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Guild Wars 2 - Overall Review
Now, we've seen the torrent of new media that's completely drowned the MMORPG world. Guild Wars 2, no matter what company you are in the gaming industry is definitely a game to keeping a close eye on.
We've seen countless articles about every aspect people, loved. The things people hated. The attributes that they wanted changed and so forth, but let's put all of these factors together and truly decide, is Guild Wars 2 the game we have all hoped and dream it would be? Stick with me and lets see!
We'll review it using the 5 major principals of MMORPG gaming, and give it a rating out of 10. I know, I know it's a pretty over used way of reviewing things, but I feel a behemoth like Guild Wars 2 at least deserved to be rated on its individual massive features as well as its self as a whole.
What are those 5 major attributes you say?
1. Social – How well does the MMORPG integrate the community?
2. PvP – Are the player vs. Player functions fun, balanced?
3. PvE – Does the story engage the player, is it interesting?
4. Longevity – Will the game keep the players interest for a long time?
5. Innovation – What's new? Is the new good, or bad?
So, let's begin!
Guild Wars 2 follows the same route as Guild Wars 1, in the fact that there is no global chat. If you want something you can to the area and chat with the people for that function. Many people disagree with this, but I for one thing it is a fantastic thing. Lions Arch is a self-proclaimed 'trade city' and what Arena Net mean by that is, besides being a useful hub for almost every NPC you need and being the middle of most places so you can teleport to almost anywhere, it is also a vast and beautiful area where the whole map is in ear shot of general chat, so you can spam your trade there for specific items. Beyond that if you're looking for something but don't want to have to spam in a town and trade, there is a very good auction house system which you can access anytime, anywhere. It charges you a small amount, but for not getting your hands dirty, well worth the price. It also has features such as 'match best price' and 'meet best buyers offer' it's a very good system, however not everyone likes auction houses so there are trade towns like Lions Arch where you can merchant of your stuff all you like.
Besides trade, the guild features are very good in which you can join multiple guilds and choose which one to represent. So you can have your main W3 guild and then your small friend group for when you want to play with your casual friends and vice versa. The PvP channels are also very good, in which you can talk in general (again, ear shot) Team, where you can speak to the whole team and Squad which is a one way channel that Squad leaders can direct their squad members in location and the chat is only directions.
Guild Wars 2 has done an amazing job with the social aspect and they even plan to release android+iphone app so you can guild chat and check the market place through your phone.
Well, I've already discussed a small amount of PvP in social, however that doesn't get into the half of it, I could write a whole article about it. PvP in this game is disgustingly addictive. There are (as it stands) two kinds of PvP; Structured PvP –
This is the competitive kind of PvP, everything is balanced on even settings and there is a multitude of ways to play, including hot join (you just join a random server and play), pick up play (you create a 5 man group and fight other 5 man groups) and Tournament play (5 man competitive) This is great if you like Guild Wars 2 gold Arena PvP or really want to get into Guild Wars 2 as an e-sport. I feel like classes are specifically going to be balanced around this mode which is a great sign that Arena Net wants to take Guild Wars 2 and make it the first true competitive MMORPG. At the moment there is only one planned game mode and two maps ready for launch; however that is specifically Arena Nets wishes and no other reason. Conquest is the game mode and it is a take and hold game type, very similar to Dominion of League of Legends. Other maps are planned, including an underwater map (which sounds amazing)
As for the other PvP type, there is World vs. World vs. World, or W3 as we call it. This is where it gets real. Teams of up to 1kvs. 1kvs1k allowed on one map, it's insane. Each server has a home world and there is a world that no one owns and is contested by all three teams. In the middle is the stone mist castle, the biggest keep and the hardest to take. It grants the most points and is usually the deciding factor in a win or a loss for your server.
This PvP type is a huge time sink and tremendously fun. I spent literally almost 20 hours straight playing this before I realized that it was taking of my life and that was just a beta weekend. I'm a sucker for siege warfare and I love the fact 3 faction's is coming back into style. I really do.
The reason it's insane is the fact there isn't just other players; there are items of interest and siege weapons. This adds an insane spin on things and the never ending action just makes it the best thing in the world.
Now despite the amazing time I had, I still feel like there should be more in the game, a simple one that isn't in there is duels. No deathmatch mode in Battlegrounds and no "Guild War" system in Guild Wars 2... strange eh?
Now this is where the game truly stands out as a surprise. PvPers, think you're just going to ignore the story? Think again. I don't read quest text, I never once have but Guild Wars 2 had me watching cut scenes, reading the text and getting involved with the lore. It really pulls you in. The characters and interesting and well thought out and the story is engaging. I think the biggest interest is that you can actually have an effect on the story; you're not just following a story path.
I created alts of all the races to play their stories and I found them truly amazing how at level one, the first thing they do to get you engaged in the story is through a huge boss monster your way. Of course it's easy to kill but just the fact that the first quest isn't "go kill some cows for me" instead it's "We're all going to die unless you save us" truly a way to let me know I am the hero of Tyria, I mean look for yourself the stories are completely different.
Each story has different beginning and dialogue depending on what options you picked at the beginning so even right at the start your choices have affected the story. But that's not all! Not only is there an amazing personal story, there is no grinding! Out goes the old boring system of killing monsters for no reason, in comes Dynamic Events where what you do pushes along events happening around the world, from as insignificant as getting a farm back to working operation, or as large as a dragon attacking the nearby quest area and destroying everything. This game is completely hectic and it feels as alive as you are.
Sure the game is awesome, but will the game last? This can be a killer for MMO's. It has single handedly killed and destroyed many great games that were innovative or fun because the game just didn't have enough content, but if we take a look at Arena Net's intentions, we have nothing to fear.
At launch we already have enough to last us at least half a year. Maybe 3 months if you're a hard core player, but from the sounds of it, regular content updates and expansions sound like that's what's on Arena Net's mind as they're already talking about what they want to do after launch, what they don't want on launch, etc. It feels like they're making this game stick around for the long run, just like they did for Guild Wars 1.
I can't be completely certain but from what we've seen and what Arena Net have said, this game is going to last a long time.
This is a subject that really matters me and can really drive an interest home to the players. Innovation is what drives the games industry forwards and pushes each game developer to be better and bolder than the last. This is truly where games shine.
Take a look at the infamous phrase 'WoW clone' it simply means that it doesn't do anything new since the last major success, World of warcraft. It's a very obvious and safe tactic to follow what last did well, but it will never do better if it is only imitating. This is where Guild Wars 2 really brings home the bacon, everything is new or innovative. Everything has been designed from the ground up to defy the rules of the MMORPG genre. The very definition of innovation. Not only is there an abundance of new ideas, they've revamped old idea's and added the old Arena Net twist to it. I'm really looking forward to see how they implement their idea's and what new idea's come to the table.
Whether you like MMORPG's or not, whether you've grown to despise the genre or just drifted away from it, give Guild Wars 2 a chance, it might just surprise you.