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An Information and Interest guide

Dynamic Events In Guild Wars 2, our event system won't make you read a huge quest description to find out what's going on. You'll ex�erience it by seeing and hearing things in the world. If a dragon is attacking, you won't read three parag�aphs telling you about it, you'll see buildings ex�loding in giant balls of fire, and hear characters in the game world screaming about a dragon attack. You'll hear g�ards from nearby cities t��ing to recr�it players to go help fight the dragon, and see huge clouds of smoke in the distance, rising from the village under siege.

A Living Breathing World

By building a world where you see and hear the ex�eriences, Guild Wars 2 will evolve the MMORPG genre by making a game world that feels t��ly alive. The core of this evolution is our event system, which allows the world to dy�amically change based on actions and decisions made by the players. A single player decision can cascade across a zone, changing the direction of a chain of events until they dramatically alter the content played by players in a map. Other developers have t�ied to tackle this problem, but in Guild Wars 2 we go f�r�her. Where other multi-player quest systems were pass or fail - our dy�amic events evolve in response to player interaction and the outcomes they achieve. Where previous systems reset and star� again and really don't change the world, dy�amic events chain and cascade across a zone and leave persistent effects in the game world aſter the event has ended. “This dynamically changing world will create the ultimate sense of discovery for the explorer”

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In GW2, the outcome of ever� event will directly affect the game world around you. If an enemy dredge ar�y is marching out of their main base, players will be asked to mobilize with their allies and help dest�oy the ar�y. If the dredge ar�y is defeated, other events will cascade out from there. Players will be able battle their way inside the dredge base, face off against their commander, rescue capt�red friendly t�oops being held in the dredge prisons, and even hold the capt�red base while fighting waves of dredge, ar�ive from deep underg�ound to t�� and take back their home. who ar�

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If, on the other hand, players fail to dest�oy the ar�y, it will establish a for� in friendly player ter�itor�. From there, the dredge will send shipments of t�oops and supplies to the for� from the main base while building up walls, t�r�ets, and siege engines to help defend it. Enemy dredge forces will then begin to move out from their newly established for� to attack friendly player locations in the area, sending snipers out into the hills, sending assault team forces to capt�re friendly player villages, and t��ing to smash down friendly for�ifications with massive dredge walkers. All of these events continue to cascade out into f�r�her chains of events where cause and effect is directly related to the player's actions.

Putting the “MMO” back in “MMORPG” All players that f�lly par�icipate in an event are rewarded for doing so; ever�one who helps kill a monster or blow up an enemy catapult will get credit for doing so. There is no kill stealing and no quest camping. Ever�one works together towards the common goal of the event and ever�one is rewarded for doing so. To help ensure there is always enough for ever�one to do, our events dy�amically scale, so the more players who show up and par�icipate in the event, the more enemies show up to fight them. If a bunch of players leave the event, it will dy�amically scale back down so it can be completed by the people who are still there playing it. This caref�l balance created by our dy�amic scaling system helps ensure you have the best and most rewarding play ex�erience.

“There is no kill stealing and no quest camping”

Making Things Personal

One of the challenges of a massively-multiplayer game is that in being inclusive to a vast number of people, it loses a lot of the personal interaction that makes single-player RPGs so much f�n. When you're looking at the games on the store shelf, it seems you have only t�o options - a game that you can play with your friends, or a game that has a satisf�ing personal stor�. The Guild Wars 2 desig� team believes that a game should have both.

“We want you to build a character, not a character sheet”

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Both Epic And Individual

There are several distinct, but inter��ined, stor�lines in Guild Wars 2. One is the overall stor� of the world - the awakening of the Elder Dragons and their ravages and dest��ction across Ty�ia. Another is the rise and fall of the advent�ring g�ild 'Destiny's Edge.' We also have a personal stor�line shaped for each character at creation. Choices a character makes in this stor�line will affect their lives, their homes, and their interactions. Lastly, there are the ongoing stories of the world, with constantly constant changing events occur�ing throughout each region that allow the various factions, races, and individuals of the world to interact. Ty�ia is a busy place!

In The Beginning

When you first build a character in the world of Guild Wars 2, you are faced with many questions. What race will you be? What profession? Most MMOs ask that much, and the answers are fairly st�aightfor�ard. But Guild Wars 2 takes character creation a step beyond. It offers the player an oppor��nit� to go deeper, with another roster of questions desig�ed to develop a character's personalit�. These comprise a character's 'Biog�aphy,' and cover relevant par�s of the character's histor� as well as their hopes for the f�t�re and the stor� they will ex�erience.

