Posts Tagged ‘ Elementalist ’



no, BLA!

Battle for Lion’s Arch!

Or – In which the under-appreciated have their day.

Namely protection monks, paragons, warriors, and fire elementalists.

I don’t have any fancy narrative of the occasion like Hunter does. Truth be told I was busy watching health bars and the mini-map. I had no idea the groups we faced were slowly changing composition from white mantle thralls to jade armors and the like.

I’ve found that when prot monking watching your mini-map is every bit as important as watching your party’s health bars. Aegis does no good if half your party is out of earshot.

But back to the BLA. Our healing monk was Ogden, my Ogden in fact. I tend to get a little protective when it comes to heals (o u c wut i did thar?). If I’m going to be protting I want a healer hero built to my specifications (human healers can build like they want, they’re mostly more intelligent than a hero).

I’ve also hear people give warriors and fire eles crap about being useless. Everybody loves an Imbagon (imbalanced paragon) but they work in the shadows right along-side protection monks and rarely get the recognition they deserve.

It’s always: “Hey, that heal came just in time!” or “Nice spike damage that jade cloak dropped like a ton of bricks!”

It’s never: “Man that Aegis really saved my butt” or “Thanks for the warning that the enemies are on fire, I’m not burning as bad!” (‘They’re On Fire’ is the only paragon skill I know)

Warriors and Fire Eles are so passé, so Prophecies. Nobody groups with them anymore.

Well ya know what?

I did.

And I do, and I will again in a heartbeat.

The Battle for Lion’s Arch was a brutal endurance race against nearly impossible odds. We wiped more than once and we used all advantages at our disposal including summoned creatures and other consumables.

Even with all of that it was an exhilarating fight that harkened back to Thunderhead Keep in the pre-nerf days, or of your first time fighting the Lich at the end of Prophecies. It reminded me of the days before heroes when the henchmen were more of a liability than an aid and everyone would rather run a group of 7 than bring Alesia.

The best part was at the end we all gathered around to listen to the end of the story and patted each other on the back. When you run with a group of people who are used to being under-appreciated the ‘great job guys’ ring out with true sincerity. There’s no sense of “Hey congrats but you really know I did all the work”. We’re used to not seeing much direct result from our labors, or getting any credit.

As for me, I’ve embraced the philosophy of Guild Wars 2: “If you have to heal damage taken, you’ve already lost.”


Pelt Watch

Lacking anything original to say (I have a post in the works about rangers, I just need to get the artwork sorted), I present to you a new ‘feature’.

Pelt Watch!

In which I look at charr pelts and extrapolate possible customization options. I will only use screenshots (no concept art) and I will be getting the majority of them from Guildwars Screenshots Blog. I’m also not going to include Rytlock because his model is unique and it’s possible his pelt will not be an option for regular characters. Click the images for full-resolution.

Let’s begin!

The charr on the right is definitely male and appears to have a medium brown, solid pelt. Male – Brown – Solid

The charr on the left is possibly female (evidinced by the thickness at the base of the tail, indicating possible fluffiness). There looks to be some striping on the tail as well. Unknown – Grey – Striped

The charr to the left I think is male because of his larger horns and heavier muzzle. I’m also going to call his coat medium brown because of the dark lighting. Male – Brown – Solid

The charr on the right is most definitely male. We have yet to see a female charr who is as sadly in need of a dentist as her male counterparts. So until I see scraggley teeth with a fluffy tail I’m going to assume that the lady-charr know how to brush. This one’s a bit difficult because he’s almost completely covered, but look at his face and his knee for some clues. Male – Grey – Spotted

I must confess myself flummoxed by the charr in the foreground. I think I see a little bit of grey tuft for a tail but that’s all. Unknown – Dark – Unknown

The charr in the background is another one of our medium brown males. Male – Brown – Solid

Here we have our first lady-charr. Isn’t she lovely? Female – Tan – Spotted

Our first happy couple. On the left we have: Male – Brown/Black – Striped

On the right I believe we have the same pelt as the elementalist in the previous image: Female – Tan – Spotted

Here we have a lady of a different color, still in that standard charr pose, however. Female – Brown – Solid

This is the second time we’ve seen some nice normal mapping on the charr pelts. (The first was on the tail of the previous lady-charr.) He’s also got a nice chin ruff that has previously only been seen on Rytlock. Male – Brown – Solid

Someone stole his cupcake, or something. Whatever, he’s mad. This is a pelt we haven’t yet seen. Male – Grey – Striped

For the record, I share her opinion that rocket-arrows are the better mouse trap. It’s a good thing I don’t have any rockets.

