I’d Rather Be Playing Guild Wars 2 - 25 Reasons Why You'll Love It, Too

Updated Tue, Aug 21, 2012 by Shayalyn

Guild Wars 2 screenshot

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.

Guild Wars 2 screenshot

The sylvari home city, The Grove, provides scenic beauty.

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.

Guild Wars 2 screenshot

Climbing up to reach a vista will reward you with a cinematic overview of the area and 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.

Guild Wars 2 screenshot

You never know what you'll find while you're exploring. I found a whale!

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.

This is why I swore off reading articles about this game - they lure you in...the "junkie" inside you gets hungrier -there's no escaping it. Looks and sounds incredible -excellent writeup!

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You actually make it appear so easy with your performance but I find this affair to be actually something which I think I would never comprehend. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I'm looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

While it sounds like it could be a fun game, a lot of this stuff you say puts me off playing:

No defined class roles: Personally ive always liked playing a tank for the playstyle - having the knowledge that literally everyone can tank puts me off, and im sure the same goes for experienced healers.

Crafting: Sure, getting great stuff up front is fine, but for me nothing will beat Vanguard Saga of Heroes crafting for a long time - so well developed, actual skill/gear required for it, and its own full scale leveling process.

Flat-lining leveling curve: Sure its great for casual gamers, but as a casual gamer myself id rather have to put a few months into the game to reach max than reach it in a week and find it flooded with noobs and other undesirables.

Lack of structure and MMO ability required: Some guys I know are legitimately considering making a group completely out of mages, and im mortified to think that this could actually work - sure it breaks boundaries, but personally i think it takes accessibility too far.

Hype: People always talk this stuff up - look at SWToR, less than a year in and already the fanboys are running back to WoW. Sure the graphics looks good, personally i think they look great, but many will disagree; instead backing their clunky WoW graphics. Exploring areas giving you xp? Done before. Your comment about daily rewards for doing stuff? Sounds like the beginnings of a daily grind based endgame

Lack of defined ability bars: This really puts me off - i cant imagine anything worse than changing my weapons midfight only to have all my abilities be replaced. While this may be convenient for some, id take 5 quickbars and a crapload of keybinds over that anyday.

Im sure some of you will love this game, but I dont think its going to be for me :(

To your points:
1. Certain classes do better at some things more than others. You can trait to push yourself the direction you want your character to go. There are no dedicated healers either but you can certainly take a more support based approach. I used to be a big time raid healer, and have been in every game I've played. Its refreshing to be able to support my friends without sitting there, forced to heal 99% of the time, and staring at health bars all day. I get to actually damage, support, move around. Its very dynamic feeling. Each person has to worry about himself. He needs to be constantly aware of his surroundings and constantly adapting to varying situations. In my experience with the game, this takes a ton more skill and coordination then the specific tank/healer roles where you have 2 tanks that sit there and do not much else except keep their aggro up, and 4-5 healers sitting there spamming 1-3 buttons, and the rest DPS spamming their 2 macros all while every once in a while moving out of a little fire field or something.

2. Crafting is an extremely strong feature to this game. I can't tell, but it seems as if you want to grind to craft? There is no need for that. Crafting is very approachable and very streamline, however it is in no way boring or just easy. There is a discovery feature which is great and many other fantastic features. You gain experience while leveling too, which is great. Cooking is a whole other thing in this game and its actually quite difficult and complicated and produces awesome useful things. I'd actually look up some videos on this, because I honestly can't see how anybody can dislike the crafting in this game.

3. You want to grind again?? The flat line leveling curve doesn't make it more quick to level to max. It makes it so level 10-20 doesnt take you 10 hrs and 70-80 takes you 200. The time to get to 80 is very similar to the leveling time in other games. Minus a few of the Asian ones where it takes you months and months. Keep in mind, players shouldn't be rushing to 80 anyway. Getting to 80 isn't some magical "wow I made it to 80! I'm amazing" Leveling is part of the end game experience. You have a blast doing everything lvl 1-80. Getting to max level shouldn't be a difficult achievement.

4. This is again a weird point. I think its great that you can find ways to play whatever class you want and still play with your friends. Having 5 elementalists in a group is going to be more difficult than a more varied profession combo, however it is able to be done. The group will have to adapt and pay more attention to what is going on and actually know how to use their class to the best of it's ability to be able to do this. Again, this takes more skill than, "Ok, i need a warrior tank, a mage, a melee dps, a healer and whatever else."

5. I don't like the hype either, but its very hard not to hype this game, especially when you've played it Anet seems like a company that is honestly passionate about their game. They've stuffed so much love into every little corner of each and every map. I literally got lost in a zone, exploring and stumbling upon events, and found some secret caves and outcroppings, etc. In the 70+ hrs I've played, I've never once been bored. You're rewarded for doing anything in the game. You really can play whatever way you want to play and be rewarded by it, though having a more varied approach is typically better.

