Three Common Misconceptions about Guild Wars 2

Updated Wed, May 09, 2012 by Shayalyn

I’ll admit that, at first, I wasn’t sold on Guild Wars 2. I’d heard rumblings that this MMO was going to be revolutionary, but years of exposure to the MMO gaming industry (not to mention the inexplicable faith I once put in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes) have left me allergic to hype. My symptoms can include skepticism and occasional apathy.

Still, as hype for Guild Wars 2 grew, so did my level of curiosity. I’d played just enough of Guild Wars, the original, to know that ArenaNet had made at least one pretty game with some interesting lore. I realized that, despite my symptoms, I’m still a gamer at heart. I pre-purchased, and awaited the first beta weekend event.

There's no shortage of incredible sights to see in Guild Wars 2.

I went in red-eyed with skepticism and came from lack of sleep. Along with the Ten Ton Hammer editorial team, I couldn’t stop playing this game, and I believe Guild Wars 2 is going to be a game changer in the MMO industry.

Yet despite the hundreds of thousands of players eager for this game’s launch, and despite a massive amount of press coverage (or maybe because of it), there remain some uninitiated gamers who have either not taken an interest in Guild Wars 2, or who’ve sworn it off. Misconceptions about this game float through the gaming community like ragweed pollen, afflicting the sensitive. Let this article, based on my hands-on experience and new understanding of Guild Wars 2, serve as your antihistamine.

#1 - Guild Wars 2 isn’t an MMO--it’s all instanced!

Oh, it’s an MMO. It’s a very big MMO.

While instancing may have been the rule with Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 is not that game. In fact, if you wipe just one thing from your slate of mistaken ideas about GW2, make it the notion that this game is just an updated version of Guild Wars.

Know this: Guild Wars 2 is like Guild Wars in the same way that a Ducati is like a Honda scooter. A Ducati has two wheels and so does a Honda scooter, but that’s where the comparison stops. Guild Wars 2 and Guild Wars share the same lore, and most of the same races and professions, but…you see where I’m going.

Scooter vs Ducati

They're both nice, but...

My first steps into Guild Wars 2 weren’t into a player hub as they once were in Guild Wars. I didn’t venture out alone into the instanced wilds to fight the Charr, or wrestle with my annoyance over Gwen and her flute. What I did discover was a vast open world filled with sprawling cities, places to explore, and tons of players to explore them with.

Are there instanced dungeons in Guild Wars 2? Sure. Your character’s personal story is instanced as well. (Learn more about personal stories at Guild Wars 2 Hub.) But a big part of the PvE game is all about exploring the wilds, encountering NPCs in need, and participating in dynamic events with masses of other players.

Here’s a little story to illustrate just how engrained the “it’s all instanced” myth about GW2 is. One of my human character’s early personal story quests involved rescuing some medical supplies from a cave full of bandits. I went to the cave on my map marker and found that it was indeed an instanced area adjacent to an open world location. I zoned in and completed my mission. Later, when I was back in the same open world area, I encountered the cave entrance again but assumed that it was instanced off and not accessible…until I watched some other players trot right in without zoning. It turned out that the cave was only instanced when my character needed it to be. Otherwise, it was open for me and other players to explore.

#2 - Guild Wars 2’s PvE is just another Korean grind-fest full of pointless quests.

Next person to call it a Korean grinder gets an arrow in the butt.

Let’s set one record straight right now--Guild Wars 2 is developed by ArenaNet. Yes, they’re a wholly-owned subsidiary of Korean NCSoft, but they’re an American company based in Bellevue, Washington. NCSoft is the publisher for Guild Wars 2, but ArenaNet has complete creative control. See their jobs page? It even says so.

That said, knowing full well that Asia hasn’t cornered the market on grind, I went into Guild Wars 2 looking for evidence of it. Here’s what I found:

If you’re looking to name quest grind as a reason to hate on Guild Wars 2, your accusation wouldn’t be entirely baseless, but it’s still a bit of a stretch. ArenaNet has declared their dynamic event system revolutionary in the way it changes questing. Here’s a bit of text from the official site:

Traditional quest systems involve walking up to a character who usually has an exclamation point or question mark hovering over their head and talking to them. From here, you get a massive wall of text hardly anyone reads that describes a horrible or totally mundane thing going on in the world that you need to help with. You run off, complete this task, then return and talk to this character again to receive another wall of text and a reward. Traditional quest systems rely on these blocks of quest text to tell you what is happening in the world; this is just an outdated form of storytelling.”

