Guild Wars 2 Review (Page 2)

Updated Tue, Aug 28, 2012 by Shayalyn

Back to Page 1



In essence, even when you’re soloing through Tyria, Guild Wars 2 is a truly multiplayer game. You’ll participate in dynamic events with multitudes of players. Not only that, you’ll encounter others on your journeys and find that the social feel of Guild Wars 2 truly enhances your experience, even if you don’t group or interact in chat. Someone may come along and revive you in a time of need (everyone can revive, and everyone gets experience for doing it.) You may find yourself in over your head in a fight, and another soul will charge in to help. In that sense, GW2 feels like a uniquely social experience.


Dungeons in Guild Wars 2 are a shining example of how much attention to detail has been put into the game overall. As group content, dungeons provide a thoroughly engaging experience that works on a number of different levels. Story mode not only further envelopes players in the overarching storyline of the game, but offers some of the best instanced group content the genre has to offer. Replayability through explorable mode extends the experience exceptionally well by offering a unique challenge and varying paths each time you enter the instance.

Structured PvP (sPvP)

ArenaNet has made a number of brilliant design decisions with Guild Wars 2, many of which can be found in the structured PvP (sPvP) system. As a wholly separate gameplay mode, many of the usual concerns about preserving balance in competitive play have been neatly removed from the equation. And in terms of the bigger picture of competitive MMO gameplay, sPvP is easily a new benchmark that other developers should strive to achieve.

Guild Wars 2 Niflhel Choke

Structured PvP also comes neatly packaged with a wholly separate form of character advancement, so even though sPvP wins won’t necessarily help you level in PvE, you can still feel like you’re making some form of meaningful progress in both hot-join and tournament modes. Not only can you gain ranks over time, but you’ll also be able to unlock a massive amount of cosmetic options that mirror the most intricately designed armors and weapons found elsewhere in the game.

In terms of the fun factor, we’ve collectively played through hundreds (possibly even thousands) of matches, and can conclusively say that Guild Wars 2 offers the most fun we’ve had in a competitive MMOG setting, period. The only current fly in the sPvP ointment is the inability to quickly save and swap builds between matches. Fortunately, a system for doing so is currently in the works. All things considered though, that’s a very minor quibble, not a deal breaker.

World PvP (WvWvW)

In many ways, World PvP is PvP for the masses, especially if you enjoy the ebb and flow of territory control, truly massive (500 vs. 500 vs. 500) combat, and are into competitive play but perhaps aren't hardcore enough to dive too deep into structured PvP builds and group politics.

In the World PvP borderlands, players are automatically advanced to 80 (the level cap), and opportunities scale for the number of players you have working with you at any given time. If you’re playing solo, you can work to gain the loyalty of the mercenary camps scattered around the map by doing standard dynamic event fare or breaking their morale to join your forces. These mercs will randomly seek out keeps and towers to protect and defend. If have just a few followers, take out a dolyak to deprive your enemy of supply (needed to construct siege equipment and trebuchets). Or if you want to glob onto an invading horde, remember to pick up some supply and take out a tower, resource depot, or keep.

Guild Wars 2 provides a Commander mechanic (available for a steep price) for greater communication and organization on the battlefield, but barring that, global chat is serviceable, as are the crossed swords which appear on the map to indicate hotspots. The map is cozy enough that you can usually arrive in time to help turn back an assault, but large enough to prevent the short runs from the spawn point that make death irrelevant.

World PvP can, however, devolve into a numbers game, and if no skilled leaders rise up you might have to give the system some time to accommodate your server. Given that ArenaNet is in the process of intensely balancing server pairings over the first few weeks after launch, your first experience with World PvP may vary. If your server gets steamrolled, be sure to give World PvP another shot when the current match ends (match length is daily now, but will slowly lengthen to two weeks after things settle down). You owe it to yourself: few experiences in gaming can rival the feeling of ripping through a tower gate with 50 of your closest server mates and taking down a champion tower lord for the glory of your server, and for that reason alone, Guild Wars 2 World PvP is, in our opinion, alone worth the price of the game.



