For those curious about Guild Wars 2, I have been playing it:
- No questgivers standing around like lemons. You wander around and come across Shit Happening and can pitch in if you so desire. This leads to a much greater feeling of playing with other people. Largely because you are.
- Combat and questing isn’t the only way to level. You gain XP for everything — crafting, exploring, finding collectibles.
- GOOOORGEOUS graphics with modest system requirements.
- An excellent map and fast-travel system.
- Brilliant character creation system, in which you establish your character’s background as well as their race and class. This ties in to the game’s “personal story” system, where you are the lead character in a story that revolves around you, you, you.
- Jennifer Hale and Nolan North.
- Fun combat where you actually have to move around and dodge rather than stand in place pressing number keys until someone falls over.
- L4D-style “last gasp” system where if you get knocked down you can use some special skills to attempt to kill something and “rally” yourself.
- Neat progression system — most of your skills are tied to weapons, and using them more unlocks more skills for that weapon. But you can switch and combine weapons at any time. And purchase “miscellaneous” skills for specific slots. It’s kind of like Diablo’s skill system, only better.
- Cross-server grouping, guilding and communication.
- No subscription fee, so the game is paced much “quicker” than MMOs which need to retain their users for as long as possible.
- Server capacity issues. You’ll often find yourself shunted onto an “overflow” server and put in a queue to enter the “real” instance. You can still run around and do stuff and even interact with other players, but these servers are often a bit laggy.
- The game doesn’t do a great job of explaining its systems. It has a bunch of irritating tutorial popups, but few of these are actually particularly helpful. If you don’t like “learning by doing”, this might annoy you.
- While the dynamic events are cool, some are still a bit “kill x ys”.
- That’s honestly about it.
It really is. I read a review recently that described it as an “MMO that respects your time” and it’s absolutely right — there’s no need to log in and play for 3-4 hours at a time to feel like you’re making progress, because the game is super-generous with its rewards and continues to provide you with a string of awesome things to do. Plus the lack of subscription fee is something which should be celebrated.
It’d be great to play with some Squaddies but I appreciate a lot of you aren’t MMO types. Even if you aren’t, though, I’d urge you to give the game a look, as it dispenses with a lot of the reasons you probably aren’t MMO people in the first place.