Guild Wars 2 hosted a game preview event over the weekend of June 8th and I was fortunate enough to participate. As I did not want to spoil too much of the game before it actually comes out, I did nothing but WvWvW (cross-realm siege PvP warfare) during the brief weekend. To put it bluntly, it was a fantastic time.
The notion of siege warfare is one that has been attempted in many persistent-world games, but it is not one that has been done particularly well. World of Warcraft famously inserted Wintergrasp into its game as a nod toward siege warfare — this did not end favorably. Star Wars: The Old Republic tried Ilum and almost immediately removed it from the game entirely, as it was an unmitigated failure.
The map pictured to the left is the entirety of the WvW playspace. Every little dot on the map is an interactive spot in the world that can be captured and held by one of the three factions at play. These locations range from camps to castles to keeps, for example.
Different locations hold different bonuses for capture and command, and the more spots that are captured for your realm, the greater your bonuses will be. As these bonuses exist in a persistent fashion through WvW into the regular PvE aspect of the game, there is a clear incentive for participation.
The map is massive. The battles are monstrous. What I discovered in a nook of my home base, however, was something entirely unexpected. Inside the castle grounds of my home keep was a mysterious portal — what was there to do but go in?
I immediately found myself faced with a grand dungeon — complete with fanatically complex jumping puzzle. I felt immediately compelled to complete it. Though I never reached the very end of the jumping maze, I did make it most of the way through (I think). The gallery below shows a succession of images from the puzzle.
There are player-controllable traps in strategic locations. PvP is strongly encouraged. There are off-shoot areas that provide stealth bonuses. There is an entire section of the jumping puzzle that requires the player to pick up a torch, as the puzzle eventually becomes shrouded in darkness. The held torch provides the player with an entirely new skill bar replete with torchy abilities, such as abilities that allow the player to throw the torch (allowing an infusion of light where the torch lands), and abilities that light the ground where the player stands.
I was truly surprised by the thought and depth of design displayed in this completely optional jumping puzzle — it was an entire world unto itself. The level of detail and care put into this sub-area shows the dedication of the people are ArenaNet who are developing this game.
If you have not checked this upcoming game out yet, be sure to read up!
The best source for information for the game is the Guild Wars 2 subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/guildwars2
Check it out, and (hopefully) see you in game!