Review by Bremen

"A fun but ultimately disappointing MMO..."

If you ask most gamers in today's world what defines an MMO, you will likely hear responses such as, (a) an engaging, expansive, well-defined universe and storyline, (b) massive community and social aspects that encourage team work, cooperation, and banding together to accomplish various goals, (c) some elements of a time sink, (d) hooks that keep you coming back time and time again such as progressional elements, and (e) some form of role-playing where you grow your in-game avatar eventually becoming an extension of your own imagination. Guild Wars 2 does well in some of these areas but also misses the mark entirely on others. This review will hopefully give gamers some insight into the real story behind the game as told by a long-time MMO gamer having experienced both old, new, hardcore, and casual MMO games with opinions on the pros and cons of each. Keep in mind, this review is written only weeks after the initial launch of Guild War 2 so additional content may be released in the coming months that might alter some of these comments. In addition, understand that this is the opinion of one gamer, however I will attempt to outline the facts about the game, offering up only my opinions on why a fact may be good or bad to give you the best information to make these judgments for yourself. So with that, let's get started.

GAMEPLAY
This is really the bread and butter for an MMO game because regardless of how great the story is or how great the community is, you still inevitably spend most of your time actually playing the game and gameplay is a major factor. I'm going to break this into sections of gameplay because I have a great deal to talk about.

Technical
At first glance the game seems quite polished for a new MMO title compared to a variety of other recent releases that have felt rushed and rewarded early adopters with buggy systems, significant down/patch time, and instability. Guild Wars 2 actually managed to pull off a fairly smooth release, though there was some down time initially. Getting the game setup and launched is fairly painless and the user interface looks fairly nice. However, the interface options are extremely limited when compared to other comparable MMO's of the time. Aside from a couple of minor options such as resizing the overall interface to small/medium/large, you can't really reposition or resize any of the elements of your onscreen interface. Additionally, even resizing the interface to "small" results in an almost un-readable, unusable auction house (trading post) due to the rendering of the text in the font they selected.

The character creation is fairly painless and actually pretty decent, although a few additional colors and looks would have been nice, you still have a pretty good selection and is fairly comparable to other games. Nothing really ground-breaking in this area.

The game starts you off with a decent introduction, storyline, and tutorial of sorts that helps you get going, but also doesn't lead you around on a leash with carrot quests and actually gives you a bit of freedom to make choices, explore, and figure things out on your own. So if you are looking for some handholding, you may be disappointed. I personally prefer NOT to be led around on a leash and like the freedom the game affords.

Some elements that are lacking in the game are direct person-to-person trading and dungeon finders. Most MMO's have allowed people to trade directly with each other, however this game uses a mail system which is actually quite nice, but lacks that personal touch of having to meet up with someone to trade. Mailing items is free so there isn't a downside to it really other than if you liked meeting up with people in person for trades. In addition, trading systems made it easier to prevent getting scammed out of money since mailing items for money relies on the honor system. Now, the game does have an auction house referred to as the trading post. The trading post was down for quite awhile after launch but has finally been fairly stable and available in recent weeks. The trading post itself is game-wide meaning that everyone on every server sells stuff on the same trading post. This comes with pros and cons. Some pros are that items sell very quickly and most items are available at all times. Some of the cons are that playing the market becomes very difficult and all but a handful of items sell for more than it costs to simply vendor items. So if you had aspirations of crafting items and then making millions of selling them to others, you are going to have a tough time. Not impossible, but tough. Just to give an example, many items available on the trading post number in the thousands, whereas other games may have only had 3-5 of that item for sale. Again, hard to sell high when the supply is low and demand is high because the supply seems to always be higher in this game than the demand for pretty much every item.