Guild Wars 2’s quest system is indeed different, but the question might be: how different? When I first stepped into Tyria, as promised, there were no NPCs with a great big exclamation points hovering over their heads in sight. Nonetheless, there were NPCs giving me some directions. Scouts around the area (they have binoculars hovering over their heads instead) would direct me to locals who needed my help by showing their locations to me on my mini map. And those NPCs who needed assistance had the outline of a small gold heart over their head.

I swear I saw a lost moa around here somewhere.

One of the first assistance type quests (and yes, I’m going to go ahead and call them quests) I came across had me helping a moa rancher and his wife defend their flock of big flightless birds from bandit poachers. On the surface, this seems a lot like any old quest in any old MMO. To add to that familiarity, you also seem to move around the area assisting characters in need in a more or less linear fashion. (If you don’t, you’re likely to find yourself up against content that’s too difficult for your level.)

But Guild Wars 2 manages to keep things much fresher than the typical MMO. Let’s go back to the bandit quest. As I was searching the bushes for evidence of bandit poachers, or lost moa chicks, and gleefully picking off bandits as I discovered them, more players entered the area. Pretty soon, a dynamic event began as a wave of bandits came rushing over the rise (most likely wondering why we were slaughtering their friends.) Without forming an actual group, the players in the area came together to drive the waves of bandits back. (Or, more to the point, mow them all down.)

So, it’s like this--in the open world you’ll encounter characters who require your help. It’s not all defending moas from bandits, either. The dynamic events can be quite fun and diverse, and they scale depending on the number of players in a given area so that everyone who participates gets credit. If there are hordes of players around, the game sends in hordes of bad guys, and the fighting gets even more frenzied and fun.

And what of the level grind? Guild Wars 2 does have levels--80 of them, to be precise. But before you groan, take a look at this handy dandy graphic ArenaNet has created. [Source] Leveling in Guild Wars 2 quickly reaches a plateau where each new level takes about the same amount of time to reach as opposed to taking longer and longer as you progress the way most MMOs have traditionally worked.

Guild Wars 2 Leveling Curve

#3 - Guild Wars was all about PvP so Guild Wars 2 must be, too.

Guild Wars, the original, had 20 levels of PvE and an end game that consisted of PvP, but Guild Wars 2 is not that game. Guild Wars 2 is, in fact, more like three games rolled into one. There’s a robust PvE open world game, which I’ve talked about already. And if you want to test your skills against other players, there’s PvP and World v World.

I didn’t even delve into the PvP and World v World aspects of Guild Wars 2 during my first beta weekend--I was having too much fun with the open world content. But it’s there, and my coworkers and friends tell me it’s a helluva lot of fun. If you haven’t already, you’d do well to read up on what ArenaNet has in store for structured PvP. (And if that gets you amped for the next beta weekend, you can get a jump start by reading The Do’s and Don’ts of Kyhlo and Niflhel at Guild Wars 2 Hub to get some advanced tips.)

World versus world play offers a more objective-based and less directly competitive game play alternative to PvP. Because I’ve yet to experience this first hand, I’ll point you toward the details in the Guild Wars 2 official wiki, instead.

Centaurs swarm an outpost, and players respond in this dynamic event.

Both World versus World and PvP scale the player’s level to 80 upon entrance, meaning that their game play is not so much level- and gear-based as it is skill-based. In theory, a new player could enter The Mists and participate in World v World straight out of the opening tutorial.

The point here is this: in Guild Wars 2, PvP is an option, not a requirement. From all early appearances, you will find plenty to do in this game even if you never want to enter The Mists or tear it up in PvP. The options are yours to explore at your leisure, and at your own pace, with no pressure to race through levels in order to get to the end game fun.

If you're still skeptical, I'll grant you this--I’ve only seen about 20 levels of game play; my perception could change over time as my character progresses and the shininess wears off. That scenario--where you’re infatuated with a game in the early days only to find the passion fading as time passes--is familiar to every gamer, and I’m certainly not immune. But I’ve invested roughly $60 in a game with no monthly fees, no pay-to-win monetizing scheme (another misconception, but that's a different article), and I can assure you that I already feel I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I’m looking forward to the next beta event and launch in a way that I haven’t looked forward to any game in a long while.

