Guild Wars 2 – The Game of The Year That You Might Not Play
PC gamers and console gamers – in many ways they’re like Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet; longing to be together, doomed to forever be apart. The problem was of course that Romeo was a console gamer, and Juliet was a PC gamer. It’s the age old tale: boy meets girl, girl doesn’t like boy’s joystick, girl leaves boy for more sophisticated gaming. You see like all console gamers, Romeo liked his gaming quick and dirty with very little commitment, he had no time for the long-term demands that many MMO-playing PC elitists enjoyed, and as such he paid little attention to the whole PC scene.
Juliet wanted a gamer who could satisfy her demands, play the same game for whole weekends without rushing to the climax, and not trade her in for the latest release a week later. Thus society dictated that the two could not be together, and poor old Romeo was left hanging around underneath Juliet’s balcony, wishing he could be up their with her, playing awesome PC games and putting his hands on her mouse and keyboard. Juliet on the other hand was content to count off the days till August 28th, the day that massively multi-player online games would change forever. I tell you this tale as an introduction to my explanation as to why you’ve may have not heard of Guild Wars 2, or why it’s going to be game of the year. But before all that, a little potted history.
Twelve years ago in 2000 a small video game company called ArenaNet was founded by Mike O’Brien, Patrick Wyatt and Jeff Strain; three former Blizzard Entertainment developers who had previously worked on titles such as Diablo II and Starcraft. Formed with the goal of “creating a state-of-the-art interactive game network, and developing premier multiplayer, online games” they released Guild Wars: Prophecies in April 2005. The game would be described as a “competitive online role-playing game” with this being based upon Guild Wars’ unusual blend of a greater emphasis on player versus player (PvP) combat and (often instanced) player versus environment (PvE) questing and exploration.
The way the game played wasn’t the only thing that set it apart from the usual genre tropes either. It’s payment model departed from norm by eschewing a monthly subscription fee in favour of just charging the initial purchase price of the game, then followed by charging for future content. Two campaigns were released; first Factions in 2006, and then Nightfall in 2007, both of which expanded the number of missions and professions available. By 2007 releasing subsequent campaigns was deemed too restrictive creatively and Guild Wars first proper expansion, Eye of the North, was released. A second expansion was planned but it soon became clear that Utopia (the second expansion’s name) wouldn’t allow ArenaNet to do the things they wanted. It was scrapped in favour of developing a whole new game.
Work on the sequel began in 2007 with a formal announcement in the March of that year. Fans had to wait two years before they got their first look at the new game, and in August 2009 ArenaNet showed off Guild Wars 2 for the first time. From that moment on anticipation has been building with each new reveal, and in my humble opinion Guild Wars 2 will be a revolution in MMO gaming. Playing it requires a new mind set, one that demands you forget all about the overly familiar routines we’ve fallen into by playing the many, many MMO’s that follow the World of Warcraft blueprint.
From that moment on anticipation has been building with each new reveal, and in my humble opinion Guild Wars 2 will be a revolution in MMO gaming.
Fighting monsters by standing still and spamming the same skills over and over is gone – combat in GW2 allows you to use your skills on the move; combining that with a new dodge move and fighting NPC’s (Non Player Characters) requires some thought. The so-called “holy trinity” of Tank (the player tasked with taking all the damage for the group), Healer (the player tasked with healing the group), and DPS (Damage Per Second – the player tasked with dealing damage) is gone. Every class has it’s own self-healing skill, and running dungeons doesn’t involve waiting around for the right classes turn up – any group of professions can band together and get to work.
Gear grind via raiding is gone – the very best gear statistic-wise is crafted by players, not dropped by monsters, so there’s no need to grind away doing something you hate, just for the coolest armour. The list of conventions made obsolete by Guild Wars 2 is a long one, and it’s something most MMO gamers have been clamouring for for a long while now. Just speak to any Guild Wars fan (including myself) and they’ll tell you that they are ready to experience something new. We’ve done the “kill ten rats” quest hundreds of times over, and we’re tired of finding that the game completely changes at level cap, switching to a treadmill of re-doing the same high level content over and over. Guild Wars 2 does none of those things.
So why am I getting a PC MMO all up in your Game Jar? Well partly because I’m a fan of the game and love talking about it, but mostly because I don’t want you to miss out on playing the best game of the year when it’s released in a few months time. I simply don’t have the time to cover everything that’s great about the game, so hopefully I’ve whetted your appetite with my enthusiasm. Any gamer that enjoys a well crafted role-playing game owes it to themselves to try this game, so visit the official site and check out the stunning concept art, watch the videos on the various races and classes – if they don’t pique your interest, nothing will. Guild Wars 2 really is a revolution within it’s genre and gamers as a whole should be paying it more attention, because very probably in the near future the term “WoW clone” will be gone, replaced by a new standard – the Guild Wars 2 way.
So trust me on this, forget about the next Call of Duty and the next Halo, you’ve played those games before. You know how they work, and you know they won’t offer anything new. Take a chance and play something that lasts a little longer, dip your toe into PC gaming with Guild Wars 2. I promise, you won’t regret it.