Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guild Wars 2 First Impression

I'm just going to get this out of the way, I was never a huge fan of Guild Wars. I picked up a copy of Guild Wars and the Factions expansion back in 2008 and didn't get very far. The game was unique but it failed to pull me into the experience and hold my attention like it did for so many other people. There was certainly nothing wrong with it and I thought the whole setup of the pesdo-MMO was pretty neat, but in the end we parted ways after only a couple dozen of hours (at the most) That said, after a few hours with Guild Wars 2 I see the potential for a long lasting and very rewarding relationship.

Tyrial is a very open and expansive world
Upon creating my Human warrior who was born into nobility and has a dead sister which apparently angers him, I was thrust into the mini-tutorial where me and all the up-and-coming heroes of Tyria must defend the village of Shaemoor from the hordes of Centaurs. Already I noticed the biggest area where Guild Wars 2 tries to differentiate itself from other MMOs, the focus on teamwork. Instead of being told to go kill X amount of enemies by myself and complete a small handful of quests before finishing off some boss and entering the actual game world, I was told to defend a location. Any player in the vicinity could join me and all of us worked seamlessly on the same task without having to add each other to a party. As the number of players grew so did the amount of enemy attacking. The tutorial ended with the newly collected horde of heroes rushing towards a final boss, which seemed to scale appropriately given the amount of players, and bashing on it until it exploded knocking everybody unconscious thus teleporting us to the game world.

Instead of going into all of the different features that make up Guild Wars 2 and talking about how these differentiate Guild Wars 2 from other MMOs (I'm saving that all for my review which will probably be quite lengthy), I'll just say that my experience so far has been fantastic. I'm about 10 hours in and I've completed all of the content in the first zone and I'm on the level 14 story quest. It's the first time in an MMO I've actually cared about the story quests and my own character because of the way they present the quests and instance you off in the game world to focus on your own personal story.

What I've enjoyed the most so far is how Guild Wars 2 promotes exploration and teamwork. The flat level scaling really helps the exploration portion of the game as discovering new locations, points of interest, waypoints, and vistas all gives you a proportional experience gain to your overall level. Teamwork is the focus of all the questing and world events. You can be in a party but it's not necessary. Unlike other MMOs, the game does not punish you for being in a party by reducing your experience gain. Instead during the world events it rewards you by scaling the amount of enemies and their levels to make the fight even more tough but increasing the reward for completion. I find myself rushing to the aid of other players instead of trying to avoid them so they do not steal my mobs and slow my leveling.
There will be sieges. 

The world events have been a blast so far and make the world feel the most alive I've ever seen in an MMO. Some of these events, even in the low level zone of the game, bring in a lot of players from all over. More than once I have been fighting along side of at least 50 others players to defeat a boss or waves of opponents. The game appropriately scales the difficulty depending on the amount of players around and it also lowers your level to the highest level allowed in the zone so that you are never too overpowered. These mechanics all combine for some very unique fights spread across the entire zone. I hear in the later levels the events become even larger and more difficult as they replace raids and dungeons that would be found in other MMOs and I cannot wait to take part in those.

Did I already mention beautiful graphics?
I have not yet dabbled in the PvP aspects of Guild Wars 2, though I fully understand how big of a role they play. The idea behind the World vs. World vs. World PvP is teeming with potential. The structure of the PvP also eliminated the need for factions in the PvE world which gave the world a whole different personality. There is no longer content you cannot access with your one character so you do not have to create a character of the opposing faction just to experience all of the PvE content. This also plays into the emphasis on teamwork as everybody is now working on the same content.

Overall I have been extremely impressed with Guild Wars 2. I could go on about how brilliant the combat is, how amazing the environments are, how the voice acting and production values are some of the best I've ever seen in a video game, how the game has no monthly fee and its cash shop is offset with item drops... but I'll save all of that stuff for updated impressions and my review in a few weeks.

2 comments:

  1. As I read this blog posting this is really inspiring a timed perfectly for the creative transitional place I find myself this moment in this site. guild wars 2 , so amazing!

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