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Here is the deal I am an MMO enthusiast with very little time. I am decided I am will go on a very long journey, that will help me find an MMORPG that can be easily played with an hour or two of time to play. If I find one that is great I will still entertain the idea there are others out there to answer the question that plaques so many minds. What is the best MMORPG for a casual gamer? Is it Guild Wars 2? Yes and No and here is my write up as to why "IMO of course".
If you wish to see more at http://www.thecasualmmo.com
I play a new MMO each month with updates per week and a review at the end of each month. Here is my first MMORPG's review Guild Wars 2.
So here it is:
Visuals and FPS
Graphics - I was able to get the graphics all the way to ultra during normal gameplay. When it came to WvW I had to bring them down a little. However, they were still very pleasant on eyes.
Animations - The combat animations were very repetitive given you only get a few skills at a time to perform. So this is a very mediocre area.
Textures - This became pretty repetitive as well with the animations. Everything seemed to have a dark, near realistic, but just "not quite getting there" feel.
Variety - There was quite a bit of variety in the scenery department. Every zone had sections of sub-zones. I went from farm land to mountains, to plains, to underwater cave systems, and even volcanic caves all in one zone. I'm sure that the higher level zones will show some repetition.
Lag - I had some lag in WvW but none in regular game zones. I did have an issue when I would load into a city or WvW and the game would just freeze and I had to Ctrl-Alt-Del out and close the game. This may have been my drivers though.
Variety - There wasn't very much variety, but when it started, it felt fresh.
Intensity - I was really enjoying being in a large battle and hearing the music going. It was loud and thunderous and the beat seemed to go along with the clash of battle. It kept me very engaged.
Quiet periods - This happens in all of the major MMO's that I know of and this game is not an exception. There were a few times when I was searching for music trigger points in the zones.
Voice acting (if applicable) - This was not very well done in my opinion. There was really no variety or emotion in the voice actors.
PC/NPC variety - Within my storyline quests I had a queen, a chief of the guard, the villains, the children, the unassuming friend, and all of the people I had to befriend/gain trust with. It was not unlike any other MMO.
Battle sounds - The sound of battle is a very hard thing to create and being a magic caster class it is even harder to hear metal to metal, grunts and groans, screams, and battle shouts were there but not something that stood out.
Quest types/variety - Questing came down to 3 types renown, events, and storyline. Each one of those had a protect, defend, kill this, collect this, and talk to this person. Nothing new or innovative.
Events - To level you must do events. That is my opinion, you may hear other criticism on that answer but hands down this game is primarily event based. This can be good and bad all at the same time. You can literally get experience doing anything in this game however if you get into a group and run with them through WvW you will get a steady stream of XP and never have to touch a mining node or discover anything in the main world map to get to max level.
Dungeons - This in itself is a joke! I queued in the group finder for the first instanced dungeon at level 30, and I could not form a group for almost 6 hours! Now, don't get me wrong, there were plenty of groups forming in the finder. But they required me to already be at level 80. This is a big hit for me because I love dungeon crawling, seeing the group dynamics working together, and in a month of game time I did not get to see it.
Storyline - The storyline quests were fun and introduced you to new zones every 10 levels. I enjoyed doing these I just wish the fast travel options would be disabled during this quest series. I felt I could just teleport everywhere and be done with it in 10 minutes when it seems to be geared toward a longer time frame for completion.
Extras - There are a lot of extra things to do when you feel like a frolic off the beaten path.
Combat style - Strategy will sometimes be needed in how you set up your skills, but it is still just a game of hitting the right number in the right order.
Variety - World versus World, and Regular old Player versus Player games.
Fairness - Out of all of the MMORPG's I have played over the years, Guild Wars 2 has one of the best PvP systems when it comes to being level 1 and wanting to really get a good and fair fight. When the system boosts your level 1 character to level 80, you can easily have a good/fair time. This is a very skill based system and depending on how well you know how to play your character class, it was great.
Types - You had all your standard crafting schools.
Importance - Level 1 to level 79 didn't seem all that important. However, you can level off of it by gathering and crafting items. I did not get too involved.
Difficulty - It was very in depth but very simple to gather materials as you went about your business.
