Guild Wars 2’s Best Features: Move Over World of Warcraft
Posted on Sunday, August 19 @ 17:02:27 Eastern by Jonathan_Leack
Anyone walking into Guild Wars 2 expecting a World of Warcraft clone is in for a surprise. Guild Wars 2 marks a new chapter for the MMO genre after eight years of Blizzard reign by showing what a modern online RPG is truly capable of without compromising the enjoyment of casual or hardcore audiences.
After playing all three beta weekends and several stress tests, I found myself in love with a few of Guild Wars 2’s features. Some of these features you might already know about, but a few of them may surprise you. Whatever the case, below I have listed some of its best qualities that make it stand out.
Dodging is an extremely important part of Guild Wars 2’s combat system. Instead of relying solely on cooldowns to avoid or mitigate damage, you can roll out of the way like a pissed-off Kratos. Using quick reflexes to avoid a massive damaging attack such as a Warrior’s eviscerate or a powerful ultimate is critical to survival. Learning attack animations and spell effects so you know what and when to dodge is very rewarding and is what separates the newbies from the pros. It’s also one of a few good reasons the eSport community already has a deep interest in the game.
In World of Warcraft the road to hitting max level was full of running into quest hubs, filling up your quest log, and then heading out like a happy-go-lucky rabbit to complete them. Guild Wars 2 offers a range of quests that occur much more naturally. There are specific areas of nearly every map that allow you to walk in and contribute with everyone else in the area. In addition, dynamic quests appear on the map regularly to offer exciting and rewarding scenarios. Instead of fighting to tag mobs, everyone in the designated area works together toward a common goal, and a player's reward is dictated by his or her level of contribution.
If you’re tired of gear-treadmills and constantly being considered unviable in PvP, then Guild Wars 2 is the game for you. Not only can you begin playing PvP from the moment you leave your character’s starting area, but gear has no effect on PvP effectiveness. Instead, armor and weapons are merely there to show off how much of a badass you are—and cover your private parts. A good player in Guild Wars 2 isn’t dictated by gear, but knowledge and skill. Oh, and teamwork goes a long way, too.
Instead of subtle changes occurring when you change weapons, such as the weapon mastery we saw with Warriors in World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 has a defined set of skills for each weapon equipped. It’s normal to see a Warrior charge into battle with a massive Sword before equipping a shield and soaking damage with Shield Stance. The result is a system that encourages you to collect several weapon types and learn how to use them effectively.
Guild Wars 2 will launch with eight dungeons which can each be played in two modes: story mode and explorable mode. Story mode is tailored for players experiencing a dungeon for their first time and introduces a compelling narrative and theme to go along with group-based combat. Explorable mode is unlocked after completing a dungeon in story mode and drops a large portion of the storytelling, turns up the challenge, and grants greater reward.
World Versus World
There is only one faction to play as in Guild Wars 2, so you may be left wondering where the point of contention is. One of the game’s boldest features is World versus World where you and hundreds of others from your realm compete against two other realms. The zone where battle takes place is enormous with dozens of objectives. The experience is epic with siege weaponry, massive clashes of steel and magic, and a feeling of pride for your server. Horde vs. Alliance was cool, but server vs. server takes it to another level.
Everything from the lively world to the highly-detailed character models shines with quality. Guild Wars 2 is a beautiful game enriched with a very artistic appeal that can be seen in every physical aspect of the game. Wandering into a new zone is met with a brushstroke across the middle of your screen, and the UI is tidy and functional. You can tell after going through the character creation menus for your first time that a lot of care has gone into making the game visually appealing.
We’ve all run into that situation where a friend who is lower-level asks for help. Usually, you head over and get carried away, leaving the entire zone dead after showing off. In Guild Wars 2 each PvE area is level-capped and down-levels you to put you on equal footing, so if you want to join your friend in a lower-level quest you can, and if you want to enjoy one of the zones you missed without skipping the challenge, there’s nothing stopping you.
The days of reading blocks of text to follow a story are history. These days it’s all about offering a story without even having to open your eyes and Guild Wars 2 has that covered. Veteran voice actors such as Steve Blum, Felicia Day, and Nolan North provide audio for the game’s wide cast of loveable—and possibly hateable—characters.
Nothing’s worse than you and a friend being unable to play together unless you cough up a hefty fee to server-transfer, but ArenaNet has a solution. Shortly after launch, a guest system will be implemented which allows you to hop over to another server and join a friend in all of the game’s content minus World versus World. Now that’s convenience.
You didn’t think I’d leave this out, did you? After your initial purchase of Guild Wars 2, you won’t ever have to worry about spending another dime to play, while World of Warcraft is still $180/year. This goes well beyond games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic and Lord of the Rings Online where the game is free-to-play but certain features are only available to paying subscribers. Guild Wars 2 gives you access to everything, no strings attached.