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Guild Wars 2 vs. World of Warcraft
We all know this is the big question on many gamers’ minds right now. Depending on your situation it either goes one of two ways.
- Do I stick with World of Warcraft? Or do I switch to Guild Wars 2?
- Do I start playing World of Warcraft? Or do I go with Guild Wars 2?
The argument can be made that you can play both. After all, Guild Wars 2 doesn’t have a monthly fee. However, a lot of people can’t maintain two giant games at once. It can be daunting. So this question is viable among the MMO crowd.
Guild Wars 2 represents a huge shift in the genre as a game that can rival the quality of the king of MMOs and still only charge you an initial retail price. World of Warcraft is one of the last remaining top tier subscription games and for all intent and purposes, it will likely stay that way for a few more years. No one can question the quality of the product that WoW delivers. That’s why it was so surprising that Guild Wars 2 was able to match it.
The hype has been ridiculous and the battlefield set. Let’s see who takes the cake in this battle of the titans.
It’s going to be extremely hard to find a game with better presentation than Guild Wars 2. If you read my review, the Design section details exactly what I’m talking about. The splatter style and use of pastel colors is absolutely gorgeous and helps GW2 stand out in a very unique way.
That isn’t to say WoW is lacking in this regard. Although the menus and UI are standard fare, over the years Blizzard has added ways to help the game flow very fluidly. At this point in WoW’s life cycle, the game looks and feels very nice. With every expansion menus get better, things get easier, and let’s face it, Blizzard has used these last eight years as a learning experience and they haven’t been afraid to employ what they’ve learned with every release of a new expansion.
That being said, I can’t give this to WoW. Guild Wars 2 does just a damn good job at looking beautiful in menus and UI, working fluidly, and being easy to figure out. From the launcher to the character selection screen to the world, Guild Wars 2 will wow your eyes.
Winner: Guild Wars 2
Two storied worlds always at the brink of war and destruction. Tyria and Azeroth really aren’t that different. You have dragons and hellspawn-like creatures tormenting the races. The races themselves don’t fully trust each other. The leaders of each race are key important NPCs. There was once a big war between savage beasts and man. As time went on, the beasts and man fight side by side against world threatening foes. Now they don’t like each other again.
I could go on but honestly, it isn’t a big enough issue to press. Most fantasy worlds like this overlap in similarities often. Guild Wars and Warcraft aren’t the first to share similar storylines and they won’t be the last. To give this to either side would be a travesty based on this alone.
The only advantage I’ll give World of Warcraft is that the lore for the game and franchise is gigantic, detailed, and fun to read. It has made some of the raids extremely interesting and even some zones were made better by bringing the long established lore in. Guild Wars has some lore and the first game issued a ton of it. There are books out there for the games, too. Guild Wars definitely doesn’t have the quantity of the lore that Warcraft enjoys but it certainly shares the quality level.
Both games are built on tag targeting but Guild Wars 2 takes advantage of movement a lot more than Blizzard’s behemoth.
World of Warcraft is the prime example of traditional MMO combat. There are a lot of restrictions on movement in terms of skill activation time, channeling, and cooldowns. The one class that over the years has changed in that regard is Hunters. Hunter’s mobility has increased ten fold over the years and with Mists of Pandaria, it gets even better. For other classes, however, gluing their feet on the ground is the preferred method of combat.
Guild Wars 2 employs a skill system that allows for movement during channeling of abilities. This increases survivability with every class since kiting is a viable method of battle. With the inclusion of dodging, Guild Wars 2 has combat that feels fast, intense, and moving.
Whereas WoW teaches you patience and proper stance, Guild Wars 2 allows you to stretch your legs and gives you chances to let your skill with dodging and kiting be your greatest tools.
Winner: Guild Wars 2
Both games employ different systems yet at their core values, remain the same. While Guild Wars 2 debuts the heart questing system, WoW is a propionate of the traditional method of NPCs.
The heart system takes away the need for NPC journeying and promotes exploration as certain areas in the game’s zones will automatically pop-up and allow you to start questing. At first, this can be confusing for MMO veteran. There are NPCs but you’ll only be questing with them if you need to gather items and hand them off, escort someone, or head there after your done the quest to see what they are selling.
WoW’s system is something many, many gamers can attest to. Even non-MMO players. You head to an NPC or an item, click, accept, and do quest. It is straight forward and to the point. Mainly, it is a system that everyone can understand and that is important.
