Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

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Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by GrinningManiac on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:05 am

Is Guild Wars 2 a fun game? Yes. I think so, anyway. Mind you – I normally hate MMORPGS. Maybe if you love them you’ll hate this. But I don’t think so. Here are the reasons I hate MMORPGS.

1. You have to pay a subscription to keep playing
2. You have to run around at higher levels doing the same stuff over and over again to creep towards the next level
3. It’s ugly ‘cus it’s online and needs to be forgiving on bandwidth and internet and things
4. It’s full of stats and percentages and things

And I suppose it’s only fair to explain how Guild Wars 2 subverts each of my problems with this genre

1. It’s a one-off payment like a normal game. Simple.
2. The levelling system is less of a gradually-steepening curve. So long as you keep on butchering beasts that are equivalent to your actual level (as opposed to your downgraded level (explained below)) you should level up in the same time between 10 and 11 as you do between 70 and 71. I’ve played it for about three days last week with two hours in each of those days and each day I levelled up once.
3. It’s insanely balls-to-the-walls beautiful. The art style, the world, the characters, the imagination. It’s all so wonderful and cool.
4. There are stats and there are percentages but they’re hidden behind a simple “this thing is better than the thing you have now” system which, whilst it may have been present in previous MMOs I played, never felt this unobtrusive. I could be, and I am, playing the game for the whole experience and never once actually stop to find out what “precision” does or what’s the difference between “health” and “defence” or whatever there is.

MMO people talk about how this game broke the Holy Trinity. For those, like me, who haven’t the foggiest what that means it basically comes down to that old triple-combo of Tank, who absorbed the damage of enemies, the Healer, who kept the Tank alive, and the DPS or Damage Per Second, who killed the thing whilst it was busy whaling on the Tank. This sucks. This is boring. What’s more – it meant that unless you knew which you wanted to be and how to be good at it and what stats and gear to equip you always ended up an ugly hybrid that was okay in some situations but always struggled in others.

In Guild Wars ugly hybrids are the name of the game. Well – beautiful hybrids. The only thing that really catches you out, as it catches me out, is being swamped by superior numbers. Oftentimes the missions accommodate for you not having so many allies and there are a plethora of skills specifically designed to help you escape from a tight spot.
Oh yeah – the downgraded-level thing. If you go into an area designed for level 5s as a mighty behemoth of a level 80 you downgrade to a level 5. You’re still overpowered since your weapons remain incredibly high-levelled but your health plummets to the level 5 average – encouraging you to view even these tiny enemies as a threat in larger numbers. I have a friend who’s just got the game and going back through old areas with him as a level 45 is perfectly enjoyable.

But enough about the mechanics. I don’t care about the mechanics. If I did I may have liked WOW or something. No, Guild Wars is an adventure in the purest sense. You start off in your home land and quickly come to view it as a sort of “home”. It’s low-level, familiar and you have to go back to it for story missions (but not in an annoying way – you can pay pittance to get most places on the map in a flash and there’s a series of free, instant teleportation gates which meet in a nexus in Lions Arch which is the coolest place in the world since it’s a city made out of boats stacked on top of each other.)

The world map is done in a beautiful artsy style – the same style you’ll see in cutscenes, in the background of dialogues, in the loading screens and basically everywhere. It was done by a bloke named Daniel Dociu and Guild Wars has a massive hard-on for his work. If you don’t like it then that’s gonna be a problem since it’s everywhere but I find it enchanting and properly exciting in that five-year-old wonder you get from things like “Here be Dragons” and “High Voltage –Do Not Touch”. The map is initially vague and poorly-defined – it’s basically a patchwork of rough brush strokes. But as you complete areas and explore they become more definite – forming a chessboard of cool, individual areas that seamlessly meld the varying enviorns of Kryta, the world you inhabit. All the areas are square or rectangular in nature but I find it adds to the fun that the world fits together like a puzzle and you become excited in making the pieces fit. Tantalisingly many areas are still undeveloped and there are occasional gaps in your picture-puzzle. However the team seem to be slowly adding them all in – there’s a new level 80 one just recently added – and you can’t help but wonder at what cool thing lies beyond the next mountain.

