GuildWars2: My Guilty Pleasure
I have to make a lengthy confession. I have been playing Guild Wars off and on since April 2013. My husband remembers. I’m horrible for dates.
I wanted to get into another MMO. I took a look at GW2 and decided that it was something that I wanted to try even though all of my friends had already played and left the game.
While I have also been in and out of GW2 just to have a change of pace I always find myself going back to the game. Now every time I play an MMO, I really enjoy it until I end up comparing it to GW2.
This is pretty much the growing list of GW2 features that keeps me coming back.
This is a new reason, but no less valid. Now you can’t go into a zone in Guild Wars 2 and NOT see another player. Even if that player is from another server, it doesn’t matter. If they are in a zone you are in, the Megaserver technology merges them and you get to play with other people.
This means zones aren’t empty. This is big for an MMO because when you are playing an massively multiplayer game you shouldn’t be playing by yourself.
This is a big one for me. So you hit 80 and now what? In GW2 the the whole map is your plaything. Same as in the original Guild Wars where you can go where ever with your fully leveled toon.
When you enter any zone your level scales to the zone. So if your level 80 goes back to a level 10 zone, you keep your traits, skills and abilities but you are scaled down to the zone around you. That basically means that if you’re not on your game a level 10 champion can still kick your level 80 butt.
This makes it a lot easier to enjoy playing with folks just starting the game as well as just being able to enjoy and get a ton of XP for completing even the starter zones of the other races.
In Guild Wars 2 the loot scales with you. So if you’re in a level 10 zone as an 80 killing stuff, you get level 80 gear. I am not joking. You won’t get high level harvestables from that zone but you will at least have something to sell to fix your gear. That’s really only necessary if you play with one of those special friends who love running head first into champions on a whim. I have those it can be awesome and it can be painful but it is all good fun.
Disclaimer: Keep in mind that sometimes you get gear slightly below your level, but you still get stuff you can sell if not use.
Events Add Repeatable Content
In GW2 there is something to do in every zone even if you have completed the hearts that are the GW2 equivalent to quests. The events give you more XP than the quests and usually more loot than you can shake a stick at. Remember too that the loot is for your level whatever level that may be.
This also means that if you are on a higher level toon and going back to help a friend level, you will be able to get XP in that zone not just from killing mobs but also from doing these events again. So this means running around with your friends gives you event XP and loot on top of kill XP even if you’ve completed all of the quest type based content.
The events also mean that the zones rarely feel like the same zone twice. Very rare events mean that you can go through a zone once or twice and only once run into some of these events. If you power level through a zone (which is really easy to do in GW2) you can miss a lot of content that you can always go back and see another time.
In Guild Wars 2 you get XP for harvesting, you share harvesting nodes with everyone, and your harvestables can be sent to storage so they don’t fill up your bags or your bank.
The only downside to harvesting in Guild Wars is that you have to buy the tools. It’s not such a big deal for me though, I just make sure I have some extra tools in my pack. You can also buy permanent tools for Gems that don’t wear out and some offer extra loot. It’s up to you if you want them.
In GW2 you can harvest like a mad person on every character on your account and right click to send all of the crafting materials to one central harvestables bank. You can access that bank while you are in the main city to pull things for sale on the auction house or you can access them directly while crafting. You don’t even have to have the items in your bags, the collectables bank counts.
You can extend your max collectables storage if you hoard things. That does cost gems on the market. Once again though, totally optional. I’ve played the game for over a year now and still haven’t extended my collectables.
This set up lets you have one or two characters you roam the map with and one character that just lives in town and does nothing but craft. This is handy for a character that you’ve invested a lot of time in but don’t really feel like playing their class too much.
Crafting Helps you Level
I did mention that you get leveling XP from crafting right? In GW2 if you want to craft while you are leveling it is actually beneficial. It not only gives you stat boosts and stuff you can sell on the auction house, but it also gives you level XP.
The downside is that if you have to buy any crafting materials from the auction house, it will seriously ruin your profit. On the upside, if you spend extra time in a zone at your crafting level collecting components you can still get plenty of XP from mob kills and events.
Join Multiple Guilds
In GW2 guilds are account bound. So if you join a guild every character you have is also in that guild. However you do not have to represent that guild on every toon or all of the time.
Representing a guild means that you are active in that guild at the moment. If you are a member of mutliple guilds, you have to represent another guild to access that guild bank, perks and/or chat channel. This lets you join multiple guilds that specialize in different areas of the game. It also means that you can be a part of one guild that is active at the moment, but not leave another guild that is less active for whatever reason.
Guilds are also cross server. You can also visit them whenever you like and not have to transfer server just to say hello or go on a rampage through a zone. If you want to get the guild skins or access the bank you have to have those perks unlocked in a guild based on your server though (last time I checked).
