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Guild Wars 2 Review (2012)

Guild Wars 2 Review

 

  The last day dawns on the kingdom of Ascalon. It arrives with no fanfare no tone of alarm. Those who will remember, will speak fondly of the warm morning breeze.

  People carry on with their daily lives, unaware that in a short while, everything they have ever known will come to an end.

 

  These where the words that welcomed me into the first Guild Wars game. I had the pleasure of playing through Prophesies, Factions, Nightfall, and most of Guild Wars Eye of the North. You can imagine my excitement when the announcement for Guild Wars 2 was made way back in March of 2007.

 

  Unlike a majority of people who played the original Guild Wars game, I was more of a fan of the PVE (Player versus Environment) side of the game than I was of the PVP (Player versus Player) side, but to each his own.

 

  Guild Wars 2 takes place around 250 years after the events of Guild Wars Eye of the North. The intervening years have not been kind to the world of Tyria. The gods have grown silent and five Elder Dragons arose, wreaking havoc and chaos across the land.

 

Engineer with rifle

We're not in Kansas anymore.

 

  There are five different races to choose from in Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 Race Selection

 

Charr: A feline race that feels like a combination of your traditional MMO Orcs with a little bit of Klingon, and Kilrathi blended together.

 

Humans: Unlike most games, humans in Tyria are shown as a race in decline, much like how the elven race is presented in most fantasy literature.

 

Norn: A race of tall stout hearted hunters, with a very Norse like feel to them.

 

Asura: A race of Gnomes... er I mean a diminutive race of floppy eared bunny people who are masters of technology and magic, much like um... er... gnomes are in most games.

 

Sylvari: A race of plant people who have only arrived in the world of Tyria in the last 25 years. No one knows why they suddenly appeared in Tyria, but it is sure to have something to do with the Elder Dragons.

 

  Each race has its own starting area and story arc.

 

  Once race is chosen you can select to be male or female no matter which race you chose. This is a nice change from most games that seem to limit certain races to only one of the sexes.

 

No female dwarves demotivational poster

Because the female ones have beards too. Just kidding, please don't hit me with an axe!

 

   The next step in character creation is the selection of one of the eight available professions.

 

Elementalist

Elementalist GW 2

The elementalist is the traditional caster class of most games, focusing on the use of elemental spells to devastate their foes on the field of battle.

  

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater         

    Dagger                Staff                      Dagger              Trident 

    Scepter                                            Focus

 

  Armor:

    Light Armor

 

Warrior

Warrior GW 2

The warrior is a master combatant who is able to shrug off the toughest of blows.

  

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Axe                     Greatsword           Axe                  Harpoon Gun

    Mace                   Hammer               Mace                Spear

    Sword                 Longbow              Shield

                               Rifle                      Sword

                                                            Warhorn

 

  Armor:

    Heavy Armor

 

Guardian

Guardian GW2

The guardian closely resembles a paladin, able to hold off foes while providing buffs to his fellow adventures.

 

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Mace                   Greatsword          Focus               Spear

    Scepter                Hammer               Shield               Trident

    Sword                  Staff                    Torch

 

  Armor:

    Heavy Armor

 

Engineer

Engineer GW 2

Engineers use the latest advances in both technology and alchemy, to become a force to be reckoned with on the field of battle.

 

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Pistol                   Rifle                      Pistol                Harpoon Gun 

                                                            Shield

 

  Armor:

    Medium Armor

 

Ranger

Ranger GW 2

Masters of the wild rangers travel the land with their loyal animal companions.

 

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Axe                     Greatsword           Axe                  Harpoon Gun

    Sword                 Longbow              Dagger              Spear

                               Shortbow              Torch

                                                            Warhorn

 

  Armor:

    Medium Armor

 

Necromancer

Necromancer GW 2

Tapping into the power of the dark arts, the necromancer is able to summon minions to do their bidding.

 

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Axe                     Staff                      Dagger             Spear

    Dagger                                             Focus               Trident

    Scepter                                            Warhorn

 

  Armor:

    Light Armor

 

 

Thief

Thief GW2

Adept in the art of stealth and surprise, the thief is a natural when it comes to one on one combat.

 

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Dagger                Shortbow              Dagger             Harpoon Gun          

    Pistol                                                Pistol               Spear

    Sword

 

  Armor:

    Medium Armor

 

Mesmer

Mesmer GW 2

Not everything is as it seems, Mesmers are masters of illusion and mental magic.

 

Weapons:

    Main Hand          Two handed          Off Hand          Underwater  

    Scepter                Greatsword          Focus                Spear

    Sword                  Staff                     Pistol                 Trident

                                                            Sword

                                                            Torch

 

  Armor:

    Light Armor

 

  You will notice the lack of a healing class in this list that is because ArenaNet has tried to shatter the conventional holy trinity of Tank, Healer, and DPS.

 

  A noble gesture to say the least, however some people enjoy playing as a healer and not having that option available seems a bit strange as you still have people in the other two roles within the game so the trinity is still kind of in play.

