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  • Guild Wars 2: The Good Stuff

    Posted on September 6th, 2012 Finster No comments

    HURR DURR LF1M TANK SPEC BETTER HAVE GOOD GEARSCORE DURRRRI’ve played a lot of MMO’s. One of the only mainstream MMO’s I missed out on was the Grand-daddy of MMORPG’s, Ultima Online. I was too busy still playing MUD’s to worry about Ultima Online. As someone who’s played them a lot, there are many things that become old hat for the grizzled MMO veteran.

    Competition for resources, long travel times, crafting progress bars, difficult-to-use auction houses, login queues. Then there’s the gameplay that, since WoW came on the scene, ends up being very same-y. Copious action bars filled with loads of skills and abilities. Which of your 24-30 attack abilities should you use? Good question, but be assured that someone has already done all the math for you.

    The problem is MMO’s are, fundamentally, designed to waste time. You pay a monthly fee, so the longer they can keep you around, the better off they will be. The Free2Play models don’t help this, unfortunately. They are designed to waste time, as well, but you can buy in to get some shortcuts around some (but never all) of the time wasters.

    So, what if there was an MMO that eschewed monthly fees or the Free2Play models, and instead charged you a premium up-front? Those familiar with Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 already know where this is going.

    I stayed away from Guild Wars, but the buzz surrounding Guild Wars 2 was too much for me. You see, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with MMORPG’s. On the one hand, the possibilities of running around a persistent, virtual environment have fascinated me since those first times I read Neuromancer and Snow Crash. On the other hand, modern MMO’s (with a few exceptions) are so fundamentally flawed that playing them is like beating my head against a frozen cow hoping a scoop of ice cream will pop out.

    Almost every single MMO puts so many barriers between me and “fun” that it eventually becomes too laborious to even bother anymore. For some people, long sessions of grinding out XP or minerals is fun. I am not one of those people. I might as well just spin up Diablo and get my action there… if it weren’t for the lack of persistence.

    Playing Guild Wars 2 has been ridiculously refreshing. It’s like Arenanet took an MMO and then removed all the stuff that is just there to waste time. Long travel times? Nope, you can instantly fast travel to any warp point you’ve previously visited, a la Elder Scrolls games. Competing for the same mineral nodes? No way, resource nodes are “instanced” for each individual. If you see a resource node, then it’s yours and no one else can swoop in and jack it while you helplessly bash your head against your desk. Need to get to level 55 but you already did all the quests? Not in Guild Wars 2. There is SO MUCH CONTENT!

    I’ve been enjoying it immensely, and I feel like it’s because they’ve taken literally everything I hate about MMO’s and tossed it right into the drink. That isn’t to say that everything about Guild Wars 2 is perfect, because it certainly isn’t. Stability and security issues have been somewhat prevalent. Then, there were the permanent bans for doing seemingly innocuous things like buying something in-game with once currency (karma) and selling those things for another (gold).

    Arenanet certainly falls on its face from time to time, but I think it’s fair to say this is one of the most bug-free MMO’s that’s ever been released. Now, whether you think it’s fun, that is another question. If you enjoy killing the same creature or boss over and over again, then this may not be the game for you. If you aren’t really interested in well-implemented WvWvW (World vs. World vs. World, which I will probably get to in another post), then this may not be the game for you.