We’ve seen this lady before (she was featured in the warrior skills video, Arcing Shot) but this is the first time we’ve seen her from behind (and in high-resolution!) By looking at her face we can tell (by lack of the cheetah tear-drop) that this is a different pelt than the one featured on the elementalist. I also think this one runs more to grey than tan. Female – Grey – Spotted

This next one is from the Races of Tyria video. Jason in the comments down below brought it to my attention. He also mentioned some search terms I should try in youtube and I found the pertinent video without much trouble.

I don’t have any video editing software so I’m at the mercy of my meager reaction times for clicking on the pause button to create screen-captures.

Anyway, on to the meat of these two images! In the video this lady executes a spinning attack while wielding a sword in her off-hand and a dagger in her main-hand. For the purpose of PeltWatch, however, we are only interested in the fur she’s showing. The twirl she does gives us a wonderful view of her tail which looks to be white with black stripes. When she turns around, however, her face looks to be dark grey with white stripes. It’s the zebra conundrum. Female – Grey – Striped

This image is from the article on healing and death. We have a downed male charr here who looks to be in a world of hurt. The difficult part of this picture is the level to which it’s desaturated. I tried messing with it in photoshop but, like sharpening, once color information is lost it’s next to impossible to get it back. The colors on the charr blow out to yellow and red leading me to believe this is another solid brown pelt. Male – Brown – Solid

Tiger stripes.



Give me a moment while I scrape my exploded-in-glee self from the walls.

It’s a female charr (in the Barrage video you can just see her fluffy tail whipping around behind her) plus I’ve come to associate the smaller swept-back horns with females. I could hope for a demure set of ram horns, but this is Pelt Watch, not Rack Watch… wait what? She’s also got cheek-fluff. Female – Orange – Striped

This color is… difficult. First of all this is male. You can tell by the larger horns and the non-fluffy tail. I included a thumnail from another point in the Hunter’s Call video. At first I called it a male because of the voice but I actually think that’s the voice of the ogres. Either way, the tail cinches it. This shot is very dark. I wanted to call it dark grey but when I fiddled with it in photoshop I was only ever able to get a dark grey (even when the rest of the details were blown out into whiteness). So I’m going to go out on a bit of a limb here and call it black. Male – Black – Solid

I believe we’ve seen this guy before actually. I think he has the same pelt as the charr we saw when the races were released. Male – Brown – Striped


 I don’t believe this is the same color as the charr in the warhorn video. I would cite his red mane (where the black charr had a white/grey one), but even just looking at it, I’m going to call this dark brown. Male – Dark Brown – Solid

Time might call me a liar (what with the lighting in this scene), but I think he’s got traditional tiger stripes. Male – Orange – Striped

These are definitely stripes as opposed to spots. I believe this is the female version of the male’s white stripes we saw in the Warrior-Stomp video. Female – White – Striped

Here’s the really exciting pelt from the MMO Manifesto video. He’s only on screen for a second, but with his full body (in all its white leopard-spotted glory) is spread across the bottom quarter of the screen he’s impossible to miss. I’m making a new pattern classification just for him. Male – White – Leopard

Holy moly Gamescom. There’s a lot of pelts in there, I doubt I’ve gotten all of them. If you see one you’d like to have included here (meaning any I haven’t mentioned) please send me a link in the comments or through e-mail.

This is a Lady-charr by virtue of her smaller horns and fluff at the base of her tail. In fact, with her left arm raised the way it is it’s next to impossible to see her horns at all. I’ve also darkened the male charr in the foreground to focus on her.

Her facial coloring reminds me of Bugs Bunny. I was going to call her simply ‘grey’, but looking at her arm and leg I beleive she’s something much more special. Her arm spots remind me of a snow leopard, but her leg spots scream clouded leopard at me. Female – Grey – Clouded

This pelt is one of the more unique ones I’ve seen. First of all this is a male, by virtue of his large horns and non-fluffy tail. I’m also fairly certain that he’s a necromancer because of what looks to be facial paint. You could also argue that he’s a warrior because of the armor he’s wearing. Either way, I’m not comfortable including his facial markings in my analysis.

