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Why Guild Wars 2 is going to be my MMO

Why Guild Wars 2 is going to be my MMO

Why Guild Wars 2 will be worth playing

I have heard, time and time again, the concerns and worries of players who have heard about—but not thoroughly looked into—Guild Wars 2. The complaints or concerns range from how much it is not like World of Warcraft to the individual development decisions and how players are concerned about the longevity of such a game in a vacuum. Since I have been reassuring (and pestering) several of my friends about for months, I’ll say it here:

Guild Wars 2 will be a glorious innovation that will be worth investing in and will have you coming back for more.

Servers, Factions, and Bears, Oh My!

Rytlock Charr Guild Wars 2

The first concern that everyone seems to have is Player Versus Player (“PvP”). As many gamers know, most MMOs of late have featured some sort of opposed faction system that divides the player base. In the conflicts of these various titles, you are forced to choose side and contend with ridiculous barriers that prevent you from socializing with the other half of the game’s population. As games concerned with the theme of endless warring are wont to do, you are mechanically and narratively compelled to hate “the other guys”. For example, World of Warcraft’s famous Horde vs. Alliance factionalism transcends the game: players frequently (and heatedly) debate the merit of their faction outside of the game.

Guild Wars 2 solves this arbitrary and unnecessary hostility in several ways. First and foremost, Guild Wars 2 players are not pitted against the other players on their server in any way. For those whom the words “Stranglethorn Vale” incite rage, Guild Wars 2 will delight by segregating PvP from PvE. In fact, the game goes a step further to alleviate intra-faction competition by proportionally rewarding players, according to participation, a share of completed quests or events.

If rivalry is your bread and butter, then Guild Wars 2’s implementation of the Realm Versus Realm (RvR) mechanic heralds the reinvigoration of a fantastic PvP experience. Created for Dark Age of Camelot, an early rival to EverQuest, RvR provides for sprawling battles between players. Guild Wars 2 calls this “World Versus World,” or WvW, but the premise is the same: large-scale warfare that lasts two weeks at a time. The prizes for these contests include experience (promised to be granted at a rate on par with PvE), powerful items, or the ultimate prize of PvE buffs for a player’s “home server” for two weeks following a victory.

Even in the face of this incentivized competition, players are not artificially prevented from playing with their friends. Players can freely play their character on any other server, but a nominal fee is still required to migrate a character away from the server it was created on (the “home server”). If a player is happy with how frequently his or her character’s home server obtains the server-wide WvW bonuses, the player may never feel the need to migrate. World of Warcrafters, who have undoubtedly felt the pressure to transfer at one time or another (and lamented its cost), should take special notice.

The Raid at the End of the Tunnel

Zojja Asura Guild Wars 2

Players also frequently bemoan a lack of end-game content, or content that can be done once the game’s maximum character level is achieved. It is on this point that Guild Wars 2 diverges substantially from its competition, to the degree that this concern presents something of a false dilemma.

For those that are looking for that difficult task to embark on when the job is done, dungeons are the answer. These dungeons are promised to be challenging and rewarding adventures accompanied by stories that are dynamic to the decisions you make within them, as well as dynamic events that occur throughout the game world. Unlike the repetitive, grindy dungeons of other fantasy MMOs, these dungeons reward completion with a token that may be exchanged for a desired item. There will be no case of playing the same content over and over again hoping that one particular magic dagger drops at the end.

Further, I have spoken with many gamers who loved titles set in worlds of Dragon Age or Elder Scrolls. There is, however, a consensus on why they stopped playing: these worlds do not evolve and cannot be shared with friends. Guild Wars 2 creates an experience where you can share the work of your character again and again.

With respect to end-game content, a more genuine comparison for Guild Wars 2 would be an Elder Scrolls title that has been augmented with a persistent, evolving world and massively cooperative play. For seasoned MMO players weary of the formulaic raid model, this is a charming departure. For the seasoned RPG player that has been craving a bigger experience, perhaps the MMO genre is finally worth a look.

