As someone that appreciates and even misses certain strong community aspects that were more prevalent in earlier MMOs, as well as someone who loves team-centered activities and events, Guild Wars 2 looks to me like it will cater to players like me in a few ways. I’m cautiously optimistic about that hope, since other games haven’t done so in a while, and this one has me excited.
There’s a lot of content that could spark cooperation and yes, the return of a sense of community pride. With the game’s WvWvW competition, each server taking on another as a whole, that sense of ownership and investment in your particular community seems like it will be back. My introduction to MMOs was via Dark Age of Camelot, so fighting for keeps, holding onto them through the night, and the absolute superiority of us Hibernians over everyone else (sorry Midgard and Albion!) are some good memories.
Yet WvWvW looks to bring its own sensibilities to the table. Some might criticize the anonymity of being just an enemy, since players on an opposing side won’t be able to see your name, but I think it’s smart. Not only might it reduce ganking and harassment, but it reinforces the notion that everyone is on a team larger than themselves. This fosters the team pride that ANet is going for, and I think it will work well.
On a completely different subject, I love playing stealthy characters, and the Thief in Guild Wars 2 looks just awesome. Not just because there’s a stealth component, but the ability to steal a weapon from an enemy and then use it against its original owner is fun, and combat looks slick and active. There’s no passive gameplay here, as you need to be on your toes.
Finally, I just have to make a quick mention of underwater combat. Instead of just making underwater a simple feature of the game world, ArenaNet has created a whole series of content to go with it. And weapons and abilities act differently above and below the surface.
This weekend's beta event won't be my first time playing Guild Wars 2, but it will be my first time playing the game for more than 45 minutes. I was floored with my first demo of the game back at NYCC in 2010, but I'm really curious to see how the game's progressed with my own eyes. There are more videos and impressions out there than you can shake a stick at, so it's pretty easy to find some media highlighting even some of the most particular curiosities you may have about the game. Still, there's nothing like a hands-on demo and I can't wait to sample the norn Ranger I've wanted to play for a couple of years now without as much pressure for time. Hopefully I can find a new flamingo to join me on my adventures.
Most of all, I want to put ArenaNet's claims about the game to the test. I want to simply strike out into the world and adventure and hopefully discover tons of things to do and experience. I want to jump into the game at a random time of the day and see if I can just link up with my friends and play, without having to worry if they are the same level as me or on the same quest chain (since, you know, there aren't really any quests).
I want to fight underwater with my pet shark.
And when I've done all that? I want to get together with my friends, put some Space Jam music on, and dunk on some nooblords in WvW.