Guild Wars 2’s Greatest Advantage over Other MMOs

I’m currently about to reach level 40 with my main character in Guild Wars 2. So far I’ve enjoyed my Guild Wars 2 experience. There have been things that I can complain about and things that I would have done differently… but aren’t there for every game? So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the game, even if it is hard adjusting from the original Guild Wars. There is one aspect, however, that I applaud Arena Net’s efforts on above the rest. It’s this one trait that makes Guild Wars 2 a formidable opponent for any future game.

It’s the replay ability. In the original Guild Wars, like so many other MMOs, there gets to be a point that you’ve done it all. You’ve made a character, gone through the questline, grinded and grinded until you were a high enough level to compete in the elite zones, and then maybe done it all again on another character. At this point in most games I’m done. I don’t want to continue to do the same thing again and again. It’s a part of gaming that I really don’t enjoy or understand.  I don’t like to see the same content over and over again.

But so far in Guild Wars this doesn’t look like the case. Sure, you’re going to fight similar monsters, trek and explore across the same terrain, and have to spend some time on the inevitable grind. But Arena Net has delivered on their promise of making each character have an independent story line. They’ve found a way to give a single player narrative, specific to the player and the character, in a multi-player world.

I picked a Human Ranger as my primary character. My girlfriend (who awesomely decided to play with me) decided on a Human Necromancer. Before playing Guild Wars I read time and time again about the personal storyline, but didn’t put much stock in it. It seemed too good to be true, and believed that the player’s decisions would only have minuet effects on the world and the storyline. But boy was I wrong.

As we both reach towards level 40 I’ve realized that even though we’re both Human characters we haven’t done a single quest that was the same. After the initial tutorial level quest we were both thrown into questlines depending on the backgrounds we picked for our characters. While my girlfriend was attending parties and revealing the secrets of nobles, I was on the streets saving my friends pub and putting out fires at the orphanage. Afterwards she fought the centaurs while I looked for my parents. We joined two different factions and that made our storylines even more different than before.

Guild Wars 2 has made it possible for players to replay the same race or profession numerous times and have a completely different in-game experience. It starts with the personality questions, geared towards your chosen race and profession, but defiantly doesn’t stop there. More often than not players have a choice deciding which route they want to take when solving a problem. Every new quest is another fork in the road for you to decide your character’s destiny.

Guild Wars 2 offers 5 different races and 8 different professions. In addition each character is asked 5 questions that determines their storyline, personality, and starting gear. That’s already 200 unique starting points. And considering the amount of choice that players have as they go through the campaign, the actual number of different paths a player can take seem endless. It gives me the feel of a Mass Effect storyline, where my opinions and choices actually matter. But even more amazingly than in Mass Effect, Arena Net has done it on an MMO scale.

There are many ways that Guild Wars 2 has revolutionized the MMO genre. I’m sure there are many ways Guild Wars 2 has an edge on the competition that I haven’t thought of. But I think Guild Wars 2’s greatest trait is their independent and personal storyline. It gives my character a narrative, makes me feel attached to my decisions, and most importantly makes for a game I can see myself playing over and over again.