6 Reasons To Play Guild Wars 2

April 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 17 Comments
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On April 1st I posted a few reasons not to play Guild Wars 2. Most people were on to it right away, but my dry delivery may have gone over a few peoples heads. I think part of the problem was that my satirical reasons for not playing Guild Wars 2 actually parodied real blog posts I’ve read and on some level the real concerns of some people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to voice my own concerns but as time has passed, nearly a year from that post, my worries have slowly been eroded and my enthusiasm has surely grown.

Ever since I wrote the Fools Day post I’ve also felt the itch to respond to it in a meaningful way. I even began writing this post weeks ago just as TenTonHammer posted (I might add that it’s so well written as to make me feel redundant) something similar.

So why post at all? As much as I was satirizing some critics, it still seems like they don’t understand why anyone would be fascinated with Guild Wars 2. They’re main concerns seem to be that it looks like it will be little different than any other MMO.

So hopefully, without seeming like a fanboy, here is why I’m interested in Guild Wars 2.

It Plays Different

In just about any MMO I can think of, all I do is sit in one spot and hit my skill buttons. I’m concentrating on my cool downs, looking at my health. Maybe I’ve even got my camera pulled back so I can see the action around me, never thinking to actually look at the monster I’m in a life or death struggle with.

I’m not saying this won’t ever happen in Guild Wars 2, but it seems like it will be different.

In demo footage players are combat-rolling around, dodging, using big movement skills like Leaping Death Blossom or Stomp, and using a shield to actually block instead of having it for a mathematically calculated blocking percentage. A lot of spells are ground based, whether they be buffs, AoEs, DoTs, or snares.

Guild Wars 2 is designed for movement.

It Looks Different

It’s not just the concept art, and it’s not just that Guild Wars 2 looks pretty. It’s that they go further than that. There is creativity, there is imagination, and artistic freedom.

Where other games are cartoony, or plain, or focus on graphics instead of looks, or otherwise miss the point of art, Arenanet gets it.

Instead of barely discernible differences in race models, each race has a unique and interesting look.

Their armour is vividly designed with both realism and good looks in mind, while in other games armour remains plain and uninteresting no matter how many times you upgrade it.

Their buildings and architecture focus on themes and influence. A charr building reflects their cultures focus on industry, a norn building shows its roots from viking history.

Meanwhile other games have buildings that look like they were directly imported from a Thomas Kinkade painting or inspired from a scene in Lord of the Rings.

Other MMOs always look like this. Then again Thomas Kinkade is a very rich man because he makes paintings like this.

Guild Wars 2 will be anything but a generic looking retread of other MMOs.

Its Content Is Different

Dynamic events, dungeons, personal quests, and PvP, all seem to have some element you can’t find in other MMOs.

There are no quests, only events, and those events change and adjust to what those participating in them are doing. A village is saved or burned to the ground based on your actions. Instead of a static result from a quest that changes nothing, there is some variation in the outcome, often leading to further events.

A quest in the majority of MMOs does not even know you are there, while in Guild Wars 2, things change because you are there.

Will these dynamic events be little more than slightly better quests? Perhaps, but they have a lot of potential.

And they don’t stop with just the events.

Guild Wars 2 will have an actual story that plays out, told through dungeons, personal story and other means. Instead of some ambiguous path that contains countless meaningless and unrelated quests, your character becomes apart of the story just as in any RPG.

Dungeons also will change to reflect that you’ve been there previously, sometimes adding new stories or even perhaps new objectives.

PvP will have many different forms including Dark Age of Camelot style realm battles and FPS style match ups.

A lot of MMOs today merely aim to copy the content of successful games, while Arenanet takes good content from unsuccessful games, or older games, or games outside of the MMO genre and puts them to use.

Its Business Model Is Different

There is no subscription free.

You buy the box, and play forever.

Sure they’ve announced micro-transactions, but it seems like those transactions will solely be cosmetic and have no effect on the game, even hinting that some items will be available through playing.

