So I have been playing Guild Wars 2 since early launch started. I have probably spent more time thinking about it since then than actually playing. Something about the game strikes a chord with me, and has made me want to write this.
Let me start by prefacing that I am not a game critic. As such, everything I say here is biased and my own opinion. That being said, I find Guild Wars 2 to be… mediocre? It’s not that it is a bad game; it is just not a particularly good game for anyone who has played many MMOs. I’ll begin by looking at my first gaming experience in GW2.
I began by making an Asura Thief. Right away I was amazed by the cool graphics and the above average customization of the character creation. I really liked the story elements where you decided different things about your character. I thought this would be a cool chance to really shape my character the way I wanted. I picked a name (not an easy task) and began to load into this brand new game. Immediately I was greeted with cacophony. There were people running everywhere and enemies attacking me (I think, it is hard to remember in my confusion). I felt rushed and barely had a chance to look over my skills. After a short time I started figuring things out, learning some skills, and mapping my controls. In about 15 minutes I learned 4 new abilities with my dagger. Cool. I noticed trainers didn’t want to talk to me until level 11, and I assumed I would just learn new abilities naturally. This leads to the first place I was disappointed. Those first 4 skills I learned? Yep, that’s it. Let me clarify. Each weapon and combination of weapons gives 5 unique skills. So, for Thieves there are what, 30 skills (didn’t add it out)? It seems like a lot, but the inability to exchange them and the inability to change them without changing my weapon sets felt very limiting. Now, on the other side of the “bar” there are 5 more class specific skill slots that you unlock as you level. Reviewing these skills online, I felt myself very unenthused. They all seemed very boring, very weak, or very short in duration. I found myself not really caring about them at all. This in and of itself is not a deal breaker for me. I am not a fan of the skill system, but I am willing to give it a try.
So remember how I really liked the story elements of the character creation? I found that it mostly set me up for disappointment. I decided that my character preferred ferocity and stealth. I had this image in my mind of a night stalker prowling the shadows ready to eviscerate opponents. Instead, I got a brazen, loud, heroic, not at all stealthy, Boy Scout. I didn’t get to choose at all how my character behaved in dialog or cinematics. Normally that wouldn’t bother me, but the character creation screen made it seem like I would have a choice. Besides, why is my character all nice and altruistic? He’s a thief! He steals from people (as a class skill). He has abilities like backstab and “death blossom”. I should not be confronting anyone face to face. Like I said before, this is only an issue because I was fooled into believing otherwise.
PVP. OK. The PVP is really cool. The huge maps with keeps and siege engines and everything are a lot of fun. The best part is that it all runs smoothly. There is hardly any lag (that I have experienced). What’s the downside? There really are none minus a few small annoyances. Some of the problems I have had is picking my target in PVP. If I target an enemy, a red ring is put at their feet. Unfortunately, this is a world were red spell effects are strewn all over the ground. I can never find the person I am targeting in a really heavy battle. Why not an arrow or something? That and other small pacing issues are my only problem with PVP. Also, executing downed opponents is epic. Let’s move on.
Mostly I just find the game boring. No matter how many new things are in the game, I still feel like I’ve played it before a million times. Mining for copper is a good example. Star Wars: Old Republic proved that there are different ways to handle crafting and crafting materials. I am not saying GW2 should have copied them. I am saying the SWTOR proved that there are other options. There are new ways of doing the same old stuff. Questing in GW2, like every other MMO, is boring and repetitive. Sure it is handled a little differently, but it is still an awful grind fest. Only this time, you don’t have quest rewards to look forward to (because they aren’t actually quests).
So here is what I am saying: Guild Wars 2 is not a bad game. It is actually an incredibly well put together game. There are hardly any bugs or glitches of any kind. Truly a good launch as far as any game type goes. There just doesn’t happen to be anything about it that is worth playing if you have played all of the MMOs before it. Even the new stuff feels old. If you are new to MMOs, however, there is definitely something of worth here. For the “newbies” out there, GW2 is a fantastic game that will be a lot of fun to explore.