Guild Wars Bits and Bobs

We finally crossed over to Post-Searing in Guild Wars. In other words, we left the massive tutorial area, and emerged into the game world proper. The change in landscape was incredible. Everything in Ascalon is in ruins. The skyline is a red, hazy blur from all the fires that the Charr had set. Moderately powerful monsters, which had previously been found in the wilderness or in remote areas, roam very close to the city. All the beautiful trees, grass, and clean water are gone. The place is a complete mess.

When Dyannamika and I had been completing the quest to find and escort a Ranger who had been trapped beind enemy lines (Across the Wall), we had our first encounter with the Charr. We had to go beyond the Great Northern Wall, the structure that kept the Charr out of Ascalon. I knew this was meant to be more like a sneaking mission — don’t be seen, don’t get caught, or all is lost. We were out numbered and under-powered. We died on several occassions. The Charr are vicious, powerful, and well-organised beasts. We got our asses kicked a few times before we found a safe route to the Ranger. Since the Charr have an affinity for fire, I eventually thought that we should look for a route near water. I don’t know whether that was a logical deduction to make, but it turned out to be a good one. The Ranger was, indeed, reachable by going through some ponds. Bloody Ranger!

Those failed encounters with the Charr left an impression. I’m looking forward to when our characters become more powerful, so that I can kill some Charr. They’re going to be sorry for what they did to Ascalon, the bastards. My character is going to enjoy raising them into undead servitude in order to kill more of their kind. Ha ha ha!

Perhaps I am behind in experiencing the quality of PC graphics, so bear with me if gush over things that PC gamers are used to seeing. In my opinion, Guild Wars has brilliant graphics. Many things, like the sun shining through the clouds, glow with bloom lighting effects. The world is just so beautifully made. In the months leading up to the release date this past April, I’d seen promo trailers for Guild Wars whilst working at GameStop. Of course, all you can really experience by watching trailers is the graphical aspect. The trailers were astounding, but the in-game experience can be breathtaking.

The other day, we were exploring Wizard’s Folly, far to the southwest of Ascalon City, in search of Foible’s Fair. Soon, we found ourselves going higher and higher into the mountains. It begain to rain, and then there were some light snowflakes. We encountered massive, hulking creatures of glittering ice and stone, which we dispatched with a bit of difficulty. The scenery was amazing. The snow and ice caves were so gorgeous and different from the golden trees of Regent Valley or the pretty waters of Lakeside County. The reflections of light dancing on frozen ponds and waterfalls were beautiful. We leave footprints on the ground, and not just in the snow. The water in Lakeside County was so cool and water-like. That sounds lame, but it was still impressive.

Not only is the scenery nice, but the graphical detail on the characters is wonderful as well. I have a character whose Primary Profession is that of a Necromancer. She started out with this wonderful full-body suit of leather armour. I wasn’t too pleased that a Necromancer’s starting armour is green. Once I was able to afford dye remover, I was pleasantly surprised that removing the green dye revealed red. After I collected the items required for an armour upgrade, Khirsah was looking even more sexy than she had been before. When I zoom in on her, I can see that some parts of her new armour shimmer and reflect the light. I love little details like this. I still think that we should have more options in terms of differentiating character appearances.

The music in Guild Wars is pretty unobtrusive. I recognise certain musical pieces, but the music doesn’t change when we’re battling (not that I have noticed, anyway). The music is not overly remarkable, but it’s not crap, either.

Dyannamika and I quickly discovered that the International Districts are always less crowded than the American Districts. We agreed that it was more pleasant with fewer people running around in the common areas. We took to going to the International District after logging on, rather than stay in the American Districts.

After The Searing, one of my friends in the Wheres the Dice guild, who had started a new character, met us in Ascalon City. Since he has been playing the game longer, and already had other characters, we asked him for the location of the Guild Emblemer in the city. He ran around for a while, and after not finding key people, he suggested we go to one of the American Districts. We found them there.

We were puzzled as to the lack of certain NPCs in the International District. There shouldn’t be a difference, should there? There was no Guild Emblemer or NPC selling item storage accounts, but in the American District, they were there. I’m going to have a look on the Guild Wars website to see if they have an FAQ that addresses this…

Talking to the Guild Emblemer revealed that it would cost 2 Platinum Pieces (2 000 Gold) to make a cape for our guild! What a fucking rip off! In Pre-Searing Ascalon, the prices were not quite so atrocious. I suppose it stands to reason that a huge disaster like the breach of the Great Northern Wall and the invasion of the Charr would make prices skyrocket. We have a lot of hard work cut out for us to get capes.

  5 comments for “Guild Wars Bits and Bobs

  1. 25 July 2005 at 19:54

    Well darn it. I could have sworn they were cheaper before we went in for the whole deal with the searing and what not. Damn.

    Before I sorta wanted a cool Cthulhu cloak. Now I really want one! I guess we’ll have to go kill some things…

  2. 26 July 2005 at 03:35

    We’ll get there eventually. No biggie. And like you said before, we’ll appreciate capes all the more when we have them.

  3. 26 July 2005 at 19:32

    Hmm, that’s interesting about the international districts. One of the things I was always confused about with that game was why they had to make the cities like these massive chat rooms. It’s impossible to see where the NPC’s are with all the noise, there’s no sense of community since you get tossed into a random instance, and returning from an adventure to a bunch of obnoxious half-naked strangers dancing and saying ridiculous things sorta killed my suspension of disbelief. Since the rest of the game is so privately instanced, I don’t get why they couldn’t have done the same thing with cities, or at least offered it as an option.

  4. 27 July 2005 at 07:06

    One of my friends reckoned that the reason there are more traders (or traders at all) and such in the American Districts was because they rely on PCs to sell them. Prices fluctuate based on supply and demand. If there aren’t players selling stuff to the NPCs, maybe they just disappear…? No clue. It wouldn’t make any sense, though… I mean, surely if a few international PCs are selling goods to NPC traders, then the prices in International Districts would be more reasonable than in American districts because of low supply/demand. Once American PCs figured this out, then why wouldn’t they go to the International Districts to look for a better price? And once more people went to the International Districts to trade, then you’d have more NPC traders about. Hm…

    Still doesn’t explain the lack of the Guild Emblemer, though…

    I really must look into this, because now I am interested in figuring out what the heck is going on…

  5. 27 July 2005 at 09:46

    Hmm. I don’t know how their server infrastructure is set up, but maybe there’s a reason that the developers don’t want the International Districts to be very crowded, or have much interaction with the rest of the GW universe–maybe it has something to do with network latency issues, or some other technical constraint.

    It could also be because the developers intentionally want the different continents to have separate economies, kind of like the way World of Warcraft separates Horde and Alliance. Maybe it’s much easier to deal with three small economies than it is to deal with one massive one, or maybe it adds to the sense of competition between the continents? (I always thought those random messages about the favor of the gods swaying towards Korea were hilarious.)

    Anyhow, I don’t know much about how GW works, but everything you’re saying seems to indicate that the developers are intentionally trying to make the ID’s just a place for people to meet and go on adventures together, rather than make it a district like any other.

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