World of details

First things first: My autographed copy of the Guild Wars 2 soundtrack finally arrived:

With 4 CDs and a whopping 78 tracks, it’s going to take me a little time to listen through it all.  There are some great pieces I haven’t yet heard in the game, and I think it stacks right up there with Jeremy Soule’s other Guild Wars works.  My only complaint is that the CD case is downright flimsy — it’s not just cardboard, it’s weak cardboard.  But oh well, I’ve already ripped it to my computer, so I’ll just put it in a box with the rest of my MMO stuff.

I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since GW2’s head start.  It’s certainly flown by, and I’m delighted to see that my interest is still right up there after the initial rush has worn off.  It’s just such an easy game to get into and enjoy, and it feels more rewarding (both in the nebulous, personal sense of the word and in actual in-game rewards).

But what I keep thinking about as I play are all the little unsung details that are done wonderfully and go a long way to making this a top-tier product.  The animations have been noticed, but they should be mentioned again, because they make both player characters and mobs come alive in a real way.  Or what about the ability to send and receive mail anywhere in the world instantly?  It’s a small convenience that has had a huge impact in our guild, because now whenever we find greens or spare dyes, we can ask who wants them and right then and there give them away without having to remember for the next trip to the bank.

I love the sound that water makes from the sprinklers when it passes right by you — the doppler effect seems to be in full swing.  Or how the plants move when I pass through them.  Or how there are many hilarious easter eggs for those who look, such as book titles scattered across Divinity’s Reach.  Or the care that’s gone into creating the interiors of buildings.

It’s not a small detail, but I’m completely in love with my new elite skill that allows me to summon a big golem to fight by my side for 40 seconds.  He totally goes berzerk on everyone around him, and I haven’t yet stopped grinning when he unleashes his machine gun thing on all the poor hapless mobs.

So what small details have you noticed and appreciated?

22 thoughts on “World of details

  1. The one thing I appreciate the most are the artwork and details of the world. It just feels so alive and vibrant! The rain, the snow even the mud! You never actually know what you will find in the world. Thumbs up!

  2. Small details .. the rock pools near the Vigil base in Lion’s Arch. Very peaceful, tranquil, and beautiful. There is no event there but someone at ArenaNet has lavished loving detail on these minor details and if they are reading this I want to thank them for spending time placing this in the game and enriching my game experience. 🙂

  3. From the soundtrack, my current favs: Overture, The Seraph, Snaff’s Workshop, Battle with the Tamini, Dawn in Shaemoor, and The Darkness will Fall…only made it thru about 30 tracks so far ;D

  4. I found Kilnn Testibrie’s descendant the other day, next to an arch that was all that was left of the family mausoleum. She’d “heard that his ghost wandered these hills searching for his lost enchanted armor before it was finally returned to him.” I couldn’t stop chortling. ( for those who haven’t played GW1.)

    Some distance away in the same zone was also a very picturesque well with some rabbits near it, which I’m not sure had anything to do with GW1 or just a nice detail.

    And the NPC conversations, instead of being throwaway lines since few people would read them, some of them are well on their way to becoming classic quotes. On one part of the personal story where an Asura is carrying something somewhere and you have to escort him there, he goes “I’d love to shoot some zombies in the face, but my hands are a bit full.”

  5. The option to don a pair of goggles and strip to your underwear at the cliff at Isgarren’s View in Kessex Hills is hilarious. I discovered it by accident and a friend and I had a dance party in our underwear before jumping off into the cliff in the water! It was pretty funny when my friend died five times by missing the water and hitting the cliff side before she managed to successfully jump into the water.

  6. We’ve been noticing the surroundings and the detail put into each location a lot. Last night in Hoelbrak, my husband spent 30 minutes just wandering around looking at the intricacies of the lodges and their amazing detail.

    We started posting screenshots, mostly from Vistas, on a Tumblr site called Picture Perfect Tyria just because there are so many awesome things to see. (BTW, if you have any cool screenshots, we’ll take them… :-D)

    One of the things my husband said to me last night was, “I know this game is good because I find myself just wandering around being amazed by things.”

  7. My favorite reference is The ‘Thinney’ off Steven Kings ‘Dark Tower’ series. It can be heard in the vicinity of the Godslost Swamp in Queensdale. When I first got to it, I couldn’t imagine it being inspired by anything else. I took it as a confirmation when I found the ‘Phinney Fields’ right alongside the swamp. It’s every bit as creepy and uncomfortable as described in the books.

  8. Guild Wars 2 is such a great game. I love the music, too. Jeremy Soule is an excellent musicians. I just bought me a copy of the Soundtrack for Guild Wars 2 and cannot wait to receive it!

  9. Extremely small detail, but I noticed that when your character stands on a slope, their feet will tilt to match it, rather than clip through like in most games. I eat that kind of stuff right up. Also, when ambushed by spiders during an event, an npc uttered “clever girl…” (Jurassic Park reference, for those unaware or in need pf a reminder).