Friendliness - I did not really experience anyone going out of their way to grief any of the other players, which is normally a good sign. However, I also did not see many people just saying "thank you" for helping kill a tough monster, and revives you would just see a lazy "ty". Ultimately, the vocalism of other PC's was pretty non-existent.
General chat activity - Every day I logged in and the first thing I did was hit general chat with a "Hello, everyone! How are you guys today!" and to all of my effort I was rewarded with zero responses. Now I did receive one or two throughout my entire game play and I did not really spam it so maybe that is what I should have done. I didn't every get involved or even see a conversation though which was pretty sad to see.
Guild helpfulness - I did join a guild and never once did I see any of them. I didn't ask for much help to begin with, but it seemed as if they were more active in the higher levels.
Random acts of kindness - I witnessed absolutely zero, although I did try and attempt to spread some love by offering up revives and saying "hello" to pretty much everybody I came across.
Auction house - I didn't really deal with the auction house very much in this game, which doesn't surprise me. I normally don't deal with economics until I am max level in almost all of my games I play.
Is it corrupted? - When I did view the items I did not see too much price gouging on it.
Is it easy to buy and sell? - Yes, it is a standard. Place the item, choose a "buy out" price, and then post it.
How many zones are there? - There is a ton! Seriously, there are 3 zones for every level zone (1-10, 10-25, 25-35 etc.)
Is there a variety of zones? - From what I saw, there are. I accidently ventured into a higher level zone at one point and it was dramatically different then those I had already explored.
What themes are there in each zone? - From what I saw and mentioned earlier, you may be in a forest, then farms, and stumble upon a lake that has underwater cave systems etc. All in one zone.
Ease of mobility - It seems like you barely have to walk anywhere in this game. There is no mount system (from what I saw), but you can teleport anywhere you have already been, for a fee.
Size of zones - They seem enormous! In fact, they really aren't. The quest system just sends you all over the map in what seems like random order.
How many races? - There are 5: your standard human, giant human, elves, beast man, and gnomish.
How many class types? - There are 8 classes and they all play a little different than the other.
How in-depth can I customize my character? - It is not the best customization when it comes to building a unique look.
How can I further customize my character (Dyes, Armor, Weapons)? - This gets more in depth, most of the colors in the dye department are super pastel and bright.
How slow/fast do you level? LUDICROUS! Yes, I said it. This game leveling is really fast. You can get experience from anything. I have read that many people get to the level cap in two weeks, but as fast as a few days!
What is the level cap? - 80 levels!
How do I level? - By doing anything! Renown, storyline, WvW, PvP, gathering, crafting, killing, and exploration.
There were a lot of people online at almost all hours of the day. I was not on a high fill server either.
RL Aggression leniency
I ran across a few instances of "Gimme a minute and I will help" moments during my time and it seemed in the regular PVE game it was simple to step away. But during WvW, you get left behind and you have to either zone out or try to run the zone and find the commander train all over again which can easily eat up precious minutes of game time.
It is the only way to play the game and it seemed very easy to play with it. Not too many ridiculous key stroke combinations or anything like that.
There is a ton of information out there for the wondering mind. Guild Wars 2 has been around for a while and a lot of the top players have info on pages, a wiki, and even a strategy guide.
Is it worth the money?
Yes. Buy it, play it, and don't pay monthly. I will be using this as a back up game when I find a lull in other games, since I can literally play whenever I feel.
Special events and bonuses
I was playing during their Halloween event and I was killing candy corn monsters, which was pretty fun!
In game travel options
Foot travel, and teleports which are really fast, but costs copper.
In game Currencies
Copper, silver, gold, platinum, renown, PvP currencies, and laurels. There are plenty of currencies to keep track of.
Replayablity is there, however, longevity may not be. It seems you do the same things quite a bit in the lower levels and it is possible it is the same way at max level.
Guild Wars 2 is a combination of great elements from other games, with a beautiful graphics plane, plenty of options, and without the monthly fees you can pick it up and play one day a month just for the PvP if you want and not feel guilty. On a casual gamer scale it is definitely easy to play a few minutes and still accomplish something with the teleport systems and being able to gain experience from every action you do. If you are a dungeon crawler, you will have to stick it out until the high levels to get into a group because the community in this game can not be any more quiet. Because all gamers love to see number on a "1-10" scale of playability for casual gamers...I give Guild Wars 2 a 7.