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How to Love Guild Wars 2 (Even If You Don't)

Updated Tue, Aug 28, 2012 by Shayalyn

You heard that Guild Wars 2 was going to be amazing. On the advice of other gamers, or based solely on the hype, you picked it up. You played through a Beta Weekend Event and a stress test or two and found, to your dismay, that you just didn’t get it. What’s with all the hype, you wondered. Is this some sort of mass hysteria?

Don’t worry, bunky...there’s still hope. I know a few people who weren’t sure they understood what everyone loves about Guild Wars 2, but they’ve turned it around, and I believe it’s possible you can, too. If you’ve loved other fantasy MMORPGs, and you really thought that some of the mechanics of Guild Wars 2 would do wonders for your gaming soul, but you found yourself wandering Tyria disillusioned as soon as you left character creation, here’s one path I know toward actually learning to love Guild Wars 2 and, in doing so, getting your $60 worth.

Guild Wars 2 Dragon

But seriously, how could you not love a game in which your first encounter is with an epic dragon?


Looking for Quests? UR Doin’ It Wrong

I know it’s hard to overcome the urge. After all, you stepped into the land of Tyria and wondered, “What should I do first?” After your initial instanced event, you found yourself facing an NPC who told you, “Hey, here are a few folks who need your help.”

Aha, you though, that sounds familiar! You headed to that first renown heart marked on your map and did whatever simple task the NPC asked you to do. And then you probably sighed and decided that renown hearts are really no different from static questing.

But here’s the rub--if you’re wandering from renown heart to renown heart trying to make Guild Wars 2 just like hundreds of other MMOs, you’re doing it wrong.

I cut my teeth on EverQuest. Back in my day, sonny, we didn’t have no NPCs with big yellow exclamation thingies over their heads. We had to wander around muttering to ourselves and saying, “What do I do now?” NPCs didn’t flag us down, we had to walk up to them and engage in a conversation, and if we didn’t type the right key phrases they wouldn’t talk to us at all. And we liked it! But if you’re one of those spoiled babies raised on WoW and its ilk, let me tell ya somethin’, junior...Guild Wars 2 don’t have no stupid “quest hubs.”

Guild Wars 2 Renown Hearts

Renown hearts are just a place to get started. There's much more to Guild Wars 2.


You see, renown hearts have a couple of purposes: they add a familiarity factor and help new players get started, and they also provide a cool system for getting stuff (Karma Points), but they’re not meant to act like quest hubs; they’re meant to nudge you toward exploring.

That’s a key word right there: exploring!

If you want to find Tyria fun, embrace your inner explorer. Get yourself out of that quest-driven mindset. Tell yourself that there are tons of other really cool things to do in Guild Wars 2, all of which reward you experience, without any static questing. This game has a distinct (and, in my opinion, refreshing) lack of big yellow exclamation points. Welcome it, and you’re on your way to getting your money’s worth out of your Guild Wars 2 purchase and then some.

And despite what some say, I think Guild Wars 2 actually does a decent job of pointing you in the exploration direction. That same NPC who shows you the renown hearts (those NPCs who need your assistance) will also point out other things on your map including:

  • Points of interest
  • Vistas
  • Waypoints
  • Skill challenges
  • On that map, you’ll also find harvesting nodes and crafting hubs. Letting your map be your guide, go out and find these things, young adventurer! And, lest you wander into dangerous territory before you’re ready, kill stuff along the way. It’s all part of the fun.

    Shhh! Just Let It Happen...

    I know, I know--it’s scary. You’re used to a much more structured system, right? Well, if you look you’ll find that there’s actually a fair bit of structure beneath the seemingly unstructured world that is Guild Wars 2’s Tyria. As I pointed out, the paths for you to explore are already on your map, and all you need do to get started is follow them.

    But while you’re following them, stop and look around, because this is an amazing world ArenaNet has created for you, and all of it is rewarding in one way or another. None of it is pointless. Harvest a node? Get experience and materials. Kill a random creature? Get experience and credit toward your daily kill variety (which can net you a daily reward). Explore a new area? Get xp. Unlock a waypoint? More xp, and the ability to fast-travel back to that location. It’s all there for you. (If you’re still a little lost, Guild Wars 2 hub has a great guide to earning experience.)

    Guild Wars 2 Divinity's Reach upper city

    Oh, the gorgeous sights you'll see when you're exploring. Like the garden in the upper city of Divinity's Reach.


