There haven’t been many games recently that have excited me as much as Guild Wars 2, and in all honesty, there isn’t much coming up that can knock it from the top spot in games I want to play right now.
For those of you in the know, GW2 isn’t ready yet but we have had two Beta Weekend Events so far and these have given people who have pre purchased one of the three editions of the game an idea of what is to come on the official release. I have to admit, I did go all out and buy the Collector’s Edition of the game, something my bank balance and wallet have not quite forgiven me for yet, but come the official release, I have no doubt I will spend more time playing the game than doing anything else, including spending money!
I admit, one of the biggest concerns I had about GW2 was this massive free world where everyone would play together. It just screamed World of Warcraft to me, and all the issues I had with that game came with it. However, the BWEs convinced me most, if not all my concerns had been addressed.
Before I go any further, I haven’t played WoW for a very long time now, so some of these issues may well have been resolved, but I also don’t like paying monthly for a game and that’s where Guild Wars stood out.
With a mass environment, I was worried that anyone could come along and steal my kills, and the loot that came with it. If I’m going to spend time doing quests or finding items, I don’t want that time increased almost infinitely by people coming along at the last minute and stealing the kill, and the subsequent loot, and I’m sure this is true of most gamers. GW2’s answer is a simple one; no matter who is involved in the kill, you will all get the experience depending on how involved you were in the fight. The loot is personalised to each player as well, so no one else can even SEE my loot, let alone take it. This was clear early on in the first BWE and it gave me a good first impression.
A break away from Guild Wars is the lack of heroes and henchmen. It is quite feasible to wander around on your own or to team up with people in a more organised fashion but even those in a party don’t have to be in the exact same spot and with the vast areas available, it is easy to come and go as you please, as long as you’re considerate of the party’s goals!
It’s good to see people around the game outside of towns and outposts. It took some getting used to, but it gives the game a more real feel to it. GW1 was about socialising in outposts and guild halls but in GW2, that element is removed and the whole world becomes a social encounter. Random world events draw random strangers together in a PUG-like fashion but without having to commit yourself to an entire mission or area. The freedom almost encourages more cooperation. Throughout both BWEs, I have seen very little in terms of flaming or trolling. This might, and probably will change come release but it’s encouraging to see at the moment.
I haven’t spent too much time looking at crafting skills yet, but from what I understand, GW2 requires materials and recipies to create new items to use, but only two types of crafting skill can be active at one time. You can still find items and weapons from events and combat but I’m guessing that this is not only a money maker but will have some of the stronger weapons available. Unique weapons, in whatever form they’ll take, I have absolutely no idea about. I’m hoping they have better looking skins and the collector’s value, just like the unique weapons in GW1.
Guild functions haven’t been too prominent so far in my gameplay experience so far. Considering the game is called “Guild Wars 2” this is a bit of a surprise but I’m hoping there are some surprises for the release. Influence gained from quests seem to have a role in unlocking things but the full extent of what these features are, I’m waiting to see. Any of the people in my guild who see this, may well educate me and cause a subsequent update or edit to this post but I’ll cross that bridge later. My guild is up and running and hopefully the official release of GW2 will bring an even bigger resurgence of the people I have been playing GW1 with for the last seven years.
The Auction House is an interesting addition. The idea of being able to buy or sell anything, anywhere in the game means you don’t have to be in an outpost like in the past. In theory, it also keeps chat channels free of people trying to sell or buy things and focus more on the social and gaming events going on. Granted, you have to go to a trading post to actually get the items, but that doesn’t seem like a bad trade off in the larger scale of how the world is set up.
Like many, many others, the Sylvari are a huge point of interest that we haven’t seen yet. Whether there will be another BWE before release where this race will be available to play or we’ll have to wait until release is unknown and the same question needs to be asked of the Asura. I have had a look at the Charr and the Norn but so far, the human areas and stories are appealing to me more. Perhaps I have a grudge against the Charr for their part in GW1 and as for the Norn…well, they’re big, brutish and usually drunk so I SHOULD be happy with them unless I’m seeing a reflection of myself in their environments. Hopefully, we will be able to make more than five characters when the game is released.
Overall, I’m very excited for the official release of GW2 and the additional bonuses to come from the Hall of Monuments from GW1 will still keep me playing right up until release. Any free time will be spent in Tyria for the foreseeable future on the games release and I’m looking forward to seeing all the rest of the features the game has to offer!