ZAM gives a hands on preview of the new Guild Missions in Guild Wars 2
When Colin Johanson stated that the updates hitting Guild Wars 2 would represent enough content to be equivalent to an expansion, one might have raised an eyebrow and muttered something about hyperbole.
However, January saw some interesting additions and today the latest update, entitled Flame and Frost: The Gathering Storm will entice fans to rush back into Tyria once more. I think players will understand that there was nothing overblown in Johanson’s statement, particularly when the full scale of Guild Missions is understood.
After playing the content myself, I am in no doubt of the importance of the new content for a large section of the Guild Wars 2 community.
For many of the non PvP crowd, Guild Missions are, if you will, the meat and potatoes of the update. Multitudes, including myself, have been crying out for more things to do that will make being part of a guild more fun and more necessary.
Firstly, you have to unlock these missions by earning influence. Then, at higher levels, you will need to use some of the specific currency earned from Guild Missions, Guild Merits, to unlock further types and allow you to do more of each.
If you are not a member of the guild that has initiated the mission, you will get the standard kind of rewards you would expect to receive for a normal dynamic event (except for Guild Rush which has a separate chest for all) for helping the guild to succeed.
Will the added missions make a difference?
Yes. And in ways that I think will profoundly change many guilds in Guild Wars 2.
The first of the Guild Mission types that can be unlocked is the Bounty Hunt mission. At a whopping 50,000 Influence to unlock (with 200 Influence per mission build) there are obvious issues for smaller guilds. There is plenty more to come on that issue later.
The missions are split into three tiers. In Tier 1, you get two bounties that you need to complete within 15 minutes. For each NPC you get a cryptic clue that will test the lore and map knowledge of your guild to decide where to go hunting.
In Tier 2, you will have to chase down four named NPCs in the same time. At Tier 3, an improbable seven bounties will test guilds with even the largest resources of players to complete.
The NPCs can spawn in one of many points across the map so expect lots of “/MAP: Has anyone seen…?” going on. I wonder if, once the spawn points have been memorized, this gives a large guild an advantage by parking people all across those points to quickly hunt down the target.
Once you find the NPC you can start the fight which is scaled in the same way as other dynamic events. If two or more guilds are on the same mission, as long as you have one member of your guild involved when the killing blow is struck, your guild will get credit.
Upon completion you receive the popup chest bonus (such as when you complete 100% of a map) which will contain two items with a minimum of rare quality.
And by minimum, yes, I mean you will have a chance at exotics and pre-cursors (confirmed by ArenaNet Game Designer Anthony Ordon).
You will also receive a not-to-be-sniffed-at 50 silver. You can only receive one chest for each mission type per week. But still, with each mission type giving the same level of reward the first time you participate (except Guild Treks as they are essentially a bit of fun and only reward Guild Merits). That means you will have the chance to get 2g plus eight shots at rare gear or better each week if you have all of the content unlocked.
To unlock higher tiers requires a combination of influence and Guild Merits. Each guild is restricted to the number of Merits it can receive per week (a maximum of 25, meaning either a Tier 1 plus Tier 2 excursion or just a Tier 3 run).
Ordon stressed that the weekly lockout was intended to make sure that the missions were a one night a week thing for guilds to do and the limitations set were to prevent guild missions being something that people felt they had to grind constantly.
Along with the items and cash, you will receive Guild Commendations that can be traded in at (you guessed it) the Guild Commendation Vendor, such as the one standing between the Guild Armorer and Guild Weaponsmith at the Trader’s Forum bank in Lion’s Arch.
This vendor has a huge variety of items available for a combination of cash and Guild Commendations, including the first Exotic backpacks and a smorgasbord of ascended accessories, many of them with names harking back to Guild Wars 1.
If you have just the first type of Guild Missions unlocked it will take you at least six weeks to accrue enough commendations to get ascended accessories... If you have all the missions unlocked, it will take you two, though there is a chunk of gold needed to go along with those commendations.
After we ran around as a gang of about 15, it became obvious that a lot of coordination would be required even on the first tier of bounties.
It was a fun jaunt with an eye-popping reward that did require the guilds to come together and show teamwork and communication; which is a very good thing.
There will be 15 different bounties at launch, with the system purposefully set up to make adding more very easy as the game develops.