Anyone who has played MMO’s in recent years can tell you that they’ve been… less than on-par in the quality department, from the tried-and-true WoW clones or repeats of City of Heroes, to the different but somewhat inaccessible EVE Online and Maple Story, to unique but less-than-visible games like Vindictus , Dungeon Fighter Online, or even The Secret World, all of which want to bring something new to this market, but haven’t had the chops to make it happen.
Now, am I going to laud Guild Wars 2 for doing just that? No. In fact I’ll say that Guild Wars 2 is just a formulaic refresh to the fantasy MMO genre, where you’re cast as some guy with a sword to kill things and do quests. What I will say that a lot of it feels organic and very conducive to playing an MMO, without having a bunch of veterans tell you what you’re doing wrong and that you should “L2P”, as it were. Of course this is an early stage to the life of Guild Wars 2, so it can’t be helped that later on you’ll see this sort of gutter-tripe amassing at dungeon zones and leaving mid-fight because people weren’t playing the, quote/unquote, “right way.”
All that aside, this game at the present moment is enjoyable, and aside from hackers and people trying to scam you out of your cash by going to their virus-infested sites, has a community that’s relatively friendly for the most part. In fact, I find myself sucked into this game, which I can’t say for anything other than early builds of Champions Online, when they didn’t fuck that shit up. The gameplay has been solid so far, encouraging you to dodge like a mad-man and combo your skills to put the hurt on your foes, manage your self-healing wisely, and be tactical when approaching enemies. If I said that caltrops were underrated as a useful skill, I’d be lying, considering that a crippled enemy makes for great short-bow bait. The fact that I can manage to work solo or in a group equally effectively says something about a class that doesn’t have a lot of hit points (To say that “Rogues Do it From Behind” is an appropriate phrase, really).
This is, also, by far, one of the better F2P models, as the “one-time buy-in” and then have the rest of your account’s lifetime to play the game is truly a model I endorse, if only to say that it’s not hindered by all the lumpy, misunderstood, cash-in F2P antics you see everywhere else. Yes, there is an item-shop, but unless you want to buy more slots or purchase keys for chests, it’s hardly a necessity to play the game.
Now, with all this, is the game any fun? Well, let me say that this is, to a degree, a traditional fantasy MMO. You CAN find the usual MMO tropes here and there, and with all the systems in place to keep people from turning into assholes, there is no guarantee, as this is still a Massively Multiplayer game, with an open world, and a lot of things to do, or complain about depending on who you are.
However, out of any MMO I’ve tried and been interested in (It’s a short list), I find myself spending untold hours in this game.. HELL, my first Beta weekend was a 14-hour run, with little to no sleep, and I’ve already told you how I’m not a big MMO fan, so hopefully that says something about this game that you’ll appreciate, or at least gives you something to consider.
Take what you will from these words, but as for me, I have a resurrected continent to pillage..
… Hope to see you there!