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Pleasing the Veterans

David North Posted:
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Now that we’ve had a chance to try out Guild Wars 2, we have our opinions on how well the game is progressing.  For me, ArenaNet’s newest addition to the Guild Wars franchise is so much fun, it’s ridiculous.  The last time I’ve had this much fun playing an MMO was when I first played the original Guild Wars.  To know that I’m getting the same feeling now is refreshing.

There are millions of fans of the original Guild Wars game, and we are going to be the toughest critics that ArenaNet can try to please.  One of the reasons we Guild Wars veterans fell in love with the original games, was that they were just different.   While they had a lot of similarities with MMOs, such as controls and similar UI layouts, it was the importance of skills, strategy, and less emphasis on what items you had, that gave us a breath of fresh air from endless grinding.   I was a player that came from playing MMOs one after the other, looking from something that felt new and interesting.  When I played Guild Wars, I noticed my skills were more important than how rare and great my weapons and armor were.

So, when looking at how Guild Wars played, does Guild Wars 2 still give me that same feeling?  I would say so.  Skills are easier to choose from, but have a greater impact on how they affect my performance.  The biggest factor was doing more in combat by not being restricted to playing one role, and dodging attacks. Items are given a more important role, but are still very easy to obtain.

Guild Wars was actually the game that really made me look at character design differently. I realized that characters could look brutal and didn’t have to stick to designs and styles everyone else was using.

When I first started playing MMOs, I remember being used to the bland environments and my character looking like everyone else’s, once I grinded enough to actually get the same armor.  But Guild Wars really surprised me.  Even though I was shown a world created by low poly models, the textures and designs were just amazing.  I was seeing a game that used a visual style that I had been searching for, and as the franchise expanded to new installments, the style grew and evolved.

The visuals that we have seen in Guild Wars 2 are breathtaking.  We are currently in an age where video games are coming out with better and better graphics.  I believe Guild Wars 2 has some of the best visuals in an MMO today.  By taking the style we saw in the original games, and giving it a make-over to fit the the development team’s evolved art style, ArenaNet hit a home run.  When I first stepped foot on Tyria during the very first closed beta event, I was in awe just like I was years ago.

We veteran Guild Wars players won’t be the only tough critics of the game.  When a player invests a large amount of time into an MMO, they begin to stay loyal to that game.  I do the same thing, with a game in any genre, but am always open to trying something new.  But not every player is like me.  Some players will stick to their game until they shut the servers off and they’re left with nothing but salty tears and bitter memories of the past.  Then you have the players leaving the games of old, looking for something new to play and conquer around every turn. And for every old game losing numbers, there’s a brand new title giving hope to the genre. 

If a player spends a lot of time into playing a certain game, it becomes the only game they really see. A player can get really obsessed.

I think ArenaNet is doing a lot to prove that their game is the one that players should be picking up.  But how has ArenaNet gained all those loyal fans? The ones that knew they would buy GW2 before they knew what it would even be like?  By listening.  We all want our opinions to be heard.  Not just as gamers, but as consumers.

Tomorrow I’ll be sipping on an ice cold glass of lemonade while playing Guild Wars 2 during the quick stress test.  For those of you who don’t know, ArenaNet will be hosting a short little stress test from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. PDT.  If you’re free, step into the game and enjoy yourself.  By doing so you’ll be helping ArenaNet make sure the servers are ready for not only the next event, but for launch.

Are you a veteran from the original Guild Wars games?  Are you happy with the direction ArenaNet has taken with Guild Wars 2?  Leave us some comments below.


David North