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Guild Wars 2 - Is it All That?

Updated Mon, May 14, 2012 by revolution77

So what's all this hype over Guild Wars 2 anyway? From hearing the developers talk about the game to the attention from the media to what the fans have been saying about the game it sounds to me like this game is supposed to change the way people play MMOGs.  It's to be the game to changes the industry. Sadly, after my first experiences with it during the Beta Weekend Event I not only felt disappointed but kind of ripped off that I had been led to believe that Guild Wars 2 was anything more than yet another standard and tired MMO formula.

Now before the World vs. World fans hunt me down in my sleep allow me to state plainly that I did not experience those aspects during my hands-on time with the game over the weekend. So the competitive player vs. player game may very well be the second coming but I didn't play it so I don't know. I don't enjoy PvP as much as I used to so I stay away from it now. I solely focused on the PvE game to see what it held. And I found the PvE game old-hat and frankly, mostly boring.

I was led to believe that the game would play out like an open sandbox filled with wild adventures and dynamic events that would keep the world in motion. There would be no linear path guiding us on rails from quest hub to quest hub to grind out needless quests in order to level up. This was what I was led to believe but this was wrong.

The world, from my experience up to level 15 anyway, is completely on rails. Sure there are no quest hubs but "events" replace them in exactly the same way any quest hub would be situated. You travel around the map going from event to event, of which the recommended level is clearly marked right on the map. Once you are done with an area you move onto the next, never having a need to return again. In fact, with the fast travel system, even if an area is already completed is directly in the path of going from point A to point B you can just skip over it by clicking on the waypoints and paying a small toll.

There may not be an actual quest journal but you still have your quest tracker at the top right indicating what the next step of your quest requires. There are no NPCs with exclamations over their heads, but there are NPCs with hearts over their heads--an empty heart if you haven't completed the event yet, a full heart if you have. Who's kidding who? Call it what you want but the progression is simply a string of Public Quests a la Warhammer Online, Champions Online, Rift, and whoever else is touting them nowadays. There's nothing new here.

With the possible exception of Rift, these Public Quests didn't work in other games so I'm not sure why anyone would think they'd work in Guild Wars 2. Don't get me wrong... I love the concept but the truth of the matter is that no matter how many players will be playing the game after launch there is likely rarely to be enough to create a critical mass of players for every event (or Public Quest) of every level of every area in the game at all times. In fact, I dare be so bold and say that most of these events will likely have to be done solo most of the time after the initial launch surge of new players. While that is certainly possible given the scaling technology employed with the events, many of these events would be just as boring and in some cases more frustrating than your average quest in other MMOs. A lot of these events took a good deal of time to collect ground spawns, fight off creatures, and return the items to NPCs, even with multiple players.  I would can't imagine the time it would take to do it solo, even if you only had to collect 10 rocks instead of 100.

Conversely some of the events seem rather ludicrous with a large amount of players, should there happen to be a lot of folks around. Some of the events are simple escort quests. One such event had me following a girl who was chasing a fluffy little friend. My goal was to make sure she didn't get hurt. I began to feel rather silly chasing this tart around with the 20 other adventurers who were doing the exact same thing. It felt like a swarm of paparazzi trying to get a sound bite from Dakota Fanning while she was chasing a puppy on some farm. It was ridiculous.

Now let's take a look at the combat. I will say this: I did enjoy the combat for the most part, mainly because the profession you choose plays completely differently based upon the weapon you're using. A staff-wielding mesmer plays very differently than one sporting a blade. However apart from that I didn't notice anything ground-breaking in terms of how combat played out. My standard attack was still an auto-attack and I had a few extra abilities I could use to mix it up a bit. I did not understand the reasoning behind locking all of my abilities until I used one enough to unlock the next. I found it took about 15 minutes of combat to unlock them all so I don't understand why there needed to be a lock at all.

I was told that there are some cool cross-class combos you can do for extra damage and effects. Sounds fun enough, but I never saw any being done. I never saw a need for them either, aside from the fact that they could be fun. Granted I only got up to level 15 or so, so it's entirely possible they come more into play later in the game. But this also isn't something new, nor is it something that has worked particularly well in the past. EverQuest 2 uses a Heroic Opportunity system to do the same thing. It's mostly used now as a little something extra to do if you're bored. Vanguard: Saga of Heroes used a weaken and exploit system that would allow cross-class combos. I don't know if anyone has ever bothered to use it.