Even if you don’t like the game, you’ll always be able to try it again later if you decide to give it another shot. For free. Not $15.

I still play Guild Wars 6 years later. That is quite the money value.

The Trinity Is Gone

There is no healer in Guild Wars 2. You can’t even target other players with skills. You can support with ground targeted buffs, ground targeted regen, resurrect players, and heal yourself.

And you can do that on virtually any character.

Every profession has the ability to change roles. I can’t say which classes will be better at what. Even Arenanet says some professions will be better at some things than others. That they attempt this at all is impressive.

On the elementalist alone, you could use Water Blast to both damage the enemy and heal allies within range of the blast. Then use Water Trident to knock back that same enemy, switch from a Staff to two daggers to cast Ice Storm which would freeze the enemy solid. At which point I might switch to Fire Attunement and use Dragon’s Tooth which would explode in their face. All in one fight. All in one profession. And the elementalist still has two more attunements.

A diverse selection of roles, and I haven’t even fully explored the range of the class.

Maybe it’s a little bit of marketing speak, but Arenanet maintains it is no longer heal/tank/dps in Guild Wars 2, it is support/control/damage.

With no dedicated healing class, it is hard to argue.

Playing Together Is Different

In Guild Wars the vast majority of the content is aimed at max level characters and there are no barriers to playing together.

A lot of MMOs have dozens of servers separating friends from playing together. Some of these games further separate you by faction, even preventing you from communicating with the other side.

While it won’t be quite so free and easy to group in Guild Wars 2 as in the original, you will be allowed to switch servers. Bringing a character from one server to another is something I’ve long thought should exist in other games.

On top of that, at a very early level you can leave your race starting area to travel to another starting area to play with a friend.

If you’re a higher level, you can sidekick up a lower level friend, or if you go to a lower level zone, you’ll be scaled down in power.

There is very little separating you from your friends.

Three different servers and four characters means I don't get to play a lot with the people I want to play with.

Conclusion

There are a dozen significant details I didn’t get into. I haven’t even begun to talk about PvP, and to an extent neither has Arenanet.

Overall it’s the attention to detail, the drive to do more than just the same old game impresses me. Arenanet isn’t afraid to hold a strong authorial and artistic voice instead of some bland and watered down version of someone else’s game.

How could I not be interested in Guild Wars 2? How could anyone ignore the promise it shows? Surely not all will come to pass, and perhaps Guild Wars 2 won’t be as stunningly magnificent as I’m sure NCSoft would love us to think, but how could this many innovations turn Guild Wars 2 into anything less than a good and solid game.

I like good and solid games.

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17 Comments

  1. Its wierd, I feel like ‘this sounds great’ with ‘come on tell me more’, like you said you left some things out but I still feel hooked.=D

    • yeah i didn’t want to get bogged down by the tiny things like the marketplace allowing you to post ads to buy things instead of being used only to sell things. or the various details we know about pvp, or the stuff like web chat with guild, or checking in on the game from your iphone, or a dozen other tiny things.

  2. Nice list. I like these articles even if they seem redundant.

    “You can’t even target other players with skills.”

    Actually, no skills target allies. Some skills do target enemies. In fact, you can target allies (as of the last demo via hotkey). But I don’t think any skill uses that target. Perhaps there is some other reasons to target an ally like trading or chat.

    • Well yeah i meant that as far as i knew, actual skills can’t be used on players, obviously you’ll have to target players to chat, group, trade, or maybe there are some skills that target others, i don’t know.

      • I bet you can use them as a target for an aoe effect but I don’t know I just guessing. Would seem strange that you couldnt use that to put down your healing rain, instead of fighting to get the target on the ground.

        • i think part of it is they don’t want people staring at the UI instead of whats going on.

  3. I’ve never played the original Guild Wars (not interested… don’t even try to talk me into it.)

    I positively hate games that use MTs as their primary on-going source of financial support. Boycott them without exception (so far…) I’m really only interested in premium AAA MMOs that are well supported by subscriptions.

