Back in 2005, a certain MMO hit the market called Guild Wars. It was an MMO that anyone could play given they pay for the game itself. It did not have any subscription fees and it also worked for those who still ran on 56K internet. It featured 10 different professions (or classes if you will) over the 3 campaigns (Prophecies, Factions, Nightfall) and one official expansion (Eye of the North). Humans were the only playable race in the original Guild Wars, but that was changed in Guild Wars 2 with the addition of the Charr, Sylvari, Norn, and Asura. The game takes place in the fictional world of Tyria, which is featured in both Guild Wars 1 and 2.
The Story: Guild Wars 2 takes place exactly 250 years after the events of Nightfall. Tyria has changed drastically due to the wakening of the Elder Dragons. Now, we see our characters fighting for survival and learning the truths behind not only our own stories, but the truth behind the dragons.
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Title: Guild Wars 2
Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online
Release Date: 8/28/12[/toggle_box]
- Visuals: While I like to regard visuals as a minor thing, sometimes it does deserve some praise. Guild Wars 2 features a brand new engine that also brings some brand new visuals with it. Environments are highly appealing to look at and the water is absolutely stunning. Not to mention, the general artwork for the loading screens between zones and character creation is absolutely beautiful.
- Races: In Guild Wars 1, we only got to play as a human. ArenaNet was so kind as to listen to the fans and give us some new races to play with. Alongside the Humans, players get to play as the beast-like Charr, the plant-like Sylvari, the massive Norn, and the small Asura.
- Professions (Classes): Guild Wars 2 features 8 professions right out of the gate. You have the Warrior, Elementalist, Ranger, Necromancer, Guardian, Thief, Engineer, and Mesmer. For my play through, I ran a Ranger and absolutely loved it. It felt fresh while still giving me options if I wanted to melee it up.
- Gameplay: The gameplay of Guild Wars 2 is much like most MMOs. It is action-based in which you can freely run around during combat as well as actively dodge incoming attacks. Whenever you find a new weapon class (such as one-hand, bow, harpoon gun, etc.), you will need to level it up, so to speak, in order to use all the abilities.
- World PvP: This is probably the coolest feature added to Guild Wars 2. Every server is its own world and so you will compete with other worlds for benefits. For example, if your world is winning against an opponent, then the PvE will be improved, like better drop rates or XP bonuses, etc.
- 100% Completion: Easily my favorite of the praises. Nothing beats going into a zone and collecting every little thing. Points of Interest, Viewpoints, and Quests all equal up to a completion percentage of the zone.
- Crafting: While I am not one to get too involved with crafting, Guild Wars 2 makes it a little more interesting. For one, when you have a collectible, you can send it to your bank right away and save some bag space. Also, being able to craft your own gear (which is better most of the time) is also a good point to have.
- Home Quests: When you create your character, you are given the option of how your character is formed, so to speak. For a human, you are asked whether or not you were born into a rich family or if you were basically homeless. This shapes how your own personal story evolves while leveling up your character to 80.
- Cutscenes: If you are a story nut like me, this is definitely a plus. Being able to see your character and NPCs talk out every aspect of your main quest is a welcome sight. It greatly reminds me of what The Old Republic did with its storytelling.
- Scaled Down: One little thing that I found to be a mild nuisance was being scaled down to a level equal to a zone. I understand they do this so that a level 80 won’t walk into a level 20 zone and ruin the fun for others, but at times it seems awkward. It works, but it is something that at times one would wish it wasn’t there.
- Overflow: In Guild Wars 1, players had the option to be in one of several instances of a zone (such as “XYZ 1″ or “XYZ 5″). This made it so that one instance would not be overly populated and it also made it easier to find friends. Well, in Guild Wars 2 there is a “Main” and “Overflow.” The Main is where you will be defaulted if there is room, however, if there is not room then you will go into Overflow. In Overflow, you get a queue to the main (which is annoying when it pops up) and you wait. Overflow functions just like a normal server except the pain begins when your friend is in Main and you are stuck in Overflow.
- Micro-transactions: While a plus in some games (like League of Legends), I feel Guild Wars 2 could definitely improve upon it. For one, if I buy an armor overlay, I should always have the overlay and not have to worry about using transmutation stones every single time I gain a new item. I feel if someone puts the actual money into the game like that, it should be something that is always theirs and unless specified (like a potion) never disappears.
- Loading Screens: While I did mention that the loading screens have great art, I still go back to saying that I do not feel an MMO should have loading screens (unless it is like a dungeon or anything not freely explorable by everyone). While that seems broad, I do not like having to run between zone and hitting a loading screen.
In my time playing, I did not get all the way to level 80. I did stop at a little past level 40, but I can go on to say that this game is easily worth picking up. ArenaNet is showing that they mean business when it comes to the MMO market and have many good things planned for us players. They are developing a mobile app that will allow you even greater interaction in the world of Tyria as well as several campaign expansions for years to come. I highly recommend that anyone with the time for an MMO to go pick this up, the fact it is free to play (more like subscription-free) is also very appealing.
[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Furthermore, is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here. This game was graciously provided by NCSoft for our reviewing purposes. [/box_light]
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Replay Value: 10
Amazing – This is a must have, you’ll see this game on top ten lists at the end of the year.[/toggle_box]