Last month, hundreds of thousands of fans got the chance to play “Guild Wars 2” in ArenaNet’s first beta weekend event. The reaction was clear: It is very hard not to be excited about “Guild Wars 2.” Here are the top three reasons why:
Player versus environment:
In “Guild Wars 2,” players take control of a character from one of five different playable races. They then battle a host of different enemies across greatly varying environments, and finally face off against the five greater dragons — which have awoken and revamped the world for the worse. While this may sound a lot like “RIFT,” players will find the story is very different and, in many ways, much darker.
Each race has its own personal quest lines that play much like a single-player game. The personal quest line is also augmented by choices gamers make, including some choices that occur before game play even begins. One choice is whether the character’s greatest regret is failing to find their sister’s body or not joining the circus.
Beyond the personal quests lies a vast world of player versus environment action. Players can choose one of five different sets of zones to play in, ensuring the game doesn’t get stale when gamers play multiple characters. Rather than relying on a traditional quest system, players simply stumble upon open-world “heart” events scattered throughout each zone. These events guide players through zones and award them Karma they can use to buy awesome loot. Tons of other random yet chained events occur, making the experience different each time a player enters an area.
Player versus player:
For fans of player versus player combat, “Guild Wars 2” is sure to be a must-buy. PvP is based on skills, rather than having the best gear. All players are boosted to max level and given the same starter equipment. The game includes a set of traditional, instance-based, small battles between two teams, as well as the big feature of “Guild Wars 2:” world versus world versus world battles.
In this system, three servers will face each other in a gigantic, open-world zone called The Mists. Servers will form teams to capture territory and castles from the other servers and will be rewarded with a special buff for their entire server. Buffs boost many aspects of the game such as experience gain. Some of the largest battles ever seen in gaming can be found in WvWvW.
Combat in “Guild Wars 2” makes both PvE and PvP shine. A middle ground between the cursor-aimed attack of “Tera” and the traditional tab-targeted hotkey combat of “World of Warcraft” makes the game exciting but accessible.
The weapon a character wields determines the character’s skills, meaning the feel of each class can change with the press of a button. A dual-axe melee monster warrior can instantly become a rifle-wielding sharpshooter with a few clicks.
Unlike other massively multiplayer online games, “Guild Wars 2” does not have the traditional “holy-trinity” of tank, healer and damage-per-second classes. Instead, classes are either pure DPS, support or control. Thieves and warriors will eviscerate the competition but lack the ability to keep enemies at arm’s reach, while an engineer or mesmer might not kill quite as quickly but can often escape a battle without a single scratch. While every class has its own healing abilities, players will have to use a dodge ability in order to stay alive; as in “Tera,” a few hits can mean death for any class.
To be frank, one could write a thesis paper on all the different aspects of “Guild Wars 2” that set it apart from the competition. For more coverage on “Guild Wars 2” and other games, keep an eye on The Daily Aztec’s “Aztec Gaming” blog; this has been just a taste of the content The Daily Aztec will be publishing about “Guild Wars 2.”