It’s about time we directly addressed the elephant in the room as the long anticipated Guild Wars 2 is getting very close to a release date. This is a game that seems to have done many things correct from the start, and as long as they can keep up with the players demands it may be the best change in the MMO market to date. But perhaps you may be completely unfamiliar with this whole Massive Multiplayer Online experience and are not entirely sure why so many gamers are getting so excited about this title. Well, let me lay it out for you, what exactly is Guild Wars 2?

Guild Wars 2 is possibly the best attempt to please every type of MMO gamer since the genre was created. From those that enjoy the casual storytelling of well-written PvE, to the hardcore players who argue over minute differences that can change the balance of battlefield PvP conflict, Guild Wars 2 offers it all. Not only that, but it includes structured combat for gamers who enjoy organized competitive play, and also a World vs World (WvW) system that allows players to feel like part of something much bigger. Not only that, but you only need to own a copy of the game to play. That's right the game does not include subscription costs, meaning Guild Wars 2 offers the best of all worlds, and charges you the least for it.

That already sounds like a pretty sweet deal, and many organizations, like vVv Gaming, are getting ready to jump all over it. But how can this affect the MMO genre? Or possibly will it even change how developers produce games moving forwards? Let’s take a closer look at some of the important points to consider, including the variety of gameplay, the price point, and ArenaNet's ability to deliver on content promised.

The NPC Slaughter:

A quick look at the map shows that the in-game world of Tyria is extremely large and provides multiple leveling paths, generally one for each race. This feels like a lot, as many games released in the past five years immediately dump players into the same leveling filter right from the start, making the game feel very small and linear despite descriptions of a vast world or universe. While Guild Wars 2 does have some linearity to it, the way in which it is done avoids that whole issue by redefining the leveling process. Questing in Guild Wars 2 goes like this: a player goes to an area where a quest is available, they start fighting, gathering or defending, gain points and complete the objective, and immediately gain the benefit of the quest completion. There is no running back and forth to pick up and turn in quests, nor trying to find the optimal way to move through a zone to maximize questing efficiency, just action and reward. At the same time, scattered throughout this process are events that work in the same way as Rifts or Public Quests worked in Rift and Warhammer Online. As a player gets further into the game, these events become much larger and require many players to work together, building the intensity and enjoyment, and increasing the challenge.

Bash His Face In!

There is also much to be excited for from the PvP combat. The Structured PvP, or sPvP, is much like one would expect from a battleground or arena, with one incredible difference: you no longer have to grind out levels before you can join in! Guild Wars 2 allows players to participate with any brand new character, as if they were already at level cap. Any character, right from the beginning of the game, can immediately teleport to the PvP zone, either sPvP or World vs World, and is immediately given access to the gear, talents, skills, and traits that are needed at max level. This system allows every player to immediately join in the action with any character and not have to worry about spending days of leveling to get into PvP, only to find out they don’t actually like the class they just spent 40 hours playing. This also cuts out the skill point and gear grind required to compete fairly in PvP, instead putting everyone on an even field right from the beginning.

Your Investment Goes a Long Way:

As stated before, Guild Wars 2 is a one-time investment without the subscription fees every month. While there are additional ways to invest in your Guild Wars 2 character via the in-game market, so far these are completely optional, and do not imbalance the game towards a character or give the type of unfair advantage that would make them necessary. In fact, if you would rather spend game time instead of real cash you can also trade with other players who feel just the opposite.

Making the Community Happy

Something ArenaNet has done well in these last six months is attempting to deliver a product that they are proud of. So far, it has all been good news as every bit of content is rolled out in a timely manner and there has not been anything put on hold for post-launch. It has become more and more normal in the industry for developers to push content back to post-launch, in-game patches, and DLC instead of managing to release the finished game on schedule. We spend our hard earned money to enjoy a complete experience, and so far Guild Wars 2 seems to be a title that will deliver most, if not all, of its content on release. So game content notwithstanding, ArenaNet has earned major points as a game developer just by committing to
completion.

Where's the Change?

While it may not happen immediately, if Guild Wars 2 is able to deliver and make gamers stick
with the title it might end up driving other developers into a similar direction. Gone would be
the days of trying to copy World of Warcraft, and we might actually start to see more original
ideas breaking into the genre to challenge what is considered the “correct” way to do make
a MMO. Or we might see lots of new games copying Guild Wars 2. Either way, gamers can
hopefully look forward to some excellent gameplay in the future!

SEAN "BLAZEK" EMES IS A PROFESSIONAL GAMER WITH VVV GAMING AND THE LONGEST-RUNNING SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR TO GEEK TO ME!

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