Guild Wars 2 Previews

Should you be interested in some more Guild Wars 2 impressions we have rounded up another batch of previews and, while the true worth of an MMO is measured in the long run, it's worth noting that they are largely positive towards ArenaNet's sequel.

MMORPG.com:
It may seem premature at this point to declare this, but I honestly feel Guild Wars 2 is the first MMO I’ve ever played where my admittedly great expectations actually lined up with my experience. This is the game I expected to play. I had no moment of deflation as I realized ArenaNet had only met some of their claims by some clever technicality or outright misled me. The principle ways ArenaNet sought out to change the way MMOs play were clearly evident as soon as I started playing the game, and I spent most of my weekend gradually ‘unlearning what I have learned’, to borrow a Star Wars reference. I experienced a certain level of glee at every instance of realization that, ‘No. Things don’t work like this in Guild Wars 2.’ These mainly came about when realizing how effortlessly social and collaborative the game is. It sounds like a simple thing, but removing that sense of trepidation when seeing another player even in a PvE scenario is a really unique thing to accomplish. I learned not to be afraid that someone would be stealing my resource node, or kill/event credit, or skill point unlock. Instead, the implicit grouping design of Guild Wars 2 allowed me to just play with people and work towards common goals without even having to communicate. Sure, communication works, too, but Guild Wars 2 almost felt like I was playing Journey at times.

In one example, I found a narrow (and very dangerous passage) leading up to a skill point unlock in the mountains. I had my ass handed to me attempting it alone and ended up respawning at the base of the mountain only to find another player trying her luck. Without speaking, we simply worked our way up the mountain together, watching each other’s backs out of a mutual understanding towards our common goal. In another game, I might have been inclined to let the other player grab aggro and perhaps even die to one of the mobs so I could make it up the top safely and fight the skill challenge mob by myself in order to ensure I wouldn't have to compete over it and possibly have to wait for it to respawn. Why do this in Guild Wars 2? We both get full XP and loot for helping each other kill our way to the top and this includes credit for the skill point fight as well. We never said a word to each other and were eventually even joined by a third player, but we all fought our way to the top and left happy campers with our extra skill point unlocked. My entire experience with the game was similar to this one snapshot. Everything was collaborative, not competitive. Don’t get me wrong, I love competition, but I’d rather leave that to PvP than adventuring.

Game Rant:
Renown Hearts are large areas with several objectives for the player to pick and choose from. This fills up a completion bar, eventually rewarding the player with experience, gold, and karma, and effectively filling in the empty heart on the map. These tasks can be as menial as cleaning graffiti or, yes, killing rats, but one Renown Heart in norn territory had me chucking snowballs at children, and another in the human lands tasked me with “testing” beer. For the record, I did not even look to see what the alternate objectives were, I just drank the digital brew until the heart was filled (along with my Elementalist’s stomach).

Because of the influx of players desperate to get in as much as they could over their limited stay in Tyria, these events were often extremely crowded. The game is built for this exact scenario, welcoming groups of players to help out, bringing some life to the typically stale quest structure of MMOs, but occasionally it would be impossible to lock on to an enemy on account of the impenetrable crowd. This should not be a problem once the game releases and players disseminate, more likely just a casualty of beta testing.

VG247 enjoyed the title but doesn't seem to be as impressed as other:
Guild Wars 2 is a huge, impressive and fascinating MMORPG. It not only offers big budget quality without the monthly commitment, but also follows a new story-focused experience most MMORPGs have yet dared to tackle. At the same time, the themes and mechanics common to almost every MMO are evident, and Guild Wars 2 doesn’t exactly attempt to break the rules.

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That focus continues onto the battlefield with combat and questing exhibiting some favourable innovations. Rather than tackle the majority of quests alone, players can automatically combine forces to tackle some of the more impressive missions. RIFT-style battle events routinely appear and players aren’t penalised when others join the fray. It would seem ArenaNet is trying to make kill-stealing a thing of the past. Every quest I took on allowed me to join in with other players in some form or another with anything private or story-focused locked away in instances.

This mix of social and personal means the conflicts at the heart of the plot now actually feel like a story. You still feel special, even when among the many, which is extremely rare in an MMO.

The Escapist:
As you complete these events and quests, you'll be rewarded with experience and money, but there are a few alternate forms of currency that have interesting effects and usages. Karma is gained when completing events, and can be used to purchase items from the quest givers. For example, the farmer whose orchard you cleared of spiders has special pies that will buff you for a short time. This seems to take the place of more traditional quest rewards, so you can effectively pool them for an expensive item instead of having a whole bunch of random quest items to trash sell to the vendor. There are also PVP and Guild currencies, but the real game changer is Gems, which form the backbone of the Guild Wars 2's microtransaction market.

Slightly similar to PLEX in EVE, Gems can only be bought for real money, but they are a tradable item in the game's economy, allowing players to purchase Gems for real money and turn them into coin and vice versa. The items and services available for Gems run a wide variety from special cosmetic items that can transmute the stats from one item to another to temporary buffs. There are some questionable ones, though, like keys that are the only method for opening special chests dropped or found in the world. The items within are things like fun potions that turn you into an animal or short duration buffs, but I hope the developers will continue to stay on the fun or utility side of the fence rather than providing an indirect way to pay for power. Gems should also have a great side effect of all but eliminating the third party gold market since it's easy to convert real money into in game currency in a safe and legal manner.

The Gamers Hub:
It’s easily all about the epic scale in Guild Wars 2. No longer do you feel tied to guard duty as you once wandered the battlefields in controlled covert operations or being the Ascalonian King’s personal bullet sponge. This time the war feels real. You’ll pick from a few traits and following when you create your character, choices personal to you in some form to create a character with more purpose, more reasons for it to rightfully be your avatar. Defining why you fight and who you fight for, your ventures of the land will feel true to the almost cataclysmic battles destined to shake it up. Even as you enter the first city you first batch of dialogue will come in face-to-face cutscenes with the people of the area, one acting like a commander to yourself will open your map and dot each specific area with jobs for you to do, people to help, and enemies to crush rather than expecting you to go out in the middle of so-called “war” only for you to pick herbs from a farmers garden on your own accord. Where other games just leave you to do what you will in the midst of a world breaking confrontation, Guild Wars 2 makes the war the forefront of the game, as it should be, and really lets you grasp just what is going on without you even realizing by throwing you into both the heafty consequences of battle and the minor inconviences behind-the-lines attacks can have on areas such as produce and livelihood.

Forbes:
Those NPCs I mentioned above? They’re quest givers, sort of—except it turns out GW2 doesn’t roll that way. You can participate in an activity just by turning up in the area it’s located and throwing in with whomever happens to be there. The NPC is there to give the activity a purpose (usually, the objective is to help the NPC), and to give the player extra information and background if they want it—but you can also just ignore them. No need to talk to them to start a quest, no need to talk to them later to end it.

I loved that about GW2. Why approach Farmer Eda and ask to assist her against the orchard spiders that plague her trees when you can just simply walk down a mountainside and have the activity appear automagically?

If you’re in the area for a given activity, its objective appears on your screen in a brief summary (with the current state of progress as an ever-filling bar) as you and other players work to complete it. Most activities have multiple tasks that contribute to the completion of their objective. In one case, I could water some corn and/or stomp on wurms to clear a field; in another, I could chase down bandits and/or return their ill-gotten goods.