    And while you’re poking around, an amazing thing will happen--dynamic events. You’ll be prancing through the poppies in the newbie area and an NPC will run up to you and say (I’m paraphrasing here), “Holy crap! Would you believe that there’s a bunch of bandit asshats trying to destroy our precious water supply? We must stop these lowlife thugs before they bomb the crap out of those ginormous water pipes!” Next thing you know, you’ll be participating in a dynamic event with a bunch of other explorers...and you’ll be getting plentiful experience and loot for doing it. And it’ll be fun. I promise. If it isn’t, just use the safe words, “Exit to desktop,” and you’re outta there for good. Give your account away to your little sister and let her have some fun for a change.

    Free Your Mind; The Rest Will Follow

    The challenge to making the most of the initial Guild Wars 2 PvE experience is getting yourself out of that gotta-grind, on-rails mindset. You don’t have to do that here. Yes, it might feel unfamiliar. Yes, you might feel a little lost at first. For example, the idea of spending your time doing something like killing random creatures to unlock your weapon skills might feel foreign, but each new skill that opens up to you will give you a sense of progression if you just let yourself go with it. In fact, everything in Guild Wars 2 will do that for you if only you can resist the urge to power-grind through it and, instead, embrace all the things that make this game so different from rest.


    Guild Wars 2 Godslost Swamp

    Godslost Swamp is just begging to be explored.


nice to read a review from a former EQ player - might actually have to give this a shot afterall :P
EQ FOR LIFE!

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Good Article. I bought GW2 for two reasons, my guild was going to be playing it and it had WvWvW which brought back memories of awesome battles from my DAoC days.

I don't hate PvE but I'm not a huge fan of it (it's not why I play MMOs, put it that way), but I have to say I'm very much enjoying the very experience that you described. I really love the dynamic events. I especially like the way they tie them together.

For instance, in a sea side village a bunch of Mermen raid the village to capture villagers and make them slaves. After you defeat that, another event opened up where you had to go rescue the ones they took previously. It's well thought out, I dig it.

nope sry, still sucks

Could you give me the key for the game? :)

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Excellent post. Tyria is gorgeous and interactive. After finding a Vista in Divinity's Reach, I was able to jump down to a rooftop - I then amused myself mightily by running and jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Can't remember a time in an MMO I've been able to do anything similar. While it can be hard to let go of the 'Wow mindset," it most definitely proves worth it.

There are some attention-grabbing points in time on this article but I don?t know if I see all of them heart to heart

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Rails? Where we're gaming we don't need rails.

Really enjoying GW2 along with the articles at Ten Ton & GW2 Hub.

All in all i was expecting a flawless launch from Anet...not another Diablo 3 Error 37 bullshit and such.

I was waiting for GW2 since the first day they announced it but now i'm disappointed.

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If anything, you've further convinced me that Guild Wars 2 is a horrible game. Why does everyone feel like they should be making excuses for a game that isn't even remotely fun or original?

Speaking from experience or inspired by comments made by rage-fueled WoW fans?

I love wow and so far am lovin GW2. Only reason i dont play wow it i have to dedicate to much time to it to get anywhere. GW2 seems to be a casual player game.

Yeah, not original at all. Because you know... all those games that use the same system...

Oh wait, it's the only one that does.

Enjoy your little kiddy Warcraft.

Thanks, enjoying it a lot myself, too. :-)) However this will not prevent me to enjoy gw2 when I will have enough of MOP.

On the advice of other gamers, or based solely on the hype, you picked it up. You played through a Beta Weekend Event and a stress test or two and found, to your dismay, that you just didn’t get it. What’s with all the hype, you wondered. Is this some sort of mass hysteria? toulouse restaurant

The information and the detail were just perfect. I think that your perspective is deep, its just well thought out and really fantastic to see someone who knows how to put these thoughts down so well
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Yeah maybe later, but right now game is shit. Why you ask ??? Well because of the game breaking bugs. We bought the game and we got 3 days head start and here is what happend:

Day One: Whole day login problem, you play 1 hour, then DC and wait 3 hours to log in again, whole day was like that.

Day Two: Pretty similar but only less DC.

Day Three: I got critical error on my main character(lvl 40), and every time i try to login with that character i keep getting critical errors but i can play a new character...that's some serious bullshit.

All in all i was expecting a flawless launch from Anet...not another Diablo 3 Error 37 bullshit and such.

I was waiting for GW2 since the first day they announced it but now i'm disappointed.

I'm going to call BS on this one.

You didn't play day 1 (though I could, but lets say you had a system problem I didn't)...

Barely played day 2....

On day 3 your "40th" level character is getting "critical errors"...

It's funny because in my guild, we have a few guys that played ALL Day 1 and Day 2 (10+ hours each day) and they are 30th level.

