Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Guild Wars 2 How Do I love Thee? O Let Me Count The Ways

One of my fellow bloggers sent me an instant message the other day, inquiring how long I had been playing Guild Wars 2.  When I replied, he responded, wondering why I hadn't put up a blog post about it.

I then realized that I was having a lot of fun with the game, and hadn't put up a raving fanboy post about it.

So here it is, the many ways that I love Guild Wars 2.

Way #1: The Game Inspires Cooperation

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the game is that it inspires players to work together than that compete.  It does this in a whole number of ways.

First off, any player that makes a significant contribution to defeating an opponent will get a reward for it: both experience and a chance at getting loot.  As opposed to many other online multiple player games where the first 'party' or player that hits an opponent will get the credit for defeating it.

Second off, parties seem to naturally happen in the game.  Often times, I would be wondering through an area and I would stumble upon a rather difficult opponent to face (the game has a number of 'veteran' and 'champion' opponents that can't be defeated one on one very easily).  Partway through struggling to defeat the opponent, one or more other players would join in to help me defeat the opponent.  Many times, I find myself also rushing to the aid of other players to help them defeat the monsters.

Third: the game has a number of dynamic events.  Sometimes, a merchant needs to be escorted across a dangerous patch of land.  Other times, a city gets under siege by invading mole people.  Most often, the event can not be done by a single player.  A single player can begin the event and the game notifies nearby players about the event.  This often results in a group of players converging on an area to fight and struggle together toward a common goal.  It inspires a sense of camaraderie with random strangers.

Fourth: shared crafting nodes!  I can't say how many times in World of Warcraft I've been frustrated by another player arriving and 'stealing' a bit of ore or an herb that I was intending on harvesting.  Guild Wars 2 does away with this entirely!  Each player has their own 'copy' of the same node.  It often leads to hilarious moments when multiple players are mining the bit of ore or other players chopping down 'invisible' trees.

Way #2: Crafting is Fun

I've played a few different online games where items could be crafted.  Most of the time, it involved going to a bank, grabbing crafting items, then going to where crafting could be done or my inventory getting clogged up by crafting ingredients.

In Guild Wars 2, the bank has special slots specifically for common crafting items.  These items can be directly deposited into the bank from ANYWHERE!  That seriously blew my mind because it is so incredibly different from other online games.  As an added nice tough, items can be crafted directly from the bank at crafting stations.  No more running to and from banks in order to gather up that random bit of copper ore or the head of lettuce that I need to make something.

Finally, crafting has a built in 'discovery' system for different recipes.  For things like making weapons and armor, the system is very simple.  However for cooking, it is very entertaining (and often mouthwatering).  For instance, a ball of dough and cherry pie filling could be combined to make a cherry pie.  The same ball of dough could be used to make a loaf of bread or even something else entirely!  The craft of cooking in the game makes a variety of very tasty treats ranging from grilled mushrooms, to rosemary meat dinners, to lemon bars.  Yum!

Way #3: Combat is a Blast

Having played a lot of World of Warcraft, I was blown away by how different combat in Guild Wars 2 was. In World of Warcraft (and other online roleplaying games), the combat system seemed to devolve into standing in place and hitting things till they died.  Having played a spell caster in World of Warcraft, I was used to standing in place to cast spells.  With Guild Wars 2, I was surprised that I could move and use abilities at the same time! (Wow what a concept!)  In fact, the game encourages players to move around.  Standing and 'taking it to the face' usually results in a player getting downed rather quickly. (Note I said 'downed' and not 'dead').  Every class in the game from the scholarly Elementalist to the plate-wearing Warrior has the ability to dodge and move around in combat.   Against computer controlled monsters, it is quite interesting.  Against other players, being about to outmaneuver the other player is a must!

Tazz busy burning a grawl.  His hand is on fire!

Rainhagelada chopping down a tree while watching something die

Way #4: Underwater Combat
Allow me to rave about something entirely awesome in Guild Wars 2: underwater combat.

Yes, you heard me right.  Fighting underwater!
Rainhagelada shooting superheated exploding rocks at people during an underwater event

First off, the every character in the game can breath indefinitely underwater (using a 'aqua breather').  Personally, I am quite terrified of drowning and deep water.  In games where I had a limit amount of breath, I would feel real panic when my character started to get even remotely close to drowning.  It was nice that Guild Wars 2 removed that.

Second: different skills!  Underwater, the character use different weapons and skill than they do for dry land combat.  Being forced to use different skills and techniques makes underwater combat a highly unique and interesting experience.

