As was quite obvious in my last article, I had a few apprehensions going into Guild Wars 2. In fact, these apprehensions had me convincing myself not to buy it for the few months before its release. Due to some encouragement from friends, my need to occupy myself at least until the release of Borderlands 2, and the hopes and expectations I picked up from watching countless videos related to Guild Wars 2, I excitedly bought it on release day.
As it turns out, I’m really glad I did. So far, I’ve been having a great time with it, finding myself constantly muttering, ‘Oh, that’s cool!’ to my friends upon discovering anything remotely new and interesting about the game. There have been times when I have found myself laughing at loud simply at the tenacity of the things you can pull off in the game; things, however small they may be, that aren’t able to be pulled off in any MMO to date.
When starting the game and being presented with a class choice, it was obvious in my mind what I’d end up choosing. The thief, of course! If it plays like the thief class in any other mainstream MMO so far, it’s definitely the class for me. Or so I thought. I leveled my thief to level 20 and started to wonder why, when I approached combat like every other MMO I’ve played a thief in, it just didn’t feel right. Upon taking a quick break from the game and discussing the classes with a friend, it suddenly hit me. I was going about it all wrong.
With the combat system in Guild Wars resembling a MOBA title rather than the standard, slower-paced MMO combat model, I knew what I had to do. In League of Legends, I would play AD (Attack Damage) characters almost exclusively. It always felt naturally fun being the type to rush into the frontlines and dish out damage whilst still being able to take quite a few hits. Call it reckless, but it’s my staple playstyle when it comes to MOBAs and it’s what I’m best at.
So, naturally, I came to the conclusion of trying out the warrior class and was pleasantly surprised. My MOBA theory turned out to be right for the most part and I’ve been having a lot more fun since.
Combat as a whole feels extremely smooth in Guild Wars 2 and is complimented by some very nice touches that have been overlooked previously within the MMO industry – or, more likely, just haven’t been attempted due to budget restraints.
For example, simple things such as firing at an enemy with a bow who’s on a platform higher than your character and having your character take an appropriate and natural stance as they fire upwards really enhances the sense of immersion, not to mention makes combat feel more fluid and much easier to keep up with.
As petty as it may sound, the same thing logic applies with general movement and presence of your character throughout the world. Standing on an angle, on a hill, for instance, doesn’t look weird as it has in previous MMOs where you’ll most likely find one or both of your characters legs clipping through the environment.
The small, aforementioned changes are just two examples I came across whilst playing today but they are but a fragment of the little cherries-on-the-cake the developers have taken the time to implement into the game.
Besides the general aesthetics of the game, there are many other points of difference that make Guild Wars 2 worthy of trying, even for the most jaded of MMOers.
Here are just a couple – so as to not make this article thousands upon thousands of words:
The storage system essentially lets you store your crafting materials in a separate, yet just as easily accessible ‘collectibles’ section, freeing up space in your main bank for anything and everything else you’ll be hoarding in there.
You literally run into quests. Sometimes they’ll even run into you. It’s the least tedious, most fun and most dynamic system of questing in an MMO so far and makes levelling a breeze. The fact that you can join in on other players quests and others can can join in on your quests seamlessly, without the need for partying not only feels right, but eliminates the stress related to fighting over mobs, drops and experience.
The seemingly small additions the developers have put into Guild Wars 2 – and I’ve really only mentioned a very select few – make the game feel extremely fresh and as though a great amount of attention to detail and care has gone into the making of it.
As far as this humble gamer is concerned, that fact alone is enough to warrant my time and money.