A Look Back is a new series that will be taking a look at some of our favorite games of the past. Today’s look back is Guild Wars 2. After taking a few months off to catch up on games like Bioshock, Diablo, Tomb Raider, and DayZ, I wanted to jump back in and see how things were holding up.
For those not familiar, questing in GW2 is done by completing event type scenarios that populate once you reach the questing area-which is typically in the radius of an NPC. Here a visual display pops up on the screen telling you, in short, what needs to be done. It is a great way to knock out content, but lacks story driven narrative. If you are looking for The Old Republic level of quest design, these may not be the droids you are looking for. But it works, largely in part to the, in tandem, character progression quests you have to complete. The story is high fantasy, but moves the leveling along well. Gameplay is enhanced by an amazing graphical fidelity rarely seen in MMO’s. The watercolor visuals and animations make exploring the world a treat. To top it off, Jeremy Soule’s soundtrack is pure perfection and adds a great deal to the experience.
Everything from mining a copper node to finding a new point of interest grants large amounts of experience. In fact, killing enemies gives marginally less than the aforementioned activates. It is how ArenaNet, the developers behind the game, ensure diversity (and no it is not an old old wooden ship). It is an interesting formula that works well. Most MMO’s are used to grind to the level cap and then grind dungeons and complete raids to get higher tier gear. This is fun, but in order to drive innovation, one must break from the pack. GW2 provides experience along with loot and gear for completing all of its tasks whether profound or mundane.
Respect My Authori-tie!
Player respect is given in a number of ways. The most significant is in the payment model. Buying the game off the shelf or digitally-currently $39.99- grants access to all the content from here until the end of time. ArenaNet has a two week update expansion policy, which keeps things fresh for dedicated players. There is a double-edged sword mentality here though, as when I jumped back into the game, I felt lost. Both my Guild and local chat channels were talking about events I had no idea about. For me it was just a few clicks away from reading up on patch notes and watching a few YouTube videos on recent dungeons and events. But for the less dedicated it may shy them away. I guess we can’t have everything. This minor gripe aside, the game feels more lived in. Since its launch back in September 2012, there has been much content to explore. Each iteration seems to get better and better. When I logged in and went to my bank in Lions Arch, the main city hub, I found remains from what seemed to be a Godzilla attack. After researching I found out the causes, and it blew me away. The entire city was in ruin, and it felt cool, like my character had gone away on vacation for a few months outside of Tyria, and came back to a war torn city.
Look to the Future
As previously stated the game has had many mini expansions. The latest saw a siege on Lion’s Arch from the long withstanding antagonist, Scarlet;
At long last, the siege of Lion’s Arch has been broken and Scarlet’s reign of terror is at an end. Despite Scarlet’s death, all is not well: Lion’s Arch is little more than a smoldering husk, citizens are still camped near Vigil, the Durmand Priory, and Stormbluff Isle, and the cost of victory was high.
In the April Pack prepare to experience Guild Wars 2 as never before! The April 2014 Feature Pack is the first release to focus exclusively on in-game features, and it’s bringing in brand-new systems, improvements to existing features, balance updates, and more!
If you have not dove into Tyria yet now may be a good time. Built on a solid foundation of player respect and continual high level content, ending in a great result-a game that begs your attention. If you are like me and took a few months away from the game, the new April Pack may be the juicy carrot you have been looking for. Either way it is a game that I enjoy, and enjoy more after being away from it for a while, here to seeing you in Tyria.