First impressions of Guild Wars 2

After one weekend dedicated to the Guild Wars 2 Beta Event I knew I want to play this game. I wasn’t so sure after seeing various presentation videos that seemed to spoil the fun I had in GW1, but after playing it and understanding what the ArenaNet people are talking about I feel more ‘back at home’ in the Guild Wars universe. So here’s my impressions on the Guild Wars 2 Beta build I played last week:

Superb graphics. The head of the graphics dept., Daniel Dociu, is a Romanian but I don’t recommend his work just because he’s Romanian. Have a look at his website, at his artwork, and you’ll be impressed like I was. GuildWars2 is superbly crafted, and I had quite a lot of moments in which I stopped just to enjoy the view.

Posing for the camera. Everything you see behind is explorable. Yeah!

Posing for the camera. Everything you see behind is explorable. Yeah!

The story is quite good. Of course, it follows every cliche in the rulebook of heroic fantasy; BUT it’s quite good. The whole Guild Wars universe shaped up quite nicely since the initial release in 2005; the GW2 view is quite complex, and I think that finishing Guild Wars 1 main stories is a huge plus for any gamer. But it’s a game you can discover independently of the previous releases; the story stands alone. But, you know, when you’ll see the shrine of Kormir, it will be easier to understand what the heck is that.

Gameplay. I played the necromancer, and it was really really fun. I’ve done little grinding to reach level 22? or around that. It was really fun to play the game, very few moments felt like grinding, and it was really really fun to do some events/tasks several times (I repeated some events either because I was late to join them or I really screwed them up). But some events I just wanted to join a few times, for the fun of it. And also for the fun of assisting newcomers in the game; By the way, it’s incredibly FUN to be able to revive other players when you see them lying down.

And talking about reviving, and interaction with other players, you’re not restricted to just ‘your party’, but you can interact with anyone, assist them, and it’s really cool to feel part of a higher ‘family’. Probably this happens because each world is sort of a family. Worlds are actually instances of the same game, and you choose one when you join (you can change it, but it’s complicated). Now, imagine all the players from your world starting a war against the players from a different world; and imagine the fun it would be to kick other world’s ass. From my understanding that’s precisely what GW2 World versus World is about; and while I haven’t had the time or energy to try it, I hear it’s quite fun.

There are some huge changes from GW1, but one thing I don’t miss is going to X and asking for a quest. GW2 changes that except for the personal story, but that comes natural because of the way the story is built. You no longer go and ask for quests. GW2 is all about instant action. You go there, do that, and that’s that. Wham, bam, and the „thank you ma’am” is really really optional (you receive in-game e-mails with the rewards. I’m not kidding).

I particularly enjoyed the way ArenaNet updated the explorer title. No longer do you need to bump against every corner of the map to get it; instead you have to visit certain landmarks that are easily identifiable on the map. Fast transportation isn’t free anymore, but it’s quite cheap.

Overall, I really loved it, and I’m looking forward for the next beta access 🙂