Now, again, there is no dungeon finder in this game. Finding a group for a dungeon run involves either joining a guild and asking around if anyone want to do a run or standing outside of the dungeon asking for someone to invite you. I know this seems like the stone age for a new MMO, but I personally like this as a long-time MMO veteran. Some old-school components like talking to people and asking to get into a dungeon with a conversation are things I miss in these new games. I know some of this can be construed as elitism as usually these conversations devolve into gear examinations and questions on if you know how to play, but nevertheless, it was an aspect of the community I liked. However, the one major element that is missing in this game is that you cannot "check" other people's gear. Combining this with the fact that you can "transmute" any equipment look onto another means you can never really tell how a person is geared. They might be geared with a potato sack or the might have the most epic gear in the game and you cannot easily tell. On the plus side, gear doesn't really matter much in this game as it does in others so you just end up taking pretty much anyone. Of course, the equipment in this game is another conversation entirely which I'll cover a bit later.

The Trinity
Okay, so in their attempt to be "different" and to revolutionize the MMO genre, ArenaNet decided to make two major changes from the status quo. First, they removed the concept of the "Trinity" from Guild Wars 2. For those that may not know what the trinity is, in MMO's it consists of three main player archetypes: (1) tanks, (2) healers, and (3) DPS or DD's (damage per second/damage dealing classes)

The second main change they made was to make all classes all things for all situations. Meaning that you can carry your own weight for any situation so the days of shouting for a healer role needed for your party would be over. Imagine each class being a jack-of-all-trades. Their attempt was to make it so that you could run dungeons or any other type of content with a party comprised of 5 people regardless of what classes they are.

Now, at first glance it may seem like abolishing the trinity and creating an environment where any class can fill pretty much any role seems like a dream come true right? Unfortunately this is not really the case and where Guild Wars 2 falls down is in the execution. First off, the once tried and true trinity has been replaced in this game with a new trinity of sorts consisting of, (1) Support, (2) Control, and (3) DPS or DD's

A support role is one that does not contribute significantly to the overall DPS in a battle but instead focuses on buffs, boons, debuffs, etc helping other party members improve their performance and in some cases, healing others with regens or AoE heals. A control role is one that is able to manage crowds of enemies so they do not overwhelm the party, assist with separating or holding enemies, stunning, knocking down or back enemies, and variety of other things that essentially lock down enemies from being able to do much of anything. Finally, DPS/DD are still the same old as they have always been, spank stuff. So while it is true the old trinity does not exist, there is still some form of a trinity because for the most part, all of these roles are needed for some of the best content in the game. While you may be able to get by without anyone filling one of these roles, it will be incredibly difficult and tedious.

Now, one important aspect to understand is the jack-of-all-trades theme the game developers attempted to create. It is true that any class can pretty much fill all three roles (support, control, and dps), unfortunately some classes are just better suited to perform some roles over others and still other classes simply cannot perform well at all in some roles. This results in people still shouting in-game for specific setups and classes to fill certain roles so their attempt to allow everyone to do everything and eliminate the needs for certain (roles) has essentially failed. I will say they have gotten closer than any other game, but they haven't quite nailed it.

Probably the most frustrating thing about the battle system and the lack of the trinity and well-defined roles is most battles devolve into a veritable zerg fest with little to no strategy from a team perspective. The battle's seem very individualized meaning that it's an every man (or woman) for themselves type of mentality. Since there is no hate control in this game, enemies wander between all party members taking cheap shots at mages or lightly geared players and typically down players very quickly. Each player then runs around raising others and continuing the zerg. It all feels a bit Benny Hill most of the time. Now I know some may disagree with this sentiment but this is the reality for most players. In addition, for the moment the trash mobs seem to be the biggest sticking point in dungeons and the bosses end up feeling a bit underpowered comparatively.

As a result of these strange battle mechanics, many players have taken to stacking on defensive attributes over offensive attributes resulting in slower kills only compounding the monotony. Lastly, right now players that lean towards a melee style of play are at a significant disadvantage in the PvE elements of the game because of a number of factors.

