Why Guild Wars 2 Restored My Faith in MMOs

I was originally a World of Warcraft fan. I started the game finals week of my freshman year in high school. I played it intermittently over the course of six years, canceling my subscription every time I thought I had found a new MMO.  I tried Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, DC Universe and Star Wars the Old Republic, hoping that the boredom I felt after playing WoW for so long would be satiated by anew game. My brief affairs with these games would always burn out in a few weeks, and the sad truth came to be: World of Warcraft and Blizzard had set the standard.

This depressed me because after 7 years of playing WoW, I was bored and disenchanted with the entire MMO genre. People were annoying and often ruined hours of hardwork by being self-interested jerkwards in the last moments of a raid or instance. The quest chains were annoying and the game was awful at distributing needed equipment without endless hours of dungeon crawling and/or gold farming. I quit at the this of the summer, swearing off MMORPGs.

Then Guild Wars 2 happened.

Well to be fair, first Felicia Day‘s unboxing/endorsement of Guild Wars 2 happened and since I am an unashamed Felicia fangirl I decided to give her game a try over winter break.

I am proud to report I will NEVER EVER return to World of Warcraft as long as I live. Guild Wars 2 is the game I’ve been waiting for- but what makes it special?

Graphics: This is a gorgeous game. While it’s no Skyrim, the fantastical and whimscal graphics suit the setting extremely well. The design is impressive, with places like the Sylvari homeland bursting with inspiring color and vegetation.

Character Creation: The character creation is more indepth than WoW, with more detailed avatar construction and background choices available for each character. In Guild Wars 2, you can choose from 8 different “professions” included classics like Ranger or Thief and GW2 specific classes like Mesmer or Elementalists. Any race can claim any profession and each class is distinct and self-sufficient. There’s no dedicated healer, every class has a self heal that can grow in power.

Also, according to the official GW2 wiki, this is the leveling curve for the game:

Tell me that isn't beautiful!

Class Powers and Skills: The cool part about the skills in GW2 is that they switch out depending on what weapon style you use. For example, I am playing an Elementalist and at first I had a staff. My attacks were predominately long ranged, controller-type attacks with marginal damage output. At level 8, I switched over to dual-wielding daggers and my entire play style changed. My powers shifted in both name and function making me a damage machine, but I had to be sufficiently closer to my enemies, therefore more vulnerable to attacks.

Utility skills can be unlocked through completing various challenges found across Tyria, and give you opportunity to train some much needed powers (like health regeneration).

Story: The world of GW2 is dynamic. Random instances will appear in the middle of your wanderings and you can choose whether or not to join the fray. The minute you enter an area where you could be helpful to some NPC, the quest shows up in your sidebar and you can begin it right away. No annoying traveling across town to talk to a dozen shop keepers for the right quest and no annoying running back and forth fetch quests. There is a story plot line in GW2, but it’s not amazing. Most MMO stories aren’t but GW2’s is fun and unobtrusive so I don’t mind it one bit.

Exploration: Guild Wars 2 rewards you for every vista you find and every waypoint you visit. In-game challenges are rewarded with experience, money and “karma” points used to purchase special items. I’ve never felt so encouraged to get out and explore a map before… and GW2’s Tyria is a MASSIVE world.

Crafting: In World of Warcraft, I found the crafting curve expensive, tedious and frustrating. Guild Wars 2 lavishes players with a host of resources for gathering and innovative crafting interfaces that change depending on the trade. I’ve never had so much fun making virtual jewelry in my life!

Community: I believe Guild Wars 2 might host the nicest player community in online gaming. The game is designed so that there is NO point in trolling anyone (outside of PVP of course) – not even for experience points. I have never played with such kind gamers or enjoyed helping other more than I have in GW2.

So, as you can see, I’m a believer in GW2 due to my experience thus far. Is World of Warcraft a good game? Of course, I DID throw stupid money at Blizzard for years to play their game. (That’s another GW2 bonus, NO monthly subscription fee!) However, after years of the same old same old, I think Guild Wars 2 has brought something fresh to the genre and a new love into my gaming life.

Try it out. You won’t be disappointed.

– E.B.

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