What I Love About Guild Wars 2 and What Makes Me Want to Say “Go Kick Rocks!”

As I play through Guild Wars 2, I thought I’d share some of my favorite aspects of the game.  Not everything is pixelated paradise, so I’ll be sharing my least favorite parts too.

What I Love

No monthly subscription!

When you purchase the game via disks or digital download, you have all you need to enter the world of Guild Wars 2.  There are no prompts to “upgrade” to a paid membership, and there’s no annoying in game messages about special offers if you sign up, or pay now.  There are no fees and no monetary obligation to play the game.

Your abilities change depending on the weapons you use.

In Guild Wars 2, you have certain spells that are unique to your profession/class.  You unlock the higher level spells as you use your powers.  Let’s say you’ve been using a dagger and you loot a sword from a mob.  As soon as you equip that weapon, you have access to specific powers that are associated with it.  Your powers can also change if you equip different weapons in the main hand slot.  Swapping weapons is easy, and when you get used to it, you have access to lots of powers at once, and you can go crazy with cool down management.

No running back and forth to multiple quest givers.

There are two types of quests in this game:  story line quests and world quests.  Each profession has a story line that is based on the choices you make when you create your character.  The quests in that line will have you return to specific people to continue on to the next phase of the quest.

The world quests show up as you explore and you can elect to complete them or move along.  When you complete these quests, there is no turn in, you get a message in the in-game mail system thanking you for your help, and there’s money attached.  All of the world quests are repeatable, and they reward you with a  currency that you can use to purchase multiple in-game items.

Level Scaling

Let’s say you’re at max level (80), but your friends just started playing the game and you want to group up and quest together.  The game will automatically scale you down to the level of the enemies that you are fighting so that you don’t one shot everything.  Some of you won’t like this, but I think this is a great mechanic.  It allows everyone to experience the game on the same level, and it keeps the higher level player from being bored.  You still have to work for those kills.

Character Customization

I really love how much flexibility the game gives you with character creation.  You can manipulate your appearance in so many ways, it  makes me wonder why more games don’t allow this.  There are unique races in this game, such as the Sylvari and the Charr.  The options you have to customize their looks allows for tons of variation.

No race for resources.

If you’ve ever played an MMORPG, you know all about trying to rush to a mining node, herb, or other resource before someone else sees it and claims it.  No need for that in this game.  All resources are shown on the map, and everyone can access them.  They don’t disappear after someone uses them.  So, when something spawns on you while you’re trying to hit that node, take your time.  It’ll be there when your done, even if 50 people walk up and access it, even if you die!

Way Points

Way points are opened as you explore and they are very helpful if you want to get to different parts of the map in a hurry.  Way points allow you to teleport to other way points that you’ve discovered.  If you die, you can re-spawn at the way point of your choice (back to the main town for instance).

Contacts

Whenever you add someone to your contacts in game, it links to their account.  What does that mean?  Even if they’re on an alternate character, they’ll show up in your contact list when they’re online.  Hovering over their name shows you the account name, and then you can have that, “ah” moment of recognition. This is great for keeping up with people who have multiple characters.  Not so great if you wanted to hide out on an alt.

What Makes Me Say, “Go Kick Rocks!”

Vistas

Vistas are special areas in the game that allow you to view a short cut scene.

Why don’t I like them?

They’re well out of the way, and as far as I can tell, useless.

Why am I going to them?

Because you get an achievement every time you fully explore a map.  If I wasn’t such a nerd, I’d ignore these and keep it moving, but I’m too curious to see what you unlock for exploring all of the maps.  If you plan to open all the vistas, here’s a piece of advice.  Look up.  No, higher.

Your abilities change according to the weapons you use.

You’re feeling some deja vu here aren’t you.  I know, I know, I said that I liked this feature, but I dislike it at the same time.  Why?

Because when you’re starting out, each time you acquire a new weapon, you have to unlock all the other powers associated with it.  Let’s say you’ve been using a scepter and you find a staff.  The moment you equip the staff for the first time, your powers change and then you have to use them in order to unlock the higher level spells.  If you’re an elementalist, you have to do this for each element (fire, water, air, and earth).  That’s a pain initially, but once you’ve done it for every weapon you can use, you’re golden.

The main cities are ginormous!

This can be a good thing for some, but when you’re first starting out, it’s really difficult to find things.  There are NPC guides to help you find your way, but they don’t mark your map, they don’t even give you real directions.  I need Siri!

Mobs, parties and maps.

One thing that bugs me about the minimap is that its pretty useless when it comes to aggressive mobs.  You could be running along, completely unaware that you’ve picked up a ton of enemies until they start beating on your head.  The map doesn’t show you that there are mobs following you or that they are trained onto you.  I’m not asking the map to flash, but at least show me some red dots!

When I group with friends, there is a blue dot on my map to let me know where they are, but if a party member moves too much, they’re off the map, and I have to zoom out to find them.  There’s no blue arrow to let you know which direction to move in.  This doesn’t make or break the game, but it would be nice to have it.

Grinding

This is my least favorite aspect of all MMORPGs.  If someone could find a way to eliminate this so that I could focus on the story, I’d be forever grateful.  The amount of materials that I need for crafting is massive, much more than I can get through world and class quests alone.  What does that mean?  I have to kill randomly until I have what I need, and that always feels like a waste of time to me.  There’s always the trade/auction house route, and I’ve made use of this in every MMO I’ve played.  Playing with friends or in a party helps, since you can trade with each other.  Ultimately, I’d like to get what I need as I quest, but, that’s not happening.

Crazy skill point locations.

Just like Vistas, there are free (relatively speaking) skill points on the map.  They’re marked for you, but getting to them is a different story.  Be prepared to circle bluffs, hop on fungi, jump, and fall.  Some are easy to access, others are tucked away as if they’re the lost ark in Indiana Jones.

So what’s the real deal?

Overall, Guild Wars is a great game with fresh mechanics and features.  There’s more to like than dislike for me.  I love that you can take or leave most quests, and it’s nice to be able to achieve a common goal with other players even if they aren’t in your party.  You can play solo or with friends and still have a good time, and you can make significant progress either way.

Have you played Guild Wars 2?  What do you think?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cloyd Hunter Royal
    Oct 02, 2012 @ 10:25:33

    I just started GW2 last week after realizing I had a few other friends playing. So far I love the fact I can hop in, play for an hour, then log out without worrying about finding a safe spot, waiting on my camp time to hit 5 seconds only to be attacked, have to fight back, then retry it. Having played EQ since 2000, Wow since its Beta, not to mention a string of other MMORPGS (Dark Age of Camelot, Asheron’s Call, Warhammer (plus Beta), Anarchy Online, LOTR Online, Ragnarok, etc) This has been the first to give me that newbie feel again.

    Reply

    • Digital Distraction
      Oct 02, 2012 @ 11:30:25

      Excellent points. I played WoW for… I don’t even remember how many years. I definitely like the fact that there’s a learning curve to some aspects of the game, while other things feel familiar. Now if I could get another action bar, I’d jump for joy!

      Reply

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