While Guild Wars 2’s questing system is brand new and takes a little bit to get used to, it promotes exploration and allows you to see the beautiful world that ArenaNet has created. With the rest of the points on the map that give XP, the heart quests is just one thing that allows players to progress. At its core though, it could use a bit more of an explanation in-game. A fellow ex-WoW player had a hell of a time understanding what was going on. This system is new and very different.
WoW’s system is old school and it just works. Is it exciting? Not particularly. But it works. While the heart system in Guild Wars 2 is alright, the highlight is the fact that exploration is key. I can’t really decide on who wins this aspect. Both systems have merits but none really take a big enough advantage over the other.
This is a landslide victory for Guild Wars 2. There is just way too many options to level up your characters in this game. Between the heart quests, roaming events, dynamic events, crafting, pvp, wvwvw, and map exploration you should never feel like you are trapped in one situation to level.
In WoW, you do not receive XP for crafting and in Guild Wars 2 that can be a very viable way to reach 80. You can’t deny the power of progression in Guild Wars 2. ArenaNet has given the player an option in how they wish to level. I have started many characters and almost every one of them felt different in how I reached level 5, 10, 15, and so on.
Winner: Guild Wars 2
This is where Guild Wars 2 underperforms when compared to other MMOs, not just WoW. The problem here is that there is no Holy Trinity – healer, tank, damage. Everyone helps in damage and some classes can support or throw out healing but there are no tanks. There are no skills that increase threat generation and because of this dungeons and group missions/events are clusterbombs.
Players will be dying left and right and corpse runs are something to get familiar with. Even in dungeons this is the experience you will be having. You never know when what you are doing to an enemy will cause them to come after you and at that point, these boss mobs will ravage you and you will die quickly, no matter what class you are.
With WoW, there is structure and stability. The tank holds the mods, the healer heals, and the damagers do what they do best. It works.
While Guild Wars 2’s experience is still fun in most aspects, the corpse runs will get old and the repair costs will mount. It is the biggest flaw in this game but thankfully, it isn’t a complete game ruiner. I just can’t give this to Guild Wars 2 at all because of the Holy Trinity or any sort of role structure being in the game at all. Just don’t give that this will ruin your experience with Guild Wars 2. This is the worst part about the game but you will still find plenty of fun to have.
Winner: World of Warcraft
At this point in the battle, you may be thinking I’m leaning towards Guild Wars 2 a good amount. The thing is, Guild Wars 2 tries a lot of new things and many of them work. PvP is no different.
You’ll find plenty of options in Guild Wars including an awesome hub called the Mists. WvWvW is absolutely amazing as you’ll be extremely hard-pressed to find a more intense player against player experience in an MMO. There are so many players sieging and pillaging in a giant, giant map.
WoW holds its own with a competitive edge as e-sports are a key focus for Blizzard’s game. Those looking for an ability and gear-based battle royale will find plenty to love in World of Warcraft. Others who wish for a bit more skill to be placed in their battles and a large scale format may find Guild Wars 2 to be their fancy.
Either way, you can’t be upset with both games in the PvP aspect. One is highly competitive and the other uses three realms at war as a selling point. Both work and work well. This is another push.
Guild Wars wants endgame to be a part of the entire experience, which to me spoils the reason for endgame. Dynamic events are the bread and butter of higher level play in Guild Wars 2 while dungeons and WvWvW back it up. Right now the game is relying heavily on daily achievements and goal as well as the gameplay options just mentioned.
However, endgame is where WoW shines the brightest. There are tons of dungeons, raids, and difficulties. Players also have access to daily quests, reputations, and thanks to Mists of Pandaria, pet battles and challenges.
You can’t beat WoW in endgame. No MMO can. It’s just too clear cut.
Winner: World of Warcraft
Both games can be considered the pinnacle of the MMO genre. It really comes down to a couple things: mobility during combat, progression options, endgame, and presentation preferences. If you want a proven and long lasting game that has plenty to offer, and you don’t care about a subscription, World of Warcraft is a great game to consider.
If you don’t like the idea of buying a game and then paying a subscription, you’ll find plenty to like in the realm of Tyria and Guild Wars 2.
As you can see by our verdicts above, Guild Wars 2 has 3 victories while WoW was given 2 and both games pushed three times. In fact, during my review I mentioned that Guild Wars 2 is quite possibly the best MMO I have ever played. The game tried many, many new and different things and most of them have worked out very well.
In the realm of MMOs, Guild Wars 2 has become my top choice and my most recommended title in the genre. You’ll get more than enough bang for your buck and there is plenty to do while ArenaNet figures out the class role situation and what they want to do with endgame.
If you can play both games and balance it well, by all means get both. If you have to pick one, I believe Guild Wars 2 is the best choice.