For your gaming dollar, you won't find a better value than Guild Wars 2. The box or digital download price is the industry standard $60, but Guild Wars 2 (like Guild Wars pioneered before it) does away with one tired convention--subscription fees. Given the quality and entertainment value players get for purchasing only the game client, we dare say that future triple-A MMOGs are going to be hard pressed to convince players that their game is worthy of a monthly fee.

That said, some players may find it necessary to use the cash shop to purchase Gems and enhance their experience using real-world cash. Things such as bank space upgrades, while not essential to the gameplay experience, are definitely handy. Fortunately, bank space upgrades are account wide rather than character-based, making the upgrade purchase a better value.

Lasting Appeal

95OutstandingNo game is perfect, and no game can hold all players indefinitely, but Guild Wars 2 seems to have a better chance than most. It's difficult to run out of things to do in this game, and there's very little sense of "been there, done that." Above and beyond all of the things there are to do in PvE, there are entire World PvP and structured PvP experiences that, in themselves, could virtually be stand-alone games. All of this rolled into one massive MMOG title makes Guild Wars 2 a standout.

Pros and Cons


  • Guild Wars 2 does away with the on-rails, static questing system
  • Many diverse ways to progress your character
  • Eliminates kill stealing--if you hurt it, you get xp and loot
  • Combat is fun, dynamic, and changes up depending on what weapon you're holding
  • Other games could learn a lot from GW2's structured PvP and World PvP
  • Graphics and sound are outstanding
  • All this for no monthly subscription fee


  • Needs a better tutorial.
  • New players may find they don't quite know how to progress through the content or fill in perceived content gaps..
  • Dynamic events scale. While this is generally a good thing, it can mean that when there are less players in the area to spawn bigger event chains they can become a little dull
  • At launch, structured PvP lacks a mechanic for saving and swapping builds
  • At press time, the Trading Post feature wasn't yet live and, in fact, wasn't live through most of the headstart event


The MMO gaming community has seen some disappointing MMOG launches in the past. Many games have taken the tried and true route, following in the footsteps of their predecessors, only to find that familiarity really does breed contempt. Others have tried to stretch their wings and embrace innovation in an attempt to spark a revolution, only to find that revolution seems to breed smaller, niche communities rather than genre-bending success stories.

When ArenaNet first released its MMO Manifesto we knew they were aiming for something revolutionary with Guild Wars 2. What we got is the first worthy successor to World of Warcraft.

Shayalyn Review at Ten Ton Hammer

  • Game Name: Guild Wars 2
  • Review Date: August 28th, 2012
Back to Page 1Metacritic

I also run a 27" IPS monitor @ 1440p. I also have it overclocked to 82hz (so 82fps represented on the screen). The game is NOT beautiful. Do yourself a favor and pick up TSW, Rift, Tera, or Lotro. Those MMOs are beautiful with layers of graphical options. It's debatable that even Diablo 3 is more visually stunning than GW2.

GW2 cleverly disguises things with the use of blur and shiny post processing effects. The textures are very low-res and most character models have small polygon counts. Why do you think the install folder is so small?

Giving this game a 97/100 in graphics is an outrage. It's 2012 people...this game is running DX9 (2004 tech). It does nothing to push the genre forward visually. If I was asked to grade on gfx, GW2 deserves a solid 70/100. Passable - gets the job done with some interesting gems but nothing revolutionary.

I urge you to check out The Secret World on Ultra settings with DX11, Full Tesselation and TXAA enabled. THAT is 97/100.

You really need to have your eyes checked. "TSW, Rift, Tera, or Lotro"? That's like comparing Roseanne Barr to Jacqueline McKenzie. GW2 graphics are some of the most beautiful AND smoothest running I have seen in any MMO in the past 4 years.

Dude, put it back in your pants and don't comment if you don't like the game, people like you are the problem with gaming these days. Doom 3 isn't perfect, in fact it doesn't scale correctly to widescreen, however, it is still one of the most engaging and fun games you could pick up. Not everything is about "let's max this shit out to the mots retarded size screen and settings."

lol did I say I don't like the game? No. I said the graphics are not amazing and are not deserving of 97/100. Several others agree with me, and if you have any technical knowledge you would know it's not the case.

butthurt and completely mad he cant play.

