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Awesome Design

David North Posted:
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The epic battles, amazing visuals, and compelling story all make Guild Wars 2 so much fun. ArenaNet did such a great job designing this MMO, but the real beauty of it didn't hit me till earlier last week. Guild Wars 2 is the only game that's designed in a way that I can not only get some of my friends to play, but also some of my family as well. I finally have a game that I can play with everyone that I care about at the same time!

My friends and I have ventured through dungeons, and have slayed many dragons. Games have always been a part of our lives, so when one of us invites the rest to try a game, we all start to argue about what to name our guild.  Luckily the argument is over before everyone is done installing the game.  It didn’t take much to get them to try Guild Wars 2, and now we argue about which dungeon, or WvW battleground we should play in.

I have some friends that I’ve been playing games with for years and years. That group is growing now thanks to Guild Wars 2.

I wouldn't say Guild Wars 2 is a super tough game, but it has plenty of ways to focus on giving players a challenge.  The Fractals are especially challenging, and the multiple dungeons paths are a nice treat.  This desire to conquer a difficult game is what drives a seasoned gamer to keep playing, and Guild Wars 2 has ways to feed that desire.  This is exactly how some of my friends got hooked on Guild Wars 2.

You can't just throw players against the most feared beasts in the world right off the bat! I feel that starting players off with easy tasks is pretty essential. The best way to learn how to play a game, is by actually playing it.  Guild Wars 2 does a fairly decent job of showing players the ropes. That's why it was so easy to get some of my family members, who weren't really gamers, to try it out.

It's not just the fact that the game eases you into it's world, but it does so in an interesting way. If they had started off just fighting rats, they probably would have stopped playing the game five minutes in. Instead, they were already battling formidable opponents, and taking part in some large battles! It kept them excited about exploring through the map, and before I knew it, they were ready to go into the next zone!

For an average player it’s easy to reach max level in Guild Wars 2.  My family however, plays at a more casual pace. They don't play nearly as often, so their level is considerably lower.  In another game this would be an issue, but my friends and I can just hop on over to their zone, and the game will knock us down to their level to even things out.

I know this all may sound cheesy, because I'm talking about how a game is helping me connect more with my family and friends. But this is all possible because of the unique design of the game. Games have come and gone, all saying that they would, and could, cater to both new, and more experienced players. So far Guild Wars 2 is the only game I've seen that has successfully pulled it off. Now it’s not perfect! My family is still is having trouble with their dodge rolls. But they’re still progressing, learning more about their skills, and more importantly having fun!

The fractals may have caused some players go crazy with rage, inflicting pain upon themselves. Only enter the fractals if you truly are ready..

I know it's tough to try and design a game that can be challenging to an experience player, but easy to pick up for a newcomer, and it still be fun for both groups. Trying to do it with a huge online game like this is probably a nightmare for most developers. Some how ArenaNet has pulled it off, and I want to thank them for it. Not just because I can go around and hit things with a sword twice my size, but because the soldiers marching into battle next to me are my friends and family. If the game was designed differently, then this wouldn't be possible, and I wouldn't get to make these awesome new memories.  

Have you introduced any new gamers to Guild Wars 2?  Do you have any friends, or family that you play the game with?  Tell us 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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David North