Guild Wars 2 gets a major update today. Build Templates are finally coming to ArenaNet’s MMORPG and we have a look at how they will change the game.
Build and Equipment Templates launch today but this new addition to Tyria has had a significant lead time. Even by ArenaNet’s own admission, the MMO developer’s team has been working on this update for some time. Now, after years of demand, we got a glimpse at Build and Equipment Templates in Guild Wars 2 and found out if it was worth the wait.
Equipment Templates are probably the more complex of the two changes made to the game. Opening up any character’s normal Hero panel allows Tyrians to enter the traditional Equipment panel. Here, things look fairly normal, save the tabs along the top of the Equipment loadout. While players might be used to thinking of this as a reflection of their current equipment it is now more accurate to describe each of these tabs as an Equipment Template. Any of these Equipment Templates can be activated by simply selecting the relevant tab and watching your character change accordingly.
Adding equipment to these templates is relatively intuitive. Just as normal, clicking or dragging equipment, runes, sigils, or trinkets from a character inventory adds this item to an Equipment Template. Where it gets a little more complex is sharing equipment across multiple templates. This means that any piece of equipment that appears in one Equipment Template can be replicated in another tab without a second copy of the same equipment. As a result, this also means that equipment must be removed from all Equipment templates or it will not return to character inventories.
We found that, in general, Equipment Templates appear to be functional when we tried them out and they add a few options to the whole experience. Aside from acting as a surrogate equipment storage inventory, players can copy Equipment Templates between tabs and even get a quick hover over a preview of a loadout. Most importantly, these allow for quick switching between various configurations. It would be great, however, if the Equipment Templates could be stored or shared just as the upcoming Build Templates can be.
Build Templates are possibly the more substantial and complete components of this new update. Like Equipment Templates, Build Templates are a way for players to front-load the hard work of switching between any character setup. Guild Wars 2 actively splits its character skills, perks, and weapon skills from the equipment and stats. While equipment and stats are sequestered into Equipment Templates, the trait lines, specializations, and the resultant skill bar settings are all contained in the Build Template.
Opening up the Build menu finds a significant difference to the Equipment Templates. While still utterly understandable to veterans of Tyria, the Build Template screen includes a series of tabs along the perimeter of the Build menu. Each of these tabs represents an active Build Template allowing players to set a range of the game’s trait lines and skills independently of Equipment Templates. This provides massive flexibility in the way players can play any area of the game.
In comparison to Equipment Templates, the changes to the build system adds a bunch of functionality. The new build system allows players to copy, paste, store, and share their new configurations. The slots lined along the left side of a character’s trait UI provide this long term save space, slotting away templates from any of a player’s active builds along the top of the screen.
More than the ability to store, the option to share this illegible string of characters in chat, mail, and other means of communication is one of the feature’s real strengths. It makes Build Templates more like a toolbox than a containerized storage shed.
The Price of Progress
In the broadest terms, both these new template additions are well needed. The Build Template changes and UI elements it adds should make it far easier to play the way you want, adapt to different situations without hopping back to a bank, and share ideas with friends. Where we have some reservations is in the price of this progress. While players get access to this convenience update for free, space is carved out on a per-character basis, meaning individuals who don’t just play a solitary class are going to find this is one expensive way to free up inventory slots. I won’t do the math for you but it’s not insignificant. Despite this, ArenaNet is making some adjustments to bring the impact on your wallet down. Build storage slots are an account wide option and
Build and Equipment Templates are otherwise a long await addition that I welcome with open arms. A few niggles aside, I can’t wait to use them for real in WvW. To give you a better idea of how they operate, check out our video tour for more information we skimmed over here and head over to the official Guild Wars 2 website now to get signed up for this new update.