It’s that time of year again. The end of the summer holidays. Back to school and back to work, eh? Or, if you live in the world of Tyria, back to Guild Wars!
Name: Guild Wars 2
Available on: PC
Guild Wars 2 is a massively multiplayer online role playing game, or MMORPG for short, which takes place in the fantasy world of Tyria. It’s set 250 years after the original Guild Wars, but it really doesn’t matter if you’ve never played the first one. Times have changed a lot…
For example, there are now five playable races, instead of just Humans. There are now also the cat-like Charr (Who were the main enemy in the first Guild Wars), the Norn, a race of Nordic-inspired hunters, the Sylvari, who are kind of like elves made of leaves, and the Asura, who are short, have big ears, and very technologically advanced. As far as classes go, it’s pretty standard stuff, apart from a few “new-faces”. Warriors, Elementalists, Thieves, Rangers and Necromancers are all pretty common in this kind of game, but Guild Wars 2 also features the Mesmer, an illusionist class which was also in the first Guild Wars, the Guardian, a heavily armoured class who can use holy magic, and the Engineer, who can deploy turrets and mix up elixirs to aid himself and his allies. The choice of weapons (and therefore skills) depends on your class, but there is some cross-over. For example, Guardians, Warriors, Rangers and Mesmers can all wield great-swords.
The world itself is made up of numerous areas, each with there own quests, sights and bosses, as well as “dynamic events”. These actually have some meaningful impact on the world around them. For example, the bandits might trying to poison the water in town. If you and other players can hold them back, great, you saved the town. However, if you don’t the townsfolk get sick, and poisonous slimes start infesting the farms. These events happen all over the world of Tyria, and most of the time, it’s incredibly simple to just walk up, and join in.
Another major part of Guild Wars 2 is it’s player vs player aspect. As in most other MMORPGs, there is an arena for single players or groups to fight to the death, but there is also the “World vs World vs World”, or just “WvWvW”. This allows entire servers to fight against each other in new maps, known as “The Mists”. Anyone at any level can jump in at any time, and helping your world capture objectives will give you bonuses when playing in the rest of the game. It’s also really, really fun.
Guild Wars 2 had a huge amount of hype, both from the developers and the community. I even signed up for beta access, some thing vary rarely do. Guild Wars 2 just has that edge over other games in the genre, and for a few pretty good reasons.
Maybe the the best example is the cost. Once you buy the game, that’s it. You don’t need to spend any more money on it. Of course, you can spend more, as there is an in-game store for micro-transactions, but do don’t need to. It won’t make your character any better. But there’s no monthly subscription, or paying to unlock parts of the map. And that’s great, by my standards.
Another thing I really like about Guild Wars 2 is the look and feel of every aspect of the world. Towns feel alive, swamps feel dank and dangerous, snow-capped mountains feel harsh and cold.. It just all looks amazing. It also sounds great, from the full voice-acted cut scenes, to the music, to the sounds of weapons hitting amour, so much care has been put into the detail of this game.
ArenaNet has gone out of it’s way to change the MMORPG genre with Guild Wars 2, and it’s made some pretty big changes since the last game, game play wise. For example, there’s no “dedicated” healing class. Every class is responsible for taking care of themselves. Underwater exploration and combat is something I’ve never seen in an MMORPG before now, and it works really well. You get a completely fresh set of skills when underwater, but it still feels as slick and polished as being on land.
Speaking of skills, there’s a lot of them. Each class has at least 3 weapon choices (with Warriors having 11), which are split into two-handed, one-handed, off-hand and aquatic. Weapon skills take up the first half of your skill bar, while “slot” skills take up the second half, with 6 being a healing skill, and 0 being your “elite” skill (which is unlocked at level 30). That’s a lot of skills. And then on top of that, there’s “traits”, which are unlocked at level 11, and act as passive abilities. Of course, there’s lots of traits to choose from, so there’s a lot of character customisation… Not including the actual character creation screen, which is very in-depth by itself.
TL;DR: Guild Wars 2 is finally out, and I love it.