Why Guild Wars 2 Will be Better Than Star Wars: The Old Republic

18 Jun 2012

The editors over at GameSpy have wrangled up a list of five reasons that they think put ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 head-and-shoulders above BioWare Austin's Star Wars: The Old Republic. Story implementation, quest structure, dynamic events, endgame content, and addressing player requests are the issues brought up:
Star Wars: The Old Republic's greatest gift to the MMORPG community was the idea that quests didn't have to consist of tiny reams of text; instead we learned that they could have all the depth of interactions in games like Mass Effect (if you're willing to throw tens of millions of dollars into the effort). The problem is that most of us treated that gift like I treated the Pogo Ball I got for Christmas in 1985 -- we had fun with it for a few days and then left it to rot in our closets. Doled out in such heavy doses, SWTOR's fully voiced interactions ended up paradoxically subtracting from the MMO experience.

Guild Wars 2 also places a heavy emphasis on voiced storylines, but it doesn't make you carry them around your neck and they don't take precedence over the action. Cinematic interactions usually only pop up during your class questline, leaving you to enjoy them at your leisure so you can spend the rest of your quest time with your friends without such interruptions. GW2's story always stays in the background, as it rightfully should in a genre that revolves around working with other players instead of forging ahead alone. Best of all, you'll never feel like you over-leveled an instanced story quest thanks to GW2's scaling system.

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I know this probably counts a downside for some of my old raiding buddies, but, at least these days, I like the idea of there being something to my MMORPGs besides rushing to the level cap and participating in scheduled raids. That's ultimately the point of most traditional MMORPGs (unless they have a PvP structure that's good for something other than a diversion), and that's what made SWTOR run out of steam so quickly once most guilds had cleared the content. SWTOR still relies on an increasingly dated "hardcore" style that turns raiding into a job -- once you're done with your shift, all you want to do is leave and go home.

Instead, Guild Wars 2 is a casual game in the very best sense of the term. It does have a ridiculously high level cap for a new release (80), but much of what makes a traditional endgame (big bosses, giant PvP battles, hard dungeons) is wrapped up in the leveling experience itself. More than ever, the journey is more important than the destination. It's therefore not a raider's game like SWTOR or WoW, so such players probably won't find much reason to stick around, but it also means that people with limited time can enjoy Guild Wars 2 without feeling like they're missing out on much. I do think they'll need frequent content updates to keep that model sustainable, but I'm not that worried because...
 
 

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