I remember the day a when a friend showed me the original Guild Wars. From that point on, I was hooked! Cut to a few years later, and I’m still playing with my friends, and the second game is announced. Obviously, since I was a fan of the original, news for a sequel was pretty exciting. But once ArenaNet started to talk about what they were doing with Guild Wars 2, it sounded like they were making the perfect game.
If you follow Guild Wars 2 on Twitter, or Facebook, it may sound odd to say that ArenaNet is usually very quiet. Sure they post a ton of stuff on social media, but rarely do we get any news on what they are working on. ArenaNet is very smart, in that they only talk about stuff after they’re pretty sure they can deliver. But, like all other things in the world, there are thousands of things that can go wrong during game development. Still, I like to look back at the MMO Manifesto they posted years ago, and compare it to the game. For the most part, ArenaNet kept their promises.
Guild Wars 2 ended up being a fantastic game. I think we would all love it a bit more if we had a guild hall to meet up with all of our allies, but when you look at the game as a whole, the major promises were kept. Just look at how alive the world is. When you go through the different zones, events start to take place. You actually feel like villages are under attack, and that’s because they are! This is what gives the game the type of life we were promised. They're still not as dynamic as we could hope, but they're more engrossing than the usual quest hub experience.
No need to wait for a healer, or a tank to start playing either. Every profession has the ability to serve the party in multiple ways. Sure the pesky 'zerker meta build is around for the time being, but you don’t need it to play through all the dungeons. It’s easy to find people to play with, no matter what profession and build you use.
Grinding is the one reason I quit playing MMOs. It isn’t fun, and I play video games to have fun, not brag about sitting at my computer for months straight just to show off a rare drop. ArenaNet made a bold statement when they said they planned to get rid of grinding. To me, this was more shocking than them saying they were going to get rid of the holy trinity! Even after playing Guild Wars 2, I think it’s impossible to design a game, especially an MMO, that has no grinding in it whatsoever. But, Guild Wars 2 has shown us that you can mask it even more than previous games in the genre.
Simple quests in Guild Wars 2 require you to do certain tasks multiple times to complete them. This sounds like every MMO, but you get to choose from a list of different task. It’s very common to just walk into an area and start doing stuff, anything really, and you’re working on a quest. You’re doing things over and over again, but you’re doing so many different things at once over and over again that it doesn’t seem like you’re grinding. After hundreds of hours of any game, the way this is hidden is easily seen through, but I do think ArenaNet did a fantastic job at hiding that from the player.
ArenaNet also tackled grinding in terms of gear. Now things have changed a bit since launch with the release of the ascended armor and weapons. They do require a good bit of grinding to obtain, but it’s not necessary. There isn’t a silly gear score, or gear requirements that prevents you from playing certain content. Grinding for gear does exist, but it isn’t necessary in any way, which is what I feel is what ArenaNet promised.
When you look at Guild Wars 2 as a whole, it turned out to be almost perfect. ArenaNet was able to keep their core vision for the game intact. Some things are missing, but who’s to say they won’t be added in future patches and expansions? Right now Guild Wars 2 is the game it’s creators wanted it to be, a strong MMO that brings players together no matter what profession they play, or what gear they have equipped, in a massive story driven game world.
Is Guild Wars 2 the game you thought it would be? Let us know in the comments below.
David North / David North is a freelance writer for MMORPG.com. David loves to play and makes games, but now he writes about them! If you want to creep on him and make fun of his ability to draw, follow him over on twitter @David_the_North.
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