I was always on the edge with Guild Wars never entirely sure if I could cough up £25 on another MMO which would turn out to be another WoW clone but with a slight twist, so with the announcement that Guild Wars has gone F2P I felt now was the time to give it a try… you know.. because its free.
(To start my adventure in Tyria I went and rolled a Norn Warrior – I then went on to level the class up to 20. This post will cover my experiences with the game for the first 20 levels.)
I tend to have a soft spot for a good MMO but over time have found myself having less time to play, meaning that the monthly subscription model doesn’t really fit in with my current life cycle (future lives may have more time). Luckily Guild Wars has a one off cost – but thats not 100% true. They also have an in game store, but that in itself is nothing new. With the one off cost I feel GW deserves an in game store, something to keep the money pumping in after the initial buying spree at the start of the expansion.
With Heart of Thrones just around the corner (October 23rd) the game has gone full ‘sales’ and pushes the new expansion at every given opportunity, to the point where certain aspects of the game are off limits. I can feel that, from a sales perspective – but would have liked the opportunity to have used the LFG finder, and to participate in the auction house. With this in mind its going to be difficult to talk about the PVE aspect of the game, but with world-events I have some experience.
When someone casts a spell on screen it feels like a supernova has gone off in your face, and with weapon enchants it looks like a thunderstorm is coming out of the players hands.
The game itself is visually what you would expect from an MMO, not brilliant in the graphics department but just enough that I have yet to eject my eyes with a spoon. The character animation are also standard MMO – When someone casts a spell on screen it feels like a supernova has gone off in your face, and with weapon enchants it looks like a thunderstorm is coming out of the players hands. All the high level characters look like glorious gods whilst you walk around in armor you found in a bin. As you slowly level up the weapons generally change stats but overall stay the same visually.
Your move set in GW changes depending on the weapon you have equipped (only had chance to play warrior, just about to role a magic thrower) when you change weapon your core moves change, whilst the ones you can assign later on stay the same. Part of me likes this variety, but part of me finds it annoying that every-time i get hold of a better weapon my move lists changes entirly. The thing is they all follow a familiar patter, you have your ranged weapon moves, your special and your standard spam move, but they all move around when you change weapon. I am getting use to this so i’m sure this complaint will be moot in a few more levels.
With a smaller move set than your standard MMO i managed to map everything easily to the buttons around ‘AWSD’ which means the game allows me to move more and generally feels a bit more action based than turn based. The added bonouce to this is that your character can dodge, meaning moving out the way of AOE is entirely on the character, at times it does require a fast response even at this early stage. Overall I don’t feel like i’m playing your standard, stale MMO set up, things feel very fluid.
GW does not have a standard class set up, this means: no Tank and no Healer. Instead they go for a kind of ‘Handle your own shit’ approach, this translate to the following three mechanics: Damage/control/support. It seems to work out quite well and when it came to global group ‘Fuck-shit-up’ sessions everyone seemed to handle there own shit quite well. You do have support specific classes and moves, for example: my character has weapon switching which allows him to have his main ‘face-smash’ set up and his group – ‘Hey im helping’, set up. With the group aspect he has a horn in one hand which allows him to rally everyone – increasing the group stats and another move which allows him to increase everyone’s movement speed. I have yet to experience this set up in an end game scenario, but at my current level it seems to work quite well.
The free-trial has sparked my interest enough in the game that I will likely be picking up the expansion pack – in this case expect a follow up blog post which will hopefully expand on what small amounts of the game I have already played.
None Game Thoughts
I would like to point out that Guild Wars has one of the easiest to use websites in the MMO gaming space, Blizzard also do an `ok` job but you do need a 20+ MB internet connection to download the home page. FF14 has by far the worst web experience I have ever had to molest with my mouse – seriously, sort it. I cant bring myself to play FF14 again until they sort out that abortion of a site.
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