Guild Wars 2: First Impressions, a Year Late

I am aware that I am a bit late to the party.

I have never been a big fan of MMO games, sure I played a bit of WoW, who hasn’t? And I’ve attempted to get into others, but never to any avail, there’s just something about the standard MMO procedure of, , rinse and repeat, that has never really appealed to me. I like to play games where I don’t feel like I’m employed by them to eventually get some fun out of them; usually by the time I’ve completed the procedural grind thousands of times and reached the maximum level, I start to question when the fun is actually going to start, or if it ever is. This grind is something I do have the time to do, I just don’t want to spend my time doing it. The promise of no grind is what attracted me to the first Guild Wars as well as an interesting story and a sense of character progression beyond levelling up and grinding for a new longsword that has 20 extra points of damage compared to my previous one. It gave me great pleasure to know that when I loaded into a player vs player match that if I was better than my opponents, I would beat them, as we are all essentially using the same gear and are the same level, with access to the same skills. This is what I have always found exciting; a match of skill vs skill, not, 5000 hours grinding for items vs 3500 hours grinding for items.

When I first logged into Guild Wars 2 the first thing that stood out to me was the artwork, the beautiful landscape drawings, all hand drawn, and the basic, but effective colour palette; even the text looked majestic. I loaded into the character creator and was met by more drawings, each one more elegant than the last. In past MMOs that I’ve played, character race choice has never been a major factor for me, the races in World of Warcraft have never appealed to me, this is mainly down to the graphical style and quality, but each race in Guild Wars 2 is so beautifully realised in drawing on my screen (see picture) that I can’t simply ignore any and chose which one I think looks the most interesting. This is how Guild Wars 2 grabs your attention, it makes sure everything in its world is so beautiful that it can’t be ignored, and relies on the fact that it knows, you as a player will want to delve deeper into its lore and story and explore its vast world to find out as much as you can about each different beautiful thing of your own accord, rather than bombard you with fantasy jargon which you don’t care enough about to attempt to understand.


I decided to create a male Asura Engineer, Asuras are the small, almost Goblin like creatures, which, the game tells me, are the most intelligent race in Guild Wars 2, excelling in academic tasks that the other races otherwise would not. And an Engineer is a profession, of which there are 8, those being Engineer, Necromancer, Thief, Warrior, Elementalist, Ranger, Mesmer and Guardian. I then chose what my character looked like, from his facial features to the colour of his clothes. The amount of variety in the character creator is massive, unparalleled by many other western MMOs which give you a choice of face 1, face 2, or face 3. Instead, Guild Wars 2 provides you with various different sliders and buttons to fine tune your character to look exactly how you want him or her to look. I then chose various different elements of my characters back story, such as my ‘first invention’ and my ‘tool of choice’; all these different choices apparently create a story which is personal to me, which is a nice addition for giving the game more replayability. Then I signed with my character name ‘Donmegamuffin’, and the doors were opened to the beautiful world of Guild Wars 2 for the first time.

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