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

Shayalyn would rather be playing Guild Wars 2. Instead she selflessly wrote up a list of 25 solid (and easy to come up with) reasons why the uninitiated will want to give Guild Wars 2 a good hard look. Consider yourself initiated. And you're welcome.
Guild Wars 2 screenshot

Let me get this clear from the start: IÂ’d rather be playing Guild Wars 2. Instead, IÂ’m here writing about it. IÂ’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 IÂ’d rather be playing Guild Wars 2, because I want you to experience the MMO gaming epicosity (shut up, itÂ’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. ThatÂ’s incidental.

Now, letÂ’s make with the reasons:

THE GAME

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 youÂ’re in. You can go explore other racial areas without worrying that their content will be beneath your level. Also, youÂ’ll never leave your friends in the dust again. If youÂ’re level 30 and youÂ’ve got a friend just joining the game you can go back and play wherever heÂ’s at and still gain experience because your level will dynamically scale down to the areaÂ’s level plus one. Read all about Dynamic Level Adjustment.

The game rewards exploration. Go out and explore in Guild Wars 2! You wonÂ’t be wasting time; youÂ’ll be gaining experience. For each new area you visit, or each scenic vista you climb to, youÂ’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.

ADVENTURING

Say goodbye to quest hubs. Yes, I know theyÂ’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 donÂ’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 isnÂ’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.

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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, youÂ’re getting experience for it--itÂ’s as simple as that. And if you kill it, and it has stuff in its pockets, youÂ’re getting loot. It doesnÂ’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 youÂ’re hanging out with other players. Nor will your loot stash suffer because youÂ’re rolling solo.

COMBAT

Combat is hella fun. The first time you see a centaur come charging up to you, spin wildly to a stop, and aim an arrow at your head youÂ’ll know it...this is not your mammaÂ’s MMO. YouÂ’ll only engage in whack-a-mole combat if you like dying a lot. Otherwise, youÂ’re going to have to learn to dodge. ItÂ’s not difficult and doesnÂ’t require finger-twisting keyboard gyrations--just double-tap a direction and go. It does present a fun challenge, though, because youÂ’ll need to learn when to dodge, and how not to overextend yourself by dodging too often.

Combat animations, for both players and NPCs, are top flight. If you havenÂ’t already, head over to the official site and look at the professions page, then click on a profession to view its skill videos. I bet youÂ’ll come away impressed.

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Underwater combat is a blast.

Underwater combat rocks. Guild Wars 2 takes underwater areas to places theyÂ’ve never been before. Swimming is fun and intuitive and youÂ’ll have specialized weapons and skills for underwater combat. Plus, it adds all new spaces to explore. In GW2, if youÂ’re not swimming youÂ’re missing out on some incredibly cool stuff.

ThereÂ’s no holy trinity. While there are some professions that can play tank-like, and some that can play healer-like, thereÂ’s no holy trinity in Guild Wars 2. YouÂ’ll never have to stand around looking for a healer or a tank to manage a dungeon run.

Everybody heals, and everybody can revive. Each profession has at least a self-heal, and some have area healing abilities. And everyone can revive--you just run up to a fallen ally and hit the F key to interact and begin reviving them. YouÂ’ll even get experience for doing it. Strangers revive strangers in Guild Wars 2.

ThereÂ’s solid World vs. World and structured PvP. If you like to go up against other players, GW2 will not disappoint. World vs. World pits team members from three opposing servers against one another.

BUILDING CHARACTER

Character creation is cool. Character models are attractive and detailed, and thereÂ’s a bounty of potential combinations plus sliders to help you fine tune your look.

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You choose your character's biography options at character creation, and that determines how your personal story begins.

You can dye your armor easily. Right from character creation youÂ’ll be able to design a custom look for your armor with a nice selection of colors. You can also find (or purchase from other players) dropped rare dyes to add to your collection. Once youÂ’ve acquired a dye, you can use it (plus your existing palette) at any time to change the color of your wardrobe.

You’re going to look and feel badass. You’ll have decent looking armor right from the start--no running around in filthy rags. And there’s no endless leveling to get the “cool” abilities--you’ll have some awesome ones in your arsenal early on, and some elite ones to look forward to later.

You really can play your character your way. The skill bar itself is simple--there are no multiple bars to manage or tons of skills to juggle, yet there are still plenty of skills. It all depends on what weapon youÂ’re holding (as well as your attunement, in the case of elementalists, and your tool belt if youÂ’re an engineer.) A ranger mowing down foes from a distance with a bow can switch up to a sword and melee up close and personal, and his skill bar will change depending on whatÂ’s equipped. You can have two weapon sets ready to swap out with a single keystroke.

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See? Badass.

Your character has a Personal Story. YouÂ’ll answer a few biography questions at character creation, and the choices you make will determine your characterÂ’s personal story. This is a quest line for you alone. Are you charming, dignified or fierce? Do you want to find out who your real parents are? Recover your sisterÂ’s body? Reclaim a treasured family heirloom? What inspires you? From myriad combinations you forge a destiny for your character, and itÂ’s an intriguing one that plays out in mostly instanced areas. You can bring friends along on some of your personal story missions, but the story is yours alone, and there are thousands of combinations.

Crafting is fun, easy to learn, and rewarding. YouÂ’ll start producing worthwhile items right from the beginning. My beta characters have crafted full sets of armor after only investing a little gameplay time collecting materials. Plus, crafting is another way youÂ’ll gain experience. Even gathering materials nets you XP, and it all contributes to the same experience pool.

The leveling curve is flat. Remember games where the higher levels took longer and longer to complete? Well, no more. In GW2 youÂ’ll level a little quicker in the beginning, but then the curve flattens out and each level takes about the same amount of time to complete. There are 80 levels and so many things to do that you can actually enjoy the ride as youÂ’re progressing rather than slogging through a grind fest.

AND FURTHERMORE...

The game is as complex as you want it to be. Seriously. You can play Guild Wars 2 casually and enjoy it just as much as if you are a hardcore min-maxer who knows every intricacy of his build. This isnÂ’t a difficult game to pick up, but it does have a lot of depth. How deeply you plumb those depths is up to you.

ItÂ’s a completionistÂ’s paradise. If youÂ’re one of those people who likes to make sure youÂ’ve filled in every blank youÂ’ll love Guild Wars 2. You can gain rewards for all sorts of things from completely exploring a map to collecting mini pets. ThereÂ’s even a daily reward youÂ’ll get for completing a series of tasks including killing a variety of different bad guys, harvesting, etc.

ItÂ’s free to play. No, really--it is. YouÂ’ll buy the client at the average price, but thereÂ’s no monthly fee associated with playing this fantastic game. There is an item mall, but the items available there are for vanity or convenience only. YouÂ’ll never need it unless you want something like a server transfer or youÂ’d like to massively expand your bag space.



If there’s one drawback to playing Guild Wars 2 it’s this--it’ll make you a junkie. It’s difficult to stay away from a game this entertaining, and it’s difficult to run out of things to do in this game, which creates an endless feedback loop of fun, fun and more fun (while invoking less and less sleep.) Almost everyone I’ve encountered who has played Guild Wars 2 in the beta events and stress tests has sung some version of the same praise: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been this much in love with a game.”

About the Author

Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.
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