Posted by: markfender | September 19, 2012

Guild Wars 2 – Buy This Now

After the negativity of the last post, here’s a positive one.

It’s got pirates. This automatically makes it 90% better than all other MMOs.

Guild Wars 2 is pretty damned fun. I’ve hit the level cap with my Norn Mesmer and still enjoying the game. There’s a couple reasons, but here’s the highlights:

The other day, I logged into the game. Apparently, I had logged out in a bad location because before my graphics had even finished loading, I was involved in a fight. And it wasn’t an easy fight. Immediately, I was circle-strafing, dodging, and frantically pushing keybinds to extract myself from this fight. And in the middle of this fight, I sort of realized that this was pretty fun. I knew what my class could do, knew what the bad guys were capable of, and was efficient enough with my key pressing to win. And none of it had to do with knowing a rotation. I was switching weapons and activating the abilities that were most useful in that particular instance and not based on a tried-and-true “burn it down NOW” philosophy. It kept me actively engaged while not even being that pivotal a fight.

So, it has that going for it – the combat hasn’t gotten stale. Even now that I’m the level cap and I’m always unsure of what I should be doing in these games when you hit that point, I’m still enjoying running around and killing mobs for no particular reason. I suppose I’m working towards some end-game gear but that seems a foolish grindy quest, so maybe I’m not. I’m just enjoying the game.

Now that the Trading Post is up, I’ve been speculating on the market in order to obtain enough gold to buy some endgame gear. This isn’t the greatest. End game cultural armor costs 30 gold a piece (a complete set being 8 pieces). Considering I had about 5 gold total during my journey from level 1 to level 80, that’s looking like quite a grind. I have managed to make enough money to get top tier weapons (the better to farm with), but it’s still a bit of a slog.

The nice thing is that those early zones are still open to me. The game auto levels you down to the zone’s level. So, there’s still plenty of world left to explore. And exploring that world is pretty fun. The game rewards 100% completion with multiple events happening in each zone, rather than the standard “follow this quest chain through the area.” Without that overriding principle, the goal is to just walk around and see what’s going on. So you can find weird out of the way places that contain their own mini events, clever NPC dialogue, or what have you. Exploration is actually fun, and I’m a person that hates exploring.

I’m playing a mesmer which is a weird class that summons illusions to fight for me. These illusions generally suck, but there’s lots of weird things that I can do with them in the game, along with a bunch of different types to summon. Every weapon plays differently. I’ve respecced myself a couple different times and each time the class has played differently. I’m currently in a high-DPS build (for grinding, dontcha know?) but I’ve also done a tanky build and a supporty build and they all worked (tank probably the least, but still feasible for soloing) pretty well. It’s a testament to the game design that they managed to simplify the radically different GW1 gameplay into something more action-oriented while also removing the “holy trinity” of MMO combat.

And there’s still World vs. World and PvP to explore. And I haven’t finished all the dungeons… And…

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