A Guild, says the dictionary, is 'an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal'.
Guild Wars 2, says the dictionary, is 'a very good MMO'.
So when Guild Wars 2 dev ArenaNet says that they are including Guild Missions, where guilds (and even strangers) can work together to complete objectives, earning precious rewards, it’s easy to get excited. It’s a no brainer but a welcome addition. I got to see some of these missions in action, so read on to find out if they’re worth your time.
For those of you who missed ArenaNet's sneak peek at the Guild Missions, here is the general gist:
Guild Missions are a new, unlockable objective that you can unlock through the upgrade tree by spending influence. There are several tiers of each mission, each increasing in difficulty and naturally their rewards. By completing these missions, you can expect to earn personal rewards for everyone involved. Your guild can also earn a new currency called Guild Merits, which are then used in conjunction with influence to unlock powerful guild rewards.
SPOILER ALERT - I’m going to discuss solutions for some of these missions, notably the bounty and the puzzle mission. Now that’s sorted, lets dive straight in.
Guild bounties are just what they say on the tin. Your guild is given a number of bounties, people of interest who need to be apprehended. These infamous types can be anywhere in Tyria, so first you got to find them. Each bounty has a bio which gives hints to their likely location. In our case we were after the notorious Ander “Wildman” Westward, a famous Karka hunter who likes big game.
With this newly obtained knowledge, it was off to Southsun Cove. Anders could spawn in a random location, so finding him was going to be difficult. Since we knew that he liked big game, he was likely to be around the nests of the matured Karka. We did a sweep of pretty much the entire island and we’re close to giving up until we spotted something, unusual.
One of the giant Karkas was looking rather too content with itself; our bounty had become Karka fodder.
We assumed the whole “dead or alive” thing was in effect, deciding to take down the Karka to retrieve the body. After a lengthy fight we slayed the giant crab, only for Anders to erupt from the Karkas stomach Men In Black finale style.
Thinking that we were his rescuers, he obviously didn’t agree with our true intentions. Another battle broke out, blocking his route of escape. He had a few nasty stuns and snares which gave us more trouble than a run of the mill foe. Eventually however he was defeated and our contract completed.
While this was happening, there was another bounty being taken care of by another guild party. With the higher tiers of this mission, the number of bounties and their difficulty scales up, allowing from even greater challenges.
The goals of guild rushes is simple: be unwillingly transformed into a random Tyrian critter and race to the finish line without ending up dead. Full disclosure: it took me twelve attempts to finish our guild rush. Take these things seriously.
Maybe not so simple then.
The guild mission requires you to get x number of members to the finish line while still in the form of their critter. Along the way there will be traps, angry wildlife and lots of bad luck to try and stop you. With a small pool of health, it doesn’t take much for you to get knocked out of the race, having to begin again all the way from the starting line.
In our guild rush we took the forms of Devourers, which had some very unique skills. I could detect traps in a small radius, play dead to fool enemies and burrow underground to avoid hazards.
At the end of the race there was a giant treasure chest full of loot. Now you could either be selfish and wait for others to finish, or go back and try and help them with heals and/or movement speed boost skills. It makes sense to do the latter as you’re timed on every mission, which means you can fail and waste all that hard earned influence.
This mission will test your good old fashioned combat skills and tactics as a team. These are like dynamic events, in that they are automatically scale from the amount of players that are involved. These are also open for the general populace to join in, whether it be for personal glory or to give you a helping hand.
Our guild challenge was to protect twenty supply barrels from the onslaught of the Flame Legion for approximately ten minutes. Around the area were gun emplacements which could be upgraded over time. Choosing which turrets to upgrade depending on the flow of the incoming siege seemed vital, as well as taking the fight to the enemy itself.
At the later stages it seemed almost impossible to keep the smouldering Charr out of our supply crates, ultimately causing us to fail the mission. These missions however are intended for big groups of players, we on the other hand were a little on the slim side. Don’t go into these expecting it to be a pushover. They are deliberately hard for a reason.
Next up was guild puzzles: a nice mix of jumping around while acting completely and utterly dumbfounded. This was actually my favourite of all the missions, although I will be interested in how ArenaNet keep these puzzles fresh. After all once you’ve solved it a few times, it becomes notably easier.
Chin scratching aside, our guild puzzle was aptly named Proxemics Lab. This lab was very much abandoned once entering, only shiny-obsessed Skrit remained. We wrestled some batteries from their piles of junk and ventured deeper into the lab. A jumping puzzle was next up, but having done a lot of them in the past, it didn’t prove to be much of a challenge.
We then came to an elevator door and things started to get interesting. In order for the elevator to ascend a level, we had to match animal symbols using polymorphed versions of ourselves. It sounds complicated, but to put it simply it was a giant game of “match/memorise the symbols”.
At the top was another short jumping puzzle which again was defeated without too much of an issue. The next bit however caught me off guard because...
I love mazes.
As you can see in the image above, it wasn’t just a maze. It was a humongous maze. The goal was to find six glowing orbs to unlock the final door, and our impending reward. It became clear that from where I stood, one brave soul would volunteer to guide his comrades to these orbs, which sent a huge glowing light into the sky. We also had to keep an eye out for malfunctioned sentry golems and traps that would try and hinder us.
We luckily made it with some time on the clock, but it was clear that good communication was the key to this maze. Inside was a familiar giant chest, rewarding us with some fat loot.
By far the hardest mission of the all, I hope you’re all proficient cartographers. Guild treks assigns you a list of random locations, scaling in number depending on the tier. You are only given a small screenshot of the location along with a hint. From there on out it’s up to you to find them, from a pool of over 150 locations.
It gets harder. Naturally your timed, so speed and efficiency are key to your success. There isn’t any mark on the minimap to let you know you’re close. You will have to manually find the glowing mark on the ground to cross it off the list.
I would only imagine it will be a lot easier if you have a big and healthy member count, allowing you to cover more ground. With the huge pool of locations to choose from however, any sort of guide will take a long time to create.
It goes without saying that we failed this challenge, but in our defense we only had around six members looking. This will definitely be the most long lasting of the guild missions, with ArenaNet stating they can easily add more locations when they desire.
It’s without a doubt that the addition of guild missions is only a positive thing. Giving guilds more reasons to socialise will strengthen existing communities and even create new ones. With plenty of variety and equally plenty rewards, guilds becoming bored should be a thing of the past. It only remains to be seen that ArenaNet keep updating the challenges to keep the fresh, but only time will tell.
The patch containing the guild missions is coming tonight. While you're waiting, why not check out my hands on with the new Spirit Watch PVP map.