Guild Wars 2 Game Mechanics Details

Guild Wars 2 Game Mechanics Details by Gmr Leon

The Hall of Monuments’ Function and Rewards.
The Hall of Monuments, as many likely know by now, is a site where players may record their accomplishments (titles in Guild Wars) and store their little treasures, from mini-pets to expensive and rare armour and weapons. However, none of these will be directly transferred to a player’s Guild Wars 2 character, and instead some cosmetic reward will be given in place of them to make it quickly apparent who was a veteran from the first without providing any advantage over other, newer, players.

How one links their Guild Wars 1 and Guild Wars 2 accounts together is currently stated to be through an in-game item in Guild Wars 2, and is restricted to only one Guild Wars 1 account being permitted to be linked with your Guild Wars 2 account. In other words, you may not link multiple Guild Wars 1 accounts to one Guild Wars 2 account. The item used to link the accounts will also be used to access an instanced version of the Hall of Monuments from which one may acquire their rewards for their accomplishments in Guild Wars 1, on any character and as many times as one likes. However, these rewards may not be traded nor sold.

Traits and Achievements.
Traits in themselves are very different from Feats and Achievements. They should not be confused with either of them because whereas Feats give you experience, and Achievements are really just goals for you to go after, Traits can actually assist and improve your character’s performance. They modify skills and attributes, improving the efficacy of the former by possibly boosting the latter. In short, they are a rather essential component to setting your character up.

Achievements are long-term goals to be accomplished throughout the game. They are account-wide rather than restricted to being progressed on each character individually, and will provide purely cosmetic rewards. Achievements may be completed through combat or non-combat related activities, and are not restricted to PvE.

Feats, which you may have heard about, have been rolled into the achievement system as daily achievements, but function essentially the same as before.

Titles are now gained through accomplishing certain achievement tracks.

Instances?! But we’re in a persistent world!
Terms/phrases to know:
Hard instancing-What was found in the majority of the original Guild Wars, completely private zones/instances. In Guild Wars, these were explorable areas.
Persistent closed world-The world is divided into zones, but unlike Guild Wars, which provided you an entire copy of the map to yourself, the zones in Guild Wars 2 will, excluding those specified with the term above, be persistent.

This one I haven’t seen pop up as much, but I feel it may later. The bulk of GW2, from what we’ve been hearing, will be a persistent closed world, with much of the personal storyline or important story-altering decisions occurring in hard instances. Players can accompany one another into these, but as the story is personal, they may not affect, only observe, the other player’s story as it unfolds. They can assist in achieving certain goals or helping a friend get past an area they’re stuck in, but not make any significant story changing decisions for them.

It should also be noted that a player may enter another player’s home instance.

Another type of hard instance is that of the familiar dungeon, which is limited to five players, but is separate from that of the players’ personal storylines, in that they hold a story unto themselves which players may engage in and affect.

Waypoints and Asuran Gate Travel.

Asuran gate travel will be between each of the major cities in the game that have asuran gates which can be used to teleport to any other major city with a gate for free. This allows friends to quickly meet one another when starting a new character even if they are of different races. Asuran gates are also said to be used for certain story-specific areas, and may be used to travel to locations players have not yet explored.

Waypoint travel occurs between disparate points (10 to 20 per zone) on the map called waypoints, which when downed or defeated can act as resurrection points. However, these carry a small fee for use both when a player is alive, or in either of the aforementioned conditions, and only those which a player has previously encountered may be used, unlike asuran gates. This fee isn’t present in cities, and will change based on distance from the waypoint.

The latest, and perhaps one of the most common mistakes people have been making is equivocating equal time between levels to equal experience between levels. This is incorrect, though we do not currently know how they have done it, as they could easily increase the experience required and scale the experience received from enemies to make it equal the same time needed between levels. However, it should not be mistaken for taking forever to level to the cap, 80, as we currently do not know how long it takes to level up in general. We now know that the earlier levels will require increasing amounts of experience to the next level, but this will quickly plateau after a certain level (still unknown) so that the experience needed to level up will be the same after that.

Dynamic Events: What They Are, and Scaling.
In the briefest way I can think to put it: Replacement Quest System. However, this does not properly explain it; it is a continually changing system based on player interaction and player density (population within the event’s area) which replaces the quest system of old to provide a continually changing world so that each experience will never be the same.

That last point, player density, is important to the scaling of these events. With only a few players present, the number of enemies in an event will be relatively small. The more players present, the more enemies that will come. When it comes to stronger enemies that appear as a result of dynamic events, they will scale differently, since they are not a multitude of enemies, but a single enemy, they will use more powerful or different skills upon the arrival of more players. Likewise, they will scale down to using fewer, but not necessarily weaker, skills when less players are present. It should be noted though, that dynamic events do not scale to player level. Instead, player level will be scaled to dynamic events, thus higher level players may replay low level content without it feeling dull or ruining it for other newbies.

Update!: Renown hearts (the hearts shown on the map when speaking to a scout) are not the same as dynamic events.

Sidekicking and Companions.
Unlike GW2’s predecessor, Guild Wars, there will no longer be any NPC allies that players can bring into their party to replace another player, meaning no heroes and no henchmen and no companions. Originally, Anet had proposed a single NPC ally companion system for GW2, but this has since been cut. There may still be moments where you fight alongside NPCs, however, but you will not be able to take them around with you to assist in fights around the world.

This is not to be confused with the sidekick system that GW2 will have, though. Through sidekicking, low level players will be able to accompany high level players without posing too much of a hindrance and getting to experience the tougher areas with friends. Similarly, high level players will be able to partake in low level content without one-hit killing enemies and ruining the fun for newer players.