Even without including his face, the colors and patterns on the rest of his body are things I haven’t seen elsewhere. His fur is black and he appears to have red, yes, red stripes. Not orange, red. Male – Black/Red – Striped

This shot was taken from the first bit of video to come out of Gamescom, during the demo’s dress rehersal. We have a Lady-charr, and I think she’s black. Female – Black – Solid

I apologise for this image being so small. I took a number of these (this one included) from the large group-shot in the Demo Tails blog (c wut I did thar?)

At first I thought this fellow was just a light grey, but then I saw his tail. Now, we’ve seen a grey spotted male charr before, but if you compare these two tails closely, you’ll see they are two different spot patterns. These spots are smaller, more akin to cheetah spots while the earlier image harkened back to the leopard. Male – White – Spotted

This one is also tragically small. To make matters worse this is all of the body you can see. I’m not sure if it’s even male or female (there’s no tail for this one in sight) but looking at the horns I’m going to call it male. I have yet to see a female with fluffy tail sporting swept forward horns like that. I really wish we could see more of the body though. Male – White – Solid

This was screencapped from a video (I can’t recall which, there are so many). It’s obviously a Lady-charr (a very pretty one I think, I’m a fan of petite muzzles). I also like the white details around her eyes. Because of that, while I would like to, I’m loath to call her pure white. Female – Light Grey, Solid

This ends the captures from Gamescom 2010. Once again, if there are any you know of that I haven’t included please either comment or e-mail me with a link and in the case of videos a ballpark time notation would be helpful.

So, to wrap up we have:

Male Solid: Brown, Black, Dark Brown, White

Male Pattern: Brown Stripes, Grey Spots, Grey Stripes, Orange Stripes, White Leopard, Black/Red Stripes, White Spots

Female Solid: Brown, Black, Light Grey

Female Pattern: Tan Spots, Grey Spots, Grey Stripes, Orange Stripes, White Stripes, Grey Clouded

Unknown: Grey Striped, Dark

~Last Updated 8/22/10

~This post will be updated with new shots as they become available. Suggestions welcome!

From Life’s Teef, Da Dayz, I Iz Ripping Dem

Just for the record, the quote “We rip each day from life’s teeth.” is REALLY hard to lol-cat-ize. Can I get an E for Effort?

Mr. Tigerfeet bought me a small set of pencils (2H, HB, 2B, Charcoal) and a kneaded eraser (more fun than play-dough, srsly). I also had a dream that I was playing in the GW2 beta and it was CRAZY amounts of fun and I didn’t want to wake up.

Put this together and, from me, you get fan-art.

Now ripping each day from life's teeth with FIRE

This took about oh… three hours to draw. That includes liberal breaks for playing with the kneaded eraser. (Seriously, if you’re not an artist go out and find one of those and then try to tell me they’re NOT fun to play with)

Maybe I’m just psychotic.

That’s a Lady-Charr elementalist dressed in her best Divinity’s Reach-inspired finery. I’m quite fond of her torch-staff-kudu horn thingie. I’m no weapon designer, so please pardon my pride.

My cat, Virgo (who incidentally was named after a bloke called Virgo Moon we met in the Guild Wars 1 beta) was very patient while I hoisted him into the air (upside-down) to stare at his paws as reference.

In conclusion: Tassels, chains, and flame-hurling giant cat-people = win.

Toy Story + Video

When I first found my way to Aaron Coberly’s gallery on CG Hub I was excited about what I saw. I thought these images were only test renders, and not actual in-game images.

But now I’m not so sure. Video gaming has changed quite a bit from what it was when I was learning the trade. I look at the polygonal subdivision in models like this and think, “There’s no way an engine or any home computer short of a $10,000 machine can handle that in an MMO.”

I came home and flailed at Mr. Tigerfeet for a while about this. He just laughed at me and told me I had been playing WoW for too long. ‘Games These Days™’ can, and do look as stylish as these (supposedly in-game) images do.

Of course, I can never leave well enough alone. A general ‘Hey, looks good’ is never enough for me.

