Monday, 28 March 2016

Guild Wars 2

Gamespot Score: 9.0 (Editor's Choice)

My Score: 9.0

(+) Pros: - Amazing world and lore, - Superb in-game mechanics and does many things very differently from other MMORPGs, - Rewards exploration and makes questing a lot less tedious, which is a godsend, - Very good story telling and story for an MMORPG, - Incredibly versatile approach to combat, - Active community, even after all these years and after going F2P, - Plenty of community events and post game content.

(-) Cons: - Free players tend to suffer a LITTLE bit and the combat gets slightly repetitive as you approach the end game.

Gameplay time: -

MMORPGs are fun and can be a good way to whittle time away if you aren't playing your single player games. Ranging from spending minutes to hours on character creation or simply just grinding away raids or dungeons trying to get your ideal equipment, it can seriously be a legit, time gobbling addiction. However, having played SO many MMORPGs and even used to think that "Cabal Online" was the best MMORPG for quite some time, my naive mind slowly blanked out. Most MMORPGs rarely last over level 30 for me now, because I've grown so tired of them...of course, until "Guild Wars 2" happened. This baby just became free quite some time back, and when I started it, I didn't believe I would hit level f**king 80. I never thought that "Guild Wars 2" would be my salvation to reignite the love for MMORPGs. If every MMORPG from now on just follows "Guild Wars 2", they would all be f**king amazing, I assure you. From that day onward, "Guild Wars 2" became the MMORPG that I would compare every other MMORPG to, and while its an extremely tough benchmark to follow, that just shows how great this game is.

Like most MMORPGs in recent years, "Guild Wars 2" does have a story. And I know all of you will stop right here and say this, "MMORPG stories do not matter and pretty much suck anyway". That might be true elsewhere, but definitely not here. "Guild Wars 2" simply has one of the most in-depth stories in an MMORPG, exploring the lore of multiple races and providing stories will BRANCHING PATHS AND DIFFERING OUTCOMES. As well as FULLY VOICED CUTSCENES! Say what?! You play as a character in one of 5 races, and the story weighs as you being one of the many hundreds of thousands of adventurers banding together to stop the awakening of the elder dragons that will bring ruin to the world. I won't spoil too much, but its a story that has A LOT OF ANGLES to it, and its amazing how much effort is put into this story for an MMORPG.

Introducing the races and classes.

First off, the world and lore of "Guild Wars 2" is simply just amazing. Sure, while the game tells its story nicely, a lot of the deep, rich and interesting lore is buried into items and dialogue from NPCs. If you haven't played the first "Guild Wars" (like me), a lot of what happened can be found in the game through dialogue, but its incredibly hard to find as they are usually missing from the cutscenes which you will be investing yourself in. I went to the wiki personally to discover a lot of what I cannot find in the game, but there really is an interesting world and lore here. And as much as it is interesting, its also incredibly fun to explore the world of Tyria, more on that later.

"Guild Wars 2" does many things differently from other MMORPGs. Many, MANY things. Questing is a lot easier, you are actually rewarded for exploration, combat is a lot more accessible, you are more rewarded being more skillful, and the game doesn't become such a f**king chore as you play. Right off the bat after your tutorial, you'll realize that you are pretty much free to go where you want and you can do what you want to do. Combat in this game is pretty much similar to all other action based MMORPGs out there at the moment, but its a lot more versatile. You can also quick travel instantly without any item or limitation, making the game a lot less tedious. Also, with plenty (trust me when I do say, PLENTY) of events that encourage working with other players, its a lot more of a community based game than ever.

Lights and lasers.

For one, "Guild Wars 2" is probably the very first MMORPG I've played that rewards the players for explorations. Instead of just grinding out quests in order like in other games, "Guild Wars 2" gives you PLENTY of ways to level up to reach that hefty, level 80 level cap. In the various maps of the game, there are plenty of way points, vistas, and points of interests. Way points are markers for you to quick travel to, every map has PLENTY, giving you the opportunity to get to where you want with the most convenience. Vistas are usually high points in the map which give you a nice view of the surrounding area, and points of interests are usually a place within the map which are worth taking note of. Upon simply discovering one of these, you get experience, and you will fill up the map's completion rate. That's right, by simply WALKING around and seeing new places, you get EXP. and by clearing quests in that map, you fill up the completion for that map as well, with 100% map completion, you are rewarded with a butt load of experience.

