Guild Wars 2 – review
Guild Wars 2 is a game which was awaited by millions, virtually by the whole MMO genre, and I waited too – for more than five years. But relax, let’s start from the beginning that is from the first Guild Wars, which in 2005, in a way, has revolutionized the MMO market. The game was original, but excelled in a slightly different target than the reigning then World of Warcraft. The whole experience from Guild Wars one and observation of the market allowed to start work on the follow-up, which at the time of the announcement seemed as a wonderful, perfect MMORPG.
Some of you will say that each game in the assumptions to be great, unique, super perfect. It’s true, but Guild Wars 2 has made something out of the ordinary. Despite postponing the release date, the vision of the game was still coherent and materials that came out from time to time were coinciding with these from 2007. In the meantime, there were released some “killers” like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Warhammer Online, or Age of Conan. All of these productions imitated to a greater or lesser extent the WoW hoping that, thanks to the known universe they will gather crowds of fans. What have made people from ArenaNet in the meantime? Virtually the same as in the case of the first part of the Guild Wars – they redefined the genre rather than compete with existing giants.
At first glance, it looks like a rather standard MMORPG. We run around the map, do quests, kill monsters, go with a bunch of friends to a dungeon, collect raw materials to produce items, earn money, or fight in the arenas. The only thing that seems to stand out is the World vs World mode, but I’ll discuss it later. Guild Wars 2 does not change the assumptions of the genre, but only consolidates all elements constituting a coherent whole, which was re-planned from scratch. So, for example, creators removed from the quest system the requirement to visit the NPC in order to approve a task or get a prize, and as the main source of experience points there are the dynamic events. They act as a lure for all players in a given location. Immediately a dozen or more players come and just after the quest was completed they go back to what they had been doing before. The reason for this is probably the biggest advantage of Guild Wars 2 which is no separation of experience points. It does not matter whether the monster is killed by two or two thousand players – everyone will get the same amount of experience points, and loot of course. This is the end for the principle “first come, first served”. In Guild Wars 2 everyone is a winner. It is compounded by a system of achievements and awards for any action in the game. This system was already present in other productions, but here it is applied to virtually any activity.
However, the end game content, which in other games is available only after achieving the maximum level of experience, here can be accessed by players from the very beginning. Everything the game has to offer in the subject of Player vs Player, you can try out from the first level of experience. Only special dungeons for 5-player groups of players are unlocked every ten levels. Guild Wars 2 is so hipster that instead of flying on wings or using some mounts to do so, ArenaNet bet at the underwater world. While entering the reservoir of H2O your equipment is replaced with an aqualung and some weapons in the form of a harpoon, spear, or trident.
Finally the time has come for World vs. World in which for 2 weeks three servers fight each other on a huge map for the raw materials, fortifications and, of course, points. However, you do not need to meet any restrictive requirements because each new character can immediately jump into this mode. The only pity is that the ability to teleport on this huge map is so limited and after death the way back to the battlefield may take longer than the fight itself. On the other hand, it is possible that the creators wanted players to be better at planning their actions, rather than mindlessly threw themselves into the battle.
The PvP mode is quite different. Here, every player is equal in terms of equipment and their skills, so it is the reflexes and good tactics that counts. Matches are played on four different maps. The first team to reach 500 points wins. It is a PvP mode that is probably the most similar to what offered the first part of the Guild Wars.
Fighting is based on three pillars – skills, dodging and tactics. Of course, if you spam with one skill you will be able to do something, but only after reading up with your character, skills and choosing your own style of play – the real fun begins. When I play my thief I very often toggle between short bow and two daggers. It makes five permanent skills for a particular type of weapon more understandable. You just have to find your style of gameplay and not stick to just one type of weaponry. While fighting it is wise to remain in motion and use dodging – very often it can save your life. However, if you don’t manage, not everything is lost yet. Each player before his death first receives the status of downed. While downed you can be resurrected, cured by another player, or by using four special skills and a dose of luck to save yourself.
Guild Wars 2, as its name suggests, has also a guild system. Guilds show their power in the World vs. World. Cool thing is that each player can belong to several guilds at a time and only change, which is currently representing. The friendly image of Guild Wars 2 is broken a bit by lack of direct item trading system. The only way is to dispatch items by mail, however, you will never be sure if the contractor will send the promised goods.
Now about microtransactions. Of course, it is best, when there is no Item Shop. But the game must earn for itself. Fortunately the game is constructed in a way that even the most epic, or expensive item will not change any gameplay balance.
Tyria is a huge and super diverse. Each area is very well thought out and seamlessly connects with the others. But the most spectacular is the design of locations and the whole artistic project of the game. Even the interface looks as if it was painted. As always, there is the ultra awesome Jeremy Soule soundtrack which only deepens the artistic-pathetic climate. The game impresses with refinement, although in the first week after its release there were some minor problems with quests and the auction house. The overall optimization has been greatly improved in relation to this, what you could have experienced during the beta tests. And right now probably only the World vs. World mode may cause some problems on mid-end machines. The issue of queues was also cleverly resolved – there are no queues. To put it simply, if the server is full the player is sent on a second, backup server and can continue his or her adventure.
Time for a verdict. Guild Wars 2 gets from me a 10 out of 10. The main reason for the highest possible grade is that ArenaNet kept its promises made five years ago. No subscription fees , many ways of development, various game modes and a great world that each player will be happy to visit – and even more because each activity is rewarded in some way. Guild Wars 2 is a game that simply does not disappoint.