The creatures are neat. I mean really neat. Like – Dwarfs are cool and all and elves are alright for some – but this game messes around with ideas in a really cool way. The short guys – normally the dwarfs –are the Asura (which is a Sanskrit word meaning, literally, “non-deity” – it has something to do with Hindu Hoodoo and a bunch of spirits and nature-beings. I dunno). And they’re really short. Like, the tallest race is the Norn – which are basically norse demi-giants with a thing for hunting and the wilds. A combination of giant, Swede and Iroquois, if you will. I digress. The Asura, which I play, are small shark-like things with bat ears and big eyes. I come up to a Norn’s ankle. It’s really fun to have such a diversity and to look on other races with awe rather than “look, a human with pointy ears and a human with a beard and a growth complex. How original!”. The Charr are a combination of imperialistic, expansionist Roman Legion, Orc and Cat-with-horns. The Sylvari are Tree People and whilst this has been done before it’s cool how they allow for the complete range of character creation – ranging from “a green human with a cute leaf” to “unholy bark-based bastardspawn from a mushroom’s womb”. They can look REALLY tree-like. The humans are humans, yes, but interestingly they kind of fill the role of Elf in Kryta. They’re the Old Race – the ones who used to have it good and rule everything but screwed up and now they’re a dying breed. They have one city left, they’re all sad about stuff and use words like twilight and the grey lights and the setting sun. It’s cool that they’re not just “humans are normal, good at everything”

The main story – the one where you (and everyone else with a copy of the game) and you alone save the universe from the big bad – is hard to comment on. The problem here is that the game is so interesting that you often wander off and end up running all over the place and by the time you start paying attention to the story again you’ve sort of forgotten what the big deal is and why everyone’s in a rut about something. Dragons are involved. It’s like Skyrim if the Dova were the size of glaciers and were avatars of a cosmic magical negative error 404 space that seems to destroy magical essence that is super important and stuff. Also drama.

The classes are cool. I play engineer and you don’t get as many weapons (warriors can pick anything under the sun, engineers are limited to a fierce debate between pro-pistol and pro-rifle, nothing else) but you get “kits” which is where you get pre-set, swappable things like turrets, flamethrowers, jet-boots, power-suits, personal robots, potions, grenades and other assorted explodey goodness. I can’t comment really on the others but I’ve played about five minutes of each and they all have an interesting additional feature that means you can’t pin any one of them down as the “basic class” like you normally could with the bloke with the sword and metal pantaloons.

The soundtrack is awesome. You come to recognise little leitmotivs that make areas feel cohesive. I listen to it whilst I work sometimes. It’s not catchy, per say (I couldn’t hum or really remember any of it) but it’s pleasant and it’s perfectly designed to be noticeable but not distracting. You won’t ever stop yourself leaving an area to hear the end of a song but you won’t race to the end to avoid it either.

The bestiary of the world is neat. You have things like the Dirge, which are steampunk mole-men, and the Inquest, which are a faction of Asura composed entirely of people with the same scruples as Josef Mengele. They’re all really interesting and whilst you butcher them indistriminately and there’s no karma or morals behind it the game is eager to point out they’re not flat-out evil and disagreeable and they have sympathetic points. It also points out that whilst factions can be wholly objectionable, like the Inquest, races cannot. You can find friendly Ettin (two-headed cave troll things with clubs) and hostile humans. It’s all relative, dude.

I could talk about crafting and loot but I wouldn’t know what to say. Ask me anything. I’ll do my best to answer.

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मैं हिन्दी जानना चाहता हूँ…અને ગુજરાતી…ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ…এবং হয়ত বাংলা.
Aprenderé a bailar salsa y nada detendrá me. 对不起我的中文不好,对不起我不知道你说什么。
Не слышны в саду даже шорохи. Все здесь замерло до утра, Если б знали вы, как мне дороги, Подмосковные вечера.
The problem with having an open mind, you see, is that people insist on coming along and putting things in it
- Sir Terry Pratchett
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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by Komrade Kharloth on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:33 am

Would you recommend it to someone who hated WoW?