 

  Of course the big advantage of not having a healing class means that encounters are designed with this in mind, so no need to spam chat for hours seeking a healer for your group.

 

Female Engineer GW2

 

  Unlike the first Guild Wars game you will not be able to multiclass this time around, so choose a profession that fits with the style of play that you enjoy.

 

  Skills for each profession vary depending on what combination of weapons that your character currently has equipped. If you decide to try out a new weapon you will need to practice with it until you unlock all of the skills for it.

 

  This can take quite some time, especially for the elementalist class as it has four elements to focus on, each with its own skill set and each affected by what weapon combo you have equipped at the moment.

 

  Oh and you also have different skills for under water combat so there is that to take into account.

 

  Each character you play in Guild Wars 2 has their own personal story to play through, think of this as the epic line that draws you and your character throughout the world of Tyria.

 

Hall of Monuments GW 2

 

  The personal story can be slightly different each time that you play through it, depending on the choices that you make during character creation. This helps to add to the replay value of the game.

 

  The biggest hurdle that I encountered in the game is the level spacing between each of the personal story quest. You will find yourself grinding away at dynamic events, mobs, and renown heart quests so that you can continue on with your personal story.

 

  Speaking of which there are several types of quests in Guild Wars 2, the first are the dynamic events which many of you who have played War Hammer Online or Rift will recognize.

 

  These events normally require you to work with other players in order to be successful. Unlike traditional MMO's there is no need to form a party as every person within the area of a dynamic event is rewarded upon its completion, based upon their level of individual participation.

 

  Another form of questing is known as "Renown Hearts", these types of quests are very similar to traditional questing in most MMO's but differ in that they require you to fill a quest bar. This can be accomplished by performing various tasks in an area.

 

  The big downfall of the renown hearts system is that it can get pretty tedious trying to fill up the quest bar once you realize how little of it fills when you perform an action in some areas.

 

   I think one of the worst experiences I have ever had with a non lethal quest in any game, was one in which I had to train with the local militia. I started to browse the web in boredom as I slowly completed this quest.

 

  Things like that can detract from the replay value of the game when you realize that you will have to take another character through the same quest.

 

  Even though the renown heart system gives you multiple paths to fill the quest bar it really boils down to the same old same old choices of kill ten rats, gather ten rat tails, or block up ten rat holes. Not a lot of thinking is required to finish any of the quests.

 

  Maybe I am spoiled now after the mental challenge that "The Secret World" offered me with its insanely hard quests.

 

Vista Points

 

  You can also gain experience by finding vista points or exploring new areas. Vista points give you a rolling camera view of the area as a reward for discovering them.

 

  Leveling in GW 2 is a real chore; you will find yourself constantly looking for new things to grind so that you can continue with your personal story. The spacing and amount of quests needed to level seems way off.

 

  Alas don't think that you can level past a problem area or encounter, Guild Wars 2 scales your level down depending on the challenge of the local area that you have entered.

 

  This system will enable guild members or friends to help their fellows without steam rolling over the content of an area. However if for some reason you are having a hard time completing a certain task that is on level solo, you will soon realize that you need to find others to help you on your journey.

 

  The visuals in Guild Wars 2 can swing from absolutely breath taking to a little too artistic; this can cause your immersion in the world of Tyria to be broken.

 

  Speaking of broken the camera was so broken at times that I felt like I was playing Resident Evil 1 all over again, this is not a good thing! Especially if you are trying to solve a particularly hard jumping puzzle when the camera decides to do its own thing.

 

Scumbag camera angles

Scumbag camera angles, making gaming frustrating since generation six of the console wars (okay maybe even longer).

 

  After playing so many different MMO's in the past few years it came as quite a shock at how uneven the voice acting and cut scenes were in Guild Wars 2. I would even go as far to say that they are at points a down grade from the ones used in Guild Wars 1.

 

  Cut scenes from your personal story should draw you into the game, not break your immersion with it.

 

  At least ArenaNet remembered to put in an auction house on day one, so many games have stumbled on this point recently.

 

  Unfortunately they did not put in a system for characters to trade items with each other outside of the auction house, unless you count exchanging things via the in game mail system, which requires a lot of faith on both parties ends.

 

  Grouping in Guild Wars 2 is a breeze as there is no kill stealing in this game; each person gets credit for a monster slain and even gets their own loot table to receive items from. This is one of the smartest moves I have seen from an MMO in years.

 

  I see so many other reviewers giving this game a 10 that it pains me to write this, but I found myself bored playing Guild Wars 2, there are just too many elements holding back the fun factor in this game and I found that as the weeks went by that I wanted to log in less and less.

 

Final Verdict for Guild Wars 2:  6.5/10 Buy 2 Play is very tempting but remember folks this game also has a cash shop that I am sure will begin to influence design decisions down the road. As a Guild Wars 1 fan I was fairly disappointed in how this game turned out.

 

~Professor

 

 

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