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Final Thoughts Before Launch

William Murphy Posted:
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Bill Murphy

It’s been a really fantastic year for MMO gamers so far. I know that there have been rough spots, but on the whole, there have been a lot of excellent games to play this year. But none of them can really compare to what’s on deck for August 28th.  World of Warcraft wasn’t my first MMO, but I remember standing in line on opening night to pick up my Collector’s Edition in November of 2004. I remember the feeling during the beta that I was in on one hell of a revolutionary experience. I remember playing that game and feeling like it would break the MMO genre wide open.

And it did.

But nearly eight years have passed since then, and for half of those I’ve been right there with many of you clamoring for change in the MMO genre. No more WoW-alikes. Give us something refreshing! We’re getting it this year. To varying degrees, many games have been trying to break the mold in one way or another. But only ArenaNet seems to be on the verge of breaking that mold and reforming it anew for other companies to follow suit.

I hope they succeed.  I hope the game sells millions, and that players and suits the world over take notice of what ingenuity can achieve. I hope that the post-launch hype continues as strongly as the pre-launch wave, and that all of our excitement doesn’t fizzle out for years. I hope all this because I not only do I want to see ArenaNet rewarded for their bold design goals, but also because I want a company that tries to make something different actually get rewarded. If we want to keep seeing new takes on the genre we’ve all grown to love and hate equally, we need to support the boldness these developers take.

So for me, my final thought? I love what I’ve seen of Guild Wars 2. I can’t wait to see more. ArenaNet really is onto something, and it’s going to be fun watching how Tyria grows from here on out.

Garrett Fuller

For me, Guild Wars 2 is the return to a game system that I absolutely loved. The RvR of Dark Age of Camelot marked one of my all time favorite experiences in MMO games and Guild Wars 2 is bringing that system back into play. Also the personal story for Guild Wars 2 is exciting to me. Some nights you just want a solo experience, in world with other people. GW2 mixes this into the MMO experience very well. But overall, the PvP is what I am most looking forward to.

One of the main things that many MMOs have failed to notice over the years is how important endgame is to an MMO. Most games only focused on the progression and this seemed like making a cake with no icing on it. There is a huge reason competitive games are successful and continue to dominate the market. Hopefully Guild Wars 2 will bring server pride to the MMO universe again and get players fighting for epic causes. I cannot wait to PvP in Guild Wars 2; it is about time someone brought this system back to the market.

Som Pourfarzaneh

Although World of Warcraft wasn't my first MMO experience, vanilla WoW represents to me the wide-eyed wonder that is possible in a massively multiplayer online world.  My initial days and months with the game were spent wandering Azeroth's countryside experiencing the best of what MMORPGs can offer, in the form of vertical character progression, fun and sometimes ridiculous player interaction, and seemingly infinite possibilities for exploration.

Guild Wars 2 has the potential to capture that same sense of progression and exploration for me, with a host of other innovative features to boot.  In my time with the game so far during beta events and stress tests, it's taken all of my willpower to stick to starter areas and not go gallivanting off into the unknown, so as to not spoil the launch content.   Yet, there's something about ArenaNet's game that makes me want to explore everything that Tyria has to offer - quite possibly because there are achievements in place for doing so.  Add in the fluid and interesting combat system, dynamic events, incentives for player cooperation, gloriously crunchy three-faction PvP, and the fact that I'm a sucker for all of the Guild Wars lore, and I'm hooked.

I'm aware that rose-tinted glasses make it so that early MMORPG experiences create a certain feeling that simply can't be replaced, and that the crazy hype around Guild Wars 2 means that we're going to have to play it for a good long while to see how we actually feel about it after the dust settles.  It's also apparent that we're gearing up for an MMO launch because I'm making a WoW comparison, and probably should take my argument to the general chat channel.  Still, I think if any new entry in the MMORPG genre has the potential to offer the same sense of wonder and excitement that other games have done in the past for most of us, Guild Wars 2 is a solid contender.

Also?  World vs. World is going to be EPIC.  See you on Jade Quarry!

Suzie Ford

I’ve been looking forward to Guild Wars 2 for a long time. It’s been awhile since a game has generated so much interest in me but there’s just something appealing about many of the features that GW2 is bringing to the table. It’s refreshing to be able to truly multi-class in a way that you want to and that you’re not forced into a pre-prescribed pathway.

My friends are all excited about PvP and understandably so. The WvW mechanic looks awesome and if ArenaNet can pull it off, it could well change the way PvP is handled in all games from here on out. Even a confirmed non-PvPer like me finds things about WvW appealing, ways to be involved that don’t necessarily require gratuitous amounts of hunting other players. I’ve always been a great support character and it seems that I’ll finally have my chance.

Here’s hoping that Guild Wars 2 fulfills all of our hopes and re-energizes the MMO genre! See you on Jade Quarry.

Michael Bitton

When I first read Mike O'Brien's Design Manifesto for Guild Wars 2, I felt like ArenaNet's vision for the game sought to address many MMO deficiencies I had found particularly frustrating. The three major points raised by O'Brien at the time, MMOs aspiring to also be true RPGs, an emphasis on socialization, and overhauling MMO combat (along with tossing out the holy trinity), hooked me instantly.

It's no secret that MMO combat has been lagging far behind combat in contemporary video games in other genres for some time now, but ArenaNet aspired to truly change things up and I can honestly say they've completely succeeded in their efforts. Combat is active, positioning is important, and you really need to think about what abilities to use and when. I don't feel like I'm just hammering a rotation over and over. In groups, combat is even more interesting, with the potential to execute some truly awesome cross-profession combos.

Even though ArenaNet managed to make good on their combat promises, it's the significant departure from MMO norms with regards to socialization that really set the game apart from its peers. Guild Wars 2 excites me because it takes the main draw of the MMORPG, the massively multiplayer bit, and allows it to flourish. Players don't react with a sense of trepidation when encountering each other in Guild Wars 2. You're never worried someone is going to steal your experience, items, or even resource nodes. MMOs are at their best with great communities, but they have, ironically, always been in their own way on this front. Guild Wars 2 is seamlessly cooperative and it's this community-driven foundation that will serve the game well in the months and years ahead.


William Murphy

Bill is the former 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.