Once My Most Anticipated MMO, Guild Wars 2 Is Now A Pass For Me

There’s a lot to like about Guild Wars 2. The art style, presentation, story elements, and character creation are among the top tier of MMO’s. The game screams for attention with its paint blotch visual effects that just seem so cool and fresh. Guild Wars 2 is a game that takes itself very seriously for a free-to-play MMO. As it should, too. To continue what Guild Wars did but on a grander scale would be a hard enough endeavour alone but to challenge how MMO’s are played and to try and take the throne is something else entirely.

You can’t look at Guild Wars 2 and say, “it isn’t trying to rival any other MMO.” Of course it is. ArenaNet wouldn’t be putting the kind of polish and effort into this if they didn’t think their product could make a run for the top spot. You’d be fooling yourself if you thought ArenaNet doesn’t have plans if Guild Wars 2 reaches one million active players, two million, four million, and beyond that. If they see World of Warcraft in their scope with a semi-clear shot, they will fire.

To be honest, though, that is the right attitude to have in this genre. Games that are made to “bring a new type of MMO to players” and not vie for the throne of the genre will die out. You can tell which games are being done with the intention of being the best they can be to hit that top spot. You can see the difference between a game made because they got the licensing rights and a UI concept and a game made to challenge the preconceptions of the genre.

With that said, I’ll admit that Guild Wars 2 challenges the genre. While sticking with tab-targeting combat, Guild Wars 2 manages to still feel fresh enough to get me past that fact. I am firm believer that tab-targeting combat is a thing of he past. It needs to end and die out. Games like TERA and DC Universe Online, which feature reticule aimed targeting, feel very action-y and I can see that being a focus for developers going forward. I, on the other hand, extremely enjoy what Funcom used for The Secret World. The Secret World employs tab-targeting but it isn’t something that you’ll be doing 100% of the time during combat. Some powers enable you to activate without a target for area effects and cones/columns. Some allow you to target both a defensive and offensive target for double effect. It makes The Secret World not feel static and allows the player freedom of movement and tactic changing in the midst of combat. Tab-targeting has seen its hay day. Without more developers taking high profiles games and trying something new, the old will never be pushed out.



Aside from that point, I enjoyed what Guild Wars 2 does in terms of skill unlocking for various weapons and the Borderlands-esque second wind mechanic. Battles aren’t afraid to be grandious in Guild Wars 2. The game will periodically put you up against seemingly impossible enemies just to continue giving you a sense of adventure, unknowing, and excitement. This isn’t much more of that past this, which I will get into in a bit. The areas are lush and fun to travel through. The cities are really well done and not once did I feel lost. The map system is very informative.

There is a lot that Guild Wars 2 is doing right. You may be thinking as you read this that I’ve gone on for over 550 words praising this game and only complaining about tab-targeting. So what is my beef with Guild Wars 2? The quest system.

Quest systems can make or break a game. If they don’t engage the player or feel tedious, it isn’t going to work out. Quests are what make the game run. It gives progress and reward: the two things you look for most in a game. Guild Wars 2 employ a map-based quest system which details where in an area you need to go to in order to find quests. There are different styled or tiered quests but overall all you have to do is hit the ‘M’ key and see where everything is. I really enjoy the amount of information the map gives you in Guild Wars 2 but having the quests littered in certain areas where all you need to do is be in those vicinities takes an experience out for me. I’m not going to spit World of Warcraft all over this article so I’ll use The Secret World for my example here. In Funcom’s latest, there are quests everywhere. You can see icons on the map for quest NPC’s but not all of them are noticable from anywhere on the map. The icons display due to proximity and in The Secret World these NPC’s or objects can be found anywhere. You would be surprised at how much can be found with exploration in The Secret World.

That is what is missing in Guild Wars 2. I have no sense of adventure. The use of the map for the quest system ruins that. You see just how many quests are in the area and game in general. I don’t want to see that number because then a tendency to complete them all for numbers only begins to creep up. I play MMO’s for the experience, thrill, and character progression. I like to feel like I accomplish things in the world. I know the game world won’t change and the most I’ll get is a phase change (which is still really cool!) but I enjoy that feeling of “yeah, I just did that…whew”. MMO’s can give a feeling like no other game. No other type of game can make you get out of your chair and just stare at your screen as you and 10,20,or 40 others take down a god or demon king. No other genre can give you the satisfaction you get when you finally complete that armor set that can only be found in the toughest dungeon in the game.

I don’t get that feeling with Guild Wars 2. I see an objective-based game where my main goal is to fill in the icons on my map and then move on. You sit there and pick crucial plot points for your character during creation but even they are objective-based when they come up. I don’t care about achievements. I don’t care about scavenger hunts. Sure, they can be fun but when it becomes the sole reason for playing, I can’t see the point. That is what Guild Wars 2 is to me, a scavenger hunt. Find 5 hearts, two waypoints, and a village before hitting the next area.

I don’t get that satisfaction by completing quests. There’s a bar to show me just how done I am with a quest and when it fills, all I get is a new mail icon and then I move on. There is an absence of adventure, character progression, and rewarding experiences due to story advancement.

I’m sure Guild Wars 2 will be just fine, though. Without a monthly subscription, the only thing players need to watch out for is cash shops. I don’t think I need to go into how a pay-to-win system will empty those servers quicker than anything else. I just can’t see Guild Wars 2 holding the attention of someone who enjoys the aspect of advancement and adventure in an MMO.