First, you cannot alter the visual settings of the game for many things such as particle effects, show only my effects, toggle effects, etc. Therefore on large boss fights you often cannot even see what you are attacking because all you can see is a giant white glow of effects going off all around the boss. You also cannot see yourself or any potential traps or AoE's being laid at your feet. Instead you are left to stare at your health bar and hope you can catch it quickly enough when your health starts dropping dramatically to then dodge away and recover. Unfortunately this only works in a few cases as many of the melee attacks from the boss or AoE's will one or two-shot most players.

Secondly, you have limited dodge capability restricted by your endurance. Typically you get about two dodges before running out of endurance and you have to regenerate the endurance over time or use ability to get it back quicker. While this system works for slower attacking enemies it's really only a quick escape hatch for enemies that attack quickly in the hopes that the enemy will shift it's attention to someone else while you recover. Overall the dodging works fairly well for all players, but again, melee are at a disadvantage since the enemy that attack quickly are right in your face.

Due to these elements, many players using what would be considered melee-type classes, end up just switching to ranged weapons for many fights and bosses. This isn't required, but it does tend to make everything much easier and smoother for everyone. As a melee warrior myself, I had first-hand experience with this and it took some getting used to. I was able to handle most encounters fairly well as a melee starting in low-level dungeons all the way up through the level 80 content. It took some work and practice to get just right and also required specific build tuning to survive, but it was possible. Regardless, I would on occasion switch to ranged and immediately felt a sense of relief and ease about the encounters. So once again, the game currently lends itself more towards being ranged friendly than melee so keep that in mind when selecting a class.

Hardcore or Casual?
What many people want to know about an MMO is if the game is geared towards the hardcore crowd or the more casual players. So is this game for the hardcore or for the casual crowd? I'm going to go out on a limb a little here and say this game is really geared to the casual audience. Perhaps more hardcore elements will be introduced later, but right now, this simply isn't the case. However, I'll present some facts here and let you decide for yourself.

Hardcore Aspects
1. Lack of direction. The game basically tells you to figure it out on your own. There are a few tutorial-type quests, but very minimal and they don't explain a great deal. You basically get dumped into the world with a couple of quick pointers and it's left to you to go forth and decide what to do next. Sort of like the single-player sandbox games.

2. Travel. The amount of time you will spend walking in the game is huge. There are no mounts in this game and aside from teleports, there are no other forms of travel such as airships or boats. Once you unlock a location via what are called waypoints, you can teleport to that location any time...for a small fee. Unfortunately the small fee scales as you get higher in level which can occasionally have you shaking your head saying screw it, I'll walk. The lack of mounts and level synching (see that section for detail) in the game also make it frustrating if you decide to walk because you slow down considerably when struck by an enemy which happens a great deal.

3. Dungeons. The dungeons in this game are considerably difficult for random groups and are not tuned well to work with groups with odd compositions. As mentioned previously, the lack of the trinity results in a sort of every man (or woman) for themselves battle structure. Certainly there are some team work elements and guilds or static groups will build this over time, but essentially for most groups, everyone is responsible mainly for taking care of themselves.

Casual Aspects
1. Solo Play. This game is tuned to allow players to accomplish almost everything the game has to offer by themselves. Very little cooperation is required aside from dungeons and world bosses, but most of the content is geared towards solo play. Events and quests scale by the number of people but for the most part, the game is very solo friendly. Players can drop-in and drop-out at anytime and doesn't require large blocks of time to accomplish things.

2. The grind. Don't let the hype or the first 10 levels fool you, this game has elements of a grind though they are hidden better than most MMO's. Guild Wars 2 does a great job of offering you multiple paths to leveling including grinding off enemies, performing fetch quests, completing missions (personal story), participating in dynamic events (DE's), discovering new locations, crafting, and even mining/logging/harvesting items. Due to the wealth of ways to gain experience, the grind can be as easy or painful as you personally make it. Though there have been some people that have grinded to the level cap (80) in just a few short days, most will probably take a few weeks.