Players can make multiple characters, choose entirely different answers, and see a Pl completely different personal stor� - ex�eriencing a different perspective on the epic stor� as well. In this way, the game is not only more personal, it's also more replayable, ensuring that each time you level a character, you encounter different aspects of Ty�ia.

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Personal Story Helping Others

Although each character's stor� is personal, a player can choose to invite friends along. By doing so, that player allows others to help them achieve their goals and watch their stor� as it evolves. A character's stor� is desig�ed to be f�n for a solo player, but can also scale up, much like events, to allow for a g�oup to par�icipate. Friends can assist each other to complete their goals - and by doing so, see different par�s of the Guild Wars 2 stor� that they might not have seen in their own tale.


A character's stor� is independent from the g�eater activities happening all over the world. If a player does not want to continue their stor�line on a par�icular day, there are thousands of events, activities and games happening across the world. A character's stor� is their personal, individual interaction with the Guild Wars 2 world, but it is only one aspect of the game. Players can also engage in world events and epic multiplayer instances, join par�ies and seek out new ter�itories, or uncover lore hidden in the far reaches of Ty�ia.

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The Hereafter

MMOs have become ex��emely popular, and with their advent, some feel that personal stor� of a unique character has been abandoned. Guild Wars 2 is fighting back against that perception, giving players both the widespread, f�lly interactive feeling of a multiplayer game as well as the customized, choice-based stor� one ex�ects from a personal role-playing game. In both cases - the epic and the personal - our ou goal for Guild Wars 2 is to bring enough stor� pieces to the table to allow a player to pick and choose their own; to essentially let the player tell their own stor� within the environment of our world.

What is Your Story?

Downed Condition

Healing An

Defeat in Guild Wars 2 is intended to be an ex�erience, not a punishment. Let's face it: dying never feels g�eat, even without a death penalt�. As weird as it might sound, we decided to look into what would make dying a more enjoyable and memorable play ex�erience.

Rather Rathe than being presented with immediate failure, when a player loses all of their health in Guild Wars 2, they are put into "downed mode." In this mode, the player has a number of downed skills they can use to target enemies and fight for a chance to sur�ive. A downed player can still be attacked, which will send them into a defeated state, leaving them to either wait for an ally to resur�ect them or to resur�ect at a way�oint. Downed skills are less-powerf�l skills that a player can use in a last-ditch effor� to t�r� the tide. A war�ior might daze an enemy by throwing a rock. An elementalist might lock down their foe with Grasping Ear�h. While you are downed, if you manage to kill an enemy, you will rally, ret�r�ing to life to fight again. When you rally, you are thr�st right back in the action. This potential to rally from the edge of defeat adds g�eater drama to combat and gives a player some tactical cont�ol while in a state where they nor�ally have none. The cher�� on top of all of this: Guild Wars 2 will have a much milder death penalt�. Players who have recently been downed several times will take longer to revive each time. If no one revives you, you can spend a small amount of gold to come back at a way�oint. It's as simple as that, and why not? Why should we debuff you, take away ex�erience, or make you r�n around for five minutes as a ghost instead of letting you act�ally play the game? We couldn't think of a reason. Well, we did act�ally think of a reason--it just wasn't a good one. Death penalties make death in-game a more tense ex�erience. It just isn't f�n. We want to get you back into the action (f�n) as quickly as possible. Defeat is the penalt�; we don't have to penalize you a second time. “Why should we debuff you, take away experience, or make you run around for five minutes as a ghost instead of letting you play the game?”

nd Death

End Of The Trinity

Ultimately, DPS/heal/tank just didn't cut it in our, game. Our players demand more from Guild Wars 2 and we intend to deliver on that demand instead of delivering more of the same. Not only is the t�init� ver� for�ulaic, but it leaves out a lot of gameplay elements that make many other games so much f�n. Instead, we break these t�init� categories down into a cooler, more versatile system:

DPS: Call it whatever you like--DPS, damage per second--we just call it DAMAGE, and when it comes to making red bars go down, you can never have enough of it. Don't t�ivialize it though; damage is a ver� versatile aspect of combat. There are so many ways that a character can do damage. Let's take a look at a few. Don't belittle the SUPPORT role by calling it heal. Healing is the least dy�amic kind of suppor� Heal: Do there is. It is reactive instead of proactive. Healing is for when you are already losing. In Guild Wars 2 we prefer that you suppor� your allies before they take a beating. Sure, there are some healing spells in Guild Wars 2, but they make up a small por�ion of the suppor� lines that are spread throughout the professions. Other kinds of suppor� include buffs, active defense, and cross-profession combinations. Tank: This is where Guild Wars 2 makes the biggest break from the t�aditional MMO set�p. Tanking is the most r�dimentar� for� of the most impor�ant combat f�ndamental, CONTROL. Ever� game has it, yet it always seems to get a bad name. In Guild Wars there was Knockdown, Inter��pt, Weakness, Blind, and Cripple, to name a few. We wanted to build upon what we think makes cont�ol such an impor�ant par� of dy�amic combat. You could say instead of DPS/heal/tank, we have our own t�init� of damage, suppor�, and cont�ol, but we prefer to think of them as the variet� of elements that create a diverse and dy�amic combat system that gives each player a toolbox to work with to solve any encounter we might throw their way. If that sounds like the kind of combat you are interested in, Guild Wars 2 is going to be a g�eat place for you and your friends to fight together for many years to come. “This potential to rally from the edge of defeat adds greater drama to combat”


The Skill System

Much like in Guild Wars, the skill bar in Guild Wars 2 is limited to a set number of skills. Like a collectible card game, we provide the player with a wide variet� of choices and allow them to pick and choose skills to create a build that best suits “We want their par�icular play st�le. For example, one Guild Wars 2 war�ior might decide to combat to build his character around g�adual damage which causes his opponents to bleed be really out, while another may choose to knock his opponents down, cont�olling their visually movement with slow, large attacks. Both war�iors can choose to equip the skills that appealing” matter ma most to them. It is also ver� impor�ant to us that our skill system be simple to use, leaving the screen as clean and unintimidating as possible. All of this combines to give us a skill bar and skill system that's a bit different than what you'd t��ically find in an MMO. “Each profession needs to feel as unique and different as possible”

The Ten-Slot Skill Bar

The first five skills on the skill bar are not slotted directly by the player; instead they are determined by the player's choice of weapon and profession. Because of this, we can ensure that each weapon is balanced with a f�n combination of skills. To provide additional variet� to the mix, most professions can have t�o different weapon sets equipped and can ver� quickly and easily swap bet�een the sets. We've talked about the first five skills being deter�ined by weapon and profession. What about the second five? These skills are all chosen by the player from a pool of skills deter�ined by both profession and race. To slot a skill, a player simply clicks on a skill slot and it will bring up a list of skills that can be put into that slot. One of these slots is dedicated to healing skills that replenish the health of the character and his allies, while another slot is dedicated to elite skills that t�igger visually spectacular and powerf�l effects. No matter what t��e of skill is involved, it's impor�ant that we give the player a diverse set of tools to choose from so that he can create a build that he'll enjoy playing.

Weapons Types


One of the things that became apparent early in the development of Guild Wars 2 was that we needed a diverse set of weapons to suppor� our skill system. The f�ll list of standard wieldable weapons in Guild Wars 2 is as follows: One-Handed: Axe, dagger, mace, pistol, scepter, and sword. Two-Handed: Greatsword, hammer, longbow, rifle, shor�bow, and staff. Offhand only: Focus, shield, torch, and warhor�. No single profession is able to use all of these weapons, and some of them can wield a lot more than others. Many professions can also wield a one-handed weapon in their offhand. A weapon in the offhand will have different skills than that same weapon wielded in the main hand. A war�ior, for example, can lear� to dual-wield and choose to equip t�o swords, which would give him three skills from the sword in his main hand and t�o skills from the sword in his offhand.

Environmental Weapons

So the weapons you're cur�ently holding in your hands deter�ine your first five skills. This system is the basic building block of Guild Wars 2 combat, but when playing around with it we found that we could ex�end it into a huge variet� of cool sit�ations. For example, when a player interacts with a siege weapon, his first five skills change to skills that are specific to that siege weapon. A player might encounter a boulder in the world and, upon picking it up, find that his skills have changed so that he can now throw that boulder. Discovering a drake nest might yield eggs that can be picked up, and then eaten or thrown. The things a character can do with an environmental weapon var� by profession or race. An elth ementalist with a boulder can not only throw it, but can launch it into the air, causing it to rocket down from the sky with the impact of a meteor. In addition to objects that are simply found in the world, many of these environmental weapons are created spontaneously through various events and activities. Wooden planks used to smack enemies can be gained by killing oakhear�s, or found in the r�bble caused by centaurs breaking down a wooden gate. Breaking a barstool over the head of a rowdy bar pat�on can yield a chair leg that can be used to g�eat effect as a club

What Are Traits?

