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World of Warcraft (wow) VS Guild Wars

Updated on April 14, 2013

The age old debate, well as old as the games are.

Ever since the two games came out, hardcore gamers have been at war between two of the worlds most popular multiplayer online games. If you play either World of Warcraft or Guild Wars, you probably know that the players are locked in an online trolling battle to the virtual death. Especially on you tube.

Why? Probably because each wants to play the others game but hasn;t got the time or money for both. When people feel they are lacking something they become defensive and then aggressive. Thats my guess. But since I have now started playing Guild Wars casually in addition to WoW, I have realized how stupid this common debate is. 


At first glance, one realizes that Guild Wars is initially the cheapest game to play. Both games have around the same sale price for disks and CD keys, but WoW requires a subscription of $15 US once a month.

This is the biggest flaw which GW fans like to poke a stick at, but are they correct that it is not worth the cost? Well that depends on what you get out of it. Something is worth what someone is willing to pay and more than 10 million people think its worth it. When you think of it, it cost more to go to the movies once a month and buy popcorn on top than it does to play WoW. 0.50c a day, $180 US a year if you pay per month. Thats less than 2 new release console games. Most who insult the cost of wow buy a new console game every month or two.

Enough about WoW's ongoing cost, because Guild Wars has hidden ongoing costs too.

Compared to WoW's 50 Avatar limit, GW only allows you 8 slots. There are more than 8 classes to play so if you really get into it; you will probably spend money on extra character slots. This isn't the only extra one might wish to buy for GW. One can also buy unlock packs for weapons and abilities for use in PvP realms.

So In the end, WoW doesn't cost all that much more than GW for a serious player. Not to mention, WoW provides a much higher level of in and out of game service for players. This is what you get for your money. 

WoW = Higher cost, better service

GW = Lower cost, less service

Decision = personal choice


I'm not just talking about the level of graphics here. The first thing one notices when switching between games is the style.

WoW is more of a cartoon style world and carries a specific visual flavour I can't really describe

GW has stuck to a more realistic representation of characters and environment, with a touch of anime style to it all.

How can anyone say one or the other is better? Surely its a matter of personal choice once again. Seriously its like comparing apples and oranges when one should be comparing green apples with red ones.

When it comes to the level of graphics, I must say WoW wins the day. Because its one giant open world, the graphics are forced to evolve with each expansion to the game, so the maximum graphics are improving on a constant basis.

GW is a stand alone game, its expansions attach new worlds to the game without significantly changing the previous one. It is being left to rot while GW two is preparing for launch. I must say from what I have seen, when it comes out the level of graphics in GW2 will spit all over WoW, but if both games continue to last a few more years, WoW should eventually over take GW2 again.

WoW=Cartoon style graphics with a reasonably high maximum level

GW=Anime/realism style graphics with a lower maximum level

Character Creation

Both games have nice, clean character creation but both have faults.

Something I really like about GW is the fact you can have spaces in your Avatars name. What I don't like is that you HAVE to have at least one space.

WoW forces you to make a single name, severely reducing the available options. 

GW also shows all the different characters aspects at once, rather than WoW's single selection where you have to skip through each face etc to get back to the one you liked. 

WoW however has a bigger variety of game play and aesthetic choice into character creation. One can choose their characters Race which has an effect on the skills one will have in addition to selecting a class. GW only has class creation. All Classes are human (until Guild Wars 2) and have no differing gameplay effects.

WoW= more variety in character creation and more character slots available

GW= More flexible name creation and a nicer creation interface.

Once again, neither is better, just different. It depends on which of the features is most important to you in a game.


The interface between the games is pretty similar with the whole basic map + action bars + chat log lets rock default; but there are two major differences.

The first is obviously due to a very different game play mechanic. On WoW, you are allowed a large number of hidden or shown action bars with as many key binds as you like. This is because you really need them all. Players are encouraged to utilize all of their abilities, or at least those relevant to changing situations. With guild wars, it is the opposite. You are allowed 8 abilities at any one time, which cannot be changed while out in the playable world (They can be swapped in and out along with talent specialization for free when in towns). Therefore your action bars consist of only 8 movable re-sizable buttons. Less clutter but less options. Although one may then make the argument that you don't NEED more than 8 abilities. In my experience, this is so far true.

