I have been playing Guild Wars 2 for about 1 1/2 weeks now, and am having more fun in this game than I have had in all of my years in World of Warcraft. I cannot explain it, but the game’s mechanics are so different and so refreshing, other games just seem to pale in comparison.
The game is not made up of the typical MMO formula of quest hubs (in which you move through the world by going from quest hub to quest hub, collecting a bunch of quests, completing the quests, turning in the quests, and moving on to the next quest hub). As you explore the world of Tyria (the setting of Guild Wars 2), you encounter what is known as "heart quests", in which you perform a number of actions for an NPC in the area. As soon as you enter the area, the quest is assigned to you automatically. Once you complete the quest, you receive the reward in your in-game mail (which can be accessed anywhere in the world). Heart quest givers are also karma vendors… as you gain karma completing events, you can buy items from each of the karma vendors. Items available from karma vendors are typically better armor, better weapons, or hard to find crafting materials.
As you explore the world and complete heart quests, Dynamic Events spawn near the heart quests. Dynamic events are group based events that require the cooperation of multiple people to complete the event. The more people involved in the event, the harder the event becomes. There is no need to accept the quest or form a group… you are automatically assigned the related event quest. If you participate, you receive a reward.
This brings up one of the nicest facets of Guild Wars 2 – this game encourages cooperation. There is no such thing as kill stealing. If you help kill a monster, you get experience and can loot the monster. Harvesting nodes are instanced, so everyone can gather from the same node. The game actually encourages people to work together.
Profession skills are all tied to the weapon currently equipped. Skills are unlocked the more you use a given weapon. You automatically receive new weapon skills as each one is unlocked. Swapping weapons equips a new set of skills. Daggers and swords tend to have close-range skills. Staffs are typically AOE based skills. And sceptors are typically range based skills.
Add in skill points (challenges that give you skills points to unlock utility skills that are in addition to your profession based skills), vistas (locations in the world in which you need to figure out how to get to the vista point, which unlocks a beautiful cut scene showing the surrounding area as seen from that vista), scouts (NPCs directing you to interesting activities and quest hearts in the surrounding area), jumping puzzles (attempting to reach an elevated area that contains a chest of goodies), and a really nice community, this game has everything I want and need in an MMO.
I won’t kid you… Guild Wars 2 is a difficult game, and is not something you can face roll through. You need to dodge – mobs are smart, and will modify their attacks based upon how you react. Because of this, it tends to attract a more mature and serious gamer community, one that prides itself on helping others and working together towards common goals.
ArenaNet (the developer of Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2) takes pride in their creation. The are quickly working on resolving in-game bugs and issues, and actually listen to their player base.
I can honestly seeing myself playing Guild Wars 2 for years to come.
– Wayne Fisher