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Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play fantasy-themed MMORPG developed by ArenaNet and is the sequel to the first Guild Wars. The game features an expansive and dynamic world that changes based on the player’s actions.

Publisher: NCSOFT
Playerbase: High
Type: F2P MMORPG (paid expansions)
Release Date: August 28, 2012
PvP: Arenas / Large scale World vs World
Pros: +Story driven gameplay. +Dynamic quest system. +Good variety of classes and races. +Great soundtrack.
Cons: -Repetitive gameplay.

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Overview

Guild Wars 2 Overview

Guild Wars 2 transports players to the mythical fantasy world of Tyria, a land beset by Elder Dragons who have wreaked havoc on a once peaceful land. Take your pick from eight unique professions, each with their own distinct playstyle. Choose to play as one of five races and create your own story as you embark on adventures and quests in an expansive, mesmerizing, and dynamic world that changes based on your actions and decisions. The game originally launched as a buy-to-play title, but the core version of the game went free to play on August 29, 2015. The expansions still have to be purchased but there are minimal restrictions for F2P users.

Guild Wars 2 Key Features:

  • Story Driven Gameplay – with dynamic quests that impact the story.
  • Classes and Races – over nine playable classes, called professions, and five races.
  • High Production Value great visuals, interface, and musical score.
  • Aimed Individual Skills – have to be aimed in combat.
  • Varied PvP Options with large scale PvP through World vs World or traditional Conquest / Team Deathmatch.
  • Fair Matchmaking – PvP auto-balances everyone's levels and stats to be maximum, creating a truly fair PvP environment.

Guild Wars 2 Screenshots

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Guild Wars 2 Featured Video

Classes

Guild Wars 2 Classes

Professions:

  • Guardian – specialize in defensive and protective magic. They are able to equip a variety of weapons and also benefit from the protection of heavy armor.
  • Warrior – rely on strength, speed, and heavy armor to survive. They are versatile combatants with a good balance between offensive and defensive abilities.
  • Thief – deadly masters of the art of stealth and one-on-one combat. They use surprise and shadow to their advantage.
  • Ranger – proficient with the bow and can strike enemies safely from a distance. They can summon pets to keep enemies at bay while they line up for the kill.
  • Elementalist – mastered the art of harnessing Tyria’s natural forces. They use the power of the elements to rain destruction down on their foes.
  • Mesmer – masters of illusion. They use mental magic to confound and control their enemies. They can also shatter their illusions to deal more damage.
  • Necromancer – masters of the dark arts. They summon the dead, channel blood energy, and rip the souls from their enemies’ bodies.
  • Engineer – alchemical and technological masterminds. They use grenades, turrets, elixirs, and other devices to defeat their enemies.
  • Revenant Released alongside the Heart of Thorns expansion, Revenants are powerful melee warriors with heavy armor and otherworldly abilities.

Races:

  • Asura – short alchemical inventors with unparalleled intelligence. They believe that it is not the strong who survive, but the clever.
  • Sylvari – noble beings who live for adventure and pursuing quests. They strive to balance their curiosity with duty and warfare with honor.
  • Human – once the most populous inhabitants of Tyria. They have lost their homeland and their former glory. Their spirit, however, remains unshaken and continue to fight with every ounce of their strength.
  • Norn – a race of towering hunters driven by the Ice Dragon from their glacial homeland. They still possess enthusiasm for life and the hunt. They believe that only the ultimate victors reap legendary rewards.
  • Charr – a warring race with no place for the weak and the fools. To them, victory is all that matters and must be achieved by any means and at all costs.

Full Review

Guild Wars 2 Review

By Marc Marasigan

Guild Wars 2, or GW2, is a free-to-play fantasy-themed 3D MMORPG developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSOFT, the company behind popular MMORPG titles like Lineage and the first Guild Wars game. The game was officially released on August 28, 2012 with a 3 day head-start given to players who pre-purchased the game. The game originally required a one-time purchase to play, similar to The Secret World, but on August 29, 2015 ArenaNet made the basic version of the game free to play. However, the latest expansion will always need to be purchased.

GW2 is set in the fantasy world of Tyria, 250 years after the events in Guild Wars’ Eye of the North Expansion. Tyria’s inhabitants are living in fear of Elder Dragons that have emerged from the depths of the continent and have all but decimated the world’s population, since the time of the first game. Players are tasked with reuniting members of the disbanded guild, Destiny’s Edge, whose combined strength is necessary to defeat the Elder Dragons. Players go on quests that change and shift depending on their actions or even the actions of nearby players.