3. Time. Again, as mentioned previously, time is on your side in this game. The flexibility the game offers you in paths to gaining experience and whether you want to play solo or with friends really provides you with a number of options for maximizing your time in the game. You don't really find yourself in the situation where you "have" to log on for an event, raid, or simply in order to keep up. Certainly some guilds will have event times and such, but since all the party content is geared to 5 players or less, managing large raids is no longer a real issue or time sink to coordinate.

4. Crafting. Crafting is fairly easy in Guild Wars 2 and also easy to understand. The game makes it easy to level crafts unlike some other games that require you to specialize in 10 different crafts in order to craft components and subcomponents, etc just to make one piece of equipment. This game allows you to pick one or two crafts and everything you need to level or create items in that craft are craftable by that craft. Confusing? Let me explain. In some games, in order to create a Plate Body Armor, you had to level your mining in order to mine the right ore. Then you had to level a craft that let you smelt the ore into ingots. Then you had to level a craft to be able to create the cotton lining for the armor, then you finally had to level a craft to actually create the armor piece. In this game, crafting a Plate Body Armor requires only one craft and all the smelting and inner pieces are all created by that same craft. I'm sorry if I made it sound confusing, but it really is very easy to craft in this game compared to other some other MMO's.

5. Sense of accomplishment. Guild Wars 2 gives players the ability to feel like they have accomplished most of what the game has to offer with very little effort compared to more hardcore MMO's. Again, most of the content requires less time to complete and elitist type equipment doesn't really exist aside from some legendary weapons at this time. Some of the hardcore elements like grinding karma or dungeons to get gear typically result in cosmetic changes to your character without a significant change on your ability to perform.

So in the end, there are some hardcore and some casual aspects of the game. However, I have to give the nod to the casual gameplay right now since many of what are considered hardcore elements for an MMO either don't exist or haven't been implemented yet if ever.

Battle
The battle system in this game is more simplistic than many other MMO's with a very limited number of attacks and skills a player can use based on the weapon and class. Though the game offers a number of weapons, you only really equip two at a time you can switch between and then specialize in those tuning your build around them. To keep it simple, you get around 5 attacks per weapon type and 1 special or burst attack, along with a handful of skills you can slot in three utility slots. You also get 1 healing slot and 1 elite skill slot. Some classes get a bit more than others, but this hopefully gives you an idea.

Now, you can dual-wield some weapons like axes or swords, and others are two-handed like hammers and rifles. Depending on your combinations with dual-wielding, you can get different attack options. Every class can equip two sets of weapons at once, meaning I can have two axes equipped and then also a hammer if I want. During combat I can pretty much swap between those at-will if I want to change it up. You can also equip two sets of weapons for underwater battle in the same way since underwater weapons only work underwater. Examples would be a spear and a speargun that I can swap between.

You cannot unequip or re-equip other weapons during combat however so you need to make sure you have the right two weapons equipped before jumping into battle. For example if I have two axes and a hammer equipped and half-way during the fight realize I would do better using a Longbow, you cannot switch unless you leave the battle entirely.

The battle mechanics itself are more action-based than static or turned-based like in some MMO's. It's pretty close to true-action combat but the limitations on dodging prevent it from being pure action. In addition, a handful of attacks cannot be executed while moving and the targeting system can occasionally feel cumbersome.

One interesting component is the concept of being "downed" similar to games like "Gears of War" or "Borderlands" where you don't die immediately but instead or put into a downed state. In Guild Wars 2 you can also take a couple of actions depending on your class while you are downed such as throwing rocks at the enemy or temporarily rallying yourself to fight on. If you kill an enemy while downed you immediately rally. You can also be revived by someone else fairly quickly. If you do bleed out entirely it takes much longer for someone to revive you or you can simply teleport to a nearby waypoint.

