|Post Date: 20:48 03-02-2013
Comment: In 2005, all online role players wondered what would happen in the battle between World of Warcraft and the not-so-established variant, Guild Wars. Guild Wars had one last ace up his sleeve that would prove essential to the game’s continued survival, but it was not without having had to compromise significantly.Guild Wars had no monthly fee. If someone bought the game, you could play whenever you wanted to. But as a result, Arena Net, didn’t have a budget to constant and amazing updates, and at the same time, it was not possible to meet strangers in the world if you had not already been grouped together in one city.The journey from level 1 to 20 was a bit too monotonous. To be honest I can say that the online roleplaying feeling never really was there fully, although Guild Wars had its obvious qualities. For example, the world was never presented as an open, broad, clear, coherent and vibrant one. The fact that you could not happen to encounter others in the forests did not make things better, and why World of Warcraft was the clear winner in the roleplaying war, wasn’t something that I could question.Before the sequel came out, it has since day one been clear that Arena Net is no longer going to play in Division 2. The fictional world of Tyria is absolutely huge this time, and where ever my hunter turns around, I meet new players who share my curiosity for what the mildly realistic (but still delightfully twisted) continent has to offer.There are obvious nods given to the fans of the series but you don’t need to be a rogue veterans to enjoy everything the game has to offer. On the contrary, the layup feels simpler and more inviting than ever. Ugly mission icons and archetypal time workers of anonymous characters has namely been completely removed in favor of a completely new type of dynamic online role-playing – with a focus on collaboration.As I begin my journey, a scout is marking a few points on my map and I can then choose what I want to explore and do. Once in place, I am always greeted by a new form of crisis that must be addressed on several fronts with the help of several heroes. This can apply egg fallen from a nest which some players need to focus on while other have to defend the egg carriers against attacking worms.Now, I am rewarded for helping other players whether we play in the same team or not. Something that of course opens social doors in a whole new way than before where each face is a friendly one. Forget the frustration moments when other players ‘steal’ your enemies (and your precious time) from you, since this doesn’t really matter anymore.
The feeling that the world really lives and breathes are getting stronger by various events that drop in time to time, where a number of players suddenly have to drop everything that they are doing to focus on an attack on a nearby village instead. This is just an example though, so it can happen other things too.
Everything that takes place results in experience points and it is soon clear that the journey to level 80 will be an entertaining one. My only complaint here is that the illusion of Tyria as a living place is disturbed, slightly if you happen to visit the same place as before. For example, a farmer might need help with the exact same chore again and again. Overall, the game invites me to continue along the highway in the form of a main campaign, but it is you are still allowed to wander off and explore other parts of the world.
What happens in the main campaign is decided, nicely enough, by a bunch of questions during character creation, where for example, I can decide if I woke up with amnesia from when I got drunk or whether I participated in a tavern fight against my old rivals who must now be put into place.
This means that I can create a character of the same race a few times without repeating myself too much, and this kind of simple ideas raise the gaming experience to become something much more than just another World of Warcraft clone. In addition to this, you can detail your apperance excellent in many, many ways.
The game’s eight classes are quite different from each other without ever falling into a classic RPG designs. It’s never given that anyone is going to heal while another receives a beating. Instead, battles take place in an ”adventure style” where you have to dodge, attack, heal yourself and keep track of what the enemy really does.
The word ”dynamics” enters the picture, and represents the difference between something as simple as shoot an arrow with the bow from a hill and to do it on the same ground level as the enemy. Because I never have to have an enemy in sight to shoot an arrow. Instead, it is enough that I press the button “1”.
The higher up I am located, the farther the arrow will go, and the farther the arrow goes, the more damage it does. Positioning and strategy suddenly becomes very important aspects at the same time that the various attacks and my faithful pet brings another couple of meters deep to dig in.
As if that were not enough, different types of weapons offers various types of attacks which must be unlocked before they can be used. A giant hammer for example, is a slow, powerful and is focusing much more on to hold the enemy in place while a smooth two-handed sword are using completely different, faster types of attacks.
In addition, all classes are using two different sets of weapons from level 7 which also offers variety and freedom. Concretely, this means that I, as a ranger can help my pets even at close range, if I want to, and I do, after all.
Sometimes the number of players on one place tends to go to extremes, which means that I barely have time to shoot more than one arrow before the enemy is dead. This should not be anything but a result of too few and overcrowded servers.
Everything from the design of the game’s massive bosses and vast countries to the softness of the animations when my character is jumping our of the way of an attack to respond seconds later with a burning fireball is in absolute world class. No other currently existing online role-playing game looks like good and I have no problem with awarding top score in graphics to Guild Wars 2.
Except for soft and pliable animations, they have put ridiculous amount of time devoted to the design that places all possible competition in the corner. Just when I think I’ve seen everything I’m surprised by something new that either towering in the distance or just lurking in the form of a cool detail. Little things like fire spells turn into lava and act quite differently under the water enhances the experience yet another notch.
Even the music is doing its job perfectly where especially Sylvari theme made ??me drop a few tears. At least almost. Well, maybe not tears but I at least started to sweat a bit. They are blending harp with piano to create the right atmosphere for the tree’s cautious symbiotic living with nature. If I listen to the Norn theme instead, they offer me deep drums and a ransom to brass section which reveals a more traditional warfare.
It is noticeable that the sound effects have been selected and recorded with care. They don’t have the same impressive footprint like, for example Diablo III or Battlefield 3, but here, Guild Wars 2 is an unrivaled winner in its genre. In a perfect world, I would have been blown off my chair from an explosion, or felt completely isolated from the world above while swimming in deep water. But obviously, that’s a bit exaggerated, but I still think it could been a little better. I still can’t complain about it though.
Speaking of water, it takes place in large parts of the game below the surface, where each character is equipped with oxygen masks from the outset. This is one of the parts that I was worried initially, because everyone hates water maps? Fortunately, Arena Net have solved it all nicely by giving significant boost to the swimming strokes and, as I mentioned earlier, designing underwater attacks differently than on land. To cross or explore the lake is simply quite fun, rather than a slow and frustrating burden in many other games in the genre.
Those who do not feel comfortable with exploration, but rather focuses on the series’ mainstay, battles between players, can always teleport to immense battlefields and immediately get boosted up to level 80 and related equipment. This has never been the most attractive side of the online role playing games for me, but for those who appreciate the grandiose wars against others will be able to drill down to this for many years to come.
The game system is quick and easy to enter in. Blue meets Red and each class is equally important. There is always reason to fight when the rewards, in the form of new equipment await the most ardent. But at the same time, it’s nimble fingers and understanding of the game that apply if you want to win, because the statistical differences are smaller than ever in Guild Wars 2. Something that I personally appreciate, even if I have said that I will spend more time to just exploring and bosses than PvP.
I could go on talking and talking forever. Go into detail about each individual class and race, tell us more about skills, babbling about different professions, talk about instances or type about each character’s personality development. I’m not gonna do that though. It would be boring for me and ruin it for you rather than help you. The only thing you really need to know is that you must own Guild Wars 2, whether it’s because you want to give online role-playing a first chance or because you’re tired of World of Warcraft’s time consuming gear-grinding.
Finally, I would also note that this is the future of online role play. This is exciting, fresh, and fun. For real. Now you just have to decide whether you want to join and play or if you want to remain where you are.