Way #5: Dying Isn't All That Bad

Remember earlier when I said 'downed' and not 'dead'?  In Guild Wars 2, when a character runs out of healthy, they initially become 'downed'.  In a downed state, they have access to four skills that they can use to 'fight for their life'.  One skill is basically a call for aid to nearby characters that heals yourself.  The others can vary from attacks to various escapes.  While in this downed state if a character manages to defeat an opponent, they immediate 'rally' and are back on their feet for more action.  However if they run out of health in a down state, they are defeated.

Unfortunately, falling from a great height means immediate defeat
In other games, running out of health means immediate death.  If someone who can resurrect you isn't nearby, then you are out of luck.  In World of Warcraft, this meant a lengthy and annoying run back to your body.  However, in Guild Wars 2, any character can revive any other character.  If they are simply downed, the process is rather rapid.  If they are defeated, it takes a bit longer.  The game even allowed multiple people to assist in the process!  As an added benefit, any players that helps to revive another player or NPC gets a small bit of experience for helping out.  How's that for encouraging people to work together?

Santa Claus reviving my character
Oh, what if no players are nearby?  A defeated player can always revive at full health and fighting capacity at a nearby Waypoint.

Way #6: Fast Travel

In Guild Wars 2, there are no mounts, nor are their 'flight points' between different places in the world.  Instead, the game uses a series of Asuran gates and waypoints to facilitate fast travel between locations.  A particular section of a map could have well over fifteen waypoints, which makes travel through the zone quick and easy.  All the major cities in the game are linked by Asuran gates, which allow for immediate, and free, travel between all the major cities.  Waypoints cost a small fee to use (unless used from within a major city to another location in that major city).  No need for horses or giant flying beats here!  Although I do miss my bronze drake from World of Warcraft.

Way #7: Downleveling

Hypothetically speaking: let's say Mormon Geek's blogger Joe decides to get a copy of Guild Wars 2 and start a level 1 character.  He finishes the introduction area/story (which is a total blast) and wants me to come run around a play with him.  I have a level 80 character (max level).  In World of Warcraft, if I came and helped him kill things, he would get reduced experience and I would probably get a little bored of looking at things and killing them.  In Guild Wars 2, however, my stats would get reduced to that of a more level appropriate character and we would both get similar experience for romping around and causing chaos with the low level monsters.  Fun for everyone!

 Way #8: All Around Fun

At the end of one of the Beta Weekends, the developers took all of the players and transported them into a strange 'Hunger Games' sort of game.  Each team had to eliminate the others while slowly dying from hunger.  At the end, they spawned in a number of boxes that would randomly transform characters, turn them temporary into stone, or let them shoot of fireworks, etc.  It was great fun!  Sadly, I haven't seen them do a big event like that since the game started.
Oh, what is this?

A present?  For me?!

I'm a pig!
I'm little!
 In Guild Wars 2, you can say good bye to the 'fetch me 50 vials of cow spit' or the 'kill 10 rats' quests.  Instead, Guild Wars 2 has 'renown hearts'.  You go into an area, help out the people there, and get recognized for your contribution.  For instance, one of the early human quests invovles helping on the farm.  I could help by watering the crops OR feeding cows OR killing giant grubs OR fighting off bandits OR I could do a combination of them all.  For once, a game that gives players options on how they want to do things!  I tend to try to do everything I can to help out.  Also, doing renown hearts often leads characters to the dynamic events (as I mentioned earlier).

For this renown heart, I had to test fire a canon at targets.  Difficult, but fun!
 The game also has a number of jumping puzzles.  We did one where a ghostly pirate captain was trying to get his revenge on the living.  I ran this one with the awesome online community called Mormon Battalion (website here, trust me, they are great people!).  We had a blast with this jumping puzzle.  The game also has a number of others ones to perform.  One that I did involved carefully dodging winds while being miles above the ground. All of them were great fun! (Well, my tendency to fall to my death on accident often leads to even more amusement).

Entrance to the pirate's revenge
I somehow managed to catch the lip of the hole and I died in the water.
We meet the pirate captain, who begins leading us through a maze

We made it!

Apparently the First Mate died

Spooky underground jumping puzzles!
Moments before I had to find out if this drop would kill me

We made it! Rainhagelada decided to do a victory dance on the throne

Still rockin' out, Gangnum style

Um..you might want to stop dancing and pose


Perfect shot!
 The game also gives each character a 'Personal Story' that follows the characters development   Along the way, there are difficult decisions and often times deaths of other characters in the story.  The personal story made me feel like I had an actual impact on the game world, rather than being 'just another hero'.

Rainhagelada, staring into the distance rather than fighting zombies

Personal story battle with zombie!