  10. I love listening to conversations of NPCs, especially kids who are playing, and pretending to be Destiny’s Edge. I love the sound distortion when you’re underwater, and the splash on the screen when you get out. I was swimming through Lion’s Arch and found a staircase with lion statues underwater. Just an hour or so later, I found myself learning about the flood from Orr’s rising in my personal story, which displayed the very same staircase and lion statues I just saw.

  11. I too am loving all the small artistic detail. They didn’t have to make the rails on stairs in Charr camps be somewhat fancy with cat faces, but they did. I love all the painting decoration on the wood of buildings or caravans, or tarps in Lion’s Arch that were painted and set up to look like waves. I LOVE all the flowers in the game or the way the golden red trees glow against the pale blue sky with golden clouds in Fields of Ruin. I love how you leave footprints in the snow. I love how the water actually moves! Watch a shoreline of a pond or a lake or the tide pools and you’ll see it. I also love the tiny stories here and there, some associated with Dynamic Events and others not (like listening to a rat-like creature tell his friend how much he loves the sewers, following him as he walks off and him leading you to the sewers which ultimately goes to a group’s secret hideout).

    I may have my gripes regarding progression and replayability, but they got the look of the game so very right. It’s gorgeous and I keep getting wowed by all the detail.

  12. @squirrel That’s the old Lion’s Arch you’re seeing. After playing the beta weekends I went back into GW1 and it was weird walking around Lion’s Arch, knowing that all of it would be submerged some time later.

    GW2 certainly is a feast for those who love their games insanely detailed. One of my favourite things is the voice work for the female asura. Not the dialogues, but the little grunts and moans as she fights, or the a-hrmph sound she makes when getting up after harvesting a node. The running-and-then-stopping animation of the asura cracks me up every time as well.

  13. Btw, my soundtrack is on its way, but it seems to still be stuck in Los Angeles somewhere. I hope mine is autographed too.

  14. @Vies I noticed that detail in Divinity’s Reach standing next to a curb. I immediately took a screen shot. The animations (some of which can be annoying when repeated) reveal the care lavished on GW2 by ArenaNet. My personal favorite detail so far was captured by MMOGC for her “Back to Queensdale” post: a windmill that had sails resembling tall ships.

  15. I just arrived in a new zone and found this beautiful flower fountain. I stopped and stared at it for a good five minutes. The sound effects of the water around it was relaxing, and the water flowing over it looked quite real. There are many things that are constantly impressing me about this game, but that made me stop obsessing over 100% map completion for a bit, and that’s quite a feat. 🙂

  16. I found a grace dedicated to Rue from the hunger games, an organ that opens a door for treasure (currently glitched treasure) when you play a certain characters theme, and chickens that spawn more chicken that continuously attack you when you try to kill them (via Legend of Zelda).

  17. There is just so much that you can see if you just stand around and watch. I think one of my favorite NPC quotes was from a Norn in Divinity’s Reach explaining moots: “Moots are all about singing, dancing and drinking. But you can get away with drinking.” Man, I love Norns.

  18. I love how when you select a target, be it player, npc or mob, your own character will turn their head to look at it, if they’re not directly facing the opposite direction. Another great little thing is how some time after GW1, a statue of Kormir is added to the Temple of ages, as you can see it in Godslost swamp. Oh and a conversation between two Ascalonian Peasants about “the dangers of walking alone at night with all these charr around” in the Devast district was amazing. They noticed me and ran away. Its the amazingly tiny details that maybe 1 in 50 players will see that makes this game so special.

  19. My favorite little touch is in Lion’s Arch. When you head for the viewpoint above the crafting area, you head down a walkway hung with canvas painted with waves. I about fell out of my chair when I saw it. It was just the perfect accent for that spot in the zone, making you feel like you’re swimming or sailing down the tunnel instead of running. The artists really outdid any other games I’ve seen, especially of this scale.

    Following the Order of Whispers personal story, Lightbringer Tybalt Leftpaw’s character cracks me up. I’m playing a human, and if he wouldn’t gore me, I’d constantly guffaw, “Silly kitty!”

    Maybe my favorite thing is the flavor chat from random NPCs throughout the world though. Or maybe those infuriating puzzles… Too hard to decide!

  20. Regarding an above comment, the thinney is an interesting theory. I took that for granted as my sound bugging but maybe it is both intentional and a Dark Tower reference. It’s funny, I always thought the Dark Tower series would lend itself well to an MMO, but there’s so much of Tyria that reminds me of it, especially some of the armors. I guess that’s why I never objected to the clock punk and guns the way some fantasy purists did.

    Small details, there’s too many to list. The dialogue, the difference in some conversations based on race, the animal interactions that literally put the heart in hearts, the changes to my personal instance as my story progresses, surprise reunions recalling far earlier story decisions. While some stories are stronger than others, what really stands out to me is the way that the dialogue isn’t purely functional. There’s so much attention to character and emotion. Some times it’s laugh out loud funny, other times it’s more wry…and they’ve made me care about some characters enough to illicit an emotional response – and I’m not particularly emotional, so that says something.

  21. @Vies I thought I was the only one who noticed that! Another small detail I love: when you hold a or d to rotate your character, they actually take steps to turn instead of just shuffling. My necro actually used her staff for support while turning, those little details just make me smile

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