I have been playing Guild Wars 2 (GW2) for two years now. I know that’s not long in the world of MMORPGs but consider . . . I played World of Warcraft for two years before I bailed . . . completely and definitively. One day I was playing, the next day I was gone. Completely and totally never went back gone. Masses of gold, something close to 40 character . . . GONE. When it’s done, stick a fork in it, done.
So, why do I think GW2 has the least representative name in the genre? Because it isn’t about guilds. Okay, it is about guilds but only in the most general overview imaginable. You can be a member of up to five guilds so guilds are vying for your membership but that is the least important feature of the game. Truly! Once you find a good guild that’s where you want to stay!
GW2 is about the story, the mechanics, the environment, the players, the joy. It really is. And to understand what I’m telling you, you really need to play the game to understand.
I stopped playing WoW. Yup, cold turkey. One day I was playing, doing the same thing day after day and the next I was gone. WoW had become a job instead of an entertaining distraction from pain and frustration. I was paying a monthly fee and felt like I HAD to play to justify spending the money. Ugh. Just ugh.
So I took some time to see what else was out there in the world of MMORPG. I tried a bunch of different games. I either couldn’t stay alive or couldn’t figure out where to go and what to do. Yup, not happening. MMORPG is supposed to be fun, not frustrating.
Then I found GuildWars2. OMGosh. GAME CHANGER. Some of it made me laugh. WoW was just starting to integrate the awesome features GW2 has had forever. And the big plus . . . I could SEE what I was doing most of the time, something I constantly struggled with in WoW.
To give you a flavor of why I think GW2 is superior, here’s a very small list of things that GW2 does much more brilliantly than WoW.
- Resource storage – click a button in your bag screen and all the materials are automatically deposited into the resource bank regardless of where your character is in the world.
- Trading Post access – right click an item in your inventory and sell it on the trading post regardless of where your character is in the world. Need more of something? Buy it from the trading post from ANYWHERE. You have to go to the TP or one of its agents to collect items and profits, but you can interact with it from anywhere.
- Transportation – Portals and waypoints instead of flight masters and flying mounts. No more wasting time flying from one point to another or traveling to a portal to get to a different part of the world and then flying to where you want to go. Travel from one side of the world to the other in the time it takes for the screen to load. Buried in the bottom of cave and don’t want to fight all the spawns to get out? Open the map and click a waypoint and you are out of there! Truly amazing logical stuff that makes the game FUN .
- Player attitude – When you lose too much health to fight you can work to heal yourself before you’re truly dead. ANYONE can heal or resurrect another player. I laughed out loud the first time I got the “there are too many resurrectors” message on my screen. If you’re dead and the battle is so fierce there’s no time to resurrect you or you’re in a spot where no one can safely get you back up, you can waypoint out and run back in full health. No wasted time whisping to your dead body. If you fall in GW2 SOMEONE will get you back up either during the fight or right after. You won’t be left lying there dead while everyone else wanders off to do their own thing. Player attitude in GW2 is COMPLETELY different. The attitude fostered by the game’s mechanics is a wonderful thing.
- Armor repairs – Are completely free. Yup. No more spending 100g+ because of damage during a boss fight. It. Is. FREE. There is no armor damage if you fall and die. The boss has almost killed you off? Yeah, jumping off that cliff might not be a bad thing.
- Guilds – It’s called Guild Wars for a reason. Guilds are busy busy busy. EVERY DAY our guild runs one or two activities. Guild groups get together to do something all the time. ALL the time. Ten percent of the guild members are usually online playing at any given time. If you need help filling a group or killing a boss, people leap to help. It’s a whole different world.
- Activities – GW2 has daily activities in addition to achievements, holiday activities, dungeons, raids, events, boss spawns . . . the list is so long there’s no way I could cover it here. There’s so much to do there isn’t enough time in the day when running just ONE character. I had nearly 50 on WoW and was bored, bored, bored.
- Wiki – If you need to know something, /wiki whatever in the chat box will get you the wiki page on that thing. It. Is. AWESOME.
- Wardrobe – All the armor comes uncolored. Color is added via dyes which are acquired from chests, boss drops, story achievement chests, the trading post, etc. The look of the armor can be selected from a wardrobe. My toon may be wearing the same leggings as another but that’s where the similarity ends. With three dye locations and over 100 colors, the chance of my toon wearing the same thing as another is rare indeed.
- Questing – WoW had quests which must be done in order, a rigid and boring system. GW2 has stories which branch depending on the choices you make and the type/race of the character you are running. This is separate from map completion which can be done at any time.
- Armor Scaling – When you go to a lower level zone to do an event or kill a boss, your armor is scaled to that zone. There are no one-stroke kills here.
- Crafting – There is no greater contrast to WoW than the way the crafting professions are handled. They aren’t even the same species. In GW2 components are made which are combined in the discovery screen to find recipes. You can buy from the trading post, sell to the trading post, create components from the main recipe screen, refine ingredients from that same screen. OMGosh. Example . . . if I need a pair of leather zerker leggings I can open the recipe. From that screen I can pull up windows to make all the necessary components. It’s fabulous!
- Characters/toons – The character creation screens have a wonderful range of options with a wide selections for every aspect (nose, eyes, hair style and color, body type, height, tattoos, horns, ears, mouth size and shape, skin color, etc.). I was unlikely to find any other toon in game which looked like mine. Each character I created was truly unique. And each character has a personal story based on choices made for that character.
- Mounts – This is one of the best things GW2 has done differently. There are four types of mounts and questing is done for those mounts. They each have a different perk which makes the game fun and interesting.
- JUMPING PUZZLES – OMGosh! Jumping puzzles! Every map has at least one. Complete the jumping puzzle to get to the chest at the end. You can do them all every day if you like though I don’t know that you could manage them all in a full day of play. It would be fun to try . . . if I weren’t doing so many other things.
- GLIDERS! – OMGosh. Instead of flying mounts, GW2 has gliders and updrafts. OMGosh. SO much more fun.
So, as you’ve no doubt figured out, I dove into GW2. I played for free until I was hooked. Then I bought the game’s current expansion and I haven’t looked back. I’m spending about the same amount of money every month, but I’m spending it on things that improve the game for me. More bag slots, more bank storage, keys for Black Lion chests. Occasionally I buy gold when I don’t have enough time to create the gold I need. The beauty of it is, I can CHOOSE what I spend my money on instead of wasting it on a subscription that does nothing but give me access. And if I’m short of funds I can play and spend nothing. It’s a beautiful thing.