One major element of battle that is somewhat surprising for a next-gen MMO is the lack of options for selecting attacks and ordering them. As mentioned, you get 5 basic attacks and you cannot change them or select others. They are literally set in stone. In addition, you cannot reorder them in the interface leaving you to rely on key bind changes to order them in a way comfortable for you.

Overall the battle system is pretty smooth and fun though it could probably stand to have a few more options.

Level Synch
The concept of level synch is not new to the MMO genre but has been taken to a new level in Guild Wars 2 which has both some ups and some downs. The game automatically level synch's players (down only) to whatever the optimal level is for a given area of the game. So if you are level 80 and you go to one of the starting zone you will be synched down to around level 5 depending on the section of that zone you are in. You still keep all of your skills, traits, and equipment (equipment is scaled down in attributes) so you are a little stronger than you were at true level 5, however you are weaker than you were at level 80. In addition, every enemy in the game that would have aggro'd you at level 5 will still aggro you. Note that the system does not synch you upwards meaning if you are level 1 in an 80 zone, you will still be level 1.

PROS:
1. You can pretty much gain experience and level in any zone regardless of your level as long as you are not underleveled. This makes it easy to still enjoy low-level content and join in with friends at any level.
2. You never outlevel content. You can stay in the very first starting zone and level all the way to 80 if you want, although it would be slower than if you moved on.
3. Since the gear scales, you don't have to carry around optimal equipment for lower levels. One set of equipment carries you regardless of your level synch.
4. You don't have to worry about high level characters clearing out areas of the zone making it harder for you to complete tasks.

CONS:
1. You never really feel awesome. You always feel weak. For example, when you join up with a level 1 friend as a level 80 and end up dying to a group of level 5 boars.
2. Farming becomes tedious and time-consuming. You can't really just go in and wipe out groups of enemies for fat loot. You end up running around to DE's tagging enemies as the most efficient way to farm.
3. Mining, harvesting, and logging becomes more frustrating. Some of the best nodes are in areas packed with enemies that will attack you, interrupt you, or even kill you.
4. Even with +run speed piled high, if you get attacked it immediately drops you to a slow crawl which can be very annoying when you are trying to move quickly through a zone.
5. Once you are at level 80 and simply want to go around collecting the points of interest and finishing quests, you will find yourself struggling to stay alive and relying on cheap tactics, terrain glitches, or waiting for someone to show up an help kill something with you in order to finish up zones.

Progression
Now this is where I personally think the game falls down. One of the cornerstone principles of any MMO is the concept of progression. Progression is the concept of "progressing" or advancing your character in the game. This can be accomplished in many different ways such as increasing your level, adding crafts, acquisition of wealth, acquisition of gear such as weapons and armor, and improving your "social status" in the community.

Guild Wars 2 does a great job of allowing you to increase your character in level. However that's really where the game sort of ends. In the current version of the game, there really isn't an endgame to speak of. There also really aren't any "hooks" that keep the player coming back and logging in every day. It almost feels like reaching the level 80 cap is sort of the end of the road. Almost as though you "beat" the game. As you know, in most MMO's, you almost never really beat the game. You reach milestones, but there are always other milestones to reach or stretch goals that make you continue to keep coming back. Guild Wars 2 doesn't really have that in any meaningful way.