So, my hype allergies, at least where Guild Wars 2 is concerned, are cured.

Nice write up Shay.

To be fair the over flow server was in high gear during beta.

I don't know what caps they put in place for people per zone 100 or so before you get dumped to over flow?

I also never got a chance to explore the PvP, I will have to next beta Weekend.

I'm curious...I keep hearing over and over that GW2's quest system is so new and revolutionary that you just have to see it to understand it. After all the articles/discussion I've read I can't really see much of a difference between the quest system in GW2 and the public quest systems in other games.

To be fair, the PQ system in Rift was years beyond the first offering of a system like this that we saw in Warhammer, but from everything I've seen GW2 seems to have mimicked the Rift System; Random events (rifts) spawn throughout the zone as players approach...the more players in an area the higher the density of the spawns until you hit critical mass and end up with a full-scale zone invasion. Everyone can participate, everyone gets credit, and the system can be used a community building tool.

GW2 may be the next evolution of the public quest system just like Rift was when compared to Warhammer, but can you give me a little bit of info on why it's bigger/better/more awesomer as opposed to just being a clone of what we already have in Rift?

That's a very good question. In my experience so far, for me the public quest system in Guild Wars 2 is pretty similar to Rift's, it just feels a lot more organic and less repetitive. In Rift, two things happen--rifts and invasions. There are different types of rifts, but they're all basically the same thing with a different theme. Which is fine--there's a reason the game is called Rift, after all.

In GW2 there seems to be a lot more variety. In order to keep my beta experience limited to a race I don't intend to play as a main character at launch, I've stuck with the human area. So far I've dealt with things like bandit poachers, bandits poisoning and trying to detonate the water supply system, pesky harpies, raiding centaurs, etc. I've helped protect a group of NPCs and their pack animal while making their way along a trade route fraught with danger. I've helped defend a garrison. And I'm sure these sorts of events are different depending on what area you're in.

So mechanic-wise, there's really not much difference between Rift's dynamic event system and the one in Guild Wars 2, but content-wise it's a very different beast. Whether it's better or just different is a matter of individual preference, I suppose. I like Rift, but I'm definitely enjoying the variety in GW2.

To answer,

There are several major differences that make Dynamic Events so different from the titicular Rifts. Here are a few:

1) Rifts are repetitious in nature. Rift opens, go through the stages, fight the boss, close the Rift. Each Rift type put a spin on the formula, but it still was pretty repetitive after three or four times. DE's on the other hand encompass a huge array of activities. Beating a boss, escorting a caravan, defending a settlement, Chaseing a Jackalope, etc.

2) DE's are the primary way of leveling. Rifts were things you do in addition to quests, and they felt like an addition to the game. DE's are how you experience the whole games content (non-personal story) so everything you do makes an impact.

3) Players scale back to a level where the DE's are still challenging. As DE's are the primary way of leveling, it is important that they constantly remain a threat and thus interesting. You are down-leveled to a point where you are still strong, but not one-shotting everything. This was a problems with Rifts as after you greatly outleveled the content, it was just pathetically easy.

4) Only during invasions did the Rifts really make an impact in the world, so they were optional. DE's always change something about the game, win or lose. Closing Rifts felt like a chore sometimes as more would pop up every few minutes.

Here's the difference for me:

Quest lines.

I'm a big explorer/content skipper. In Rift, especially during the first couple weeks, if I hit an area that was overpopulated I'd skip that content and move on.

The problem with that was that most zones had one large over-arching story-line. Forgive me for not remember the full quest line, but there was some quest line that ended at a large old tree with a mirror and lots of apparitions. There was a quest to kill the apparitions, but also a story-based quest to kill the summoner inside the tree. On every single one of my characters I got to that area but didn't have the quest to kill the summoner, and thus had to backtrack to complete the steps leading up to that point.

In GW2, I wouldn't even have to have the quest to kill the apparitions. I'd just be exploring and come upon the tree. A tip would let me know that Grandpa Mel needed help clearing apparitions from the area around the tree. As I proceeded to kill them, at some point the DE may progress and Mel would come along since enough apparitions had been cleared out. He'd mess with the mirror and the summoner would show up starting the area DE. I proceed to kill the summoner and have completed the "quest" series.

