nteresting, depending on when it comes out in relation to the other games I've already got pre-ordered/on the list I might give it a go.
I'll leave this here:
I'll start with this, so far I like Guild Wars 2, maybe more than I liked Guild Wars 1. At the same time, that's a difficult comparison to make. Like other successful properties that get a follow-up the team seemed to want to get away from GW1 too much. They made a lot of changes that I question, and a lot of changes I don't. It's a sequel, but almost not enough of one. I'll get back to that.
If you're looking for the general, 5000ft. view, I did enjoy GW2, quite a bit actually. I think they did a lot right. The graphics and art styles are tight. The play is varied. The switch from "monster killing," to "area reward xp," is somewhat brilliant. The PvE part of the game is focused on cooperation, not grinding. The classes, although equally capable of everything, seemed varied enough. And skill matters far more. If you want to kill stuff above your level, you can, you have the skills to do it. This isn't an old MMO where a purple monster, skill or not, meant certain death. They focus a lot on individual choice, whether it's in questing, what role you play in combat, how hard you make the game for yourself, and that's a big plus. I can't wait.
With that said, I still think it's a complicated question for everyone, especially because it IS a sequel. And it is an MMO. And like any new and popular release, it has a lot of hype to fill. So I want to break it down into 3 subjects:
1) How much do you like Guild Wars 1 - That might be the biggest issue here. This is a sequel, one were the developer thought it did a lot right and lot wrong. How much were you involved in "buildwars," and build planning. How much did you enjoy the instances, and personal storylines? How much did you enjoy the story?
For me, GW2 seems like the natural extension. It takes the PvE experience from Guild Wars and combines it well with the structure of the overall idea of an MMO. The PvE part is wonderfully done, with a lot to do and see. There is a large departure from Quests and Quest logs, for the better. The art style and history seem to spring right from Guild Wars 1. There's no denying that.
At the same time, it lost a lot. PvP is vastly different (we'll get to that in a second), and they lost most of the Quality of Life Elements that GW1 developed. That is the biggest WTF to me. Gone is the crafting panel in the bank. Gone are template designs and storage. Gone are 8-person groups, GvG, 300 of their skills(or more), dual classes. Etc. It's a different game with a different focus. If you really ARE expecting GW1.5, don't. Other than the story and history, the game really is that much different. I think this plays into the 250 year time span as well, I think that helps separate it.
But it works, at least the PvE side does right now. It's fast-paced, evenly challenged, quick and fun. It has a great combat system for PvE and there are enough ioptions to be creative, but enough limitations not to be filled with excessively useless skills.
2) How much do you like PvP? - This is the much tougher question. With GW1 mechanics getting a large makeover in 2, this is also the place where it can fail the most. But time will tell. I honestly think that people just weren't expecting the speed of combat, or the necessary strategical decisions that had to be made in a match. This isn't buildwars and this isn't WoW.
This is GW2. I think the combat works, but like I've tried to say on the boards, there's going to be less RoJway, spike, split, etc. It's focused on smaller battles and individual creativity. And being adaptable as a team. I like the PvP to start, it was a little bland to only play conquest. But I would worry.given that's it's about in-match creativity, that might limit or reign in certain types of players. If everyone is on an equal footing, where's does the challenge come from. Everyone has a heal. Everyone has an elite (I don't like how they did elites this time around). Learning how to manage location and spacing is going to be far more important this round than in GW1 where managing energy was key. There's also a lot of room for error with very large HP pools.
There are some minor issues at play too, large damage numbers everywhere, excessive animations and graphics, complicated maps. But again, PvP more so than anything else takes time to find its footing, I would mark this as a wait and see.
3) How much do you like MMO's? - Like every new MMO, people are asking "IS THIS THE FUTURE OF MMO'S!!!???" I think that has become a fairly ridiculous question. It's clear that we lack the technology and programming expertise to have something truly Massively Multiplayer, where every player's story matters. We'll get there eventually. But this is not that game, and I think people should stop asking the question. So if you think GW2 will change the face of MMO's, no it won't. From my perspective it's the best one to come out so far, but it doesn't change the genre drastically.
That doesn't mean GW2 doesn't innovate for the better. They've made quite a few interesting design choices to hopefully influence the genre. They've devalued monster-killing xp, and moved that to events and area (renown heart xp). That makes leveling faster, far more fun, and cooperative. No more grinding monsters for xp. To me, this change rivals the FPS change in HP bars. From the static HP bar that must be refilled with capsules scattered from enemies or in the level, to the regen-styled bar that causes one to take cover to recharge. That really has been a huge change for FPSs if you think about it. I think we've seen the first step toward something much more cooperative.
They have retained the idea from GW1 that endgame is THE game, and most people still haven't picked up on that yet. But they do it here. Over the course of a weekend I made it to 21. From my estimates (and from their quotes) after level 5 or so, it would take about 20-30 minutes of general playing to get the next level, every level. :Less if you're efficient. So 80 is reachable very quickly.
They've allowed people to pace-themselves. I never thought the "downleveling" system would work, but it does. It makes content important ALWAYS, and gives you plenty of options to ou tlevel or gain everything in the game with one person. And it's barely noticeable.
They've also created a unique way to balance the game (one that will prove difficult to expand the game with though).
You can be level 80 right from the start in PvP with every skill open. So you can try skills early and play PvP evenly matched with people. They've combined the old system fo the PvE character and PvP character into something more flexible.
There are a lot of things they get right. And with that said, I'll repeat, this is the best MMO to come out yet. It's not the best game ever, it's not he future of MMO's. But I had more fun this weekend than I have with any MMO since early LOTRO, Guild Wars, and City of Heroes (the 3 best to me up to a point, and that's not counting EQ, DAoC and the really early stuff). It's fun. It's fast. Leveling is easy, and I feel like I have a lot of choice in character, in how I handle PvE and how I handle PvP. Most of their choices work. I think for PvP, we'll just need to give it time. I think the setup is there, but it all depends on the tweaks they make and the kinds of modes they choose to include.
In short, I'm still pumped. Like any game, once you finally get your hands on it, it will never live up to the hype you might have created. But it was really really fun. If that's all is, then it succeeds.