Friday, 31 August 2012

Guild Wars 2

Even as I write this, I'm thinking about my character in Guild Wars 2 and how I need to mine more copper so I can finally hit the next tier of armor/weapon smithing. Yeah, it's that good.

Guild Wars 2 is the long awaited sequel to Guild Wars 1 and although I played Guild Wars 1, I didn't play it for very long. But IMO, Guild Wars 2 is much better than its predecessor. 

In GW2, I play as a Charr Warrior. For those of you who've played GW1, you know that the charr used to be antagonists in it and were never a playable class. Not so in GW2. They're the 'berserker warrior' racial archetype in GW2; if the Norns can be considered to be the stoic warrior archetype. They're an aggressive race and I guess it shows in their starting quests. More on that later.

Now, one of the things I didn't like about GW1 were the instances. Oh sure, they're still there in GW2 but they're not as pervasive as they used to be. It seemed like in GW1, everytime you stepped out of the city, you were pretty much stepping into an instance. Now in GW2, you get to interact a lot more with the other players. And I'll say the interaction has been fairly positive so far. 

In GW2, there are huge multiplayer quests called events which take place every so often in different areas of the map. When you walk to one area, there may be an event going on; which can range from 'help, bandits are invading, help me fight them off' to 'defend me while I do this', and when you walk to another area, there may a totally different event going on. And some of these events chain into one another. For example if you fought off the waves of bandits, you might then get an event to fight the bandit boss himself. Any players nearby on the map can take part in those events so you'll often see huge gangs of players teaming up on one giant boss. If you succeed or fail, you still get rewarded with some xp and gold and karma points (used to buy rewards). 

So far I'm liking it. There's a lot of different events and though I've seen a few repeats in my 17 levels of progress, it's still interesting enough that I will usually take part in them. This might also be in part due to the fact that GW2 scales your level down depending on the difficulty of the event. Yes, you heard that correctly. If you're too high level, GW2 WILL scale your level down to one that's appropriate for that region. I've been scaled down from lvl 17 to lvl 2 before. You still keep all your skills and weapons but your level is now 2 with corresponding hp/stats etc. Let's just say, it's challenging, mostly because GW2 isn't very item dependent so you can still die quite easily when you've been scaled down. 

The fact that the community aren't total assholes helps too. This may be the friendliest community I've seen in an online game. Just as an example, when you die, people who nearby can revive you even if they're not in the same party as you. And people actually do. I think most other communities I've been in would just ignore you; if not teabag you.

The combat system is also fairly interesting. You can swap between 2 weapon skills an each weapon subtype has its own skillset. Sword skills are different from mace skills are different from 2h sword skills etc. Also, when you dual wield, you also get different skillsets than if you were to use a sword and a shield. This makes for a very varied and dynamic combat system since you can switch between skills in combat. I usually use a 2h greatsword coupled with dualwielding sword and axe. This allows me to flurry to gain crit chance, whirlwind with axe and sword, switch to great sword, whirlwind again and then bladestorm whatever is still alive. This usually kills most stuff dead. Then again, it's not killing stuff that's hard. It's trying to stay alive most of the time.

As for the time commitment. Well, I had a friend ask me this. If he was to log on, how long would have to play to be able to do anything significant? Well, let's put it this way. I play for an hour or 2 a day. You'll probably be able to finish a quest in 1/2 an hr to 1 hour. Most events I described above are really fast, with most finishing under 10 mins. They're just intense waves of enemies. There's very little of the grind that you find in a lot of other games because the world is truly big. Even the biggest issue I have; which is that I need to grind/mine copper to be able to level my smithing up to the next tier, isn't as big of an issue as it would be in other games because I can simply GO OVER to the other races starting areas and mine copper there. And because of the level scaling, I would still find the areas somewhat challenging instead of mind numbingly boring. It would actually be worth the time taking quests there as well. 

TL;DR, GW2 is a interesting game and definitely one that I would recommend getting.