Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Is it too soon to declare a mmo winner?

I suppose I better write about Guild Wars 2 then. I have had the game a few days now so I am happy to say that, for the most part, it seems to fulfills my hopes. They seem to have done a fantastic job of going through mmo's with a fine tooth comb and removing or significantly diminishing all the little things about mmo's that annoy you. You can quick travel as much as you want, your character is very customisable, you never need to return the a person once an event is done, hell you can send mail at any point. All this makes for a very smooth enjoyable game, with little to nothing to stop you from having fun.

That is not to say it is not without some of the expected trappings. The combat is active, fun and varied, but you are still essentially pressing number keys to activate skills. Where it differences itself, is that it gives you more an more options. Each weapon sets have 6 skills, and you can swap between the two more or less any time you want. Every class must have a healing spell and as you level you get up to 4 more abilities to put on your bar. However there are dozens of skills you could put on the bar so there is plenty of scope to build your character. There is a dodge mechanic, and a knocked down mechanic similar to Borderland’s. All this adds up to an enjoyable, if not quite original, experience.

There are still the things that you expect like action houses, repair bills and pvp, but again they have been looked at to minimise the amount of fuss involved. Take crafting for instance, you collect raw material which you can turn into items using one of the 2 skills you can learn. Very similar to WoW and a dozen other games right? Well you can access your bank directly from any crafting station, and when you are out in the world, you can deposit all your crafting items into your bank with a simple click, sorting the directly into their allocated place. I have no patience for game extending time wasting, and neither, it seems, does ArenaNet.

The bulk of the games pve action seems to come in two forms, events and story quests. The events are dotted around the map and the very similar to the public quests in Warhammer Online. So it might be to defend an area, rescue people, collect items or simply kill enemies, or just as likely a mixture of all of them. They are all easy to find, but at the same time they are easy to stumble across. At the moment there are usually dozens of people per event and it can get very hectic. I do have some concerns that in a couple of months some of the events in starting areas will be impossible, as there won't be enough people. The story quests are fitted to your character, based on a few questions you answer at the character creation, like Morrowind or Mass Effect, and are all instanced. Some you can play with other people, some you can't (this seems to be fairly arbitrary, which is a shame). So far they have all been very good, with one mission of sneaking through a misty ruins being particularly good. Also wisely this is were the voice acting has been reserved for, rather than TOR's insistence on voicing everything.

So I must have some criticisms right? Well aside from some of the features not working I only really have one big issue. The servers are very busy, and it is quite common to get dropped into an overflow server. This often means this if you are in a party you get separated and can’t see each other, even if you are both in the overflow. I have have no doubt this will get fixed but it is none the less irritating. There is a store that you can by various cosmetic items, xp potions and bonus items like instant repairs. None of it’s items are necessary and you could go for days without even realising the store is there, as there isn’t really any advertising in game for it.

The game is huge, fun, deep and involving, There is literally months worth of content, which I have only scratched the surface of. If you like games, you would be foolish to not buy it, regardless of if you like mmo’s.

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