The Dream of Icarus

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I will never forget how I felt when I jumped in Guild Wars 2 for the first time. The original Guild Wars was created by taking under consideration only the two of the three axes in a three-dimensional space, thus it didn’t provide the players with the ability to jump. So, the first thing I did when the sequel got released, was exactly that. When my feet were not stuck on the ground anymore, even if it was for a glimpse of time, I felt free. The moment though I opened my glider for the first time in Heart of Thorns, that feeling was finally complete.

The myth of Daedalus and Icarus has the two men escaping the labyrinth of the Minotaur. Daedalus, the resourceful inventor he was, made out of wax and feathers two pairs of wings, one for himself and one for his son, Icarus. They used them to fly away from the king that had them captured in the maze. The father had warned the son that no matter how much he flies, he should never get close to the sun. The young boy though, enchanted by the sensation of flight flew as much higher as he could and he got so much close to the sun, that the heat melted the wax on his wings away. Icarus fell down into the sea and died. It was in his favor that this sea was named ever since as the Icarian Sea.

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A piece of the magic that Icarus felt on that day, surrounds your emotions when gliding. That sensation is truly wonderful. You can make it to the highest point of the map and then jump to leave yourself vulnerable to the will of the air. By flying through the jungle you discover new worlds. That feeling of freedom, of bending the rules of gravity is the best thing that the expansion has to offer in my opinion.

During January 8’s Guild Chat and just a few seconds before the end of the show, they showed a character gliding over core Tyria without any additional context. That implies that sooner than later, we will probably be able to glide in the older maps of the game as well. Even if we can all guess the reasons why ArenaΝet chose to go with this decision, it’s pretty clear that core Tyria isn’t designed by taking gliding under consideration. Personally though I’m all for it,  as I believe that nothing can be compared with the sensation of freedom you get while flying.

Just after the release of Guild Wars 2, I had pointed out that it would be really nice if we could use parachutes when falling from up high. Gliding in core Tyria is more or less that, as the old maps do not feature any updrafts and the course you can follow is only downward. Back then it was just a dream, these days though it looks like we are getting very close to having it become a reality.

– George Merkouris (Achilles)

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