What’s bigger than Duke Nukem’s ego? Why, the hype surrounding Guild Wars 2. Promising a revolution to shake the MMO genre to its core, Guild Wars 2 is now, finally, live.
According to its design manifesto, Guild Wars 2 will be fun from the start, force no grinding, possess a compelling story, be a grand box social, and should be, in fact, the best MMO ever. Bold claims. So let’s look at how the game stacks up just after release. Are ArenaNet making good on their promises, or is it too early to tell?
Fun from the start?
Guild Wars 2 promises you fun from the start. You won’t be dragged through a gear treadmill, getting ready to have fun. Well, after a couple days play, I have to say this is one of Guild Wars 2’s strong points. The game makes jumping in and playing fun right away, with lots of skill unlocks and combat experimentation at the start. Supporting this are great animations that make it a joy to watch as well. So yes, Guild Wars 2 is a lot of fun.
Guild Wars 2 promises no repetition. Unfortunately, without the narrative quest structure of other MMOs, Guild Wars 2 can feel like a big chain of all-too-similar dynamic events strung together. You’ve got the escort quest, the fight enemy commander quest, the fend-off-waves quest, and the gather items quest.
To the game’s credit, the art is gorgeous, making random wandering enjoyable as a grindless alternative. Indeed, I really started to enjoy myself when I went on a grand adventure through all the different starting zones. I am concerned, though, that after another week’s play, repeated events will start to have a feeling of ‘been there, done that’. We’ll have to wait and see.
A compelling story?
So… I have no idea why centaurs are attacking the humans. Anyone? I also have no idea why whenever I talk to Logan Thackeray, I’m treated to a backdrop of flowers blowing in the wind while we talk about people dying.
I loved the original Guild Wars story. By contrasting the peaceful Tyria with the burnt-out Tyria after the Charr invaded, the opening set the backdrop for everything to come. However, I’ve not yet been treated to any such ‘wow’ moments in Guild Wars 2.
A grand box social?
The game is the definition of social — servers are packed! Dynamic events give a great multiplayer feeling that other games have tried and failed to achieve.
However, I also feel that true teamwork has been replaced by skill spam. With so many skills going off all over the place, it almost becomes a race to see who can spam attacks fastest, and true tactical coordination between people is missing.
I’d really like to see how the social side of the game plays out in dungeons. But with the first dungeon coming relatively late at level 35, I’ve a long way till I get to play what I enjoy most in an MMO.
Best MMO ever?
Guild Wars 2 is one of the most polished, fun MMOs to date. It’s just very entertaining. However, the game does make sacrifices. In particular, the lack of group tactical play and true story is noticeable at this early stage.
Just like all of you, I’ll be playing the game through the week to see how it continues to shape up. Hopefully, it will get over some of these initial teething problems and start to really shine.