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A living world; engaging PvP; challenging, unique dungeons; encourages exploration and cooperation; no subscription.
Lingering bugs; questionable endgame; personal story is hit or miss
commentary about hitting 80
Sometime around 10:00 this morning I hit level 80. If you're curious about my total playtime and how it compares to other MMORPGs, my timer is sitting at 116 hours, which is about how long it took me to level a new character from start to finish in World of Warcraft last month. I'm far enough ahead of the curve that I ended up soloing almost all of the dynamic events in the level 70-80 zone of Frostgorge Sound, and none of the few people in the general chat channels in the endgame wonderland of the Ruins of Orr sound like they know what they're doing. The novelty of it all is refreshing, and I'm enjoying it. I still have much to learn, of course, but I feel confident in stating that it looks like there's a lot of hope for Guild Wars 2's PvE endgame after all. Just don't expect it to resemble many MMORPGs you've played before.
Take the world bosses. I'd worried about these after fun-but-disappointing experiences with two of them in the 60 bracket, in which gigantic dragons were called or pulled down out of the sky after a series of dynamic events. They put on a good visual show when they landed, but the actual combat struck me as barely more complex than punching pinatas without a blindfold. Sure, their area-of-effect abilities left a lot of people dying in GW2's "downed" state -- playing melee in dungeons and on boss fight, unfortunately, usually means you have a death wish -- is and periodic "fears" would cause us to run away from the boss, but there was very little in the way of strategy. I can see these fights getting old after a while.
I had a much better experience with the Claw of Jormag, an ice dragon in Frostgorge Sound who's more like a traditional instanced raid boss. I loved it. [Spoilers! If you don't want hints on how the fight goes skip the rest of this paragraph.]