The overflow system, while necessary, seems to be broken. This is where if an area is filled you'll be put on an overflow server. It's simply a different instance of the area, or more commonly known as a 'channel' in other MMOGs. However there was no way to switch channels. So my groupmates and I would have to log off and on repeatedly until the random system finally put us into the same channel. But, as soon as we went to another area or did an instance for one of our profession quests, we'd come back out and be in different channels again, forcing us to do the log and relog game again.

I do want to point out though that that problem is such a glaringly obvious one that I would be shocked if it's simply just not a matter of not having a channel-switching system in place yet during this stage of beta. I hope that's all it is.

I also hope there's some sort of new-player introduction incorporated into the game before launch. I've played a multitude of MMOs and never before have I felt at such a loss. It took me quite some time to figure out where my inventory and character sheet were located. It took me even longer to figure out what ability points were and how they worked. And I still don't think I quite understand upgrades. I also never did find out how to craft - is it even in game yet? My attempts to find answers to these questions by asking the community were quickly shot down by smart-ass remarks and recommendations to go back to World of Warcraft.

In conclusion I do feel Guild Wars 2 is shaping up to be a nicely polished, well-rounded MMO. But let's be clear about it: if you're looking for something completely new that will change the way you think about MMOs you'll be sorely disappointed. At least on the PvE side. Maybe next Beta Weekend I'll have to go bash some skulls with the World vs. World players to see if there's anything ground-breaking on that end.


Good write-up glad to finally see the flip side of the coin. Don't buy into the hype it only leads to heartbreak...as of late any how.

Y'all seem to be talking like it's a finished game. Let's be clear here, this is a beta we're talking about. Playing thru the beta I've noticed quite a few work in progress signs up. The fact that 2 of the races aren't even playable yet should be an eye opener and a sign that the game is far from ready. I'll say the release date for this game is at least several months off in the future if not more just judging by the unfinished content. Here the thing tho, this is just an early beta and its already a decent if not in most cases good MMO, no telling with more refinement what it will become.

Defend your game!! QQ from the pedestal, preach to the masses how no ones opinion matters unless it portrays GW2 in the best possible way!! GW2 community sure is a testy bunch of gentle folk.

I was disappointed by this review. It seems like you didn't fundamentally do any research before writing this and tainted all of your opinions with the jaded and somewhat illogical feelings you had when the game didn't achieve your unattainable expectation of redefining MMO's as you knew them (something that's not going to happen thanks to basic cognitive association).

For example:

1. The "dynamic events" that you compare to "public quests" are very different. They scale to the players present and so while you are correct that a "critical mass" will probably not happen - it's not intended to happen. You can complete the dynamic events alone and enjoy them solo or with a small group, the game doesn't need you to have many people around to do them. Frankly, this makes for a much better experience as the public questing in WAR sucked because the quests had like 50+ people at each one during launch. The "Critical mass" actually ruined the experience. Hence this point seems backward and misinformed.

2. While the heart system is similar to questing in the sense that it has a point of origin and a completion. I'm not entirely sure what you were expecting? Skyrim has a questing system - even when you explore unprompted you're rewarded when you reach the end of the dungeon which is no different than being told to go kill the final boss of a dungeon in any other RPG. I've never experienced a game that didn't tactically prompt you to complete objectives in a structured way through one means or another. So again, I think you were hoping for intangible and impossible concepts here and your disappointment seems unfounded.

What GW2 provided was a system that provides quests in a non-direct way and allows you to complete them in various methods and ways with any obligation or directly structured format. Most of the quests even have branching paths where success or failure changes the following events. This creates a more organic and variable experience depending on how the players in the event perform. So - this system seems far and away better than traditional questing. I think everyone would agree.

All in all - there's plenty of things to dislike about GW2. I wasn't thrilled with the whole experience myself but your points seem silly and misinformed. This is what I would expect from someone who basically wrote a review based on watching someone else play for 10 minutes.

I'm not thrilled with the level of quality in the journalism here.

I haven't read TTH in a long time and now I remember why. I don't have a problem with opinion pieces. However, there's a clear bias here and a complete lack of understanding about the design of GW2. This article seems like it was written by a sports talk radio where the host says something inflammatory to get people to call in no matter how flawed the premise is.

This article belongs on a forum somewhere. The journalistic quality is very low.

The article is lousy not because of the dissenting opinion but because of his shallow tainted opinion obscuring an objective perspective.

I found this reply to that article more informative and accurate than the poorly written article itself. Nothing wrong with not liking something but if your going to write an article about something at least educate yourself.