Zombies use nasty poison gas

Way #9: The Game is Pretty

Pictures say a thousand words:
Underwater shot
From the surface
Rainhagelada enjoying the view! (Before I accidentally send her plummeting to her death)
Tazz lounging
Nice doorway!
Random Funny Glitches

For your enjoyment!  Screenshots of some random glitches I found while playing.
He was really happy about leveling, that Mishalan ran around like this for awhile
Rainhagelada is that awesome
From inside Kydd's head

See above caption
Taz somehow glitched through the floor, and ended up in a giant underwater lake
Also, in closing, a YouTube video comparing an actual dancer, the human dance in Guild Wars 2, and the new panda dance in World of Warcraft.  Enjoy!

Feel free to leave comments, post, share!  We might also accept gripes and complaints about how you are missing out on Guild Wars 2!

P.S. Looks like I forgot a few things!

Dye system: each character comes with a set of dyes that they can use to dye their armor.  Throughout the game, they can get unidentified dyes that they can identify to unlock new dyes (or sell) to use on their armor. The best part: this can be done any time and as many times as a player wants.

World vs World vs World: The opportunity to step into massive player vs player battles.  It's not simply running around and killing the other teams, but an attempt to seize and maintain towers, keeps, and strongholds.  There's nothing more exciting than getting in a battle with 30 people on each side firing off attacks on each other.

P.S.S (added 2Oct2012 around 10:30 AM)

A friend of mine reminded me of another hilarious glitch that we found in the game during one of the beta weekend events.  After helping protect an NPCs famous hotsauce, we discvered you could taste it.  I decided to try tasty it again, after all, it boasted that it was really hot.  I was amused by the fact my character was knocked back and lit on fire.  I then decided to try if I could die from eating the hot sauce.  After repeatedly rushing and partaking, my character finally succumbed to the flames.  Then I discovered a hilarious glitch.  See these screenshots:

Tazz is now a floating ball of fire

As you can see, my character is lit on fire, and curled up in a ball.  I found that by repeatedly partaking of the hot sauce, that the characters would levitate while being lit on fire.  Eventually, the characters will succumb to the flames.  We decided to have a little bit more fun with it.
Another character had something funny to say about our newly found amusement

Tazz and his friend Lohrin, despite being downed, reaching desperately for more of the hot sauce
Tazz finally succumbs to the powerful hot sauce
Needless to say, this had me laughing for about 15 minutes.  That's pretty impressive.


  1. I must apologize to the world for introducing Andrew to this game. I thought it would just be a nice birthday present for him. I had no idea of the gaming fury and addiction it would unleash upon the world.

    That said, how dare you post this without a single screenshot of Tazz eating the fire BBQ sauce?

    1. I still think that should've won the the screenshot contest. We spent a good 30 min getting that shot. I remember disrupting Matt and Doc with all the laughing.

  2. First, I think it's very important to list GW2's biggest strength: NO SUBSCRIPTION! Think of it this way: for the price of playing something like WoW for four months, you can buy this game and play it for years. This is incredible for the casual gamer. When I was finishing college, I didn't have a lot of time for games. I went back to Guild Wars after a four month absence and didn't miss a thing and didn't waste any money. With a subscription, you sometimes feel the pressure to spend time on the game or you waste money. Without one, you can take a break if you need to and not worry about it.

    Other people will rave about the gameplay, the story, the character leveling progression, and I agree with them. But I want to highlight the interface. You know an interface is good when you don't notice it. GW2 does all the little things right. Right-clicking a player ( be it a friend, party member, or even someone in the general chat, ) brings up a menu to send them an IM, mail them, or send a party invitation. In-game mail is completely free, can be sent and received from anywhere, and can have up to five attachments. Right-click a party member and you can also warp right to them if they're in a different instance.

    Inventory management is particularly impressive. Is your backpack getting full of loot while out adventuring? Want to sell all the useless stuff you found slaying monsters? Hit the "Sell Junk" button at a merchant to instantly sell all items that have no other use. Crafting materials and equipment won't be touched. Need to salvage items in your inventory? Just double-click your salvage kit and click away at everything in your inventory. Right-click an item in your inventory and you're treated to a context menu that lets you destroy it, mail it to someone, or view the same item on the Trading Post ( to either sell it or buy more of it. ) And if you really want to organize your stuff you can craft special bags that automatically sort loot into junk, equipment, and crafting materials or just won't display their contents at vendors.

    It's all very slick and efficient. Is it realistic without mailboxes and visiting the bank every hour? No, but it lets you focus on the story and the game instead of the mundane parts of the world.