The Birth of a Hero

Before players can go gallivanting off into the wide world of Tyria, they must first choose a character, or Hero, to fight with. Character creation in GW2 is a ten-step process which might seem a bit long but is well worth the time if you’re into PVE and role-playing. For players who want to jump right into the action, there’s a handy “Skip to End” button that appears in every step. Clicking the button randomizes the choices for the proceeding steps and takes players straight to the naming part. For the rest who are willing to spend a little time on their heroes, they are given a choice of five races, each with their own distinct characteristics, from the short alchemical inventors of the Asura, to the towering hunters of the Norm. Aside from the differences in appearances, each race starts out in different areas and follows a slightly different storyline. Each race also possesses skills unique to their race. While these racial skills might benefit one class more than the other, unless you’re into hardcore PvP, you’re better off choosing a character that you like. The Charr’s Hidden Pistol skill, for example, which automatically shoots a target enemy when evading backwards, works quite well with a Thief’s fighting style but, while Charrs do look absolutely badass with their sharp claws, fangs, and horns, I still prefer my characters to look a little bit human. But if claws or alien-like beings are your thing, by all means, go crazy with it.

After choosing their race, players then pick their class, or profession as it’s called in GW2. Players can pick from a total of eight unique professions with a ninth-class set to be released with the game’s first expansion pack: Heart of Thorns. Players then move on to customizing their hero’s appearance. The game features a ton of options to allow players to create unique looking characters including options for body build and sliders for the height and facial features.

Now comes the unique part in GW2’s character creation process, the Hero’s biography. This part is made up of five multiple-choice questions that players have to answer to determine their character’s background story and personality. The answers to these questions slightly affect the Hero’s personal storyline, in-game dialogue, and how he or she interacts with other NPC’s in the game. After completing this step, players then name their characters and are dropped into one of the starting zones to begin their adventures in the world of Tyria.

Exploring the World

Players start their adventures with a race-dependent prologue/tutorial mission which acquaints players with basic game mechanics such as movement, camera controls, NPC interaction, combat, and questing. Even after the prologue, dialog boxes constantly appear to explain a feature that the player encounters for the first time.

This early into the game, players will immediately get a taste of what GW2 has to offer. The game’s visuals are absolutely amazing. Everything is modeled with incredible detail, from the characters and mobs, down to the lush trees, moonlight-kissed lakes, and rolling terrain. The flashy effects look great as well. The sound fits the mood of the game perfectly whether you’re running errands in town or exploring bandit-infested caves. Speaking of sound, voice-overs are used for much of the major in-game dialogue and, while the writing is ok, there were a few times when the voice-acting sounded a bit awkward. The game also features a lot of beautiful hand-drawn art similar to the first game.

Have it Your Way

Unlike traditional MMORPG’s, GW2 allows players to explore the massive world of Tyria in their own terms. There are several types of quests that players will encounter on their journey. Personal story quests, Reputation, or Heart quests, and Dynamic quests. Aside from the personal story quests which advance the storyline, quests are automatically initiated by simply being in the area and players can choose whether or not to take on the quest. These quests are also automatically completed by simply satisfying the requirements. Helping out a townie tend his farm, for example, will have you either killing a giant worm, killing the giant worm’s babies, killing bandits, dancing in front of cows, or any combination of these. They can also be done in any order, even those a few levels above the player, although, unless you’re looking for a beating, this isn’t particularly recommended. Even with these choices, however, questing can still feel repetitive and a bit grindy.

Dynamic quests are one of GW2’s main selling points and helps it differentiate itself from other MMORPGs. Stick around an area for a while and you’ll eventually encounter a dynamic event. These type of quests usually require a few other players to complete and more often than not, are part of chain quests ultimately culminating in a boss fight that requires a lot of players to take down.

The Dynamic quest feature, however, is a double-edged sword. While it does add a unique element to the game and is definitely an innovation for MMORPG’s, automatically initiating quests usually has players fumbling around with absolutely no clue as to who they’re helping or why since they have no background story to build up on. This, in my opinion, ruins the experience and turns players into mindless zombies that take on a quest just because other people are doing it and they happen to be there. Dynamic quests also require players to be in the right place at the right time. Other players also need to be there to help out since soloing dynamic events more often than not results in constant death and frustration. Still, having dynamic quests is an overall positive because it allows players to gain experience and progress their own way. Don't like a particular dynamic quest? Skip it. Don't want to do these heart quests? Skip them. Players are free to complete the quests they want rather than following a linear progression path.

Intelligent Artificial… er Intelligence?

GW2 features an action-style combat system where players move around using the WASD keys while spamming hotbar keys to launch attacks and cast spells. The combat system also requires players to aim their attacks at enemies as opposed to the traditional click and cast system used by most MMORPG’s. Enemy mobs also move around, ranged mobs tend to move away when attacking players get too close. This makes for fast-paced and action-packed combat where you have to constantly move around and dodge attacks especially when you find yourself surrounded by four angry centaurs.