Yeah this "article" is little more than blog spam by a hack writer that clearly doesn't understand games in general, and didn't take the time to bother to understand GW2 at any level of competence.

For one thing, he conflates Renown Hearts with Dynamic Events, and they are NOT the same thing at all. There's constant misinformation all over this article. It's incredibly unprofessional.

I think calling something 'wrong' when you only experienced the starting areas is a bit, well, hasty. And this type of statement is what gets you those reactive 'gb2wow' replies that you so hate.

Especially when you lack an understanding of the game.

Also GW2 is not a sandbox, its a playground. People that are saying that GW2 is a sandbox are wrong (and that is not a hasty remark). Its designed to be something in the middle of a sandbox, and an on rails game. An apt description would be a theme park. Developers created hearts, and events and placed them all over. And you can go do them, in any order, or skip them entirely. Or even go to a different park, charr, human, or norn starting area.

---> Now this is a completely valid criticism that the game does not offer a handholding tutorial at this point. Something the ArenaNet devs plan to address.

Also, renown hearts are not public quests, instead they are the replacement of quest hubs in other MMO's thats how the renown hearts are advertised. Renown hearts are also not dynamic events. And if you were skipping over areas, you were missing out on alot of those events.

In the early zones dynamic events did not have that much of an impact on the world, but in the higher levels, especially outside the starter zones they had a jarring impact. Entire towns could be controlled by enemies if not kept at bay. It was something of a smaller scale than Rift potentially taking a zone over but it wasnt like rift at all in that these event chains are running pretty much all the time. In one instance in Kessex when I entered the zone someone was captured by a group of bandits. I rescued this person and left not thinking about it. Later on while i was walking back to the other zone (instead of just waypointing and skipping it) I saw a confrontation on the road. A group of bandits was attempting to take a traveling family hostage.

It was nothing like Warhammers PQ's which constantly reset and never really change. CaraEmm on youtube took the time to smell the roses in GW2 and find out what was behind the DE system. Did things change? Yes, an NPC would ask her father for a jar of honey, who she gave to another npc child and they did a ritual. This ritual triggered a hoard of bears to attack. Now most players might just see that a hoard of bears are attacking a particular hut not caring any mind as to why, or the events that happened beforehand that triggered this event. I dont really recall a system like this in any MMO. Did rift even have this? No. Warhammer? Definately not.

Now if you just powered through the content like any vet. MMO player, you missed the smell of the roses, you missed what was going on.

You do have some valid critisms in your piece but you are overblowing them in an attempt to talk down an MMO without a good experiece of what these systems are. Now its perfectly valid like I have said to blame the game's lack of actually explaining some things to you that you should be taught. Crafting for one, you either had to randomly walk up to one of those NPC's on the map or look it up at the wiki how to actually craft. Or ask players around how to craft.

Next time you play, stop and smell the roses, and go back to those lower level areas and actually experience them.

Also RE: Overflow. It was anet's intention that parties would stick together, but due to a bug they were not. There were tricks to get it to work, but it was shoddy at best. So that bug should be eliminated soon so one less downside to the game. If you were attempting to play with friends it was a frustrating issue. I managed to work around it for the most part and definatly hit that bug report button a few times. Also zone queues were simply nonfunctional or working sometimes at best. Hopefully it will get bugfixed by next bwe.

First you complain about how public quests will be wastelands and then you complain about having 20 people chasing a escort quest. Which is it? You don't want other people with you on the events or you do? Even when the number of players drops the events scale. Did you do any research into how the mechanics worked before complaining about them?

Don't blame the community for not telling you how to craft or being rude. You'll get that in any game. If you wanted a "sandbox" game you'd have wandered into a city where such things can be figured out.

I personally found the new questing style more to my liking. I could hang out around a region, do what I wanted (which mostly was just killing mobs figuring out moves and abilities) and complete the events with everyone else. You are not forced to pick up 5 quests, run out all over the place, you perform the task for the event right there. Pretty much nothing like a quest hub.

The game does have new features. Most revolve around playing with other people. For example, hitting a mob someone else is killing doesn't take XP from them or loot. Infact it gives you the same amount of XP and you get your own chance at a loot bag that has no effect on them. You can even guest join a friend on another server and easily chat across servers.

I found the skills tied to weapons to be enormously enjoyable. Picking up the new weapons and "teaching" myself the skills.

..."sandbox player" complaining about not being able to figure out trade skills because you didn't explore... is no sandbox player.

