of the raw information.

I’ve said in the past that it’s my intention to play as the sneaky assassinish character in Guild Wars 2.  I also planned to play as a Ranger in Guild Wars 1 and we know how well that worked out.  There’s something about the Guardian that pulls at something deep within me.  I suspect it has to do with an abiding drive to help other people.  It was for this reason that I offered to raid lead for my WoW guild, Unemployed.  That decision eventually (and alarmingly quickly) led me to desert WoW forever.  It was a good experience, but I’m absolutely certain that my temperament is not suited to leadership.  I wasn’t a bad leader, I just hated almost every second of it.

But still, that deep and abiding need to care for my friends remains.  Last night I helped my husband finish Nightfall.  We killed Abbadon with a full group, but when sending out the call for others to join us I insisted someone be a healer (we already had another healer), because sure as summer follows spring, I wasn’t going to do it.  I had a lot of fun with my layzorz (I always do), but constantly in the back of my mind was a kernel of guilt that I was foisting the healing/protection job onto someone else who would probably rather be performing a different job.  Ryan ended up being this someone, and though he assured me that healing the Abbadon fight is one of his favorite things to do, that nagging little voice of mine couldn’t be quieted.

I desperately hope that ArenaNet is right when they say that the Guardian’s skill in protection will not lead it to be a required profession like the Monk is now.  Because if that happens, I’m fairly certain that I’ll end up in that role when all I really wanted was to try something drastically new.


In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

No Evil Shall Escape My Sight.

This post WILL contain Edge of Destiny Spoilers. Just sayin’.

I’m not much of a comic book fan.  I also know next to nothing about Green Lantern.  Perhaps that’s why I was the first person to draw a comparison between him and our lovely new Guardian profession.  Apparently, the Lantern can do a heck of a lot more than make auras with his ring, but I didn’t know that when the idea struck me.

Admittedly, I’m quite a bit late to the Guardian discussion.  Maybe yapping about it on Relics took away some of my burning need to tell the world what I thought.  (Isn’t that why we blog in the first place?)  Needless to say, lots of people beat me to the punch.  (Some of you even did it twice!)

I don’t have anything new or interesting to say about weapon choices that hasn’t already been said before, or about armor (It’s going to be plate, duh), but I would like to expostulate on the state of Blue Mace Lady/Lad’s unique mechanic.

Which brings us right around back to that dashing fellow up there.

I’m not going to lie, as I was reading about Logan Traitor Thackeray’s antics, my mind couldn’t help but supply me with imagery, vivid in every lurid detail.  (I’ll give Mr. King that, he’s got a firm grasp on describing action)  My first thought was of Slimer, from the Ghost Busters.

To my mind, Logan was a walking source of ectoplasmic goo.  Extruding it from his extremities at will and painting the air with— y’know what? Let’s stop that line of thinking right there.

Logan’s aura was his thing.  It’s what he did.  His martial skill was good, but it was his aura tricks that really stole the show.  From trip-wires, to protective barriers, to enhanced weaponry, to being able to fly. (Or at least leap tall Destroyers in a single bound.)

My prediction is this: The Guardian’s unique mechanic will center around his manipulation of his aura.  He’ll have some kind of alternate resource, perhaps it will be died in closely with energy, similar to a Warrior’s adrenaline and a Necromancer’s life force.  This he’ll use to spin his spells and constructs.

He’ll make a giant blue pony out of aura to ride away from his friends with and leave them all to DIE.

I mean, where’d that come from?

But yes, auras.  Making stuff from nothing, physical magic.  Isn’t that part of my wish-list for Mesmers?  Why I believe it was!  I’m not interested in playing a Guardian (remember my thing against heavy armor?), but seeing what they can do whets my appetite for the inevitable Mesmer reveal, for certain sure.

Great Minds

UPDATE: This fantastic image was painted by Sentient and first posted to the Guild Wars 2 Guru forum. END UPDATE

Before you get all hot and bothered, this image is fan-made.  It’s very well done, but another artist would be able to tell through slight stylistic differences.