I completely agree. The graphics may be pleasing to the eye and nice to look at, but to say that it's technically amazing, just shows that perhaps you may not much experience with amazing graphics.

In all honestly, graphically it just looks like another free to play MMO from Asia. Not much advertising is done here, nor do large gaming review website even take interest in them, so people just don't know.

I said the game looks absolutely beautiful. I never said it was technically amazing. Is it pushing advanced dx11 rendering techniques? No. Are you immersed in a living breathing world full of cohesive art style and execution? Yes.

MMO's are built to be efficient. Inexpensive low poly models/smaller textures = better performance

Anyone can place super high-poly inefficient models into an engine. What you get is diminishing returns. Wasted cpu/memory allocations for what? For a couple more polys on a tree stump? Um no thanks.

GW2 is in the sweet spot of pushing it's art direction far beyond it's sheer technical capabilities (efficient). In the end if it looks amazing and plays like butter, then who cares how/what tech they used to get there.

funny how it was not Korean and designed by a American studio made up of former blizzard employee's. You must be seeing things.

Jeepers. Strangely hostile commenters. Great review. Keep up the excellent work :-)

rofl @ 97 for graphics. Are they kidding? This game is straight out of 2004. Turn off post processing and you will see the bland models and low res textures. "Shiny" effects do not equal good graphics.
People have no eye for quality. It reminds me of the idiots that buy TVs at Best Buy because their brightness levels have been maxed at the factory - thus catching the eye on the store shelf.

Jeez...this review is so biased. Hope you got enough money for this. Plz donate some for charity.

Jeez...this review is so biased. Hope you got enough money for this. Plz donate some for charity.

"Graphics - 97/100"

"But seriously, there seems to be a unanimous consensus among Guild Wars 2 players--the graphics are some of the best we've seen."

Really? Sorry but you played a different game or you are a blind GW2 fanboy.

Please don't get me wrong: the game's art/design is amazing but the graphics are mediocre.

Graphic-wise - it depends. When talking about realistic you'd go for games like Crysis while WoW has some decent graphics to this date with their cartoony style. I love em and I approve of the reviewers' opinion.

I agree. This is the best artistry I have ever seen in an MMO. Some of the Vistas are amazing and Divinity Reach was the best looking city I have ever seen in an MMO period.

A nice read. I just wanted to point out to you guys that you can get gems from the currency exchange for in-game gold so you can get the bank and character tabs just by playing the game if you don't want to spend real cash for gems.

Great review. It's worth mentioning that you don't compete for resources or quest objectives, however... which is definitely a big plus in my book.

How is it stupid.

All reviews by staff writers are paid reviews.

Most writers are paid to write things.

Oh, and caps screaming at someone to shut up.

Grow up before your mother calls you back to bed child.

Id say you got paid to talk shit about gw 2.

Calls someone immature, uses immature insults back at them.

wrong not all are paid to give a game a certain score. you sound like a pessimist that needs to learn to respect others opinions if they are different they yours. Can't say anything either until you have played it.

I think you misunderstood him. I think what he is saying is that the guy who wrote the review is paid for doing it. He is paid by his employer, not the game publisher.

Agree with most of what was said here. THIS GAME IS AMAZING. Go buy it. NOW!

Did we mention there is NO MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION? :)

One of the larger reasons why it's popular. Been playing for months in beta, the game's combat feels like it's a free to play korea mmo, and the quests/dynamic events are Warhammer 2.0.

The game is good, fun, and interesting. But not even close to what the hype makes it out to be. GW2 has a good marketing team. I give them props.

Are they kidding???

"What’s great and innovative about Guild Wars 2 is that just about everything grants experience to the player, from helping a Renown NPC to participating in dynamic events to exploring a new area to gathering and crafting."

This sounds to any1 *innovative*? Wow. Virtually any game is as much "innovative".

About "dynamic events" looks again like rifts or other kind of public quests.

After reading more and looking at scores ... this review has all smell of payed review. But I could be wrong.