Last we must turn to ArenaNet, the developer behind the Guild Wars franchise, and the ultimate authority in these matters. In their own product FAQ, ArenaNet proposes that players think of their game as a Competitive Online Role-Playing Game, or CORPG.

“Guild Wars was designed from the ground up to create the best possible competitive role-playing experience. Success in Guild Wars is always the result of player skill, not time spent playing or the size of one’s guild.”

It’s as much a slam as it is a clarification.

Free to Play

Logan Human Guild Wars 2

Finally, Guild Wars 2 has occasionally suffered under the weight of its Free To Play (“F2P”) model, with many gamers using “Free To Play” as a slur meant to hastily dismiss an extremely varied model of financing an MMO. While it is true that historical F2P titles have been guilty of both nickel n’ diming its players and wanting for polish or support, Guild Wars 2 is refreshingly conscientious about and sensitive to these problems.

Fit and Finish
For the amount of work ArenaNet has already invested in Guild Wars 2, fearing a game plagued by rough edges seems unfounded. The obvious attention to detail and the rave previews should suffice to put this concern to rest. Most convincingly, the title’s release has long been gated by “when it’s ready”, the sign of a developer that cares more about the quality of its work than the pressure of a publisher.

Continued Support
In retrospect, we now understand that the freemium model employed by the original Guild Wars was a precursor for the model to be used by Guild Wars 2—a reassuring conclusion. Seven years on, many of those spent slaving away on a sequel, ArenaNet is still creating and releasing a flood of free content for Guild Wars. It’s clear that the designers aren’t only trying to make money; they are trying to create something they can be proud of. AHTV5-KQ2YF-RHIBF.

Cash Money
A final point about Guild Wars 2’s particular implementation of the F2P model is that real money can be used to buy tradable gems. These gems can then be used as a currency to purchase in-game perks, or may simply be traded to other players for gold. This mechanism provides an avenue for players to obtain these gems, and this aspect of the game, without exchanging hard currency. This fair approach is topped off by ArenaNet’s firm declaration that no items purchased with hard currency can be used as an in-game advantage. In this case, it’s clear that items will be matters of vanity or convenience.

Guild Wars 2 Logo Countdown to Launch
As you can see, Guild Wars 2 fights a raft of misconceptions from today’s MMO players—to say nothing of the challenges it faces with Star Wars: The Old Republic and World of Warcraft, which continue to dominate the landscape. Even so, Guild Wars 2 has the chops to take this repetitive market in a new and inspired direction: a division of labor in PvE and PvP, mobility across servers, more than a splash of co-op RPG and an egalitarian funding model, just to name a few.

With pre-orders and digital pre-sales now available, the perfect start to a new era of persistent world gaming is, at long last, upon us.

Comments

  1. Tushon
    Tushon Pre-ordered and looking forward to it
  2. NLichtman
    NLichtman It sounds like they are taking a from the aspects of some of the most popular MMORPG's that are around. I can see some WoW, a dash of Perfect World, and a pinch of Silk Road.
  3. trooster89
    trooster89 I can't wait to play. Have the announced an official release date yet?
  4. CB
    CB I'm looking forward to Guild Wars 2, and have been for some time, but I still don't get the idea of 'end game content'. I know it's important to a lot of MMOers, since they like to play the same game for like 30 years or whatever, but I think I will always prefer to play a game, with or without my friends, from start to finish of the story, then watch the credits roll and move on to another game, no matter how good the game is.
  5. Tushon
    Tushon
    I can't wait to play. Have the announced an official release date yet?
    No, but beta access is coming shortly to pre-orders and those lucky enough to get random draw
  6. Snarkasm
    Snarkasm Beta access already did come to many who signed up and sent in PC specs, too.
  7. Xaevryn
    Xaevryn I played the first Guild Wars and liked it, though by the time I got to it the population was somewhat low. I may give this one a try, it looks like it has most of what I like. On the other hand I'm one of those people that gets way into an MMORPG, then gets bored with it a month or two later... I dunno, I'll see what happens.
  8. Tushon
    Tushon
    Beta access already did come to many who signed up and sent in PC specs, too.
    I was not in this group and was unaware/unable to search from work. Cool beans
  9. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire @CB if they follow through anything like the original, the will constantly be bringing you back with more FREE story arcs.
  10. Ilriyas
    Ilriyas I loved Guild Wars it is the only MMO I ever played that constantly held my attention for a year (While many others such as WoW and SWTOR only managed to keep me interested for a month.)

