Like many others, I began playing MMORPGS with the advent of
World of Warcraft. Since then I have tried many other games in that
genre, but until Guild Wars 2 (GW2), no other game could touch the
quality of gameplay that WoW offered.
Guild Wars 2 has been out for a few months now, and I've been
playing it since the beta period. I can safely say that bar none,
this is the best MMORPG I have ever played.
GW2 features a questing system called dynamic
events. Basically, dynamic events are random occurences
that take place in the world, whether anyone is there to see them
or not. Based on how those events play out, other events then take
place as a consequence. This type of system results in a much more
organic feeling world, and because the events occur whether or not
players are present, it also makes you feel like you are actually
an adventurer who finds problems that need fixing.
That's not to say that there isn't also a more "traditional"
questing system. Scattered throughout each zone are what are called
heart quests. The quests area typically encompass a given part of
the map, and they offer a multitude of ways to complete the
objective for each area. Usually while a person is working on
completing the objective for a heart quest, one or more dynamic
events will take place.
In terms of characters and storyline, GW2
offers a lot of customizability. There are five playable races, and
eight professions to choose from. At the time of character creation
you are able to customize your character's appearance greatly...
from body size and shape, skin color, hair color, hair style, nose
shape, chin shape, ear size and more.
During the character creation phase the game will also ask you
several questions about your character's history, and the
combination of options that you select will uniquely determine the
storyline that your character will play through, as well as how
NPCs (non-player characters) in the world will interact with
Most MMORPGs feature what's called an end-game,
and this usually ends up involving doing high level dungeons,
called raids, or battling in player-versus-player mode (PVP).
In terms of raiding, Guild Wars 2 has none. In
fact, the game's developer stated that they want the whole game to
feel like the end-game. By that, they meant that they intend for
the game to always be challenging, and always have that epic
end-game feel. In this they have largely succeeded... when I'm
playing I do feel like I am a great adventurer. A large reason for
this is that the game has been designed to scale to the players.
This means that as more players are taking part in some aspect of
the game, it scales appropriately. Similarly, when a high-level
player goes to a low level area, that player gets scaled down to
match the content. This keeps the game challenging no matter where
you prefer to adventure.
The other aspect of end-game, is PVP, and Guild
Wars 2 offers some of the best, most balanced PVP available. There
are several types of PVP in GW2: Structured PVP, Tournament PVP,
and World PVP.
Structured PVP and Tournament PVP take place on a group of small
maps, and feature a capture and control type of gameplay. The
combat on these maps is frequent and intense. In Structured and
Tournament PVP, all characters are leveled up to maximum level, and
given all skills and all weapons. Basically, it's a level playing
field, and the PVP is more about player skill, and not about gear
and level. Experience that you gain in Structured and Tournament
PVP is called Glory, and it can be used to buy cooler looking PVP
gear--note that the gear is only cooler looking, but does not have
better stats--this is to keep the PVP about skill and not gear.
World PVP takes place across four massive maps, and features
many types of gameplay: straight up PVP combat, fortress seiges,
resource gathering, and more. In World PVP, all players are leveled
up to max level, but you are restricted to the skills you have
unlocked and the gear that you've earned in regular gameplay. In
this type of PVP, you earn experience towards actually leveling up
your character in regular gameplay. You also get gear and money
drops from players that you defeat.
I could go on extolling the virtues of this game, but that would
be impossible to fit into a single review.
So what about drawbacks?
Well, there is no open world PVP. I do find this to be a
drawback some of the time, as open world PVP is where it feels most
raw and exciting.
There is also a rather low limit to the default number of
characters that you can create (five). I think that seeing as there
are eight professions, there should be eight character slots
available. Yes, you can buy more slots, but I'd have liked seeing a
higher default number.
Aside from those couple of gripes, however, there's really not
much wrong with this game. And get this--there is no
subscription required to play! That's right, all that this
game costs you is the initial purchase price!
Good Recommendations Summary:
If you're in the market for a great MMORPG, or even just a great
game in any genre, I highly recommend that
you buy Guild Wars 2. New content is constantly being added to what
is already one of the best gameplay experiences ever, so there is
always something new to see and do.
The world is massive and beautiful, and has such amazing
attention to detail. Each of the playable races features a unique
starting area, and the plethora of customization options ensures
that unique content will be available well into the forseeable
Here are some other Guild Wars 2 resources:
A great guide to Guild Wars 2: http://www.guildwars2powerguide.com
The official Guild Wars 2 website: http://www.guildwars2.com
A good Guild Wars 2 forum: http://www.guildwars2guru.com/forum