So recently I started playing Guild Wars 2 again. For a while I was all about FFXIV and wanted nothing more than to live in the world of Erozea. But among the issues I had with the small world, broken economy, outrageous housing prices, and more character building restrictions than I could count, I decided I would go back and give some other games a try.
It started a couple weeks ago when I had gotten a beta invite to The Elder Scrolls Online. Now i’ve been in that beta before and hated it (expected much better from the Elder Scrolls), but it turned out a couple of the guys I work with also had beta invites, so I gave the game one more go. And the beta was quite fun this time around. And it sparked something inside of me. Some deep down lust for adventure, diving into the unknown, and becoming an epic hero in a world I hardly understand beckoned to me. I knew everything about FFXIV and have been through all of the content. I wanted to play something different than FFXIV for a while, and I remembered that the second best MMORPG I’ve played was GW2. So fire it up I did.
Guild Wars 2 is by no means perfect (honestly, what MMO is?), but it does offer many features that I enjoy. For one the world is huge and there is a lot to explore. At any point I can open up my map and see where I haven’t explored and spend time on my own gaining achievements and loot. I also have been paying attention to the details and how much work went into the games’ design. The graphics and art style are nice and the maps have a lot of great views and landmarks. The NPC’s have some interesting dialogue and much of the world NPC dialogue contains voiceovers which keep it feeling like a living place. However with how big the world is, it feels very empty and lonely at times, hardly ever running into other players while exploring.
I’ve noticed how much more customizable the characters are in Guild Wars 2 as opposed to FFXIV. In FFXIV there is only a handful of abilities to choose from and there is usually one best way to play your character role. This makes solo play difficult and end-game content restricted. There is a shortage of tanks and healers in FFXIV, meaning long wait times when finding parties. In Guild Wars 2, characters are more self-sufficient and have a variety of play styles to choose from. A warrior who wears heavy armor can be more like a “tank” with being able to fight up close, but can just as easily take up a bow and focus more on ranged combat or invest in being more of a tank/healer or a damage dealer. You can pick a weapon based on your fighting style, and while there are only so many additional skill slots, you can pick which abilities to unlock and use to customize your character even further.
The items that can be used in GW2 are also a nicer variety than in FFXIV. Not that they look nicer, but there are far more options that tie into whatever play style you are looking to get into. If you like the combat with a staff or a hammer, you can find different versions of that weapon that cater to grant you more vitality, or healing power, or toughness to help either compliment what you’re finding you are good at, or to help boost you where you are weak. For example, I like to use a greatsword and dive right into fights. However I find myself often on my ass because I can’t keep my health up long enough to defeat an enemy. Now I can either set my focus to do more damage during these battles by increasing my attack power and condition damage, or I can invest in vitality, healing power, or toughness so I can withstand more damage over time. But I have the option to customize my character to what I want to be, not have to just accept my character as it is out of the box.
The Economy in Guild Wars 2 is also much nicer. Not that I am a millionaire, but I make enough money of of gathering and crafting and questing and achievements that I am never wanting. When selling items on the market, I get paid right away and don’t have to wait for a retainer to sell something. The not having to wait hours for an item to maybe sell for a small profit is nice. Prices are reasonable, and crafting, while not as exciting as other MMORPGs, is very simple. I don’t have to worry about running out of shards when crafting, and many of the recipes need to be discovered which I enjoy doing more than knowing everything I can craft ahead of time. I can pick up craft recipes as rewards or I can just start combining things I have to see if it will work. If I have eggs, flour, sugar, and water for example – I can make some dough which can then be combined with pie filling to make a pie. The pie recipe is then added to my list so I can do more of them in the future.
The community in Guild Wars 2 thus far is kind of lacking though. It definitely is not the same crowd as I am familiar with in FFXIV. Everyone seems to be focused more on end-game content on my server than helping out someone low-level as I am. As I said before the world seems deserted except for when the big battles come around. When a high level character goes into a low level area, they are extremely over powered compared to the lower level players even with level scaling. I don’t see a lot of the player base as casual players out for fun and socializing, but more hardcore and achievement driven. I joined a decent sized guild, most of which are involved in “world vs world” which I still don’t fully understand, but hope to enjoy in time.
Even though Guild Wars 2 has flaws, it isn’t a bad game. It fact it is still one of the nicest looking and well done games out there. It also has great reviews, and for a reason. Having tried other games recently it still has a certain something to it that can capture my attention for a long time to come. I can’t wait to see what loot I find or how the story unfolds or what kind of people I will meet as I continue playing. Some of the mechanics are clunky or strange, but it ties into the flavor of the game. I am also saving my $15 monthly fee by switching over because there is no charge to play. I’m still trying to find my niche in the game with what class I like best and how I want to play, but the more I experiment and try new things, the more I understand just how much thought was put into the game and how deep it goes. This isn’t a simple little world, it is vast and there is much to see and do. I better get back in and continue my journey.