6. The first 5 skills are weapon based, you know you are changing them when you switch skills, thats the point. The other 5 are stable and you can change those whenever out of combat. In most games, you wont be using more than 15 skills at any one time anyway. This was a huge turnoff for me as well, but after using it, I've found that its turned into a huge plus. It feels amazing to be honest.

I'm sorry you think this game isn't for you. Its a great, polished game thus far and I can only hope their success continues to grow. You should give it a try though, I've found the community to be fantastic and the developers passionate and topnotch. I'd have a more open mind to these kind of features. I used to have the same kind of elitist, grindy is better views about things, but in the past few years that has changed for me a lot. I'd keep your mind open. Take care!

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It sounds like you're right. You probably won't like it.

I played everything over 7 years of WoW, enjoyed tank most, healer least. I like the idea of tanking, but a) it's utterly unrealistic, and simply an artifact of primitive mmo design, b) I can certainly appreciate not "needing" 1 tank, 1 healer for every instance, that's going to make groups feel much more organic and spontaneous. Plus, I have to admit, one of the reasons I started playing both tanks and healers was because I was sick of groups (and significant periods of time wasted on) sucky tanks and healers. In GW2 one sucky player in a critical position doesn't mean the run is impossible.

Crafting: never played Vanguard, so can't really speak about this. I didn't waste much BWE time in crafting, but it seems complex. It seems complicated, which seems to be what people are looking for.

Flat leveling curve: meh; I've seen a lot of top-level scrubs in WoW, LOTRO, etc. It's hardly a barrier. In WoW supposedly there's a graduated curve (each level takes more xp than the previous) but the mobs ALSO drop proportionally more xp...meaning at the end of the day, level progression speed is about the same. (Except for 40-50. Gad, in vanilla that felt that took for-frikkin-ever on every toon...)

Lack of structure and mmo ability required: I know lots of people that play chess, that doesn't necessarily mean lots of people are GOOD at it. Besides, the idea that you're "mortified" about someone trying something different is just a touch too precious. It sounds merely like you're pretty mentally committed to the whole archaic 3 dps+heal+tank method. Personally, I was getting a little sick of it. FWIW the Super Team (one of the best sPVP groups) has a perfectly balanced team with one of every class except engineer (probably because the engy was largely broken for 2x bwe's)...and they kick butt. sounds like balance is good.

Hype: agreed, GW2 is overhyped. It won't be for everyone, particularly people religiously-wedded to WoW...they simply won't be happy it "isn't WoW". I hope they stay with WoW, and stay happy. I don't think everything in GW2 is perfect, not at all. It's different, and WoW has grown stale for me. If not for you, then by all means stay with WoW.

Lack of defined ability bars: ok, so you never played a WoW druid (beast forms) or WoW warrior (stances)? I had 3 different endgame-raiding druids, and 2 endgame warriors (one an Arms-PVP spec) so the weapon-switch (aka stance dancing) thing works fine for me (albeit I'm not pleased with the inability to move the skills to where you want them on the bars...I expect that will change more to the GW1 model eventually, where you can put the bar's skills under whichever key you want without having to make global keybind changes). It's not like something you have to do constantly either - some builds take advantage of this, using items that deliver effects when you switch weapons. Some don't, and only use one weapon for ranged, the other for melee...certainly that's not a big deal.

Anyway, I'd hope you'd at least give GW2 a try, but you're right, it sounds like you have yourself pretty convinced that GW2 isn't for you, and you're probably correct.

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>No defined class roles
You can still play tank or a supporter (there aren't much healing tbh it relies more on managing conditions/boons and cc), you just can do it with any class. It's still the same in other MMOs. In SWTOR you can play vanguard as a tank but also as a DPS. In GW2 you just juggle your traits, switch armor/weapon mods and pick a weapon set which works better for you. "No defined class roles" just means you have a choice how to play your class, not that there aren't healers, tanks whatever.

Crafting is decent, I don't know about what game you are talking about, but in GW2, the discovery system, cooking and the whole crafting supplies having a separate place in bank and never filling up is just screaming "well-thought".

>Flat-lining leveling curve
The level grind was not a focus on GW1 and still isn't in GW2. Why do you care who is lvl 80 and who is not? There is no "end-game" raid treadmill, when after reaching max lvl you start grinding raids which never stops. There are still dungeons, but they are max 5-man and you don't want to go there with randoms usually. Also, the whole leveling experience is what's fun in this game, you don't HAVE to get to max lvl to play the game for real like you did in other MMOs. If you think with WoWbrain, you will be disappointed. Also, by leveling to 80, you will get better at the game and at max, there won't be many players who are "noobs", because the higher you are, the harder the content is and it actually relies on your skill, rather than using rotations, knowing what to target and how many mobs you can beat only. Also, you are not tied to your level only content. If you are good, you can take on higher level content and if you want, you you can go anywhere and level there, there are no restrictions, because of the downscaling. Mind you still get rewards appropriate for your level.