I’ve got no issues with the textures. The quality and resolution are both top-notch. The normal mapping even excites me. (Normal maps are a way to make the illusion of extra geometry without the extra geometry actually being there, Mr. Warrior’s abs are a good example)

What makes me cringe, however, is the flesh and hair. The armor looks great, but the faces and the hair (on this warrior especially) set my teeth on edge. Can you see it too? I think he looks plastic, too-perfect, like a toy.

It has been said by the Guild Wars 2 design staff (I can’t find the specific interview, but I promise it exists), that they want the artistic style to be somewhere between photorealistic and painterly. What I see above is neither.

Painterly: Characterized by qualities of color, stroke, and texture rather than line.

Mr. Tigerfeet finally ransacked a box left by an old (OLD!) roommate and started playing a PS2 game called Wild Arms 3. Though toon-rendered (the toon-render outline always drives me nuts) I would describe it as a very painterly game.

The textures all look like they’ve got a scratch film placed over the top of them. Nothing is smooth and everything is gritty.

I’ve often derided Blizzard for the art execution in WoW. The graphics are a decade out of date, and were even out of date when they were first launched. I played the first Guild wars when it launched and was absolutely blown away by the beauty all around me. I would often stop and take a quiet moment (much to Mr. Tigerfeet’s consternation) to just admire the scenery. Blizzard only seemed to realize the value of an attractive landscape with its latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King.

Needless to say, I’m expecting a similar impact from Guild Wars 2. WoW might have had low-quality graphics, but they didn’t stretch for photo-realism. They knew they were making something cartoony and they stuck with it, and it worked.

I think when photorealism is striven for, at least for now, it always falls short. It’s in the falling short where the dangers arise. We live in the real world, we see it all the time. When we are presented with something that is trying to look real but not quite there, the effect is jarring and uncomfortable. Instead of appreciating how far the visuals have come and being amazed at the high quality of artwork, we are left feeling that something is subtly wrong, feeling vaguely disturbed and unable to put our fingers on why.

This is the feeling I get from these character renders. I know not everyone feels the same way I do. It may be as well, that when all the disparate elements are assembled together they will make a more beautiful and unified whole than is implied by just their component parts.

The video clips of elementalist skills leaves me with such a hope.

PS: That phoenix skill? I’d lay money that’s a pack of Lady-Charr getting the crispy end of things. I’m loving those whippy tails.

Link Love and the Picking of Nits

Guild Wars (2) bloggers, are you out there? I finally meandered my way over to a Guild Wars 2 forum and started to settle in. I was also able to root out some other like-minded bloggers, and yes, you can be assured that I squealed in glee like a sow turning over a plump truffle.

Check those guys out, the first two I like especially.

Now, I’m going to do what I do best. Namely, extrapolate obscene amounts of speculation from a single image.

Behold, my victim!

Feel free to click it to see it full-sized.

What are we looking at?

An elementalist, human, casting churning earth on a marauding band of handsomely-dappled centaurs. (ok, I lied, they’re not dapple centaurs, they’re paint centaurs. I still think they look nice.)

The really interesting thing, however, is that shockwave around our intrepid little elementalist. I’m curious about how the graphics for that shockwave work.

Back in college, when I was first learning my way around computer graphics software, a classmate and I merrily engaged in a game we called ‘crash the computer’. His favorite tactic was obscene use of the extrude and mesh smooth functions, while I preferred to make everything reflective and refractive with interesting lighting set-ups. (we were both frequently successful).

Needless to say, real-time effects like reflection and refraction (what’s happening above with the shockwave) are expensive in terms of computing power.

The rock debris, however, looks to be economically produced. I think the spikey bits shooting up beneath the elementalst are almost certainly textures mapped onto flat planes (a frequently used tactic for grass and foliage, see the trees in the background). The flying spears of rock, however, are more difficult for me to pin down.

You can tell they’re not lit dynamically which argues for the texture to plane technique. But then again, I wouldn’t expect a spell effect to take lighting cues off of the ambient light due to processing restrictions. They do, however, cast shadows which, while likely to give an aging machine an aneurysm, looks really nice.

Granted, I could just go look at the video which provides a different perspective to the same skill, but even with an animated aide, I can’t really tell. What do you think?

