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Guild Wars 2: Creative fearlessness at work

ArenaNet isn't interested in taking money from you month after month, it just asks for one payment at retail and in return, it's offering a game that it hopes will challenge your preconceptions of MMOs.

On a recent visit to the Seattle-based studio, Eurogamer sat down with Guild Wars 2 lead content designer, Colin Johanson, to discuss the ways in which ArenaNet is looking to freshen up the genre.

"I think one of the core ones for me is taking the holy trinity [of MMO character classes] – you have your front line, you have your healer and you have your ranged character, basically – and just throwing it out the window," Johanson said

"We're basically saying, listen, this as a core game mechanic is tired, we can do something better, we can do something more interesting than this. Let's not do it, let's try to do something else. And that's what we've spent many years now perfecting and working on, and getting to the point that we feel we have a combat system that doesn't need it and, we feel, works better without it."

This approach extends beyond character classes to the 'dynamic event system', that sees the abandonment of NPCs that have nothing better to do than stand around waiting to dole out quests. Instead, things will just 'happen' and you can choose to join in bypass the event, be it a centaur siege on a human village or intercepting bandits that are chasing down a caravan.

Whilst casting off the traditional trappings of the MMORPG might be off-putting for some, ArenaNet will be hoping that it will also encourage new players to dip their toe in MMO water.

Johanson knows that with Guild Wars 2, they need to hit the ground running.

"We recognise that right now, to compete, you need to release a game that's not just good enough to compete with another game that just released, but you need to be able to compete with all of the expansion content as well," he said. "Because people are looking for that much game experience out of a game. They want an experience that matches up with a game that has four expansions already made for it.

"The way that we're going to handle it is: we're making a game big enough that we offer that much content. We are making a game where we're not sacrificing anything."

Guild Wars 2 is due for release on PC, a date is yet to be confirmed.

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