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  1. Lothhan

    I love what they did with the quest, it’s a great way to get player out in the world and explore, I find my self never using the map as the quest just start on my arrival.
    the system makes it so you don’t have to try and look for the npc with the ! on its head, you don’t need to stay locked in the map to find something to do next, you just go out in the world and the game give you quest as you go along. that right there it the best part of the game. it make the whole game one big adventure.

    I think your issue is, your so used to being told where to go and what to do in your old mmo’s that the new system is lost on you. you have no sense of adventure because the system isn’t what your used too, your full armor statement show what this rant of yours is really about, no raids.

    “No other type of game can make you get out of your chair and just stare at your screen as you and 10,20,or 40 others take down a god or demon king. No other genre can give you the satisfaction you get when you finally complete that armor set that can only be found in the toughest dungeon in the game”

    but what you fail to see is there are indeed raids in the game just not the instanced base raid you no and clearly love. this event will have your king demon and need 10,20 or 40+ players to take down. and guess what? if you fail you get your “really cool” phase change. and not the old ” ok we wipe, lets try this with 10 heals instead of 6. and all this happen, not when you got you team of 20 together after wait hours for every one to sign on, but by just roaming the world. which makes the game one big adventure.

  2. Salvenius

    I would not call a game that you have to pay before you even get the game in your hands or on your hard drive a “free to play” game…free to play means download it for free and be able to play it without spending money or a small amount…a $60 price tag IS NOT free to play ¬_¬

  3. Johnnyboi

    i would have to say that i disagree with the author of this article. it has already been stated that the ingame shop will offer no unfair advantage, but offer cosmetic items nothing more. you continue to compare this game to wow without coming right out and saying it, but the tone is quite obvious. i have played tsw and wow and found tsw much better i can say. i did at one point enjoy wow too, but it was soo tedious. your doing the same quests with a new name over and over again. you do the same raids over and over again. nothing seems to change. its so repetitive. tsw on the other hand has a new grasp on the genre, which i did enjoy. the whole no armor no levels thing is really interesting. i like the engaging story as well, but it too has alot of repetitive questing. now im not saying gw2 wont have this, but at least they take away from the norm of quests. they change the way they are given to you. the feel and astetic of them is much more ingaging then what is usually done. you are judging this game on your preconceived notions of what an mmo should be. your basing your analysis on what you believe an mmo should be, but gw2 is not that. you have to throw out your ideas of what the genre should be.

  4. poetiq

    I actually found this review to be fairly interesting, and I should preface this comment with the fact that I am heavily biased in favor of GW2, but do respect the opinion of others.

    That being said, there are a couple statements made as fact that should probably be cleared up.

    #1 Tab Targeting:

    Yes… kind of, but not really. It’s a free ability system, so you won’t be able to rely on tab targeting to tell you if you’re in range, or obstructed by something. It’s your responsibility to know whether you’re in range and have line of sight. Abilities fire when you tell them to fire.

    Many of the abilities (not just aoe) can be dodged by simply moving out of the way, so you’re not only relying on your dodge mechanic to keep you out of trouble. In cases where you are being targeted by a ranged projectile, if I as another player step inbetween you and your target, I can take dmg for that target. There are even some videos showing the effects of higher ground vs. lower ground affecting your range of various abilities. It’s a very nuanced system, and to say that it’s just tab targeting in my mind would be very unfair.

    #2 Regarding your quote: “Guild Wars 2 employ a map-based quest system which details where in an area you need to go to in order to find quests.”

    I wouldn’t fault anyone for thinking that on first glance. Login, blow past the tutorials, jump right in, open the map… AH! There are objectives, that must be how they replaced the “quest log.” It took me the second day of playing for it to REALLY sink in.

    Truth is, there is no real “quest log.” And really the purpose of those icons is to provide guidance to the transitioning gamer coming from more familiar systems. But the real beauty of GW2 is when you decide to just explore… and exploring is encouraged… and things start to happen. A guard might run up to you and urge you for assistance cause bandits are attacking the base… REALLY EFFING ATTACKING THE BASE! And they’re not waiting for you to accept a quest and empty your bags before they go! In fact they’ve already taken out half the other NPCs which you now have to revive all while keeping things safe! Good luck telling them to hold off for a bit while you complete another map objective on the way. In another scenario you might overhear an innocent game being played by some village kids, “awww that’s sweet, they want to summon a little bear… wait… do you hear… WTF?!? ARE THOSE A ZILLION BEARS HEADING IN THIS DIRECTION!?!?!”

    And it doesn’t end there. It’s not, I’ve checked this area, map complete, time to split, nice knowin ya! Sure, you can, but those gathering quests, killing quests, etc, that in other games give a checked box in your quest log, actually lead to in game world things in GW2. From, watching a golem that was built from a gathering quest I participated in, go compete in a staged arena battle, to escorting a group of wild animals I just tamed with an experimental device wreak havoc on a bandit camp, to pissing off their leader and kicking off a mini-boss fight. And to be honest, I did it all for the sheer pleasure and wanderlust! And it was fun! The world felt alive.

    And perhaps you don’t care about the dynamic world that GW2 has to offer, but if you truly do believe in your heart of hearts that GW2 employs a map based quest system, then I would challenge you go back and give it a second look. Pick a different race (each has a very, VERY distinct and unique personality), listen to the conversations, and try following some NPCs around… especially if what you say is true about it being your most anticipated MMO. While I don’t believe that GW2 is all things to all gamers, with the different possibilities I think it has a lot more layers than are initially apparent and is a great gem to be enjoyed by many.

    And in the end if TSW is your thing, you one true dark and cynical love? Cheers. Hat’s off to ya. TSW is a little to dark for my tastes, but we all have our preference, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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