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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by GrinningManiac on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:43 am

As someone who hated WOW I would say yes. However I would hate to think you brought it only to find out I have a weird opinion on things and it actually sucks.

If you know anyone who has it then try it out first.

But yeah I love it

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मैं हिन्दी जानना चाहता हूँ…અને ગુજરાતી…ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ…এবং হয়ত বাংলা.
Aprenderé a bailar salsa y nada detendrá me. 对不起我的中文不好,对不起我不知道你说什么。
Не слышны в саду даже шорохи. Все здесь замерло до утра, Если б знали вы, как мне дороги, Подмосковные вечера.
The problem with having an open mind, you see, is that people insist on coming along and putting things in it
- Sir Terry Pratchett
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GrinningManiac
His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Alasdair Lawrence

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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by NightSwimming on Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:18 am

Awesome review, dude! You really sold it to me.
I'm saving my dosh to buy Skyrim though. I've been waiting til it's gotten cheap (under $50 now!). But when I complete that shizniz I'll check out dis biz.

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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by Guest on Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:52 pm

I fucking wish I had the time right now to play this. Nice work.

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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by GrinningManiac on Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:15 pm

Thanks, all.

There's also a really cool PVP system called WvWvW since, well, I better start at the beginning

Like most MMOs Guild Wars splits the playerbase up into servers. There's a German server living right "next door" to the English one I use (Fissure of Woe). The servers living next to each other on the list can fight each other for territory and control in the huge triangular map of the Mist World (which is explained well enough in-canon). This means you can really get a sense of camaradrie with your fellow nerdy no-lifers because, well, we're nerds, yeah, but we're ENGLISH (and yank) NERDS! Not like Jerry von Kraut over there! CHARGE!

The one downside I will say of the Mist War PVP is that the area is huge. Beauitful, clever and cool...but really, really, really big. The idea is that things are so far away that if someone kills you then your death really impacts the battle since it takes you ten frickin' minutes to get back to the battlefield. However the downside is that it takes TEN MINUTES to get back to the battlefield. Also be prepared to get lost and wander around in the snow going "Guys, guys? Where'd everyone go?"


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मैं हिन्दी जानना चाहता हूँ…અને ગુજરાતી…ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ…এবং হয়ত বাংলা.
Aprenderé a bailar salsa y nada detendrá me. 对不起我的中文不好,对不起我不知道你说什么。
Не слышны в саду даже шорохи. Все здесь замерло до утра, Если б знали вы, как мне дороги, Подмосковные вечера.
The problem with having an open mind, you see, is that people insist on coming along and putting things in it
- Sir Terry Pratchett
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GrinningManiac
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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by Katzenjammer on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:03 pm

Does it need a supercomputer to run it?

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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by Xandy on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:55 pm

Katzenjammer wrote:Does it need a supercomputer to run it?

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Re: Alasdair rambles about Guild Wars 2

Post by GrinningManiac on Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:14 pm

Nope

I'm running it off a laptop. Admittedly it's a brand-new laptop with a dedicated graphics card but my other friends I play with use the crappy old laptops we got in a deal with Sixth Form nearly 5 years ago. They all run fine. I dunno what their graphics are like but I can run mine on high graphics and the only problems I get stem from my crappy internet connection rather than processing or rendering problems.

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मैं हिन्दी जानना चाहता हूँ…અને ગુજરાતી…ਅਤੇ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ…এবং হয়ত বাংলা.
Aprenderé a bailar salsa y nada detendrá me. 对不起我的中文不好,对不起我不知道你说什么。
Не слышны в саду даже шорохи. Все здесь замерло до утра, Если б знали вы, как мне дороги, Подмосковные вечера.
The problem with having an open mind, you see, is that people insist on coming along and putting things in it
- Sir Terry Pratchett
avatar
GrinningManiac
His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Alasdair Lawrence

Posts : 5597
Leprechaun Gold : 15236
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Join date : 2010-10-10
Age : 24
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