    As I said yesterday my money during the month of June is going to EXPO (Still got to get my fathers permission but he's letting up on his own time) if I have any extra I'm getting this.

    Heading straight for elementalist, Ilriyas the Mage shall rise again.
  11. MiracleManS
    MiracleManS I'll potentially give this game a try, but I doubt it will be immediate. I tend to like leveling and the initial dungeon grind/raid piece.

    @SpencerForHire With the setup of RvR etc. what's the compulsion to be for having larger guilds that aren't focused on those things and instead like raiding? I've seen some of the influence reward options, but just wanted to ask from someone who's done more research than I have.
  12. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire Guild Wars has featured some of the healthiest social communities I have seen in my gaming experiences. In the original, it was likely to have a 100 person guild dedicated to anything from 5 man groups to PvP to being a Jack of all trades guild. There isn't a reason not to have your guild grow and no penalty for it being small.
  13. fatcat
    fatcat
    @CB if they follow through anything like the original, the will constantly be bringing you back with more FREE story arcs.
    Factions, Nightfall and Eye of the North were never free :scratch:
  14. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire @fatcat @CB

    We should just disregard Sorrows Furnace, Winds of Change, War in Kryta, and Hearts of the North.

    Those three expansions were all prior to their Free to Play model. Aside form that, all lasting games have expansions, it seems silly to rag on this one for doing it too.
  15. fatcat
    fatcat heh, I had forgotten those. no rag, you know I love me some GW
  16. waba99
    waba99 Great write up Spencer. I also have pre-purchased the game and will be ready for the beta next weekend.
  17. timuchan
    timuchan Can't wait for the BWEs :D Hope to see you all in Tyria. ^_^
  18. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    Beta access already did come to many who signed up and sent in PC specs, too.
    I was not in this group and was unaware/unable to search from work. Cool beans
    Probably partly because the NDA prevents participants from even admitting they are participating in the beta.
  19. Tushon
    Tushon I see



    ...

    huehuehue
  20. Tushon
    Tushon BTW: first public beta event is next weekend (27-29). I'm guessing I won't be doing anything at least friday night through saturday afternoon and again on sunday.
  21. waba99
    waba99 Are we going to be playing on the same server or is everyone splitting off to do their own thing?
  22. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire I would assume if there were servers we would all make on the same one. As I posted in the other GW2 thread, when the actual game releases I'll announce a server for us to all make our home server.
  23. ardichoke
    ardichoke You'll be able to move freely between servers, which one you create your character on won't matter much. The only thing it will matter for is World vs World (WvW) warfare. At least this is my understanding of things. Unless people are REALLY invested in WvW, you can make whatever server you like your home server and just move to the appropriate server to play with other Icrontians.

    EDIT
    Source: http://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Home_server
  24. Thrax
    Thrax You're right. You can play on any server, but you can only gain the WvW buffs if your home server wins.
  25. Tushon
    Tushon So, it would make sense to all get on one server to WvW for the buff and glory
  26. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire Yep, specially cause I plan on doing a lot of PvP.
  27. Tushon
    Tushon Just got the email and downloading now. Weeeeeeeeeee
  28. fatcat
    fatcat make sure you give us some input on the game.

    I talked to one person who got in on the closed beta and was less then impressed (so far) with the game
  29. Tushon
    Tushon Will do. I've never played GW so you'll get a one-game experience. This will also be public beta, so other info will be quite available, presumably with more background/expectations.
  30. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire Speaking of; keep an eye on this thread. I will be posting our "official" server within the next day or so. (BWE server).
  31. CB
    CB What criteria will you be using to choose this server?
  32. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire Networking, and attempting to avoid unsavory communities.
  33. ardichoke
    ardichoke As I've mentioned earlier, people can move between worlds at will. You can't "avoid unsavory communities" just by choosing a specific home server.