I do agree that the game isn't genre changing like some people are espousing but it's not your Dad's mmo. If only for the simple fact the "trinity" is effectively gone.

I totally agree with this review! I didn't care for the fact that the game isn't action oriented but the same old and tired tab to select and spam your combat keys until someone dies. The so-called ability to dodge is a bad joke because for me, it didn't work most of the time but more to the point, with tab selecting, any mob you attack will always come after you. I didn't notice if someone else attacks my mob if the mob would switch players. It would be a good thing if it did but I doubt it. Combat with limited skills seems restrictive and some of the quests were dull and boring. I fully agree that this event system is nothing but a slightly updated quest system.

The cut-scenes were ok but brief and boring compared with ST: TOR; ok I know that TOR did an amazing job with voice acting and it may be a while before another MMO tries to do what they did well but still, if you're going to have voice overs, to me, they should be engaging and make me want to take notice, not be bored out of my mind.

As this was a beta, there was horrible lag and I'm guessing in short order this will be taken care of. The utter lack of a tutorial system is very disappointing and it they don't introduce one by launch, this will be a huge mistake. I was lost in trying to figure out how everything works especially crafting, which seems ugly at the moment.

This isn’t a game changer for me so I got a return on my game purchase.

The game is as linear or as non-linear as you want it to be. If you felt like you were on-rails to level 15, it can really only be because you decided to follow the rails. It's an option for people who like that. But it's a bit unfair to choose to play it that way, then criticize it for playing that way...

I don't agree with the ops assessment of Guild Wars 2. I didn't play Guild Wars, but come from a strong lineage of MMO's. From what I know about Guild Wars, the game has never been PVE based. It's a f2p fps, in mmo form. I immediately got into the PVP, watched streams, looked up profession builds, and went to PVP; it was fantastic.

I pre-purchased, played GW2 the first BWE, and loved every minute of it. But I gotta say, that doesn't mean that this author isn't entitled to an opinion. So, maybe you guys find it a shallow opinion. What exactly is wrong with that? This reads like a couple of things: an opinion and first impressions. Just because this guy's first impressions don't agree with yours doesn't make it crap journalism.

I hate to say this, but I feel like the rabid fanboy fervor surrounding GW2 does more to hurt the game than help it. Don't you guys realize that it's this sort of thing that turns people off? If I didn't already know this game, and I read this article, the article itself wouldn't make me have second thoughts about trying GW2, but the comments from its "fans" definitely would. Seriously, I'm just waiting for the "Go back to WoW" statement here.

If you guys would take the time to educate people about all the things you know about the game without having to throw in that you think the writing is shit, maybe people would listen. You'd think that anyone intelligent enough to write eloquent, informed posts with differing opinions wouldn't have to stoop to nerd rage.

@justaguy

You're trying to apply logic to mmo people, we're immune to that :)

What the author complains about is a predictable outcome of what the gaming press has become. Hype the hell out of games, to the point that there's no way the actual game can live up to the expectations. Oh, and spoil the crap out of *everything*. Make sure there are no surprises and nothing to learn. Tell players where to go, what to do, and how to build. Show every little mechanic and quest and spawn, so that when you see them in game all you get is a yawn. And stretch all this out in tiny morsels over months and months.

I really did expect this, that there was no way GW2 could live up to the ludicrous hype being showered upon it. Shame on the press and the developer, however, for not reining themselves in long ago. I think it will likely be a good game, but people are going to feel cheated and resentful when they feel they didn't get the fulfillment of what they were told the game would be. Kudos to the author for daring to describe GW2 as anything but perpetual and infinite euphoria.

Bleh. These "opinion" pieces on TTH are starting to leave a real bad taste in my mouth - they are nothing more than glorified forum rants about games that aren't WoW or EVE. All of these TTH opinion articles can be accurately and succinctly summarized as saying: "NOT WOW LOL K GO HOEM". I guess there's not enough legitimate "news" or worthwhile guides to post on the front page, so encapsulated rants get front-page links. Nice TTH.

We actually post opinion pieces very rarely on the main site. We just thought this one would stir up some interesting conversation, and it has. ;)

Shayalyn,

THANK YOU for explaining how to download GW2! After many failed attempts and headaches you helped me so much!

Do you know how to get to bonus materials and GW1 stuff?

AJ

Admittedly, this article was not written well; but, it did share many points that I agree with. As someone who has played Guild Wars for over 5 years and had great hopes for Guild Wars 2, I was not very impressed by the game after playing 20+ levels of it. Much of what was presented as innovative and game changing in this game struck me as iterative or derivative.