>Lack of structure and MMO ability required
So you are basically saying, that anything that's new, is bad? That you prefer old and stagnant rather than new and innovative? Well you should definitely stay playing WoW then and don't even look at GW2. Are you so used to the classic MMO formula of "that class tanks, that class heals and that class dps", that you can't do anything else? If this is the case, I'd sincerely advise you to stay away from GW.

Hype is always there for any new game. However, the hype was created by players themselves, not the devs, they specifically stated, they didn't hype the game. And why the hype is there? Because the game is great. SWTOR hype is also easily explainable, the first half of the game was great, storyline, shaping your character and Star Wars with lightsabers and blasters, only few people knew the game is not finished and lacks a lot of polish and features. If it was released in current state, it wouldn't have failed so hard. I am not saying it can't happen with GW2, but it has no subscription. If you don't like it, you simply stop playing. If it gets better, it's possible to come back without any consequences. The dailies are not daily quests. You complete them without even thinking. You kill different mobs, you progress, you gather some materials, you progress etc. And the rewards is usually some consumable or some money. Nothing someone would grind. Exploring for exp is a bit different, it's not only "I revealed this part of map, I get exp" it also jumping puzzles, which require some skill, vistas which also reward with a nice view of the place, hidden places with some rich resource nodes (which are individual, everyone has their own and there is no node stealing), some easter eggs, secret shortcuts, some lore stuff and more I can't remember right now.

>Lack of defined ability bars
Trust me, it's great. It's way better than one rotation and a couple of "OH SHIT" buttons + some extra skills you barely use. You need to try the game. You need to play it for at least few days and do various stuff. Don't read the reviews, play it and you will see. It's a whole new beast.

SW:ToR fanboys are running back to WoW? WoW losing subrscriptions at a never seen before rate says that is untrue.
As for the graphics, WoW has better animations I'd say. Other than that the graphics are ok compared to other games from 2004, a bit too cartonish for my taste. Guild Wars 2 otoh looks very beatuiful played on high settings.

submitted by whatisthisidonteven (not verified) on Tue, 08/21/2012 - 10:04.

While it sounds like it could be a fun game, a lot of this stuff you say puts me off playing:

No defined class roles: Personally ive always liked playing a tank for the playstyle - having the knowledge that literally everyone can tank puts me off, and im sure the same goes for experienced healers.

**** And being a DPS in WoW and having to scrounge up a tank, much less PAY one to tank for your random heroic group, sucked.

Crafting: Sure, getting great stuff up front is fine, but for me nothing will beat Vanguard Saga of Heroes crafting for a long time - so well developed, actual skill/gear required for it, and its own full scale leveling process.

**** I'm sorry, but the greatest crafting system in an MMO to this point was Star Wars: Galaxies :)

I was playing TSW last week, yes I admit it, I bought that came on a whim and then wished I had bought GW2 like... a day later. *hangs head*

But Monday of last week, I completely lost interest and have been dying to play GW2 ever since. >.>

Nice Shay. Hands down the best MMO out in several years. I was done with them as you know and had very little hope in even this. As someone that tested GW from early alpha to release (4 years) this is definitely nothing even in the scope of the original. It simply blows the original out of the water (pun intended) and Anet has a serious gem on their hands here.

I am stoked for the 25th and I am going to cruise at a mellow pace and enjoy the ride. As I stated elsewhere, I continue to find things in the starter zones I never knew existed. This game doesn't have potential, it is potential revealed. GW2 will set the mark for the next gen MMO games easily...

Most important reason for me, is the lack of importance on leveling. Whenever I play an MMO, I've felt pressured to rush to max level, ASAP! That's where the FUN stuff is, right? RIGHT?! Nobody cares about anything else!

But... in GW2... I've not felt it, once. I've just been going around, having fun. But the best part, the frosting on the cupcake... is that I'm still gaining so much exp doing that, that I'm out-leveling even the beginning 1-15 content, without being half done with it. I'm not even TRYING to level at a rapid pace, just enjoying myself, and it's happening anyways!

I just... stopped paying attention to my level. Because it really almost never matters.

We are, I think, creating a generation of citizens incapable of informed scepticism, self-examination, anything other than blind faith.

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My Guild Wars 2 account has has been wrongfully terminated permanently. It said that I modified or tampered with the game in which I have done no such thing. I have contacted support on this matter and it has been over 24 hours and not once have I gotten an email based on this issue, no reassurance that they were going to help me in this matter. So if someone is here who works for Arena Net and works for guild wars 2 in the support department please help me. This isn't fair.

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