Free Trait Resets
GW2 now lets you change your trait build whenever and wherever you are as long as you are out of combat of course. This makes it much easier to trade out your weapons, skills and traits to match whatever content you intend to tackle for the day. The best part is that you can save the cash you were spending on changing your build to pay for more map travel and or the bigger bags you’ll need to carry extra weapons and loot.
Weapon Based Skills
In GW2 your weapon determines how you fight. Most classes can weapon swap on the fly to use different skills and weapon sets in battle. Even for those classes that cannot weapon swap on the fly, they either have access to a lot more skills per weapon or can slot in different bundle type weapons. That and being able to swap weapons out of combat means that you can be so detailed as to having the perfect weapon set up for any one type of encounter. That is for your class of course. Now with the free trait resets you can also revise your build on the fly to match the change in weapons.
Account Bound Dye and Free Dying Costs
In Guild Wars 2 dyes are an investment. For some rare colors you can spend quite a bit on the Auction House. Thanks to new changes every dye you buy binds to your account so every character on your account has access to whatever dyes you unlock.
Also dying your gear at any time, with any color you have is free. So if you want to go all green for saint patty’s day then back to the standard red and black the next day, you’re not going to pay extra for that.
The wardrobe is actually one of the newer features but it’s pretty neat. You can unlock as many armor skins as you can find in the game. It also stores them in a collectables fashion which means that you don’t have to actually retain that piece of armor to have an unlock for the look of it. Once you have the armor skin unlocked you can transmute it over your current armor. The only limitation is of course that it has to be an armor value that your class can use in the game. A light armor class can only transmute light armor for instance.
This lets you set up some very unique outfits for your characters based on what you’ve managed to pickup. So despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of players in the game, you may be the only bright pink Sylvari wearing that top and those trousers.
The downside is that you have to pay for the transmutes with gems that you buy with IRL cash. The upside is that it supports the game for a pretty minimal fee and is purely aesthetic. The cost for a handful of transmutation charges is still less than you’d spend on a monthly sub. You can also buy some unique skins too, but once again it is a purely aesthetic purchase and is purely optional.
Rotating Story Arcs and General World Events
So on top of the generic in game holidays that give you fun little side things to do in between the general grind, there are large story arcs. These are incredibly cool as they actually effect the world. When they call them “Living World” stories they’re not joking. Lion’s Arch still hasn’t fully recovered after a story arc turned it into a war zone.
End of story is that the whole map in GW2 isn’t static. As wars and battles rampage the map they actually leave lasting impressions. If you were a part of the stories you’re able to say ‘hey I saw this happen’ and if you weren’t you log in and it leaves you asking no end of questions.
So if you like the living stories but don’t really have the time to participate, Arena Net has added a fun new feature. The Story Journal. This lets you go back to events you missed for whatever reason and experience them even if you aren’t able to participate in the living story while it’s live. This has been one of the biggest criticisms of the Living Story in Guild Wars 2 and this is probably one of the most interesting new changes.
PvP is a big part of GW2 and World vs World or WvW is another aspect of it. This is really the PvP in the game that I enjoy. It has it’s own explorable map, keeps and siege weapons. I haven’t personally done a lot of it, but from what I have participated in, I can say that it’s PvP that I can get into, eventually.
Wrapping it up:
The purpose of this post isn’t to sell anyone on playing Gw2. You either want to play it or you don’t, the choice is yours. The purpose of this article is more to serve as a reminder to myself of the things I need to remember about GW2 before I check out another shiny new game. Thing is that if a game doesn’t have a lot of the features on this list I am probably not going to bother.
The thing about GW2 is that it is more of a game for ‘the other half’. I’m talking about people that do not want to ‘raid’ or ‘pvp’. I mean exclusively pvp because GW2 does have a heavy pvp focus, but it isn’t the only post level cap activity.
GW2 isn’t top heavy leaving the starting areas empty while people rush to get to end game content. This is a game that scales level 80’s down to participate in low level content but still gives them loot worth their time and effort. This is also a game that will scale players up to 80 just to participate in current Living Story content so that they don’t feel rushed to get their level cap. They still have to be high enough level to get to the zone to participate, but they can still participate.
To me the fact that GW2 is less about levels and more about content really is a selling point. The fact that I can roam the map with my friends and still feel like I’m enjoying and exploring the map regardless of whether or not I’ve already completed it, is also a big bonus.
For tonight I’ll be in GW2 working on a Sylvari Elementalist or maybe finish my 40 plus Human Necromancer. Either one would give me my 4th level 80 in the game.
In the meantime I’ll be debating whether I’m going to go back to WildStar and give it another shot. Either way I will have to log in and talk it over with my guild. I am still subbed for one more month of WildStar but at this point I really do not think the game is right for me. I am not saying it isn’t a great game. For people who love raiding and pvp content WildStar is totally for them.
Until next time I hope that you too enjoy playing whatever game you enjoy the most.