What struck me most during the beta weekend event was that after hearing Colin Johanson say, in the Arenanet MMO Manifesto, "... it's not actually happening. In the game world, these horrible centaurs are standing around in a field ... we don't think that's okay" what I found was that there were individual centaurs and charr and barracuda standing around waiting for me to attack them. What was "innovative" about that experience was that if I killed one of those created and waited around 5-10 seconds I could kill the exact same creature again because it respawned in the same spot, out of thin air, about that quickly. This might be great if had planned to button mash my way through a grind of monsters; but, it wasn't very fun if I had fought my way into a cul-de-sac only to find myself getting hit from behind by the very creatures I'd just killed while the mini boss in front of me was pounding my face in.

Arenanet "lore-goddess" Ree Soebee said, "We do not want to build the same MMO everyone else is building" in the MMO Manifesto. Then I find that the somewhat unique free travel feature of GW has been replaced by the same pay-as-you-go travel system used in Aion, Rift and many other, older, games. The lack of armor damage that empowers PvP in FPS games and action games and GW1 was replaced with the same damage and repair mechanics used in old games like Fallout.

Despite the roar of fanboys and girls, I've never been impressed by the voice acting for Guild Wars 2, especially after a fun session in any Mass Effect game. Heck, I like the voice work in Team Fortress 2 better than that in Guild Wars 2 or any of the trailers Arenanet has released for the game.

I did see some "go back to WoW" chat here or there in the beta rather than the helpful, informative and constructive kind of chat that Arenanet attempted to guide players into. That's to be expected. Hell IS other people, as is heaven.

I find it a welcome relief that TTH has published something besides the glowing positivity expressed generally toward Guild Wars 2 on this and other sites. The fact that it was poorly written is unfortunate, though common in the age of texting and tweeting. Most bloggers have no idea of traditional journalistic form and aren't interested in learning it. Such is life, no?

The most positive thing I can say about Guild Wars 2 right now is that it is in a traditional beta cycle at the moment so it has the potential for making great improvements to its interface and mechanics. That said, I'm not holding my breath. I figure by the end of 2013 I will have happily spent more time in GW1 than GW2 while I await the next big thing, around February 13th or so.

Everytime someone in game media or even ordinary gamers on forums dare to criticize GW2 or even any aspect of it, in comes the GW2 fan posse to silence all criticism and make sure that the people in question "remember" not to repeat their error in the future. It happened quickly here.

And this mob rule tactic seems to be succesful based on previews which I have read, game media toning down criticism and trying to turn what criticism they dare to voice to somehow positive to appease the GW2 fans, like, after comparing GW2 cinematicals to SW:TOR fans, praising the cinematicals as a some kind of homages to GW2's supposed Asian heritage (supposed because GW2 fans tend to claim it as a purely US made game).

GW2 fans have also done this on the forums for other games; much if not most of the trolling on the official SW:TOR forums come from them based on what I've seen. They try to destroy other people's favourite game's chances and then don't accept any criticism towards theirs.

This has really soured me on GW2 and I have decided not to buy it or even try the beta.

Seriously? I have seen SW:TOR players trolling wow players and the like to similar levels.
And it is fine not to like these people but come on not playing a game or even trying the beta because of it? A tad childish, I say this because you seem to be implying it is a slight of the GAME ITSELF that this is happening.

No I do not like all the fans, yes I have enjoyed some of the changes in this game, no it isn't a game changer but it IS very polished and the gameplay especially the pvp. Is it better than other games? who knows that is all opinion but don't blame a game because of the fans.

I dislike CoD and a lot of things it stands for but I am not going to hate on the GAME because of what some fans do and the majority of GW2 fans aren't the loudmouth trolls, you have to remember that over a million players played the beta... if they were all tools the internet would be filled with trolling right now.

Go to any GW2 specific site or any forums for the game, and see that there is very little room for criticism among the GW2 fans - and they try to deny that right from others too. Or just Google "Guild Wars 2" and "criticism" and see the results. It ain't pretty.

It's like some cult. There's no room for free speech when it comes to Guild Wars 2, no respect for the opinions of those who have criticism towards it or the behaviour of it's fans.

The SWTOR forums for example have been utterly blighted by GW2 fans, especially from the late beta for SWTOR itself onwards. I've never experienced similar in any other official game forums. One of the great mistakes on that forum has been not to limit posting to active subscribers.