There are a CRAP TON of maps in Tyria, and exploring to get 100% completion in each map is usually a thrill. Each map has something new to offer, and you can go on exploration sprees like some sort of wandering traveler, ignoring your main story line quests most of the game, because you're having so much fun. Also, while I did mention completing quests part of filling up a map's completion, there's really no need to worry, as questing is made a lot easier in this game. While the conditions to clear a quest are similar to other MMORPGs, "Guild Wars 2" makes the general term, "questing", a lot less tedious. For one, entering a certain area around the quest giving NPC automatically has you "initiate" the quest. Be it killing monsters of gathering items, you will progress through the quest as you complete the requirements around this certain area (which is usually large enough). When you finish the quest, it automatically completes itself and you are sent the reward, automatically. No more talking to the god damned NPC with an exclamation mark above his/her head, taking the quest, FINISHING it, then walking BACK to the NPC to complete it. NO, MORE.

Rats aren't the kindest of creatures.

With the simplicity of questing, and with so many other ways to obtain exp though exploration and events, there's almost no way to NOT level up in this game. There's always SO MUCH TO DO, and for once, you're not stuck with no way left to level up other than killing normal mobs or doing dungeons, in "Guild Wars 2", you always have something to do. There are even these "map completion" gauges in cities, and even jumping quests that give you exp and/or great prizes (though these are ridiculously difficult and I would not recommend them). Of course, another great way to get exp, would be to do your story line quests, which come once every 10 levels. Speaking of that though, the story telling in this game far surpasses that of any other MMORPG to date, adding fully voiced cut scenes, branching story paths and even multiple outcomes to each chapter. Even if you don't particularly care for stories in MMORPG, you gotta agree that this is some good quality right here.

Next up we'll talk about the combat. For an MMORPG at this age, it follows the formula of having action based combat. For one, approach to combat in this game is insanely versatile. Basically, for whatever class you pick, you get access to a variety of weapons per class (especially Warrior, they get to use A LOT of weapons), and if you equip that weapon, you get access to all the skills that your class can use for that weapon, right off the bat. You have 4 free hands, you can equip up to 4 single handed weapons, 2 double handed ones or a combination of both. Since you CAN switch weapons on the fly while waiting for cooldowns, the possible combinations are downright insane. While this means you don't actually learn new moves, as you will be playing around with plenty of skill combinations throughout your journey through the game. You also have access to skill trees based on your class and specializations to make your class different from that of other players.

World versus world folks.

Other things I can commend about the game doing a good job on: maintaining its community. Throughout the years, even after it went F2P, the community has a massive player base, for a game like "Guild Wars 2", its pretty much a requirement. As events pop up in the world, players come from far and wide to participate. Even then, after you DO eventually hit 80 and finish all the story line quests, there's plenty more to do, ranging from guild raids, dungeons , world bosses and even an all out PVP brawl in world versus world. The sheer amount of content is absolutely ridiculous, and even if you just want to finish the entire world map of Tyria and get the completion rate to 100%, its going to take you a...pretty long time to do that.

Bosses are massive damage sponges.

As an MMORPG, the game is almost perfect. Not much complaints to go around here. For one, free players suffer a little bit, such as being restricted to the "Heart Of Thorns" content, or being able to trade with others, carry more items, etc etc. However, these are pretty much small prices to play for enjoying "Guild Wars 2" for free...I mean, they HAVE to make some restrictions to actually want to make free players BUY the game. The other one is combat being a little bit stale as you plow through the game, since you don't really learn new abilities, you're pretty much gifted all of them from the start. Still, that's only a minor complaint, as I only felt the drag towards the VERY END of my play time with this game.

"Guild Wars 2" is the epitome of all F2P MMORPGs right now, I doubt there would be any other MMORPG that could stand up to it at the moment. It deviates from the regular formula so much that it becomes an almost different genre, and I do hope that some other upcoming MMOs do try to be different.

Happy gaming!