Notice the ring of bouncing rocks and dust. This is an example of what Arenanet was talking about when they said they wanted to make it easier to see where area of affect skills were going to land. I still wonder how obvious something like that is going to be with all the game’s settings turned down though.

Of Charr and Lightning

As I have, in the past, expressed my dislike for those blogs who do nothing but regurgitate news, my posts over the coming months may come as a bit of a surprise (depending on who you are).

If you are:

  1. A long-time reader of mine: You may be horrified to find that I am, indeed, regurgitating news. I hope you won’t be too disappointed with me however because of the reason I’ll be surprising-
  2. A new reader, interested in news of Guild Wars 2: You’ll be getting some news, though likely not as much as you’d like. What you will be getting plenty of, however, are copious amounts of my personal opinion.

I’m the kind of person who hates being given advice and opinions unless I ask for them. As such, I try not to burden others with my (often morose) maunderings. Opinionated stream-of-consciousness writing, however, comes with the territory. It’s my blog and all that fun jazz.

So, without further ado…


Grandma, my what big TEETH you have!

That, my fine feathered friends, is a Lady-Charr, an elementalist Lady-Charr. I found this ‘new’ screenshot on the GW2 website, under the just-released info on everyone’s favorite lightning-slinging class, the Elementalist.

Because I like to pretend to being a logical-type person I’m going to guess that the Charr can be Elementalists. (not that big of a cognitive leap, I know, but bear with me, the acrobatics are coming)

I’m going to guess that all classes are available to all of the races. I’m not stating this as any kind of assurance as I really don’t know, but I’m putting my toes out there in the water and saying “That’s my guess.” Mainly, I have to say that if any of the races were to not have elementalists, I would have put my money on the Charr eschewing the lofty art of meteor-chucking.

You know, that whole ‘power from false gods‘ debacle. But we’ll not talk about all that in polite company, it’s an issue best left in the litter box.

Charr being able to call down fire from the skies makes me quite happy. Not because I want to be a fire-slinging puss, but because I want to slip into my familiar Guild Wars role of healer. I was starting to get a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to have my favorite combo (Healer/Charr).

A quick note on the point of my quotation marks about this ‘new’ screenshot. The shot is, indeed, new. But it’s only really new-ish. If you’ll recall this image, you’ll notice that the Lady-Charr is in exactly the same pose as she is in the elementalist picture. She is wearing different clothing which reminds me a lot of the original male elementalist get-up in Guild Wars 1, which I find oddly entertaining.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I suspect that either the Charr animations are still being worked on, or whoever assembled the screenshots was sorely pressed for time. It’s a lot easier to toss a new texture onto a model and drop that down into a scene than it is to worry about posing it. I will, however, remark favorably on the artist’s deft use of the Golden Ratio in composing the screenshot. From this artistic team, however, I would expect no less.

There’s also an exciting article about the new combat system.

I don’t want to go on at length about it as I really can’t make any judgements until I experience it for myself. Watching the videos gives me all kinds of tingly-excited feelings and makes me long for my new computer. (I have none right now because I’m being very patient and saving up for something very powerful)

On the note of computer specifications, however, I have a slight feeling of trepidation. I want to draw your attention to the following quote:

Our goal is to design skills that are visually unique and explain them without overly complex skill descriptions. This has resulted in a lot of distinct and impressive skill effects in the game. Even a simple skill like fireball explodes in such a way that you can clearly see the area that they will affect.

It will be telling to see what these fantastic effects look like on an older machine. My husband’s computer is actually the frankenstined monstrosity that limped through college with me. In computer terms, I would call this puppy a little more than slightly infirm. Too much white on the screen makes it flicker and it often struggles to open a word document.

Even with all its shortcomings, however, we still use it for online gaming. He still plays World of Warcraft, and I use it on the weekends to putter about Guild Wars and poke at facebook every now and again.

I remember the difficulty, however, when I was raid-leading in WoW. I’m talking about area of effect skills. It was often difficult, even with WoW’s simple artistic style, to see exactly where a certain spell was landing. I could never MT Grobbulus in Naxxramas, for example, because I had to turn my visuals down to minimum in a 25-man raid. With visuals down that low I couldn’t see slime clouds until it was too late.

That’s my worry about a game as beautiful as Guild Wars. Arenanet has a history of solid backwards-compatibility, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I, at least, have high hopes.