Y'all sound like a bunch of kids in that my dad can beat up your dad. If this is the community that Arenanet wants me to join, no thanks!! I will play Diablo 3 (FREE)<-- if you y'all can grasp this concept. Yeah, I used to play GW but slowly slid out of the game with no upgrades and updates to purchase. Having free updates for years is a tad much especially if you toons are all high end and there really are no new nothing to learn, enjoy and actually play. Sounded like the GW people wanted to upgrade to where everyone else is and went into a serious hole in the ground for 6 or maybe 7 years. Would have ben easier to make an upgrade in that time to make it hard enough few people would or could compete it. Nooo, they decided to slid on thir collective bums trying to catch up to all the other updated MMOs out there.

The descriptions provided were bad enough for me to say, not this time Arenanet unlike last time I was one of the adopters online. With no help from some of the idiots playing the game, shooting down questions that any noob would have kinda shuts the door for all who want to learn about this game.

For this reason, my last time on any GW2 site of any type. Diablo 3 looks better and better all the time and we are 52 hrs from launch in the Americas. Keep your game to yoursekves and miss out on being in a great game.

BAhh; some of you people me want to puke

I like the game (getting it out there)
I do not however think that it is a game changer, I think it is a highly polished game that is evolving certain aspects of the genre and attempting to make a happier playing enviroment for players...
Just because it isn't MMO jesus doesn't mean it is bad.

Also I would like to mention, yes the article has some good points but doesn't really convey them very well and feels very kneejerk especially with some of the incorrect accusations, I am all for dissenting opinions but I belive articles need to be written from a more objective view point.
I am not enraged by this but rather just stating my thoughts on the matter, trolling is a waste of time and i was quite happy to see constructive posts for the first 3 posts before it devolved into a bit of a mudslinging match.

UE is the voice of reason on this thread.

I ignore the hype as much as I can about any game coming out. I played GW1 for a number of years, and enjoyed it a great deal, so I will continue to have an interest in GW2 no matter what the hype may or may not be. I suppose that makes me a fan. I actually do see a few possibilities of game-changing features in GW2. Even if there's nothing particularly new, at least it is refreshingly dynamic.

I had that gut-wrenching feeling of "Where's the tutorial?" but it only lasted a few minutes, because by then I was swept up into the gameplay, which was certainly less boring than any tutorial would have been. I vote "yes" to the lack of tutorial.

Rails or no rails, the world is certainly large enough, artistic and varied enough to satisfy even the most demanding MMO player. People long to get rid of the traditional questing system, but with what would they replace it? GW2 is clearly going to be rich in lore and things to do. I'm looking forward to exploring underwater areas, and I have hopes that they may produce some interesting new beasts and maybe even peoples to encounter. I vote "yes" to the GW2 world.

I am excited by the prospect of each class having heals, although I am not convinced yet that the heals are effectual enough for each class. This will surely become one of many balance issues. Time will tell whether the holy trinity has actually lost its grip, but I would dearly love to see the end of it, myself. At least there is a chance of its demise in GW2. The fact that there will be many balance issues is frightening, because when people start complaining about balance issues, out comes the nerf bat, and I hate that even worse than the issues that spawn it. I vote "no" to constant balancing. If I could ask the devs for one favor, I would ask that they concentrate on working as much of this out as possible before release.

Having the opportunity to customize your character's combat as much as in GW2 is going to keep the min-maxers busy testing to find the best builds for awhile, at least. That gives us a little while to enjoy experimenting for ourselves. Weapon-swapping adds yet another dimension. Having to learn to dodge effectively and react at least somewhat even to PVE mobs is also an improvement over old-school stand-and-swing MMOs. The challenges of combat in the beta kept it interesting and exciting, to me. I vote "yes" to the combat system.

How have so many people become self-appointed authoritative critics of voice-acting and of writing? And of course for them, one or two beta weekends is ample to make judgments. I must have really bad taste in voice acting because I love Guild Wars' cutscenes, old and new, corny and not. Let it be noted that each of the three GW1 games had a long and involved over-arcing story line to keep you interested and involved all the way to the top of the game. Guild Wars 1 told us some great stories, imho, and I expect as much from GW2. I vote "yes" to the individualized stories and to a fantasy game that allows you to fantasize about becoming the character you'd like to be.

Also I would like to mention, yes the article has some good points but doesn't really convey them very well and feels very kneejerk especially with some of the incorrect accusations, I am all for dissenting opinions but I belive articles need to be written from a more objective view point.

