Guild Wars 2 Review
Guild Wars 2(GW2) review
This game really surprised me from day one, buying the game and being an MMO I was expecting to pay a monthly fee of 14.99. To my surprise you buy the game and you play for free. This is not all they did different in this MMO, they completely changed the need for the so called "Holy Trinity". Most MMO's require a group to have one tank, two damage players (dps), and one healer. In GW2 this was not needed. Every class gets a self heal option, they can dual spec, meaning at one point they can be a ranged damage dealer and then next be fighting up close and personal or melee, as they call it.
Picking a server and character creation
Character creation allowed for enough options so that your character would look unique. It was not as if you would never see someone that looked like you, although it had enough options to make it rare. You could choose between what race you wanted and which profession you wanted to be. This selection ties you to the story line you experience in the game. The next step is picking which server you want to join. One nice thing about GW2 is the ability to change server at anytime, this means if your friends start playing or you found friends in the game, you could easily switch to their server.
Leveling in this game started out extremely fun. Quickly I found out that unlike some MMO's when you join someone else's fight you gained your own loot based on how much damage you did in the fight. This encourage a lot of players to help each other out and take down world boss's and world events together early on. The social aspect was great in this game, I was highly impressed by this. Questing was easy to follow, GW2 put in a great mini map that showed exactly where you needed to go for your mission and it was easy to find. The best part I thought was everything you did in the game gave you experience. So grinding to the top level was not a hard process considering you even gained levels for crafting.
My experience in MMO's at the time left me unfamiliar with crafting stations, at this point I was used to Star wars the old republic (swtor). So having to stand and craft for long periods was something I was not used to at the time; however, I found it very easy and fast. The only problem I found was when my bags filled up I had to go back to a crafting station to unload some of the materials I had collected along the way. The ability to gain experience while crafting made it a worth while task and I completely enjoyed it. Over all I gained about 10 levels crafting, which was a nice addition to the game considering level 80 was the top level.
The initial world gives you a class mission and then several side missions that had you explore the world. You start off by having to find specific areas of the map such as Waypoints, renown hearts, skill challenges, vistas, and points of interest. Waypoints allowed players to travel back to an area they were in previously instantly, for a small fee of course. Renown hearts, these areas gave you a small quest that had you go kill so many non player characters (NPC), or collect specific items based on what the NPC giving the quest needed. Skill challenges usually took you into a dungeon type atmosphere that required you to fight to the skill challenge, this was very engaging and sometime tough to get through alone. Vista's were interesting points that required a lot of jumping at higher levels to reach. They were normally on top of some structure that a specific path must be followed in order to reach. Finally waypoints, these were the easiest things to gain while leveling because all you had to do was walk into an area and it would activate them. The only problem was there was a lot of them to find on each area of the map.
Once you clear the first world of GW2 you find out that the second area is different looking but exactly the same quest line as the first, you find Waypoints, renown hearts, skill challenges, vistas, and points of interest. The main story was the only story in the game after clearing a few area's the game got very redundant. The dungeon's in the game seemed very intriguing to how they might play out being the game no longer needed the holy trinity of a group. I found it to be just the opposite, once you grouped up, you quickly realize no one is tanking and yet everyone is their own tank. Everyone could heal so everyone was healing, and everyone was a DPS so everyone was DPSing. Obviously this is what the developers intended, but instead of feeling like I was playing an MMO that required skill, I felt as if I was playing and RPG with people that just hit any move that looked good rather than a solid rotation of moves. Every part of PVE seemed lacking for an MMO except the graphics. It did not encourage you to want to group up because their wasn't much point to it. I reached level 80 without ever being in a group and had no issues the whole way through.
This is where the game really shines, so much so that some MMO players have suggested to me that GW2 is solely for PVP players. PVP felt like it included some aspect that everyone was looking for in PVE. For example killing a player meant that you would get loot from that player, no it did not take any items away from the player killed but it did give valuable loot to you. PVP also included siege weapons such as ballista's that could be utilized on large mobs, this was definitely a well designed world vs world pvp area. One advantage to the game was the ability to change servers at anytime; however, the guild I joined actually changed servers based on which faction was winning PVP. I felt this kind of made PVP unfair in the aspect that people were not going to stick around and get better they would instead keep joining the winning side.
GW2 had a lot of exciting features in the beginning, their auction house was even set up better than many of the MMO's I have seen. I like having the ability to go to the auction house and instantly sell my item based on bids that people had already posted. For example if I had a rare item and someone wanted it they could go to the auction house and state they would pay x amount for it. If I agreed with the price I could sell it instantly or posted it for a higher price and see if it sold. The combat system was enjoyable, the way they handled the loot was impressive. Being Free to Play was an intriguing feature for a new MMO, along with getting rid of the holy trinity.
What I found from this game being free 2 play was they had an in game option to purchase gems which could be traded for gold. This encouraged people to spend real money to buy gems, which would then be used to purchase in game items. Of course no one was forced to spend money, although those who did gained the items they wanted faster than those who worked for it. Quickly you start to realize that some players were paying more for gems than if they just had a subscription feature of 14.99 a month. From a business stand point the game has to make money in order to continuously run the servers and to add new content, so it makes sense that the put in a way to make money.
So was there a difference in an MMO that has a monthly subscription compared to the free to play option? Yes, new content was not added on a regular basis, the game lacked PVE variety, and the lacking of a holy trinity made the game feel more like on online multiplayer game and not an MMO. I left the game shortly after hitting level 80, although I was told a lot of stuff was added and I needed to revisit the game. I went back to the game about a month ago to check out all the new content that was added. Upon returning, I found the same old PVE content, the same boring leveling experience and the new features were not impressive at all. Some improvements to the game were made but it still felt like the same old game which lacked MMO quality.
An MMO should encourage members to group up and run together with a strategy in mind. The world should engage players at every level from crafting to pvp. Paid MMO's frequently come out with new content and work on figuring out what players want to see added and changes that should be made. This game felt more like I was playing a single player game and the only grouping I was encouraged to do was in PVP I wanted to be in a group so I didn't get mauled. While I don't blame the game for this, I still feel it encouraged it. Being in a large guild that switch servers when they felt the need to be in winning faction made it seem like there was no point to the constant PVP grind because always winning is not the same thing as learning to beat the other team as a skilled group. I do not recommend this game for dedicated MMO players, it lacks in a lot of areas and everyone I know that has played the game has left the game. Even members of other MMO's I have spoke with that once played the game quickly lost interest but said they liked the PVP. If you want a good game to PVP in, I would say it definitely has that.