Guild Wars 2 review
Guild Wars 2 provides a refreshing set of unique mechanics and systems not commonly found within the MMORPG genre. It allows you to create your very own personal epic story as you explore the vast world of Tyria. The trailer below provides a good overview of Guild Wars 2 and their progress.
The gameplay is more akin to a typical RPG than an MMORPG. Your character is given a set of skills according to his or her class and weapon. Two-handed weapons will give 5 skills while a one handed weapon will give either 3 or 2 skills depending on if it is held in the main or offhand.
Guild Wars 2 allows “quick swaps” between two sets of weapons allowing easy combos between the two of them. With most skills being aimed and on a short cooldown, combat feels extremely dynamic and skill based. This allows you to take on monsters that are higher level than yourself if you have the skills to back it up. Guild Wars 2 also has underwater combat which is actually quite satisfying and it feels intuitive.
Crafting and gathering is easy. There is no other way to put it. While the bare bone system of click-and-done crafting and gathering might make it more accessible to those who usually avoid it, it does feel lacking compared to how progressive the combat it.
Unfortunately, there is no story to Guild Wars 2. At least not yet.
While there is a personal story based off which race and features are chosen in the character select, a majority of the story is told through your actions. The questing system in Guild Wars 2 has been redone in a way to avoid redundancy. In one quest involving the helping of a town, you’ll find yourself splashing water on sleeping guards, killing giant worms threatening the crops, and drinking with the locals to raise moral. Nearly every quest has a variety of choices to never make questing a monotonous dredge.
There are also instanced quests that can happen by another player starting it or through random instances on the map. Any player can join in on these map quests and gain experience. This makes Guild Wars 2 naturally social as players want other players to help them out. Even more impressive is that Guild Wars 2 actually makes other people want to help by granting them their own experience and loot for helping.
Bosses will also spawn on the map, which can lead to dozens and sometimes up to a hundred or more players gathering together to fight. None of this is forced upon you, instead, you naturally gather at the boss to help everyone else bring it down. From this, a story is created. Guild Wars 2 never seems to really force you to do anything. Almost nothing is scripted and exploration of the world to join other players is rewarded.
With the innovations of the PvE content, the game also has a great PvP system and anyone can participate in PvP starting fairly early in the game. To make sure that lower levelled players are not stomped by veterans, everyone is given all of their class skills along with an overall balancing of stats. This makes PvP a more skill based feature rather than a contest of who played the longest.
One particular mode of PvP that stands out is World v World. This feature has hundreds of players like yourself grouping up to fight against other servers in an open world map. Winning battles allow server-wide benefits such as better crafting and gathering. Unfortunately, most of this eventually becomes following the leader as a giant horde until you mash into another horde. While some would argue that these mosh pits battles require skills, 200 people mashing buttons usually boil it down to better skill placement and luck rather than timing and skill usage. It does still feel amazing to fight in such a large scale, but it does not seem to require much individual skill.
One feature separating Guild Wars 2 from most other top MMORPGs is its hybrid business model between Free-To-Play and Pay-To-Play. The base game is free, although people who do buy the expansion get extra features that are not imperative to playing the game. The Free-To-Play/Pay-To-Play model makes the game feel much more relaxed than the majority of other MMORPGs. Instead of rushing to get your monthly money’s worth of content, you can now simply explore the world. Going up to a hill to simply get a good view of the world does not feel like a waste of time. In fact with the exploration bonuses to EXP, the game actually rewards you for doing so. This adds to the theme of creating your own story that this game does so well.
Everything can be done at your own pace, making the story progress as much or as little as you choose. It also eliminates much of the elitist attitude that plagues many other MMORPGs. There are of course hardcore players within Guild Wars 2; however, the game feels much more relaxed and kind hearted. Without a subscription fee, people are much less concerned about wasting their time and simply enjoying the game.
The graphical performance of Guild Wars 2 is decent, but the environments are incredible.
While the software could be considered outdated by current standards, the care taken to paint a picture through the scenery will never get old. Standing upon high ground and looking down on the landscape looks beautiful. It definitely feels like everything was carefully placed in the right position to create a picture perfect scene. This will stimulate curiosity as the beautiful environment will spark a need to go to and explore new open worlds.
Fans of MMORPG will struggle to find a game such as Guild Wars 2 which challenges the tropes of the genres in such a successful way.
Now that the game has gone free-to-play, there really is no reason you should not try this game. It allows and incentivizes you to create your own adventures and stories, while not being pressured to force yourself into a grind. Exploration is rewarded and ties into progression, while at the same time not being a needed factor. This is all enhanced by the fluid skill-based combat that only helps to immerse players into their character’s actions.
● New Form of Storytelling
● Responsive Action-Oriented Combat
● Massive PvP
● No Subscription
● Interactive and Social Playerbase
● Beautiful Environment
● Lackluster Crafting and Gathering