Well, it's an op-ed, though. Since when are opinion articles supposed to be objective? Just saying.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I agree with the article--I actually like GW2 a lot myself. And yeah, maybe the author missed a few things, but what you people seem to be missing here is that it's one person's opinion. It doesn't need to be objective. He's saying he doesn't get what all the hype is about, and it's okay for him to say that. It's also okay for you to disagree. See how this works?

What is the MMO I should play instead of GW2 with my $60?

Now this site gets removed from my bookmarks....

This belongs in a forum and a forum that they will get flamed in for good reason,

If you dont want to play most of the aspects of the game dont write rubbish about it, WvWvW is awesome and a massive part of the game and the battlegrounds are also fun.

Comparing it to rift as well is really stupid as it doesnt work that way the same way.

Im all for fair views on the game but at least do your research, very poor.

Any for the haters out there, ya there are some things that need alot of work but at least the game is trying to move on and the pluses massively out way the minuses,unlike SWTOR that I was so looking forward to that just turned out to have less features then an ageing old game like WoW.

Like I wrote, GW2 fans can't accept any criticism.

Perhaps they just fear that their emperor has no clothes...

So, you're not ever coming back because of one person's opinion? You do realize that TTH has a guild wars 2 fansite and tons of information about the game, right? And actually, I like their site because they actually have some good stuff on it, not just a bunch of news "reblogged."

I was led to believe that the game would play out like an open sandbox filled with wild adventures and dynamic events that would keep the world in motion. There would be no linear path guiding us on rails from quest hub to quest hub to grind out needless quests in order to level up. This was what I was led to believe but this was wrong.

Dynamic events and heart-quests were explained in quite some detail prior to launch. They were exactly as described. DE's are long-cycle, population-dependent events that can be fail or succeed and the consequences of success or failure are present in the player's environment and within subsequent dynamic events.

Heart quests are local quests that can be completed in mutiple ways. Take a 'help the farmer' quest. You can feed his cows, kill worms, water his plants, do other things... Since I played three humans in three different classes as I was working on classes... I got the 'priveledge' of doing the 1-15 areas multiple times. And, having done them with three players over three days... I can say categorically that the heart-quests eclipse the standard 'go kill 10 rats' quests you get in other MMOs due to the fact any combination of permutation of a wide selection of activities can complete the quest.

And yet you missed all this. Completely missed it. And wrote an article, from on-high, telling everyone that it was, effectively, just the same-ol', same-ol'. Honestly being a contrarian, if done with insight and thoughtfulness is a wonderful thing. Being a contrarian becuase you're lazy and foolish and vain and nihilistic.. Not so much.

Dynamic events and hearts radically change the fluidity of questing and exploration. Playing the Secret World Beta Weekend for example showed what a big deal this is There are all sorts of points of interest in TSW, but they are essentially dead and invisible unless you have brought them to life by visiting the quest granting person/item first and activating them in your quest log.

In GW2 you never have to visit a quest giver first, if you find a point of interest you can participate/interact immediately. That's a huge, huge change. You never end up doing senseless backtracking or making sure your friends have completed the same pre-requisite steps as you. As noted, WoW tried to resolve this by putting most quest givers in central hubs, but not even that is nearly as good as dispensing with quest givers completely. Hearts are not comparable to exclamation marks because they just serve as a score keeping device. You don't need to talk to the karma vendor to acquire quests or get credit for participating in events. If that farmer needed bandits killed, you're going to get credit for killing the bandits whether you talked to the farmer or not. You will never kill zombies in GW2 and then find out you didn't get any event credit because you failed to talk to an NPC first. You will never pass an interesting object and find out that you can only interact with it if some NPC formally assigns you a quest allowing you to interact with it. After playing this way I never want to go back to the old way of having to acquire quests before I can properly participate.

The events are also multi-player friendly. You never perceive other players as a hindrance that will steal your kills and set you back. Everyone shares credit and loot for kills, which is another big change. Again, using TSW as an example, I was very frustrated in the beginning areas because there weren't enough enemies to go around on the initial Kingsmouth zombie killing quest. After playing the GW2 beta I was shocked to kill dozens of enemies and realize I wasn't getting credit for any of them because only the person who initially tags them gets credit. The problem isn't unique to TSW, it's standard for PvE MMOs, and now that GW2 has fixed it I will never go back to the old way.

These two areas I have detailed allow for an unparalleled fulfillment of wanderlust. In comparison to the PvE in other games GW2 makes it feel like you are fairly flying across the landscape wherever you wish. After playing the GW2 beta for only two days I feel like the standard questing system in most MMOs is a slog and I won't return to it.

