Guild Wars 2 has met 85% of the qualities a great MMO needs to fit the model listed in a recent article on what makes an MMO amazing. I did have a 3-day head start to this game, so for the first 48 hours I was cramming as much time as possible playing this at my friend’s house before I was able to install the game in my own computer. But as it turns out my PC couldn’t handle the graphics and so I searched for ways to play the PC game at home. From downloading software to support PC games on a Mac to going to an internet café, I became increasingly desperate to play it. Within 48 hours of non-stop game play, anxious search and final access to play from my home, I realized that this game might be the answer to my MMO prayers.
Character customization is a no brainer when it comes to MMOs, you dont have it you won’t last. Granted, Guild Wars 2 isn’t like Skyrim where even the smallest details can be tweaked, yet it does allow you to create an individualized character to your liking. Your choices in races are: Asura, Sylvari, Human, Norn, and Charr. Each has specific qualities that differ from others along with their own region and storyline. Your gameplay is subject to change depending on your history. Whether you were orphaned, abandoned, rich, or poor these decisions shape your adventure that is all your own. Within the story, your profession shapes your gameplay to a certain degree. Choosing from an Engineer, Necromancer, Thief, Elementalist, Warrior, Ranger, Mesmer, or Guardian. You’ll have challenges that expect you deal with them three different manners: wisdom, charm, or aggression and depending on how you choose to handle it, different scenarios will play out.
There is a yearning for MMOs to not have lousy quests and I don’t say this lightly. Redundant quests such as kill 10 foxes is too burdensome and boring. Guild Wars 2 has it where as your venturing the lands, you’re made aware of what events are occurring around you and can partake as your leisure. Events happen whether you like it or not, but more than likely if the event fails or not enough players participate it causes a chain reaction where another event occurs. There really is no need to party with anyone to complete an event as the game registers and credits exp to you if your involvement was high or low. I normally play a mage which can make it difficult to solo, but I find I don’t need to ask as whenever I’m battling, other players feel encouraged or eager to help assist in battle.
The game NPC mechanism is f**kin amazing and I say that proudly. They smarter and conscious of the world as NPCs talk to each other, fight alongside you, and even run to you about an event that your map hasn’t picked up that requires immediate attention. You can even revive NPCs to earn money, items, and exp.
Crafting in the game is easy and fun as obtaining ingredients for crafting can be bought in bulk at vendors all over the world. Finding them it the hard part, but with the Internet as your side and a little research it should be no problem.
The game has an abundance of secrets and Easter eggs which is a huge relief for me. I recently spent 3-4 hours solving a secret puzzle that required a substantial amount of time and skill. I had to jump from pillar to pillar to a soaring cliff far and this was all done in the dark! I nearly broke my keyboard at 4am but managed to finished it leaving me with a sense of pride I never had before. Honestly, I had completely forgotten I was still in Guild Wars 2. My guildmates say there are more of these “jumping puzzles” throughout the world and the one I completed was an easy one!
The battle systems are quite different from what I’ve experienced as the weapon you choose greatly affect the skills you’ll have. As an Elementalist, I switch from two daggers or one staff. The skills I have when wielding a staff keeps my enemy away from me and use more AOE skills to combat. As for two daggers, I have more close combat and speed with my abilities and require more dodging to stay alive. Each profession has about 4 weapons they may wield that can be switched during battle for a large array of combos.
The game leaves a player to fight for themselves; you cannot fight an enemy without dodging and using your wits to combine combos for an effective attack. Your life is in your own hands as there is no “healing class” in this game; you are your own healer. You will have healing abilities for yourself but no one will be able to assist you besides reviving you when your death or down. The moment you are “down” you go into what I’d like to call “last chance mode.” You have access to 4 abilities. These are like your final breaths as you fight for your life to beat your opponent or successful flee. If you beat your opponent you will “rally” back on your feet with minimal health.
This game’s graphics’ never ceases to amaze me as I find myself often taking pictures of the landscape. The game encourages players to even take in the landscape by putting Vistas, which are points on a map high above land or down below the sea that showcase the area around you, which offer exp when discovered. Getting to these Vistas aren’t always easy and require creativity and skill to get to. The minimum graphic requirement for a Mac are NVIDIA® GeForce® 320M, ATI Radeon™ HD 6630M, Intel HD 3000 or better, and a PC NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800, ATI X1800, Intel HD 3000, or better. This is with good reason as even at the lowest setting of the game, the graphics are remarkable. I would assume that the developers truly wanted to showcase Guild Wars 2 graphics as an important aspect of the game; otherwise Vistas would prove to be less of momentous quality to the game.
I’m not going to toot Guild Wars 2 as the epitome of MMO out there, but they do something that has yet to be tampered with and they do this very well. This speaks volumes as a gamer not because it’s what I have always wanted, but because even World of Warcraft players have come to respect Guild Wars 2 for being unique and taking an amazing approach to MMOs. No longer am I reluctant to travel the distance to a point miles away as I will find events and possibly interesting Easter eggs along the way; or feel frustrated as I cast magic and have to stay still to complete it; or beg and plea with players to assist in a quest or revive my character if I die. Many critics have named Guild Wars 2 as the new King of MMO, but I can’t say that yet. From what I know, it is on to an amazing start and I can’t wait to see where it goes off from here.
Events occur as you explore and your participation results in Bronze, Silver, or Gold medals.
Narz is CEO/founder of Girl Gamer Vogue, writer at Gametyrant, and lead video game columnist at Knickerbocker Ledger.