Back in 2005 I bought a game called GuildWars, it looked pretty enough but for some reason it didn’t grab me and I never played much of it. Other mmo’s came and went and I settled on my main mmo World of Warcraft for many years. Of course during that time I dabbled with new mmo’s and I heard a lot of enthusiastic whispers when Guild Wars 2 was released in 2012. I bought it, played quite a bit, but somewhere around level 40 I lost interest.
Now that it’s 2018 I decided to check out the game again and with 2 expansion packs having come out for it, I had to see if it would still live up to the hype.
- It’s now free to play. So you can jump into the base game (with some restrictions), but at least it won’t cost you anything.
- Story. The story in Guild Wars 2 is incredibly immersive. It is a really nice feature to see a short dialogue movie between your character and the NPC’s when the story progresses (this feature changes in the expansions). A nice touch to the story is the fact that you can see it back in your quest journal and read up on what has happened in the past. Like a proper journal entry it works in chapters and this continues when you get the expansions and work through those story lines. There’s also no reason why you can’t stop your current storyline to focus on another if you feel you want to do that.
- Character creation. Guild Wars 2 gives you a lot of freedom with creating your character and its nice to see different skin tones and body types in this game. Not just with the look of your character, but the creation screen also asks you to make choices about your characters background and it actually changes your personal story in the game. This creates a lot of re-playability with different characters, just to get different background stories played out.
- Races. I really enjoy the different races in this game and the lore behind them. GW2 really sports some unique races compared to other mmo’s. I love the big cat races called the Char and the Sylvari are a race of people who look like plants. It’s just so different from what I’ve seen in other games I can’t help but compliment the creators.
- Graphics. The animation and graphics are beautiful in this game. I often just find myself looking at the surroundings and feeling as if I’m in a giant painting.
- Combat. There are 9 classes, but every class can tank or heal so you are not stuck into that specific role. It all depends on your weapons. A different weapon means you get different abilities or spells. This alone creates so much freedom for your character. The game also gives you the option to have the duel wield ability, so if you a different combat situation asks for a different set of abilities, you can just change your weapons with the click of a button.
- Dye. I almost thought that painting my gear would be a waste of my time, but Guild Wars 2 has properly gotten me addicted to changing the gear on my character and colouring it in the colour scheme that I like, so if I want to create a pink outfit for my necromancer I now finally can do that. (btw my necromancer is dark blue and black, no hello kitty colours for her).
- Music. The music is very atmospheric and beautiful. I really can’t fault it. In other mmo’s I often start playing my own playlist or I listen to podcasts, but listening to the music in GW2 is very relaxing and helping me get into the game.
- Mounts. I love mounts. Any mmo that has mounts, has already won me over a tiny bit. GW2 didn’t have mounts for many years until the new expansion came out; Path of Fire. You can actually do the beginning quests of PoF and you will end up with a raptor mount. Log in on any different character and you have your mount now on that character too. It makes exploring the map and questing on that lowbie character so much more enjoyable. Also….. you can dye your mounts!
- The expansions and living stories. If you are a fan of stories, it can be a bit of a disappointment to have to buy the expansions for GW2. Now of course you never have to do this, but I always feel you miss out so much of the game if you don’t. Luckily you can get these expansions often on sale or with discount codes. It pays off to browse around on the internet to get the best deals.
- Mounts. Again, you won’t be able to get the mounts unless you buy Path of Fire. It’s a bit of a downer for many, but it is not really a necessity for the game to be playable.
- Limited character slots. The one thing that made me raise an eyebrow was the fact you only get 5 character slots if you buy the game and 2 if you play the free version. Now for an altoholic like me, that causes issues, because what class will I decide not to play? And have I made the right choice? If you want to get more character slots you will have to pay the game or if you already have done that, you will have to buy more character slots….. and this rolls down into the ‘ugly’ bit of GW2.
- The shop. I am not a big fan of companies that have all these micro transactions in their games. In all fairness to GW2, all the other mmo’s are guilty of this too. What I don’t like is how they hide the actual amounts you are spending on these items. In the shop you have to purchase items for gems, you can buy these gems with real money, but if you calculate how much money you are actually spending with these gems, it could reach scary amount. Fair enough that you need to spend money on cosmetic items, but don’t hide the real amounts your spending by purchasing ‘gems’. Other mmo’s do this too and it just feels sneaky to me.
- Living Worlds. Being a lore nerd, I don’t quite get why the Living World Seasons are also something you need to buy from the shop. These story lines were available to the players in the game before, but for a limited time. You don’t have access to this any more unless you buy it from the shop for real money…. Or gems. This again makes it quite an investment for a new player who wants to know more about the story to start with this game. Again, you don’t have to buy the Living World Seasons, but it does feel like you are missing out. However, you can also just go to wikipedia and read up on what happened.
Is Guild Wars 2 worth it?
Now is this game worth playing? Yes, I can say that the plusses this game has to offer, outweigh the negatives. It’s a beautiful mmo that can offer the players a lot of different things. I have not dabbled in any of the pvp yet. I have other games for that but that might still happen. Story-wise however, I am very fond of this game. And you can play it for free now. That’s always a great reason to try something.
What about you? Are you going to play Guild Wars 2?