I think the claim that beginning areas will be empty and difficult to complete is groundless. I did play through events with only a few people and they scaled properly without incident. I actually have the reverse concern. We'll never see the Jackson farm burn down because a steady stream of newbies is always saving it. I worry events near population centers will be permanently stuck in the optimal "win" state and never cycle through the other forks of development because so many people are flooding them all the time.

Here here!! Bravo! A masterful summary and reply to the article!

Deluded answers is more like it, typical from the GW2 fan posse.

A player kills "dozens of enemies" and "gets no credit" for them, because others have "tagged them first"! Anyone with any kind of sane view of the gamer psyche knows that people will fly to rage because of that, but here it is portrayed as a positive thing (and with it, the quick re-spawning of mobs, which many people in normal non-Messiah class games tend to complain about).

A player kills "dozens of enemies" and "gets no credit" for them, because others have "tagged them first"! Anyone with any kind of sane view of the gamer psyche knows that people will fly to rage because of that, but here it is portrayed as a positive thing (and with it, the quick re-spawning of mobs, which many people in normal non-Messiah class games tend to complain about).

He was talking about The Secret World as the game where you kill dozens of enemies and get no credit, not GW2. He was saying that, after playing the GW2 beta where this sort of dynamic doesn't exist, going back to it in a game like The Secret World was difficult to swallow. I see how the wording might have been confusing in that one sentence or two, but the context of the rest of the post should have made that clear.

This article reeks a bit of Nerd Baiting. Am I wrong? I hope so.

There is some honest and good criticism in there, but most of it was about problems of the beta and in some cases - like the "overflow" system" - stuff that most probably won't even be in the final game.
The rest was mostly ignorance about the way GW2 works.
Quite surprised that an article so clueless made it this far.

GW2 isn't a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. There are many flaws in it, like in everything.
But this article doesn't seem to get even half of them.

Oh, and the part about the GW2 fanboys (which is even highlighted) made me laugh my ass off as well.
Welcome to the Internet. There are idiots and fanboys of everything. Let me be your guide.

I see a lot of ignorance about the game in both the article and comments. A lot of assumptions made about what people want it to be based on their own gamer identity and then omg its fail if it isn't catering to their style exactly. Also when ever I see statements that begin with things like "I was led to believe..." I cringe. Be careful where sources of such ideas come from. I have been following GW2 for years and never got the idea it was a single server open sandbox. At any rate I have pre ordered it , play the BWE and like it very much. Out of 3 good candidates this year for an mmorpg it is the one game I picked.

I am interested in this TTH write-up for several reasons;

1. It is poorly written. Where valid critique is entered into the point lacks force and where it is invalid, it makes it easier to write-off the valid points because of the lack of support for the statements made. A wastes opportunity.

2. The fact the 'investigation' of the game only went to level 15 points at predisposed disinterest and this is further evidenced by a complete lack of rigour. if you want to critique something you cannot skim the content from the point of view of someone expecting a let-down. That becomes a self-created reality. There is no evidence whatsoever from this review that the individual responsible delved into this to an acceptable level. They essentially smelled the food and decided it tasted bad. In a dish as nuanced as GW2 this gives entirely the wrong impression.

3. The comparisons to other games are also lazy, partly or entirely invalid and woefully anecdotal. There is no meat on the bones of each relevant statement and not even the slightest analysis of how things are different/the same, or to what extent.

In conclusion, this article is a waste of everyone's time. I would encourage a better class of poster to be entertained by the site, or at the very least, some editorial guidance and/or intervention to ensure that opinions that agree or differ from the mainstream do themselves justice.

Anything else just encourages the hater/fanboi clash - which in itself is pointless, egocentric and childish.

I, and a lot of people like me want a decent representation of the issues so we can expand on the knowledge we have of the game from our own beta experiences (which could not have been entirely exhaustive for anyone due to the timescales involved) - not this kind of lazy written dross so clearly pre-bias and lacking in any real supportable forensic insight.

To base any conclusions on this kind of article (or indeed likewise written 'pro-GW2' articles) doesn't do anyone any good.

LOL holy fanboy alert, note to self if you have a negative opinion in regards to anything GW2 related its best to keep that buried and not voice it to the general public! I would love to see GW2 just flop or just release in a condition that just isn't acceptable. So many fanboys out there that would take a bullet for this game, laughable at best.

It's pretty obvious, ArenaNets biggest expense so far is astro-turf boiler rooms. Total BS.

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