Guild Wars 2 – The Review
Release Date: 8/28/12
Developer/Publisher: ArenaNet /NCsoft
By Matthew F. Hibben
Guild Wars 2 (GW2) is the latest entry into the MMO marketplace, a massive fantasy world for players to explore. This Game Tech article will explore the elaborate intricacies of the game and see how it measures up.
GW2 is a free to play (F2P) MMO. F2P games are the latest trend in MMO’s, with games like SWTOR soon to be offering a F2P option, however, F2P is not new to GW veterans. There is an RMT based shop attached to the game, but is strictly used for convenience and appearance upgrades. The game itself runs incredibly smooth for a fresh release, as I have been playing throughout the early release period without a single crash.
The game starts as most MMO’s do by allowing the player to create a character and select a server. Players get a good amount of options for both race and class selections, with 5 races and 8 classes. Each race has unique starting zones, capital cities, and storylines. It is important to note that while storylines are unique to the race, they seem to be not unique to the class, as I found that the storyline was the same for an Asura Necromancer and Ranger.
GW2 gameplay is a mixed bag of both tried and true mechanics and elements that are quite new and exciting. Basic controls and abilities are pretty standard for MMO’s with characters using a set of abilities loaded into a tray. However, the player is limited to 10 total active abilities to work with. Where GW2 really moves away from the norm is how it handles different zones and the leveling up process.
The leveling process is based on completing tasks or quests for various NPC’s around the zone, and multiple players can work on the same task towards communal victory. In a standard MMO scenario you would have player A attacking X target to get credit for the player’s mission, while player B would attack Y target, but in GW2 these different players can work communally towards the overall task without having to be in the same party. Quests in GW2 are broken down into two types, tasks or stationary quests, and events. The difference between events and tasks is that players can participate in tasks at any point, while events are on a limited timer to complete before cycling off. I want to point out that events and tasks can be completed by any number of players, and from experience most of these events have many players participating.
The communal aspect of the leveling process is something that I found very appealing in GW2 as it gets players working towards goals as a group right from the start.
Zones are handled uniquely in GW2 as well. Players are automatically level synced to whatever the specific area designates, requiring players of all level ranges to explore an area with a measure of caution, as one cannot simply out level it and come back stomping foes into the ground. For certain harder events that take place across zones, the loot is synced to your actual level, meaning that even though your effective level for a zone might only be 15, you can get item drops of your actual level of say 30.
Gathering and Crafting
Gathering and Crafting are systems familiar to all players of MMO’s. In GW2 players can select from a wide variety of different crafting professions, but can only have two at once. Players can partake in all types of gathering as long as they have the gathering tools equipped. Crafting in GW2 is far from a cakewalk, and in some respects is very grind oriented, although it doesn’t fall into the trap that some games have of making the crafting system itself overly tedious. Item management is very well done in GW2, with a bank system in place that can both store and organize your crafting materials by type, and seems to have more than enough space to house any number of base ingredients. In addition to the great bank system for crafting is the ability to send items to your bank from the field of battle. Item Recipes are learned as you level up, by purchasing recipes, and by discovering them via the crafting UI.
I for one am very excited with what I have seen so far from GW2. With few stability problems and huge numbers of players partaking in the game, I predict the game will gain huge momentum. While there are still problems with the some aspects of the game in terms of various features not quite up to speed, I see a bright future for GW2.
Guild Wars 2 Video Review