Profession Misconceptions:
Contrary to their name, many professions are very versatile and capable of more than what their name may initially imply to newcomers. A key example being the ranger, which, despite its name, is quite capable of engaging in close-range combat with a sword or axe.

Similarly, the warrior, which is most commonly associated with heavy armour, swords, axes, and hammers, is similarly capable of engaging in long-range combat with a bow or a rifle.

What do Transmutation Stones do?
Essentially, Transmutation Stones permit a user to transfer more advantageous statistics of an armour or weapon to a more aesthetically pleasing armour or weapon. This is best shown in the following image:
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Currently these are capable of being acquired through the in-game store, for real-world currency, and via karma, an in-game currency acquired through the completion of dynamic events. Whether or not the latter option will remain is unknown, as it was seen in a demo build of the game at a convention.

Combat-related Gameplay Mechanics.

Skills: most people look at half of what makes a skill function, the skill alone. Traits are the other half of the skill that are even more important in creating a build.

Elites: they are not WTFPWN buttons, but a chance to change combat pace by taking the focus. It acts as a wall to separate friends from foes when your team needs recovery and when pushing up that wall can help your team gain ground. When viewed from a damage-centered perceptive elites make no sense and it is impossible to predict when the best time to use them would be, but if a utility-based perspective (the wall example) is taken players will instantly know when to use elites (when the team is hurting or ready to make a push).

Builds: there are still builds and they are actually more complex. In GW1 you had to pick skills and attributes. GW2 has even more choices.
Here are the pieces of builds that can be displayed on a stat sheet, other things can’t be shown so easily, like player style (movement, spacing, positioning, and so on) and team considerations (combos, tactics, and the like).

On the topic of interrupts:

The developers recently stated in a Q&A; chat that there will be no skills that just cause an interrupt effect. Interrupts are caused by knockdowns, knockbacks, launches, etc. But what is the consequence of a skill being interrupted, besides, obviously preventing that skill from being successfully activated.

When do you pay the costs associated with a skill, such as energy, and sacrifice (minions, spirit weapons)? To activate an expensive skill like your elite, do you pay the energy cost at the start of activation, or do you just need to have the energy available, but only actually lose it once activation is successful? If you do pay costs for a skill before skill activation is complete, do you lose them entirely when interrupted, or do you get them refunded? Finally, would an interrupted skill begin to recharge, or would it still be available for activation?

I’m hoping the answer is, you need to have all the costs to activate a skill available in order to activate it, but you only pay those costs once activation is successful. And that interruption of a skill leaves that skill available for immediate use. Otherwise, interrupts would have a devastating impact and become a central focus of PvP action.

In addition to not executing, a skill will go into a short “interrupted” recharge time when it is interrupted. This timer is currently set at 5 seconds but of course will quite possibly change due to balance considerations in the future. We have this separate timer because we wanted interrupts to have impact but not totally dominate some of the longer recharge skills in the game. The energy cost for the skill is not paid until the skill executes so no loss of energy would occur for a skill that is interrupted before it executes. An exception to this would be skills with extended executes such as Drake’s Breath which will cause energy loss if the skill is interrupted while it is executing.

Skill Acquisition:

A weapon’s skills are now learned by fighting with that weapon. Because weapon skills are tied to weapon use, there is no reason to visit a trainer and make choices about which ones to unlock. Instead, it makes more sense to learn how to use the weapon by, you know, actually using it.

Non-weapon skills are learned in a different way. The second half of the bar will be unlocked using a collection mechanic similar to Guild Wars. We want players to make fun choices about how they build their character, so the new systems will help promote this.

On the topic of Downed, Defeated, and the Consequences of Defeat.
First off, what is the difference between Downed and Defeated? When a player’s health drops to zero, they are not Defeated, they are Downed. In this state, they have a last opportunity to rally themselves, which means to bring themselves back to their normal state of play, just without full health. However, if a player’s Downed bar completely drops in the Downed state, they are Defeated and must either return to a nearby waypoint or wait for another player to revive them.

Now, what happens when you are repeatedly Downed? There is a consequence for this, and it is that your Downed bar decreases in length, meaning less time to rally yourself back into player. Fortunately, though, if you can keep away from getting Downed for a minute, this penalty will go away. No biggy, right?

If you get Defeated, there’s a bit of a higher stake. A random piece of armor is damaged. As you continue to get Defeated, every piece of armor will eventually be damaged. When you are Defeated under these circumstances (every piece of armor being damaged), then a random piece of armor will break, stop providing benefits to you, and you will want to see an armor-repair NPC to repair your armor and restore the benefits it provides you.

Upgrading Equipment! (Thanks to Zriael for bringing this to my attention.)

As it stands now, weapons may upgraded through the attachment of items called Sigils or to them. A weapon may have only one Sigil at a time attached to it, it may be replaced, but it cannot be salvaged from the item.

Currently, armor may be upgraded through both Runes and other options specific to the armor’s weight class, such as crests for light armor and other, currently unknown options for the medium and heavy armor classes. As with weapons, only one Rune or weight class specific upgrade may be applied to each piece of armor, and these may be replaced but not salvaged.

This is a placeholder term for those pieces of equipment that are neither armor nor weapons, and are, generally, jewelry of a sort. These are much like the above, but may only be upgraded (as far as we know) with, rather appropriately, Jewels. They follow the same pattern as the above equipment in terms of restrictions.

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