At a basic level, t�aits make you better at what you choose to do. You slot t�aits in order to modif� skills and att�ibutes. Once you have mastered a handf�l of t�aits they become a key component in creating your overall build.

Mastering Traits

Traits “You aquire traits by completing profession challenges scattered throughout the world”

Each profession focuses on different activities to develop his or her t�aits. War�iors t�ain physically, bash st�ff, eat st�ff, and drink st�ff. Elementalists, on the other hand, seek ancient knowledge locked in tomes or par�icularly powerf�l elemental locations. The different t�ait challenges accent�ate the unique feel of that profession and really bring the ex�erience of playing that profession to life. Your prowess will g�ow as you complete challenges that develop your character's par�icular t�aits. The defeated swordmasters will teach you their age old techniques, allowing you to select the Swordmaster� t�ait. Discovering the mysterious tome will allow you unlock the secrets of magical energ�.

Building With Traits

“Go forth and adventure, and use the power of traits not for good or evil, but for awesome”

Each profession focuses on different activities to develop his or her t�aits. War�iors t�ain physically, bash st�ff, eat st�ff, and drink st�ff. Elementalists, on the other hand, seek ancient knowledge locked in tomes or par�icularly powerf�l elemental locations. The different t�ait challenges accent�ate the unique feel of that profession and really bring the ex�erience of playing that profession to life.

Traits Play A Large Role In Playstyle

Each profession has its own set of t�ait lines. These are similar in theme to the profession specific att�ibute lines in the original Guild Wars. Each t�ait line has a number of major and minor slots. War�iors, right now, have t�o general lines called Power and Tactics as well as lines for each of the weapons they can wield. As you master t�aits, you slot them into these lines, affecting your character. To give this some contex�, let's pretend an event has star�ed. A giant boar is marauding through the forest and your par�� decides to take it on. This build is meant to maximize the damage you and your teammates can deliver against a single target. Step 1: Pick a weapon. The weapon you're cur�ently wielding is the major deter�ining factor for how your character will play. Let's pick a sword, a versatile weapon which comes standard with a chain of three skills (Sever Ar�er�, Gash, and Final Thr�st), a rapid-fire repeating attack that hits a small area (Flur��), and a chase skill to close the distance bet�een you and the enemy (Savage Leap). For my offhand weapon I could take warhor� for damage buffs, but I'll cover that with my utilit� skills. Instead, I'll dual wield swords to maximize my own damage. In practice, you'd also decide on your alter�ate weapon for switching in combat - perhaps a longbow for range. Step 2: Pick a heal skill. Let's go with a basic heal like Healing Surge, which gives you both health and adrenaline when used. Adrenaline gives you damage bonuses and allows you to use your burst skill more oſten, so it's perfect for our build. Step 3: Pick your utilit� skills and elite skill. You choose On My Mark (which lowers an enemy's ar�or and calls a target out), For Great Justice (which gives allies Fur� Boon and Might Boon), and Frenzy (which increases my overall adrenaline gain). For my elite skill, I'm taking the always epic Battle Standard (which puts an ar�ay of powerf�l buffs on your allies). Step 4: Assig� your t�aits. Here you can star� focusing your play st�le and being clever with what you slot in each t�ait line. Power: Let's choose to stack t�aits that increase your st�eng�h att�ibute so your individual melee attacks do more damage. Traits Tactics: While kiting the giant boar, switching weapons faster sure would be awesome, so you slot the Weapon Master t�ait that lowers the cool down on switching weapons. You also slot t�aits that increase the number of targets your shouts affect, and increase the duration of your banners. Sword: You choose to slot Swordmaster� to f�r�her increase the damage you do, as well as the t�ait that increases the chance you will score a critical st�ike with Final Thr�st. Longbow: Out of what is available let's keep things simple, more damage.


Long ago, a wear� soldier planted a st�ange seed in the depths of the Mag�uma Jungle. For cent�ries, the Pale Tree g�ew, branches arching over the forest, until at last--t�ent� five years ago--it bloomed, and the Firstbor� stepped into the world. They were followed by their brethren, season aſter season of sylvari, wide-eyed with wonder and searching for pur�ose in this st�ange land. Shaped first by the Dream that nur��red them before they awakened, the sylvari now t�avel Ty�ia seeking advent�re and their place in the world...