Liars are funny.

Call the bullshit i don't care, our guild on Desolation called Somnium is having designated parties for power leveling and such, none of us solo we all start one area and finish asap. That way we level up much much faster then someone who solo...but that's not the point, the point is that this "head start" we payed for is total bullshit...

This is the most moronic post I have read in ages.

Isilendis has come here whining about "Error 37"-like "BS" stopping him from playing but can't help but refrain from gloating that he has a level 40 character.

I played GW2 for about 5 hours last night. I think I made about 6-7 levels. So this simpleton who is "outraged" at critical errors and whatever else he can conjure on the spot to explain his outrage at being d/c has actually clocked 20-30 hours game time in 3 days.

Sounds like a total "Error 37" failed launch to me!

I'm not saying you aren't level 40 on the third day, but you said you couldn't play the first two days and now you can't play your level 40. Either you were playing the game or you weren't. So you're a liar, you were either able to play or you don't have a level 40.

Read my reply above several times until you understand, no point in conversing with you if you can't read...

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I am loving this game. I am not sure how anyone can say they dislike it / let alone the vitriolic hate that is being spewed. Opinions do vary, but this game is doing some fun things that NO ONE else is doing. The graphics are excellent. The stories are top notch. The races are unique. The classes are awesome and seem to have something for every play style. They are removing the trinity. Just enjoying this game for the fun play all around.

I played some Saturday (12a-3a), then went and didn't play again until Sunday night. Ha Ha Ha - missed all the 'issues' and never once had a problem. Was surprised / confused with all the postings until I figured out what happened.

I am playing the same class, but when I started, I KNEW I was playing Norn or Human only, but I have tried 3 races already (Sylvari today - and the story is fantastic) and will try all 5 just for the stories.

Dynamic events are fun (chaotic but fun). And I get to fight monsters completely out of my league "with a little help from my friends". And as all who have played this, the friends don't need to be organized or coordinated. I have fought multiple battles with a mix that would never happen in current games because the mixes were all off. (one encounter was almost 1/2 Guardians - and many had mostly Rangers this morning).

Bonus - I'm not worrying about someone snaking my kills or grabbing the spawn. Everyone just jumps in and has fun.

The little side-game of 'View Points' is a trip (actually a hop-skip-and a jump/fall). 'Views' allow the creators to really show you what is happening with their awesome designs and they are gorgeous (even on my older laptop).

Props to BryanP for calling shenanigans on the player who "didn't play" (Isilendis) but already had a level 40 character. WOW - that is a lot of levels for no game time. BP - "liars are funny" - you are hilarious.

I am loving the 'Exploring' features. Keep it up ArenaNet! This is fantastic and fun.

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So far after playing for short, I can say game is much better then expected. But truth is also, I did not have any high expectation, mainly thinking about original GW.
Overall I think is really worth money for game client. Would I ever sub like for Wow, Swtor, Rift, ... to GW2? Very unlikely. No problem for 3 mentioned.

I admit my mistake and must correct myself. GW2 is really great game, full of big and small jewels of any kind. Of course also problems, but very rare. And their teams are reacting very fast to problems. Once I have been receiving 4, 5 gold spams in ingame mailbox of my alts, bots everywhere ... in last month I have received only 1 gold spamming message to one of my 8 alts.

It is one of those games that would deserve to have sub and would gladly pay. So far my list goes: wow/swtor, gw2. Rift is no longer on my list unfortunately. Not sure why, but I was no longer enjoying it. Left original version because of quest hubs infested by invasions over and over. no players around to close rift, all become cataclysmic. Some times I was unable to play for entire week because when returning from job and had 1 hour of gameplay all quest givers were dead as soon myself upon logging in. Now I left expansion because of silly idea of theirs to give normal lv. 50 mobs in new world around 26000 hp, while ELITES lv. 50 in old world had much less! Normal lv. 50 in old world around 7000-8000. Wondering nobody is complaining anwhere about this. I was terribly disappointed spending eternity killing silly mobs.

Tell yourself that there are tons of other really cool things to do in Guild Wars 2, all of which reward you experience, without any static questing.johnson tiles

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If you don’t like guild wars that is probably because you haven’t explored it completely. It is one of the best free roam games I have played. The guild war series is a must play game for all the game lovers.

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Exploring!!! Isn't that the real key. that's the whole concept of the game , isn't it. If you don’t enjoy exploring in a free roam game you probably shouldn’t be playing it. For those whose prefer to take thje path less trodden, it is an awesome game. visit here

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Guild Wars 2 is a fun and very challenging game and it's one of the popular online games today.
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