Guild Wars 2 Review
Guild Wars 2 is an PC MMORPG that was first announced to the public in 2007 and was in development until the first beta testing in late 2011, the game was not released until August 2012. Unlike now where the base game is free, Guild Wars 2 use to purely use a Buy to Play model and it wasn’t until August 2015 where it transitioned into a Free 2 Play game for it’s base contents.
Over the years, I cannot even count the times where I installed Guild Wars 2 and tried to get into it, I know many of my friends and a lot of you out there are probably the same. This game is not for everyone, it’s either you love it or you hate it type of game. However, once you get into it, I can assure you, you won’t hate it again, well at least until Arena Net (Publisher) does something stupid.
In fact, the best thing I currently enjoy about Guild Wars 2 is that there is probably no better time to get right back in the game as progress is completely horizon & every new expansion or new set of gear added to the game only expansions on the idea of obtaining it a totally different way. Which means, with the new expansion Secrets of the Obscured dropping in August, even if you are super close to full legendary geared, this expansion won’t invalidate any of your current progress at all.
The combat is fast paced tab target combat with action combat elements. It’s fast paced, it’s not just fast; it’s also super easy to get super lost in what’s happening on your screen regardless what class you are playing. Luckily, some professions (classes) are a bit less demanding than others, so there is technically a profession for everyone to enjoy.
The skills system is a little confusing and somewhat very different than most other MMORPGs I have seen or played, it is a weapon based system. While each profession has it’s own unique set of talents and type of weapons they can utilize, your 1-5 skills itself are determined based on what weapon you are holding.
Then based on your profession you would gain between 1 to 5 profession skills which are referred to F1 to F5 then lastly, you have a Heal skill (6), 3 utility skills (7-9) and an elite skill (0). Unlike other MMORPGs where you can either put all your skills on your skill bar like World of Warcraft, or you have a certain limit of skills on your skill bar like Bless Online.
Further, there is no restriction on builds, you can change your skills on the fly for free (out of combat), and even save them under a specific build for convenience.
Here is an layout of what it would look like below.
Guild Wars 2 Wikipedia page is super helpful for everything in game and would recommend taking a moment to read more into it.
Let’s talk about the gearing system in Guild Wars 2 as it is what really sets Guild Wars 2 apart from other MMORPGs.
Gear grades are the following order from the worse quality to best
Ascended Gear and Legendary gear have essentially the same stats which means, a full ascended user will have the same stats as a full legendary user.
The biggest difference between Legendary and ascended is, legendary is account bound while Ascended is soul bound and that legendary gears can change their prefix stats on the fly while Ascended needs to go back to the mythic forge and pay materials to change.
Starting off with the weapons, as weapons define what skills you will be using as mentioned just prior. The game practically throws Exotic gears and below at you so we will only be focusing only how to obtain Ascended and Legendary gears. Ascended gears can be either obtained through quest lines such as Knight of the Thorn or a drop from PVE such as World Boss, raids, fractures, strikes etc, brought using PVP currency whether it is from WvW or instanced PVP or just simply crafted.
While legendary weapons (season 1-3) goes through a long chain of achievements you must do before you are able to craft it, or you can just skip all that and buy it off the trade post (action house). Both works with the latter usually being 2x more expensive but far less time consuming if you know how to make gold fast.
In Guild Wars 2, just like weapon, Ascended Armor has the same stats as legendary armor, and just like weapon also, you can obtain ascended gear from doing various different contents in the game. Unlike weapons where there is only 3 different sets which are all more or less achievement-tied and PVE based. There are 3 current ways to obtain 3 different Legendary armors in Guild Wars 2 with the forth method being released in August with the forth expansion. A very high level summary on how to collect them is the following. The first method would be your standard PVE, achievements tied to mostly raids, do enough you will get it eventually. The second option would be Structured PVP, do enough Ranked PVP and you will get your legendary gear, it’s pretty straight forwarded. Lastly WvW Legendary gears, just like the former two, just particpate in WvW and gather enough WvW currency to buy your legendary gears. With the forth collection being related towards open PVE. Which means, whatever content you enjoy playing in Guild Wars 2, you will eventually get your legendary gears if that is what you wish for.
This is a system that I enjoy and gives me something to work towards, both short and long term. I would much prefer this than having to re-grind my gears every 3-6 months like in World of Warcraft as that just burns me out way to fast and I spend more time grinding gears than actually enjoy using them.
Onto the topic of Guild Wars 2 PVP, read my Guild Wars 2 PVP Review. There is two distinct types of PVP in Guild Wars 2, Arena/Battlegrounds PVP and World versus World PVP. Both have their own unique rewards system and legendary armor set to collect or obtain.
Let’s start with Arena/Battlegrounds PVP, as the name suggests, this is an instanced based PVP mode where you would fight either, 2, 3 or 5 players on each team will fight against each other for the single purpose of eliminating the other team for points, objectives such as capture the flag or defeat the “Lord” in the enemy team base to win.
It’s pretty standard as far as instanced PVP goes with no real twist besides the fact that, all players level and gear are equalized in this mode. Which means, you can be level 1 and be doing this PVP mode while wearing just grey/trash gear while still outputting the same amount of DPS as a max level 80 of the same profession and skill choice.
