When I’m not playing GW2 as of late, I’m playing a somewhat psychotic alternative with the most disturbing end-game I’ve ever seen: The various GW2 forums game.
I don’t post like… ever (see post count), but I felt the urge to put a little something together in defense of what I consider to be the best MMO to hit the shelves since Star Wars: Galaxies and World of Warcraft. I’ve dabbled in most every MMO that has come out since and have walked away from each and every one of them unimpressed (though Champions Online character creation was a fun little game in and of itself).
Now I am definitely still in the honeymoon phase with GW2 and very aware that the sheer thrill I get from playing now may dwindle as the weeks go on, but there are certain things that this game offers that cannot be overlooked and should be recognized no matter how short our attention spans or interest can hold us to the game. But first let’s get some things out of the way:
- This is a themepark MMO. Period. Sandbox groupies please step away from GW2 and continue your long wait for Archeage and World of Darkness (The latter of which I am stoked for myself).
- This is NOT an MMO for people who treat gaming like a full time job. If your happiness comes from vertical progression and your investment of time has always made up for your lack of skill… GW2 = not for you.
- GW2 is not so much an MMO innovator as it is a spiritual successor to the traditional successful (themepark) MMO genre as a whole.
- There are no “raids” in the traditional sense… it can be argued that higher level DEs and the complexitity of some of the explorable dungeons are on par with (or better than) raids, but raids they are not.
- Gear advantages are marginal at best (almost non existent). You will never faceroll someone via gear alone. Skill is required. Deal with it.
- The goal is NOT about hitting 80 as quickly as possible, it’s about exploration and discovery. If you ding 80 in 2 weeks and complain about being bored… you’re doing it wrong. This isn’t to say the game can’t be legitimately boring to you, it can indeed, but if you rushed to cap in hopes of being able to “start” playing the game… you have completely missed the point. However, if you rushed to 80 in order to be more badass in WvWvW… good for you! I hope you are on Jade Quarry :-P
And now onto the bits that I believe make GW2 and amazing game REGARDLESS of any of its perceived shortcomings:
- Artistic direction: have you paid attention to all of the little flourishes? Go look at that random patch of grass… see the manually crafted swirls? Never in any MMO ever have I seen such care and attention to visual detail as I have in GW2. I am a graphic designer and marketing assistant (see bitch) and even if I HATED this game, I would have no choice but to appreciate its beauty and depth of detail. I run a pretty decent system, so it may be in part due to that (not sure what the lower settings hide), but no other MMO I’ve played even comes close. Hats off to the art team… amazing job.
- Sorry Trinity… Neo may love you, but I can’t stand you: While it is my opinion that trashing the trinity was a leap forward for the genre, not everyone may like it. That’s fine. But REGARDLESS… they pulled it off and it works. I consider this an amazing move regardless of opinion because it challenges the establishment. They said they’d make it work… few believed they could… and they did. How WELL it works is your opinion, but it is fully functional.
- Go forth and explore!: Nooks and crannies baby, nooks and crannies… The game world is enormous (and have you seen the FULL map of Tyria? Google it now) and there are surprises to be discovered at every turn. We are not all explorers by our gaming nature, but for those of us who are, Tyria has not left us wanting. Aside from the art direction, I find this to be the most impressive part of the PvE game thus far. Vistas, jumping puzzles, hidden Des, etc. Regardless of how successful the game turns out to be in the long run… the team at ANet crafted a large and beautiful world that was designed to be explored.
- Pee Vee Pee: Okay… I can’t touch this without being biased… I’m a PvP junkie through and through. PvE is a fun distraction, but no NPC will EVER give me as much a run for my money as another living, breathing, reacting player. The PvP in GW2 is, in my opinion, a giant leap forward in structured competitive MMO gaming… (EvE players… I said structured… be nice). The fact alone that I can jump into sPvP with any level 2 toon and theorycraft/build test for hours before jumping into a match in which I’m on equal footing with my team and opponents is… how it is meant to be. WvW is… epic. Opinion Alert: GW2 PvP is the best, most complex, and most rewarding PvP in any game, any genre. All I can say is that I’m blown away.
Ok, there’s my write-up… troll away, hate away, praise away, shrug-off away… I don’t care. I just wanted to write something about the game. If you haven’t bought it, do yourself a favor and go get it. If you have and are loving it, I’m right there with you. If you bought the game and don’t like it… themepark MMOs now come in 2 delicious flavors: WoW and GW2… if you don’t like either of these, you are barking up the wrong genre to begin with.
"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils." - Louis Hector Berlioz