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Guild Wars 2 Column: The Good & Bad of Guild Wars 2

By William Murphy on February 20, 2012

After copious hours spent this past weekend in Guild Wars 2’s first closed beta event, we’ve finally recovered from our ArenaNet induced hangovers and wiped the drool from our desks long enough to put together a list of the goods and bads of the closed beta of GW2.  This list isn’t final in any way shape or form, as of course each could change and go in the opposite direction by the time the game launches.  But in any case, let’s just dive in shall we?

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THE GOODS

5.) Personal Story

We didn’t think that other companies would nail this so soon after SWTOR.  But, while not quite as cinematic, Guild Wars 2 does an excellent job of making you feel like a special little snowflake.  With a main quest-line that changes depending on your choices during character creation (and each race is entirely different), there’s a great deal of replayability here.  On top of it all, it’s very engaging stuff that will make you feel attached to your character: the hallmark of a good RPG.

4.) The Professions

Forget tank, heals, and DPS.  GW2 does away with all this.  There’s still a ranger, a warrior, and a thief.  But gone is the reliance on a priest to do everything, as your tank could wind up not only keeping himself alive, but keeping you alive and resurrecting you in the heat of battle.  Agro-management isn’t something to worry about as instead every profession will do their own work in terms of crowd control and defensive skills.  Each profession feels unique, and each can be played a multitude of ways to make them feel different within themselves. 

3.) The Dynamic Events

Bye-bye quest hubs of old, hello lively and active world.  The dynamic events replace the standard theme park order with the kind of events that are usually reserved for a game’s best instanced content. You’ll be taking keeps, fighting off giants, and changing the world your entire time spent in Tyria, and going back to “go fetch me 10 rat tails” will be very difficult once you’ve spent a little time in ANet’s latest.

2.) The World vs. World

We just learned the details last week, and this weekend we got to play it.  Words can’t describe the feeling you’ll get wandering the Eternal Battlegrounds with your closest guild mates or even complete strangers.  You’re fighting for your entire server, and it instills within you a sense of true pride to go out there and make a stand.  Siege weapons, dynamic events, underwater attacks, trebuchets, ballistae, explosives… these fortnight-long wars will be the talk of the town once everyone’s had a taste.  Sure a lot of ideas are borrowed from the past, but that’s okay, because it’s been far too long since we had three-faction PVP this good.

1.) It’s As Good As We Hoped

What else can we say? Like you, we’ve been pining for this game for ages.  Now that it’s getting closer to existing beyond the very exclusive alpha/beta stages, we can’t help but keep getting more excited.  Our weekend-long taste was enough to make it official: this is the game to watch for 2012.

THE BADS

5.) No Asura or Sylvari

Not really a fault of the game, but I wanted to explore the Asura world more than anything.  It may be that they’re not ready for primetime or it could just be ArenaNet saving something for other beta events, but the leaf-people and the midgets were not in this version of the client.  A bummer yes, but not a dealbreaker.  Just so long as my Asura Guardian is ready for release.

4.) Teleport is Good and Bad

Like GW1, your primary mode of fast travel is teleportation.  On one hand the game world is massive, so you’ll be glad for the travel considering the lack of mounts.  On the other hand, teleporting is an “immersion breaker” in an otherwise very cohesive world.  Once you unlock a teleport stone, chances are you will use them all the time to get someplace quickly, making the world smaller and smaller.  The only bonus is it seems you can teleport between zones.  But that’s another problem altogether.

3.) Massive World, But Not Seamless

The zones are absolutely huge, and there are so many of them it will take hundreds of hours to fully explore everything.  But before you ask, no… Tyria is not seamless like Azeroth.  It’s far less instanced and “walled in” than something like SWTOR, but you’ll still have to “zone” between zones.  The good news is that you won’t be doing this often at first, as the zones are absolutely huge.

2.) Crafting is “Meh”

It may be unfair, as we haven’t had enough time with it, but crafting in GW2 seems very “blah” so far.  While it’s nice that it looks like you can create some truly useful items and that you’ll have to work with other crafters and play the market to do so, the actual act of crafting seems very standard.  We guess that at least one part of the game couldn’t change the way all games after are judged, and that’s crafting.

1.) It’s Over, Dammit.

Words can’t describe how badly we wanted to keep playing. It’s probably a good thing, because Garrett, David, and I (the three of us in this first phase) would probably stop bathing, eating, and we’d start using coffee cans for our refuse.  This game is good people.  The worst part of the weekend was that it had to end, and that’s the truth.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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