While I did say level and gear is equalized, it is not quite that, there is still a big variety that can either make your character better or for the worse. You are able to pick the following the following standardized gear which will have various different stats
- Weapon 1 sigil (2 of them)
- Weapon 2 sigil (2 of them)
This allows PVP players to customize their character to the most ideal build they would enjoy running in, whether it is being an super annoying unkillable tank or a pure glass cannon, or a balance between the both; the choice is yours to make.
The Instanced PVP matches for 5v5 last between 8 to 15 minutes each, with usually matches end at 10 minutes long. There are two play mode options, unranked and ranked; with ranked providing better rewards and materials towards the PVP Legendary armor.
World Verses World
In World versus World PVP, all players who join below max level (80) will have their stats adjusted to the equivalent of level 80. Everything else will be using what you equipped or already obtained. Which means, as a new player, you might be fighting full legendary or ascended players with your masterwork or exotic gear. Which means, more often than not, you won’t really have a fighting chance.
In this mode, there are various maps you are able to join which are honestly more or less the same, just different terrains to fight on. WvW is a 24/7 PVP system where your team will gather resources and conquer different type of landmarks from Outposts to Keeps to Castles each giving your team overall points.
WvW has its own legendary armor which you can collect and a rewards system similar to the Structured PVP one where the more or longer you play, the more rewards you can obtain, whether you are losing or winning. I have played in World verse World long enough to obtain my mount which wasn’t so bad to do once I knew what things I had to collect or do, which is something I wished Guild Wars 2 had a bit more control over. There just too many different elements or things in game and the players have to heavily rely on the Wiki to know what to do.
PVE in Guild Wars 2 can be take based instanced or in the open world, with instanced being the typical either Raids, Fractures (M+ in World of Warcraft) or Strikes. While open world would be Events or Meta Events that spawn regularly around the world.
I have personally only been doing Open World PVE and the Meta Events, are surprising very fun to play. When I did The Battle for the Jade Sea Meta Event, I wasn’t expecting much as I was only doing it for the achievement; but fighting Soo-Won in an alternate timeline scenario for the first time, without any prior notes, guides or anything in between was challenging, fun and exciting. Most of these meta events are usually always grouped based and not difficult to complete. With nearly most normal events easily solo-able if need-be.
As for instanced PVE, I have not yet tried it however, I heard Fractures and Raids are super fun, challenging but not overbearing and rewarding. It is on my bucket list one of these days to get into Fractures once I get a full ascended gear set suitable for PVE.
The cash shop or gem store is full of cosmetic items in Guild Wars 2, whether you are looking for a new outfit, costume, pet, weapon skins chairs or toys. Further, there is also utility items in game such as a World Boss Portal which can be seen as Pay2Win as it teleports to the nearest Waypoint that the World Boss will spawn prior to the boss spawning for free along with giving you notifications 10 minutes before a World Boss spawns. Or 1 click max level upgrades, bag, bank or storage expansions items. However, despite all of the goodies in the cash shop, there is also an gold to gem converter that allows players to convert their gold (main currency) in game to gems to buy any items in the cash shop. Unlike other games like Lost Ark with also this feature, it doesn’t actually give you the premium currency but a substitute of it and only allows a portion of the cash shop to be used in that currency. Guild Wars 2 isn’t like that as it gives you the actual premium currency that can be used on anything in the cash shop.
I personally feel the UI can be significantly improved, especially the tool tips of items. I can look pass the Hero Journal being pretty much a bloated section of everything but the materials and tooltip is honestly a total mess. There are so much materials and items in game that it is not easily labeled what they are or used for without using the /wiki command and checking exactly what they are.
Other than that, It’s an MMORPG, everything is more or less super clean and minimalist and what needs to be on screen is on screen and what don’t need to be there isn’t easily seen or reachable.
State of Game
The game is doing well and with the new expansion and weapons update just around the corner, the world of Tyria will be just even more alive then before. I am personally looking forward to the weapons update as I want to be able to wield dual swords & a pistol for my Necromancer.
One thing I really love about Guild Wars 2 over World of Warcraft is, the world does not feel dead at all. If your channel is dead, the game will ask you if you want to be moved into a populated channel. While World of Warcraft phasing is just stupid. Rarely, you will ever see players in the open world and you can’t even switch without going through some party sync method that doesn’t even work at times. Further, PVP times in Guild Wars 2 is about 2 minutes on average for Ranked PVP and under a minute. I can’t say much about instanced PVE but nearly all opened world Meta Events are constantly being run all day long. When I was doing my skyscale or beetle mount collections quests & achievements, I had zero issues with any meta event it threw at me. I seriously can’t remember the last time World of Warcraft’s dynamic events were this alive. There was times when the PVP quest areas were super active with just raid killing for quests but then more often than not, it was a complete ghost town when I could just fly over, spend 2 minutes to finish the quest and leave without seeing anyone else. That was the PVP quest while the PVE ones were usually always dead with the occasion of World Boss being slightly more active during certain time of the day.
I am having alot of fun in Guild Wars 2, playing at my own pace and enjoying the PVP side of things. As mentioned at the start, the game is really a hit or miss for alot of people and I know plently that couldn’t get into it and others love it over everything else. The game is a Free 2 Play title with DLC (Expansions) which are Buy 2 Play, it has no subscription nor premium attachments in game and the expansions are worth every bit of it’s money. There are a ton of things to do in game whether it is PVE, PVP, collections or exploring. The game is huge and has over a decade worth of content to enjoy where every bit of it still matters. While saying that, Fayiette would 100% recommend Guild Wars 2 as a MMORPG to play in 2023.