In that scenario, suppose that you show up when we're killing the summoner. In Rift, unless you had the quest, there was no reason to participate. You can hop in at that point in GW2. It's pretty clear that Mel needs help killing that summoner. Why wouldn't any adventurer roaming around be able to help without having first cleared out the apparitions? So you'll get rewarded based on your participation for the DE (or quest, or whatever you want to call it) without having the forced pre-requisites to do so. Eventually, the zone will likely return to it's dormant state, and you could start killing apparitions assuming you hadn't already fulfilled Grandpa Mel's heart quest requirement.

Ok, here's my 2 cents:
Dynamic Events (the quests) are 2-fold:
1- Is the Renown hearts system. here you have several NPCs over a map that oversee a certain area (in the Charr homelands - where i played - it was usually camps and garrisons), these are the ones more simmilar to classical quests, here you can talk to the NPC and (this is the main difference from classical quests) he gives you a LIST of tasks to complete. Its not just one task, and you don't have to focus at once task at a time either, you can do a bit of all those tasks that will help the NPC. As you do these tasks (can be killing NPCs, escorting them, helping other npcs in the area, etc) you fill your participation bar. When you fill it YOU complete the quest, but other players will keep at it filling theirs. When you finish your bar, the Heart icon will turn from a hollowed heart to a filled golden heart, you'll gain exp, karma and coin, and the NPC usually turns into a vendor, selling soemwhat exclusive items, often related to the tasks or the area.

2- Are the "regular" dynamic events, these pop-out just about anywhere, my favourite was when i walked through a waterfall and suddenly i was triggering an event to kill a veteran mob, these can be a multitude of things, but usually a single task only, all players can participate as well, but when its finished, it finishes for everyone (and you gain a reward depending on your level of participation - gold, silver and bronze). These events usually loop, or branch into new events depending on the result you achieved earlier.

So yeah, in a way guild war still has questing and i doubt that anyone will honestly deny it. Its just the way questing is delivered, the natural flowing, and organic way it all happens feels natural, and its nor forced, plus you can simply not participate in the events and you won't really lose anything (except a momment of fun) because there are always more. That aside, its the same as usual, you still escort a NPC, thing is, most of the times, when you do it, it will STAY escorted, and stay where you left him untill the event loops back to start (which according to Arena net can take as long as months), you still have to kill x mobs, you still need to gather such and such iems, etc. But like i said, this all has consequence, after escorting a bunch of NPCs to a waypoint, they built a camp around that waypoint stock with a merchant and guards, as opposed to a bunch of enemy mobs as it was before. So yeah, Arenanet didn't reinvent the wheel, but they just made it turn better.

I've been interested in trying GW2, but the lack of a healing class is telling me to save my money. I was also bummed to read that there won't be any dungeons until you reach level 35 :(

Every class is a healing class of some sort - some more than others. It's a hoot and you'll never have to stand around for hours calling out :GLF monk. It really works, and well. Don't know where you read that lvl 35 is the minimum lvl for a dungeon. It's 30 - I've played the beta and you can even go in at a lower level if you want - although you'll get spanked. And don't freak out at lvl 30 - you'll get there quickly. GW2 lvl'ing isn't on a steep curve, but rather on an even keel. Very fast and fun. Give it a try and double-check and verify whatever you read out here. There are a bunch of sites out here that are either full of typos, incorrect info based on rumor, or badly translated into English, which will result in your missing out on a tremendously fun game.

You have a fair point about the PvE "dungeons", but that's not the only experience to be had in the game.

What's different between the instanced story-based dungeon at level 30 and the deep, branching cave available in the newbie human zone (complete with boss at the end)? Or the second norn area where I cleared an area, protected two war parties while they toppled various towers, then fought a boss that took 5+ minutes to down? If you're waiting for instanced dungeons to experience "epic" content, GW2 has it by the fistful everywhere you look.

On top of that, structured PvP is available for all players as soon as you exit the starting area. You can set up builds and gear the very same as someone that has played much more time than you. You could also join WvW right away -- you don't get the gear or traits of a level 80, but you do get their stats. Again, letting you play the game without forcing you through some level grind to find the enjoyable parts.

If your only joy would come from instanced PvE dungeons, it'd probably be best to find a game based solely on instanced dungeons. If you don't limit your requirements to content that is only instanced and only available for a pre-set group, I think you'll find ArenaNet has strived to make the game fun from beginning to end and beyond.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I enjoy instancing, because I never once mentioned it. I have an extreme dislike for instancing, but I have learned to tolerate it since every game is using it now. I've been looking for a game similar to EQ or VG that has dungeons promoting group game play from the 1st level all the way to max level.