Guess at some point will play it, but after price have dropped considerably.

You are wrong, but hey sit and wait as long as you want. You will have earned your own facepalm. No one seems to remember 2004 when WoW came out. The dominant game in this genre didn't bring one innovative game changing design to the table. All it did was put them all together better than any other game at that time could. Doe's this sound familiar to you now???? Go reread your post .. then cry cos you are missing out on the game that trumped the genre by doing exactly what was done 7 years ago.

You are wrong, but hey sit and wait as long as you want. You will have earned your own facepalm. No one seems to remember 2004 when WoW came out. The dominant game in this genre didn't bring one innovative game changing design to the table. All it did was put them all together better than any other game at that time could. Doe's this sound familiar to you now???? Go reread your post .. then cry cos you are missing out on the game that trumped the genre by doing exactly what was done 7 years ago.

You are wrong, but hey sit and wait as long as you want. You will have earned your own facepalm. No one seems to remember 2004 when WoW came out. The dominant game in this genre didn't bring one innovative game changing design to the table. All it did was put them all together better than any other game at that time could. Doe's this sound familiar to you now???? Go reread your post .. then cry cos you are missing out on the game that trumped the genre by doing exactly what was done 7 years ago.

Innovative as in it does it better than other games. Experience is truly irrelevant to the game experience beyond attaining skills, which are really more-or-less side grades.

The dynamic events? There is a thing in games where if neglect occurs, bandits will occupy towns, when this happens it changes the things you do.

You're just being picky to sound like an intellectual, suck it up and stop being a manchild.

You don't understand. In , the leveling game generally consists of going to a quest hub, talking to every NPC with a "!" over their head, running out into the field and fulfilling those objectives as quickly as possible, running back to collect your rewards, clear your bags, and proceed to the next quest hub. There's very little deviation from this track. You technically get XP from discovering new areas and crafting and such, but it's really not the primary way to level up, and indeed you'll probably level faster if you forego that stuff completely.

In GW2, you just go out and play. You can explore, do hearts, find DEs, go to points of interest, focus on crafting, basically anything you want to do and you'll get rewarded and rewarded well. There are things that are hidden out in the wilderness that absolutely will make finding them worth your time. You'll never think to yourself "man, I should get back to town and pick up some quests, because I'm not leveling optimally here". If you're anywhere near a renown heart, you're getting progress for your kills anyway, no stopping to talk to NPCs required.

That's the innovation: giving us all this stuff to do, and then taking off the leash and letting players figure out how they want to play. You can literally craft your way to lvl80 if you so desire. I don't recall that ever being possible in any other traditional MMO.

This piece of information is useful. Sounds really appealing. I might pick this game up when I have the cash for it (and a new rig).

wrong not all are paid to give a game a certain score. you sound like a pessimist that needs to learn to respect others opinions if they are different they yours. Can't say anything either until you have played it.

We have never, nor will we ever, accepted pay or any other promise of advantages from developers for high review scores. Although this review was written by one person (myself), it's the result of the collective experiences of the network staff. Hours of playtime followed by many more hours of group discussion (including five or six hours of conference call breakdown sessions before the review went live) culminate in what you see here.

Well you say you don't but I judge people by their actions and this "review" misses out many issues and gives them a near perfect score.

Not impressed with you TTH, lost alot of cred. :(

I have to agree with seriouzly. Its very hard to respect reviews like this when you give a game what is essentially a perfect score for something that is clearly not deserving of a perfect score.

If you had maybe split "graphics" into, "artstyle" and "graphics" and gave the artstyle a 97, and the graphics maybe an 80 or something like that, it would go a long ways into making this a believable review.

I won't go so far as to accuse you guys of taking payoffs from arenanet, thats ridiculous. But scores like that just smack of fanboyism OR people who are deep in a honeymoon phase and incapable of unbiased review.

Just like seriouzly said, the graphics (and by graphics i mean, lighting effects, textures res/quality, polygon counts, etc) in TSW walk all over this game, same with Rift, and many other games released prior to this.