I wish I know who made it, so that I could give mad props.  Needless to say, whoever you are, I agree completely with your conclusions.

Flailing In The Brush

I wandered back to Guild Wars 2 Guru today.  I haven’t really visited the place for months, well, since just before Gamescom.  The most I noticed was the same debates, speculations, and arguments running in circles.  Most everything I saw, I’ve seen before.

Chiefest among the activity though, seems to be talk about the final design of the sylvari.  You’d have to be blind not to realize that, among eager fans, the sylvari are the most popular race.  Charr come in at a close second, but whenever I see something about the sylvari, the tone, excitement, and sheer amount of attention far outstrips that generated for the other races.

I was browsing through a sylvari speculation post (looking for images, and admiring the artwork of other Guild Wars fans) when I stumbled upon a link to a video.  In it, Daniel Dociu is talking about the art of Guild Wars 2.  The link directs to a specific part of the video where he mentions something rang absolutely true.

The point is just about at 6 minutes in.

He refers to the realization of the final sylvari design as a ‘crystallization’.

I knew immediately what he was talking about.  I’ve heard other artists talk about this phenomena, and I’ve experienced it myself when working on my own stories.  You can tell there’s something not right but you can’t see it, and you don’t know in which direction the truth lies.

Your only option is to flail around.  That’s ArenaNet’s design process.  You make many different images hoping you’ll stumble upon the right one.  The magic happens when you find it.

The truth, the right idea, word, image, or concept, when found, is so startlingly obvious you don’t know how you could have missed it before now.

I think the sylvari have been embroiled in controversy for so long exactly because the design wasn’t final.  They looked a little too much like elves, too muck like plants, or not enough like either.  With any opinion came the undercurrent of ‘There’s something not right‘.  As a race, they weren’t quite their own.

None of the other races have that problem.  The charr are what they are and there’s no mistaking it.  It’s the same with the asura, and the norn.

After listening to that interview I’m very excited to see the polished sylvari.  If they got it right, the concept should stand on its own and the truth of its existence should be self-evident.

Mmmm, Savory

For breakfast today I had an omelette, wrapped around bacon, topped with cottage cheese, and sprinkled liberally with pepper.  Some people would have preferred a stack of pancakes smothered in butter and maple syrup, or even a nice simple bowl of cereal.

Not me.  Given the choice I’m more likely to choose something savory to something sweet.  I don’t like baking, and the only confection I make are sugar plums, which don’t actually contain any added sugar (beyond that already present in the dried fruits).  But hand me a wok and random vegetables and meat I can make a hundred different things.  Stir frys, curries, stews, soups.  No two meals I make are the same because I don’t bother with recipes.  They all have something in common though:


So while munching my breakfast and enjoying the flavor, my mind started to wander upstairs.  It drifted into my bedroom and fluttered over to my night-stand to coalesce on its newest addition: Edge of Destiny.

I traveled into the city yesterday and picked it up.  So far I’ve read through the prologue, the first chapter (which is available online) and the second chapter.  By that point I was really tired and I went to sleep.

It’s almost 3pm today and I haven’t touched it.  Thinking back to when I got Ghosts of Ascalon, if this were a repeat I would be racing through the book, looking for clues about Guild Wars 2 and trying desperately to keep up with the rest of the community.

Back when Ghosts was released I was heavily integrated in the community.  I stalked Guild Wars 2 Guru almost every day and I hung on every typed word to come from the fingers of an Arenanet employee.

I don’t know if it’s the slowed pace of released news, the fact that I no longer haunt community sights, or just the fact that I’m already a couple weeks late to the party.  I’m taking my time with this one.  I don’t feel the need to get through it as fast as possible, though while reading that seems to be the opposite.

The writing is pulling me in.  I can tell a good story when I find myself skipping words and sometimes whole lines to find out what happens next.  I can’t say more without spoiling it, suffice to say that I’m enjoying what has come so far.

I’ll definitely give my impressions when I’m finished, but for now I’ll leave you with this:  I loved Rytlock on sight.