For some reason it has become the norm to exclude low to mid level players from group dungeon content, which just so happens to be the content I enjoy the most.

Are you looking for something that's strictly a dungeon crawler? Because yeah, then maybe GW2 isn't your game. But if you're under the impression that you have to wait 35 levels before the fun begins in GW2, you should probably reread the article--it's fun right from the moment that you get into the world, and it doesn't become a grind simply because there's so much to do. If the game is a grind for you, you're doing it wrong.

Bored with the DEs in the area you're in? Use the Asura gate to travel to another. Don't want open world DEs? Follow some more of your personal story quest line. Not interested in that? Try out WvW--you can do a lot of leveling there. Are you an Achiever type? There are lots of achievement-based activities. Granted, I've only played one weekend so far, I've got the distinct impression that if you're feeling bored, you simply haven't discovered all the game has to offer yet. Either that, or you've effectively beaten the game, and by then, damnit, you've got your money's worth. ;)

Sorry but these misconceptions are a far cry of the real purpose of the word's usage. I am appalled that nobody in the TTH, be it a staff member or a user, after all these years (and some people are much older and much more active posters than i will ever be) didn't even once criticize the way companies have been treating YOU, the customer, in terms of pricing. This has to be the final nail in the coffin. The digital version of the game goes for 55 euros. Can you believe that? 55 euros for a digital version. Wasn't their excuse of digital distribution that the final game will cost less, since you do not have to print physical copies or activate processes that cost more money? Cool, what do i get? A slap in the right cheek from SWTOR and as soon as i recover, a slap in the left from GW2.

I was seriously thinking of buying it, but this was the last straw. Mark my words, i am not ever going to buy anything that is so blatantly hypocritic as GW2. It really is a virtual spit in the face and shame on you good people that did not call for that when it mattered. Now every imbecile in the gaming industry that wears a suit and can do the 1+1 equation can sell me Online distributed games for the price of the street game...

Eliphas, a boxed copy of any game nowadays is indeed equivalent to the digital distribution version. Since CDs are stamped before release, no matter what you do you'll end up downloading some massive patch upon install. Instruction manuals are relegated to a single sheet of paper for hotkeys. So they are essentially equivalent.

And there's the rub -- why would a distributor be bothered to even make an offer to NCSoft if they knew they were going to be undercut from the source that badly? I'm willing to bet that the price match of digital distribution to classic boxed distribution is a remnant of the older distribution system. When consumers stop demanding boxes copies of digital content, the distributors can be dropped. When that happens, the price of digital distributions should drop.

So to summarize: customers refuse to let go of old channels of purchasing, and the old channels of purchasing refuse to be cut out of the loop.

True, but on the other hand, i haven't seen any economic analysis that states which of the two venues net them the most money and why and they might be the bigger out of the two evils. Who doesn't tell me that they may be doing it on purpose, keeping us in the dark so that they can still price their games as high as the street prices? My phlebian mind may indeed be small one, but why could they not price each version accordingly? In that case, the guy who wants the phsical copy can pay 50-55 whatever euros his version is amounted to and i can pay 40-45 for the digital one. The excuse of the price's difference is right there. Why do you think collector editions cost that much besides the novely items they have? It takes more time to create these special items, way more than starting and making game cds and one of the major factors of why you see CE costing around 140-150 EU/$.

Apartheid has been long gone and now i would like my game industry overlords to bring it back -in a metaphorical sense- . Want a DD copy for 40 euros? Fine, there it is, go buy it. Want the physical with all the goodies? 50 euros. Why? Because its more expensive to do.

Perhaps you missed this part, so I'll emphasize it again:

"why would a distributor be bothered to even make an offer to NCSoft if they knew they were going to be undercut from the source that badly?"

It's the fact that physical distribution is required at all that necessitates the price equivalency. A retailer will not purchase boxed copies from a distributor if the customer can go around the retailer and save a ton of money. Since the retailers wouldn't purchase from the distributor, the distributor wouldn't have reason to distribute for the publisher. This is creating a stalemate of sorts.

I'm sure that NCSoft would rather sell you a digital copy at a small discount over what it could be found in stores -- after all, each digital sale nets more than a physical sale since the distributor doesn't get a cut. Do that though, and be prepared to not find a distributor. It's that simple, and it is silly to use that as an excuse to not purchase a game. This is the way the world (and markets, capitalism, etc) works.