Let's look at a few examples that are prominent in other MMO's.
1. Gear Progression. Guild Wars 2 for the most part if crafted and readily available for pennies on the dollar due to the ease of acquisition of materials, ease of leveling crafts, and game-wide trading post. Gear collected off bosses or dungeons are typically aesthetic changes or enhancements that offer little to no real value over crafted gear with the exception of legendary weapons.
2. No Raid Content. The game has a limited number of dungeons and are all tuned to 5-man parties. This not only limits the need for guilds but also reduces competition and diminishes community.
3. Elitism. Say what you will about the negatives of elitism but in the end, most MMO players continue playing so they can show off their "goods" to others. Since you cannot examine other players nor do you really see much of a noticeable difference in performance based on gear, elitism doesn't really exist.
4. Crafting. Again, crafting is fairly easy to cap within a few days and the incentives for crafting such as making money or controlling the market or supply of items simply do not exist.
5. Wealth. Amassing wealth in this game doesn't really amount to much. The lack of items to actually spend your money on or strive for do not exist aside from a couple of armor sets (aesthetic in nature only) or a legendary weapon.
6. Improving your social status. The game itself doesn't have much of a community. The community the game does have is friendly, but again since the game is so geared towards solo play or low-man events and the lack of any sort of "gear" to show off as well as the lack of a single home endgame hub really don't offer much in the way of social status.

So overall, the game definitely feels like a game that you "complete" and then set back on the shelf waiting for some kind of extra content to be released, a DLC, or expansion. Perhaps this was purposeful since the game doesn't have a subscription, but perhaps they simply haven't had time to develop those "hooks" yet. Only time will tell.

PvP (Player vs. Player) / WvW (World vs. World)
I won't cover this in great detail because I don't tend to be a fan of PvP in MMO games but nevertheless will provide some detail. Unlike other games, in PvP for Guild Wars 2, the player enters PvP at level 80 (cap) regardless of your real level in-game. You also get access to all the skills and abilities for your class and also get a full set of armor. This immediately creates a balance in the game unlike other games. In addition, the game does not offer incentives for playing PvP other than, it's fun. Meaning you can be a first time PvP player or one that has been playing for months and the veteran player has no advantages over the new player aside from his (or her) wits and strategy.

Guild Wars 2 does a good job at offering a variety of things to do in PvP such as capturing objectives, king of the hill style, capture the flag, and just all out war.

The World versus World play involves hundreds of players representing one server performing tasks and capturing control points, killing others, etc over span of weeks for control of areas of the map resulting in an eventual winner. In WvW, you do get a couple of bonuses such as experience and loot for use in PvE and also the world server winner automatically bestows special bonus stats or gifts upon all players on that server.

Community
The community on Guild Wars 2 is very friendly and also helpful. This is due in part to the fact that the game encourages you to cooperate. In Guild Wars 2, you actually get better rewards the more people that participate in an event. In addition, there is no "claiming" system which allows you to hop into a battle mid-fight and get credit for completing it as well as experience and chance at loot. All players also get their own treasure chests and loot that is not fought over. A good example of encouraging cooperation is for skill point challenges. Often a skill point challenge involves fighting a special enemy that pops when you talk to the NPC. When the enemy pops, it alerts all those within the area that a boss is in play and needs to be killed thus encouraging those in the area to come over and help out.

Other examples include the ability to immediately see on your mini-map a downed player needing assistance and the ability to revive anyone using any class. You also even get experience for raising someone. In addition, multiple people can raise a person at one time speeding up the time it takes to raise someone.

This game really does shine in this way because you actually find yourself happy to see someone else show up when you are performing a task or battling an enemy whereas in many other MMO's you find yourself cursing and yelling at the other person for kill stealing.

STORY
Each race has it's own starting city which is nice though if you had aspirations of playing with some buddies you will have to do a little bit of teleporting to the main hub and then on to the other cities to make that happen. This is free to do and not difficult. You will have different stories unless you all selected the same exact options. At level 30, the stories all come together so you can easily play together from that point onward without much difficulty.

The concept of the personal story is great in that you make decisions and selections and based on those actions develop your character in a way that suits you, similar to games like Mass Effect that try to do this. Unfortunately it ends up falling short on the delivery. Unlike Mass Effect, the game does not really alter your dialog options or really change the way people react to you based on your choices. For example, if you act like a stone cold killer you might expect people to be fearful of you or react negatively, yet everyone in game is as cheerful as ever as though you are their best friend in the world.

