Review by MeIchiah
"A new take on MMO's some of it works, some of it could use some tuning. Worth your time."
Guild Wars 2 was a very hyped up game even a year before its release it was the talk of the MMO community on how it was going to be a killer of MMOs before it, and how it was going to change MMO's for good.
You know what? It wasn't the killer of MMO's but I think it will change future MMOs and even current MMOs once content updates of the future occurs. There are enough new things the game does right that will encourage other MMO's to add that into their own game. That being said there is a certain lack of something in GW2 that fails to make this the end all be all MMO of today.
The game changes the way things are done. Endgame is not done in the traditional way. In many standard MMO's the leveling these days is considered training for Endgame and often is considered when the real game begins as players now at max level grind dungeons and raids or PVP systems to gain gear and prestige. Guild Wars 2 tries to throw that out the window. It treats the entire game as an endgame experience. What you are doing at level 1 is what you will be doing at level 80 for the most part.
The game throws out the typical questing system found in other MMO's where you go to an area and go talk to several quest givers that give you quests to go out to do then come back and turn them in. Instead this game gives you dynamic questing. Which is basically depending on a sequence of events is a repeating dynamic event that if you go to the area that it's in can just jump in on and help complete. No need to get a quest or turn it in, no need to form a party with others. If you are there and want to participate you can. Many of these events are multiple scenarios involved so if you fail to accomplish one task it will alter the area for a time or start up a secondary dynamic quest.
Your level of participation in the event determines your reward at the end. This means the end of quest camping or back tracking for quest turn-ins. An example, bandits attack a farm. Dynamic quest starts off to fend off the bandits. Anyone in the area that comes can join in on helping fend off the bandits. However if you fail the bandits take over the farm. A new quest begins and will stick around till done to attack the bandits holed up at the farm and try to drive them off.
This is a pretty nice system in many regards but the game has these repeat themselves too often. At first you may find yourself feeling like this gives the game a more dynamic or lifelike feel/flow to world that allows you to have a direct impact on it, but they repeat themselves so much that you start to lose that. Why kill the giant that's taken over the town, that takes a large party and a good 10-15 minutes to take down or longer when he is going to come back to life and retake the town within 30minutes? It gets very disheartening and even highly annoying. I think the system while a great idea needs some heavy tuning. I think having these events take far longer in between before they repeat would be best.
The game also encourages exploration by offering points of interest and view point vista locations to travel to. I kind of wish they didn't show you were most of these were. It kind of makes it feel like you are supposed to go there so it's not so much exploring as it just is going to marked locations on your map like a good completionist. That being said there are still some locations in the game with no purpose and there just for the hell of it, a waterfall room only accessible in a hidden cave underwater tunnel, with no markers or purpose, or completion achievement to find it, it's just there and other places that aren't marked but if you come across them you will find a treasure chest or something to reward you.
Gameplay/combat wise you can get skills to use in combat by two methods your main/primary skills are tied to the weapon you are using. A great sword has its own 5 skills to learn which you will do early on in the game and any great sword you equip will have those 5 moves to use. While a single handed sword will have its own set. Dual wielding weapons that allow it will give you a mixture of skills based on which one is in your main hand and which one is in your off hand. This is good in a sense as it allows for a nice change of pace depending on the weapons you are using and allows for future content to alter gameplay style by offering new weapons with new skills. To go along with these skills your character can learn class skills by earning skill points by leveling or earning them in the game world. Skill points can be used to basically buy or learn skills that you choose out of your class skill tree. You can get stat bonuses and spec a certain way through the use of trait points that you earn each time you level up. Or buy equipping weapons and armor with bonuses towards the stats you want.
The game is very streamlined and seems to cater to friendly participation and people will come and go as needed and most people will be friendly enough to swing by and give you a rez if you need it and they are nearby. But unlike most other MMO's the community is very non-talkative. There is hardly any verbal communication outside of guilds and there lacks those hub like areas of bustling community you would normally see in major towns. You will be lucky to see a gathering of more than 15 people anywhere and even that is highly rare. Don't know if that is intended and people get quickly thrown to overflow servers and such but the game lacks a lot of social interaction that you'd see in other MMO's and many times feels like you are just playing amongst NPCs in a single player game.
I do feel the game lacks in some extra content and some of the streamlined stuff takes away from the games immersive feeling. For instance the game lets you travel instantly all over the map with a teleport system. While this eliminates the needs for mounts it kind of makes the world seem very small and the game loses some sense of charm and epic scope. I think the game would have been better served with a more traditional Home Point marker and mount system. Allowing players to traverse the world would give players more attachment to it. Furthermore rangers get pets.. And there is a nice list of them to tame and use. But it's rather generic and clinical you walk up to a pet click on it and it goes into an inventory of pets you can set to call at whim. There is no rising or training needed and you can instantly swap out pets for a reserve pet at a whim. It loses the attachment that you would get like in WoWs pet system. You can name your pets but it's buggy and the game will often forget a pet name or transfer that pet name to a new pet you acquire so you are constantly having to name and rename your pets over and over. Also while the list of pets seems lengthy it's mostly just different variations of the same few animals. There is very little actual choice in what pets you can have. Yet there is far more creatures in the game that could make great pets.. why they aren't allowed to be tamed I still don't know. Then there is little things like say fishing? You have all the basic crafting and farming professions and you have a refined water movement combat system and tons of lakes, ponds, rivers and yet fishing a common staple of an MMO is just missing. As one that has always enjoyed fishing in my MMO's I can only be irritated by the lack of it in this game when this is a game that really would do well with such a system.
With only the initial purchase cost and completely free to play after that, this game is certainly top notch. It's as good as any of the top MMO's out there. If you enjoy PVP content and a PVE that encourages exploration first and foremost and a jump in there and help out take on questing then this game is one for you. If you want a traditional MMO with the typical endgame focus this game is not going to be for you at all. Hopefully they will tweak some of the event rates and add some more extra content to add some more meat to this game with time.
Worth a purchase as it's a great game to jump in and out of at a whim with no worries of extra costs and fee's
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/14/12
Game Release: Guild Wars 2 (US, 08/28/12)
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