However, assuming that we were able to eliminate physical distribution, the markets have determined that the fair value of a game is ~$60. These companies exist to make money, not be charitable (although many do both), so I wouldn't expect to see a large discount when physical distribution is split from digital. I'm okay with that though -- I get the same value (lets be honest, a plastic CD enclosed in a plastic case with a paper cover doesn't add "value") at the same price and the people actually making the games we love get more money to make more and better games.

I am sorry but regardless of what this game costs it is worth the money. I have purchased 5 copies 4 digital deluxe and 1 collectors edition, and if I had need to buy more I would because this game is so damn worth it.

@Eliphas The game doesn't have subscription you pay once and that is it, take that into account.

@Murashu GW2 has another approach where all classes may heal, but there are deffinetly at least 3 healing classes, the Guardian, Elementalist and necromancer, is just happens that they are also very good buffers or damage dealers.

- GW2 doesn't have a direct need for grouping in PVE, all abilities are area effects and they can be casted w/o a target. That makes the Dynamic Events even more cooler as players cooperate and even resurrect each other on the fly.
- GW2 DE do not get grey, just being in the area will render you a reward, you do not need to talk to any npc or dig any loot chest at the end.
- GW2 DE are a multitude of events that chain up depending to what happens in the world, speaking to an NPC that cries that need help (yes he runs around and asks for help) can trigger an event quite far away from the NPC, but going to the indicated position and resurrecting the said NPC will start the event as well.
- GW2 all DE's are eventually turn into some epic fight starting as low as lvl 5. The cool part is that those never get grey they are always challenging, you can join your friends even if you are higher level and they will reward appropriate to your real level.

There is no quest that makes you deliver anything, once a quest is done is done, all you do in GW2 is wonder around while you are just very subtly given enough hints about where to go next.
Also the amount of ways they achieve those DE is impressive, from herding cows to using special guns that give special abilities to even transform yourself into a cow and try to impress the other cows ^^

Overall is one of the most fun and most fresh approach to leveling I have seen in over a decade of playing MMORPGS.

As for

You left one out...

"Guildwars2's lack of penalty for being helped to kill a MOB is an amazing new innovation that eliminates the 'kill-stealing issue!!!'

Yes, this does make kill stealing a non-issue but its hardly new or original.
Pirates of the Caribbean Online launched with this feature five years ago.

Gosh. Everything IN gw2 is instanced...It's even fully sharded for overflow. Just like GW1.

I think the second two points are fine, but the first seems like you are blowing smoke over the entire thing. Every single zone is an instanced. Cities, starter areas, zones. At a certain number of players, each zone creates a second shard. I was in "overflow" so much this past beta weekend. Put into queue to join the "real" area. It seems this story is trying to say that the entire world is one giant world like warcraft or something. It is not. Now, each of the PvP mists zones were (as far as I could tell) each one instance with no overflow, unless that flow is really high.

At times, it felt a little grindy, but nothing like any normal korean mmo. And the level curve was nice.

I think he was simply responding to the misconception that it was instanced similar to how GW1 was instanced.

In GW1 the only "massively multiplayer" areas were the towns. As soon as you hit any actual PvE content, you were placed in an instance of that content where only you (and your group members) were able to participate in the content. You wouldn't just happen upon someone at the end of some path after killing baddies to get there.

In fact, that's the entire write-up under item #1. Here's a couple quotes, since it looks like you just read the heading and then jumped down to disagree:

"While instancing may have been the rule with Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 is not that game."

"My first steps into Guild Wars 2 weren’t into a player hub as they once were in Guild Wars. I didn’t venture out alone into the instanced wilds to fight the Charr, or wrestle with my annoyance over Gwen and her flute."

Even with the "overflow" (which, by the way, was not functioning properly) you were still not placed in to some private version of the world.

I think you're arguing semantics -- he means instanced as in "private copy of the game world just for you" and you're taking it to mean "not one solid world with no borders". His context makes that point quite clear.

I'm hard-pressed to understand how you can make the statement that this game is anything "just like GW1" when it comes to zones.

I'd like to thank everyone for their replies, it's helped me understand why everyone enjoys them so much. I can definitely see how "quest" variety would make DEs feel a little more organic and I think you all sold me on at least buying the game when it comes out. :)

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