Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by ArenaNet and published by NCsoft. Set in the fantasy world of Tyria, the game is the sequel to Guild Wars, though set 250 years after the first game.

Much like Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 features a lack of subscription fees. A purchase of the game is required to install the game but after that, players can play the game for free. There is a cash-shop in the game but that is entirely optional and despite playing the game for around 2 months, I personally never went into it and can’t tell the difference.

ArenaNet has said publicly that they wanted Guild Wars 2 to be different from your standard, average MMO game. On this, I have to agree that they had largely succeeded. From the beginning, Guild Wars 2 asked you to select your character’s background. The choices you picked would customize your own personal story, and that personal story varies very different depending on your choices. The variety of choices at the start of the game was great.

I loved the way ArenaNet almost forced players to help each other in the game. In Guild Wars 2, quests are public and even the group quests (called events) are so. Many times, I was wandering around when the game informed me there is an event on. I could just go to the location where the event was and joined in, even if it had already started. Everyone who joined get experience and rewards depending on how long and how much you did in the event. There’s no need to join a group or get an invitation, you just go to the locations of the event and pitch in. The ease of this system made it advisable and easy for players to help other players and is something other MMORPGs should look into.

Also I have to give credit to ArenaNet on the design of the games. The various zones and cities were very well done. Each of the five starting cities (one for each race) has a distinct look and feel to them. The human’s city of Divinity’s Reach has a medieval fantasy feel to it while the Asura’s Rata Sum is based almost totally around technology. Each city has a style of its own and they were fun to explore.

The game also had beautiful visuals. I’m no graphics snob but I have to say Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game. I’m especially impressed with the underwater combat and scenes. Water is one of the hardest things to get right in a game and ArenaNet kill it there.

Of course, not everything was golden.

Like most MMORPGs, the story of the game was disappointing. Although I enjoyed the starting story of the character, I was disappointed also because the game mostly ignored your character’s background once you finish with the initial storyline. Around level 30 onwards, once you join one of Tyria’s major Orders, it’s as if the choices you picked at the start did not matter. I thought this was disappointing as I thought ArenaNet was on to something there at the start.

Also, the game doesn’t do a job explaining the various concepts of the game. I exactly thought there was no PVP in this game at first till I notice that I had a PVP world icon at the top of the screen. Also, the game never explained the salvage and item collection system. I mean the system is great but for a long time, I didn’t how to use it and it was only through trial, error and Youtube did I finally figure it out. ArenaNet really need to better explain such matters to players.

Lastly, Guild Wars 2 suffers from a problem most MMORPGs suffer from; class imbalance. I always tried out all the classes and races on offer before deciding on which combination of class and race to continue on. I have to say some of the classes are far and away more powerful than others. It’s still a relatively new game so there’s plenty of time for ArenaNet to get things right but I think this is something they need to take a careful look into.

Guild Wars 2 has been on many gamers’ radar for quite a while, and has been touted (fairly or not) as yet another Wow-killer. After playing the game for about 2 months, I can say that World of Warcraft players can relax. This game is not going to kill off WoW. However, Guild Wars 2 is a very good game. It is a highly enjoyable game that tried successfully to change a few things for the MMORPG genre. Take a look at it and enjoy the ride.

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