6 Reasons To Play Guild Wars 2April 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 17 Comments
Tags: Guild Wars 2, MMO, mmorpg
On April 1st I posted a few reasons not to play Guild Wars 2. Most people were on to it right away, but my dry delivery may have gone over a few peoples heads. I think part of the problem was that my satirical reasons for not playing Guild Wars 2 actually parodied real blog posts I’ve read and on some level the real concerns of some people.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to voice my own concerns but as time has passed, nearly a year from that post, my worries have slowly been eroded and my enthusiasm has surely grown.
Ever since I wrote the Fools Day post I’ve also felt the itch to respond to it in a meaningful way. I even began writing this post weeks ago just as TenTonHammer posted (I might add that it’s so well written as to make me feel redundant) something similar.
So why post at all? As much as I was satirizing some critics, it still seems like they don’t understand why anyone would be fascinated with Guild Wars 2. They’re main concerns seem to be that it looks like it will be little different than any other MMO.
So hopefully, without seeming like a fanboy, here is why I’m interested in Guild Wars 2.
It Plays Different
In just about any MMO I can think of, all I do is sit in one spot and hit my skill buttons. I’m concentrating on my cool downs, looking at my health. Maybe I’ve even got my camera pulled back so I can see the action around me, never thinking to actually look at the monster I’m in a life or death struggle with.
I’m not saying this won’t ever happen in Guild Wars 2, but it seems like it will be different.
In demo footage players are combat-rolling around, dodging, using big movement skills like Leaping Death Blossom or Stomp, and using a shield to actually block instead of having it for a mathematically calculated blocking percentage. A lot of spells are ground based, whether they be buffs, AoEs, DoTs, or snares.
Guild Wars 2 is designed for movement.
It Looks Different
It’s not just the concept art, and it’s not just that Guild Wars 2 looks pretty. It’s that they go further than that. There is creativity, there is imagination, and artistic freedom.
Where other games are cartoony, or plain, or focus on graphics instead of looks, or otherwise miss the point of art, Arenanet gets it.
Instead of barely discernible differences in race models, each race has a unique and interesting look.
Their armour is vividly designed with both realism and good looks in mind, while in other games armour remains plain and uninteresting no matter how many times you upgrade it.
Their buildings and architecture focus on themes and influence. A charr building reflects their cultures focus on industry, a norn building shows its roots from viking history.
Meanwhile other games have buildings that look like they were directly imported from a Thomas Kinkade painting or inspired from a scene in Lord of the Rings.
Guild Wars 2 will be anything but a generic looking retread of other MMOs.
Its Content Is Different
Dynamic events, dungeons, personal quests, and PvP, all seem to have some element you can’t find in other MMOs.
There are no quests, only events, and those events change and adjust to what those participating in them are doing. A village is saved or burned to the ground based on your actions. Instead of a static result from a quest that changes nothing, there is some variation in the outcome, often leading to further events.
A quest in the majority of MMOs does not even know you are there, while in Guild Wars 2, things change because you are there.
Will these dynamic events be little more than slightly better quests? Perhaps, but they have a lot of potential.
And they don’t stop with just the events.
Guild Wars 2 will have an actual story that plays out, told through dungeons, personal story and other means. Instead of some ambiguous path that contains countless meaningless and unrelated quests, your character becomes apart of the story just as in any RPG.
Dungeons also will change to reflect that you’ve been there previously, sometimes adding new stories or even perhaps new objectives.
PvP will have many different forms including Dark Age of Camelot style realm battles and FPS style match ups.
A lot of MMOs today merely aim to copy the content of successful games, while Arenanet takes good content from unsuccessful games, or older games, or games outside of the MMO genre and puts them to use.
Its Business Model Is Different
There is no subscription free.
You buy the box, and play forever.
Sure they’ve announced micro-transactions, but it seems like those transactions will solely be cosmetic and have no effect on the game, even hinting that some items will be available through playing.
Even if you don’t like the game, you’ll always be able to try it again later if you decide to give it another shot. For free. Not $15.
I still play Guild Wars 6 years later. That is quite the money value.
The Trinity Is Gone
There is no healer in Guild Wars 2. You can’t even target other players with skills. You can support with ground targeted buffs, ground targeted regen, resurrect players, and heal yourself.
And you can do that on virtually any character.
Every profession has the ability to change roles. I can’t say which classes will be better at what. Even Arenanet says some professions will be better at some things than others. That they attempt this at all is impressive.
On the elementalist alone, you could use Water Blast to both damage the enemy and heal allies within range of the blast. Then use Water Trident to knock back that same enemy, switch from a Staff to two daggers to cast Ice Storm which would freeze the enemy solid. At which point I might switch to Fire Attunement and use Dragon’s Tooth which would explode in their face. All in one fight. All in one profession. And the elementalist still has two more attunements.
A diverse selection of roles, and I haven’t even fully explored the range of the class.
Maybe it’s a little bit of marketing speak, but Arenanet maintains it is no longer heal/tank/dps in Guild Wars 2, it is support/control/damage.
With no dedicated healing class, it is hard to argue.
Playing Together Is Different
In Guild Wars the vast majority of the content is aimed at max level characters and there are no barriers to playing together.
A lot of MMOs have dozens of servers separating friends from playing together. Some of these games further separate you by faction, even preventing you from communicating with the other side.
While it won’t be quite so free and easy to group in Guild Wars 2 as in the original, you will be allowed to switch servers. Bringing a character from one server to another is something I’ve long thought should exist in other games.
On top of that, at a very early level you can leave your race starting area to travel to another starting area to play with a friend.
If you’re a higher level, you can sidekick up a lower level friend, or if you go to a lower level zone, you’ll be scaled down in power.
There is very little separating you from your friends.
There are a dozen significant details I didn’t get into. I haven’t even begun to talk about PvP, and to an extent neither has Arenanet.
Overall it’s the attention to detail, the drive to do more than just the same old game impresses me. Arenanet isn’t afraid to hold a strong authorial and artistic voice instead of some bland and watered down version of someone else’s game.
How could I not be interested in Guild Wars 2? How could anyone ignore the promise it shows? Surely not all will come to pass, and perhaps Guild Wars 2 won’t be as stunningly magnificent as I’m sure NCSoft would love us to think, but how could this many innovations turn Guild Wars 2 into anything less than a good and solid game.
I like good and solid games.
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