GW2 also features a skill system that allows players to easily change skillsets by simply equipping the appropriate weapon type. Although, unlike Final Fantasy XIV, equippable weapon types still depend on the hero’s profession or class. Also, while the available skills seem a bit limited, the system still gives players the freedom to fine tune their hero’s skills to fit their playing style or a particular situation, boss, or mob. Skills are automatically improved as the character gains levels. They can also be manually improved by unlocking and selecting Traits. Traits are passive skills that give bonuses to skills and player attributes. Traits can be unlocked by completing tasks, such as defeating an enemy, completing events, and reaching specific destinations, or by purchasing them using coin, the game’s main currency. Skill-points are also awarded as players gain levels. Like the original Guild Wars, players at mid/late game will always have more skills than they can possibly equip at once, so players need to pick and choose which skills to have at the ready. This ensures that every Necromancer doesn't play the exact same way as any other Necromancer. It also adds a unique element of strategy to the game's PvP.

Worlds at War

GW2’s offers a variety of PVP modes for everyone, from the hardcore to the downright silly. For serious PVP, players can join World vs World combat between hundreds of players in a separate open world similar to RF Online’s Chip Wars. They can also join classic PVP modes like Conquest or Team Deathmatch. These modes can be accessed through the PVP panel. GW2 also offer fun PVP modes, or Activities as they’re called in-game, which are great for breaking the monotony of PVE. Players can join mini-games like Keg-brawl, a basketball-like game involving kegs of ale and a lot of fighting, or Crab Toss, a free-for-all game where the player who can hold the grab longest while being attacked by other players wins the game. Players can join these activities by speaking to certain NPCs. Similar to the first Guild Wars, PvP is automatically "balanced" by automatically adjusting everyone's stats to maximum during the duration of the PvP match.

Premium

GW2's base game is free-to-play but expansions must be purchased. The game also offers micro-transactions via the in-game cash shop. Players use gems, which can be bought using real world money, to buy cosmetic items, boosts, character slot expansions, and game upgrades. The cash shop is well-balanced and mostly contains cosmetic items. Gems can also be traded for gold which is a good thing, in my opinion, since it also gives players who don’t want to spend additional money on the game access to the premium items.

Final Verdict - Excellent

Guild Wars 2 revolutionizes MMORPGs with its Dynamic quests which reduces the time players spend looking for groups and gives them more time to enjoy the game. But as I’ve said before, it’s a double-edged sword that might not be for everybody. The game’s graphics, environment, and sounds are top-notch and well-made. The game can be a bit grindy at times but still an excellent game that’s well worth checking out. It's easily one of the best MMORPGs I've played in a long time and one I'll be playing for a long time.

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Videos

Guild Wars 2 Videos

System Requirements

Guild Wars 2 Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP SP 2 or newer
CPU: Core 2 Duo 2 GHz, Core i3 OR Athlon 64 X2 or better
RAM: 2 GB RAM
Video Card: GeForce 7800, ATI X1800, or Intel HD 3000
Hard Disk Space: 25 GB available space

Mac Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Mac OS X 10.7.X or later
CPU: Intel Core i5 or better
RAM: 4 GB RAM
Video Card: GeForce 320M, ATI Radeon HD 6630M, Intel HD 3000 or better
Hard Disk Space: 25 GB available space

Music

Guild Wars 2 Music

Additional Info

Guild Wars 2 Additional Information

Developer: ArenaNet (Subsidiary of NCSOFT)
Publisher: NCSOFT

Game Engine: Guild Wars Engine, Havok, and Umbra Occlusion
Other Platforms: Mac OS X

Game Director(s): Mike O'Brien
Game Design(s): Colin Johanson and Eric Flannum
Composer(s): Jeremy Soule

Announcement Date: May, 08, 2014

Closed Beta Date: April 08, 2015
Closed Beta End Date: April 17, 2015

Launch Date: April 21, 2015

Steam Release Date: April 21, 2015

Development History / Background:

Guild Wars 2 was developed by American game developer ArenaNet, based in Bellevue, Washington, using the Guild Wars engine. Development for Guild Wars 2 began in 2007 after developers realized they couldn't expand the original Guild Wars to the size and scale they were looking for. The game was announced to the world on March 27, 2007 alongside the announcement of the final Guild Wars expansion, which served as a bridge in terms of both gameplay and story to the then upcoming Guild Wars 2. The game originally targeted a 2011 release date but was pushed back to August 28, 2012. Those who prepurchased the game could play three days earlier on August 25. A Mac OS X client was released on September 18, 2012. A console version of Guild Wars 2 was considered early in development, but there's no official word on it yet and it looks like there won't be one.