The Races

They may be shor� in stat�re, but this subter�anean race of magical inventors are intellect�al giants. These incredibly intelligent beings use their knowledge and skill with magic and craſting to asser� their nat�ral dominance. In the world of the asura, it is not the st�ong who sur�ive, but the clever. Other races believe they should r�le by vir��e of their power and st�eng�h, but they delude themselves. All will ser�e the asura – in due time...

s Of Tyria Human The humans of Ty�ia are an embattled race. Over the past three hundred years, they have lost much of their ter�itor�. Old enemies and new races threaten t�aditional human lands on all sides. Yet the human race sur�ives, defending their remaining lands and maintaining the human spirit as they th have for cent�ries. Their g�eatest cit�, Divinit�'s Reach, shines as a beacon of hope for the people of Kr��a and beyond – even those dwelling deep within char� territor�. The human legends are indelibly imprinted on the souls of all the races of Ty�ia, be they friend or foe.


The nor� are a race of valiant, shape-changing barbarians. Boisterous, st�ong-willed, and passionate, the nor� are an independent people that swear fealt� to no single being. They thrive in their mountain st�onghold by the shar�ness of their senses, the quickness of their wits, and the st�eng�h of their massive forear�s. They are g�ided in this world by their Spirits of the Wild, who embody the vir��es of the mightiest beasts. As a people, they th are quick to anger, even quicker to smile, and t�eat each new day as a personal challenge. They drink and feast and hunt with equal g�sto, and fear few things. They are steadfast allies and implacable foes.


The feline char� of Ty�ia are a victorious race challenged by their own success. They have sur�ived defeat, oppression, and civil war. They have ret�r�ed, reconquered, and rebuilt their original homes. Their might� for��ess, the Black Citadel, dominates the sur�ounding r�ins of the human cit� of Rin, and their non-magical technolog� is the mightiest in the land. Yet despite their success, they are challenged by divisions among their people, the power of the Elder Dragons, and the ghosts of their own victories.

Thief A master of stealth and sur�rise, the thief is deadly in single combat—par�icularly when catching enemies off g�ard. Thieves compensate for their relatively low ar�or and health by being quick and evasive. They can move through the shadows, vanish into thin air, or steal items from their opponents and use them as weapons. Enemies should watch their backs, or the thief will watch it for them.



The elementalist channels nat�ral forces of dest��ction, making fire, air, ear�h, and water do her bidding. What the elementalist lacks in physical toughness, she makes up for in her abilit� to inflict massive damage in a single attack, dropping foes from a distance before they can become a threat. Yet, despite her incredible offensive potential, versatilit� is what makes the elementalist t��ly for�idable.

Guardian The g�ardian is a devoted fighter who calls upon powerf�l vir��es to smite enemies and protect allies. As dangerous with a staff as he is with a might� t�o-handed hammer, a t��e g�ardian is a master tactician who knows when to sacrifice his own defenses to empower his allies to achieve victor�.



Mesmers are magical duelists who rely on deception and conf�sion to keep their opponents in check. Indecision is their g�eatest ally. Using powerf�l illusions to dist�act, they make sure they never go toe to toe with an enemy; they use their powers and tactics to set up an unfair fight. Just when you think you've fig�red out what the mesmer is doing, illusions begin to shatter, clones star� to fade away, and you realize you've been swinging at empt� air all along. It's hard to keep your eye on the real mesmer.


The war�ior is a master of weapons who relies on speed, st�eng�h, toughness, and heavy ar�or to sur�ive in battle. A war�ior can shr�g off blow aſter blow to stay in the fight, all the while building up adrenaline to f�el his offense.



Masters of mechanical mayhem, engineers tinker with ex�losives, gadgets, elixirs, and all manner of deployable devices. They can take cont�ol of an area by placing t�r�ets, suppor� their allies with alchemic weaponr�, or lay waste to foes with a wide ar�ay of mines, bombs, and g�enades.


The ranger is a jack-of-all-t�ades and a master of them all as well, relying on his keen eye, steady hand, or the power of nat�re itself. A master of ranged combat, the ranger is capable of st�iking unwitting foes from a distance with his bow. With a stable of pets at his command, a ranger can adapt to his opponents' st�eng�hs and weaknesses.


Necromancer A necromancer is a practitioner of the dark ar�s who summons the dead, wields the power of lost souls, and literally sucks the lifeblood of the enemy. A necromancer feeds on life force, which he can use to bring allies back from the brink or cheat death itself.

Just For Fun: Comic


look for both Guild Wars 2 novels Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny Available now

An information and interest guide by

-Josh Johnson

Guild Wars 2 Magazine Spread  

This is a magazine spread I did in my InDesign class. The subject I chose was the innovative and highly anticipated MMO Guild Wars 2. Aren...

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