Now, those games may not have an artistic style you like. It seems lots of people like that WOW kind of lots of primary colors, bright and vibrant type of art style, and there is nothing wrong with that, but at least acknowledge that its a subjective thing.

Maybe im just old and jaded, but i remember the days when games that actually deserved 90+ like half life, or baldur's gate 2, and such, got those scores, and good games got scores in the 80's. 90+ was reserved for genre altering awesomeness.

And frankly, although aspects of GW2 are genre altering, it is, at its heart, still a themepark fantasy mmo, with clicky buttons and targetting and such.

Totally agree with everything that Kutark said.

Is it too hard to understand that on every review ever , graphics was always meant to include the fidelity of the said graphics balanced by the aesthetics .. and in my opinion (not sure if reviewers do it or not) animation too. Graphics for me is when i look a game in motion and thats what i see. And tbh guild wars 2 is deserving of said prays about the graphics by the reviewer. The art style is just gorgeous and even the fidelity is not bad, probably not as good as tera maybe (dont know for sure about TSW since i just played beta and tbh i didnt think it was that beatiful specially animation wise) but it certainly does the job and is a lot better than most mmos. What i said first is plain fact for most reviewers and followed by my opinion regarding the graphics of the games in question, just saying since the internet sometimes cant distinguish both.

And how could that lead to an almost perfect score on graphics and sound? TSW has much better graphics and sound.

TSW has much better gfx than GW2. GW2's are great no mistake but not better in any tbh.

TenTonHammer -1

No, TSW doesn't have better graphics. Grass doesn't move when you walk through it. GW2 you actually have physics. Grass waves in the wind, dust motes float, fire flies dance on a night sky. When my Norn walks across the ice statue of a wolf, her reflection shows in it, and the ice looks like ice-transparent and looks cold. If I move my character through a cornfield, the corn plants move. Snowflakes blow on the wind, dandelion seeds float by. There are "dust storms" in TSW that never kick up dust and obscure my view. NO fog rolls in (even LOTRO has that in the swamps).

TSW (which I happen to like) has the same static stage set many MMOs have. GW as some of the best artists in the industry, and they win awards for a reason. Lucky for TSW I don't mind the "Stage Set" feel because it is still very nice to look at and fun to play, despite that. GW2 is a living breathing place. They brought a whole new level of "life" to their world with their graphics.

I can only assume you haven't played TSW on a decent system. TSW is DX11 and glas moves as you walk through it. Overall the GFX in the TSW are 100% better than GW2. GW2 are good, sure but no where near TSW.

GW2 grass , only a little of it moves, you are wearing rose tinted glasses my friend.

I have an i7 system, 16gb ram, nvidia gtx 560 ti and both a Lifetime sub to TSW and have been playing GW2 nonstop the last week.

I don't know about polygon count but when I look at the game (and the settings both have everything in the graphics section turned on and to max) GW2 looks WAY prettier. From running animations, to reflections to the world just "moving" like in real life.

I suppose next someone will tell me I'm not using the latest drivers or should try it with an AMD card some such garbage as to why TSW looks better on their system.

TLDR: TSW is a decent looking game, but it's not as pretty as GW2

"Paid review" is such a stupid thing to even suggest.

Not agreeing with a review doesn't mean it's wrong, or poorly written, or that the author got paid to write it.


It is time to party in Guild Wars 2 with ArenaNet today as they release their new Living World update “Festival of the Found Winds”.
News, Official Announcements
Tue, May 20, 2014
Lee B.
Disposable Gear

Horizontal progression systems, when done correctly, offer MMO gamers better options on how to refine their characters over time that a steep power curve based on disposable itemization alone fails to accomplish. We take a look at how Guild Wars 2 helped pave the way for the horizontal progression revolution.

Features, Opinions
Mon, May 19, 2014

As the Guild Wars 2 Feature Pack announcements continue, ArenaNet have revealed their new PvP reward tracks, gear unification and more.

Fri, Mar 28, 2014
Lewis B

ArenaNet announces several more big changes for GW2’s feature patch with several account-bound changes, free trait resets, and the removal of armor repair costs.

News, Blogs, Official Announcements
Fri, Mar 28, 2014

News from around the 'Net