    Also, now that the NDA is lifted, DAMNIT I'm pissed that my laptop broke right when I got into the GW2 closed beta. I didn't get any chance to play it. FFFFUUUUUUUUUUU
  34. Thrax
    Thrax You can't avoid unsavory communities by choosing a home server, but you can benefit from the strong ones by choosing the home server with a strong GW2 competitive PvP team.
  35. CB
    CB
    As I've mentioned earlier, people can move between worlds at will. You can't "avoid unsavory communities" just by choosing a specific home server.

    Also, now that the NDA is lifted, DAMNIT I'm pissed that my laptop broke right when I got into the GW2 closed beta. I didn't get any chance to play it. FFFFUUUUUUUUUUU
    If people can move between servers, what stops people from all just migrating to whatever server is currently 'winning'?


  36. TiberiusLazarus
    TiberiusLazarus
    As I've mentioned earlier, people can move between worlds at will. You can't "avoid unsavory communities" just by choosing a specific home server.

    Also, now that the NDA is lifted, DAMNIT I'm pissed that my laptop broke right when I got into the GW2 closed beta. I didn't get any chance to play it. FFFFUUUUUUUUUUU
    If people can move between servers, what stops people from all just migrating to whatever server is currently 'winning'?

    All of the awards for 'winning' are based upon what world is your 'home'. To change home worlds I believe you have to pay for a transfer. And those are probably only allowed every so often.
  37. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    As I've mentioned earlier, people can move between worlds at will. You can't "avoid unsavory communities" just by choosing a specific home server.

    Also, now that the NDA is lifted, DAMNIT I'm pissed that my laptop broke right when I got into the GW2 closed beta. I didn't get any chance to play it. FFFFUUUUUUUUUUU
    If people can move between servers, what stops people from all just migrating to whatever server is currently 'winning'?

    All of the awards for 'winning' are based upon what world is your 'home'. To change home worlds I believe you have to pay for a transfer. And those are probably only allowed every so often.
    This

    You can move between servers at will to play with your friends and whatnot, but your home server is fixed, unless you pay for a transfer, and your bonuses/WvW stats are all tied to that.

  38. Tushon
    Tushon So, in other words ... it is good to all be on the same server to try for rewards ... which is exactly what Spencer said, originally.
  39. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire IC Official BWE Server: Blazeridge Mountains
  40. TiberiusLazarus
    TiberiusLazarus Right.

    Reading is hard the first few times.
  41. ardichoke
    ardichoke
    So, in other words ... it is good to all be on the same server to try for rewards ... which is exactly what Spencer said, originally.
    Good? Yes. Necessary to play together? No. I was just making the distinction clear.
  42. CB
    CB I knew the reason for all playing on the same server. I get that. I was wondering how the server for us was being chosen. Coolest name? If so: success!
  43. SpencerForHire
    SpencerForHire Sure.... Coolest name... That's it...
  44. MAGIC
    MAGIC
    I knew the reason for all playing on the same server. I get that. I was wondering how the server for us was being chosen. Coolest name? If so: success!
    No, they will come up with some sort of meta ranking system based on server location, forcasted population, %douchebag/indiviual*average age+ePeen.... yeah coolest name.
  45. Thrax
    Thrax @SpencerForHire:

    Kurt says "Bloodcrush Cudgel."
  46. Perdex
    Perdex I gotta say, every single aspect of this game looks incredibly attractive. And it even comes without that foreboding feeling that came in the months approaching TOR.
  47. liquience
    liquience http://taugrim.com/2012/05/24/the-business-models-for-mmorpgs-must-evolve/

    This article does a good job of articulating why I'm very excited for GW2, and also why I've never really had MMOs like WoW latch on to my very being.

    I never played the first GW, but I expect I'll play a lot of this one. Looking forward to doing it with the IC crew.
  48. primesuspect
  49. QCH
    QCH Spencer was talented and passionate...
  50. Teramona
    Teramona I fucking love this game. I blame/love Spencer for the addiction.
  51. fatcat
    fatcat miss ya Spencer

    image

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