The second major difference is the way and extent to which the interface can be customized. GW definitely wins this one in the default stage. Every object on you interface can be moved, resized or hidden. I mean everything. Its a simple click and drag style mechanic and very pleasant to use. However, NCsoft (the makers of GW) do not support user created modifications AKA add-ons. WoW May not have the same level of default customization, but for the hardcore geek, gamer or anyone with some decent PC skills will and do love the range of add-ons provided by the community. Within the anti-exploit restrictions, players can modify their UI in quite extreme ways allowing for a much more personal gaming experience.

GW = Smooth, vast, user friendly default UI customisation and a less cluttered UI along with less overwhelming need for abilities.

WoW = Freedom to use as many of your abilities as you like and the ability to customise your UI to somewhat extreme level if you have the knowledge or willingness to learn.


The style of PvP is obviously going to be very different between games simply because of the difference in game play. This is particularly true with the 8 ability limit in GW and the ability to make macros in WoW.

I cannot comment on this area of the games to a large extent as I have yet to experience PvP in GW. I do know this however.

There is no world PvP in GW as apposed to wow. This would be due to the lack of faction choice and the fact that it is not an open world game. In other words; NCsoft didn't wan't it to be that kind of game. GW and WoW both have arena style PvP, but only wow has large team based battlegrounds with specific objectives. One could say that WoW provides more options for PvP and is therefore the better option, but this is not necessarily true. The game play mechanics are just too different. Its like comparing Call of Duty to Battlefield. The multiplayer options in both games are very different and I don't know how anyone can suggest one is better than the other. The same goes for GW and WoW. They don't provide the same kind of PvP action.


Apples and Oranges. Both fruit and its a matter of opinion as to which tastes better to you.

If you wan't to compare Oranges, compare Navel to Valencia. Don't compare it to a Banana, that's just stupid.

WoW is an MMORPG and GW is more of a ORPG. It really isn't massive multiplayer. Its not open world, the mechanics are different, it looks different, it plays different. Try them both if you have the guts and continue playing the one you prefer. Or play both. Or none. Just don't go around flooding forums and youtube threads with crap. The internet is full fo too much crap already. Peace out.


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    • mygameguides profile image

      mygameguides 5 years ago from The Internet... ;)

      No problems and thanks for answering.

      *counting down the days until SWTOR 1.2 patch*!

    • WoW Guide Master profile image

      WoW Guide Master 5 years ago

      I'm a casual user. Haven't written a good article in ages. Plenty of guides to it written by others though.

    • mygameguides profile image

      mygameguides 5 years ago from The Internet... ;)

      By the way, have you any clue how I can increase my author score?

      I'm a bit new to Hubpages!

    • mygameguides profile image

      mygameguides 5 years ago from The Internet... ;)

      Totally agree! Although I think SWTOR needs better world PVP.

    • WoW Guide Master profile image

      WoW Guide Master 5 years ago

      I've been playing Swotr almost since it came out now. It's the only game that has felt on part with wow for me. I just wish the group play included a 5-6 player bracket, because the gap between 4 and 10 is kind of annoying when you have around 6 real life friends playing. I do very much like the fact that healing and tanking makes things easier but is always required and the difficulty level being a bit higher is nicer too. Not to mention that pvp doesn't require a totally different set of gear. It feels more like classic wow which makes it better than wow currently in most ways.

    • mygameguides profile image

      mygameguides 5 years ago from The Internet... ;)

      Enjoyed the read, thanks. What do you think about WOW vs SWTOR?

    • Ironman1992 profile image

      Ironman1992 6 years ago

      I like WoW better even if Guild Wars is free. But I know a lot of people are really tired of WoW.

    • profile image

      Martin  7 years ago

      WoW FTW

    • Garrett Mickley profile image

      Garrett Mickley 7 years ago from Jupiter, Florida

      I agree that they are like Apples and Oranges. They're way too different to compare.