Some of the personal stories are also quite weak in their delivery depending on the choices you made at the time of your character creation. While this may seem like a problem with the selections you made and less of a problem with the game, unfortunately some races simply don't get offered any good stories so are stuck choosing between bad and worse. For example, the result of my selections led me down a personal story that I can only equate to the storyline of "Dude Where's My Car".

Despite this, the game does a fairly good job of delivering story, lore, and an intriguing world to players and fans of this element in MMO's. In addition, the voice acting and on-screen character dialog shots are a nice change of pace (albeit repetitive after awhile). For those of you who do not like it, there is a "Skip" button during every scene. :)

CASH SHOP
Yes, this game does have a cash shop. For those of you against cash shops I have to say AreneNet has done a good job (so far) of making this a non-issue. Everything available in the cash shop are nice to have's, aesthetic changes, or things that make your life easier like additional character slots or bank vaults. There definitely are no play to win items at this point.

The best part about the cash shop in Guild Wars 2 is that you can trade in-game gold for "gems" which is the currency needed to purchase items from the cash shop. The currency rate fluctuates based on how much gold/gem trading has been done, but as an example, I recently purchased a new bank slot doubling my bank space for around 1 gold and 50 silver (600 gems). It probably only took me a couple of days of casual playing (not farming gold or items) to acquire that much gold. So this is a good option for people that don't want to spend real money for in-game items. For those who like to pay real money, that option is available as well.

GRAPHICS
The graphics in Guild Wars 2 are pretty good. Obviously if measured against some of the heavy hitters in the past like WoW, they are considerably better since the game is so much newer. However they aren't as good as some recent MMO's such as FFXIV, Tera, or even Vindictus. Overall nothing to really write home about but not too shabby either. The game can run on average PC's fairly well supporting higher-end gaming PC's with a number of graphic options.

The graphics of the interface are nice but unfortunately not customizable so this is a pretty big negative for a next-gen MMO considering interface customization has become an assumed out-of-the-box function in today's MMO world. Filtering and options for the chat windows and maps are very poor as well.

SOUND
The sound in this game and music are good. Every zone has unique music that is decent and the sound effects are quite good. Unfortunately the game does have a few bugs that pop up once in awhile causing some sound effects to repeatedly pop over and over again very loudly which can be annoying. For the most part the music and sounds are very good and the voice acting is also very good. Again, there aren't a whole lot of sounds customization options but I can't fault the game for that since that seems to be the norm in these types of games.

REPLAY VALUE
Normally an MMO game would score big points here because they seemingly have no end and give gamers almost limitless hours of playability and replayability. However, the lack of endgame and progression in Guild Wars 2 does give the game an almost artificial end to the game and gives gamers very little reason to pick the game back up. Content additions and expansions may help with that, however right now, there simply isn't a whole lot to do once you reach the endgame. You also have to ask yourself if an expansion comes out four months from now, will you really still care enough to purchase it and make the jump back into the world of Tyria? For some I expect the answer will be yes, but for many, I'm afraid the answer might be no.

OVERALL
Overall this game fails to deliver on all the promises made by ArenaNet, but still provides an enjoyable game worth picking up and playing. Gamers should feel they got their money's worth when compared to other standard game titles but may feel slighted if compared against their expectations of an MMO. It's up to each gamer to determine the relative worth of their investment and I personally could stop playing the game today and feel I got more than my money's worth already. For hardcore MMO'ers who have been looking for that next big MMO to capture their imagination and draw them in for years to come will likely want to keep on looking. However, for gamers not looking for a long term commitment and simply want to pick up a fun and enjoyable game that allows them to socially interact with others during their individual journey's, this might be the game for you.

Guild Wars 2 is a fun but ultimately disappointing MMO in that it tries to make some changes to the foundational elements in current leading MMO's, however it doesn't quite bring them all together in a way that compels you to continue playing the game over an extended period of time.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/19/12

Game Release: Guild Wars 2 (US, 08/28/12)


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