    And yet…

    The one game that I am looking forward to (to the exclusion of all others at this point) is GW2.

    GW2 (and ArenaNet) break all my rules, and go against some long-held and strongly felt (passionately in the case of MTs) beliefs and yet… I must have it! I cannot wait for it! It is an exercise in futility for me to even contemplate any other MMO because I will be constantly reminded on a second by second basis of the numerous faults and poor design choices that were made in it, and the fact that I won’t have to put up with those in GW2.

    I AM SOLD! What do you want? My first born? Here, take two! What? You want blood? Let’s get a nurse in here and strap both of my arms to boards and do this right!

    Honestly… this game has become my ‘litmus test’ of late… either you recognize the coming greatness that is GW2, in which case we can have a civil conversation about it, and other matters… Or, you are a complete moron with barely enough neurological activity to maintain basic life functions, and I cannot be bothered to waste my time on someone who’s greatest intellectual contribution to a conversation is to slurp up the line of drool running down their own chin…

    It is a daily exercise in nigh-superhuman willpower for me to remain patient and reasonable (well… sort of…) until GW2 is released.

    • About the MT…. if they are the same as in GW1 you won’t even notice them, seriously the only thing you can even see in GW1 are those damn costumes and it will probably be the same in GW2. I can’t confirm anything but I think you shouldn’t even think about MT in GW2 because they are probably (and hopefully) going to be too small to notice (or even nonexistent from a game play perspective) for any player not interested in buying anything.

      • I’m pretty sure they’ll have a wider range of MTs but i’m sure they’ll still be cosmetic.

    • Long story short, I think MTs are fine as long as they don’t incorporate them into basic gameplay as a money grab. So I think we disagree there.

      I for one mostly disagree with the people naysaying gw2 at this point. They’re just being negative for the sake of negativity. If they actually took some time to accept gw2 for what it is, I’m sure they’d pick up the game.

  4. I intend to play GW2. But I am too realist.

    Arenanet need learn some lessons that Trion throwed to the world of MMO.

    GW2 need be a very well polished game.

    Last world event at RIFT show that Arenanet need take special attention to how to do the dinamic events. At a dinamic world, when the event is gone, it is gone.

    Finally, we need understand that GW2 is NOT GW1. GW2 will be a MMO, GW1 Arenanet say it is not a MMO.

    • I don’t think arenanet needs to learn about trions mistakes, they already learned them with gw. Trions big mistake with the world event was to only have it once and over a short period of time. Guild Wars learned early on to have festivals that last a full day with collectors after the fact, etc.

      I’d also say that gw has always been really well polished, don’t think we have anything to worry about there, thats exactly what they tell us about every time, when it’s ready.

  5. i’m very interested to see how the Story System works out; its very hard to pay attention to the story in Rift (tho i love the game) when you have so many quests in one area. I hope GW2 is more interactive and caters to people that play together as I play with my gf usually exclusively with one set of characters.

    i’m very intrigued and looking forward to the sidekick system or the ability to lower your level to play with your other friends that are of lower level; its no fun when they can’t damage the baddie or you one-shot the baddie as well, EVEN if they get good exp/rewards

    • yeah the story in rift isn’t really worth paying attention to.

      plenty to look forward to.

  6. Wanted to make a small correction, but as an elementalist you can’t switch weapons in combat, only attunements.

    But this is a very nice summary of why to play GW2 and I really enjoy reading your thoughts about GW2.

    • Ahhh yes, you’re right. Thanks for reading.

  7. […] Hunters Insight has six reasons to play Guild Wars 2. “How could I not be interested in this Guild Wars 2? How could anyone ignore the promise it shows? Surely not all will come to pass, and perhaps Guild Wars 2 won’t be as stunningly magnificent as I’m sure NCSoft would love us to think, but how could this many innovations turn Guild Wars 2 into anything less than a good and solid game.” […]


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