The MMO market is a fickle thing. It can be swamped by unnecessary, unfun additions to the genre, many of which do little to brighten or revolutionise. And then, every so often, there is a newcomer to the battle. One which shouts ”Look at me!”. Guild Wars 2 is one such game. And in a market still dominated today by the looming shadow of Blizzard and WoW, Arenanet has illuminated a path to a new future in the genre. No doubt. Guild Wars 2 is here to stay.
Ever since the introduction of a coherent, structured plot to an MMO by Bioware in The Old Republic, the benchmark is firmly being set to create a superb story in an MMO. It is thanks to the player’s personal story in Guild Wars 2 that Arenanet challenges The Old Republic’s writing prowess. Each personal story is determined by the players choice of race and profession, and along the way is driven along by choice made by the player much like a typical single player RPG, albeit on the smaller scale. The story of Guild Wars 2 centers around the emergence of the Elder Dragons, powerful entities which cause havoc to the world of Tyria, the stomping ground of the player base in Guild Wars 2. Many of those familiar with the original Guild Wars will be either be refreshed or disappointed by the damage done by the Dragons upon their arrival in Tyria. The player’s time in Guild Wars 2 will take them on a journey to combat the threat of the dragons, using the powers and allies they have gathered on their travels. As many MMOs on the market do very little to strike an engrossing story, Arenanet have ensured that they leave a lasting impact.
With crisp, vibrant colours, gorgeous vistas (many of which can be viewed by finding the amply named Vistas) and a treasure chest of graphical options to tweak, Guild Wars 2 is truly one of the best, if not the best looking MMO in the genre. And because you will be spending so much time in Tyria, it is important that the world is visually striking. And rest assured, it is.
A proper execution of the gameplay in an MMO is critical. A poor combat system for example can tarnish what is otherwise a gem. It seems apparent that Arenanet have examined The Old Republic and tried to avoid the, essentially, unrevolutionary combat system made by Bioware. Guild Wars 2 embraces speed and precision over time, encouraging the player to time their attacks effectively. Many of the skills at the players disposal have a special ‘kick’ to them, carrying a spicy punch upon impact which really empowers the player. Nothing is quite like darting around the battlefield as a Thief, slicing and dicing with dodge rolls and shadowsteps.