Updated Tue, Aug 21, 2012 by Shayalyn
Let me get this clear from the start: I’d rather be playing Guild Wars 2. Instead, I’m here writing about it. I’m a gamer on a mission.
I was talking to a gamer friend yesterday and asked him if he planned to play Guild Wars 2. He shrugged and told me that he hadn’t really paid much attention to it, then asked me whether he should. I gave him an unqualified “Uh, YES.” Then he asked me why he should spend his hard-earned cash on a game based on the IP from an older game that he never really clicked with. I offered up a few reasons. Okay, lots of reasons. And now, if you’re anything like my friend and haven’t given Guild Wars 2 a look because you figured it wasn’t really your thing, I’m going to share those reasons with you.
Please note that I selflessly do this even though I’d rather be playing Guild Wars 2, because I want you to experience the MMO gaming epicosity (shut up, it’s a word) that I have experienced over several beta weekend events and stress tests.
Never mind that as I write this, there is no stress test and the headstart weekend is still days away. That’s incidental.
Now, let’s make with the reasons:
It’s so far beyond the original Guild Wars that it’s not even on the same planet. It doesn’t really matter whether you think Guild Wars was a great game or a bad one--Guild Wars 2 is not Guild Wars. It shares a lot of the lore, races and professions (the Guild Wars term for “classes”), but that’s about it. Where Guild Wars was built around quest hubs and instanced areas, Guild Wars 2 serves up a vast open world built for massively multi-player encounters. And it has so many cool design elements it’ll make your head spin. More on those coming right up.
The world of Tyria is stunning. I can’t count how many times I’ve stopped what I was doing, looked around and said, “Wow....” And not only is it incredibly cool, it’s big. If you’ve explored one starting area, for instance, you’ve really only seen the tip of the iceberg, because each race has its own impressive area for you to explore.
Your level adjusts dynamically for the area you’re in. You can go explore other racial areas without worrying that their content will be beneath your level. Also, you’ll never leave your friends in the dust again. If you’re level 30 and you’ve got a friend just joining the game you can go back and play wherever he’s at and still gain experience because your level will dynamically scale down to the area’s level plus one. Read all about Dynamic Level Adjustment.
The game rewards exploration. Go out and explore in Guild Wars 2! You won’t be wasting time; you’ll be gaining experience. For each new area you visit, or each scenic vista you climb to, you’ll get XP.
Say goodbye to quest hubs. Yes, I know they’re the status quo for MMORPGs, but ask yourself whether you truly enjoy hitting a town or outpost, collecting a bunch of quests from various NPCs with exclamation points over their heads, and then heading out into the world to knock them out before proceeding to the next quest hub and doing the same thing all over again. In Guild Wars 2, you don’t have to. Because...
Say hello to the dynamic events system. Imagine adventures that you just happen to come across as you explore the worlds of Tyria. You might have to work with other players to help escort an NPC to safety, or to destroy dangerous objects, or to thwart an invasion force or take down a Champion monster. Dynamic events scale to fit how many adventurers are in the event area, so you should rarely find yourself seriously over- or underpowered.
But if you like more traditional quests... you can still do something similar. The renown system allows you to find NPCs who require your assistance and help them for experience and Karma. Experience, of course, helps you level up. Karma earns you points to spend on cool stuff (including nice gear) at special vendors.
Questing isn’t the only path to experience. There are so many roads to gaining experience that our Guild Wars 2 fansite, Guild Wars 2 Hub, was able to put together a list from A-Z and still not cover them all.
No more kill stealing, loot whoring, and random rolling. If you fight it, you’re getting experience for it--it’s as simple as that. And if you kill it, and it has stuff in its pockets, you’re getting loot. It doesn’t matter whether you adventure solo or in a group, it works the same way--kill stuff, get experience, get loot, end story. Your experience gain will never suffer because you’re hanging out with other players. Nor will your loot stash suffer because you’re rolling solo.